Sunday, July 8, 2012

Prince Charming

Well, as most of you know, through facebook, Nate's "Gotcha Day" was Monday, June 25. Incidentally, Marc and I have always wanted to change the name of this monumental day but haven't landed on anything. "Gotcha!" just reminds me of something you yell when you're sneaking up to scare a child.  Maybe we'll call it, "Family Day", "Homecoming Day", or more appropriately "Blow My Mind with a Supernatural, Love at First Sight, When You Hand Me This Baby I've Never Laid Eyes on Before Day." Or something similar, because that's what happened. My mind is officially blown. I've thought about it a lot. How can this be? How can I love this little person so fiercely, so quickly? I've heard from my friends that its the same when you give birth. It was the same with Sophie, but different. With Sophie, I was a little distracted with the anxiety of being a first time mom. Love and excitement mingled with a lot of fear and worry that I wouldn't do it right, etc. But, the love came so naturally.  Now I know that this isn't the case with everyone, but, here, in this house, our cup runneth over. 

Now, about Nate. Not sure if there is a baby on the face of the earth with a sweeter smile and giggle. He does this incredibly adorable thing where he tilts his head to the left and smiles his big, toothless smile. He has a very sweet disposition. He loves to snuggle, much to his mother's enjoyment. He's so easy to enjoy. We have continued to have some intestinal issues but we'll hopefully get those under control soon. We are scheduled to have our post-adoption interview in Bangkok next week so we'll visit an international hospital there to get a second opinion.  

Now, this is not to say that we haven't had a few difficult days. Sophie has had her moments of jealousy and general discontentment that she isn't the sole object of her Mommy's and Daddy's attention. But, over all, she is really loving and embracing the newest member of our family. 

Marc has been so great in helping me around the house, allowing me to "ease into" being the mother of two. 

And I may or may not have had a small meltdown the other day. It really wasn't about Nate though, it was about me being old. I had a small pity party as I had to carry my old, decrepit body to the doctor because my back was full of muscle spasms. Turns out, holding a 14 lb. baby with one arm all day long, when you already have back problems can create some pain. I got my first ever cortisone shot. As I rode home on a tuk-tuk (for which I was grossly overcharged), tears streamed down my face. One, I was in a considerable amount of pain, but two, I was sad that I wasn't holding my sweet baby boy with a 27 year old back. I know this is silly. I'm not THAT old. But, that's just the way I felt. PMS did have a significant role in the emotions on that day but I've learned over the last few years that hormones don't create our negative emotions, they just make it a little more difficult to control them. So, on a normal day I probably could have quickly rejected those sad, "woe is me" thoughts, but on this day I ended up swimming in them a little.

The truth of the matter is, I didn't start having kids when I wanted. I wanted kids at 25 years old. We tried and tried and tried. And I cried and cried and cried. That's when you're "supposed" to have children- when you're young and vibrant and your back is strong. Well, God had other plans.

This is one of those times when I felt like such an Israelite. You know that feeling you get when you read about the Israelites complaining or worrying right after God parted the Red Sea? Like you want to grab one of them by the shoulders, shaking them and yelling, "What is your problem????!!!!! Did you not just see that???!!! Shut your big, whiny trap!!!" That's what I want to do to myself sometimes. Now, I do think there's room to mourn over disappointed hope. But, was this really the time? I had two choices. I could either spend the whole evening being sad that things aren't as perfect as I would like them to be, or I could get alone with the Lord for a minute, ask for His grace, and then get to enjoying the ridiculous blessings in my life. Its all about choices. Its all about perspective. 

Well, what ended up happening after I finally arrived home, is that I walked into my bedroom where Marc was reading and fell on the bed beside him. I instantly burst into sobs and tried to relay everything I was thinking to this poor man. I'm not even half way through before I start laughing. I knew hormones were  involved when I started ranting about paying 120 baht for a 6 mile tuk-tuk ride. Ultimately, I was sleep deprived, in pain, suffering from a poorly maintained spiritual life and had just undergone a huge life change (albeit a wonderful one). But what resulted from that meltdown was a renewed hunger for God and His Word. Later that afternoon I stood in the kitchen holding Nate and sang, through tears, "I Need Thee Every Hour". 

