Lavishly Loved

I'm a simple girl with a huge heart for God, family and friends.

Location: Michigan, United States

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You are a Child of MINE

I am so excited....
Some of you know, while others do not...I'm a new Auntie!!!
My brother and sister in law left Christmas morning (they had to be at the airport at 8 am Christmas morning) for China to pick up their new baby girl :) Her name is Adie...and I can't wait to get pictures, so I can show her off to all of you.

I have so much to share about Steven & Jani's faith walk over the years ( 7 miscarriages, and 5 adoptions that fell through at the very last second)...

...But there's more about my brother's story that recently, brings tears to my eyes.

I love adoption...I am reminded of God's love for each of us, that He adopts us as His children....their are so many parallels to learn from.

Ephesians 1:4-6 For he CHOSE us in Him, before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. He predestined us to be ADOPTED as HIS sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves..

The sacrifice, the cost, the unconditional love to adopt a baby and make them a part of your family...

As my brother and Jani were praying as to what to steps to take next, some one introduced them to "the special needs list"...

The are 2 categories in international adoptions.

List #1 are healthy babies.
List #2 are babies that have a special need... (a health problem of some kind, missing a limb, a cleft palette, etc...still each one are so precious!)

....the cost for babies on List #2 is less than babies on List #1...( I cringe to even type that)

...List #2 is usually full of babies that are never adopted, ....for numerous cost for these sick babies, is outrageous. People's insurance will not cover the types of surgeries that will give these babies are normal life...another reason that people don't adopt babies with "problems" is that Adoption is VERY to pay a Huge price for a baby that has a "special need"...most people inevitability select from List # 1....there is no judgment here, because God has a special family for each of these babies, with special brother is one of these families.

Recently, I heard a talk about Jesus feeding the Five Thousand. The speaker brought up something close to my heart. The speaker said..."isn't it funny that the disciples got upset with Jesus, when Jesus asks them to pick up the "left overs"..."the broken pieces"...the Disciples were like.."we just witnessed a huge miracle, why on earth would Jesus want us to pick up the crumbs, the left overs, lets just throw them out????"...Isn't that like us today (oh to have the mind of Christ)..but Jesus is different, He knows and sees the potential of the crumbs. That is how God the Father is...HE picks up the broken pieces, the crumbs of our lives...He restores...He doesn't throw us away, even though other people might have in the past...God doesn't...

God revealed to me through my brothers adoption of Adie (and her being on the List # 2-she has a cleft palette)...the same principle...

We are broken people, with broken lives. We might feel we are not attrative, or that we don't have anything to offer to people-and who would want us ?...BUT Christ picks us up, loves us unconditionally...tells us we are beautiful! No matter the HUGE cost... Christ paid the highest price of all...HIS LIFE...for all of matter what list we or anyone else my have us on...

My brother is flying 1,000 of miles to get his new baby girl...God sent Jesus from Heaven to Earth to give His life... to Lavish His Love on us, to call us His Daughter and Son...I John 3:1 (How great is the love the Father has LAVISHED on us, that we should be called children of God! and that is what we are!

and as my brother grabs sweet Adie into his arms, embraces her, lifts her up and twirls her around, (like only a daddy can do), ...saying "you are so beautiful, I love are MY daughter..."
God is saying that to you...whether you've had good parents, bad parents, or no parents at all...The Almighty God of the universe has adopted YOU into His family. He sent His son to die to YOU, and raised Him from the grave to show His love for YOU....YOU are a child of God..

...I pray that each you feel the embrace of our Abba (Daddy) Father...and know how Deep, how wide is His Love for you this New year!

Child of Mine-Mark Schultz
I've been hearing voices
Telling me that I could, Never be what I wanna be.
They're binding me with lies,
Haunting me at night,
And saying there's nothing to believe.
Somewhere in the quietness,
When I'm overcome with loneliness,
I hear You call my name.
And like a father You are near
And as I listen I can hear You say
You are a child of Mine
Born of My own design
And you bear the heart of life.
No matter where you go,Oh, you will always know
You have been made free in Christ.
You are a child of Mine
And so I listen as You tell me who I am
And who it is I'm gonna be.
And I hang on every word,
Knowing I have heard
I am Yours and I am free
But when I am alone at night
That is when I hear the lie
You'll never be enough
And though I'm giving into fear
If I listen I can hear You say
You are a child of Mine
Born of My own design
And you bear the heart of life.
No matter where you go,Oh, you will always know
You have been made free in Christ
You are a child of Mine

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Home for Christmas

It's wild and hard to explain what I am about to say...but for the last 10 years, I have missed 'Christmas'...

