Monday, October 31, 2011

If my life were a line graph

So, it's been a while since I have been able to put my thoughts into writing... whew! 

I have about 5.2 million thoughts that I feel I need to write about, and about 5.2 second to do it all in.

In economics class you learn about graphs, and trends of graphs. If you failed economics, skip to the next paragraph, it will still make sense! These last couple of weeks have been a graph trend of UP. However, amongst those ups, there have been a bunch of downs.  I think actually more ups and more downs in just these little couple of weeks than in the "Year of Craziness" (that is what Kenney and I call 2009.)  Unfortunately I did not journal much during 2009 so I only have my memory...not the greatest.  So if my life were a line graph, this is what it would look like. Notice the end is better than the beginning.  However, there sure are some big "downs" along the way!

This post is to serve my memory when I forget in the future. 

DOWN:  I had to cancel Audrey's birthday party.  She's two.  Really, it's not a big deal. We still sang to her and went out for pizza with some family and the next day had her special pink star shaped ice cream cake with sprinkles and chocolate chips. (Yes, she picked every single one of those items!) But we didn't get to have the party, which really is again no big deal to the kids. Someone once said, the great thing about having lots of kids (or having lots of kids around) is on any given day you can have a party, and you do not need to invite anyone over!  Many days our house is a "party."  It really was me and Kenney who were bummed. We don't have people over to many times a year, and fall is just our favorite over here. We know our schedules hit super duper crazy soon so, rescheduling just isn't an option.

DOWN: In the beginning of October, Kenney's Honey Grams passed away. Those two weeks were challenging. We had to re-learn all about what death and dying means as Christians.  We had to learn again, what the bible teaches about death, and what the world teaches about death. Then we had to teach those truths in as simple and appropriate as possible to our children.  

UP:  Kenney sang with his cousin Bailey an amazing song "Glorious Day" that just reminded us over and over again why we are here, and what it's all about. It was music to our souls that day. It was the gospel. Oh we needed the gospel!

UP:  A friend that I would list in my top 5 of friends, that I talk to maybe once or twice a year called.  (Only after a couple days of my pity party though) She had stopped by and I sent her with some canned goods. She called the next morning, offering to buy (yep, with real money) almost a dozen jars of salsa. Then she stroked my ego and told me how much she loved it!  What a needed uplift.

UP:  And then, as if the uplift wasn't enough.  She had two great craft ideas that she said she could spend a day and help with. I needed that so much, God is so good!

DOWN:  We arrived home from Honey Grams funeral. Our kids are not the traveling, spend time in cars kinda kids. They don't sleep in car rides, and they like to be home. After two days of running around and being dressed up, and being in cars, they were tired and cranky... okay... little demons... to harsh...obnoxious and noisy. 

UP (THE REALLY BIG UP!!!!) The phone rings a little after we just had gotten home.  Kenney answers, passes the phone to me and says, "it's our agency, we just got both LSC's on our kids"  I got really sick... the butterfly in my stomach kinda sick. I take the phone and the woman repeats the exact thing Kenney just said to me. I asked her if she was sure, then I asked her again, she started talking about something... I interrupted and asked her if she was sure again. You see, we were not by the standard timeline supposed to get these LSC's  (which is China officially saying these babies are the Kolanowski's) until at the absolute earliest middle of December. Here it was October 14th, almost two MONTHS early. These babies are coming home. They are ours. They will have a family. It's official (in China.) I can post picture. I can request updates. I can tell the world!!  THEY ARE OURS!!

DOWN (THE REALLY BIG DOWN!!!!) We had planned on traveling sometime in late February, most likely end of March. That means we had about 5 months to raise/come up with/sell some body parts for the remaining money we need to complete the adoptions. (about 14,000 dollars) In the greater scheme of things we have come up with about 35,000 so far, so the amount left is not that much... but for real... 14 grand... THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY!  OH CRAP, that is is the next thought and words that came out of my mouth. We now have only 2-3 months to come up with the money. We could be traveling as soon as after Christmas, but most likely in January. We are scared. Our faith is being tested. 

UP:  I called a friend who is adopting as well to share the news. I shared I was freaked out!  She reminded me the verse in Thessalonians 5:24  "He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."

UP:  Some family from Tennessee stopped over on their way home. They stopped to buy some salsa for our adoption funding, and left more money than they took salsa!  (Either that or the salsa is really that good!)

DOWN:  Still freaking out about how to come up with 14 grand!  I might have been sick this day...

UP:  We have the possibility of borrowing 6 grand from a friend, in the event we don't come up with the money and it's go time.

UP:  My mother in law came over and brought with craft supplies to help me come up with some ideas! She also was sent home with some crafts to complete herself! Thank you God, the help is coming through.

UP:  My sister in law offered to help with some crafts!!  She was sent home with projects to complete.

DOWN:  Tomorrow we leave for Phoenix for a 4 day Together For Adoption conference... I have not packed, planned, looked at the flight, hotel or conference arrangements. The kids are staying at Nana and Papa's.  have nothing put together for them. I have no idea what I need to bring. The house is a disaster. Audrey is not sleeping at all tonight. I am out of night time pull ups for Audrey... it's now about 8pm... I have to do about 100 pages worth of paperwork to file our I-800 that has to be overnight-ed in the morning on the way to the airport. I have no idea how to answer at least half of the questions. Will I ever be prepared for anything? 

UP:  We are on our way to the airport, everything is packed (Kenney and I fit all our things for four days in ONE carry on suitcase) We are ready to travel in China! We know the meaning of packing light! The kids are happy, the house got cleaned (I didn't sleep I think at all, but hey... we can sleep when we're dead right?) We are stopping for a coffee, I have the I-800 completed and mailed, and I am excited about this conference.