Yes, God had other plans for our lives. Plans that are so much greater than anything I could ever come up with. I could never pick three other people I would rather spend my life with. I need to be reminded over and over and over, that if starting a family had been in my timing, I would not have these two gems as my children. See, their birthdays were penned on God's epic calendar before the foundation of the world. Any earlier or any later and it would have all been different.  God is worthy of my trust, and my future joy is dependent on it. 

I'm not entirely sure why I'm writing all this. Initially I just wanted to give a little update on my little Prince Charming. But every once in while I just need to "let it all hang out". The reality is that I very well may have back pain until the day I die. So, I need to let 2 Corinthians 12:9 be my constant friend, 
"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."
And cling closely to 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. "
God is renewing me through His Word. He has graciously "redeemed my life from the pit" (Ps. 103) by the blood of Jesus and has promised me eternity with Him but He's also saving me everyday- from myself. In spite of my sin and propensity to wander, He pours out blessing after blessing. That is grace. 

Thank you, Jesus, for my babies- all three of them :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Things Hoped For

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you." (Psalm 39:7 ESV)

 Many of you friends know that we've been waiting for our second child for some time now. We applied directly to the Thai government to adopt a child soon after we moved back here in 2009. This process has looked and felt totally different than when we adopted Sophie from China. Though we've had no major complications, its always felt very precarious to me. I think this is largely due to what the Lord has been doing in my heart, a deep work of purifying my faith. I've felt the Lord asking me to hold my hand open, allowing this hope to sit there unguarded, unprotected, surrendered to His control- this adoption along with a few other issues. When we began the process to adopt Sophie, it felt so official, so sure, just a long wait. Because I've felt like God could close the door at any moment, throughout this whole three year process, I've blogged about this very little, as you can see. But, God is always faithful to bring things about in His perfect timing, asking us to trust Him, and changing us along the way.

And so without further ado, I announce that we have received "the call" that we've been matched with a precious baby boy whom we will meet very soon! He is 9 months old and his name will be Nathanael "Nate" Jordan Lewis. We have no picture yet, and probably won't receive one before we travel to pick him up. Please pray for us during this time. It could be as soon as two weeks from now and as long as 6 weeks. I'm going to plan as though it will be two and try to prepare my heart for six. Living in the "already but not yet" phase is not the easiest place to be. I continue to entrust my heart, my baby boy and our future into the hands of my Father, the King who reigns intimately over every detail of our lives. Still a very, very "Sweet Journey" indeed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

We had a marathon day last Saturday. First on the agenda was Sophie's ballet performance. Sophie, Becca and Rae were pink butterflies in a 5 minute performance with their ballet class. There was a private school expo at the local mall and the performing arts school they attend (HUG school), used it as an opportunity to showcase all the talent being developed by their teachers :-). The girls had to be at the mall at 11:00 am for a 1:00 pm performance. Our plan was to then rush home to Blaa's baby shower (yes the same Blaa who was married this time last year is about to have her first baby!!!), which was at my house starting at 2:00pm. But, because we live in Thailand and are pretty accustomed to the laid back "May Pen Rai" ("no problem") attitude, we knew it probably wouldn't work out quite that neatly. The girls ended up getting on the stage at 2:45, danced for 5 minutes, and we made it back home by 3:15.

By then, the shower was in full swing and we were able to pop right in and join the party. If that wasn't exciting and eventful enough, we planned Betsy's surprise 50th birthday party for the same night. At the end of the shower, we turned the "CONGRATULATIONS" banner around and it read "HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY", only it was backwards- you don't wanna to know. We then told Betsy to go home and pack a bag because all the "big girls" were going to have a slumber party in her honor. She went home, we decorated Terri's house for a retro birthday slumber party: streamers, balloons, penant banner that read "YADHTRIB TH05 YPPAH"- again, you don't wanna know- it had nothing to do with the fact that I spent hours hand painting a dual-sided penant banner only to realize that I didn't quite think it through well enough and one side was backwards. Terri quickly redeemed my blunder by assigning the theme "Back To The Future". We later picked Betsy up, went out to dinner, then all spent the night (16 adult women) at Terri's house. Now, I mean true blue slumber party, complete with birthday cake (amazingly decorated by Terri), games, sleeping bags on the floor, lots of laughing and non-stop talking. Of course we never got around to watching the movie, too much to talk about. We all got in the bed by 12:30 and were up again bright and early at 6:30, ready to eat and continue talking. I LOVE girl time. My tank was filled.

