Monday, July 20, 2009

through much prayer

and contemplation I realize that God is in charge and to be impatient only lengthens my days. I made a conscientious decision to turn loose of my (lack of) control and have noticed significant peace flood my heart. I know, too that Marina has a guardian angel as do all the children. Once we trust in our beautiful God, we know He is in complete control of our situations. Granted, He does not think quite as we do...and I interject with a note that I am glad about that fact! He is not controlled by time and panic, quite unlike life on earth. I look forward to Heaven because of the endless joy and release from planning and hoping, among many other reasons. Anyhow today is the day that peace has finally invaded my story and our stoic attempts to bring Marina home. In Gods will and in His time. I also have released the anxiety of living in these troubled times in the United states. My comfort is only guaranteed under the wings of my Lord, and that is where I take my refuge. And when and if the United states falls apart, it was His plan in the first place. He sets leaders on thrones and he deposes leaders...

Habakkuk 2:3 tells me that the vision is for an appointed time...though it tarries, wait for it because it will surely come.
How many of the Psalms ask me to wait upon the Lord? just about every one I have read seems to mention this important task. And so I relinquish my hold on the plans I know he has for me, plans for hope and a future, plans not to harm me but to prosper me. (Jer 29:11) I let God by God, and I will simply be me. It is a good fit and I am grateful that the world is not my responsibility today. I am also grateful for his promises and his instruction book. what would we do without them?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Missing the girls...

Today is a heavy day. It is filled with anxiety for Marina and how I long for her to be rallying the cats in our house to be her friends...and I miss what I do not even know. What if she does not like cats? Or us? What, God forbid, if she does not ever come to live here? I miss what I have never known. A longing for a family, that might resemble one we used to have. 2 kids are noisier than one, and as a side bar I may want to rethink the craziness I am aiming for here:) But I love the crazy sounds and nervewracking questions and needs that constantly arise. I know because I am missing Caylyn too, who showed me the fun that we are capable of. and the love we are capable of. And we just need more I think. More kids, more nuttiness, more crazy is the heart of what makes a family. I bet Marina could use a brother to stick up for her, a mom to run to when she needs a mommy and most importantly, a dad who will swing her high and make her giggle. Then set her safely on the ground despite the pleadings of another turn. Please God, Please. Even if it does not look like I think it will, I know you will be there and make it true life. Adventurous as always. and good. Thanks that we are now the sort of people that would even consider this. How can I tell this story? Will you help me finish the first one? It is so hard you know. The hardest part is knowing how it ends up to now and having no idea what Caylyn is really up to today, anymore than I know what Marina had for breakfast 3000 miles away. Help me to be strong in my faith and patient in our waiting. I know you are in charge, can you just whisper what comes next? love, cathy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Unwavering Intensity of Desire

I am haunted by the stories of people who make the summit of Everest. Such incredible devotion is required, such total focus of body, soul, and spirit. Reaching the top of the world’s tallest mountain becomes for those who try the central driving force of their lives. The goal is so remarkable and the journey so uncertain. Many climbers have been lost on the mountain. Those who reach the summit and return safely are among a rare and elite group of mountaineers in the world. Why do they do it? How do they do it?

John Krakauer recounted the desperate tale of the ill-fated ’96 expedition in his book Into Thin Air: “There were many, many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act—a triumph of desire over sensibility.” It is a feat begun in desire that can be accomplished only through desire. Krakauer explained how one of his climbing partners attained the summit: “Yasuko had been propelled up the mountain by the unwavering intensity of her desire.”

Desire—it’s the only way you will ever make it. Take marriage, for instance. Or singleness. Either makes for a far more difficult and arduous ascent than Everest, in large part because it does not seem so. The struggles are not heightened and focused into one month of do or die; rather, they stretch on across a lifetime. So it is with any act of faith or of hope—anything, in other words, that makes a life worth living. How can we possibly sustain such an intrinsically irrational act as love if we’ve killed our desire?

