Friday, August 16, 2013

Prayers for TODAY

I know this post is long and it's not something I post about in depth very frequently, but I ask humbly for my friends to take several minutes out of your 24 hour day and read this post.  Please join me in this prayer TODAY.  Thank you in advance for standing in the gap with me.  Please feel free to link this, and/or comment with your own prayers or with any word the Lord has put on your heart in response.  To God be the Glory.

Feeling heavy today.  Not heavy as in weight.  Not heavy as in a depressed mood.  Heavy as in I believe the Lord is up to something GOOD in the Haitian adoption world but is being restricted by the powers of this world.  I believe this because I see so much opposition growing and trying to stand in His way.

I humbly ask that any who desire to, to join me in praying for God's Will to have its full power and authority in the adoptions of Haiti TODAY.  That any schemes of Satan to cause division, corruption, and ultimately endings to adoptions of these beautiful Haitian children be thwarted, stopped, demolished, and conquered.  That those of us who have answered a call to adopt through Haiti would be strengthened in our journeys and even more determined to see His call to us through to completion.  That our trust in His Plan and our faith in His Ability to see it finalized would never be shaken, but only strengthened with each day we wait for our little ones to come home.

And that TODAY an impact so BIG would be seen across Haiti in the realm of adoptions that no one would be able to deny the presence of the Almighty God.  That He would be gloried and honored and loved because of what He can do for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  That children who are already matched to their families would be moved one step closer to their homes TODAY.  That those waiting simply to be matched would be given hope through the faces of others going before them.

That directors, lawyers, or representatives of these children and their families would have direct access to the papers, people, or answers they need to work on our behalf TODAY and move us forward.  That nothing--not weather, not money, not rallies, not roadblocks, not sickness, not time, not lack of gasoline, not traffic, not lies, not pride, not past rules or current rules or future potential rules, not lack of ink, not broken machines, not fraud, not government issues, not agency issues, not orphanage issues, not human issues, not ANYTHING--would be used by Satan to block the path of forward movement in each and every adoption.

That these precious waiting children would be filled with the unexplainable Spirit of the Living God in their hearts TODAY so that they know in the core of their being they are loved, being fought for, and are not forgotten.  That every Mama and Daddy heart would be comforted TODAY with a peace that transcends our own understanding that God is fully at work for us where we can not be.

And that TODAY, we would believe that our prayers--our conversations with the Most High--are cherished, treasured, desired, heard, and will be answered by a God who loves us more dearly than any other ever can.  May all who believe in Christ see Him at work TODAY and be inspired by His Holiness and Faithfulness towards GOOD.  May all who do not believe yet be given eyes that are opened and a heart that is changed because of the work God will do today as Satan is bound and God's Spirit is given full reign in all of the adoptions in Haiti.

Thank you, friends, for praying and standing in the gap with me for something so dear to our family.  We have had a daughter for 2 years among those children in the orphanages across Haiti who needs her God to have full access TODAY on earth as it is in Heaven with no hindrances, no barriers, and no limitations.  We have a daughter who needs her God to have full reign to work His GOOD for her today.  Will you each please pray for Him to have all these things and more TODAY?

Thank You, God, for loving Nora so.  Thank You for loving me so.  Thank You for loving each and every child and family represented on papers in Haiti trying desperately to be united.  Thank You for always being at work for the good of those You love.  Have full reign TODAY, Sweet Jesus, have Your Full Reign in the adoption process in Haiti.  Have Your Full Reign in me.  Amen.

Please, read these Holy Words of Romans 8 and pray them over this situation during your prayer time...

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

'For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

***Update/Answer to Prayer!!!!!!  September 4, 2013***

Adoption Prayer Update: On August 16th I felt an undeniable urge to pray of the world of adoptions in Haiti and asked you all to join in with me in that prayer. Many of you did...thank you! Although I hadn't heard of any big answer to prayer that day or any direction really as to why God put that on my heart, I simply chalked it up to a reason God had that I just wouldn't understand or know. Just because I didn't know what was happening, didn't mean He wasn't hearing my prayers or that they were not needed that day...I just didn't know why. Low and behold, just yesterday a huge miracle was announced that had happened over the course of the last few weeks in the Haiti adoption world! It was confirmed that a change in the law of requirements to adopt through Haiti has finally been approved and will begin to be implemented in the next several months. This law has been on the table in Haiti's government to be approved for over a decade and has consistently been denied....until this past week. Praise the Lord! The old laws made the requirements to adopt through Haiti one person in the married couple had to be 35 years old, you had to be married 10 years at least, and you were not allowed to have any biological children (singles were allowed to adopt as well, but I'm mainly talking about married couple rules here). Obviously, we didn't meet these requirements but we are still adopting through Haiti. To bypass these requirements, we (and MANY, MANY others) had to get a signature from the President of Haiti (called dispensation) waiving us through. With the new law, there will be no dispensations at all and the new requirements will be one person has to be 30 years old, 5 years of marriage at least, and you are allowed to have biological children. Some of the people who have been waiting for dispensation currently have been on the President's desk for a whole year...others less, others more. Doing away with this step will quicken the pace of adoptions across Haiti by a HUGE margin. Lowering these requirements will also allow SO MANY MORE families to adopt the beautiful children of Haiti into loving homes. I can not say enough how grateful I am to be a witness to this change in the system. God is on the move, friends, and I believe my sense of urgency to pray for the world of adoptions in Haiti was miraculously answered! God is doing amazing things around the world if we open our eyes and hearts towards them and cover them in prayer. Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying! God is hearing your prayers and breaking down literally a decade and more of strongholds. Children are being given a better chance at their dreams of a family. It doesn't get much better than that. Praise the Lord, oh my soul, praise the Lord! Please keep praying! The new laws have to still be signed by the President and printed in a public governmental newspaper/journal to take affect. Also, we personally are still needing prayer for Nora's papers to get out of MOI. We are coming up on week 18 this Friday of being stuck in this department and are beyond ready to exit and move on to passports. We want our baby girl HOME! Thank you everyone!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Partly Cloudy

