Thursday, June 16

Home Study Complete!

This post has been several months in the making. However, I can finally say, OUR HOME STUDY IS COMPLETE!!

I mailed in the last of the paperwork yesterday. It feels so good to be done with it, but there is still so much to do. I've been very discouraged lately. Very. The ups and downs are hard to take even though I know this is the path that God has for us. I know that one day I will be able to use this time in my life to bless someone else, but it sure isn't fun now. 

Our next and final step is the profile or the portfolio that is shown to potential birth mothers. Jeremy and I haven't even started on it, and I'm so tired of being the one with the motivation when it comes to this adoption. This to me is the most important step. How are we going to present ourselves in a way that birth moms would choose us over other wonderful families? I know that Jeremy and I will make great parents and we have an amazing relationship, but how do you convey that through pictures and a letter? I plan on spending much time on my knees in prayer. I will try my hardest not to stress over it. 

Jeremy has decided that even though God blessed us with money to pay for the adoption, he wants us to raise the $2000 profile fee. I'm struggling b/c I want to take the easy way- the way that gives less glory to God. I'm so thankful that my husband challenges me the way he does. A friend from college just had a Thirty One Gifts party and a percentage of the sales goes towards her adoption. I'm hoping to find a Premier Designs consultant here in Panama City that will do the same for me. I had also had several ideas for fundraising through my church, but I'm not sure that's going to work out. That's another blog for another time. 

Anyway, yes, I'm very discouraged, mainly b/c of my own shortcomings, but I'm also so very happy that the home study is complete!!! I can't wait to see God's plan unfold! 

Wednesday, June 8

Songs to listen to when you're discouraged

"Bridge Over Troubled Waters"
by Michael W. Smith
When you're weary, feelin' small
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.
I'm on your side, Oh, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found.
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will lay me down.
When you're down and out, when you're on the street
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you.
I'll take your part, Oh when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will lay me down.
Sail on children, sail on by
Your time has come to shine, all their dreams
   are on their way

See how they shine, Oh when you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled waters,
I will ease your mind.
I'll ease your mind. 

“If You Want Me Too”
by Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to
No I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone (yeah oh oh)
So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the sufferin' Your love put You through
And I will walk through the darkness
If You want me to
'Cause when I cross over Jordan, I'm gonna sing, gonna shout
Gonna look into your eyes and see you never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to you
And I will walk through the valley if you want me to
Yes, I will walk through the valley if you want me to

Wednesday, June 1

Godly Influences

You really don't realize the importance of Godly influences in your life until you either go through a 'wilderness' or until you take a step back to evaluate your life. Recently, I've taken a step back. I quit volunteering for so much stuff, both in my church and among my friends. I cut many things out of my life, such as exercising, to try to make room for more one on one time with God. As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm getting there. 

Last week, Jeremy and I went to Chattanooga to visit friends and family. During the very busy two days we were there, I was able to carve out a few hours to spend with a dear friend of mine. She and I became close during college. We are complete opposites in almost everything- except for our passion for God and for knowledge. (Granted, she is SOOOO much more intelligent than I, but I feel so much smarter around her.) During those precious few hours, I was able to discuss God in a way that only happens when she and I get together. Since then, I've made it my prayer to develop this habit in more friendships. I want to be able to have more frequent conversations like that and  be the reason someone else wants to spend more time getting to know God.

Also as I've blogged before, I've been going with my friend to her church on Wednesday nights for bible study. It has been such an AMAZING blessing to me to study and fellowship with other ladies who are as excited to learn more about God as I am. We are currently doing another Priscilla Shirer bible study, One in a Million. 

It has really forced me to evaluate my life, the things I do and say, the people I hang out with, etc. One day of week one really spoke to me. Here are several key points. (I've paraphrased and copied word for word.)
* God wants us to expect and anticipate more out of our walk with Him which is why He placed a gnawing hunger in our hearts to encounter Him.
* A narrow view of God could prevent us from doing just that. It creates a boundary that limits our experience with Him. 
Oh and I LOVED this next point- (little background- Priscilla's father is an amazing pastor in Texas, and she has a strong Biblical upbringing)
* The teaching I have received isn't biblically incorrect (its solid and effective), but what I learned through knowledge.... GOD WANTED TO EXPAND THROUGH EXPERIENCE. 
*We must be willing to move out of our comfort zones and church routines if we are to break through to the abundant life Christ offers. 
*Pray that God will offer you something different in your relationship with Him than what you've previously known- something that forces you to dig deeper in the Word, have a deeper prayer life, or even search for a supplemental body of believers with which to grow! 


Adoption Update

Jeremy and I haven't really discussed the adoption much recently. I think we were just taking an emotional break. We finally did the last thing that was needed to approve our home study. However, because we had waited so long, some of the other items expired. We now have to re do our fingerprints ($75 each) and local background checks. If I let myself, I could become very frustrated b/c this goes against my very organized, controlling personality. However, this process includes both my husband and I, so I must allot for his personality as well. Whew, and it is hard to do! 

Also, I've received some wonderful news about the adoption loan we applied for! At first they denied us, which was fine b/c God has blessed Jeremy and I above and beyond for this adoption. We just thought that instead of getting a loan, and making it easy to pay for the adoption, God wanted to use this process to teach us. Of course we would have given Him the glory as well. So when I spoke with the loan officer (who is also a Christian and is working/praying hard for us) and updated her on our financial situation, she resubmitted the paperwork.  Also, b/c of God's goodness, we were able to decrease the amount we were asking for by $5,000! She seems to think that we will be approved now. So not only is there a possibility that we will get the loan that we may/may not need, we also don't need to borrow as much! Isn't God good! 

Stepping away from the process was really nice. I wasn't thinking about it 24/7, getting upset every time someone asked me about it or every time I saw a young girl with three kids, stressing over so many things, etc. During that time, I really focused on spending time with God. I still am not spending as much quality time with Him as I'd like, but I'm better than I was last month.