How Do We Know God’s Will?

November 20th, 2015

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

How can we know if we’re in God’s will? This is an important question, one of the most important for our day to day living. If we really want to serve God, how do we know what His will is and then do it?

For me, this is a really timely topic. As most of you know, we are in the middle of the adoption of a medically fragile nine-year-old boy from China. He looks amazing. But I also know many, many adoptive parents, and I know the strikes against this being lots of fun. He doesn’t speak English. He might hate our country. He is an older child and we don’t know how he’s been treated all these years. He may not attach to us. He may die. Just like Peter getting out of the boat, sometimes when I take my eyes off Jesus, these waves seem terrifying and I start sinking.

How do I know that God wants us to do this? What if I’m just making this up in my head? What if I just think this boy’s picture is cute or want to feel like a hero and have no idea what I’m getting into? These are real questions. And what if he’s just wonderful and we fall madly in love with him and his surgery isn’t possible or goes badly and then we lose him?

I have three great kids who are healthy and growing up into kind and loving adults. I am married to a wonderful guy and we’re happy. We live in a nice suburban house in one of the richest countries in the world. I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t had the thought, “Why are we messing with this?” Well, because we felt called to it. And because we knew we couldn’t leave this boy where he was. And how does that work? And how do we know if we’re right?

Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed the pattern of this world. That means we need to get the world’s version of wisdom out of our heads and be transformed to hear God’s wisdom. The world’s wisdom would tell me I was foolish to mess with the good life I have. That I might harm my other children if this goes badly. That it’s not my problem and there’s no reason for me to step in there. But God’s wisdom is different. God values all people, and He sure doesn’t love me any more than he loves this little boy. Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the lonely in families. If God has given me everything I have, how can I be selfish and tell Him I’m not willing to put it back into His hands? And what if He means all this as a blessing? Why would I say no to that?

Roman’s 12:2 also tells us that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How do we let God change our minds? By spending time with Him. Through prayer and listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. And, so importantly, by knowing His Word. That is how He talks to us. And God’s Word is transformative – it will change you. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

And then, Roman’s 12:2 gives us the incredible promise that if we do those things, we will be able to know God’s will. That is stunning!

So here are a few things I use to check myself, things I’ve used as a yardstick over the years. I’d love to hear yours too.

1. Repetition. God seems to use this a lot in my life, and in many other believers that I know. God placed a desire on my heart for adoption for many years before we acted on it. But last year I started to hear it from all directions, including from my husband who hadn’t been at all on the same page with me before. That’s when Nathan and I started listening closely for the Lord and doing that together. We prayed about it a lot and felt God confirming it in our spirits. We kept getting Bible verses or running into people who would talk about their adoption. The sermon every week at church seemed to be echoing our thoughts. It came from all sides at once.

2. Does it line up with Scripture? To me, this is the most important one, because when we go on a “feeling,” it’s really easy to talk ourselves into whatever we want. One thing we know for sure is that God will not contradict His own Word. I had a woman tell me once that God was leading her to leave her husband. I asked why, had he been unfaithful or what was leading her to this conclusion? She told me, no, it was nothing like that, but she’d been bored for years. I can say with certainty that God was not leading her there. He will never, never contradict His Word. (And that’s another post, but that would be when I would be praying for God to revive my marriage!) In the example of our adoption, we just kept getting more and more Scripture about orphans and we know that caring for them is absolutely in the heart of God. It lines up.

3. Is it confirmed by prayer? When you pray about this decision, does the Holy Spirit confirm it in your heart? Do you have a peace about it (Phil 4:6-7)? Even in a terrifying decision, we can still have peace. It’s also important to remember that when we seek the Lord and ask him for wisdom, He promises He will give it (James 1:5). Are you following the wisdom He’s giving you in prayer?

4. And lastly, do other believers agree with you? Again, you need wisdom here because I don’t mean that everyone will always agree with you, but do some key believers that you trust agree that this could be God’s will for you? If you’re sharing your plan with solid believers who know you well, and none of them can see it, perhaps you should take it back to the Lord.

