Friday, April 29, 2011

Wrestling Match... Post #4

After that Friday, we spent the next 5 days reeling over and over, and truly being scared out of our pants. "What is HE up to?" We spent time praying/begging God for wisdom and discernment. It was like we had been consumed with thoughts of this decision, what life would be like there, and if God was really asking us to say yes. Opportunities are a dime a dozen, but the way this one was unfolding appeared to be "unusual" and orchestrated by something much larger than ourselves, and certainly by the way it came about, we felt that it wasn't anything being "conjured up" by ourselves. We weren't asking for this... and I wrote about that in real time here. So, literally, I was spending more time in prayer, reading the word, and talking with spiritual mentors than I was cleaning house, homeschooling, and playing with my kids. It was a heavy, heavy time. We were spending every night outside talking and praying, as soon as the kids were in bed. And it never ceased to amaze us how God spoke so clearly through others and his word. Be it our study in James, random sermons by Tim Keller on the life of Abraham, devotionals I would open... My friends, that I thought would certainly discourage me were able to clearly recognize that it was God moving... regardless of the outcome... and that we would be foolish and disobedient to NOT inquire about the position. We prayed for clarity, and then felt convicted because God had truly been so clear. So... we inquired, and had a phone call with the VP of LifeSong that next week. We had a ton of questions, and were able to hear more about the project and share our hearts. We had prayed, "Lord, if you do not want us going down this road, make something on this call clearly stand out that this is not for us." The opposite happened... the more we heard, the more we felt we had been prepared for this. I actually read about Joshua, and taking of Jericho. He had prepared them to take the Promise land, only 2 of the spies believed it. It went on to discuss that there are 2 things that do not glorify God: 1. is when people do not want to spend the time preparing for their call and 2. when those who have been prepared do not take the land God wants to give them.

We do not want to run ahead, if not prepared. We do not want to back away from the things God has prepared us in advance to do (Eph 2:10). Lord, make it clear to us.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just another birthday... or no? Post #3

(First, I realize this is a LOT... and a LONG story... but it's one worth telling...)
The next week after the retreat, we celebrated our Z-man's birthday! On his birthday, we celebrated with friends at our home. One of those friends, Amy Block, was over and we had a very short conversation that started with Amy asking "Do you think you live in Africa someday?" and I replied "Yes! Shane feels called to Zambia, but I LOVE Ethiopia! But not for a long time... we are adopting, and we LOVE where we are right now." The end of that discussion and the party continued.
2 hours later: I get an email from a sweet friend, but I'm not really "close" to her.. only through the adoption circuits and cyber adoption world. Sweet Christie Ucherek emailed me and just said that God had so clearly put me on her heart today and that she wanted to be able to pray specifically for me. That's kinda odd, because she has never done that before, and we haven't talked in a LONG TIME. So, I start to type out that the adoption wait is hard, and that's it. BUT, God convicted me that I wasn't being fully honest and transparent, and that I needed to share with her what was truly on my heart and what God was doing. I did this. I told her that we felt drawn to the poor, that we weren't sure if it was to just rent our house and move downtown or if He was preparing us to eventually be overseas: Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia are on our hearts heavy right now. But, I was careful to say that we were NOT unhappy with our current place in life and that really, the thought of leaving it made us very sad. She understood and said she would be praying.
Less than 24 hours later: I get a message from Christie Ucherek again. This time she starts with "Well, this is kinda crazy" ... great. That's what I need... CRAZY. ha. She proceeds to tell me that within LifeSong, their Zambia director has announced retirement and that they are going to need someone asap. LOL. and LOL. Well, let me list the 5 million reasons why this isn't the right time... NOR will it work. BUT, "I'll tell Shane" is my default. Surely, He can see this is insane. right??
30 minutes later, I get another message... from my friend, Amy Block, who was at my house yesterday. She had found out about the position (her family is and has done AMAZING work with LifeSong, check it out here) and that she just thought I "needed to know." pahaha. Only this time, it was a little more like my heart was racing and feeling a bit crazy. God must have known I would have ignored the first message, and piggy-backed one on top of the other just to get my attention. At this point... on one crazy Friday in February, He had the McB's attention...
stay tuned...

