My Abnormal Life

It's All About Jesus

August 31, 2014
by myabnormallife
1 Comment

A Spectator Sport?

DSC_0014     We recently went to the beach. I got in the water with them.  That is how they knew they didn’t have to be afraid.  In the bathroom at the supermarket the other day, Micah did NOT want to use the hand dryer as much as I tried to show him there was nothing to be afraid of, he still didn’t want to try it.  So, we will try another day.  I crouched down as Rilee held on ever so tightly to show her that Fenway was our loved pet and he was kind and gentle.  Although it took a few days, she warmed up to him.  I had to show her I love Fenway.  I had to show her so she wasn’t afraid.  I am constantly having to show Micah and Rilee to enjoy the things around them and that life can be fun and not so scary.  But, I have to show them. Each day is a new experience, a new lesson if you will.  I have a deep love for them.  I want the very best for them and for that I am willing to be “in the game” with them.  I refuse to be on the sideline and just hoping they will figure things out.  I refuse to let life happen without me.  We live in a world that has accepted the fact that men will leave their children to be raised by Mothers and Fathers are just needed for one thing, to make the baby.  I want them to know I will be with them through every part of their lives.  See, God didn’t create the universe and then step back to watch us implode.  He continues to work in our lives every day.  Micah and Rilee need Jesus.  I need Jesus.  Pray that I can show them the love of the Father.  I will be involved and if you see me at any time sitting on the sideline, grab me and THROW me back into the game! I will continue to show my kids that there are things they don’t need to be afraid of.  To do this, I will do those things.  As God disciplines us, I too have come to the reality that they need boundaries and I must discipline too.  At the same time, I am a sinner and have already needed to ask them for forgiveness.  I hope they catch on quickly that I am NOT a perfect father.  I also know that I don’t have to be.  I just need to be active in their lives and discipling them well by pointing them to Jesus every day.  Being “Papa” to our children will never mean I sit silently on the sideline but I will be “in the game” being their biggest and loudest cheerleader!!

And so it is with our Heavenly Father.  He showed His love to us “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Jesus came to earth to show us true love by shedding His blood to cover our multitude of sin.  He has shown me the best example of Fatherhood to follow. He is “in the game” every day with us.  Thank you for your loving grace and unending mercy.

-Shalom

August 21, 2014
by myabnormallife
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Some of the Things I’ve Learned Over the Last 2 Weeks Since Our Children Came Home

DSC_0035-I can’t take enough pictures

-I can’t get enough hugs and kisses

-I’m still in awe that they are home

-I love being Papa but hate having to be Papi

-My wife is an amazing Mama

-Micah and Rilee hate to share

-They shovel food in their mouths like it’s their last meal *Disclaimer: Rilee is now getting picky as to what she eats as she slowly  realizes there is always something else to eat.  Micah is a little slow with this still.*

-They have awesome personalities of which they both love people and love singing and dancing

-They have parasites but they love medicine

-They hate dirt in their shoes

-I can speak 3 languages at the same time: English, French, and some form of gibberish baby talk but they still understand me

-I need God’s Grace and Forgiveness every day

-I cry more than they do at the Doctor’s Office

-I get frustrated too easily

-The language barrier still sucks

-They love ice cream…YEAH!!

-Haiti seems so far away now

-We will have toys thrown all over the place but I’m OK with that

-Aside from God, Family is most important

-What used to be just normal food to me has suddenly become new and exciting again

***But MOST importantly…***

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-God’s amazing love is just that…AMAZING! He continues to shower our family with His Love and Grace and grows us closer everyday with Him!