Finally, we need to remember that being in God’s will doesn’t always mean things will turn out beautifully immediately. Sometimes we think if we’re in God’s will everything will go well (and by that, we mean painlessly and preferably also to our advantage) and if things go wrong, then we must have missed it and are not actually in His will. But that’s just not true. We can be right in the middle of God’s will and it can still look bad for us. Look at Joseph when he was falsely accused by Potiphar and thrown into prison, or Daniel when he remained faithful to God and got thrown into the lion’s den. But in both of those examples, and countless others, we also see how God brought something much greater out of their pain, and that He had a bigger plan for them. When we’re seeking to follow God’s will for our lives through His Word and prayer and the Holy Spirit, and we do it to the best of our ability, we can be confident that He is always able to carry it out, and do it for our good. (Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8:28)

God’s not trying to trick us. He wants us to know His will and to do it in the world. Are we willing to seek Him, and then step out in faith to do whatever it is He’s giving us to do?

OH events, and our dossier is in China!

November 17th, 2015
Teaching at St. Lukes

Teaching at St. Lukes

Apparently we forgot the camera at Alliance!  But here's the view out my window that weekend.

Apparently we forgot the camera at Alliance! But here’s the view out my window that weekend.

And his name is Noah

And his name is Noah

Another couple of busy weeks! Our kids have had a ton of stuff going on, a piano competition and their debut performance in the youth worship band at church (yes, all three at once! Rinnah singing, Rachel on bass, and Toby on keys) among other things. It’s been so fun to watch them! And I’ve had two more women’s conferences plus a concert and worship services, our dossier is finally in China (more on that below), and our kitchen is complete! Halleluia! Can’t even tell you how fun it is to have a stove again. :)

I was back at St. Luke two weekends ago to do a conference on Esther on Friday night and Saturday. I love working with this church – the ladies are all so sweet, and they do an incredible job. Every detail is planned and their hearts are simply to glorify God! We had a great time there, and also got so many kids sponsored for Compassion – it just blew me away! They had about 5 times the normal number of sponsors for their event, and it says so much about their church!

The following weekend I was up in Alliance, Oh, closer to Cleveland, and did a concert on Friday night, a women’s conference, this time on Peter, on Saturday, and then their worship service on Sunday. Sometimes it’s hard to have that kind of weekend – you know some people will be at all three things so you don’t want to overlap too much, but you also know a lot of people will just be at one, so you don’t want to leave too much out! Friday was a great night, lots of visitors to the church, Saturday was a sweet time thinking about how God transforms us to be usable by Him, and then Sunday I spoke on Daniel and about whether Romans 8:28 is really true – can God really use all things for good? It was a good sermon for me personally, and I felt like God gave it to me specifically for that weekend. I’ve been struggling with some fear as we get closer to this adoption, and these were great reminders for me personally.

This weekend we decided on our little guy’s American name. We’re going to name him Noah. I love the imagery, that God was the one who saved Noah and kept him against all odds, and I am praying that one day our Noah will know God as well and be as faithful to Him as Noah was. Since our Noah just turned 9, we were really struggling with what to do with the name thing. He’s already going to lose so much – his country, his culture, his language – and we hate to take his name too. But we have many Chinese friends here, and they all expressed to me that he would probably want an American name as well, at least legally, as it makes things easier. So we’re going to keep his Chinese name as his middle name, and then just ask him what he wants to be called day to day. And if he changes his mind at some point, we’ll roll with it too.

Our dossier was officially logged into China yesterday, so that is a huge step forward. Now we wait several more weeks as it’s all translated, and then there are several more steps as well such as our official approval, travel approvals, visas, etc. We know now that we won’t make Christmas, and they were saying perhaps February, but that is Chinese New Year, and a lot of the government offices shut down which would make it impossible for us to complete the adoption. So it looks like March it is. Please be praying for us! I am getting really anxious to get him, but I am also struggling with fear about his health, and if the doctors will say it’s too late for his surgery, and how the surgery will go, etc. God does not call us to fear, and he really does give me the peace that passes all understanding every time I give the situation to Him, but I will not turn down your prayers that I would be able to rest there. And I definitely covet your prayers for Noah and for his health! Thank you so much – it is such a blessing to me to know that people are praying!