I didn't really know how to put into words, until this past weekend, when my friend Bonnie sang the Faith Hill song...

Where are you Christmas... the lyrics say this..

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you rememberThe one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

My pastor said some of us, miss the Christmas we used to know...especially if you had good memories. That's it...that's how to describe it...!!!

When my brother & I were kids...My mom and dad decided that Christmas day was a day of rest! going back and forth to peoples one coming over...just my brother, mom, dad and I ...hanging out in comfy clothes,
watching a movie, playing Yatzee or Aggravation and having a good dinner & LOTs of dessert...paper plates for easy clean was just a simple day :)

.....They chose to see all of the other relatives on either Christmas Eve or on the 26th (which is when we would travel down to Kentucky to see my Grandma Tina)...

My memories are so funny. I was even telling my mom about them the other day.

I loved her Christmas tree. I would wrap up in a blanket, next to the heat vent and stare at it for hours. I couldn't wait for it to be dark enough to turn it on...hahaha (and it was a family tradition when we decorated it too...I remember the first time we decorated it without my brother (when he was gone away at college) my mom and I sniffled through ornaments that year...(I still well up with tears...silly, I know)

As we got older we began to open our presents at Midnight (Christmas Eve) would last for hours, (with either Elvis Presley's Christmas or Alabama's Christmas Records playing in the background) Grandma Tina (Rowe) started a tradition of selecting one present to hide in the house. However, the process to find the actual present was unique. You would wrap a present under the tree and leave a riddle...kind of like a treasure would run all over the house, riddle after riddle until AT LAST you would find your most treasured gift. (my brother and I have begun that tradition with his kids now :) My brother and I would read the Christmas story...and then would drive down to see Grandma Tina. I loved being down there at Christmas with her. I wished you could have known her...she was such a HOOT...her sense of humor was out of this world.

Fast forward......after I got married everything changed without question. It was nobody's fault but mine. Christmas day became Steve's family's day...All day to go from a quiet cozy day a house full of people was drastic for me..(still is...) My parents went to Kentucky to see Grandma Tina...but because of my new job, I was unable to ever join them to go to Kentucky.

My brother and I talk about it all of the time. Because Christmas now... is radically different from OUR traditions...and sometimes it just doesn't feel like Christmas....please don't misunderstand brother and I married into GREAT families, that we love & treasure with all of our hearts!
But my brother & fell right into "their" traditions. My mom & dad were just kind of left out there...invited and always welcome but it just isn't the same...sometimes we miss our quiet, intimate Christmas...we miss mom and dad, we miss each other...we miss Kentucky and Grandma Rowe.

I guess I always thought I would some day get back down to Kentucky for one last Christmas with her...

Pastor said..."it's time for you to make YOUR OWN traditions! Make it something special for YOUR household..!" that's what I am praying for...a new tradition for Steve and I ...and someday if we have have a family tradition...or to bring in some of my family traditions....maybe next year...

Below is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman...called Home for Christmas...this is for you Grandma Tina...I can't imagine how Celebrating Christmas with Jesus face to face must be, HOW Glorious!!!!!..I have tears and smiles just thinking about it...I love you.

Her house was where the family gather every Christmas eve
A feast was on the table and gifts were placed beneath the tree
Everything was picture perfect, Grandpa would laugh and say
That woman spends the whole year getting ready for this day

One year the leaves began to fall and her heath began to fade
We moved her to a place were they could watch her night and day
But she kept making place for Christmas from her little room
She told everyone, I'll miss you, but I'll be leaving soon

I'm going home for Christmas, and I'm going home to stay
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away
I'll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior's birth
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth
I'm going home, home for Christmas

All the leaves outside have fallen to be covered by the snow
The family comes with food and gifts, and Grandpa comes alone
There's a sadness in our silence as the Christmas story's read
And with tears, Grandpa reminds us of the words that Grandma said

