Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Just a little while ago now, my grandpop went home to be with the Lord. Many have been offering their prayers during this difficult time, which I sincerely appreciate. This time, however has not been the hard or sad part for me. My grandpop was diagnosed with Parkinson's just a little over 14 years ago. The hard and sad part has been seeing my energetic, passionate, bigger-than-life, fire 'n brimstone preachin' grandpop gradually lose the ability to preach, talk, walk, stand, and take care of any of his own physical needs. To see him truly trapped in his body was heartbreaking.

But today, today is a day of joy and celebration! Sure there are mixed emotions in knowing he is not with us on earth anymore . . . to know that I won't be able to give him a hug next time I see him. But he is done with all of this stuff - all of the pain and suffering of this world!

Anyone who knew my grandpop well knew that he was not a perfect man. And they also knew that he invested every part of his being into serving a great God who chose to use my grandpop in spite of his imperfections, and did so in a great way in the lives of many people throughout his years here on earth.

Anyone who knew my grandpop also knew that his favorite song was "It is Well", and he lead it like no other! I have not been able to sing this song for many years without getting choked up and will never sing or hear it without thinking of him. The line that always strikes me is "and Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight". Oh, what a day that will be!! And so today there are tears in my eyes, but they truly are not tears of sadness - they are tears of joy! Today, my grandpop's faith - his life's passion - was made sight! Today he is getting to kneel at his Savior's feet and hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" Wish I could hear him singing . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As I am writing this, I am just completely overwhelmed by God's goodness! It is so amazing and humbling to see God work, and I know we only get a glimpse of His glory here on earth. There are times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed by the difficulties in our lives . . . but I feel completely overwhelmed by the goodness that God has shown us. His power, His grace, His goodness, His faithfulness . . . words truly do not seem adequate. It feels like almost more than my sinful self can handle!

This past weekend we had another huge yard sale. After the last one in June, we had so many items donated and so many left over, we had decided to do another yard sale. For several reasons, it kept getting put off, until this past weekend. More people donated items to sell, and we set up another large sale. To be honest, I don't even know where to begin in talking about all that God did.

I guess I'll begin by explaining what He taught me from the last sale. We had planned that for a few months prior and had invested time and energy into every detail for the sale to go well - organizing a neighborhood yard sale so it would attract more people, having signs printed up, posting the sale on Facebook and on Craigslist, pricing almost every item, etc. I prayed, I stressed, and I did a lot! (I am not speaking this on behalf of Joe, as he was very steady in his faith.) The sale went well and, in spite of myself, God still showed me/us His goodness and faithfulness and provided the full amount of money that we needed for our next piece of paperwork at that point. I ended the sale physically exhausted and emotionally drained.

Then this sale. As I said, it kept getting postponed. It didn't seem we had as many "big ticket" items, and many of the bigger items we did have had already been in our last sale and posted on Craigslist several times with no real leads. Joe put our yard sale sign up on Monday night, and I posted a general listing on Craigslist. No price tags, just told everyone to ignore any prices they saw (from the last sale) and make us an offer. I truly was not expecting this to come close to making what we made in the last sale. Thursday morning came, we set up and I truly did not have a chance to sit down until sometime in the afternoon, and even that was short-lived. It seemed we had people, usually several at a time, looking through our sale for the entire day from 8 a.m. until we packed up at 5 p.m.! And they were buying - I'd guess 95% of the people that stopped on Thursday bought something! We estimated we probably had 75-100 people through our sale in 2 days! I don't know if I can even remember everything to explain all of the "little" things that God did. We had opportunities to have meaningful, God-centered, conversations with many people, and the opportunity to meet more of our neighbors.

On Friday, being the second day of our sale, I wasn't expecting much of a crowd or much in the way of sales, but God showed me once again who is in control! We had one guy stop by and out of the blue ask for an item that we didn't have in the sale, but that we had talked about selling. Another lady was talking to me about a few of the bigger ticket items (one of which I truly did not think would sell, since I'd been trying to sell it for over a year now), but she didn't seem actually interested . . . then just sat down and wrote us a check for the full amount we were asking for all three!