Post #2... Created for Care and Acts 1:8

(if you are joining late... you might want to read my last 2 posts before this one or you might be confused...)

3 weeks after the bike ride and time away, I was supposed to go to the Created for Care retreat. I almost did not go. I went back and forth, tried to give my spot away, and ultimately Shane decided for me to go! Alrighty then! I got to travel with 2 amazing gals, and meet many more. I blogged about it here for more details. But, what I didn't share was something God was doing so intimately in my heart that, at the time, I felt to hold close.
We had a "date with God" experience. It's amazing and if you want to know more about that, click here. During this time, I go by myself (without my friends, but other people are there) to this dark, candle lit room. There were several stations to choose from... and I just prayed "God, show me where you want me to start." I clearly was drawn to the station that had maps and said "ask God to show you what nation to pray for." Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zambia were on my heart... I sit down and start to pray. Mind you, at this point I've been away from my kids for about 48 hours, and I'm feeling pretty relaxed and "still." It was like God ushered my heart into the gates of heaven... and he truly "taught me how to pray." Now... if you know me, I am NOT charasmatic WHATSOEVER. Nothing against it, I'm just not. But it was like God had just been waiting for me to pour out my heart... and heartbreak... for Africa: the people, the children, the LRA, the missionaries, the child soldiers, the birthmothers, my sweet daughter, the children dying with AIDS/starvation/malaria/... and for the first time, I think my heart broke like my Father's for HIS people. I truly allowed my heart to "go there" and beg God for healing, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit. And, I truly believe God used my prayers that day to change things in someone's life I don't even know.
Next station... I look and it says, "pick up a Bible and ask God to show you a verse." Again, I'm a skeptic.... it's by nature. I immediately say to God "God, you know I'm not real crazy about just picking up the Bible and thinking you are talking to me. BUT, I WANT to hear from you. SO, make it REALLY CLEAR that you are speaking through your word." I pick up the only Bible left... and there is a piece of paper sticking out of it that reads "Acts 1:8". Now, I KNOW what Acts 1:8 says. It says "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Now, at this point I'm starting to get a little "crazy." Here's why... The Mr. is taking a corse at DTS (seminary) in Biblical Hermaneutics. We have spent the last month pulling apart every preposition and phrase in what verse do you think? That's right... ACTS 1:8!!!!!! What in the WORLD? So then I go, AhHA! Maybe God is trying to tell us something about Acts 1:8 other than schooling! I then truly feel confirmed that at some point, we will be going "to the ends of the earth." BUT WHEN and WHERE?
The thought of this is so exciting, but crazy. And still, at this point, it's YEARS away. YEARS. Afterall, we are SO happy with where we are serving, and God is using us greatly. We LOVE our church, our friends, and are just getting settled into life here in TX. and we LOVE it. YEARS away. YEARS. But, it's amazing that God would confirm our steps. So... at this point, I'm more in love with Jesus than EVER... and you guessed it... there is more to the story.

How it all began... Post #1

(Friends who are just joining in... I'm posting now what I was writing THEN... our story to Zambia)

About a month or two ago (January), it warmed up for a week or so, and we went on a family bike ride... Shane said "you know, i think moving overseas is sooner than I thought." me... : "really?" I was kinda relieved because we both have felt called to be overseas at some point, but Shane had ALWAYS said it would be when we retired. So, I asked "why? when? and what would you do?" That's right, he opened the door... so I start firing off questions! ha. He said he could just sense God preparing him, and that he didn't believe it would be for at least another 4-5 years. (WOW! 4-5 years? I have to start planning... I mean, that's "right around the corner" compared to retirement!) He also said he would like to be part of leadership or director of an orphanage or ministry that cared for orphans and also the community at large. Hmmm... sounds really cool. I can't wait to see how God brings all this about.
Not long after that, we had planned a "get away" to "get it together" for our family. We spent the weekend praying and planning: marriage needs, parenting needs, balance... personal goals... the whole deal. And.. part of that discussion was geared toward praying that God would open our hearts and eyes for "whenever" He wanted to use us, specifically in Africa. And boy... did he do that... Keep in mind... YEARS... we just felt God kinda stirring around a little. Read post #2 for more heart prep...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Time to get real...

