Monday Musings

There are moments in my life when I have pressed on in faith and walked through the deepest valleys one can know. 


Then there are moments when the very hand of God has reached down to me and intervened in this natural world, when He has miraculously changed the course of my life at times in which I have wondered if all hope was gone, and when I have known, in the furthest corners of my mind, that I have been touched by the very hand of God.


It’s been my desire since the inception of this blog to share these miracles God has performed in my life, one by one, on Mondays with all of you, certainly to give Him the glory and praise of which He is so deserving, but also to share that God indeed cares about the very details of our lives, that He is not some far off God who leaves us to flounder our way through this world. 

He is not a fairy tale. He is not some made up story that sociologists would have us believe has been passed down through the generations as a coping mechanism that helps us deal with the difficulties of this world and the ever present awareness that our death is one day closer with each passing day. 

He is real. 

He hears and attends to the deepest prayers and yearnings of our hearts. 

I can’t remember a time in my life when I was not talking to God, perhaps as a little child would chat with an imaginary friend. I can’t remember when I didn’t know Him, when I didn’t love Him. I was a very sick child; while most kids were learning how to interact with peers, I was learning how to survive. I’ve often wondered if that’s why God made Himself so real to me at such an early age. For the blessing of knowing Him in my childhood, I will be forever thankful.


So much of me would like to take you back to the pain and the miracles of those long ago days of my childhood, but today I feel compelled to tell you about a more recent miracle that I am aware of and still experiencing the blessing of every single day. 

Since this really began as an adoption blog, and as my heart will always remain with the parentless who are alone in this world, it seems fitting that I share this story of laying down my children in the arms of my faithful Heavenly Father, as I travelled across the world to adopt our two daughters who were about to reach an age when they would never be allowed to be adopted. 

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this part of our adoption story with you before, but trusting that God would meet the needs of our biological children as we gave all we had saved to adopt the girls, was probably one of the biggest hurdles for me. I felt irresponsible, and I feared for the children we already had. I certainly had not been able to meet all of their needs in my own strength. I knew, as so many parents of large families do, that no parent can meet all the needs of their children, but I surely wanted to try.

When we travelled to China, we’d been praying for a very long time for the needs of our oldest son who has Aspergers and is legally blind. For years we’d been doing a program with him to develop the lower structures of his brain, to develop his eyesight and to develop the ability for him to see with depth perception, and ultimately to develop the executive functioning of the frontal lobe of his brain. We knew he would have benefited from a hyperbaric chamber. The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to the tissues and especially the growth of new neurons in the brain are becoming more and more well known. 


I’ve shared before about how we knew Eliza and Evangeline were our daughters and that we had to go and get them, but I also want to share that our children had needs too. We didn’t travel to China knowing we’d met all their needs or even that we could. We grew to understand that God’s children are waiting in orphanages and on the streets of every city across the globe for parents to be willing to be His hands and feet and go and get His children. 

God isn’t the reason the children are waiting.

We are. 

Far too often we hold back, content to stay in our safe worlds and care only for our own. Yet God calls us to spread out our tents, to make room for more, to prepare to care for those whose needs are so much bigger than our own. And all the while, He never forgets our needs or the needs of our children. 

to be continued…

I welcome you to Monday Musings, and I look forward to sharing God’s miracles with you. Next time I will put up the Linky tool so you can link up your blogs and miracle stories too.


My Life In God's Garden

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Would you please be so kind as to like my facebook page at the right hand of my blog?

Blessings All!

Beauty in The Broken

I open this blog every day.

I look at it’s pages. I remember the many miracles God did in bringing our daughters home to us from China mere days before they turned fourteen years old. I wonder that people still read it’s pages after such a long absence on my part. 

I scroll through the drafts I’ve written, some partially finished and some polished and ready to be published. Sadness fills me for all the posts I failed to publish. 

I long to write. 

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I write with fingers trembling and quivering across the keys like my teeth chatter when I am cold. Sometimes my thoughts are jumbled and my sentences too short. Sometimes the words flow easily, my thoughts tumbling from my mind, through my fingers and on to the white screen of my computer just as the dandelion seeds float across our back yard in the long days of summer, dusting our chickens and greenery with all the new life they hold inside their tiny feather like pods. Post after post lines up in the drafts section of my blog, waiting, filled with whatever words of light and truth they hold, trapped inside their private prison.

Just like the children wait for mommies and daddies…


Why do the pages line up, their little bits of light locked away for no one to see, their flickering flames hidden and silenced? 

