Sunday, September 13, 2015

Christians: Don't be lazy; Get to work!

This year has been a difficult for Christians in the United States.  We feel as if we are under attack, and we are.  It isn't about us though; it is about God.  The world hates Him, and when you follow Him, they will hate you too.
Matthew 10:22, "You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."  
John 15:19: "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."

Satan's attack on the US has been subtle, but with each passing year, it becomes more and more obvious.  I remember thinking, "I think I'll just move to China.  I loved my time there."  Then I remembered that as attacked as we feel in the US, the attack there is much harsher.  Why is it different here? Because I am home.  Home is supposed to be comfortable.  When I go to China (or any other country), I go with a purpose.  When I am in the US, I am home.  As I was processing this, God said to me, "Liz, this world is not your home."  I shouldn't be living in a lazy fashion as I have been doing because this is not my home.  I am here for a purpose, and I need to fulfill it.  I can't get lazy because there is work to be done.  I cannot fear; I need to be strong and get to work. 
Haggai 2:4: "But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ [Governor] declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, [Religious leaders] and all you people of the land [All of us] take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts." [explanations mine]

So no need to worry.  Be strong.  Keep your eyes on things above.  Be about the work that God has called us to.  Go and make disciples . . . The nations are coming to us, and that includes the United States of America. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I'm tired.
I'm tired physically.  I didn't sleep well last night.  I have worked all summer with no real break.  I have been working on the house this summer.  I am taking care of alot of things that I shouldn't have to take care of.  

I'm tired socially.  I'm an introvert, and when an introvert is tired, social interaction is exhausting.  I have done a ton of social interaction this summer with work.  Lots of "being on" (my introvert friends will get this). The things going on in our nation over the last 6 months have been exhausting. 

I'm tired mentally.  I have been teaching online most of the summer, and some questions that I get blow my brain . . . really?  Did you read anything I wrote? Then the facebook arguments over social issues, and the talking heads on television that I refuse to listen to anymore.

I'm tired emotionally.  My husband's health has been poor, and that is very wearing on both of us.  For some reason, I want to add a child to this caretaking role, and we just keep waiting with no news of anykind.  The waiting . . . for the treatment to help my husband's symptoms or for a phone call from the adoption agency or for our home renovations to be completed or . . . the list is endless.  We need to raise funds for adoption, but I am completely spent on everything else going on.  

I'm tired spiritually.  All of this exhaustion plays a role spiritually . . . or maybe it started with this one.  The things going on in our nation are a direct attack from Satan.  God has turned us over to our depraved minds (Romans 1:26), and I just cry out "Lord Jesus, come quickly". There is little hope of it getting better, though I know that if God wants to, at any point it could be better.  I'm not trying to be negative here, but have you read Romans 1?  I'm not even just talking about the Supreme court decision.  I'm talking about Bruce Jenner, Planned Parenthood, TV advertisements & shows, etc.  And what am I most exhausted about?  Christians responding poorly to these events.  

I feel like we are living in a Sodom & Gomorrah time where Lot asked God to spare the cities for just a few righteous people.  Some days, I just want to say, "God just destroy us all, and come quickly."  The world continues to get worse and worse.  I know people have been saying this for years, but this year has really been heavy.  And an election year is coming up . . . ugh.  Commence bickering, mudslinging, negative, negative, negative. 

I realize that my blog has been very negative and heavy until right now, but I want to take a turn here.  We can't fall prey to the negativity.  We must not grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9).  Read Galatians 6:9 in its context.

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:7-10.

I especially like the wording here "God CANNOT be mocked." We will reap what we sow. There are consequences. We are already reaping what has been sown which leaves us in this very dark place in our society. I often want to bury my head in the sand, and just continue to pray "Lord Jesus, come quickly" (and I do pray this).  However, He calls us to not be weary in doing good.  He calls us to fight.  

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17

What does it tell us to do? Be strong.  Put on God's FULL armor:  Pray, be in the word, live righteously, revisit the gospel, spread the gospel, have faith, rest in His truth.  STAND FIRM.  

What does it not tell me to do?  Judge people in sin.  Sinners will sin . . . hence their name.  I shouldn't be shocked; I should take them to our Savior in prayer.  I can't hold people or a nation to a standard that I personally have chosen for my life.  I can fight for them in this war against Satan, and may I remind you of his eternal destiny.  


