Thursday, October 25, 2012

For this child we have prayed

Hi friends and family! This is going to be a lengthy post, but I just want to review my journey of infertility and adoption for anyone not familiar with it. I Hope it serves as an encouragement to anyone waiting on the Lord's timing.

All of you know how Matt and I have struggled with infertility for many years. As a teenager I was diagnosed with PCOS and always knew getting pregnant would be difficult. In my mind, "difficult" meant trying for a few more years and it would eventually happen. Well, we are at 8 years of trying now and at around year 6 or 7 I finally came to the realization that this might not ever happen for us...That's where my journey really began.

When Matt and I realized we had used up all the infertility treatments that our insurance allowed we had to have a discussion. What now?? I cried. I didn't know what now. I am a little bit of a control freak and there I was with NO CONTROL over my own body. I felt like a failure. As a woman and as a wife. At first I thought it might be a punishment. Barrenness is a curse in the Bible, what was I being punished for?? Then I thought maybe I don't have enough faith. After all, with the faith of a mustard seed the Lord can move mountains-So I served and participated in as many church activities as possible. I was also reading my Bible and learning from other barren women. Sarah had to wait and I wasn't all that interested in waiting any more... Hannah prayed earnestly and I had done that already...What else did God want from me???  I finally realized that God wasn't interested in an exchange and this was not a punishment. He chose this path so that He can receive glory through it, and I was definitely not glorifying Him in the journey thus far.

At this point I really tried to listen to what God was trying to teach me in all of this. I still had difficult moments. We discussed adoption and although I knew I could love an adopted child as my own, I struggled. I had to go through a mourning process. You see, when God created man he created him in His own image. God had placed that desire in me as well. I wanted to have children in my image. But my God is such a gentle father. He knew I needed to go through this period of mourning. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance"
Then God gave me this song by John Waller:
This song still brings tears to my eyes. It was a gentle reminder from Him that he was going to reveal His plan to me. But I still had some waiting to do.
One morning after praying that the Lord would give me a promise I could hang on to I opened my Bible to my daily reading. I was reading from Galatians 4 that morning when I came across this verse:
Galatians 4:4
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a women, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons."
I was amazed. I had been waiting to hear from the Lord for so long. Was this finally it? Was God telling me he planned for us to adopt? After all, we are His adopted children. I was in disbelief and prayed "Lord, if this is your will please confirm it in my heart today." and I kept reading.
Even just typing this now brings me to tears. I cannot believe anyone could deny there is a God when I know he spoke so clearly to me that morning. I continued reading and when I got to verse 27 I cried harder than any tear I had ever shed through the entire infertility process.
Galatians 4:27
"Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband."
This came from Isaiah 54. I turned there and read the whole chapter. I could not stop from crying. Verse after verse spoke directly to me.
Isaiah 54:7-8
"For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment, But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you."
v. 10
"For the mountains shall be depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed."
I had my confirmation. I woke up Matt crying and explained how God had spoken to me. I have had peace about adoption since that day.

Monday Cannon's social worker came and we discussed the timeline for adoption. He asked the history of how we got Cannon and I explained the process and how 4 months after having our home study approved we received Cannon. He was in awe and said people wait YEARS before receiving this kind of placement. A healthy infant without siblings going for adoption. Not only that but infants usually go to stay at home moms and I was working full time when we received the call. I know it was no coincidence but the hand of my Father in Heaven who ordained this baby to be with us.

Our baby is such a precious gift. Whenever someone asks about him I now have the blessed opportunity to share God's glory with them and how He also loves us as adopted sons.

On November 8th we have a hearing for Cannon's birth mom. Please pray that God will be in the midst of the courtroom and we can move forward with adoption smoothly. Also pray for her, that she might be healed and come to know the Lord. Thank you all for your never ending support on this journey!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

We love because He first loved us

 John 15:12-13
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

Christ is so good to me. He knew my need for a savior before I even asked. Before I was even born. From the foundations of the universe, Christ was prepared to come die on the cross to save me from my sins. He didn't wait to ask me "Clarissa, how can I save you from this wretched state of sin your in?" I wouldn't know what to say to that. As a matter of fact, my prideful heart would probably respond "Don't you worry. I know I'm a sinner, but I can probably solve this on my own." Thank the Lord he didn't wait for my answer. Christ came and died for me while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8), before I even knew I needed Him. I know no greater love than that.

With my husband being away I do my best to "keep it all together." I know I have it relatively easy: I get to stay at home with my son and not work. But I still struggle. I definitely grow weary of doing it all on my own. Today I was blessed by two very small acts of kindness. Really, they were true examples of the love of Christ. The first person to do this was a man named Dante. I was just leaving a meeting at church when I passed Dante. He saw me walking to my car carrying my son, his car seat, the diaper bag, and my purse. Ask any mom and they'll tell you this is no small task. But I have gotten used to it and was on my way out when he stopped me. Without even a blink, he took the car seat and baby and walked them over to my car. He didn't wait for me to ask (I honestly have gotten so used to doing it I wouldn't have even thought to ask for help), but he knew. I don't know if Dante reads this blog or not, but I want him to know I literally cried tonight thinking of what a blessing it is to have someone see a need and just fill it. No questions asked. Dante, you might deny it but the love of Christ poured out of you then as you blessed me with that small act of kindness today. Thank you for reminding me of how good my God is. 

