Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Over the moon


She. picked. US!!


Sorry!  I couldn't wait any longer.   No witty-delayed beginning to this post.

Just days before the anniversary of our original homestudy approval we received the call we have been dreaming about for the last year and a half...


Me: "Hello?" 
And she said "Hi! I wanted to call and congratulate you.  My parents and I have picked you guys."  

That's it!  Two tiny sentences that will change our lives forever.


But I should probably start from the beginning:

(Note: to protect our precious friend/potential birthmother and respect her privacy I won't be able to give you too many specific details about her.  I look forward to the day that I can!)

Ok so onto the story.

Last March Niles and I practically inhaled a book given to us about a birthmother and her journey to and through adoption.  After reading the book (in less than 1 day!) we both felt like contacting the author to thank her for her story.  She kindly responded and we began corresponding occasionally- especially around the time we met our first (potential) birthmother "L". 

Then on October 26th I received a message from her saying she had been contacted by a "friend of a friend" who knew of a young girl that was looking to place her baby... Then the message read: "Are you still looking to adopt?"

With my heart beating 100mph I thanked her and responded with "Absolutely!" and sent along my contact information.  

It seemed like such a long shot... a friend of a friend of a friend... but we said yes- of course!  I sent messages out to all the prayer warriors in my life and asked them to pray for this young girl and for everyone in her life.  That day I remember being so excite that I was excited.  It had been so long since I had felt that way about our adoption journey...

Two weeks later we heard back that the young girl was having a GIRL and that she would be contacting potential families in the near future to place her baby.  YAY!  A Girl!

November 20th I heard from my friend (the author) that the young girl would be interviewing families after the holidays... only to get a call a few hours later saying "she might call you today!"  And call she did!  I heard "K's" voice for the first time that evening just moments after sitting down to dinner.  We chatted for a bit getting to know each other.  She shared with me how her pregnancy was going, how school was going and a desire to get to know my family better.  After a 5-10 minute conversation we agreed that I would send her our adoption portfolio... then I hung up and exhaled.  Phew!  

We reviewed all our portfolio, we wrote her a letter, we prayed and we sent it off the next day.

And since that day we've waited. and we've prayed.  and we've waited and prayed some more.

Then, on Monday evening, December 10th, sweet K called us...
Niles had just arrived home so I was able to step outside when my phone told me who was calling.  Just seconds into the call she said the beautiful words "I want to congratulate you.  My parents and I chose you guys."  I was in complete SHOCK.  I was expecting to hear that they had more questions for us or that they needed to clarify a few things... but this was amazing!  By God's grace I didn't faint.  By God's grace I was able to maintain my composure and share with her how happy her decision made us... then I had the complete pleasure to come back inside to tell the love of my life that we were going to have a baby girl!  We had been picked!

Ahh!

Many of you reading this post have prayed with us for K and her family- and we are ever so grateful.  I can only imagine the difficult and overwhelming task it would be to #1 choose to place your child for adoption and #2  to choose a family.  I am so grateful for her parent's help, for the wise counsel of my author friend and for the prayers that were lifted up for all those involved.  Please know that your prayers have been both powerful and effective!  

We are seriously over the moon excited!




Many more details to follow... but for now we are happy to announce that we cautiously optimistic that our Ruthie will be joining our family some time around March 3rd, 2013!

To GOD alone be all glory, honor and praise!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updating

Two Weeks

In just two weeks our home study will expire (more on this below)... In two weeks it will be the one-year anniversary of "approval" by the state of SC to bring home a baby... In two weeks we will have been officially waiting MUCH longer than we ever thought we would to meet our baby girl.


But God.



I'm finding recently that "But God" is one of the most powerful phrases in Scripture.  "But God" usually means God is up to something- often something amazing. 

 But  God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurableriches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (From Ephesians 2)

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)



My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


Even though we don't yet have our sweet baby home with us, we know that God is up to something amazing.  He is our strength and our greatest joy- even when we don't feel "happy."