Yesterday was a day when MOI and the other Haitian government offices re-opened after a few day closing to celebrate their Carnival of Flowers.  Our papers have been in MOI now for 13 weeks and we are ready for them to come out.  A little over 3 weeks ago our director said the one spelling correction had been made and it should be soon that she would have the papers in her hands ready to deliver them on to the next department...passports.  However, we also know that "soon" in Haiti can mean anything from a little while longer that day to a month or more down the road.  We also know it has taken others a good month to get their papers out of MOI after corrections have been turned in, so we weren't holding our breaths for it to be a quick turn-around.  Anyway, with the re-opening of MOI yesterday, we had hopes that our director would go and find our paperwork ready for pick up.

Micah and I prayed for God to miraculously make it so, knowing that a miracle would about be what needed to happen.  I woke up yesterday excited to see what all God was going to do and expectant of seeing goodness prevail.  I never heard a thing throughout the day, but didn't think anything of it because much of our director's days are completely filled with running around making things happen.  Then came evening and still nothing.  Around 9 p.m. a beautiful post came across my facebook homepage...a dear friend and fellow ROH adoptive Mama had gotten her email from our director--their second child's papers were out of MOI.  My heart leapt with joy for her and with hopes for an email to be in my inbox.  I checked and...still nothing.  I had tears of joy anyway for my friend and still a glimmer of hope that if our director had just emailed her then maybe ours will still be coming.  Then another beautiful post came across my facebook feed...another friend and fellow ROH adoptive Mama had also gotten her email...their paperwork was also out of MOI.  Oh did the tears stream down my cheeks for them.  They have been waiting so very long to bring their son home.  One step closer for them.  So, so, so happy.  Then in a matter of 5 more minutes, two more adoptive Mamas from a different orphanage spread the news on facebook of their papers also being out of MOI.  Oh my word!  I was so excited for all of them and yet...well, still staring at my own empty inbox.  So, so happy for them and yet so sad and deflated for ourselves.

The mix bag of thrilled and overjoyed for our friends and yet so heartbroken for ourselves.  Happy and sad all at the same time.  I told Micah through my tears just before going to bed that I'm just tired of living these moments.  So tired of feeling like I have to be both happy and sad at the same time.  His reply was simple...don't.  Stop trying to feel both at once.  Be completely happy for them and then change and be completely sad for ourselves.  Don't try to experience them both at the same time.  That's probably good advice.  Grieve hard and joy like there is no tomorrow.  So, last night I cried myself to sleep as my man prayed for us tears were the only prayers I could muster.  It was just one of those nights.

Through the night I had a dream.  A weird dream (although Micah says all my dreams are weird).  I was waiting in a waiting room to see a doctor about a sore throat, but all these people just kept coming in and getting to go see the doctor while I just continued to wait.  I didn't know why on earth I wasn't being called to go back.  I went up to the receptionist again and she said I'd have to see a different doctor at this point and to go back and sit down and just wait for them to call me.  So I did...all day long.  I remember looking at the clock and it was 4:15 p.m. and I knew the doctor's office closed at 4 p.m.  I couldn't believe it--they forgot me.  I went back up to the window and the receptionist didn't know why on earth they had somehow missed me.  So she walked back to the doctor and told her I was still waiting.  Finally!  She came to greet me in the lobby area and instead of taking me back to see my sore throat she asked if she could show me a book in the lobby.  What?  Before I could even answer her, she sat down with this coffee table style book of different famous paintings.  She began to tell me about the paintings, which ones were her favorite, and why.  I was getting annoyed by this point and was trying to be courteous, but yet also wanted her to know this was not why I was here.  Then she gently grabbed my hand and had me point to a particular painting of a woman kneeling by a lake.  It was painted in an impressionist's style of painting, very broad with not much details.  For example, the woman didn't have a face and the water line she was sitting at was very blurry.  As she had me point to this woman, she said these words to me, "Do you see this painting of this woman?  Isn't it beautiful?"  I agreed it was a pretty painting.  Then she added, "I think this is the most lovely because even though we don't see all the details of the scene or the details of the woman, we still find it beautiful."  And with that I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock telling me it was time to go for my morning walk.