They wait because I have believed a lie. 

They wait because one day long ago, after the girls had begun to settle in and life was beginning to feel more “normal,” I lost my way. Anxiety filled me and I couldn’t eat. Knots filled my stomach, and my own inadequacies overwhelmed me. They wait because since that day, I have been more aware of my deficiencies than I have of God’s ability to shine brightest in the midst of my weakness. 

And the orphans wait because we are more aware of our weaknesses than of God’s strength.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’ve wrestled with anxiety and pain. I often feel as though the pressure and fears will drown me in their evil sea of darkness. I have believed the lie that I have to feel good, to feel okay, to be okay to write on this blog and share my heart with all of you. 

I’ve been so wrong. 

God had grown my blog beyond my wildest dreams. People from all over the world had begun to read it.  Daily, my inbox was filled with emails from people thanking me for my willingness to be honest and raw and for sharing how encouraged they had been to realize they weren’t alone. They shared that my vulnerability had blessed them and spurred them on to be faithful to the wonderful work to which God had called them. They wrote of the faith they saw expressed on my blog and how somehow they had begun to feel a burning ember in their hearts as they read about a God Who loves them, who cares about their longings and fears, about the orphans, about their deep desire to parent them, about a God who loves them so very much that He came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, to pay for our sins, once and for all, to forever unite us to Himself. 

God was using my blog to reach the hearts of men and women and families. 

God was

It wasn’t me. I had only been willing for God to use me. 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians 4;6,7


I was just one of many broken earthen vessels whom God uses to be His hands and feet. The only difference was that perhaps I was the most broken of all. Yet, somehow, in God’s incredible grace He uses the weakest among us to do the most amazing things. In our weakness, His all surpassing power is demonstrated with flawless perfection. 


Nothing in this world is as real as the spiritual world. There is a constant battle going on just beyond the natural between good and evil. 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6;12


I realized recently that nothing made Satan happier than for me to cease from writing of God’s glory and from telling of the Savior’s love and faithfulness to us and His beloved orphans on my blog, which He had miraculously grown. I began to see that If Satan could shift my focus from the God who, “is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine,” (Ephesians 3;20) to my own insufficiency, then He could shut me down. 

And he did. 

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5;8. 

Suddenly, my cracks looked like gaping holes that could never be filled in, and I felt that I’d be wrong to write anything about my life or God when I felt so bereft and lost and broken.


But today, I write, by God’s grace. With Jesus by my side, I stand before Satan and his minions, and I share with you that I am weak and insufficient and hurting. I’m still trying to find my way through all the pain and praying for wisdom and stregnth to parent our large family. 

Yet, God reigns supreme in my heart. 

I will write of Him and His hand in our lives even while I struggle to feel His peace

His work doesn’t depend on my feelings.  

As I write about the gaping holes in me and how I”ve allowed fear of my inadequacies and failures to keep me from writing, I think of how many families are holding back from moving forward in adoption out of fear of their own weaknesses. I remember how I had to come to terms with the fact that the children need families, not flawless ones. 

God doesn’t want us to fear. 


Perhaps it’s the most wounded amoung us who really know how to love. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41;10 

There is so much beauty among the broken. 

If you like what you’ve read, would you be so kind as to like my facebook page at the top right hand of my blog?

Thank you!

Blessings!

Matching Grant Ends Tomorrow!

UPDATE. 11:50pm  12/16/16

THE FINANCIAL NEED FOR THE FELTES’S ADOPTION OF JEREMIAH HAS BEEN MET!!!
PRAISE GOD! 
Thank you for all who prayed with us and donated to help bring him

Home!

We can’t wait to meet Jeremiah, this child for whom we have prayed! ❤️

****************

The Feltes are only $546.50 short of their goal for the matching grant of $5,000 which ends tomorrow! Can you please help by sharing this post, commenting below and letting us know that you’re praying with us for sweet Jeremiah and the Feltes family, or by giving even a small gift? every penny is doubled!!!! No amount is too small!
Please click on HERE which will take you to the Feltes blog to donate and or follow their story. There is a donate button on the top right hand side af Janette’s blog. 

Thank you so much! There are ten days left until Jeremiah meets his family!

“God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” Psalm 68:6
Blessings!

Diane

The Messy and the Miraculous

Giggles tumble in from the kitchen where our children are gathered. Deep belly laughter interupts the momentary quiet of the evening. Sophia has just gotten home from ballet, her long hair hangs in a curtain down her back, Evangeline is sitting on a stool in pajamas preparing a late night snack, and Steven is still in his school clothes. They all huddle together over one of their phones and roar with laughter at some silly meme, united, one, siblings. 



