Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forever changed...

I've had a blog post floating around in my head for weeks. As I have said a few times before, I am not a writer. I wish it flowed from my heart and head to the keys on this computer, but it doesn't. Here goes...

I am blessed. I have been blessed beyond measure with good health, good parents, great childhood, enough money, college, jobs, healthcare, marriage to an amazing man, children, a beautiful home, wonderful memories, and then more children. I live in a free country and a beautiful town. God has been incredibly gentle with me. He has walked beside me through the darkest days after losing my father tragically, through the heights of marriage and birthing babies, to the last few years of struggle and joy as our family has wobbled while trying to find a new normal with the addition of our girls.

All the trials and moments have been proof of my God's mercy and faithfulness, His love and kindness, His discipline and guidance. I fail miserably some days, yet He picks me up and lets me start over, each and every day. He forgives my stubborn ways, my sometimes quick temper,  my rough edges - and He is smoothing them out with His forgiveness and love.

The greatest blessing of my life is knowing the truth, asking Jesus into my life and knowing that following Him is the only way to real life and real joy.  I want my life to be used by Him and for Him and to point others to Him. I want my eyes and heart to focus on the things that truly matter to Him - a hard thing to do in a materialistic world that says "it's all about me." I actually made the decision a long time ago that I wanted my life to matter in God's eyes - no one else's. That I wanted to do big things for Him. That I wanted our family to be a light in this world of so much darkness.

     Having four children in a 6 year span and homeschooling them all seemed my "big thing to do for Him." Raising my children to know and love God, to learn His Word, has been my full time job for the last 13 years. It has been a journey - exhausting and rewarding in a way I will never be able to explain - the words fail me. The memories and time with my children has been nothing short of fantastic. I will never regret our call and decision to follow God down the homeschool path and for the years we have spent learning and growing together.

And then came adoption.

Our adoption  - the decision to follow God down a path that seemed crazy and ridiculously expensive and overwhelming to some. It seemed crazy and ridiculously expensive and overwhelming to us. Jumping off a cliff (and believe me, that is really how it feels) is scary and "lump-in-your-throat" terrifying and also the most beautiful and awesome thing ever. To know God in a whole new way sounds too trite to explain it. To see God do miracles for children who are forgotten and abandoned half the way across the globe and to work out details and money needs and travel and ... the list goes on - this is to see a side of God that I could never have seen before.

Jemila and Kulate the day after they entered the orphanage in 2008

The girls on Jemila's 8th birthday 2012
Our God is about adoption. He loves children and longs for us to help orphans and widows. This is where His heart is and to be a part of that is just not like anything I can even express. To now see our girls bubbling with excitement over something they just learned, or giggling as they ice skate, or drawing pretty pictures, or singing praises in church - well, it's a feeling I can't even explain. To think that God used me and my family in some way so powerful to set these little girls in a family with love and the knowledge of Him, well, it is just too much for this challenged writer to put down here.

I am forever changed.

It is hard to look at life the same now. The things and ways I spent my time in the past seem empty and unnecessary. My priorities have changed and the things of this world do not entice me in the way that knowing and being a part of what is close to God's heart does.  Going to Africa shook me up and put me back together in a whole new way. Life will never be the same.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

("I am happy that I am me and I am happy that I have a Mom and  I have a Dad" - Jemila)

This blog post can be found on Deathbygreatwall.com as part of a link up to adoption stories. Head over there to check out some other wonderful adoption stories!

1 comment:

Dana@DeathbyGreatWall said...

Julie - I love this. You have a beautiful story - and despite what you say at the beginning, you are a very talented writer. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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