Thank you all to those who supported us throughout our4 year journey.  Although it was tough at times, you all held us up in strength in ways only Heaven can reveal when we get there! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

-Shalom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2014
by myabnormallife
0 comments

Some of the Things I’ve Learned Over the 4 Year Adoption Process

The Day We Met

The Day We Met

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    -4 years is a long time for us, not so with God

    -Obedience to God brings trials

    -It’s a fight, be ready for it

    -God gets all the glory

    -People love updates

    -Satan hates adoption

    -The strength I need to obey God is not in my strength but His

    -It is NOT for the faint of heart

    -God calls and we follow-no matter what it means that we have to face

    -Even though someone along the way says they are a Christian and wants the best for your family, doesn’t mean it’s true

    -God always wants what is best for us

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-When you think it’s over, it probably isn’t

-One step forward, two steps back

-Adoption is ultimately God’s plan no matter how much you try to make it your own

-Every Christian is called to orphan care, just not always in direct adoption

-Adoption opens your eyes to greater needs

-I am not doing enough for God

-Orphans are exploited

-Families are broken without Jesus

-It is not fun

-They’re God’s children, not ours

-It’s not about money

-When you say yes to God’s plan, trouble starts

-While we wait, life goes on

BUT…

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God is good, all the time!

-Shalom

 

 

June 28, 2014
by myabnormallife
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My Fear of Fatherhood

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In just a few short weeks, we will be heading to Haiti to bring Micah and Rilee home. Some people have asked how I feel. Excited? Surreal? Anxious? How about scared. Not scared of travelling, or having them home, or keeping them safe from harm but afraid of fatherhood.

Afraid of loving my children more than God

Afraid of my anger dictating my actions when my children mess up

Afraid of not reflecting Jesus

Afraid of not listening to my daughter’s hurt when she tells me about something that hurts her heart

Afraid of not having compassion for my son when he skins his knee

Afraid of sheltering them

Afraid of becoming frustrated with my wife when she just wants to get away because the kids have driven her nuts all day

Afraid of relying too much on the church to teach them about Jesus

Afraid of expecting more than what they can give at the time

Afraid of not telling them “I love you” enough

Afraid of what I’m going to tell them when they ask why someone says mean words to them

Afraid of being too busy

Afraid of being overbearing

Afraid of not raising them with their full potential

Afraid of always having to work instead of playing

Afraid of not seizing a teachable moment

Afraid of lacking patience

Afraid of not letting them explore

Afraid of hearing “You’re not my Dad!”

Afraid of failure

Afraid of not praying with them enough

Afraid of being the father I have been called to by The Father

But…

Romans 8:22-28

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts know what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 

…As a father, I have prayer.

-Shalom

March 30, 2014
by myabnormallife
5 Comments

Forging Weapons

Warriors

It is difficult at times to look at such a blessing in our lives such as children and think of them as weapons.  As Christians, we know we are at war.  We know God has given each of us gifts to use for His glory and for the expansion of the Gospel.  For example, Love would be one of those gifts we can use as a weapon in the war against the world which burns in hatred; therefore, we show God’s love to the world.  The weapon of love is used to battle the spiritual forces in this world that desire nothing more than to watch the world destroyed through hatred of one another.  We can then advance the Gospel of Christ into the world by utilizing one of our weapons- the love of God.  There are so many other weapons that God has equipped us for war.

With this said, I want to look at one of the most powerful weapons we have to combat the spiritual forces around us – our children.  As adoptive parents waiting for our children to come home from Haiti (4 years now); God has not called us to be just waiting but preparing; preparing for war.  We understand that although our wait has been a battle in itself, the war wages on and will continue long after our children come home.  Our preparation comes in the fact that once they are home with us, pure discipleship begins.  We know our children are weapons we will have to forge in the advancement of the Gospel of Christ in this spiritual war.  This is precious time as we are not here forever but for a blink of an eye and the time raising children is just as fast.

So, we are called to nurture and prepare our children ultimately for war.   Some of the words to describe “nurture” are encourage, develop, and support.  Nurturing is action.  We encourage and help our children to develop the good gifts God has given to them.  These attributes are then forged into weapons for the advancement of the Gospel.  Although we may fall on the battlefield, they will pick up the banner where we leave it and fight on.  People may call this a legacy but whatever the wordage may be, we will mold, cultivate, and develop our children into warriors.