Wonderful story from our event in Modesto, CA

October 24th, 2015
The Joy Sounds choir singing at the Christian Berets event in Modesto

The Joy Sounds choir singing at the Christian Berets event in Modesto

Presenting the Gospel

Presenting the Gospel

Just had to share this. I flew out to Modesto, Ca this past week with Donna to do a fundraising dinner for Christian Berets which is a camp that serves special needs people of all ages. It’s a special place with a great reputation, and I was honored to be there as their keynote.

The evening started with the “Joy Sounds Choir” which was made up of about 40 members, all special needs adults. They had all kinds of challenges, and a large percentage of them were cognitively challenged. They did a couple of songs and did a terrific job! After they finished, it was time for the banquet, so they sat them all down at tables on the floor closest to the platform.

After dinner, I got up to speak, and I had given the Gospel as part of my presentation and started to sing my song “God Loved the World.” We were using a video, so the lights were dimmed for it and as I was singing, I noticed that two of the women from the choir had come up on stage and were sort of wandering around on the platform. I didn’t think too much of it as I’ve done a lot of special needs events and this is not uncommon (I had a man come up on stage with me at one event and hug me and pet my hair in the middle of a song, so this was nothing), and I just assumed their helpers would come and get them.

Well, they didn’t! And here I was singing, so I couldn’t stop and ask them what they were looking for or help – they were obviously looking for something – so I thought I’d just finish the song and then if someone else didn’t help, I could talk to them. I was also praying the whole time, because I’d just presented the Gospel and didn’t want this to be a distraction!

So just as I was getting to the end of the song, the women came up right behind me, found a couple of chairs that were there which had been set up for the choir earlier, shrugged at each other, and then turned and knelt at the chairs to pray. That’s when I realized what they were looking for – they’d been looking for an altar to pray! I was blown away. I’m not sure if they were giving their lives to the Lord for the first time or just felt the need to respond to the Gospel that way, but whatever it was, it was beautiful. Such a picture of the Lord and His grace. Here I was praying that they wouldn’t distract from the Gospel, and instead, they were a picture of it to the whole event. Praise God!

As soon as I got to the end of the song, they got up and left, and I didn’t have any time to talk to them. I wish I knew what they were thinking, but they touched my heart! Hope that translates in the written word, but what a cool night, and a wonderful picture of the very ministry this organization does!

New Article on Sensory Published and lots of Esther!!

October 19th, 2015
With Eagle Church in Indiana

With Eagle Church in Indiana

Speaking at the Ohio retreat for the Evangelical Friends

Speaking at the Ohio retreat for the Evangelical Friends

The view out my window at the retreat in North Carolina - just beautiful in the morning!

The view out my window at the retreat in North Carolina – just beautiful in the morning!

Another catch up post here, but it’s been a really busy month! I’ve taught Esther for the last three weekends at women’s retreats in Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina, had a new article published for Sensory Awareness Month, and we’ve gotten US approval for our adoption and have moved on to the next step. Still don’t have a working kitchen (somehow I don’t think they’re going to make their projected completion date of Aug. 15…) but hey, someday, right? I don’t think our life would be our life without some serious chaos (or as my son pronounces it from reading too many books and not hearing it in person, cha-cos. Rhymes with tacos. Too cute to fix yet.)

The first weekend of October I was with the women from Eagle Church at a camp just outside Indianapolis. Beautiful weekend, and frankly, lovely, lovely women. I had so much fun with them! Mary Schumm, the coordinator, also works for Remember Nhu, a phenomenal organization that rescues kids in danger of trafficking. We went to Thailand with them a few years ago and I wrote this song for them when I can home on Micah 6:8. Mary rocks, and so did the rest of her team! Such a fun weekend.

The next two weekends I was with the women from the Evangelical Friends denomination. They do regional retreats, and I did the first weekend in Ohio and the second weekend in North Carolina for their southern churches. Both weekends also on Esther which I love, so that was fun! One great perk of two weekends with one organization was that I got to work with the same planning team and tech people at both, and it was so fun to get to know them and not have to say goodbye after the first weekend!

