Thursday, August 30, 2012

The god of what-if's

Running is often my only chance to have a few uninterrupted (usually) minutes with my Savior. It's refreshing. It's when I talk to Him. Yes, I talk out loud. Sorry, neighbors if you hear my ramblings being whispered, sometimes shouted, to the heavens. 

The truth is I have struggled, really deep down struggled. Those who know me best know that the times I am the quietest are the most dangerous. I have been quiet...nearly silent. I have struggled with the what-if's. Those pesky questions from the god of what-if's that suffocate all the promises of my Savior. They have broken the barrier and been shouting into my ear. 

What if my agency blew it and we can't get our dossier out in time?
What if China rejects our petition at the last minute?
What if I find out I'm pregnant? (funny, because that's impossible)
What if tragedy strikes and we can't complete the adoption?
What if Jiang dies before we get him?
What if Jiang dies when we get him home?
What if he dies after we have him home and have loved him for years and heartache is that much worse?

You get the picture. 
So I went for a jog. I went to have it out with my God. I went before His throne.

Two songs came on the radio:
I don't believe in coincedence. I believe in providence. They were providential. They provoked my heart. They squeezed the truth out of my lips.

I cried to the Lord. I shouted to the Lord my God. I prayed for my son. I prayed for all the what if's. 

My Savior is truly mighty to save. His hand is not short and his love is everlasting. He has conquered the grave. He is glorious in His wonder. He will move these mountains. He will save this one. He will save my son. With all that is in me I will come before His throne and ask for His mercy to extend to my son. I will kneel at His throne and ask. I will stand boldly before His throne and say to Him, "This one, Father. Mark this one for Your Glory. For the sake of all Your followers that are asking, You will mark this one. You will set Your seal of salvation on him. You will shatter the darkness. He will know the love of You. I will shout it to the heavens. This one, Jiang Hurst, is untouchable. He is marked for the glory of the heavens. He will sit in the high places and he will sing. Hear it now, He will sing the praises of his Savior. Jesus, You will move this mountain."

To the god of what-if's, "You cannot have him. He no longer belongs to you. My Savior is calling his name. He is claiming this one. You. cannot. have. him. Jesus Christ has heard his cries in the night.  Jesus Christ has marked him for His kingdom. God has heard. He has answered. He is redeeming Jiang Hurst. You cannot have him. The blood of the Lamb is sealing him. He. belongs. to. Christ. "

I refuse the what-if's. I claim the promises.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have no idea how to go about saying thank you for something so huge as our give1save1 week. I have pondered how to write this out for days and still haven't come up with anything that sounds amazing or expresses the true depth of our gratitude. I feel like I should at least have some eloquent way of saying thank you. I feel like I should give at least that back to all of you.

Instead I am left speechless as I stare looking at $2,000, much of which came from strangers that I have never met. How do I say thank you for caring about my son's life, a boy you will never meet? How do I say thank you for being a part of saving his life? He's my son and there are no words that could ever express my love for him and so there is no way to express my gratitude for saving him either.

But I thank you all, with every part of who I am I humbly thank you for your giving. I think this is the most encouraging thing we have been a part of to date. People from all over the world (literally) gave to save this boy. You all cared about us and about him and about the Christ who calls us to care for orphans. Thank you.

Through our journey last week we raised $2,000, but we were also told that a business (that will remain anonymous) was going to host a matching grant for up to $5,000 for us. That would be another $10,000 if they meet that goal. To say we are speechless is an understatement.

I have seen the hand of God at work in humanity this week. What I would have said was impossible is proving possible. What I worried over for months has been tossed away and I am reminded that I walk with a God that knows no boundaries. Why He should care about one little boy and one family I can't  answer but I sit at the foot of His throne and give thanks to Him for His great love. I serve an Almighty God.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We need your help! We are having such a difficult time with naming our son. We would like to give him one American name that he can have the option of using if he wishes. Naming an older, adopted child turns out to be pretty controversial. Who knew? But Jiang was found abandoned and I think it's important that he have a name chosen for him by his parents. Jiang is actually his last name so I'm not sure which Chinese name he will choose to keep. Jiang is the easiest to pronounce for us!

Craig and I carefully choose our names for our kids. We prefer them to have significant meaning or be named for family members. So, here's the fun part. We would like to ask for advice on names. Guys are probably eye rolling at this point (it's ok, just move on to the next thing on your reading list) but most girls love this part. So, everyone send me your three favorite names and what they mean.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Standing on the Edges

I think that it is easy to stand on the edges of true Christlike living. It's easy to attend church and teach our children Bible stories and the great songs from ages past. It's easy to stand on a pedestal and claim to know Christ. It's easy to walk what we have so easily accepted as Christlike living. It's easy to follow a set of rules. I like boundaries and rules because they make me feel safe. It gives me a reference point to look at and know that I am doing things correctly. It makes me feel very Christlike.

But is it really, truly and deeply Christlike? If we are holding onto the rules doesn't that make us less like Christ and more like those pesky pharisees?