So now what?
Now we update!  Everything from our homestudy that is dated must be updated so that we are ready for the phone call we have been dreaming about.  Which means:


  • New physicals for all 4 of us
  • Updated reference letters
  • Updated background checks and child abuse clearances
  • A social worker home re-visit
  • Updated biography  
For a grand total of many hours and about $475.  Phew.

I'll be honest and say that the realization that I have to do all this again has been difficult.  Last year I was so excited- feeling like each form filled was a step closer to our baby.  This time I don't really feel that way.  A year and difficult experiences later the excitement has waned, replaced with a guarded optimism.

But God is what I keep telling myself- especially when I am discouraged.

Any other news?
There is local young lady that I have been connected with that is considering our family for her baby girl.  We are cautiously optimistic in this situation as she is not working with an agency choosing a private adoption instead.  We beg you to pray for her and her parents and they choose the family that they will place their baby with.  Pray for her as she nears the end of pregnancy that she will be able to cast any fears or anxiety on our Lord- because HE truly cares for her.  We are unsure when she will pick a family but are committed to praying for her either way.  We would be truly honored to parent her baby but trust that the Lord will guide her in her decision.


What can you do?


PRAY!
Please join us in prayer for the woman that will be our baby's birthmother. Pray that she will have the courage and support she will need to make and follow through with an adoption plan. Pray that she and the baby are sheltered under the LORD'S wings during her pregnancy (
Psalm 91:4). Pray too that the Lord will continue to provide the necessary funds we will need to offset the costs associated with our adoption.

Send us a Christmas Card
I know that might sound silly... but here's why I would love it if you would: it encourages us so very much to know that you are praying for us and with us.  Seeing your smiling faces on on a door in our home is a beautiful reminder to us that God is for us and his people are covering us with prayer.  Plus I plan to save all of our cards this year to put them in a book for Ruthie.  I want her to know how much we all desired to have her home and how much we thought about her- especially at Christmas.  




Donate!
I mentioned earlier that we currently owe our agency $450 to cover our updates.  In addition our best guess is that the other costs associated with our adoption (agency fees, legal fees, documentation fees etc.) will be in the range of $15,000-$20,000.We are confident that the Lord has called us to welcome home a baby though adoption and that HE will provide all that we need to bring him or her home! If you'd like to be a part of what God is doing in our family please 
DONATE HERE


If you have any questions, would like our mailing address or just want to email us you can reach us at FergusonAdoption@gmail.com

We love you all!!



Friday, October 19, 2012

Steadfast

 
During the months we were matched with birthmother "L" my mind, my emotions and even my spirit were in a constant state of flux. Some moments I felt confident that our dreams were coming true. Other moments I felt sure that things were going to fall apart. As I rode the wave of my emotions I hungered for something "stable"- something unchanging.

During those months I would pray and ask the Lord to remove my anxiety and replace the roller coaster of emotions with steadiness. It was at some point in the last few weeks when I heard the Lord whisper the word...
 
steadfast
 
 
to my heart.
 

As is my normal reaction, initially I understood the word to be a sort of "reprimand". As though the Lord was saying:

"Maria, Ye of little faith! You should be trying harder to be steadfast"
 
 
After hearing that lie in my head for a bit I decided to go to God's Word for clarification. When I began looking up the word steadfast in my bible I was honestly surprised to find that it was seldom  used as a command!  
 
 
What I found in the Old Testament in passage after passage was that used "steadfast" to describe the LOVE God has for his peopleHere is an example from Exodus:

The Lord passed before him (Moses) and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

 
And another from the 25th Psalm
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

The 33rd Psalm is even titled The Steadfast Love of the Lord!
 
 
 
In the New Testment I found encouragement in James that these crazy up and down days I was experiencing would produce steadfastness in me.
 
Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 
 
I slowly came to understand that the Lord wasn't "fussing" at me in my emotional instability... instead he was assuring me that no matter how I felt HIS love was STEADFAST for me.  He promised in Lamentations that his steadfast love would endure FOREVER... so I trusted and I clung to the truth. 
I believed that no matter how circumstances played out with "L" God would be there to ground me in the truth of his steady and unchanging love.  I trusted too that he would use this crazy time of turmoil to give me steadfastness...
 