One interesting connection was that there was an Indian missionary couple there whose work is to rescue the children of the devadasi who are temple prostitutes. The children are usually from the lowest caste, and will almost certainly also end up as temple prostitutes if someone doesn’t intervene and offer them education and a different future which is what this couple is doing. We were talking about their work, and I said something about Nhu from Remember Nhu, and they said, “Wait, are you talking about Nhu? And Carl and Laurie? From Remember Nhu? They sponsor us!” I had no idea there was a connection! It was really wonderful to hear all that the Lord is doing through them and to protect them, and also to see how well the girls are doing at their homes! Please check out their ministry here, and make sure to watch the video at the bottom of the home page – it’s awesome. They need help right now to raise money to keep the home they are in; could you help them?

In the middle of all these weekends, The Christian Post published my article about Sensory Processing Disorder for Sensory Awareness Month. You can check that out here!

And, we were told (after our third fingerprinting!) that we were approved by the US government to proceed with our adoption! We thought that meant that we could send our dossier to China immediately, but there always seem to be steps we’re unaware of. In this case, I got all the documents for the dossier together and verified at the state level, but now they need to be authenticated at the national level and then sent to the Chinese consulate to be authenticated there before they can actually go to the Chinese government, a process that will take several weeks. This is discouraging for us, because it means we almost certainly won’t be able to get through all the other steps to go at Christmas time, but we know God holds the timing, so we’re just going to keep on keeping on! At least things are still moving. Keep on praying for our little guy! We want him here!

Ministry around C-Bus

September 20th, 2015
Grave City Vineyard

Grove City Vineyard

Leading a worship song before speaking at Grove City

Leading a worship song before speaking at Grove City

My daughter doing a great job at the table while I talk to people about Compassion at St. Luke's

My daughter doing a great job at the table while I talk to people about Compassion at St. Luke’s

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because we’ve been concentrating on getting our adoption paperwork in and also working on getting our kitchen redone. We were told it would be done by the end of summer, but here we are, and as far as I can tell, we are no where close to being finished. It’s a little discouraging as I’m going into a busy ministry season, but God’s got it! Just not super fun to have a family of five with no kitchen for the foreseeable future. But on the adoption front, we finally got our finalized home study at the end of August and as I had everything waiting on my desk ready to go for the next step, we had it all mailed out two hours later. So now we are waiting for our approval from US Immigration to proceed, and that could take a while. While we’re waiting, I’ve been getting all the paperwork ready for the the next phase so hopefully we can keep everything moving as much as it depends on us! At this point, it looks fairly unlikely that we’ll be able to get everything done and get him by Christmas, but we’re still hoping and praying.

This weekend I had some great ministry opportunities right in my hometown of Columbus, OH. On Saturday I did a women’s event for Grove City Vineyard which is on the south side, and on Sunday I led worship for all the services at St. Luke’s on the east side. Since I live on the northwest side, it was a lovely tour of the city. :)

Seriously, I had a great time with the women at Grove City Vineyard – we’d been talking with them and planning that event for a long time, so it was fun to see it come to fruition! And it was great to be at St. Luke’s as well – love their team, and I’ve done several things with them in the past, so it was good to see everyone again! I’ll be doing a women’s conference there later this fall on Esther.

Keep praying for our little guy’s heart and this whole process! It just seems to take forever, and it’s been really heavy on my heart to pray for his protection and peace, and really keep his health in front of the Lord. We need to get him here!

Adoption News

August 10th, 2015
Another pic of our new little guy

Another pic of our new little guy

I wish it was possible to make this all move faster. International adoption seems to take forever! But we’ve had a lot of people ask us similar questions, so I thought I’d answer them here, and let you all know how we’re doing.

First, where are we in the process?!