DOWN:  I woke up in the middle of the night with back pain like I have never ever had. I am 31. I am NOT supposed to have back pain. I couldn't stand up straight. I had to sleep sitting up. I took more motrin I am sure than my liver could handle. 

UP:  The conference was amazing. We learned so much, the speakers were the best of the best. We got to know the Taylor's (the couple we went to the conference with) like we were long lost friends. We worshipped with some of the best musicians and worship leaders, we spent hours learning till our brains really hurt. We went out for dinner and shared all we had learned. It reminded me what heaven will be like. Hour after hour after hour of worshipping our God, amazing, uplifting, fullfilling. The C.S. Lewis quote " I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."  This weekend reminded me of what that "other world" will be like. It soothed my soul. I have more notes than I took in most of my college classes (maybe that says something about why I didn't finish??)  I have so much to write about and share. I can not wait!

DOWN:  Seriously, my back is killing me!!

UP:  We got home, and I remember how much I missed and love my children!

DOWN:  The initial conversation with family about the conference didn't go so well. It seems I am not very good at communicating my thoughts as I maybe think I am...

DOWN:  Since Audrey was away from Mommy for three nights, we decided no more "mommy milk" would be a good idea after this. (Think what you want, I still nursed her, and loved it, I wouldn't change it EVER) Audrey was NOT HAPPY. She just cried and cried and wanted something I technically could give her, but was telling her no. It wasn't this hard with Tommy, he just decided he didn't want it anymore and that was that. Audrey begs for it, cried for it. It makes me wrestle with my emotions. The more sleep I begin to loose, the more unclear my choices become. I question if this is the right thing? I walked for hours with her trying to comfort her and calm her.  I am sleeping barely at all, and my back is killing me.
DOWN:  I am sleep deprived.  I am cranky.  My emotions are getting the better of me.  My back still hurts. I have a headache. I woke up today with heartburn/indigestion. I couldn't drink coffee because it hurt my stomach. Did I mention I was sleep deprived???  I whine a lot. I need to stop whining. Now I feel bad that I whine too much.  Oh dear God, I need some sleep.

UP:  My mom took Audrey for an hour so she could nap there, and not spend an hour begging me for milk.

And that is my life.  There are about another million things I could have inserted, but that is what I remember as of this point.  Many more ups, many more downs.  Each day holds a bunch of tiny ups and downs. 

Possibly this post says something about my mental state, but nonetheless, that is my reality over here!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

For HIS Glory

I have had an entire week to think and reflect on dying. 

Since Kenney and I have been married, we have attended three funerals of grandparents.  We are closing in on another soon. 

This time, my Tommy is four and a half years old, and the questions he asks about death and dying, are nothing less than poignant. I remember a speech class once, and I remember being told, that to really know material is to be able to teach the material. Tommy's questions have given me the privilege of a test, to remind me what I know about the reality and biblical truths of death, and how well I am able to teach him.

Rewind a couple of months....Tommy comes home from Sunday school with a study sheet each week. The sheet has a bible verse to memorize, a story they heard, and practical applications for parents and children. We try (note I used the word try) to go over the sheet when we get home from church. I noticed on the bottom of his sheets, there are five basic questions the kids are to memorize and have an answer for. Things like, "who created you?", and "what else did God create?" but, the last question I found most interesting...

Why did God create you?

Kenney and I have talked and dwelt upon that statement for a couple of months now.  I am a believer in Christ and His word, I have read the bible, spent many a Sunday's in church, and sadly neither I nor Kenney answered that question accurately.

We knew we are to be followers of Christ, we knew we came to serve others and not ourselves, we knew we were loved by God, we knew we would spend eternity with Him as believers, but the basic, simple, fundamental question.... we just didn't have the basic, simple, fundamental answer to.  How did we miss the boat?  The answer:

Why did God create you, me, us?

For HIS Glory.

That thought has been at the basis of many of my thoughts lately. It is such a fundamental truth, that has changed my perspective greatly on many things. That God's main purpose for our existence is to reflect the glory of Jesus Christ. God gave us life so that with our bodies and minds and hearts we might draw attention to Jesus and make Him look as great as He really is.

That purpose does not change in our death.

For a Christian, eternal life begins when we except Christ as our Savior.  Death is no longer death for those in Christ.

I pulled up a sermon, or article by John Piper, as I often do and found a wonderful truth.

"Therefore the sting of death is gone. Death is no longer the terror that death used to be. Death is now a transition from life to better life,  from faith in Christ, to seeing Christ, from good fellowship with Jesus, to far better fellowship with Jesus, from mixtures of pain and pleasure, to all pleasure, from struggles with sin, to perfect affections for Jesus.  We have passed from death to life."

The apostle Paul says  "it is my eager expectation and hope that Christ will be honored in my body by death. For me to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

How do we glorify Christ in our death?  By treasuring Christ so much, that dying is felt as a gain.

For those of us left here we feel the present loss of a loved one. There are tears and weeping.  But we (believers) do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Through the tears, there is a way to magnify and glorify Christ. When Job heard the news that all ten of his children were dead the bible says, "Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped.  And he said, "Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;  blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:20-21)

He wept as well as worshipped.

Christ is to be so real, so treasured, that we live and die in a way that shows He is our supreme treasure. He is what matters most to us. My daily struggle, Kenney's daily struggle is to treasure Jesus like that. 

"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."  Philippians 3:8

We sung this song today in church, and it has such meaning and truth I wanted to post the song, so I can go back and always remember.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.