I'm going home for Christmas, and I'm going home to stay
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away
I'll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior's birth
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth
I'm going home, home for Christmas

As we sing 'Joy to the World' I can't help thinking
Of the joy that's shining in her eyes right now
And though our hearts still ache, we know that as we celebrate
She's singing with the herald angels and heaven's glowing on her face

And now she's home for Christmas, and now she's home to stay
She's home for Christmas and nothing could've kept her away
She'll be face to face with Jesus, as we celebrate His birth
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth
She's home, she's home for Christmas She is home She's home for Christmas

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fresh Fire

Proverbs 29:18 (Amplified Bible)
where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.

The last several months have been ....well, different for me. I don't know if it started when I kept getting sick back in August/September or after my grandma passed away and I began to fight insomnia...but as I said in previous blogs, I feel like a walking zombie. I feel numb and distant from God and others. (Funny sometimes how we feel this way, when things haven't gone the way WE want them too...)So I began to pray and seek God for an answer, a revelation, was there a sin I was not confessing to, what was He trying to teach me...anything...

Still nothing...silence. But I continued to press in...

I began to compare this year, with years see where I lost some of my fire. The first thing that God revealed to me, was how many "events" I have attended in the last several years, and have been blessed beyond measure. In 2005, Kristi and I drove to see Joyce Meyer, and Beth Moore. AND I went to Kansas City to see Beth Moore with my sister in law, and then was able to see attend her live broadcast at Calvary. But in 2006...there have been no "big conferences"...

I slowly began to realize how I had begun to rely on those events to keep me "UP"...pumped up in Christ. These events are designed to encourage all believers in the DAILY walk with Christ..But not live 100% off of what I walk away with, from a conference, a Great Communion Service or even a great weekend service. We can't base our walks with God on these services. They are there to encourage us to dig deeper with God.

Beth Moore gave an example of going to a Third World Country, and the missionary explaining that he had been trying to teach the people to plant their own crops to feed their families. However, these people are sooooooooooooooo starving for food, that they eat the seed that is given to them, instead of planting it. In turn they are starving AGAIN. I think that is what has happened to me. And it happens to alot of people with busy schedules...sometimes even busy with ministry stuff.

I heard a quote the other day that said, "if satan can't get you to quit ministry-he will get you to do TOO much of it-in order to burn out, get sick, etc"...

I Peter 5:8 be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

We let our lives get so out of balance. I let my life get out of balance, and when I do that...I lose purpose.

Ephesians 5 says, in verse 15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

And then I heard a teaching on Moses.

This great man that was used by God. But he lost his fire and God had to replace him with someone with Fresh Faith and Fresh Fire and he missed the promised land. But when you think of Moses it's easy to empathize with him...wondering around a desert for 40 years with grumbling people. (wow, how this sounds like life today, doesn't it ?) God provides for his needs (manna from heaven and water from a rock) but when the desert season last a little bit longer than Moses wanted it to and needs water again-God instructs him to speak to the rock...but he whacked the rock instead.

How typical of humans to strike something out of frustration, especially when our desert season is longer than we would like....instead of speaking God's truth over the situation...

Proverbs 29:18 (Amplified Bible)where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people PERISH; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.

Do you know the Definition of the word Perish ?

to deteriorate
to be ruined
to be destroyed
to cause to die
to weaken
to make NUMB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I heard the word numb, I stopped in my tracks...

When we begin to lose our vision, we lose our fire and become numb... We begin to get sloppy about our obedience to God and we begin to make comprises.

I don't want to miss it like Moses did, I want to be obedient to what God has asked me to do...I begged God to refresh my soul, my spirit, my heart and mind...and my vision.

On opening night of our Glory of Christmas, God used the 2 guys that portray Jesus in our play... it didn't matter if they were acting or not...God used them to break my heart, to take my breath away...and totally minister to me. (Thanks Stewart and Mike)

During this holiday season, If you are struggling with being numb, distant, tired, whatever it may be....May I encourage you to look at the life of Christ and be refreshed...The STONE is rolled away...that resurrection power lives in us as Christians.

As the end of this year draws near, and 2007 approaches...I am praying for a fresh revelation, a fresh faith and a fresh fire!

Isaiah 43
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.