Wednesday, January 17, 2018

God is working in the Waiting

If you were to read through my blog over the last 10 years, you would see a recurring theme and that is of WAITING. However, I realize that I'm not the only one who deals with seasons of waiting. We all do. Waiting for just the right job. Waiting for the perfect spouse. Waiting for a child. Waiting for guidance in our next step in life etc. As I've shared before our family is in another season of waiting. But I feel like the Waiting intensified when the New Year 2018 rolled around. We're waiting but we also see a "deadline" up ahead. The deadline is a little scary because it's a deadline to figure out our next direction in life but also a deadline for our adoption to finalize. Making a decision about what is next for us in our missionary career I have some control over. We're praying, seeking advice, emailing opportunities in Africa and moving towards our goal. But with our adoption there really isn't much we can do...but wait.

God has given me this beautiful book to encourage my heart as we wait. It follows the life of David and how He had to trust God's plan to take him from being a shepherd in the pastures, to the battle field, to the THRONE. He had so many twists and unexpected turns in his journey and his words in the Psalms have been so comforting to  me as I see them from a new perspective.

God also brought me some really special friends. These mamas are all waiting with our same agency, Quiver Full Adoptions and are in our local area. We have met together several times to encourage each other and we have a group chat where we text almost daily to check in with each other and offer words of encouragement and prayer. It has been one of the sweetest surprises of this waiting season!

As far as our adoption goes, we've also received so much support through our T-shirt fundraiser that we did to raise money for the big chunk that will be due when we bring baby home. A friend of mine from high school even hosted a special Book Selling Party announcing that all her commission would go towards our Adoption Fund. Folks, we feel the love and it is what is pushing us through.

Wearing our special t-shirts
They say: "He chose us in love for adoption. Eph. 1: 4-5"
Many of you may know that Eli and I are taking the month of January to very specifically and intentionally pray about our future plans. Our original thought was to return to the field by July or August of this year. Isaac will be starting at Rift Valley Academy in the fall so we wanted to get back and settle so he can start school at the beginning of the school year. So with that only 6 months away, we are asking God what He has for us next. The encouraging thing is that as we've been more intentional in praying, God has given us so much peace and we know that whatever He has in store for us, it's going to be good. We have been sending out a lot of emails to many different organizations working in South Sudan and with South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries to see where we might fit best. With so many possibilities in front of us, Eli and I are enjoying an almost daily walk around our neighborhood to discuss what new opportunities came up that day.
* For the record, we are still continuing with our mission SIM but since they are only based in one place in South Sudan we might team up with another organization.
* We are also preparing for the possibility of having to delay our return if we are in the midst of finalizing our adoption.

Yesterday I was out shopping and came across this adorable little newborn outfit:

We have been trying to wait to buy baby things until we're matched or bring a baby home, but I couldn't pass this one up. WORTH THE WAIT was just the sweet reminder I needed yesterday when the wait was feeling impossible! I realized that was something I need to hold onto, not just as we wait in our adoption journey but also as we wait to see what God has in store for us next. I know I can say that no matter what it is, it will be WORTH THE WAIT. I am confident that since we have bathed this whole decision in so much prayer and wise counsel from others, it will indeed be GOOD and be worth all this waiting.

Now that I know it will be worth the wait, I am trying to focus my heart on being JOYFUL in HOPE and CONTENT with all God has in front of me now. You know how sometimes you can get so caught up looking forward to something that is coming that you miss what is right in front of you? I have been so convicted of this lately and my prayer has been:

Open up my eyes to see all that I have to be grateful for. 
Live in the present.
Don't miss what's right in front of me.
Wait with hope.

This is one of Satan's oldest tricks. He tricked Eve in the Garden of Eden into thinking God was withholding something good from her. That one lie somehow made Eve blinded to all the wonderful, beautiful things He had given to her.

Friends, let's not be tricked like that. Trust God with what you're waiting for. He knows.
And open up your eyes to ALL that He's blessed you with.

*If you're in a waiting season, I'd love to hear from you and pray with you. Email me at

Monday, January 08, 2018

Major Update

Dear Friends,
    It's been way too long since we've updated you all on our blog. I'm so sorry. Perhaps you will understand shortly when I tell you what's been going on with us since October 2017 which is the last time we posted. In October we officially began the adoption process with a wonderful agency called Quiver Full Adoptions based here in SC. Adoption is something we've felt called to do for many years and have hoped it would be possible while we live and work overseas in Africa but so far that hasn't worked out. So since we had an extended time here in the States we decided to go ahead and see what God does. It's been quite the journey and though we haven't been matched with a baby yet, we are hopeful that 2018 might be the year!

Meanwhile, while we hear of different situations and hope a mama will choose us, Eli continues to work diligently in his doctoral classes and has loved them even Statistics which was very stretching for him. He has also completely renovated both of our bathrooms in our home which has been a lot of work but very rewarding.

Our 3 boys have also kept us very busy! Though I'm not home schooling this year, they are working hard at a great private school and trying all kinds of things for the first time. In the fall Isaac ran on the school's cross country team and did a great job improving his time in each race.

Then in November the boys started wrestling season which has been another great learning and stretching thing for them. Joshua also recently joined a wrestling club because he was too young to join the team at school.

Evan on the mat

Let me tell you: competitions are tense!

I got to do some very special traveling in October and November due to an awesome husband who does so well holding down the fort here in SC. I got to spend a week with one of my dearest friends, Nan, in Washington state.

I then got to fly to CA to spend almost a week with my sweet sister who is now expecting another baby boy due in April!

With my sister

As we neared Thanksgiving we packed our beloved van and traveled north to Illinois where we got to speak at 2 different support churches outside of Chicago and then we headed to Michigan to celebrate Thanksgiving with Eli's parents, sister and her family and even a few cousins and their kiddos.

An afternoon in the park in Illinois

Thanksgiving in Michigan

Kids with cousins!

We had a few weeks at home and then when the boys' Christmas break rolled around from school we drove down to Florida where Eli's parents have retired and celebrated a very special Christmas with grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins!

Christmas in Florida
So yes, that's what we've been up to and where we've been. 2017 was a year of many unexpected things but God redeemed it for us and brought us many joys amidst the tears.

We are now committing the month of January to very intentionally praying for our future in ministry in Africa. We're excited about the options and we trust God will give us wisdom as we're asking Him and will guide us clearly to what is next for us. Thank you for following along in our journey.

When we turned the corner and stepped into 2018 both Eli and I felt a new sense of hope and expectancy as we look ahead. We have no clue what is coming but we're excited for it because we know God does have it all planned for us and all we need to do is obey and step forward.