And he was faithful to his promise.
 
 

On the other side of our unsuccessful adoption, I am so grateful for a more tangible understanding of God's steadfast love for me.  In the heartache and turmoil of the weeks following baby "J's" birth the Lord poured his steadfast love over me day after day. 
 
When I was mad at him- he loved me
When I questioned- he loved me
When I cried- he loved me.  
When I doubted his love for me- he loved me still. 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Today the Lord is whispering a new word to my heart...
 
restore.
 
 
Stay tuned for more on that precious word in coming days...
 
 
 
 
Father, I thank you for your steadfast love. 
Amen.
 
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

A look back

As I updated this blog and our Ruthie B Photography blogs today I thought it would be a good time to share the background of our adoption journey again... we will call it a look back and a hopeful look forward.

How we became Niles and Maria

Niles was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, brought us to the same city at just the right moment- when we were high school freshmen.One year later, Niles asked Maria to be his girlfriend, and we’ve been together ever since! We spent the rest of our high school years marching together in the band, hanging out with our friends, watching tons of movies and growing up- together .After graduation we went to two different colleges (Niles=Winthrop, Maria=USC) and commuted on weekends to see each other.Those four years of college were difficult as we began our adult lives in different places, but the Lord used that time to grow us closer to Him as individuals. We were engaged the December of our senior year and were married in July, almost 7 years from our first date.

We have now been married for 8 years and have been together 15 half of our lives!


When 2 became 4

The Lord has blessed us with two beautiful biological children, Turner Niles who is 5 and Calvin Richard who is 2 ½.

Turner is a sweet, inquisitive preschooler that loves soccer and superheroes.
Calvin is a hilarious, determined, curious and active 2-year-old.He loves cars and his snuggly-sheep and is REALLY excited about becoming a big brother soon!

 

The Call to Adopt


June 19, 2011 was the day God clearly spoke to me (Maria) his desire for our family to adopt a baby. It was Father's Day. Our pastor, Skip MacMillan, was preaching a sermon on Deuteronomy 1 where Moses was recounting to the Israelites the last time they stood at the precipice of the land of Canaan (the Promise Land). Moses spoke of the fear and disbelief that prevented the Israelites from obediently entering ad taking possession of the land. This disobedience condemned the Israelites to wander the desert for forty years.

Skip cautioned us against similar disobedience citing specific examples in Deuteronomy 1:26-28. In those verses Skip discussed 3 things the Israelites did that lead them into a dark, disobedience.

1. Unwillingness "Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God" ( v. 26)

2. Believe Lies about the Lord to excuse disobedience you murmured in your tents and said, 'Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt,to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us” (v. 27)
3. Blame Other People for their own disobedience “Our brothers have made our hearts melt...” (v. 28)

As I considered these things, specifically the Unwillingness to follow and obey God, to trust God promises, power, love for them, I found myself asking the Lord to show me areas of unwillingness in my heart.

The answer was so loud, so clear, that I felt like my head and heart might explode! God made it clear to me that for some time he had been calling our family to adopt a child and I until that moment had been unwilling to obey. The thought that ran over and over and over in my mind was "You have a daughter somewhere else- go get her." There was such a sense of finality in that moment-the direction was clear and I was to walk in it. As the Israelites were called to walk in God's promise into the Land of Canaan our family was called to walk down the path of adoption.

During that service (and the following one which I stayed in to make sure I was hearing clearly!) the Lord blessed me with encouragement. He brought to mind several recent and positive adoption conversations I had had with friends and family... there were moments while singing that I was so overcome with love for my daughter that I couldn't even sing or stop the tears from flowing... And so our journey began! We are aware that the Giants on this road are many and yet we are certain if the LORD delights in us, he will fulfill this desire he has given us and he will work the details out to bring our baby home.