I may have been exhausted the next day but it was all worth it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friends, friends, friends.

These are Sophie's schoolmates at "Miss Sherry's School For the Exceptionally Adorable and Uncommonly Sweet Female Child" (I just came up with that).

They are quite the threesome. Becca, the tall blonde with beautiful blue eyes, is the eldest. She keeps things peaceful around here as she has one of the most amiable personalities of any 5 year old I've ever met. Whenever I hear a "Hmph! Then I'm not playing with you anymore!", it is not uncommon for Becca to step in as the peacemaker.

See this adorable thing with the big brown eyes and the radiant red ringlets? This is Lillie Belle. I like to call her lil' Lil'. She is our "free spirit". She absolutely cracks me up on a regular basis. This is something she can be heard saying, "Ms. Sherry, I don't like my picture, it's all jacked up!" It took me off guard the first time she said it, then it became our favorite way to describe something that just wasn't quite right. Whenever I need a hug, I know I can always look to Lillie, she's the affectionate fireball.

Then, of course, there's this one. The petite, dark haired, dark eyed beauty. I cannot describe how thankful I am that she has such sweet friends, what a blessing. I'm not sure if its because she's an only child (Lillie and Becca are both one of four in their families), but Sophie insists on giving me the play by play of everything they do, getting my approval. "Mom, Lillie wants to play restaurant while Becca wants to look at books so we will play restaurant first and then look at books, is this ok?" ... "Mom, I told Lillie that I didn't want to play with her, but then I said I was sorry and then we decided to play school. Ok?" Maybe some control issues. I'm sure they have nothing to do with her parents. :-) Sophie is definitely an extrovert, totally energized by people. As soon as her friends leave, she's sad and trying to plan the next social event.

Though Rae doesn't go to our school (she's in a private Christian school in town), she's another sweet friend. Sophie goes to her house on some afternoons to jump on the trampoline. Rae has a magnetic smile and a personality as charming as they come. Who knows, Sophie and Rae may be classmates at some point.

Finally, we have our new friends Rumi and Raine. They came to Sophie's birthday party. I wish I had been videoing when Sophie opened her gifts. Rumi was beside herself with excitement over every gift opened. It was the sweetest thing, she was genuinely excited, squealing, for Sophie. We are going to Rumi's pool party today and I can't wait to see her open her own gifts. We look forward to spending more time with them and making some fun memories.

God is faithful to give us what we need, when we need it. We are definitely a family who loves and needs friends, and our cup is overflowing with them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Five Years Ago

I wish I could remember what I was doing on this day five years ago. Whatever I was doing, I was oblivious that my baby girl was being born in China. I was dreaming about her, praying for her, hoping for a phone call. But, on this particular day, my life was changed FOREVER and I had no idea. But Providence knew.

On most days, this whole scenario doesn't enter my mind. We're doing life: learning to read, putting puzzles together, laughing, crying, taking temperatures, snuggling, kissing, pouting, correcting, singing (to which she will say, "that's ok mom, can you just let daddy sing?"). She's my baby girl who's turning five. Its not until I get the question, "why doesn't she look like you?" that I'm reminded that I didn't actually give birth to her. From day to day, I'm not really thinking about where our journey began.

But on days like today, I just need to sit and think about that day. I wasn't there for her birth, but others were. If no one else, there was one Chinese woman there. May the grace of the Lord be with her on this day. We will never know all the details of that day and the days leading up to it, but what we do know is that Jesus was there, caring, protecting, carrying out His plan for the life of this precious child, our daughter. Reflecting on this day carries me to the Cross where we see the redemption of all things. Difficult, painful circumstances become beautiful, life changing gifts. I am humbled on this day.

Marc and I want to help Sophie view all of life through the lens of God's greater story of redemption. We are a part of that story, our beginnings, our endings. Our personal histories are important but not ultimate. The ultimate story is that God's people, his creation, were lost and He found us. We were hopelessly trying to do life our own way. God, compelled by love, pursued His people- His stubborn, prideful people. He redeemed us by His own blood. He gave us a new identity, a new life. And then ultimately, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"- Revelation 21:4-5

My Love Muffin, my Princess Buttercup, my Sunshine, my Sophie Mei, she's five today and I'm so thankful for her.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Princesses and Hovercrafts.