“AnJew!” Eliza calls her oldest brother in her broken, urgent, deliberate speech, “You help me? The chickens! I not go out der by myself. It’s dark. I scared. You go with me!” Then a sweet knowing smile spreads accross her face, and she speaks directly to me now, “Mudder, I make him french fries after. I come in. I make them for him. Mudder, I know he can’t. He needs me mudder. I help him.” She speaks with the empathy and maturity that embodies all of her eighteen years. 


“Well, that’s very nice of you, honey, but it would be good for him to do that for himself.” I say regarding our oldest son who has autism. 


“Mudder! He can’t. I help him. He speshal, mudder.”

“He is special, Eliza. And so are you.” I say, with feelings of joy and pride only a mother can know. I think to myself how special each one of our chidlren is, and I pause to reflect about how they care for each other, how normal it all feels now, how we belong to each other: these children, blended by time and life and God far more than biology ever could.  

“Mommy,” she transitions to the little girl now, “can you kiss me here?” She points to the middle of her forehead, and I kiss her there as I do so many times each day. 

“I love you, Mommy, forever.” 

I wonder at how blessed I am. I wonder at her amazing capacity to love so flawlessly. I wonder at her ability to forgive. 

My mind drifts back to those awful days when we’d been home from China for two years,  to the moment when I broke under the weight of all the needs. I think about how I hurt her, how I left her in respite care while I tried to find the way back to who I was, about how it was my husband who was strong and reminded me that we were family and that we’d get through the hard together. I feel ashamed, and I pull her to me, tighter now, closer. 

I love being her mother. 

I almost lost this, I think. 


Joy fills her, her body squirms in girlish delight, and I love her, in that deep motherly spot that feels warm and full and glows with a pride that isn’t my own, but rather a thankfulness, an awe at the privilege I possess. “I help you, mudder? I help you a long time.” 

“Yes. You help me.” I say the words I’ve spoken so many times before, “and when you don’t, I still love you the same.”

“I know dat, mudder!” She quickly runs off. 

“Anjew! You help me?” He grumbles something and follows her outside to close the chickens in their coop for the night. 

Laughter still overflows into the back room from the kitchen. Evangeline is steaming dumplings for her brothers and sisters exactly like the chinese make them in China. 


“I want three.” David says, and olivia tells her she wants only one with no dumpling sauce. 

I’m aware that we are a family, one family. The awkward stage of blending has passed. This is our normal now. It’s different than before. We are richer, more blessed, more loved, for having chosen to grow our family by adoption. The days of struggle and pain and wondering if our lives would ever feel normal again are gone. 

I wonder. 

I wonder when those days left us. I wonder when this feeling of normalcy and peace and joy returned to us. I wonder how we arrived at this place.  

And then it comes to me. It was coming all the time. It was happening on the days we cried together. It was coming on the days I failed and needed to be forgiven. It was on it’s way all those days we hurt each other and had to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” It was growing in our hearts with the dawn of each new day and the rising of each new moon. 

It was on it’s way as we shared our brokenness with each other. 

And it arrived somehow with the passage of time. In some way I don’t understand, the messy and the miraculous forged a new path, a new creation, a beginning of something far more beautiful than we could have ever known if we hadn’t taken that tiny step of faith and opened our lives to more. 


Jeremiah’s life is about to change in ways he has yet to even imagine. And the Feltes lives will change too. Each journey is a different one. Yet no life is without pain and loss and grief. We can’t know joy until we’ve walked through the valley bereft of it, unable to find it. 

By God’s grace, Jeremiah’s new life is about to begin. He will leave the only life and country he’s ever known. The Feltes life, too, will change. They might cry and grieve and long for something more familiar than this new life they’ve begun. But I am here to say there is beauty and love and joy beyond our biggest hopes and wildest dreams just a little farther down the road. 

To help bring Jeremiah home, visit John and Janette’s blog, Journey Full of Blessings or click on the links in the top right hand corner of my blog. There is a matching grant in place until December 16th for up to $5,000. Give now and your gift will be doubled. No gift is too small. 

Join us in this work that is so close to God’s heart. The blessings are far more than the cost. 

If you like what you’ve read and would like to follow our journey, please like my Facebook page at the top right corner of my blog.

Thank you,

Blessings All! 