I took off on my walk, listening to my "Adoption playlist" music and mulled over the dream, the no-news for us the night before, the celebrations of my friends, the way my eyes were still hurting from the tears and I just couldn't make sense of it all.  I prayed for God to just get me out of this funk.  I prayed for either the grief to be full-blown like Micah had talked about so I could just move on or for the joy of all He has given to me and to others to just blot out the disappointment.  It didn't happen.  I just walked on in silent mixed-emotions.  Towards the end of my walk I was nearing home and the sun began to peek out of the foggy, cloudy sky.  It was pretty for the moment it was there and then it vanished again behind the gray.  The thought popped into my head like any normal thought, "It's going to be a partly cloudy day today."  With that, the Lord instantly spoke to my heart...

"Yep, Angie, partly cloudy.  It's a pretty normal type of day weather-wise, nothing is wrong with partly cloudy.  Some days are sunny, some days are cloudy, some are partly sunny and some are partly cloudy.  Today, it's okay for yours to be partly cloudy.  Think of it like this: some days are full of joy and wonderful things (sunny), some days are full of sadness and disappointment (cloudy), some days have a little of both but the joy is more prominent (partly sunny) and some days are a little of both with the sadness being more prominent (partly cloudy).  Today, even though you wish it was all the way sunny or even all the way cloudy, I'm giving you partly cloudy.  It's a mix, and it's still good, because it's still something I've created.  Remember, though, it's PARTLY cloudy and although you didn't get the news you were hoping for that would make today full sun, I'm still capable of sending some bits of sunlight that will pierce through the clouds."

Can I just say I love it when the Lord speaks.  When I just take those moments to reflect and think and be open to all He has to tell me.  With that in mind, I began to think about my dream again.  Those words the doctor had spoken to me in my agitated moments of having waited and waited and waited all day long to see her...what were they again?  "I think this is the most lovely because even though we don't see all the details of the scene or the details of the woman, we still find it beautiful."  Yes.  Yes, this was not just a random, weird dream.  It was sunlight for me to see on a partly cloudy day.  Even though I don't know all the details of this adoption nor can even understand all of the emotions I experience along the way or what all God is doing behind the curtain I can't see through, it is still a beautiful thing...a beautiful work of art created by God Himself for others to see and find beautiful.  The beauty isn't in all the details, but in the broader picture itself.  That was a peek of sunlight through the clouds I thanked God for on my way into my house.

And just when you think the "lesson" is learned or the story of the day is done, God sends another unexpected ray of Sonshine.  I grabbed myself a bowl of cereal once inside from my walk and sat down at the computer like I normally do to check my email and facebook while I eat.  I opened my inbox to find the most beautiful email from Mary, the physical therapist working at ROH for 6 months.  Included in this email were 10 amazing photos of our little one with this blessed message for us to read...

"I took some time with Nora and gave her all the pictures and the drawings. Just look at her face! She is so intrigued! I DID NOT POSE HER FOR THESE! She sat with the items you sent for almost 20 minutes without moving---she just sat and looked, and sorted through each page Angie. It was so almost made me cry. Then, I thought, "self, what are you going to do with these things so they don't get torn up amongst everyone??" Then, God totally laid it on my heart to....hang everything above her bed! I have attached a picture...I hung all of her stuff above her bed---so she has a safe spot where she can continue to imprint your faces upon her heart and mind."


Oh, my heart.  What a ray of Sonshine for my day.  It actually might have turned my partly cloudy day into a partly sunny one.  And that, my friends, is my God.  He is not just a God who gives us good things...He is a God who loves us deeply and will do anything He can to show us that love.

And for one other little ray of sunniness for the day...look at that last photo.  Do you notice the flower stem painted on the wall right beside Nora's bed?  Well, guess what?  Last week I was hard at work re-painting Lily and Nora's room and getting it all set up for Nora to join us.  Lily and I worked together to figure out what all to paint on the walls and we decided on flowers with some butterflies and ladybugs.  So, I painted it all, had Micah get the crib put together, pulled out all the clothes we have been given for Nora and filled her dresser with them.  I am always trying to think of how to make Nora's transition from life at the orphanage to life at our home better/easier for her, but God did this one for us without us even knowing.  Look at what I painted right at the side of Nora's, like she has in Haiti.

Thank You, God, for Your rays of light and goodness even when we see a lot of clouds from our side of things.  Thank You for making this life beautiful even when I don't know all the details.  Thank You for always being present with me in life--on walks, in dreams, and while I'm checking my email.  I know and trust that soon You will have another email sent my way that will definitely give me a fully sunny day!