This world is cold, unloving, scary, cruel, vast, daunting-for a few descriptors of it.  We need to, as Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I’ve been in some serious battles throughout my 40 something years of life.  I thank God almost daily for a father who raised his son knowing the battle would not end with him but that the war wages on well after he is gone.  See, this war has been waging since Adam sinned in the garden and the war will continue until Christ returns for His Bride.  We need to raise our children with warrior’s hearts and undying spirits in the face of this blood thirsty world.  The same world that put Jesus on the cross and denied Him.

We cannot put blinders on our children and shelter them in the thought that we can protect them.  The truth is that we cannot fully shelter our children from the woes of this world, only Jesus can do that!  Train up your children in the ways of spiritual warfare and when they are old, they will fight valiantly for the glory of God! Some may fall away and may seem to forsake all but take heart, God is good all the time and your efforts will not be for nothing.  God says in Proverbs 24:16 “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again…” So we read that the righteous have times of struggle and faltering but will never be destroyed.  We fight on and we need to teach our children to also stay encouraged and fight on.  This adoption has certainly been one of the battles in the war that we’ve struggled and fallen but most importantly, been raised only by the power and grace of God.  Allow your children to see you struggle and let them see you rise again but most importantly, let them see you praising the Savior through all of it.  They will soon understand that while this world can win some battles, it will never win the war and God is to be praised through it all.  Always keep in mind that our children are precious weapons forged on the battle lines that God will use at His timing and in His purpose with His engrained gifts for the advancement of the Gospel to the glory of His name.  You are called for this purpose as parents…the time is now more than ever! The war wages on.

-Shalom

 

February 14, 2014
by myabnormallife
0 comments

We serve a great God.  When we become Christians, God calls us.  It is not a matter of when He might call but that He is calling us now.  We can wait for someone else to answer the call or we can act because as Christians we are called into action by God.  Fear grips the heart.  We can let that fear hold us back from the blessings that God has stored up for us when we step out of our comfort zones and answer His call or we can be miserable, unsatisfied Christians.  God will not honor that.

Blessings will come when we serve others and answer God’s call on our lives. Pain is a part of the call.  We need to experience pain and heartache sometimes in order to know blessings.  We cannot expect an easy road when we head on the path to following Christ’s call on us. We cannot enter into following Him with our heads in the sand.  We still live in a broken world and heartaches come with living here.  However, this cannot stop us from this journey He calls us to.  There would be no hope or satisfaction in the life He calls us to if we just lived “safely”.  There would never have been a “Via Dolorosa”.

God would never have sent His Son to earth to take up His cross and lay down His life for each of us had there been no reward.  He knew the cost but still came. We are the reason.  We turn and give Him our lives because of what He has done for us.  It comes with pain.

This pain gives way to blessings.  We are in this adoption process wholly devoted to Christ through the pain and heartache because Jesus never said “This is too hard for me.” Or “I can’t go on.”  He knew the pain would come but He also knew the blessings would be poured out on us.  We are nearing the end of our adoption process and we are beginning to see the “fruits” of this journey.  Just the excitement alone is a blessing.  We so want you to enjoy this excitement with us.

You can experience this excitement too but you need to respond to His calling.  The fact of the matter is that He is calling.  By responding to His call on your life says you are saying “Yes” to the pains and the heartaches while knowing that He will provide your needs and His blessings will be poured upon you.  Just remember, these come in His timing.  There are times when you won’t see any good, you won’t see any blessings, you won’t see any peace or hope but He is always good.  This is something I have needed to remind me through this whole stepping out into following His will.  That He is God and in control and is ALWAYS good!  Remember this as you answer His call on your life.

