Approximately 143 million orphans in the world. We can't provide a family for all of them, but we can for one, and one life changed makes a significant difference.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Grace for Today

Three years ago today a baby boy was found abandoned on a street.  Tonight, that same little boy will go to sleep again without a hug or kiss from Mom or Dad.  But this little boy is not just a minute fraction of an overwhelming statistic, this child is my son.  Lord Jesus, bring him home, please!

Last night I was awake for hours (usual story) wrestling with thoughts and emotions.  This coming Friday is our "meetcha day" and Ian, my nine year old, wants to celebrate but I know that would require me leaving my pity party.  Again I cried out, "Lord, help me see in perspective" and He brought to mind the song "Love Came Down" (if you know me you know I love me some Jeremy Riddle!).  Then, this morning at church I noticed The Solid Rock listed in the bulletin.  I told my husband I didn't have the emotional capacity for this.  He knew.  He had held me for a long time this morning as I wept.  He knows this hymn has been a theme song for me this year.  Sure enough, at verse two I couldn't hold it in any longer.

When Darkness veils his lovely face,

I rest on his unchanging grace.

In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

It didn't get any better with verse three:
His oath, his covenant, his blood

supports me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.

The sermon was based on 1 Peter 1:3-9.  
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Paired with the song I've been struggling to sing wholeheartedly since the middle of the night, this is exactly  what I needed today.  And so today, thanks to His grace, though my heart aches for my son I have joy.  

Here's a second chance, now go ahead and worship with Riddle, too. ;)


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hangin' in the Boat

This morning I was reading the account of the great flood in Genesis (New Living Translation), and like most everything I read, think, hear, do these days, I read it in light of our current all-consuming circumstance: waiting for the word to bring Solomon home.  So Noah and his family and a whole bunch of smelly animals endure 40 days on a boat until "the underground water sources ceased their gushing, and the torrential rains stopped."  I'm sure they were thinking, "FINALLY!  We're through the storm and should be getting off this boat soon!" (I don't care how much you love your family/in-laws and/or animals or how big the boat was, I think my assumption is pretty safe).  So then my Bible says, "after 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains or Ararat."  WHAT?  FIVE MONTHS they sat swaying on the boat before it came to rest.  If I were Noah I imagine I would be ready to do some mountain climbing.

So the boat is now on land but life in the boat is not yet over.  "TWO AND A HALF MONTHS LATER, as the waters continue to go down, other mountain peaks begin to appear." (No, the NLT does not use all caps there but I feel it's appropriate).  Next sentence:  "AFTER ANOTHER FORTY DAYS, Noah opened the window and released a raven..."  Seriously?  Almost nine months have passed since the rain has stopped and he's just now opening a window?  He's been sitting in this closed up boat for ten+ months, knowing the storm stopped looooooong ago.  Long story short, bird doesn't find dry ground, he tries again a week later, bird comes back with a leaf, waits another week, sends bird back and it doesn't return...dry ground!  Ok, so maybe I wouldn't have jumped out on the mountain top and maybe I would've waited a full week between bird tests, but I think that leaf, that sign of life would've been what had me leaving the boat.

"Finally, when Noah was 601 years old, TEN AND A HALF MONTHS AFTER the flood began, Noah lifted back the cover to look.  The water was drying up.  TWO. MORE. MONTHS. WENT. BY. and at last the earth was dry!"  I think the writer of Hebrews needed to add that it wasn't only by faith that Noah built the ark, but that he stayed on the ark for over a year! 

So now the earth is dry!  But Noah didn't say "come on kids, it's dry, let's go!"  Nope.  "Then God said to Noah, "Leave the boat..."

The torrential rains in our adoption process have ceased and we've even had some green leaves appear.  We're just hangin' in the boat waiting for that blessed word from God.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Quilt

I know I haven't blogged since we got back from our court trip other than to share opportunities to be a part of Solomon coming home, but I did allude to this wait being painful in the last post.  We expected to have brought Solomon home by early October, but each day we are told for one reason or another we have to continue to wait.  And we wait.  And we wait.  And we still don't have an end in sight.  I haven't shared details because it's complicated, confusing, overwhelming, etc.  Today was one of those hard days.  One of those days when the aching in my heart became paralyzing, literally, and I had a moment of complete debilitation as I wrestled with thoughts and emotions.  I once again found refuge and strength in the Lord, my ever-present help in time of need.  He never fails to meet me where I'm at and remind me that He is I AM.