Now for the next person. See the picture above? That's my beautiful sister-in-law Ericka. Tonight the Lord knew what a rough night I was having. Tears were welling up in my eyes from shear exhaustion. My baby was vomiting food everywhere (the sofa, my clothes, the floor), he was in CONSTANT need of attention, diaper changes were never ending, I just needed a time out. But I was alone. Ericka texted and asked what I was doing. Trying to be strong, I didn't mention my difficult evening. I just told her I was home. She then asked if she could come over to help out. Background info on Ericka: Her husband is a pastor and he has been gone all day working. She hasn't had a break either. It was near her infant sons bedtime as well. Yet she laid down the the comforts of her life to drive to my house to help me. Thank you sister, for showing the love of Christ to me tonight. You were ready to help without me even asking.

Today Christ gave me a whole new understanding of John 15:12-13. I always thought I would be willing to give my life up for my friends. If I ever found myself in a situation where a gunman was like "I'm gonna take a life today, who's it gonna be?" I pictured myself raising my hand saying "Take me" while my friends got to live. Heroic, right? Not so much. I know the likeliness of that happening are slim to none. Not so heroic if you never expect to really do it. Today Christ showed me I can DAILY lay down my life (the comforts of my home, my predictable routines, money, time, energy...) for my friends. And true love would do it as Christ did, without even being asked. So I have to ask for forgiveness friends. I know I have not been living up to this standard. But the Lord has put it on my heart to write this blog post so now I have some accountability :) I promise I will take this verse to heart and be a true friend to you all. I want my actions (like the actions of Dante and Ericka) to bless you and ultimately remind you of how great Christ's love for you is.

1 John 3:16-18
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Separation Anxiety


So my son has recently been showing some signs of separation anxiety...nothing major. He fusses a little when I leave the room and that's about it. But lately he has been physically CLINGING to my body! I finally got a picture of it yesterday to send Matt. I laugh every time I look at it, the look on his face is awesome :) 
Last night while giving him his last bottle before bed I was reflecting on my day and where I encountered Jesus when I was reminded of this picture. The Lord brought to mind the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane  when Jesus sweat great drops of blood, agonizing over his impending separation from the Father.
     The greatest separation anxiety.
     Thank you Lord that we as believers do not have to fear being separated from the Father.
Romans 8:39
"Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

     That being said, I do on many occasions feel distant from God. Some days God seems to speak directly to my concerns and prayers, while on other days I don't hear Him at all. It's not that I'm not seeking Him. I am in prayer throughout the day and (try) to regularly read His word (although I fully recognize I need major improvement in this area). But some days all I get is silence. Last night God reminded me of a verse we looked at during Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and spoke to me concerning this issue:
James 1:14
"But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."
     Temptation and sin drag me away from fellowship with the Father. When I feel distant from God I need to examine my life and confess my sins to my father (and to those whom I've sinned against). That takes work sometimes!There are times I honestly can't think of anything specific I've done wrong, but I know I sin daily and I want to be better about confessing them.
     I know this post kind of rambled on, so thank you to anyone who read through it all. I pray God uses my encounters with Him as an encouragement to you who may be reading.
     I'd like to end with the Lifehouse Skit that always inspires me. I'm sure most of you have seen it, but maybe some have not. It's just such a great reminder that God is waiting for us on the other side of our sin.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Making HIM known

Yesterday I was talking to Matt and he was telling me about new people he's been meeting. One of the first things I asked him was "Did you tell them about us? Do they know you have a wonderful wife and son?..." Something inside of me yearns for my husband to make us known. I don't want people thinking he's just a single guy going through the academy alone....I want them all to know he has a family who cares about him and miss him. I want them to know he misses us. That he loves us and we are on the forefront of his mind. I know this sounds ridiculous, do I really expect Matt to introduce himself this way:
 "Hi, I'm Matt. I have a wonderful wife and son in California and I miss them dearly..."

 First of all, Matt would never say "dearly" and second, that sounds a little crazy. Who really begins a conversation that way?? Of course they know he's married (wedding ring is dead giveaway). And as He gets to know people I'm sure He will tell them all about our sweet son. He will probably even show them all the cute pictures I've been sending :)

I was thinking about that this morning when I heard a still, small voice saying:
 "Do you talk about me? What about my Son? Does he come up in your conversations? It brings me great joy when you speak of your love for me you know."

Ouch. Touche Lord.

Hebrews 4:12
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Today my God challenged me to make HIS name known. He wants people to know I am not going through life alone. I have a father in Heaven who cherishes me, I have Jesus who purifies my daily sins, and His Holy Spirit guiding me. He wants to be on the forefront of my mind.

So in case you don't already know me, and even if you do, allow me to introduce myself and the purpose of my blog...

"Hi, I'm Clarissa. Let me tell you about how great my God is..."

Rejoice Always.

October 4, 2011
I was just starting my third year of teaching. Matt was working with his dad as an electrician. Our dreams of having a child and Matt being a police officer were slipping away and we were trying to ACCEPT our lives as they were...

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I know I was not living up the  standard of God's word. I was not rejoicing- I was resigning. I was trying to accept life, accept that maybe this was God's will for me...

Spring 2011
Our church had a women's retreat which really spoke to many of our lovely ladies (see this and this blog post from friends who were in attendance with me). Here was the verse we clung to:

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

I was reminded that God's plans are better than my own. I had plans for my life that I thought were great, but God's plans are "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think"...

October 4, 2012 (Today)
We now have a WONDERFUL baby boy and my husband is in training to be a police officer! Seems to be EXACTLY what we prayed for, right???
Our son is a foster son. Not yet legally "ours".
Matt is a police North Dakota. I am still in California.

The difference now is that I am truly trying to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This blog is my humble attempt to give Him all the glory due to Him-- to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES because I know He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think. AMEN!