Satan knows his time is running out, so he is amping up the attack.  We need to amp up the attack and fight this spiritual war in prayer, the gospel, faith, truth.  Stay in the Word . . . and remember GOD WINS!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Adoption Journey, part 7: God is Sovereign & Merciful

So yesterday we had our first interview with the birth parents of twins.  It was nerve-wracking, but my wonderful husband who handles nerves so much better than I calmed me quickly in the interview.  I stumbled around at first . . . What do you say to a couple who knows that the best thing for their babies is to give them to another couple?  I'm humbled that they are considering us.  I respect them highly for making that kind of decision.

The couple was extremely level-headed, and it really was impressive to watch.  It wasn't your typical scenario.  They both had full time jobs, and they were 26 & 30 years of age.  They just are in a tough financial spot at the moment.   I can't imagine what kind of guts it took for them to come to this kind of decision.

We built great rapport with them.  We enjoyed our time with them.  We were ourselves because we aren't going to fake it and try to be who they want us to be.  We wanted to be real.  We wanted to show them love.  We could tell the father in particular needed alot of affirmation, and we both gave that to him.  We tried to show them the love of Christ.

When we left, we felt like it went so well that we were both a little excited.  I was trying to contain my immediate desire to plan.

We were almost home, when my phone rang with that familiar number.  I answered, and she said, "You did a great job in the interview, but they chose the other couple."  She was a little surprised since we had done such a good job at building rapport with them, but she guessed that the thing that had them choose the other couple was that the lady had been a nanny for 10 years.  I wanted to scream . . . "I've been caring for children since I was 10!  I've been an aunt since I was 5!  I should have told them that!  I knew it wouldn't matter at this point, just accept it and move on Liz."

disappointmentI was so disappointed, and yet so glad that we hadn't even gotten home yet.  I was ready to start planning, and yet knew I was going to have to refrain from doing so until we knew for sure.  I cried . . . tears of sadness and relief.  We were really unsure if twins were a good idea for us at this point in our lives, and I prayed specifically that God would have them choose the other couple if He didn't want us to have them.  God is so faithful and merciful.  He made the answer ABUNDANTLY clear, and He did it very quickly.

So many people have encouraged me to blog through this experience, and the response to my blogging and facebook posts has been overwhelming.  People have been encouraged by my postings and blogging, and we, in return, have been extremely encouraged by comments and prayers.

Pain is real.  It is part of life.  God grows us through each event in life.  The prayers of the Body helped me grow tremendously in trust this past week.  It helped prepare me for the answer of "They chose the other couple."

We know that there will be other opportunities, and whether we are chosen as the parents of these children or not . . . we know that God is sovereign.  When you have TRUTH like that to hold on to, life becomes much more bearable.

We chose to be very open about this process knowing that disappointment (and having to communicate that) is difficult.  We have watched so many couples struggle through this process in silence, and so we wanted to do this openly.  We hope that even in our struggle and disappointment that many will be encouraged.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Adoption Journey, part 6: Watching God's sovereignty in the waiting

So we have been waiting for about 4 months for a baby.  The first few months were a little easier because I was busy at work, but once the summer started, I began to get a little more antsy.  I had read a book about a lady's experience with adoption called Peace in the Process by Kristin Hill. I was looking for ways to get ready without buying actual baby items.  So I purchased some kid friendly decor for the bathroom that the child would be using at Target, and made a plan to remove the wallpaper and paint this weekend.  

We were going to need a new car, so we did some shopping.  We did not want a car payment, because we haven't had one in years, but we knew we were going to have to bite the bullet because a car seat would not fit in my little Saturn.  Well after some research and shopping, we found a car (the one I had been eyeing for 2 years), and we found a good deal.  So we bought a new car on Monday, and by Wednesday, I had sold my faithful little Saturn, to a dear friend who has already been through the adoption process.  She left to go get a check, and in the thirty minutes while she was gone, my phone rang.  It was the adoption agency.  They never call me.  This must be the call . . .  my heart and mind started racing, Is this it?  Is this what I've been waiting for?  Or is it just something else?

When I said hello, I realized it was our caseworker, and she was happy.  She said that Miles & I and another couple had been selected by a birth couple to be interviewed as potential parents of their baby.  The caseworker said, "Are you interested?"  AM I INTERESTED!!?!?!?  YES!!!  She laughed and said, "There is one more thing you might want to know before you say yes."  I gulped.  Is the baby sick?  She said, "They are having twins."  I'm not sure what really happened next.  I almost dropped the phone.  I was completely overwhelmed.  Can we handle twins?  Is this a good idea? What should I do? I heard myself saying, "Yes, but let me call my husband first to be certain he is on the same page."  I asked how far along the mother was, and she said, "Well . . . she is scheduled to have a C-section on June 19."  Uh . . . that is 3 weeks away.  I told her I would call her back after I spoke with Miles.  When I called Miles, I told him everything I knew except the fact that the mother was having twins.  I said, "You should probably sit down.  There is one more thing that she told me.  She is having twins."  Miles' response was, "Well . . . I figured we would probably adopt more than one anyway!"   I called her back, and told her we were up for this, and she said she would call me in the morning with the interview time.