The Time Has Come

Precious Jeremiah will turn fourteen on January 3rd. Once a child turns fourteen in China, they can no longer be adopted. The life that awaits children that are not adopted is often wrought with a lifetime of horrific abuse, loneliness and neglect. 

Travel dates have been set for the Feltes family to fly to China on December 23rd, a mere three weeks away. 

By God’s immeasurable grace, Jeremiah will be with his Baba and Mama this Christmas. 


He waits in China with open arms and an eager heart. He longs for the unknown, for that which he’s never had, for all that we take for granted but that he has only dreamed of; he longs for a family, for love. Jeremiah longs to belong. He longs for someone to tell his story. 

His family is fervently working to raise the money to bring dear Jeremiah home. Yet they are still $24,000 short with only three short weeks until they travel. 

God knows. He will not fail Jeremiah. 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families, 

Psalms 68:5, 6a

Let the Children Come, our little group of women who meet monthly to pray for the orphans and who have come alongside the Feltes as they have stepped out in faith, know that in the end, after we have worked and prayed and given, that it is God who will bring Jeremiah home. Not us, not the Feltes, but God. 

We stand in faith, just as Mark and I did just over four years ago knowing that God will meet every need to bring Jeremiah home. We know that Jeremiah will come home by faith, and not by anything we can do apart from God. Yet we also know that God invites us to take part in His work. By His grace He offers us the incredible opportunity to join in His work of placing the l0nely in families. 


Let the Children Come has just been notified this week that a precious group of people have joined together to offer a matching grant of up to $5,000 for all donations and tee shirt sales until December 16th. (The tee shirt sale fundraiser ends on December 6th so that the tee shirts will be delivered in time for Christmas) That means that any gift given between now and the 16th will be doubled! Give $20 and your gift is increased to $40! Purchase a tee shirt for $20, and the profit will be doubled so your purchase of $20 actually donates $27 to help bring Jeremiah home! 

Will you please share this post and help us spread the word that Jeremiah is coming home in three short weeks?

We wait in eager expection to see how God answers our prayers for dear Jeremiah!

Blessings All!

I Praise Him! 

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;   Daniel 2:21

Tonight, on this eve of the appointing of the new president of the United States of America, I praise God for all that He will do to bring about His purposes. I praise Him that on Wednesday morning His appointed will be our new president. I praise Him for His wisdom and that He has blessed me beyond measure by opening my eyes to the things that are not seen, to the spiritual world, which is more real to me than anything in this tangible world will ever be. 
I praise God that I know the Savior of this world. I know the One who will bring world peace. I praise Him for the work Jesus did on the cross to make us one with Him. 
I praise Him for all those who will come to know Him as He continues in His work of drawing of all men to Himself. 
I praise Him. I honor Him. I trust Him. I rest in Him.  
I love Him. 
I pray this peace for all of you.

Blessings!

Diane

Jeremiah

One day blurs into the next with the seeming endlessness of an ocean, void of boundaries, direction, clarity. The children’s schedules fill my days, and life hurries on. My moments are filled with the minutia of life, and I lose myself there, amidst the lunches and clothes and driving and homework and signing of agendas. 


I long to write. 

My facebook page is filled with disparaging posts from both sides of the political platform, and I wonder at an America that has fallen so far from its roots that it cannot even produce two qualified candidates to lead our country.  

I am brought to my knees. 


And I find Him there, at the pause in my life, at the space between the busyness and the longing, where He waits for me. He meets me there, on my knees, and His gentle presence breathes life and peace into me and reminds me that everything is in His hands, even an America that has lost its way, even a world that has turned its back on its Creator.

Across the globe, the children wait alone, scared, lost, in a world that has forgotten them, a world that has grown cold and indifferent to their cries. 


I pray, Lord, place each one in a family.

One child, Jeramiah, has been chosen. 


I’ve written before about John and Janette and their two young children here who have chosen him. 


Jeremiah ages out in January. He will soon be coming home to his family. I wonder if he knows how much he is already loved and prayed for, even as he waits for a mama and baba of his very own. 

John and Janette have stepped out in faith to adopt Jeremiah. They have come to the end of themselves and their resources. 

And they know the One Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. 

They know the One Who places the lonely in families. 


For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 
Romans 11:36

We can’t wait to welcome Jeremiah home!

You can follow John and Janette’s story at Journey Full of Blessings.

We praise God for all that He has done to bring the children home and all that He is yet to do!

Blessings!

The Face of Redemption

My Facebook page is flooding me with memories of four years ago when we were in China getting our girls. Each picture brings back a sea of feelings that unnerve me. 


