Monday, November 30, 2015

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Hello dear friends and family!!!

Richie and I want you all to know how VERY thankful we are for each of you, and for the unbelievable way that you have shown us such bounteous love through your gracious, holding-nothing-back, over-the-top, from-the-heart donations and prayers!  We are humbled and amazed at the way the Lord is providing and blessing our tiny efforts as we follow Him and submit to His perfect plan and timing. 

You all have been there to support and encourage us through some pretty tough times, and for that we cannot even begin to express the gratitude that we feel.  You were there to “spur us on to love and good deeds” when we felt we had nothing left to give.  The Lord Jesus was, and is, our strength and our sustenance.  Having you all behind us, petitioning the Lord for His hand on our adoption process, is an incredibly comforting and reassuring thought!  We can’t even believe that through your gifts, we have more than TWICE what we needed for one embryo adoption.  And all in less than two months.  Praise the Lord!

   It is a blessing to learn and grow in Christ together!  With this in mind, I want to share something that the Lord has been teaching me lately, in hopes that it might encourage you!!

I  have always struggled with a tendency to act very independently.  I love to work hard, and I love to work alone.  I want to “do it myself” and certainly don’t need any help!  Unfortunately, as with most things in life, this mindset tends to leach into my spiritual life as well, causing me to shut people out and internalize.  I am not an overly social person, and (as my husband well knows) extracting information out of me about my thoughts and feelings can be like pulling fingernails.  (I am good.  I am strong.  I am fine!)  Sound familiar?

Fortunately, my Jesus is compassionate, gentle, patient, and unfailing in his love toward me as I struggle with my sins and shortcomings!  Though painful experiences and the unveiling of very personal, private, challenges with testicular cancer and the resulting infertility, He is teaching me how this life is not meant to be lived alone.  For a person like me, the publicity of our lives over the first few years of our marriage has been tough.  I am the kind of person that would rather float un-noticed under the radar. Seriously...I am the girl who would almost rather not get married than have to suffer though after-wedding traditions like cutting the cake, couple's dance, and speeches (all of which we did not have, by the way!) Too much time in the spotlight and I melt.   Through my silly insecurity, the Lord is patiently showing me this: there is a reason he has surrounded us with the most incredible family and church family.  Our burdens, sorrows, and joys are meant to be shared.  That is what family is for.

  I am sure most of you can relate to recoiling as the refrain of social media screams “Everyone obviously wants to know everything about ME and how I am feeling!”   The sickness in your stomach as you read someone’s prideful post (their glowing biography of success and good-wits) makes you want to climb under a rock and hide.  “Oh gosh, I don’t want to be like that!” You say.  For me, it is a piece of cake to over-react to a disgusting cultural norm, and default to good ol' internalization.  If painful things are hard to share, and happy things have a tendency to reek of pride, I won’t say anything.  I look back on my own blog and shudder at some of the things I wrote.  How easily pride creeps in when we think we know something.  How much I have to learn! 

“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

  Perhaps what Jesus is showing me is this, that even though “sharing too much” is seen as childish and annoying, it IS actually important to “let people in” and share our thoughts and feelings with those who really do love us, and who might benefit from our words.  (And perhaps for you, sharing with people who actually care and love you means sharing in confidence rather than posting to social media!)  Yet again, if the intent of our social media sharing and posting is not to build ourselves (our reputations, our self-confidence, self-love, or to showcase how fortunate or how smart we think we are) but is instead a tool which we use to honor the Lord through edifying and building-up brothers and sisters in Christ and for sharing the gospel and the hope we have in Jesus, then we are absolutely taking advantage of a modern technology for the Glory of God!  (Sorry for the run-on!)

“ What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”

 I really believe that although assembling on social media is in no way a substitute for assembling together in person, it can be a very helpful way to communicate, grow, and edify.  I mean, in Paul’s day the modern top-of-the-line mode of communication to his fellow believers and church family was hand-carried mail.  To think what we would be missing out on if Paul had never written those letters to explain his struggles and share the wisdom that the Lord imparted to him! 

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

In closing, I would be overjoyed if ya’ll would remember to pray for us as we embark on this embryo adoption journey!  And I would be delighted if you would share your prayer requests with me, so that I might have the privilege of sharing in the struggles and joys of life with you!  

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been,Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.