Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Some of you may not know but the Saturday before Mother's Day is Birth Mother's Day. Each year I wish I was close enough to celebrate with the precious ladies that gave life to three of my children but that just hasn't been the case. This year God has opened up a door for me to honor these ladies and I would love your help.
I found out last week that I had been chosen to be in a Mother's Day contest along with 19 other moms to raise money for a charity of my choice. Of course my choice is Garrett's Heart to help my children's birth families! A local spa here in the Charlotte area will match up to $2500.00 for the winner of the contest. Here is where you come in.......would you be willing to donate to Garrett's Heart prior to May 11th in order for this matching gift of $2500.00 to become a reality? Would you be willing to donate in honor of your mom or in memory of your mom this Mother's day?
A few weeks ago two more wells were drilled and working for the Zay people and now it is time to begin some new projects on the island such as irrigation and health care. It completely amazes me how God has opened so many doors for money to be raised for the needs of the island where my kids were born. I remember like it was yesterday walking down the dusty path on the island and climbing into that old, blue boat. I remember praying, "God, there is so much work to do here. I have no idea how I can help these precious and desperate people but with your help I will." Never in a million years would I have guessed that our kids elementary school would have raised thousands of dollars, yards sales would take place, things sold on E-bay, my kids friends selling cookies door to door, our hair guy doing a day where proceeds were given, people I don't know giving, young kids emptying their piggy banks, and now maybe a spa matching up to $2500.00. Our God is so good and SO creative!
If you would like to give please go to https://www.facebook.com/ValeriaSalon and find my name (I am #11) and Garrett's Heart. You can make the pledge there by commenting the amount and if you want to give in honor or memory of your mom I would LOVE for you to include that! The check needs to made out to UCF with Garrett's Heart in the memo line. You can then either give me the check or mail it to me at 7944 Woodmere Drive Harrisburg, NC 28075. If you do this in honor of your mom I would love to send her a note from our family!
I would love to think that this Birth Mother's Day I am doing something HUGE to give back to the ladies who have given me three of the greatest blessings of my life- Will you pray for these ladies with me today?
Thursday, April 11, 2013
As I type these first few words tears are pouring down my face. This blog will be real and really full of raw emotion for me as a mom. For the past week and a half I have been wrestling with God. It feels like the same wrestling as when we waited to bring our twins home but the wrestling this time seems deeper in my heart and sometimes much uglier and selfish on my part.
If you have been a reader of this blog for very long you may recall in January when I wrote a blog about the Passion Conference and what God was doing in my heart. If you haven't read it you may want to just to see how amazing God was to prepare this mom's heart. Our oldest daughter, Megan, told David and I a week and a half ago (after enrolling at Wingate University to major in Elem. Education in the fall) that God was really tugging at her heart to give this next year to Him and serve Him in Ethiopia.
I should not be surprised that after at least 7 trips to Mexico, a summer in Ethiopia, the adoption of three siblings and numerous mission trips closer to home that she feels led to spend time serving others. My mom heart aches to think of my Megan being half way around the world from me for an extended period of time. I then feel guilty that I do not trust God enough for Him to take her half way around the world to use her. A wrestling that will not stop! A few nights ago I spend the entire night (and I mean the entire night with not one minute of sleep) in prayer and tears. David woke up a few times and just held me and prayed for me as I wept. Some of the night I found myself crying tears of joy that my daughter has such a relationship with her Heavenly Father that at 17 she knows what He is calling her to do. Other tears of deep grief to think that next Christmas she would not be sitting around the table enjoying celebrating Jesus birth with our family (the thought of her empty chair sends me almost over the edge). I then would cry out to God to change my heart and give her completely to Him.
I want to take you back to Good Friday night a few weeks ago in our basement. I think this may have been the tipping point for Megan to know what God wanted her to do this next year. Each year we watch The Passion of Christ with the older kids on Good Friday but this was the first year that our entire family watched together. There were many tears shed by the kids during the movie and they each had many questions. When the movie ended our precious Tia started to weep. Not just a small cry but a deep and loud wailing. David held her close and questioned what was wrong. She then said, "But what about my Daddy? He didn't know Jesus." There was a piercing quiet in our basement for a few seconds followed by sobbing. Our entire family were weeping. I gently said, "Tia, we do not know but maybe your dad did know Jesus." As quick as I spoke those words Garrett and Lemi spoke up through their own tears and said, "No Mom, No one has told the people on the island about Jesus. Nobody there knows about Jesus." More tears and a commitment by us to continue to change that. (Praise God that is happening and we received some great news yesterday about some work there but that is another blog in and of itself) We prayed as a family and we all were changed that night. Not a change like new years resolution that quickly fades but it was a life altering night for our family.