You cannot focus on the sacrifices and the pain that might come; they most likely will.  You and I will never be satisfied in this life if we sit on the couch and allow someone else to take on His calling because we are worried about the pain.  True, we all need cheerleaders but God is calling each of us to be on the field and in His game.  Pain, trials, and heartaches will give way to His blessings which will ALWAYS outweigh those “temporary moments of affliction”.  We pray you will know He is good all the time and His blessings are coming your way, just hold on!

-Shalom

January 11, 2014
by myabnormallife
1 Comment

The Pursuit of Love

If you haven’t been reading this blog up until this point, let me give you the overall “theme” of it.  It goes like this.  Adoption is hard.  International adoption is especially hard as it deals with additional factors such as language barriers, long distance “parenting”, long distance relationship building, long distance travel headaches, foreign governments, our own government’s red tape, etc.  My wife and I have had some of our toughest struggles ever in life with our adoption.  This whole process is a nightmare but we have Jesus.  There it is summed up.  However, there is so much more to it than those issues previously mentioned.  There is love.  It is not just a standing still kind of love but a pursuit of love.  It is a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.  This adoption happens because God chooses to pursue us with His love.

Although this process has been a nightmare and lengthy, we love our children and will never end this process because it has become too hard or discouraging to continue.  We are in it for the long haul! Some people have told us they would have given up a long time ago.  We won’t.  We will go through these temporary hardships, although the years have been taking their toll, because we have hope and a vision.  Vision requires hope.  The Bible, God’s Word, is full of hope for us to hold on to.  God’s Word for us gives us hope because His Word promises us that He will be with us through this life and into the life to come.  So, we pursue our children in this messed up process because they are our children and we love them with a never giving up kind of love.  The same love we are pursued by.

Pure love pursues.  God pursues after us with His perfect love.  You can run.  Years may go by as you run but God will pursue you.  Every one of us is pursued by love.  Years have gone by with this adoption but we are pursuing our children with love.  It is still an imperfect love but we are pursuing them with our love because it is compelled by His perfect love for them.

Maybe you are running.  Stop.  God loves you.  Sure, that may sound like a Christian cliché but He does.  You cannot outrun His love.  Trying to outrun Him is exhausting.  His love is perfect while you and I are a mess. He still loves you and me even in the mess.  We will never stop pursuing our children, even when they come home and even in this mess.  I will never stop pursuing the heart of my wife no matter how messy it might be.  She needs to know I will never stop loving her even if I have won her over but will continue the pursuit.  God does that with us.  He wants our hearts daily.

We are broken, fragile people pursued by a perfect, holy God Who loves us and wants us to be His children.  He pursues us through all the brokenness of the world.  He pursues us through the red tape.  He wants to have the relationship that your heart is longing for.  Your heart aches for something.  Our hearts ache for our children to come home.  We all ache for something.  The God of the universe is pursuing you and me to fill our heart’s void.  Let Him in.  Stop running and let God’s love overtake you.

-Shalom

December 28, 2013
by myabnormallife
0 comments

The Letter of Adoption

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Adoption has certainly been a challenge.  I would tell anyone that they need to weigh all the circumstances that can happen when they decide to adopt and even go so far as pray extremely hard in the decision to adopt to the point of even fasting and seeking God’s voice in every step of the process. I don’t mean just talk to Him about the calling on your life but to be fully engulfed in the spiritual covering of God’s sovereign protection on every part of your life.  You are not only entering a battle field but going straight to the front line!

This decision for us to adopt was not an easy one. It became very apparent in our lives that this is what God wanted us to do.  There have been blatant, unquestionable God moments in our lives and this was certainly one of them.  After God paved the way for us to move here to the woods of Maine and blessed us with the land and house, we told Him that this was His and we would share it with whoever He had placed in our lives.  I don’t think we were picturing adoption as part of this plan.  We thought it meant barbecues in the backyard with friends and church folk, living out into our golden years as a happy old couple with a dog and some chickens.  God certainly had a different picture.