Ok, for all those who read this and have been sensing a little something is "off" were right. I've been getting questions and messages about the "elusiveness" of certain posts, etc. I have to be honest, it has been VERY HARD to blog over the last couple of months... because God has been doing something SO BIG and SO CRAZY in our lives, but it simply wasn't the time to share. But, the time has come. Because I'm not that great of a writer, and am certainly not a "blog celebrity" I carry very little pressure to make this come out just right... so... here's me getting real...

On February 10th, our lives were great... normal... comfortable... nice. Honestly, we had finally "arrived" at the place we longed for: good friends, good church, good ministry within the church, loved our jobs... etc. NO DESIRE for things to be different NOW. We were certainly open to things being different later on... but not NOW. (other than the addition of a new child, that is) I go to bed thinking nothing unusual. Life is good.

On February 11th... life changed. You can read about the specifics over the next couple of days if you desire... (i've been back-blogging... is that a word?) I didn't want it... I wanted God to pick someone else. Actually, you can read my feelings about all that here. "I don't want to change. I like my life." But God wouldn't leave us alone... dag-gone-it.

Over the past 2 months, we have been praying like mad... seeking Godly counsel... having meetings... crying... laughing... grieving... traveling... and loving in an overwhelming way... (welcome to my emotional roller coaster)

My heart has changed from a "oh NO!!!!" to "wow. me? us? YES!" (cut to the chase, right?)

So... here's the news. Our hearts have been stolen away. Stolen by these children:

plus about 210 more. We can't pretend we didn't hear the Lord speak to our hearts... as clear as day. We can't pretend He didn't orchestrate what We would call a very clear path for us to say "yes." The truth is... He did. And we had to choose if we would obey. And we will. We have laid our "yes" on the table. (deep breath) We are the "newest" addition to Lifesong for Orphans team in Zambia. We are moving our family to Zambia! (that's in Africa... it's ok, I didn't know that a year ago) Yes, we are crazy. ... crazy in love with 210+ children in Zambia... crazy in love with the amazing teachers there... and we are crazy in love with the FATHER. Can't even believe He would use us to do anything as amazing as this. So there. It's out. I can breathe and stop trying to be a "fake blogger." ;)

The story is pretty amazing. I'd love for you to follow along and put up with quite a few posts in a short amount of time... I'm going to try to post the things I've written along the way over the next few days. If you are on our support team, you will be getting a more detailed letter within the next couple of days. We love you all and can't do this alone! Ok... so the story begins... I'll leave you with a few pics... of 2 weeks ago... yes... when we were taking the week "off" from blogging... that would be because we were in ZAMBIA! (sneaky little devils)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What happens when God takes a heart...

I remember the first time I ever met an orphan face to face. I was 19 years old and went to Nicaragua with my college roommate. I was timid, scared, and couldn't recall one lick of Spanish for the first entire day. I was so nervous. I actually chose to paint most of the time, instead of being with the kids... because physical labor came more natural for me than loving orphans.

In 2000, I met 400+ orphans face to face in Guatemala. This time, it was a bit different. I'm not sure why. While I remained drawn to the physical labor... there was something about those kids. I longed to hold them, love on them, mother them. It was there, I knew God had planted the seed of adoption in my heart. It was there I feel in love with orphans OF GUATEMALA. (honestly, I didn't care that much about orphans elsewhere at that point)

God took that and grew something much bigger than I could imagine. 5 trips to Guatemala later... He blessed me with a husband who loves orphans... and desired to adopt. We set off with life together... with helping orphans "on the side."

We went from not knowing an orphan... to serving God through loving orphans "on the side"... to becoming an adoptive family... to full time service in orphan ministry. At this point, God expanded our hearts beyond anything we could imagine.