There are about 4 major hurdles to getting our new son home, and they all have lots of little hurdles included in each step. The first one is getting a homestudy completed and accepted. Since our international agency is not in our state, we are actually working with two agencies – one for our homestudy, and one for the rest of the adoption. The homestudy is basically a giant report on your family done by a social worker who makes several trips to your home. It also involves lots of paperwork, fingerprinting, clearances by any states you’ve lived in since age 18, fire inspection of your home, etc., etc., etc. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. :) We’ve finished everything for our homestudy, and just last week we got the final clearance we’d been waiting for, so we are thrilled that that came in. So, right now we are in a review phase where our international agency is reviewing the homestudy. Then our state agency will review and then we can move to major hurdle 2.

The next step is getting approval from the US government to bring a child home from another country. This is USCIS approval. We’ve got all our paperwork ready and sitting on my desk for this one, so the second that approved homestudy hits my desk, we will send it out! Normally we’ve heard this can take anywhere from 45-90 days (although a few people have told me as soon as 2 weeks, so here’s hoping!). We have a letter of medical expedite for him because he really needs to get back here for heart surgery, so we’re hoping that will speed things along.

After US approval, we need to get approval from the Chinese government. This involves a pretty insane amount of extra paperwork, and we submit a full dossier on our family to China. This is also usually 45-90 days, but again, sometimes for medical expedite, it goes faster. We’ve almost got all our paperwork done for this already, and I’m planning to finish it while we’re waiting for the US government so again, it can go flying off as soon as we hear.

After approval from China, we wait another month or so (unless they speed it up for medical expedite) to get our travel instructions, and then, ta-da!!! we go get him. :)

All that said, at the earliest we are looking at Christmas. And it may be as late as May, although we’re praying not. We will be in China about 3 weeks and will meet him about 3 days into the process. After we meet him, we adopt him and he will stay with us for the remainder of the trip.

The other questions we’re getting are:

1) Does he speak English? No. We hope someone might be able to help him with this a little before we come, but aren’t expecting much.

2) Do you speak Chinese? Nope. But I have an app! Seriously, it is a super hard language. We’re trying to learn a little, but mostly we’ve heard the kids pick English up fast. And I have 3 good friends who are Chinese and all can speak Mandarin, so I am thanking God for friends!

3) Does he know about you yet? We don’t know. They may have told him when we got our pre-approval, but they may also wait until we get final approval from China. They don’t want to get the kids’ hopes up if something were to fall through. We hope they are already preparing him, and we’ve been praying that either way, God will be preparing his heart to come and protecting him while we wait.

4) Can you communicate with him? Not really, but hopefully some soon. When we get our dossier into China, we will be able to send him a care package, and will be able to include a photo album labeled for him about our family and his new home and school, etc., and a letter. I’m hoping we’ll also be able to send him a video, but we aren’t sure about that yet.

5) Will he be covered by your insurance, aka, how will you pay for his surgery/ heart care? We love that people are worried about this for us – you all are sweet. Yes, he’s covered from the day we bring him home. We have a high deductible plan, so yes, it will cost us quite a bit of money every year out of pocket, but after that he is totally covered and we are just trying to budget that into our lives from today forward. We know that God will provide what he needs and what we need, and are very thankful for the insurance we have.

Other questions? Comment below, it’s open season! And I’ll keep updating the journey here as we go.

New Scripture Memory Songs at Adventure Week

June 27th, 2015
The cast from the play - Jiffy, Melissa Mae, Sheriff Taco Bill, Miss Lilly, Granny Annie, and Bad Bart

The cast from the play – Jiffy, Melissa Mae, Sheriff Taco Bill, Miss Lilly, Granny Annie, and Bad Bart

Many of you know that my new Scripture Memory Songs album came out of a partnership with my old church, Faith Covenant here in Columbus. Over the years, I’ve written many plays with my friend Terry for Faith Covenant to use during their “Adventure Week” – another name for Vacation Bible School. I’ve also been writing Scripture memory songs for the play for years. The church commissioned me this year to write and produce another 3 years worth of songs, and we combined those with my older songs to make this compilation album.