It's easy to sing our hearts out worshipping our glorious Savior and then go home annoyed that the pastor took too long and now your Sunday roast is ruined. It's easy to judge and far harder to sit with that person in the pit of their despair. It's easy to throw the first stone and far harder to admit our own shortcomings.

It was easy for us to talk about adoption, to say we thought it was a great idea or a Godly goal. It was easy for us to say it was in the ten year plan. It was all easy...until we actually started it. Being Christlike is painful, because we are not like Christ and getting there hurts. It was easy to stand on the edges and advocate for orphans. Adopting one is a whole different story.

It was all easy...until now. I will stand here and tell you that adoption is the hardest thing we have ever done. And we have walked some tough roads in our marriage. But it is a good difficulty. It is a life changing road to walk.

Leaving the safety of those rules and getting off of the edges has painfully changed me. I will tell you my judgement of others exists far less than it once did. I judge myself far more now. What are my motivations? Why am I serving this God? Do I truly want to be like Him?

Could I shave $20 off of my grocery budget and give it to the person from church who asked for prayer for medical bills? Would I really give the coat off of my shoulders to someone who is colder than I have ever imagined? Would I sit with the girls on the side of the street and really, deeply listen to their stories?

Things in this world have taken their place behind faces that are in desperate need of help. Do I really need that new dress when I have seen true need in the eyes of those mother's who cannot clothe their babies? Do I need to redecorate again when I have seen the homeless teens on the street? I am sickened by the wealth that surrounds me and how little of it I have given away. I am sickened that I could go to sleep inside a house, under a roof, with blankets to spare and not wake up and go take my bed and give it to someone who needs it. I am sickened that I have been so self centered that I never saw the needs of others. I never understood their pain.

I am sadddened that even in my serving I expected something in return. I expected respect, for myself, for my things, for my home. I had no clue what sacrifice meant. I heard of hurting people and offered up prayers for them, but never once sat down with them in the midst of their ruin.

Lord Jesus, continue to change my heart. Help me to see with your eyes. Help me to see others needs before I see their flaws. Help me to learn to truly give of myself. May my heart become less like a pharisee and more like the Man on the Cross who died in shame and rose in victory. May I live less so that I may serve You like You have served me. Help me, Jesus, to see myself as a servant. Help me to see myself as lower than others so that You will be raised higher. Help me not to see myself at all. Dear God, let me only see You. May You be my Master and may I be your servant in everything everyday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seeing his face

The first time I saw his face I melted. That night I went to sleep dreaming about a little Chinese boy and began to wonder what if...

I knew his diagnosis wasn't good. I knew he was already four. I knew he would need lifelong care. I knew we could't afford it. I knew there were more things in our way than I could count.  
AND I knew he. was. mine

I knew he was mine. I just didn't know how in the world it would all work. I remember Faith peeking over my shoulder and whispering, "Oh Mommy, can we adopt him?" And I said, "I don't know, Sweetie, it's SO expensive. I really didn't know, but I knew we had to try. This sweet face that had sneaked into my heart would die if someone didn't take the risk and come to get him. 

I also remember crying so hard when I honestly crunched the numbers and they didn't fit. I was heartbroken that a little boy wouldn't find a home because of money. It didn't seem fair. I tried to hide the tears that day, but my kiddos saw straight through it all. As I broke down they hugged me and started crying as well and told me they would sell all their toys for him.  
I cried harder.
They told me not to give up.
I cried buckets.
I told them there was just no way we could do it.
They told me they would sell lemonade.
It was 30 degrees outside.
Then they decided to go around the neighborhoods in the freezing cold and sell whatever they could.
Hope began to rise.
Maybe God was speaking through these kids and telling me to do everything I could to go get this boy.
Hope replaced fear.

Was is possible for a few coins to really add up to enough? Was it possible that God would do the impossible for one little boy? Did God really care about one heartbroken woman who wanted to give one little boy a chance to live?

God has proven to me again and again that He is faithful. I couldn't tell you how we've come this far. It has been quarters and dimes and pennies and many, many prayers. It has often come down to the very days we had to pay but to this point God has provided every single penny we have needed.

This week we will be featured on Give1Save1. It is a HUGE opportunity for our family to raise some funding for this little guy. The idea is everyone that sees the video gives just $1 and promises to spread the word. We need this thing to go on as many facebook,twitter, pinterest, wanelo and whatever other social media outlets are out there. 

The first time I gave to a family on there I felt silly giving $1 and thought it really wouldn't make a difference (so I think I gave $3) and then I watched the total every single day and they ended up with thousands! It really does make such a huge difference. What may be only $1 to you may mean our little boy gets here to the USA and gets the medical treatment he needs to survive!

Please don't think that $1 is silly. It may be nothing to you but it is everything to our family.

I wanted you to see the little boy you will be helping, but I have to ask you not to copy and paste his picture anywhere. So many of you have waited and prayed for him already.
Look at that face. Isn't he precious?
He's our son!