Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Part 1: "When God knocks your socks off". (You holdin on to your socks?)

*** edit: this post was taken down during our in-country process for safety and security issues. Therefore the date published shows the date I am republishing. 

I've come to find out a few things in the last couple of years, they are as follows: 

1.) this blog seems to only surface from the black hole of internet with major life events. Oops. ;) 

2.) the "plan" I/we had for our life, is somewhat just like I had hoped (my heart's desire of spending time Africa in 2011, marrying my best friend- a God-honoring man, and adopting our two children Carver and Macy! Something I dreamed of happening since the 3rd grade.

 Christiansen party of 4!!

3.) Yet, also, other events I never saw coming. And that's what leads me to this post. Another realization that when I proclaim that I follow Jesus and want to strive to live for Him and surrender my "plans" and my life to doesn't just stop one day. He doesn't go easy on ya after one or two or three steps of big or little obedience. There is no obedience quota that you meet and then get a day off. Ha! There are times when the rubber truly has to meet the road. 

Recently, we were presented with that reality. Did we really mean that? Will I obey when I don't want to, or when it's hard, or not the best time (in my opinion.), when it will be heart wrenching, or when I think things were going pretty well? 

Realizing that this life is most certainly NOT ours. All a gift from Him. Every breath, another moment of Grace from the one who created me. Every single breath. And sometimes He asks for your "yes" (to obedience) when it seems like you just got done with the last big thing He asked you to say "yes" to. There is no vacation from following Him. You could per say, 'clock in and clock back out'. But I believe that's when you choose to disobey instead of getting to business for Him. :) I'm even finding Jesus will ask obedience of you when you are "content" in life. 

So with that: 

Carver and Macy are gaining a big sister. Yep. A BIG sister. 

Turns out, we didn't bring home our oldest on our last adoption process. 

Turns out, our thoughts of "we're sticking with two, we're man to man, we don't wanna be outnumbered!", in response to our family growing, was off-base or maybe even comical to Almighty God. 

Turns out when Beau left Uganda in February after court and said, "Man, I'm going to miss this place. See you in five years Uganda!" It would be like- next year. Or like. This year. Like, the same year.  

Turns out, the last six months being home, when people would ask: 
"are you done?"
"will you have a biological child now?"
"when will you have more?"
"will you adopt again?"
(Good grief people, we went from zero to two kids- of different ages and genders over night! Isn't that enough for you!?! ;) ha!!)

.......Our responses of: 
"um we just got home with two, I think we're good for now!"
"it's really not up to us!"
"we're man to man. We don't want to be outnumbered!"
"no we don't plan to have biological children!"
"maybe, but not anytime soon, if ever!" 
"We're content with our family of four!"

.....was more than wrong. 

This story is quite possibly even more crazy and sudden than the adoption of Carver and Macy. If you know us or read those blog posts, you're going to say, "How in the world is that possible?!" Because that start to that "yes" was also nuts. 

We are unintentionally, unconventional apparently.  

(Sorry folks who bought a t-shirt for the party of FOUR, get your sharpies out. ;) ha!)

How did this happen? 
Well, God. Ha! But the details? I'll share in a few posts coming. Stay tuned.

The three weeks that God started stirring in our hearts, all I could think of over and over was, "See a need. Meet a need." and the song I caught myself singing and humming to myself was an old hymn, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way!". That's what Jesus did the entire time he walked this earth. He saw a need and met that need. And He trusted and obeyed His Heavenly Father. A massive example to us as Christ followers. We don't have any 'outs' on that one. And Beau and I are trying to be more intentional with that. At times its with your money, with your prayers, with your time, who knows. We just didn't think this was the next thing to obey, trust, and say yes to. ;)
 ** On a really tough morning as I was walking into Bible study, a few minutes late, a hundred women were singing this hymn....I cried. He keeps reminding me. :) It was so GOOD to sing these out loud in worship with other women/sisters!

Here's why we said yes, when we got the call/and in our hearts, before we even got the call: 
* God said so. For three weeks He was saying so and preparing us. 
* To say no, we knew would be disobedience. 
* She's from Carver and Macy's baby home. They grew up together in the first years of their lives. I know her. I spent a month's time at this baby home over my three trips to Uganda. Beau met her on our court trip. And when God brings her home, in His will, she will have two familiar faces that are now her brother and sister.
- becuase even when it doesn't make a smidgen of sense, we can trust Him. He is trustworthy. 

Here's why it doesn't make sense, and we should have said no: 
* people will think we are freaking nuts!

* we just got home with TWO kids at one time. Now THREE in less than/a year's time? (Again, nuts.) 

