Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boys will be boys

What do you get when you leave three rowdy boys unsupervised in a field full of mud?

At our church picnic Saturday evening, Luke and I participated in the adult softball game while the boys played with their friends in the nearby fields and playground. Towards the end of the game, Luke and I noticed Isaac, Caleb and their buddy Ryker had managed to find a softball field/mud pit and were having a mud wrestling extravaganza. They were having so much fun (and since they were dressed in playclothes and we were just going home afterwards) we let them just go at it. They were a mess to clean up, but the fun they had was priceless.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What we've been up to...

Summer vacation has started and the boys and I have enjoyed a much slower pace over the last few weeks. We've been keeping busy, but mostly just with fun stuff like going to the pool and playdates with friends. Here are a few shots from the beginning of our summer vacation:

One of our favorite summer activities is going to the neighborhood pool.

Andrew has learned to sit up all by himself. I still put the Boppy there, just in case he gets a little wobbly.

He has also started eating (and enjoying) baby food.

We went to the petting zoo.

And last weekend we had a family reunion in Iowa. Here is Caleb with one of his favorite cousins, Tatum.

Our next big event is our trip to St. Louis for Andrew's final court date. If all goes according to plan, his adoption will be finalized on July 1st. What an exciting day that will be!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jesus, Thank You

This weekend I had the privilege of attending our second annual men's retreat near Kirksville, MO. The retreat was a wonderful time of fellowship and Bible study for the men and teenagers in our church. I am so thankful to the Lord for such a wonderful group of guys. It is truly rare in America today to have such an engaged group of men in the local church.

During the two days, we had four sessions of teaching from Charles Leiter on the subject of "Justification and Regeneration." I would highly recommend his book on these two subjects. I haven't read it yet, but the sessions were based on the book and were extremely helpful in bringing clarity to issues that there is a lot of confusion among Christians. Each of the men received a copy of the book during the retreat. I look forward to reading it soon. Brother Leiter does a masterful job of using illustrations to drive home the teachings of Scripture. The illustrations he used in the first session on sin were the best I have ever heard and will be very useful in evangelism. Several of the men in the church have already read the book and said that the illustrations used in the teaching sessions are in the book as well. (Note: Make sure to get the expanded edition with the added appendix)

In addition to the teaching sessions we enjoyed ping pong, skeet shooting, times of prayer, theological discussion, a bonfire, and some great barbecue. Both years by the bonfire I have rejoiced to see fathers with their boys, and am drawn to think of my boys and long for them to repent and believe at a young age so that they won't make many of the mistakes I have made, and so they can see the immense significance and joy of life in the Body of Christ.

We sang this song together this weekend that expresses our thanks to the Lord for our Justification and Regeneration. It is definitely one to memorize.

Jesus, Thank You - Click this link to hear the music

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

© 2003 Integrity's Hosanna! Music (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Benefits of Waiting

While we were in the midst of our adoption process, Luke and I both learned a lot about waiting. I wrote about some of the things God was teaching us here. These lessons on waiting were so valuable to me, not just for the adoption process but for life in general. Life is full of waiting, so thinking about how and why God wants us to wait is very important.

If anyone is an expert on waiting, it is the families currently adopting from China. Waiting families in the China adoption program are now waiting for over three years!!! This means after they get their paper work done (which takes about 4-6 months), they then have to wait for over three years (it's estimated to be about 38-39 months) before they get a referral, and then after they get their referral they wait several more weeks before they can travel to get their child. Whew! We waited about nine months to get matched with Andrew and that seemed like a long time when we were in the midst of the wait. Our adoption was turbo-speed compared to what some of these families are experiencing! Because of this extensive wait, many Christian families in the China program have a lot of encouraging words and wisdom to offer about times of waiting. I found an excellent piece written by one of these waiting moms titled "The Benefits of Waiting." You can read it here.

I was blessed by many of the things this mom wrote, but I was especially convicted of what my attitude should be during times of waiting. During periods of waiting, my attitude should not be one of impatience and self-pity. Instead, it should be thoughtful and purposeful. God doesn't give us times of waiting for us to just sit around and...wait. I loved how the author of "The Benefits of Waiting" looked for things she could be doing, prayers she could be praying, and blessings she could be grateful for throughout her long wait. She was looking for ways she could glorify God during this time, not just impatiently and anxiously wondering when God would give her what she wanted.

After reading this article, I tried to think of ways I could apply it to my life right now. While we aren't currently waiting on an adoption, there always seems to be something we are waiting on. The biggest thing we are waiting on right now is for Luke to finish school. He has been working on his MBA for a few years now, slowly taking one class a semester. He only has two classes left, so we decided to have him to go full-speed ahead and take both classes this summer so he could be DONE by July rather than dragging it out until December. This means he'll be gone two evenings a week for the next eight weeks, and probably have to devote a fair amount of weekend time to his studies.

As you can imagine, I am really excited for him to be done with his MBA. I hadn't been looking forward to this eight weeks (his first summer class was tonight) but reading this article made me realize that I needed to change my attitude and think of how God could use me during this eight weeks while I am waiting for him to finish. Focusing on the good that can come from this wait has completely changed my perspective on the upcoming eight weeks. While I am still looking forward to Luke being done, I am not dreading this time like I was before. I am trying to think of all the ways I can be useful during this time, rather than focusing on just enduring the time. What a difference our attitude makes during times like this!

So I give a big "Thank you!!" to Adeline Quay (the mom who wrote "The Benefits of Waiting") for showing me once again how I am prone to sin during times of waiting, and how I should turn from that sin and glorify God while I wait. As I said earlier, life is full of waiting so learning how to wait in a God-glorifying way is something we all need to think about.

So...what are you waiting for?