As we have taken steps toward bringing our baby home and have spent more and more time learning about God's heart through his Word, our hearts have grown bigger and bigger for adoption. We believe that adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. No matter what we’ve done, or where we’re from, He has brought us into his family and adopted us as sons and daughters by faith in Jesus. Not only that- but he DELIGHTS in us! We cannot wait to share this truth with the baby the Lord brings into our family.


Now what?


Now we wait.

We are officially approved by our agency and the State of SC to adopt a baby from the United States through our agency or through a private adoption. Our nursery is stocked and ready for either a baby girl or boy. The car seat is prepped to be put in our van at a moments notice... We eagerlyand joyfully wait for a call that will change our lives forever!

"...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up withwingslike eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31


What can YOU do?


1.PRAY!
Please join us in prayer for the woman that will be our baby's birthmother. Pray that she will have the courage and support she will need to make and follow through with an adoption plan. Pray that she and the baby are sheltered under the LORD'S wings during her pregnancy (
Psalm 91:4). Pray too that the Lord will continue to provide the necessary funds we will need to offset the costs associated with our adoption.


2. Book a photoshoot with Maria!
Our photoshoots have been one of our primary fundraisers and we would love to do more! For current promotions and for samples of Maria's work for Ruthie B Photography please visit our promotions page-
here.


3. Donate!
Our best guess is that the costs associated with our adoption (agency fees, legal fees, documentation fees etc.) will be in the range of $15,000-$20,000.We are confident that the Lord has called us to welcome home a baby though adoption and that HE will provide all that we need to bring him or her home! If you'd like to be a part of what God is doing in our family please
DONATE HERE
Thank you for your love and support!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I don't know what you're doing, but I know who you are

I remember saying to one of my closest friends on the playground a few weeks ago "If this whole thing falls apart and L changes her mind... after all the pink-to-blue and emotions we've been through- will someone be there to hold me up?"  With all the confidence in the world she said "Yes!  We will be there!"

And she was.  And so were many of you reading this blog now.  You were there to hold me up.  You interceded for me and my family when I no longer had the words I needed. You empathized with our sorrow. You understood that although L's baby was never in my tummy or in my arms my heart experienced a great loss when our adoption plan fell apart. 

Thank you for being there. 

I have moved into the acceptance stage of grief... acknowledging that I have NO idea what God is doing, but asserting full faith in WHO he is.  Perhaps the Lord will give me the luxury on this side of heaven to understand the "why?" of this part of our story... but even if he doesn't I will trust that he will work all things out for our good.   The Lord has not left us and in HIM we continue to HOPE! I give glory to the Lord and thanks to his people for getting us through that most difficult and unwanted week-long-vacation. We look forward to coming better days.

This week we are back to our new normal... back to work for Daddy, back to K4 preschool for Turner, back to just-the-two-of us mornings for me and Cal and back to waiting for a birthmother to choose us.  There are moments when the idea of  "waiting again" suffocates me... I worry about enduring all that we did last time all over again... but in those moments Niles reminds me that all adoption stories are different.  That there is no reason to believe next time the wait will be as long nor that it will be as arduous... and if it is, again our FATHER will be there and his people will come along side us.

Again, we look forward to coming better days.


"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A week later

So, this morning I was accused of being a silent sufferer by a good friend and decided it was time to post again. I've processed quite a bit this week, and will probably make more progress as I write this.

One week ago today, Maria and I were nervous, but crazy excited about meeting our son the next day. We were ready to go: room's finished, little bags packed, ringtones updated as to not freak us out as much when our social worker called, etc. All we had to do was sleep. For me, that was a no brainer. Literally. See, I have what some call a "nothing box" in my mind that I can access at will. When the time is right, I then crawl into this nothing box in my mind where nothing exists except for me and my pillow and sleep. Maria had no such box, and slept very little from what I'm told. You can reference Maria's previous post to see how that next day went. She nailed it. What we hoped would never happen to us, happened.