(Desire , 18–19)

This is the way I feel about getting through to bring Marina home. It is an unwavering intensity of desire to touch her with my hand to her little face, to bring her face a little smile, to seal her heart with the hope of Love, where she may know none. Caylyn is the one who delivered the message that love is alive and well in our home. It has been resuscitated and rescued from absolute death, a revival the likes that anyone who knew us would have to see to believe. Of course, the orchestration by the graceful sway of God's hand creating our beginner's song of life is the true songwriter of our ability to love. Trusting Him in his message is seen as daring in a society that demands perfection, that proverbial carrot we chase. His rules of creation though, include rules that we have been taught ought not to apply to us--we cannot embrace defective children, surely you don't ask that of us? I promise you His economics of design are not bound by what we think we can and cannot have, do or be subjected to. And yet can you imagine for a moment that I know many families who are jumping at the chance to bring home a child such as that society deems damaged. Why do you suppose that is? Could there be something to the giving rule of love? Love is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful or proud or rude....Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. If that is what Love can be here on earth, imagine this..."No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9) I admit I am a novice at Love but I do know that the more true love you give, the bigger it gets. Hitching our hearts to the creator of love seems like an insurmountable explosion of Great Love....perhaps that is the real Big Bang theory?! Like we would be so blown away by the reality of what God is creating for us on the plains of heaven! Makes me want to go see now, but I have committed to loving these children and bringing hope to their hearts first. I have prayed since Evan was a small baby that he would rise up to be a mighty warrior. My position as his teacher and mother to his life here on earth is not finished yet and I shudder to think of him unprepared because of anything I failed to help him with. Yes, our days are filled with busy and crazy, the two sidekicks that seek to make us insane, but under it all there is an order to this plan that boggles the mind heart and soul of mere man. That the spirit has the tenure to whisper it into our hearts nonstop is a comfort on its' own.

In the Message Psalms 51:17 reads "Heart shattered lives ready for love don't for a minute escape God's notice".

Chutes and ladders

There is a kid's game called Chutes and Ladders. I have played it as a kid and played it with my kids. The idea is that is a path and at the end of the path, is the fact that you win if you get there (preferably first, but at all would be good). Along the path, there are ladders that shorten the game by allowing the player to climb the shortcut. Also along the path are chutes that basically derail the moves forward by sliding you backwards and putting you further behind. You are always in play, but it is not always your turn (very important detail). At the very beginning of the game is a really big ladder that is maybe 6 blocks into playing but takes you immediately to the top and allows you to win. I think hitting that ladder would be a long shot but some are lucky. I think our lives are like chutes and ladders. We would like to finish well but the ladders and backsliding chutes are so busy remaking who we are that sometimes the goal is just to catch up with those we are in "play"with or encourage those that fell behind. I remember when our daughter Caylyn hit that early block with the big ladder and went straight to heaven. It was hard to celebrate her win for a while. But eventually we had to wake up to the awareness that we were still on the board. A board filled with chutes. Occasionally I get a ladder, but am finding it hard to trust that extra boost, figuring I am destined for the chutes because the enemy whispers in my ear, that chutes are what I deserve. Despite my discouragement some days I know that I will win the game. I have been promised the ultimate reward just for having played and trusted....that my reward is with my Maker. As for the chutes, I have to realize that perhaps there is something in there that is not about me, but that someone "back a few spaces" may need my encouragement. Perhaps there is something new to learn critical to the next move. And the chutes are designed to make the gift of the game last longer...which believe me, it definitely at least FEELS longer on those nerve-wracking challenges. I know that God can use the side tracking to his accomplishments. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." I trust it because He says it. I feel it as a peace inside my soul, that my life heads toward the will of God, even amongst what feels like downward slides. Just as I misinterpreted that there could be joy of our child's departure to glory, I surely misinterpret what looks like derailing in my every day life. Psalms 32:8 gives me this message from the Lord "I will guide you along the best pathway for your Life. I will advise you and watch over you." Just one of a zillion promises to care for the steps we take when we seek His will.

Lord, give me the wisdom to be patient to your rules. It is your "game" and I am only in it because you created me in the first place. I want to find the joy and excitement in knowing you are indeed guiding me. And honestly, I cannot wait to see you at the end of this life. Congratulating me on finding my way, catching me as I run, a winner, into your kingdom. In the meantime, allow my life to be an example to others in the game, so that they too, may be a part of the happy ending. Protect this wild journey with surprise twists and turns, never a surprise to you. Chutes and ladders is not a game for sissies and whiners, is it?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prayer warrior power...