This past week was “Adventure Week” and we debuted six of my new songs, as well as an entirely re-written script for our play “Showdown!” It was a Wild West adventure, and my oldest daughter, Rinnah, was in the cast playing Melissa Mae Morgenstern Mortisha McGuilligutty – the rootin’est tootin’est cowgirl this side of the Rio Grande! It was so fun to have my daughter actually in the play. The original script was the first one I’d ever written for Adventure Week, and it’s my favorite. :) And it was just great to get to work with her too – I still go in and help a bit with blocking chase sequences or in this show, the squaredance, etc. The cast is always the youth group kids, and I just love working with them. And they love having all kinds of little kids wanting their autographs!

Adventure Week is a huge outreach to the community, and we have so many kids there who don’t attend a church. Many, many kids met the Lord last week, and it’s so amazing to me to know that our work had something to do with that. Who says working for the Kingdom can’t be a ton of fun?! Yeehaw!

Florida and Adoption Update

June 7th, 2015
Presenting at Anastasia Baptist Church

Presenting at Anastasia Baptist Church

This has been another very emotional couple of weeks for us – just a lot of ups and downs.

I had a couple of ministry events in Florida, so we decided to take the whole family and make it our family vacation for the summer. We had planned to spend the first several days at St. Augustine Beach because I had some ministry events there at Anastasia Baptist Church, and then we were going to go over to Disney World for several days and head home.

Sadly, we heard just before we were leaving that our dear family friend, Ralph, had passed away. I’ve known Ralph and his wife, Nancy, my entire life – they are like family to me. Ralph had been battling cancer for a year, and my mom and I went down to Florida to visit them a couple of months ago because we knew it was getting toward the end. I had even recorded a special version of one of Ralph’s favorite songs of mine for his funeral at his request. When we realized the service was going to be on that first weekend we were in Florida, we knew we needed to try to get there, even though it was on the other side of the state. Nancy was really wanting me to sing at the service, and told me that was what Ralph had wanted too, but they hadn’t wanted to pressure me to come and didn’t know my schedule.

The kids had to miss the last two days of school, so that was a little rough with our oldest – she had to move up her finals, but she was willing. We literally picked her up from her last final and hit the road, driving 7 hours to Charlotte, NC in one shot. The next day we were up bright and early to get to St. Augustine because I had a concert that night and we were supposed to sound check about 4 in the afternoon. We were so relieved to have no problems at all with traffic – in 1000 miles, we probably only lost about 15 minutes total for traffic, and that is a miracle!

We were able to check into our condo and actually left the kids there because they are old enough and were exhausted, and they’ve heard my concerts a few times. :) Anastasia Baptist was only a couple miles from this condo, so we got the kids dinner and headed back. They were just a lovely bunch of people to work with! It was a great night, and even though we were very tired at the end of the show, it’s always wonderful to hear how God is working in people’s lives – I think talking to people afterward is one of my favorite parts!

After that we went home and crashed, and the next day we just took a day off and played on the beach together and saw a bit of St. Augustine which has some fascinating history. The next day was Friday and we spent the morning getting organized and then headed out for another almost 6 hour drive across the state. We reconnected with a few family friends and the next day was Ralph’s funeral. I had to go early for a sound check, but that was fine – his whole family was there and I just love them. It hurts to be together because you’ve lost someone, but it’s also a comfort. Ralph was an amazing man, a loving father and loyal friend, a man of faith and dignity, and it was a pretty inspiring service. And God was so good to me – I was very worried I wouldn’t be able to sing because I would be choked up, but God got me through it, and I know it was what Ralph wanted, so that was sweet.

After the service we had lunch with everyone and then went with the family for the smaller graveside service. It was also beautiful, and I was thinking it would be a pretty place for Nancy to visit, but we know that Ralph is somewhere so much better!

Then we headed back across the state because I was singing again at Anastasia in the morning. The services went well, and I would love to be back here another time! What a sweet church. We were by this time pretty worn out, though, and happy to head to Disney, if only to cheer up. When we go to Disney, we vacation hard – this is not a time to relax and rest! That’s what the beach was for! But since we missed that time, we tried to take it just a bit easier. Sadly, we also had to cut that time short because the girls had to be back for a training at the zoo where they volunteer.