So, Monday I was pissed-off. Can I say that? Guess I just did. Was I angry with L? No, we love L and want the best for her and her child. But, who can say what's best? I guess that's up to her. And we respect that, as much as we might disagree. I think it was a protective reaction in my heart to this whole fiasco. I wanted to stand up for both the baby and L, but couldn't. Still can't.

Tuesday, I could almost physically feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit in my heart the entire day. What does that feel like? Feels like a wild hope that seems to spring from nowhere and squashes what should be utter pain and disbelief. Maria and I took Turner to preschool and then took Calvin to the Riverwalk. There we had a much-needed cathartic (look it up, I had to) walk, where I was insanely calm and hopeful about everything, and Maria and I talked through everything we could think of regarding the past day. Did we get it wrong somewhere? Should we keep going? What should we be focused on? Why are we having to go through all this?

Here's where we landed: We know for sure that God is sovereign; He's in control of everything. Not in a cliche way of saying it. But really. What has happened is part of his sovereign plan for this world, and our lives. We know for sure that the LORD works all things for his glory. (Isaiah 48:11, Jeremiah 13:11, Ephesians 1:5-6, 12, etc.) And lastly, we know that the praise of God's glory brings us the deepest joy. John Piper says it well in a reflection on Psalm 16:11, "In your presence there is fullness of joy, in your right hand are pleasures for evermore' (16:11). God is after us to give us what is best—not prestige, wealth, or even health in this life, but a full-blown vision of and fellowship with himself." So, to sum it up: God is in control. He loves us. He works for his glory. His glory will bring us the deepest, 
most satisfying joy. So what's should our focus be? What's the end to adoption? Is it the child? I think that we most of the time think it is, or should be. But, maybe our focus needs to be on pursuing our relationship with God, and his will. What does that even mean? Well, right now it means going to Him with our hurt. It means trusting that even though this baby wasn't to be ours, we know that He will be faithful our bringing our baby home. And when he does, well, there will be praise to be sung that day!

But, it's Wednesday, and on Tuesday we found out again over lunch that the adoption was pretty much 100% over. Since you read through that big previous paragraph, you know that the LORD was faithful to comfort our hearts with His truth. So, on Wednesday, Maria went to IKEA for some retail therapy with her Mom and sister, and I stayed home while the boys were napping. Somewhere between reading soccer news and watching The Expendables on Netflix, the reality of this whole thing really started to settle in on me. I began to let my heart out of the fortress of theological truth to really start to feel the weight of this loss. The previous day, Maria and I talked about how Jesus wept over his friend's death, wept the night before his crucifixion, about Job's reaction to all of what befell him, and now it was my turn. But, I was in good company. The weight and effects of sin in this scenario and how it was going to affect my almost-son throughout his life was more than my heart could handle. While Maria was coming home, I was getting our charcoal grill ready for dinner. I sat in front of the random charcoal smoke, drank a beer, and prayed - trying to understand God's plan in this, even down to the smoke coming from the charcoal. But, it's useless trying to figure out these kind of things. So, tears it was, even though I didn't understand, I trust my God who has given me everything, who is everything. 

Thursday, I thought, would be my day to go back to work. By the time I had my clothes on, ready to walk out the door, I knew that having to relive all this at work was a little too real, too fast for my heart. Emotionally unstable is not part of my job description. The rest of Thursday was great! Maria and I had a run/walk/talk again, and were able to process even more together. And even though my legs are still sore, I'm thankful for having such a faithful, mature, and beautiful woman for my wife. 

Friday. Oh, Friday. Yeah, Friday was tattoo day. Maybe that'll be another post. Let's just say Psalm 91:4 was involved. 

Saturday and Sunday were full family days. Days where we tried to get back into the swing of our crazy family as it is right now: coffee, guitars, dinosaurs, lightsabers, Target, Grand-parents, dinner at my boss's house, Redbox, Hulu. We even bought a zoo! Not really, we just went to one, but it was still fun!