Like I said earlier I should not have been surprised when Megan came to us and shared how she felt that she was being called to go and serve for this next year. As David and I talked with her she knew she had many questions to answer and she kept saying, "I know you guys are going to have a million questions and so do I and I have no answers. I just know He is calling me to go." We prayed together and told her we would support her in any way needed for her to be where He wants her to be. David and I continue to just look at each other and remind each other daily that when we exposed our children to serving others we raise world changers. This was one of those nights that confirms that we are raising world changers!
We were so thankful that when we contacted Wingate University they were so kind and she can deffer her enrollment so her acceptance letter and scholarships will just roll to next year. We have prayed as we have researched places for her to serve in Ethiopia. She knows she wants to work with Ethiopian children and she feels led to teach eventually so that has helped narrow the search. She has found one place to serve that is south of Addis and almost half way between Addis and Zway (where our kids are from). It looks like it would be and amazing place for her. It is a ministry that helps keep children either in their home by sponsorship or in a foster home instead of an orphanage setting and provides a good education at a local school. This would give her opportunities to not only be in the classrooms at the school but out in the community during home visits. We are praying that if this is where God would have her then the doors would continue to be wide open. If this is not the place that He would close this door and open another one. There are many ministries that she thinks she would like to be a part of and so we will see where she can be best used by Him.
Now back to my mom heart that aches..........I had my plan for Megan. She would graduate high school a year early, she would go to college and enjoy the fun aspects of college life. She would stay up all night studying for exams, she would go out and have fun on the weekends (and hopefully come home some weekends), she would have late night talks with her roommate, gain the famous freshman fifteen, she would fall in love with the man of her dreams, she would walk around campus in her cute Toms with a sporty backpack with her Mac book in tow. In four short years she would finish college and move on to be a classroom teacher here in the Cabarrus County school system. Instead my precious girl will be graduating a year early, she will fly to Ethiopia to give of herself. Instead of late nights chatting with a room mate she will be up early serving with other missionaries. She will be holding fifteen pound children that should weigh three times that much while she eats very little, she will fall more in love with Jesus than some other man, Her cute Toms will be very dusty from the dry dirt in Ethiopia as she walks from house to house to care for the poorest or poor in our world. Her backpack will be full of bubbles, nail polish and kids activities instead of text books, Her Mac book will be used not for education but for the only communication with us that she will have.
There is a deep ache in my heart but also a deep rejoicing that my girl will be right where God wants her to be. She continues to say to me, "Mom, I know you don't want me to go." I keep reminding her (and myself if I am honest) just as my dad use to say to me, "I would rather you be far away from me serving in His will rather than close to me and not be in His will."
Is this easy? Absolutely not! When I think of holidays next year without her I sob. When I think that for months on end our children will not have a real relationship with her I literally get sick at my stomach. When I think about those lonely days that are ahead of her where she wonders why she decided to move to the middle of Africa my heart drops and I shake in fear for her. When I think of all of the what if's satan takes over and so I start quoting scripture- My God is bigger than the what if's!
I am holding on to the fact that I know that God loves my Megan more than I do. She was not my creation, she is His. I will always be her mom but my job of giving her wings is quickly coming to an end. It is time to trust her and trust Him as I let her fly.
If you feel led to help be a part of Megan's next year please feel free to contact us- She will need to raise up a strong prayer team (for her and for her mom!) and finances but as always we know God will have it all covered...........
Megan's thirteenth Birthday trip-
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Our family is so thankful that Tia and Garrett's older sister and Lemi's older brother have clean drinking water! Thanks to all of you who have given to Garrett's Heart to make this a reality. When I first saw this photo tears of joy filled my eyes. I love the smile on the face of the boy on the far left. Sweet, simple joy due to having clean water- In our society we very rarely get excited about anything yet he is so thrilled to have clean water. Take a few minutes to ponder that! Praising God for His faithfulness to do so much more than we could have ever imagined when we said yes to adopt. Thankful to be on this journey!