* we weren't "pursuing" another adoption.
* in the adoption world, she's an "older" child. AKA --Harder to match. Less likely to be adopted. (So ridiculous.) so many people when hearing about us adopting a child under three and a child under 1, would often say, "Oh but you're getting them at such a good age!" (What does that even mean? Most, mean, "you won't have as many "issues" since they're younger? That's crap. Just so you know. ;) ha!) and now all of a sudden a seven year old, isn't that "such a good age"....according to some. 

* it "upsets" our birth order of our children already home. (Non-issue for us.) 

* she has some needs that could be different than we are used to. 

* we have nothing, NOTHING financially set aside for another (international) adoption.
* we were 1000% content with our family of four. One boy. One girl. Flawless transition home- a miracle in the adoption realm. Why rock the boat? 

* people will think we're nuts!!
* I feel like I just got HOME from the Mosquitos, the heat, the away from my comforts (my bed, shower, Jimmy Fallon ;) , (remember that post?) food, my gym, my family, my Beau, my free will to drive wherever and whenever/not pay anyone to drive, etc. Did I mention being away from my family? Now having to leave Beau and Carver and Macy behind? 

* pride.  (For a multitude of reasons.)
We just got done with the stress, fear, length, fundraising, waiting, expense, uncertainty of adoption. I was weary of that. I have been enjoying having C&M home, just as much as I have enjoyed being DONE with the process. (Don't hear me wrong, in that the process was refining, incredible, how much I leaned and grew closer to the Lord!) Lord, again? This wasn't our PLAN!

* So now, what will people think? (technically, pride. again.)
It was amazing, absolutely amazing to have so many people's support through the process. It was so humbling. But now, "how can we have our loved ones and friends put up with us again through this!?" It is not just tough and weary on only us. 

* Or "God, you did so many miraculous things the last time, I'm sure our "tank of miracles" is empty/we've prayed and asked for so many things? Why grant us anything more?" I know that I am not thinking rightly of God in those thoughts. (Still learning and being humbled) 

* vacation.
 As if I couldnt reiterate just how much this was NOT our plan........this summer, my hubs received a bonus for his incredible hard work at his job. Well he (Dave Ramsey Jr.) surprised me with a vacation for just the two of us at the end of the year! Ahhhh!!!!

Why? Ironically, to celebrate adoption fees being paid in full, celebrate paying off our student loans, in celebration of the wonderful transition the kids have had, which would allow us to be away, time together (!!!), an anniversary/Christmas gift, and to revel in the fact that we made it through a stressful year+ under the adoption process! Boom. I was shocked! 
Wives, is that not the best surprise ever, huh? AH! I thought so!! Haha! Wonderful! we are. A couple months later. BACK IN the adoption process. (Oh had we known.)
Oof. (Now I struggle with guilt with that. And putting that money towards this adoption had we known.) We booked this sucker in July. NEVER KNOWING what was coming. Oh boy. 

(Still learning, people! Still learning I don't have control with what's brought or way, just control over how we respond.) 


As I continually process this - and I'll share more of the story about HOW we came to say "yes" and the incredible ways God shook it all out to us saying, "YES! YES! YES!" We are so grateful that God was so clear on this. There was no gray area. I believe He really shielded us from all the reasons we should have said "no", from the world's perspective looking in. We were united as husband and wife and all four of us can't wait to have her home! We know He works everything for good for those who are called to Him and HIS purposes. 

I have to be honest. It's a daily struggle to KEEP saying yes. The initial yes was a big step, and we know that was the right thing to do, to obey Jesus. But it doesn't stop there. That doesn't mean that the enemy won't continue to try to infuse doubt, fear, anxiousness, frustration, worry, division, etc. Just because God called us to this (again) doesn't mean it will be easy, smooth, quick, painless. It may not be anything like the first adoption process. Well, I can guarantee that. 

It DOES mean however, that His promises hold true this time around too. That He WILL NOT leave or forsake us. We can rest easy at night and go about our days in peace, if we allow ourselves to put off lies and embrace who He is, and the Truth that He is. He holds true to those things whether or not I think it or believe it. My doubt/fear DOES NOT take away from anything that He IS. 

We are praying that just like He clearly had this in the works long before Beau and I were aware, that He will continue to go before us and prepare the way. The way of fees, paperwork preparation, His hand on our new in-country attorney, new social worker, new agency, new judge (most likely), for our daughter's heart (still weird typing that out!), for our family transition from four to five, over my time away from not only Beau- and now away my little loves Carver and Macy, His hand upon new laws that could change for adoptions in Uganda, the wait, you name it! 

He has it all worked out. We don't know what the end looks like. But I KNOW from the last time- never once was I alone.

Never once. 

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