And here I am again on Sunday. I'm so thankful for our family, church family, and friends who have been so supportive over this past week. I praise God for his providence in putting all of you my family's life. The prayers for us over this week have been felt more than I can ever remember. I look forward to looking back on this post once our child is home, and praising His name again! 

Now, where's that nothing box...

Friday, September 7, 2012

You guys should go home...

I'm still not really ready to write this update...

But I realized that some of you that frequent our blog (thank you!) may not be my friends on facebook and may be wodering the latest update- so here goes a quick one:

Today L and the baby we were calling J are being discharged from the hospital- and they are going home together.

Just hours before baby boy was born on Monday morning his Mommy decided to forgo her adoption plan and instead parent her baby.

Niles and I were about 10 minutes from the hospital in Columbia when our social worker called to say- "L just went back for surgery and her mom says that she has changed her mind."

I'll be honest and say that I wasn't really surprised at the call... she had been going back and forth seemingly every few minutes over the weekend.  But we were still hopeful... even with the phone call...

So Niles and I went to walk the USC campus and bookstore.  Then we drove to my brother's home and tried to distract ourselves until L came out of surgery... the distractions didn't really work.  Even though I only had about 3 hours of sleep the night before I couldn't sleep... I couldn't sit still... I tried to pray but my mind raced... I tried being still... same problem.

So finally we decide to drive to find some lunch.  Before we get out of the car our social worker calls to give us the update.  I just remember short sentences-
I talked to L in the recovery room. 
She decided that the baby will be raised by her mother.  
The baby had trouble breathing at birth and was taken to the NICU. 
Don't come to the hospital. 
You guys should go home.

We always knew that Monday we'd go home without a baby and without anything "certain"- because papers couldn't be signed until 24hours after birth.  But we were at least hoping for things to look better than this...

We were angry.
We were hurt.
We were confused.
We were going home empty-handed and heavy hearted.

Next week I promise to fill you in on the incredible things the Lord has shown us in this week post our failed adoption... 

For today though I'll end saying this has been one of the most difficult weeks of our lives- a week we daily went to the Lord for strength. 

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
- Lamentations 3

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Today

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Rom 8:26

Friday, August 24, 2012

Singing Lamaze

Today I am impatient.
Today the quiet seems to taunt me.
Today the doubts and questions seem too loud inside my head.
Today I am tired of jumping out of my skin at the sound of my phone- only to be dissapointed.

It's exhausting to be on "high alert" and we've been there for the last 2 weeks.  L was originally planning to deliver her baby last week... and her doctor was initially worried that she wouldn't make it that far.  Here we are almost 2 weeks later and everything is quiet.  No doctor's appointments this week (they were postponed), no ultrasounds, in fact really no contact with the birthmother other than a text saying she was having car trouble... just quiet.

I know everyone says "the longer the baby cooks, the better..." Yes, this is indeed true.  And yes, the Lord will bring this baby at just the right moment... but the more time passes the more I wonder... and unfortunately the more I doubt.  I know it's not rational- more time in womb does not equal a birth mother that decides to parent. And yet with each day come doubts and fears in waves... waves like those we experience with the contractions of labor.

When I was in labor with Turner I had a focal point.  I would visualize ocean waves cresting and falling against the sand.  I would endure the pain visualizing the fall of the wave that was soon to follow the peak of discomfort.  With each wave we were closer and closer to his birth...

Unfortunately, visualizing isn't helping me cope with these unique labor pains.  I can't tell myself that with each wave of doubts, fears, emotions I'm getting closer to my son...

So what CAN I do?  How can I labor well?  How can I battle the fears, the really scary ones that creep up in the quiet?

This morning my emailed bible reading was 1 Samuel 16.  In this passage King Saul is being tormented by an evil spirit and his servants suggest that the King should find someone to play music for him so that "he will be well" again.  Well Saul hears of a young man named David that was a good man and gifted musically and sends for him.

After David's arrival before the King the scriptures say:

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

Whether or not these waves of anxiety/fear I am experiencing are "harmful spirits" or simply moments of crisis of faith is unclear.  But what is clear to me now is that in the quiet I am more vulnerable.  SO like David I WILL SING!

