Thursday, November 26, 2015

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

I just wanted to share with you a few favourites I've come across in my time spent on the Internet.  (Please note: these are just simply a few articles, etc, that impacted me and I wanted to share them with you - no strings attached).  Enjoy!

Adoption:  This is the adoption story shared by a couple who adopted through the same agency we are with.  I don't know them personally, but it was great to read a story where the procedure, laws, etc, is exactly the same as it is for us.  For better or worse, this might be our story yet!

Christmas:  Is anybody else excited for Christmas?? One more month!  I love this blog post about  Christmas traditions to start with your spouse, but the real gems are in the comments!  Read them!  The really neat thing about these traditions, is that they are all for you and your spouse only.  For those of us who don't have kids yet and Christmas can be kinda lonely and sad at times, what a great idea to have some traditions for just the two of you to relish together until the kids come.  And even then, I think it's a good idea to have some for just the parents.

Faith:  This.  The testimony by a tribal man.  It is a must-watch! 

Marriage:  Just read this article today about finances and marriage.  It has a lot of excellent ideas.

And that's all for now!  I'm pretty sure there'll be at least something above that'll grab your attention like they all did for me!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pleasing God, Not Man

As believers, I think we all catch ourselves doing this from time to time.  I know I do.  As we go about our day, we subconsciously think such and such action of mine will impress so-and-so Godly believer and they will truly know where I stand and be pleased with me.  Writing it out in black-and-white sure makes it sound as sinful as it is, though, eh!

In the past, whenever I've heard anything on the topic of pleasing mankind instead of God, I have always heard it referring to pleasing friends, the unsaved around us, or people you want to impress (bosses, boyfriends, etc).  I particularly heard this topic as a teenager, referring to pleasing the "in crowd".  However, when I was a teenager, I wasn't saved.  I thought I was, though, and I was trying very hard to live a life I couldn't.

Now that I am saved, I still sin, but not in the habitual way that I did before I was believer.  When I wasn't saved, my constant cycle of sin, ask for forgiveness, sin, try harder, sin, etc, naturally got me pretty down, because there was no change.  Now that Christ did the changing, I am much more aware of the sins that pop up and much more willing and eager to turn to Christ for Him to take care of them.  I don't want to grieve Him, and also I want the best life possible as a believer; I want my life to be pleasing to Him.

I have looked up some verses on this topic of pleasing God instead of mankind, and I would like to share them with you.  I strongly believe that, as believers, the first places we need to turn when there is a sin that comes up in our life, is in prayer to Jesus and into His Word.  We must have faith that He will make the changes needed.

"So whether we are at home [heaven] or away [earth], we make it our aim to please Him."
2 Corinthians 5:9

John MacArthur (from my ESV Study Bible) shares an interesting note on the word "please" in the above verse.  He writes, "The term translated "please" is the same one used in Titus 2:9 to describe slaves who were passionate to please their masters."

"...but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who test our hearts."
1 Thessalonians 2:4

Every time I speak (or write) am I doing so to please God? Or man?  If I share the gospel in a way that pleases unbelievers, it is doubtful they will get saved, because what would please them would probably be if I said to have faith in yourself, it's okay to make mistakes, and we'll all get to heaven some way or another.  Not happening!  If I share the gospel for the purpose of Godly men and women around me hearing and approving, where is my love for the unbelievers?  Nowhere.  And I believe that is a very thin veil they could see through rather quickly.  

"...for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light...and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord."
Ephesians 5:8-10     

What I aim to do in my life, is to try and determine what God would want in every decision I make.  As far as I can tell, since we as believers are no longer living a life of sin and darkness but are now living in the light of the Lord, His will in our lives becomes plain.  I have found this to be true in my life.  The more I let Him live through me, the more quality time I spend with Him, the less I have to "hunt" to figure out His will. 

"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.  Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him."
Hebrews 11:5-6

I would once again like to share some of MacArthur's notes, on the above verses:  "Genuine faith does not simply believe that a divine being exists, but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God who exists.  Not believing that God exists is equivalent to calling Him a liar.  A person must believe not only that the true God exists, but also that He will reward men's faith in Him with forgiveness and righteousness, because He has promised to do so."  How to please God?  Have faith in Him.  First, as an unbeliever, one needs to put their faith in Him by believing in Him.  Then as a believer just continue life trusting Him with that same simplicity as when we originally believed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Motherhood Month - 18

Progress & How I'm Feeling:  It's been 2 years + 6 months + 4 days since we were approved (that's 2 years + 1 month of being active, since we took a five month break).  Shortly after my husband & I got approved, we were discussing how long it would take 'til we would get matched.  Knowing that our agency's average wait time is two years, we each took a guess that we have more or less stuck with.  He guessed 1 1/2 years.  I guessed 2 1/2 years.  Well, here we are, it is over our agency's average time, it is even past my guess.  I know we were told some people have waited up to six years.  You just don't think that'll be you - and I still doubt it will be! But it is going to be a longer-than-average wait, that has now been made clear.  So how do I keep from being discouraged?  Well, sometimes I am sad.  I am a little right now, looking at the numbers I'm typing.  But there's a few things.  One, the longer we wait, the closer we are to being matched, right?  Two, I honestly don't dwell on it a lot.  Yes, I want to become a mom, raise a child in a true Christian home, raise our child in a good, Godly way that will be a benefit to them, give them tons of hugs and snuggles and giggles, see my husband be a dad and my in-laws become first-time grandparents, and so much more.  But, life moves along.  There's everyday life to live along with planning for and dreaming of a baby, and after waiting so long I guess it just not an all-consuming focus anymore.  And thirdly, last year in September when I had a seizure after an almost six-month hiatus and we had to rethink the idea of parenting, I had to really do some serious thinking and praying.  My heart was b-r-o-k-e-n.  Not become parents at all?  I'd already given up becoming a mom through birth.  Now to give up  having a baby all over again, this time with no alternative?  After much wrestling and tears, I slowly, over time, came to the place where I could say I wanted God's will more than mine.  And what peace comes with that!  And I'm not just saying that as a "Christian platitude"!  It's true!  So when in March and April of this year I had two more seizures and we decided to put our adoption on hold with the potential of closing it completely and permanently, it wasn't as painful as one would think.  Yes, I cried.  Yes, for a while I kept my feelings stuffed inside, terrified to hope.  But the gut-wrenching part had been done earlier, and peace was already there.  God was there (He'd never left).  Thankfully, I was able to go on a higher dose of medication and my health is doing really well.  We became active again in September of this year.    

Craving:  Pizza!  It's on the menu for tonight :)

Thoughts About Our Future Child:  My prayer for you is that you will believe in Jesus Christ.  My prayer for us is that we will raise you in the ways that you, yourself, need.

Thoughts About Our Child's Expectant Mom:  I wonder about you, where you are, what you're experiencing in life right now, things like that.

Most Recent Baby Purchase/Gift:  Nothing recently.  But I have been working on tearing off the old wallpaper in the baby room so that we can eventually get to the point of painting it!  The paper (two different patterns) is from at least 1990 and more likely the 70's or 80's, and underneath the whole room is pink.  At least it's coming off fairly easily! :)