When Oceans Rise

So I just realized that if the only way you knew me was through this blog, then you don’t know about the biggest thing happening in my life right now. I have neglected this little blog for a while. Life has been busy, and quite frankly I haven’t been feeling like writing much. 

On my birthday last year (September 7) Matt and I decided to go public with an adoption fundraiser. We had been thinking about adoption for a while, and something finally clicked. We just decided to jump in and go for it. So for the past 11+ months we have been raising money (we’re almost to our goal!), filling out LOTS of paperwork, getting background checks, having our home inspected, going to classes and meetings, and PRAYING. April 29th we were “activated” by our adoption agency, which means we are officially on the LIST. We are adopting a newborn locally (somewhere in Indiana), and it will be an open adoption. The birth mother will choose us from this list (after viewing our biography and meeting us), and hopefully she will decide to place her child with us to raise. The adoption agency keeps telling us that we will have the child we were meant to raise. We just have to be patient. 

I was pretty patient at the beginning. We have stayed busy this summer, so that helps keep my mind off of things. For some reason I have been feeling antsy the past week or so. It’s been just over three months on the list, and no leads yet. I’m trying to remain peaceful and patient, but it’s hard! Even once we get “the call” it will be more waiting until the baby is born, placed and everything is signed. 

This summer I have kept the song “Oceans” on repeat on my iPod and in my brain. I wanted to share it with you here today. Perhaps you are in the midst of a “great unknown” yourself? Be encouraged. “His grace abounds in deepest waters…”

5 Years Later…

August 11, 2009

I woke up this morning remembering…

I can hardly believe it’s been 5 years already. It seems like a bad dream, but the grief is strong enough to remind me that it was very real. 

So many people know our story. Sometimes I regret being as open about it as I have been. I think it would be easier to hide the pain and disappointment if few people knew. That’s never really been my style though. Good or bad, I’m an open book, and I can only trust that God will use my transparency to encourage others. 

This morning I have been listening to the “Hymn Project” album by Chelsea Moon & Uncle Daddy. It’s a beautiful album – bluegrassy and melodic and full of truth. I’m letting these harmonies pour over my heart like a soothing balm. Letting the words settle into the cracked and bleeding places in my soul like a healing salve.  “My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands No tongue can bid me thence depart”

Let me be honest for a moment, friends: Life is HARD. Death HURTS. Grief SUCKS. Perhaps your pain isn’t from death. Perhaps it’s from betrayal. Or from failure. Or from an illness that may never be overcome. Pain is REAL no matter how it comes. 

but…

BUT! I am so thankful that there is more. There is JOY! There is HOPE! These past few years have been difficult, for sure. But they have also been full of life and wonder and miracles! I refuse to allow the pain to drown out the joy. And if you hear one thing from me today, let it be that. Never let the pain steal your joy. 

Today I am crying – grieving the four children we were never allowed to hold in our arms. I’m sad for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who they were never allowed to meet. But I know they wait for us in Heaven. I look forward to the day when we embrace. 

Until then I choose to look forward with JOY and HOPE! There is a little life out there waiting to come home to us. There is a birth mother out there waiting for us to open our arms to her child. We wait patiently for the day we will finally get to be called “Mommy” and “Daddy.” 

Church of the Future?

I got this email forwarded to me this morning:

CHURCH SERVICES OF THE FUTURE

PASTOR: “Praise the Lord!”

CONGREGATION: “Hallelujah!”

PASTOR: “Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindle Bibles to 1 Cor 13:13.

And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon.”

P-a-u-s-e……

“Now, Let us pray committing this week into God’s hands.

Open your Apps, BBM, Twitter and Facebook, and chat with God”

S-i-l-e-n-c-e

“As we take our Sunday tithes and offerings, please have your credit and debit cards ready.”

“You can log on to the church wi-fi using the password ‘Lord909887. ‘ “

The ushers will circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers:

  • Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church.
  • Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.
  • Those who prefer telephone banking, take out your cellphones to transfer your contributions to the church account.

The holy atmosphere of the Church becomes truly electrified as ALL the smart phones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker!

Final Blessing and Closing Announcements…

  • This week’s ministry cell meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please log in and don’t miss out.
  • Thursday’s Bible study will be held live on Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don’t miss out.
  • You can follow your Pastor on Twitter this weekend for counseling and prayers.
  • God bless you and have nice day!

Now, I will tell you that this email was sent to me by someone who CLEARLY doesn’t understand the technology that we have today.  And judging by the REPLY ALL emails I received later, not many on the distribution list understand technology either (first of all how to not REPLY ALL – grrrr…).  One such reply even went so far as to reference the coming of the end times just because people bring their phones out in church.

My friend, Helene, has a wonderful post on this subject here. I know there are many people (teens and adults) who have their phones and tablets out during church.  Perhaps you have seen someone like that in your own congregation.  Perhaps you’ve seen ME with my phone or iPad out at church.  Perhaps you’ve silently judged those people (or me), assuming they are texting friends, or disrespectfully ignoring the worship service they are sitting in.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that no one uses their technology to distract them from worship.  BUT – I will tell you that not every person on their mobile device in church is up to trouble.  In my own case, I have started “live tweeting” our worship services.  When Matt says something during the sermon that I want to remember later, I get on Twitter, and send a tweet with that phrase.  People who follow me often comment on it or share it with their followers.  When was the last time you told all of your friends what your pastor said in a sermon?  I also like to take pictures during service, and share those photos on Instagram.  Maybe it’s the lyrics that are on the screen, or it’s the youth group who just returned from their mission trip – whatever my picture is, the people who follow me see it.  They see what is going on inside my church.  When was the last time you showed your friends something that was important to you?

And electronic giving?  We’re trying that at our church too.  Maybe older generations don’t understand it, but younger generations like mine don’t tend to carry their checkbook with them everywhere they go.  We pay for things with debit cards, PayPal, etc.  And giving to our church is happening whether we are writing a check or paying online.  In fact, I would argue that a lot of younger people are giving more frequently because they are able to do so online by setting up recurring payments.

The church today is caught in the middle of “how things used to be” and “how things are probably going to be soon.”  We have all generations coming in our doors to worship God.  We need to be welcoming to all of these people – whether they carry a “proper” leather and paper bible or if they use the YouVersion app on their iPad; whether they put cash in the offering plate, or pass it because they have already given their tithe online.

The next time you see someone using their phone or tablet in church, ask them after the service what they found interesting about the sermon.  Chances are they were sharing their thoughts on the service with their friends and interacting with others about Christ.  These devices that are “ushering in the end times” are probably in actuality supporting the faith journey of people giving to God and sharing their faith with others.

iphone-leaning-psalm