Today I went to the final study from Chip Ingram on Spiritual Warfare and this last chapter is on how to combat this stuff. It exists whether you thing it is hogwash or whether you blame it for all the things you do you don't want to take responsibility for....because the devil made you do it. All the methods for getting out from under this heinously irritating and scary influence filter back to trusting God and knowing what His word says. It grants us power as believers to banish these attacks in Jesus name. Needless to say I have been under significant defeat and abnormal weight of failure because our adoption process is being sidetracked. As this beautiful group of everyday women bowed their heads and lifted up various prayers that were laid on their hearts, I was humbled to be a part of a princess warrior circle. Soft voices cracked out passion filled burdens. And then someone lifted this family up and I felt our needs being set at the feet of the Throne of Creation. Humble can be mighty enough to qualify as an oxymoron....I began to cry as the prayer filled the cracks of my heart. Then my mother prayed for friends who would lift our family up as their concern. The sniffles circled the room. It is amazing to be cared for by strangers and friends as one. Love has a power that cannot be disguised as the real thing when it is not. And that was love's arms open for Marina today. I saw it. I felt it. And as if to add a mystical moment here, my phone rang in my pocket on vibrate. I checked it to see who called and all it said was 905. I tried to call it back later, no known number. Tully wondered later if it was September 5th. We will have to see. I was so caught up in the moment of heaven's power that I cannot argue against the fact that it was an interruption to the moment. We will see if there is any more to come of it. I bought a book today called the Sacred Echo. Hearing God's voice in everyday themes and whispers. Poor Elijah, exhausted and hunted, the last prophet, hiding in a cave and God asks him "So what are you doing here?" Elijah needs help--he is discouraged and tired and slam burned out...instead of being the perfect sky Genie, and granting answers to these issues, God brings him a hurricane, an earthquake and a blazing forest fire. On top of that, God isn't even in these things, but creates these things. Then He does something amazing. He whispers to Elijah. He is in Elijah's heart. The renewal begins and Elijah is able to find all he needs from that encounter to move forward. Just knowing God has a moment all for you is all the breath we need to return to the battle at hand.
I believe God whispered today. I also think he whispered to Marina to be patient. Things are happening she cannot imagine. In that light I believe things are happening that I cannot imagine either. I am grateful for the faith that has carried me daily. I am blown away by the support for years by my friends and family. I am humbled that God ever chose me in the first place. I would love to be remembered because I answered His whisper and was obedient to His calling. and the One I want to remember me is only Him.
Hang on Marina, someone is coming. You are special. We are all special but most importantly, we are each special. Listen....

In our hearts but out of our hands...

Yesterday we had a family outing of a most unusual nature. We got up, finished compiling last minute letters of recommendation and pleas, drove an hour and a half to our state capital and dropped off our formal request to be forgiven by the state for crimes against each other nearly 15 years ago. Then, in keeping with the theme, we went to the zoo. Thoughts of anxiety were pushed down, compacted somewhere and replanted with prayers to expedite, do the right thing, forgive us, let us be free to bring Marina home. We watched the animals as they were pacing in the heat with nowhere to go, little Meerkats guarding cement tunnels of family. Defenseless, but on guard and ready to sound the alarm. They remind me of us and the world around us. We burrow and tunnel and get ourselves into all sorts of tight spots. We count on someone to watch over and keep us out of trouble as we burrow deeper. Should the alarm of danger sound, where do we go? What do we do? Humanity seems to dig faster. We do not know how to count on our friends and family anymore as we build secret lives that envelope the dark...
Then there is the example of us. I am gratefeul we have indeed been rescued just for the asking. Well, just for the asking and believing. Man that seems so incredibly impossible for some folks. And yet I used to top that list. The miserable one in charge. My heart was a wreck so many years ago. It is nothing that the police could have captured on paper. It was not Tully's fault, though his heart looked like mine. Socially broken. Emotionally windblown. Years of healing, Jesus working daily, by the minute, by the nanosecond. See us now? We are better beyond our wildest expectations. Lightyears from perfect but lightyears from where we have been. Now we stand in our zoo-box, being examined to see if we might still be wild by people who do not know us. We would like to think we can stand up straighter or brush our hair and wear the right thing to pass the test. But they are hopefully looking at our hearts. That is where the real opportunity to see us lies to see the taming of the broken and the re-release of a new creature, capable of love as it has been taught to us by the great Teacher. The decision is weighing on our hearts but we know it is in the hands of the beautiful God who patiently molds us. He will take us where we are needed. We really hope it is to Marina. Another adventure of a lifetime sitting in a zoo-box across the sea.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Dance