That is what happens. God takes a heart that preferred painting walls over loving children... and makes it into a mothers heart. God takes a heart that only loved "one kind" of orphan... and makes the love in it SO large, that it loves BEYOND skin color, geography, or age. God took 2 hearts joined in Him... with a "thank God I'm not called into full time ministry" attitude and melts them into "I can't believe God would use us to do this" type of perspective.
He has taken our "We would never's" and blessed us with the ability to say "absolutely and joyfully YES."

Today, We long to go near... to "weep with those who weep"... to tell them they are precious... to reassure them when they are uncertain... to point them to the Father when they have no one... to laugh with them... to see them grow... We long to go near.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love makes you do crazy things...

Today is Friday... Good Friday. And while I remember the suffering, or passion of my SAVIOR... it's not that detail I'm most moved by. It is His motive for the suffering.
the homeless man you pass on the way to work.
the rich man who passes by without thought.
the orphan with no place to go.
the cheat.
the liar.
the widow.

HIS MOTIVE WAS LOVE. Can you even imagine loving so deeply, so much that you say "Not my will but Thine?" or "Father Forgive them?" And willingly just lay down your life for another? but it was for salvation. It's the only death ever to have happened and ever will happen that offers that... salvation for us... the guilty party. "For God so loved..."

It is by His love... His example... that we are to LIVE.

Love will make you do crazy things.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Leaving you with this thought...

Hey all. I wanted to officially say that I'm taking a blogging break for the coming week. No blog. No Facebook. Little email. What I can say is that God is doing "something" ... and when He does "something" it is ALWAYS good. Now, I just have to listen, confirm, and obey. This morning I opened up my devo, and thought it so practical to where I am these days that you might feel the same. Leaving you with this thought... "see" you in about a week.

"Trust me in every detail of you life. Nothing is random in my kingdom. Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good, to those that love Me. Instead of trying to analyze the intricacies of the pattern, focus your energy on trusting Me and thanking Me at all times. Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good, through My transforming grace....

Having sacrificed My very life for you, I can be trusted in every facet of your life."

Jeremiah 17:7; Romans 8:28

Praying we can all "Trust and Obey."

Friday, April 8, 2011

15 Things I NEVER thought I'd do.... until Motherhood

1. Drive not 1, but 2 minivans
2. Let my kids eat in the car
3. Go days without a shower
4. Wear knee length shorts
5. Know more words to the veggie tales songs than Brittany's new album
6. Wipe someone's face with my spit
7. Fix someone's hair with my spit (hey, I never appreciated the spit before!)
8. Allow a much younger, smaller human to make me feel self-conscious (Z walked in on me changing the other day and said "wow, i never want to see that again." Please tell your daddy that)
9. Go potty and tie someone else's shoe at the same time
10. Drink after someone else's backwash in my drink
11. Eat leftovers off of someone else's plate
12. Prefer Chick-fil-A over the Cheesecake Factory
13. Actually bite off some of my food, take it out of my mouth, and give it to someone else to eat.
14. Suck snot out of someone's nose with an overrated vaccuum machine. (ok, maybe it's not overrated)
15. Never, EVER, share my queen size bed with 4 people.

Don't judge me... join me! What about you?

Monday, April 4, 2011


"Blessed be the name of the Lord... "

"In Me you have EVERYTHING. In ME you are complete" Eph 3:20

"It is impossible for you to have a need that I cannot meet." 2 Cor 4:18

"Taste and see that I am Good. The more intimately you experience me, the more conviced you become of My goodness." Ps 34:8

"I am taking are of you. Trust me at all times." Proverbs 3:5

"A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you." John 16:33

"Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

"Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do. It entails trusting Me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure things out yourself." Isaiah 40:31

"When you trust the details of your life to Me, you are surprised by how throughly I answer your petitions. Abundance is at the very heart of who I am." Ps: 36:7-9

"Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song." Isaiah 12:2-3

*Sometimes we just need truth to wash over us... over and over and over....

**These were taken from Jesus Calling devo from the last 2 weeks...