In the end, we’re glad we went, and so glad that we were able to be there for Nancy, but we need a vacation after our vacation. Now that we’re back, we’re full steam ahead into adoption paperwork, and hoping to finish our homestudy in the next 4 or 6 weeks. There’s an overwhelming amount of paperwork, but we’re just going to do our best to plow through. Thanks for your prayers for our little guy!

Our Soon-To-Be New Son

May 24th, 2015
Our soon-to-be new son!

Our soon-to-be new son!

Well, this has been one of the best and one of the hardest and most emotional weeks I’ve had in a long, long time – talk about a roller-coaster.

We have been working on an adoption for quite some time now, but didn’t want to make it public until we were reasonably sure it would go through. Many of you know that we do a lot of work with orphans around the world, and our goal was to adopt a child who would have a hard time finding a family. We had been pursuing a little boy from China whom we felt strongly we were supposed to have. He is eight and has a pretty complicated heart condition. He was abandoned at 40 days old by his parents, likely because of his condition. It looked like we weren’t going to get him, but then we found out that we had, and a few days ago we got our official match from the government of China. We were over the moon!

We were told that his heart had been fixed but he would not be able to be as active as other children. Then we were told, yes, he’d had a heart surgery, but he would certainly need another, and his future was less certain. We have prayed continually about this boy, and our whole family feels that he is absolutely supposed to be part of our family. We accepted the placement with great joy last Wednesday, and then on Thursday night we met with a cardiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital here to go over a new echocardiogram they had sent us. We had received it in Chinese, so it had taken a while to find someone who could translate it and get it over to the hospital.

The information we got was pretty devastating actually. We posted this on facebook:

How to express going from elated to heartbroken to peaceful in such a short time? We are so excited to welcome our new little guy into the family, but the consult with the cardiologist did not go the way we’d hoped. The short version is that he has had one surgery and needed another, but he needed it about six years ago, and now there is a good chance that it is just too late – the damage may be too great to risk it. We all feel very strongly that the Lord wants us to have this boy in our family, whether his life is short or long, and so we are proceeding, and asking that you please pray with us for his protection, for speed in the process so we don’t lose more time, and for a miracle for his heart. I feel such an overwhelming peace that this is the path, and that God will take us through it, and I know he loves this little guy more than anyone can express. We just want him to be loved by a family and have the best chance he can. Thanks for your prayers.

I can’t tell you what that first night was like. We’ve never met this boy, but God has already given us a love for him, and it felt like one of our children had been given a death sentence. With time to pray it through, we are feeling peaceful about it, and we know God holds him in His hands!

The doctors have told us that they is no way to know if he will be able to have the surgery until we get him here. They give it 30-40%. We are asking people to pray for a miracle for his heart, and that it is not too late, and that he will not be afraid and will know the love we have for him and the love God has for him. We’re also asking for prayer for our children and our family as we transition.

It’s been a really hard week, but these are the times we are privileged to see God show up in a way that we never would have without difficulty. He loves this boy! We are not allowed yet to release his name or the province he is in, but we would love your prayers for him even so – God definitely knows his name!

Thanks from our family. We are feeling blessed. And I will keep blogging the journey here. Soli Deo Gloria.

Scripture Memory Songs update

May 14th, 2015
Receiving fan mail from the post-girl at Polaris Christian Academy

Receiving fan mail from the post-girl at Polaris Christian Academy

Just a quick catch up. The Scripture Memory Songs album is officially being released next Tuesday, but we’ve already been shipping all the pre-orders, and we’ve been hearing about it from all sorts of places. Here’s one blogger’s review. And here’s another one. :)

Also, I got to go this afternoon to my friend Patti’s school and do some of the songs with them. Their school uses my songs as part of their Scripture memory curriculum, and I always feel like a rock star when I go – the kids are so excited and they know all the songs and motions. I sing with them and one year we even wrote a song together. This year they surprised me with an entire stack of “fan mail” that they had written, and it was even delivered very officially by the “post-girl” – so cute!