I feel the trauma our daughters felt more vividly than I did before because now they are my own, and I know the depth of emotion they carried in their hearts that day and all that they left behind. I know of the many friends and care givers they walked away from forever with a bravery that staggers me. 


I experience again my own trauma and feelings of inadequacy at the realization that the girls needs were so much bigger and deeper than I had even begun to imagine. 


As we had looked forward to traveling, I’d felt as though I’d been carried along on a current of God’s grace and guidance for our lives and the lives of our family, and I struggled mightily once I arrived in China and saw exactly where that current of God’s grace had led us. It had led us straight into the painful reality of all that our precious daughters had borne alone, straight into the depth of abandonment and loss. I felt the gravity of adoption, and perhaps I saw too a glimpse of the cost of redemption.
 

The faces of the children waiting had haunted us for years, faces with sad longing eyes and empty looks, faces of babies and toddlers and children and teenagers, faces that all shared one thing, a vacant lonely desperation in their eyes, a need that being parentless in a world where children are meant for families gave them. We’d prayed over each face. 


We’d given our yes to God, and when after months of preparation and waiting, our girls were handed over to our care, we’d found ourselves in the midst of the work God had called us to and had found ourselves wanting. We had come to the end of ourselves, and were realizing that all that we had learned about relying on God for His provision to bring the girls home was only just a fraction of the faith that we would need in order to face the years that still lay ahead for us then. 

I may not have expressed it on this blog, but the summation of my feelings while we were in China can unabashedly be best expressed as a fear that hit me in the pit of my stomach and clenched at my throat and remained for the two years that followed bringing our daughters home. If ever I had felt that God had called me to something I could not do, it was those early days and months with our new daughters, and as I see the photos of those far away days, I feel the pain and fear today as I felt it then. 

Yet today, juxtaposed against all of those feelings of fear and inadequacy, are feelings of peace and acceptance and pure joy at the amazing miracle God allowed us to be a part of. All of the angst is gone, and in its place is the peace and love and fulfillment that loving children brings. Today, I have thirteen children of my very own. I have nine biological children who are all in varying stages of developing, two who went to heaven before I ever had the chance to hold them in my arms, and two who came to me through adoption. Each journey has been vastly different for every one of our children, and I have learned that being a mother is more about getting to know each child and encouraging each one to move forward in the gifts and abilities that are uniquely theirs than about meeting all of their needs in our own strength.

Far too often, we believe our role as parents is to give our children the most perfect childhoods we can. We want to protect them from pain and even from their own mistakes, and yet it’s the times they’ve fallen hard and grieved and realized their need for God that have built character in their hearts far more than the hours we have spent amusing them.


Before we travelled to get our girls, I had to come to a point where I knew, in the deepest part of my soul, that I could trust our biological children to God, and that whatever challenges we faced as a family as we struggled to find our new normal would be within the boundaries of what God allowed for us, and would be tempered by His immeasurable grace. I’d be lying if I implied that there were never times as we travelled through these past four years when I didn’t question God’s plan for our family or question our choice to follow God’s will against the advice and concerns of so many who loved us. To say that the years we’ve spent merging our lives with the girls have been easy would be an injustice to all that we were called to and to all that each member of our family experienced as we moved forward into God’s will for our lives. 

We were called to rescue the fatherless, and that is what we did for two of the millions of orphans that still wait. Was it hard? Yes. Did our biological children struggle in the process? Yes. Did Mark and I falter as we endeavored to meet the needs and move forward with our large family? Absolutely. 

Yet, I can’t help but see the growth that our choice to follow God has brought about in our children’s hearts. 

Eliza and Evangeline will likely always require our care. We will spend our lives caring for and protecting them. They are safe and loved, something they waited for for far too long, and we are forever blessed to have the priviledge of parenting them. The safety and security that we have given them fades away when compared to the joy we know at having chosen to love them. They have enriched our family more than we could have possibly enriched their lives. 

As I write this, one thing stands out in my mind. I am aware, perhaps for the first time with such lucid clarity, that our part in all of this was to merely walk through the stages of loss and grief, of healing and attachment, to walk forward in faith knowing that the One who called us is faithful to finish the great work He has begun in our hearts. It was God who knitted our family together. It was He who brought healing to hurting and wounded hearts. 

 
All we really did was keep walking. 

If you are in the midst of a dark place and see no way through, may I encourage you to just keep walking forward into all that God has for you. He is faithful to bring you through. 

Blessings All!

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