I am a terrible dancer for the most part. I like to lead. I do not really have to know the steps and most often make them up as I go. This is my battle with Christ. I so desperately want to dance with Him, and in about 5 seconds I am trying to lead Him around the room. I might even change the music. He patiently waits as I gyrate out of sync. The rhythm is off. It is no longer fun and romantic. Joy wains. But I thought I knew what He was planning! I could see his next step! Or was it mine? (Be still, and know that I am GOD.) Safe, forgiven, breathing deeply, I put my arms up again. Teach me to dance with you Oh my Lord. The skill is there, the patience is missing. Always I feel driven to do your will by a time clock.

especially now. My desperation to bring Marina home is mounting out of sync with your plan. The injustice of waiting is like rocket fuel to my angst. The more I must ask for help from outside my "christian" circle the more I realize the world can be so hateful and ugly. And I am brought back to Esther. She waited even the one extra day when the rest of us would have crooked our fingers at the enemy and cackled like the hens we are. I hate to ask this because I am sure it will hurt. But I really do want to be patient and peace filled. I want to believe you are Good. Caylyn is in heaven and that is good! I know she is happy and totally ok. I do not believe this at all about Marina. I am afraid she will fall between the cracks and life will drain out of her, joyless and full of bad things as memories in a world she will never understand. And I am afraid you will ask me to be a prayer partner only for her. It does not feel like enough. The power of prayer is visually hard to track most days. Especially for someone who is not so patient. And love afar is really hard to share. Do you struggle with that too? I bet you do. Help her. Help us. Love us from afar! And yet I find that you are right here, struggling to teach a bull how to dance.
Oh God, you are God and I am not. Please take the lead. I know this, that You, with a penchant for drama will continue that theme. Orchestrate the biggest waltz to her safe arrival and invite the lost and unconvinced to the party. Let me flatter you and not embarrass you along the way as a jr. hich girl at her first dance might.

Today we practice Dancing with God. Let me hear the symphony of your music, not the cacophony of mine. Let us dance to the same song. As in the movie "Dirty Dancing", remind me to watch your eyes and not our feet. The step of trust begins here. I trust you as my teacher. You lead as Lord of My Dance.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What am I doing wrong?

This is the question I face a hundred times a day. Is there something I am missing? Am I supposed to be looking harder or doing "better"? God, are you mad at me? I thought you loved the orphans, and that we were supposed to as well? Why is this so dang hard? I am standing firm on your promises but so often I do not understand their application to my life. I have faith that your plans are not to harm me but to give me hope. But I have to tell you here, I am running thin in the Hope department. I cannot do this by myself. If you do not want us to have Marina, why plant her in our hearts? The pain is too much to think of not bringing her home and the alternative she will face. Please? Make a way. Part the seas of government interference and governor infidelities. Change the laws to help us, find a loophole to allow us through. (Soon if we dare ask this!) Instead every loophole is a noose. I pray for you to connect the dots for us as you place the stars in the sky to guide the sojourners. The signs are there, predictable to give direction. Your Word is my star. Mark my path and open the gates that are slammed between us and her. Something that would be so simple for you to orchestrate, and yet it cannot be done by me at all. I am grateful that you made the gate of heaven so much in a way that it simply swings open for those of us who seek to enter. We too, are orphans in a crazy world. I sought first my Kingdom of God, now I seek to make the world a better place in your name. Please protect me from the falling arrows of the destroyer. I temporarily share this world with them, and I could use your protection while I am in enemy territory. Thank you that I belong to you and that will last forever. The fairy tale of "and they lived happily ever after" awaits in my room in my father's house. And it is not a fairy tale but the promise of where Jesus is right now. But until I get there, will you give me this child to love and teach? Let us reach many children, who are the least of these. Release their beauty into the hearts of those who need them as I did once upon a time 7 years ago. Like butterflies, set them free to land in the hearts of the lonely and broken. There, love can begin to heal the injustices of this world, of telling a child they are simply unworthy of a family who will love them. In your own son's name I ask this. Amen. And even so, come Lord favorite verse in Revelation.