So, here we are going into our fourth year of waiting for the completion of the adoption of Micah Ethan and Rilee Hope.  Yet, even in this wait we can say God is so good.  We have had the awesome blessing of watching our church blow up with people listening to the call of God on their own lives and saying “yes” to adoption. My wife has left the country, not for a vacation, but to see, smell, hear, and touch a fourth world country.  We have held some of the dirtiest children anyone could imagine and had the privilege of bathing them.  We have seen parents meet and hold their children for the first time. We have seen orphans enter the orphanage for the first time and have seen them grow over the few years, making new friends, and becoming a son or daughter of a brand new loving family.  We have seen the devastation of an earthquake and the hundreds of thousands of homeless living in tent cities. We have heard the cries of hungry babies.  We have fed and clothed the orphan.  We have cried and prayed over all we have seen and most of all, we have seen God’s hand in all of it.

Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Our prayer this year, without a doubt, is to be bringing our children home this coming year.  However, our first prayer is to always seek God and to look for His hand in all that we see or don’t see.  We want to see Him.  It is hard to see Him working sometimes but we know He is good and we know He loves us to see us through all the difficult times.  We ask that you would join with us in prayer over the next year for His strength in us as we wait.  We ask you to pray for your own life and what God has planned for you.   Start out as we did and tell God that you and all you have is His.  See what He wants to do with it all.  Don’t hold back anything from Him.  He will do amazing things through willing servants and empty vessels.

2 Corinthians 3:2-4 “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of the human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.”  Remember, you are a letter being read by the world.  We hope and pray they are “reading” the Gospel.  Adoption is an awesome Gospel “letter” to share.

-Shalom

December 23, 2013
by myabnormallife
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Manufactured Memories

Another Christmas

 

Christmas time again. Another year has come and gone. Another year we have spent daily trips past empty rooms, empty beds, empty clothes, empty shoes…empty arms. Another year we have dreamed up memories in our heads of things we want to do with our absent children. Manufactured the memories of fleeting hope. Despair would be more like it.

So many questions unanswered. Why can’t we get answers? Why do we keep being told to be patient and pray? Patience is running out and prayers are exhausted when you won’t give us specific details to pray for. You certainly wanted our money though when the paperwork came screwed up from the courts. No answers. None.

Here’s a question- God where are You? Busy? Can I even ask that? Are you watching us wallow in this mess? Does anyone have any answers? Why won’t You answer?

Its Christmas time again.  More manufactured memories.

-Shalom

November 30, 2013
by myabnormallife
0 comments

Thanksgiving

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There is joy and pain this Thanksgiving for my family and me. This is a weird concept when you think of joy and pain going hand in hand in the middle of a holiday called “Thanksgiving”. “Thanks” belong to God. “Giving” His love to the world around us is our call. It is in this that we have Thanksgiving. Therefore, with tears in our eyes, we can truly rejoice in the fact of God’s blessings poured out on us even when it hurts.
Although it is painful, we can worship Him in all His sovereign grace and rule over us. Joy in the fact that God has blessed us beyond any measure we could ever begin to have imagined and pain as we wait for our children to come home only in His timing. We hurt but we rest in Him and His goodness. Goodness that allows us to rest even in our hurt. He hurts with us. Remember that we serve our God who knows our hurts. He knows our broken world. He knows adoption is hard. Adoption is His idea. He redeems His children through adoption. Heaven rejoices when each one of His children come home to Him. There is pain in the wait still. There will be greater joy still to come in the reunion.
Pray for all the orphans, 153 million, who need a home. Pray for their hearts in their pain. Pray for comfort. Pray for families to be complete in the year to come. Pray until all orphans have a home to call their own. Pray for the end of orphanages. Pray for the children in the world seeking their heavenly Father that they will find Him and the pain they are feeling now will soon turn to eternal joy.

-Shalom