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95)


Music that leads my heart to worship the Lord serves me as a SWORD against the doubts and fears.  Music enables me to feel closer to the Lord and takes my focus off myself and puts it where it BELONGS. 

Today I will endure the wait and BATTLE the doubts in the quiet.
Today I will SING praise to my God!




My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 72:36
 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

J's Nursery!

Hello!
Today the Father has graciously filled me with both confidence in Him as well as JOY in what I know He is doing in my family.  I am so grateful for this reprieve and claim, in the name of Christ, that the enemy will not steal my joy in these days leading up to our baby's homecoming!

I will continue to battle my anxious feeling with the TRUTH of God's Word which is mighty in POWER :). I know my Father delights in me and in this sweet baby we are so excited to meet! 

I thank you for your encouragement and prayers.  Honestly, it means the world to me.

With all that said- time for some pictures of J's new room!

The inspiration for J's room come from Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

  

In a prior post I showed you these letters which began the room transformation.


Now we have have painted the pink wall a beautiful sky blue and have added the tree wall decals and orange birdies!

 
(Note- these wall decals aer not for the faint of heart! It took Daddy 3 evenings to install all 4 trees and birdies- but he did such a beautiful job!)

 We absolutely LOVE this wall! 


 
Another one of my favorite parts of the nursery are the tree drawings over the futon.

I asked some of the artists in my family to draw us some trees for J's room and they all said yes!

From left top to bottom right:
Great Grandmother Marian- Fig Tree
Big Brother Turner- Apple Tree
Tio William- Oak Tree, with Beanie Boy
Daddy- Firmly Rooted Tree with tire swing
Titi Diana- Willow Tree
Abu Maria (my mom)- Palm Tree 
Aren't they beautiful??
I'd LOVE to have MORE!!!! 

If you would like to draw a tree for J's room- please do!  The trees should be black and white on a 4x6 piece of paper.  We'd LOVE to add your picture to our collection.

I mentioned this picture below in yesterday's post but wanted to show you again.
This beautiful print was given to me by my amazing Mami :)

The birds surrounding it are bonus wall decals that came with our trees.

And finally, I wanted to show you that both Grandmother's have already bought their newest grandson a little outfit.  SO CUTE!


Incidentally, have you ever thought about the fact that Superman was adopted?
He was!
To close I leave you with a passage that spoke to my heart this morning.  It was a beautiful reminder of God's desire for ME to be rooted an grounded in His love for me- no matter the circumstance. 

I pray that we may all be deeply rooted in His love so that we, like the tree in Psalm 1, may not wither but instead prosper!!

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

(from the 3rd chapter of the book of Ephesians)

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Casting My Fears Because He Cares for Me


The print above hangs on the wall in our little man's room just as you walk in the door.  It is one of my most favorite pieces in his nursery.

And yet... I've been afraid to show it to you.

I'm not afraid though for the reason you might think.  I'm not afraid that it shows you for the first time that our son is African American.  No- most of you know that already. You know how the Lord has given us a heart from the beginning to welcome the child that he would chose for us- no matter what his or her race.  You know that as a Puertorican and Caucasian family we are already "multi-cultural" and eager to become even more diverse.  No, it wasn't race that I was afraid to show you.

I'm afraid to show you a picture that is already drawn in my heart- because I'm afraid it might not come true. 

All our prayers, photoshoots, Mudlove bands, yard sales and paperwork have brought us to this moment...to THIS specific baby boy... and we are madly in love with him.

I DESPERATELY want "L"s son to be my son- and I am daily fighting the FEAR of  possible dissapointment.

A dear friend has told me more than once that there are 365 verses (one for each day) in the scripture that remind us not to fear. For the next 2-3 weeks I will cling to these verses as I excitedly prepare to welcome home my son.

Please pray that God gives our family the confidence to trust in what He has called us to do and the faith to believe in what HE is doing.

With the deepest gratitude,
Maria



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