Who knew God would have the perfect car, at a good price, and my car would sell so quickly to a dear friend who knows this process oh so well.  She and her husband show back up at my house with the check, and I tell them about my phone call.  It was so nice to have them here just after the call came.  I had 4 people inquiring about that car, but God knew I needed her.  They prayed with me because I was completely overwhelmed.  One was going to be adjustment enough, but two?

Please pray with us as we have our interview with this couple on Wednesday.   Pray that the couple would choose the other couple if we aren't to have these children.  Pray for this couple, the other couple being interviewed, us, and those two babies . . . a boy and a girl.  Pray for wisdom and strength for all involved.  This is going to be an emotional and stressful process regardless of the outcome, but we are in awe of God's sovereignty!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Adoption Journey, part 5: The Unexpected Part of the Process

So as we prepared ourselves for adopting we knew a lot of things because we talked to a lot of people who had been through the process.  So we expected the ridiculous amount of paperwork, the excessive amounts of money, the birth mothers changing their minds, and the unbearable amount of time that many adoptive parents wait until they are paired with a child.  So I prepared myself when I found out that a birth mother was considering putting her child up for adoption.  I did everything I could to not get excited, not think about what it would be like, not ask if the child was a boy or a girl, black, white, red, yellow, green, healthy, drug addicted, or when they were due because it was not yet my child.  I have no right to do that to that baby, birth mother, or us.  That is a lot of unnecessary emotional stress on everyone.  I have been doing copious amounts of paperwork for grants.  I haven't put a nursery together, though we do have a room set aside for the nursery, because the child may be a day old, or 9 months old, or 3 years old . . . they have very different needs.  So I have protected my heart to not have any of those things.

The part that did surprise me however was the number of children (of all ages) that people are bringing to my attention.  In the last approximately 7 weeks of being approved to be adoptive parents, 4 serious options (two newborns and two children under age 4) have been brought to our attention, and countless other options.  I was thinking these would come one at a time and with months in between them.  I knew there were a lot of children out there in bad situations, but I was surprised at how many would find us.  It makes the waiting a little better because it seems that at any moment, someone could call us and say, "This child is for you."

We are affirmed by so many people that they think we would be good parents.  We are grateful to God for giving us such good friends that want this for us as well as putting us in places where these children are surfacing.

I have no idea when a child will be for us. There is always the small fear in the back of my mind that God wants us to endure this process to learn something, but there will never be a child. I always try to push that aside, but no one ever knows for sure.  Only God knows for sure, and I need to trust that whatever He has for us is best.  In the meantime, it doesn't feel like God is doing that.  The little details that we see frequently, make us think that there will be a child, and it may not be as long as we thought.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gentleness of God pt. 2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 
Galatians 5:22-23

When I think of the Fruit of the Spirit, gentleness is not one of the things that comes to mind first. Love, joy, peace, patience, self-control . . . they are always the first five that come to mind, but kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness are the four that I have to work a little harder to come up with. Gentleness is typically the last one. But as God has been teaching me about how gentle He is, it makes so much more sense how this is a key fruit of the Spirit.

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits,unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18

Gentleness is an important piece to living a life that is full of the Spirit as well to understanding how to help people.  Wisdom from God is gentle.  Because of God, I am an edifier . . . that is my spiritual gift.  I am constantly being asked for advice, for prayer, for encouragement, for a listening ear, etc.  I enjoy giving those things, but I have done this without gentleness on countless occasions.  I want to take this opportunity to apologize to those of you whom I have given one of these things to without being gentle.  It is really easy to give advice and not be gentle.  It is really easy to pray for someone and not be gentle. It is at these points that my pride takes over, and I am thinking more about myself than about the person in front of me.  I'm human, and I am still growing.  

I'm so glad that God is gentle with me.  Now if I can just learn to be gentle with others.  Please be gentle with me, and I will strive to be gentle with you.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gentleness of God pt. 1

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

I don't know that many people actually teach that God is waiting to pounce on you in judgment when you sin, but I believe that developmentally speaking we tend to perceive this as we grow up in church and hear all the laws that God has.

We learn that we can't reach God because of our sin, and therefore, God had to prepare a way for us to reach Him through Christ's death on the cross. We learn what sin is, and we need to avoid sinning because God hates sin. He does hate sin, but He doesn't hate sinners. Why else would He have sent His son to die on the cross to provide a way to Himself if He hated us. He actually loves us and even likes us!

Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to separate our sin from who we are as a child, and we grow up with that belief system. The reality is we are more than the sum of our behaviors. If you are a parent you get this . . . a child can do terrible things and you still love them! How much more does God love us, even when we sin.

This is not a license to go on sinning. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. (Romans 6:1-2a). But it is a license to rest in the Lord's grace. He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithfulness, forgiving, and gentle.

When God showed me the depth of the pride in my life, I prayed that He would humble me without humiliating me. In retrospect, it is an interesting prayer. Some people that struggle with pride do have to be humiliated, but I have learned that that isn't His intent. He speaks to us all the time, but we have to be still enough to hear and willing enough to act. He has been gracious to me, and He continually shows me ways to learn humility without being humiliated.

Just the other day, I was sitting amongst fellow counseling professionals at a workshop, and the conversation about ethics and other ways of dealing with clients was astounding to me. I couldn't believe the conversation that people were processing through.  I was thinking, "This is common sense!" I then contributed to the conversation, and the leader of the workshop said, "That is profound." I couldn't believe she thought what I said was profound until I realized that this is just wisdom from God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning ofknowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7). Here I was thinking in a very condescending fashion towards my fellow professionals, and God reminded me that He gave me that wisdom. I have no right to be condescending and judgmental about that. I should take a stance of gratefulness for what He has taught me, and love for those who do not know Him and thus don't have the understanding that He gave me. Wisdom only comes to those who fear the Lord first. So seek hard after Him, this is the beginning of wisdom. Give credit where credit is due . . . to Him and Him alone. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36)

I tell you this story because of how gently God rebuked my pride. He didn't beat me over the head. He didn't humiliate me in front of my peers. He spoke in a still small voice. Listen closely to our gentle God.  He isn't waiting for you to mess up so He can just pounce on you.  

"The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of theLord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (I Kings 19:11-12)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Adoption Journey, part 4: And we are on the list . . .

After months of filling out paperwork and jumping through hoops, we are finally on a list that will have our profile shown to birth mothers.  The last step was a photo book describing our life.

I was a bit frustrated as I wasn't told about it until the day before we moved into our new house.  I could have been working on it for months, but she neglected to tell me until then.  If you know us at all, then you know when we moved into our house it immediately became a construction zone as we are doing extensive remodeling.  I knew it was going to be a while until I was able to work on the book, and it was.  The renovations in our house are going slowly due to Miles' health and uncommonly increased real estate business for the months of January and February.  Increased business is great; I am not complaining!  I have learned alot about letting God time things out though.

God knew that the lady wasn't going to tell me about the book until the day she did.  God knew that Miles' health would take a bit of a dive.  God is the One Who brings business to us. God knew the renovations would take longer than we anticipated due to all of those things.  The child that we are supposed to have will not be deterred by these things.  God is not bound by seemingly poor timing.  He is in control of everything.  We need not worry.

Anyway, with the help of some friends and family, I got the photo book completed (with 2 minor errors I might add . . . it doesn't sit well with my slightly OCD personality :)).  I shipped two to me, and one to the agency.  They emailed me on Thursday to tell me that they received the book.  They also told me that our home study addendum, that needs to be completed because we moved since our original home study, will not keep her from showing our profile to birth mothers.  I was very relieved by that!  Miles unfortunately was panicked because we have two stud walls with hot wires on them and a set of open stairs into the basement . . . things that will not pass a home study addendum.  It will get done.  I'm not worried.  We have both been reminded over the last couple of months how God is in control of everything.  Worry does nothing but waste your time and energy.

We covet your prayers above everything else during this process.  Please pray with us about several things:
1.  Pray that we will continue to be patient and trust God during this process.  We could literally receive a phone call today saying we have a baby, come pick them up today; or it could be years until a call comes.  The limbo is difficult.
2.  Pray for Miles' health to improve.
3.  Pray for the birth moms' out there that are making the difficult decision to give up their children.
4.  Pray for the child that God has picked out for us.  Pray for his/her protection in utero and out.
5.  Pray for progress on our renovation.
6.  Pray for business for Miles' to help pay for the renovations and the adoption.
7.  Pray for funding for the adoption.  It is a very expensive process.  If you would like to help us financially to fund this adoption, below is the link to our gofund me page.

Below is the link to ou
r photo book for the birth mom's to look at and get to know us some.  Please take a look at it.  Show it to people.  The goal is to get our story out there.

Now that this unforeseen piece is completed, time to start applying for grants.