Probably the most exciting moment of the sale was around lunch time on Friday when a guy stopped by and started looking through our several tubs of books, all for 50 cents each. He found a set of tapes and manuals for a study through the Bible and was so excited. He asked if I was a pastor, and when I told him my husband was, he ended up sitting in the middle of our driveway and talking to Joe about all that has been going on in his life and his desire to get his life right with God!! Then he and Joe talked in Joe's office for probably another hour!

All in all, EVERY one of our "big ticket" items sold! We ended up with relatively few items to pack up and donate. And at the end of the day, our sale totaled $1300!!!! I know that God is good regardless of the $$ amount (we have been so blessed and encouraged by many "sized" gifts throughout this process), but the number shows me that no matter how much I invested, planned and worked, as at our first sale, it is God who is in control! Yes, I still walked away from this sale physically exhausted, but I wasn't emotionally drained - my heart was filled to overflowing with the goodness of my Savior!! I can't even think about it as I type without my eyes filling up with tears. I don't want to get repetitive, but I am humbled, I am amazed, I am overwhelmed by the goodness and faithfulness of my Heavenly Father!!

**Sorry for the profuse usage of exclamation points :o)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Show Hope

We just received a letter in the mail this afternoon letting us know that Show Hope is giving us a $5000 adoption grant!!! So thankful to those at Show Hope that have a heart for this ministry of adoption and praising the Lord for His wonderful works!!!

"Now to HIM who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Eph. 3:20-21

God also continues to work through people to give toward "the PUZZLE" for our adoption expenses. To see an update, click on the link in the right-hand side of this page and then click on the photo update tab.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Are We Adopting?? (part 2)

by Sarah

This is a question that, I’m sure, some people take for granted. And others of you have probably wondered why we are choosing to adopt. I mean, seriously, we’ve got four kids already, right? And if we don’t have the “extra” money, why are we doing it?

Well, the obvious answer is that we have prayed and truly feel as though God is leading us in this direction. On a practical level, if you sat down with Joe and me you would probably get different answers from both of us, and yet still the same – mine would be a lot more wordy than his, of course!

As I’ve heard this question asked, Joe’s response is usually something like “well, why not?” We know that this is a good thing. God has commands us to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). In the book of Mark we are reminded of God’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is pretty hard to do by itself, but then in John 15:12, He takes this love to a much higher level. "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

My answer is usually to go back to the fact that ever since I was a teenager, my heart has always been touched by adoption. But I thought that was something you did if you couldn’t have biological children. I have deeply desired to be a mommy ever since I can remember, and there was no doubt in my mind that if I couldn’t have had biological children that I would’ve wanted to adopt.

However, in more recent years, through God’s grace, it has become a reality in my mind that adoption is not just a substitute for procreation. It is a wonderful plan for bringing the “fatherless” into a loving family. A family where they can not only belong physically, but also where they can learn how to be adopted into our Heavenly Father’s family! I mean, what greater example of this do we have than that of God’s love for us? In Romans 5:8 it clearly states that while we were still in our sin, Christ died for us. Now that is a loaded topic in and of itself! In a nutshell, God is holy, pure, perfect. God loves us, but He cannot have anything impure or sinful near Him. So there is the dilemma – God desires to have a relationship with us, and without Him we are hopeless. Each of us has a debt from our sin that we cannot pay apart from our own eternal death. In our sin, everything about is us in complete opposition to God and who He is. The verse could read that when we were the enemies of God, Christ died for us. Unbelievable! Not only did God love us as His enemies, but He chose to solve the problem by putting our sin onto His Son who took the excruciating punishment in our place! And now, because of this sacrifice, God looks at us and sees Christ’s blood – Christ’s perfect holiness – and He adopts us into His family – not as servants, or even good friends, but as sons! I have heard this “story” since I was born, but never have I been able to see it so clearly and so deeply as in this past year as God has been leading us through this process to adoption.

We have every confidence that as God leads, He will provide. We have already seen that so clearly evidenced over these last several months through many friends and family who have chosen to step out in faith and join us in this ministry of adoption. He will provide financially, physically and emotionally for us, the children we have now and any children He adds to our home. God has not promised that we will ever be able to adopt any children, but we are willing to follow as long as He leads us, however far down this path He chooses for us to go. Our prayer is that we will be willing to go and content to stand still, or even stop . . . that we will not become so enamored with the gift that we forget the Giver!