Wow, its 2011! That sounds so weird. When I was in high school, we just knew that we would be all be driving hovercrafts by now. Where's my hovercraft? Where's the robot that's supposed to be cleaning my house? What about my personal vending machine that will prepare and cook whatever I want? We may not have these things but we have some crazy phones and electronics. My friend sent us a kindle over Christmas- amazing gift!!! We can, from the other side of the world, order a book- just about any book- and it will download to this handheld device in a matter of minutes, any time of the day. I think she meant it for me, but since Marc reads about 3x's as much as me, its usually in his possession. :-) Technology is progressing, societies are changing, some for the better, some the worse. When my heart is tempted to get overwhelmed with the spiritual condition of those around me, the poverty, the pain, the enslavement, I have to discipline myself to look to the promises of the Lord. But what I KNOW is that "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is your faithfulness O Lord, Great is your faithfulness." The Lord is good and with every passing year, He draws us closer and closer to Himself. "He who began a good work will carry it out to completion." - Phil. 1:6

The last couple of months have flown by! We've celebrated Thanksgiving, lots of Christmas parties, my birthday, many spiritual births, Sophie's gotcha day, Christmas, Sophie's Princess birthday and now we're girding ourselves for another busy season. We've got lots coming up on the horizon: showers and parties to celebrate Blaa and Nai's wedding (more on that later), ministry parties, a three week training project for the students, the wedding, staff training- then before we know it, the school year begins again. Whew! Lord, help us to be on your agenda and not our own.

The new marriage of a Thai Christian couple is really a huge praise! Thailand is a spiritually dark place and when two of our student come to know Christ, continue to walk with Him to a place of maturity, fall in love, and marry one another to begin a Christian family- we CELEBRATE!!!! Blaa and Nai need to be bathed in prayer. The Evil One does not like the formation of a Christian family, because its powerful. Please pray for them. Also, its a little long, but please enjoy watching their fairy tale engagement........

Until the next time I blog...... whenever that may be....... the Lord be with you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Daisy the Dog

We now have a dog. She has been a part of our family for apx. 2 months. We had talked about getting a dog for a while. Sophie has very high social needs and seeing that she doesn't have a little brother or sister yet, we figured a dog would be the next best thing. There is a sweet missionary family in the neighborhood whose teenage daughter was moving back to the US and they were looking for a home for her dog. It seemed to be a situation we couldn't pass up. First of all, she is adorable. Secondly, she was already partially trained and very well mannered- for the most part. Her biggest weakness is the burst of high energy she gets on the arrival of anyone through the front door. She is OBSESSED with toes. She bites, nibbles, licks, sniffs- while simultaneously jumping and running circles around your feet. The sight of fresh feet (meaning new feet, not clean feet- actually, I'm pretty sure she prefers dirty feet) acts like a visual amphetamine for her. I need to figure out how to take her through detox. I know there's probably a very easy way to train your dog, but I'm challenged when it comes to training. We're still working on going potty outside- all the time. Isn't this supposed to be relatively easy when working with an intelligent dog? I believe the experts, its normally a problem with the trainer, not the trainee. I need someone to train me on how to train.

Nevertheless, we really do love her. I secretly love the fact that she usually follows me wherever I go. When I'm cooking, she always gets snuggled up in the corner beside the oven, right by my feet. When I'm having a quiet time on the couch, there she is, right at my feet. I'm trying to ignore the fact that if she doesn't get a bath every other day, then I'm constantly sneezing and my eyes are bloodshot. This too shall pass- or not.

Sophie does well, but she can't handle Daisy first thing in the morning. Sophie always stops on the second from the last step and calls me to come and get her. Daisy is especially excited to see Sophie in the morning, but Sophie needs to enjoy Daisy from a secure location- the couch or living room chair, too high for Daisy to jump on. After Daisy comes down from her high, the playing begins. Sophie loves to play with the leash. The great thing is Sophie can't clip it to her collar, rather she lets Daisy hold it in her mouth and leads her around the house. Daisy always cooperates and keeps it in her mouth, following close behind Sophie. That's a good friend.

I hope we have Daisy for a long time, I just need to get trained on how to train. It's not that much different from training a child, except I don't have to "shepherd" the dog's heart. Speaking of shepherding a heart, I need to go read that book again. I need to get trained on how to train a child too, or at least a regular refresher course.