So I wanted to share one of the precious ways He has touched me during this trial.  Shortly after we returned from Ethiopia, three very sweet friends gave me this quilt:  UPDATE - My computer froze last night at this point so I'm just now picking up where I left off.  Thankfully, today hasn't been as emotional as yesterday was. ;)

I was immediately impressed with their talent (I can barely thread a needle) and creativity.  One quilted, one outlined the design and the third embroidered.  I will be honest, though, the first thing I noticed was that Solomon was not with the rest of the family and I thought it was a little sad.  BUT (don't feel bad, dear friends who made this and are reading my confession for the first time) they explained the idea behind the design and I LOVED it.  If you look closely you'll see clouds after Solomon followed by an airplane that leads to a house and the rest of the Paladinos.  We'll take this quilt back to Ethiopia with us and it is a visual for Solomon as we travel in the plane of our journey home.

Not long after receiving this quilt we became aware that our Embassy trip would be delayed and days turned to weeks and weeks became months.  Through this whole delay I have had complete trust that God is in control and will be glorified through this situation.  Many days, however, my heart has not lined up with my head and I have struggled to cope with the deep emotions that are beyond words.  One day I begged God to confirm to me that everything was going to be ok.  Now, I knew that whatever the outcome of this whole situation, it would be "ok," but I wanted to know that it would all work out in the end.  Anyone could tell me that it would all work out and be ok and that would be a nice sentiment, but I wanted to know, from God, through a person, that it would all be ok.

I was sharing some of the complications and struggles with these crafty friends and one of them, with glossy eyes, said she had to tell me about the quilt.  The friend that embroidered the quilt had finished her final stitch and began to clean off the pencil marks.  She brought the quilt to the quilter in a panic, fearing she had ruined it and explained, "I don't know what happened...I used the same thread for all of the clouds, but when I sprayed them to clean it up the ink in the first cloud ran."  The quilter said when she saw the big, dark cloud next to Solomon she was hit with a sinking feeling in her heart that this was a big storm cloud.  As I shared what was happening in our wait to bring him home, she saw that what we are experiencing is the storm before the blue skies.

God is good.  All the time.  Last night (the night I started this post!) Michael and I had a sweet time of worship together and ended with the song Always.  Here is an excerpt:

My soul will rest in You
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord

Looking forward to the day we awake to blue skies!!!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be a piece of the puzzle :)

This extra long wait to bring Solomon home has been, shall we say this??????  PAINFUL!  Through the pain and longing God has been graciously holding us close and despite me not getting what I want, when I want it, "my heart will choose to say, 'Lord, blessed be Your name'." 

Not the point of this post. ;)  So Thanksgiving is coming and we are looking forward to having some quality family time.  One of the Wood family traditions is to do a puzzle over Thanksgiving and I plan on keeping that tradition with my kids this year.  And since we are HOPING to bring Solomon home soon and still need the money for his plane ticket, I thought we could combine the tradition with the need in a fun way.  Friends and family (and friends of friends and family....hint, hint to share this post!), you can be a piece of the puzzle that brings Solomon HOME.  This is the puzzle we will be doing this year:
On the back of each piece, we will write the name of each individual who helps Solomon come home.  All you have to do is donate THREE dollars (that's a McLatte) to help purchase his plane ticket.  When the puzzle is done, we will frame it as a keep sake of all the people that had a part in Solomon's home coming.  Simply click on the donate button at the top of this blog and under "purpose" type the name(s) of who is helping bring S home. 
THANK YOU for being an important part of the puzzle!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home Stretch!

We are thrilled to be in the final stages of the adoption process.  All that's left is bringing our boy HOME!  If all goes well, that could be in about eight weeks.  We have seen God's fingerprints all over this adoption, in every detail, and have gotten to see glimpses of his greatness through this process.  We are thankful for how He has provided for every need.  We would like to invite our friends and family to participate in the homecoming of Solomon as we face our final costs.  The estimated expenses for the trip to get Solomon is about $6,000.  If you would like to be a part of Solomon's reunion with his forever family in this way, you can simply click the "donate" button at the top right of this blog.  We are so thankful for the support and encouragement of our family and friends, THANK YOU!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day Eight - Chow

Today was our last visit with Solomon before we return to bring him home.  The process from court to clearing Embassy is currently averaging 8-9 weeks, but could take as many as 12+.  Saying good-bye ("chow") wasn't as hard as I expected, but I imagine the days and weeks that lie ahead will be challenging.  I am so thankful for his awesome nannies and the love and care he is receiving.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day Seven - Court

This morning we had basically accepted the idea that because our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia so late (yesterday, and it's supposed to be here at least a week in advance) we probably wouldn't pass today but still hopefully before closures.  So we went to court and the waiting room was packed.  We had heard horror stories of the judge closing down court because of people being too loud (the waiting room shares a paper-thin wall with her office) and this was no quiet room so we were all nervous.  A lady then came in and started speaking Amharic.  Everyone got quiet while she spoke but as soon as she left the room the noise level resumed.  I asked our guide what she said and he said, "basically, be quiet."  Now we were really getting anxious, but thankfully, we were the next group called in.  She asked us a few simple questions and then told us everything was there, we passed!  Solomon is now a Paladino!