Wednesday, November 30, 2011

His Thoughts are Not My Thoughts

To say I have a bit of spare time on my hands is an understatement.  I have a lot of time on my hands.  Much of this is spent playing with the girls and reading.  A lot of reading.  Mrs. Ellen has a library that has grown with each guest that has stayed here.  There is an abundance of sappy christian romance novels in the library.  I am currently reading my 20th book since staying at this house.  I think I have been here around six weeks so about 3 books a week.  I would never find time to read this much at home.
Lately I have been searching for a new book of the Bible to dive into.  I also needed a verse to explain just how I am feeling and to give me comfort when needed.  I was surprised when I found just that in one of the romance novels.
Isaiah 55:8-9
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
I think that pretty much sums up my emotions of the current situation.  I have my thoughts.  Mainly right now they are of trying to be home by Christmas.  I would love  for all six Stewarts to be celebrating Christmas together in America.  But my thoughts are not His thoughts.  The way I would do is not His way.
His way far surpasses mine. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Delighting in Him

One day during my prayer time I pray "Oh how my heart longs to have my family together." I have laid my heart out for our heavenly father, a few weeks ago we were together, one family unit of six in the middle of Africa. Soon we will be a unit again this time in America. I am doing my best to stay positive in my bubble bath thoughts but sometimes I just find myself having a pitty party. Dotting on the negative has done nothing for me in the past and I am trying to avoid that as much as possible. I know that nobody shows up to my pitty parties but satan and myself. I keep remembering the verse “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I have seen this verse hundreds of time painted on a small picture in a wooden frame hanging in my in-laws home. Maybe I need to make one of these for my own home. I repeatedly pray God you know the desires of my heart.
I have known of this verse every since I was little. But the true meaning of it has only recently been made clear to me. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This does not mean that what I want he will get for me. I remember reading this as a little girl and thinking of physical wants. I can recall praying for things and thinking this verse meant God would give those things to me. Man did I have it wrong. The part I was missing was the “delight.” I mistook delight as praying. What I now know is that to “delight yourself in the Lord” is to spend time with him in a intimate relationship. It is very difficult to explain this relationship unless you yourself have experienced it. What I have learned is that by delighting and remaining in Him the desires of my heart change. I no longer use this verse as an excuse to ask for things I don’t need but it is now for me to understands what He asks of me. God fulfills this scripture in my life by radically changing the desires of my heart. I now desire to please Him, to do what he calls me to do, to obediently follow him, no matter the costs. Right now the cost is being apart from my family. When you write it all down it doesn’t seem like to much to ask but upon further investigation I am so very blessed. I am just away from my son, He gave his only son to die for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He Is Not Done With Me Yet

This past weekend Nancy and I started to prepare ourselves to go the embassy on Monday.  We knew that Monday would be a day of celebration or disappointment.  We prayer walked by the embassy several times over the weekend.  We even bought what we hoped would be celebration Snickers candy bars.  I spent Sunday as a day of fasting and praying.  I found a peace.  During the weekend I found myself at peace with being here in Africa.  I had hoped that the peace and comfort I felt meant we were going to get the girls visas to come home.  However, I now know that God was giving this to me for a different reason.  He was giving me peace and joy to be able to handle the news that was to come.  He is not done with me yet in Africa.  I was naturally disappointed at the thought of spending the holidays away from Chad and the kids.  But I know that I am doing what the Lord has called me to do.  Throughout this crazy process I have never doubted that we are doing what God has called us to do.  He made it very clear in his word and through prayer that we are to care for the orphans.  It is what I have been called to do.  I did not know that this meant spending a bit of time in Russia or Africa but He never reveals the whole plan to us.  It is amazing how you can handle far more than you ever thought when you know that it is to bring glory to God.
Please continue to lift our family up in prayers.  We heard news today that it will more than likely take 30 to 60 days to straighten all of this out. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuck Again

I know it has been awhile since I have given an update.  And many of you have not been able to follow us because the blog has been occassionally blocked.  I might block the blog more, just be patient with me as this progresses.  The truth is until today there has not been anything to tell you.  We have just been hanging around the house waiting on the embassy.
Today we knew that the embassy had the test results in their office.  We chose to prayer walk in front of the embassy as we prepared to meet with the consular.  Even though the results are in there is still a glitch in the paperwork of our adoption.  Due to this we are not being granted visas for the girls.  It looks like we are going to be stuck her for a bit longer.  Hopefully this week some questions will be answered and we can make some better decisions.  As far as right now we just don't know.  We don't know how long this is going to all take.  I hope to be home by Christmas.  I just can't think about being away from my muzungu children on Christmas.  Nancy is going to be staying here with me until we determine just how long this should take to figure out. 
Thank you so much for all the prayers that you have been sending.  Thank you to those of you that have been feeding my family and stocking my pantry.  It has been such a blessing to not have to worry about Chad and the kids.   

Saturday, November 5, 2011

At Home in Africa

I recently was sent an email from a friend containing her daily devotion.  She sent it because it reminded her of us.  Reading it made me really think about somethings and helped me understand my feelings about this experience.  I am going to try to explain this to you.
I like Africa, I really do.  This might seem strange to some who can't understand why I could like being away from my earthly home like this.  Don't get me wrong I miss my family, friends, and my home.  I miss some silly things about life in Tennessee.  I miss fitted bed sheets, a kitchen trash can, my dogs, cooking in my kitchen, and reading the newspaper with my morning coffee.  I have also found that there are some things that I don't miss.  I don't miss my television humming in the background, my dogs barking, and cold weather.  During this trip I have had a peace about being here.  Reading this devotional helped me understand just where that peace comes from.  Wherever I go, whatever I do Christ dwells in me.  He is in my heart and in Him I am home.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.  Ephesians 3:17

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Praying For Perseverance: Get Ready

I have always heard don't pray for patience because God will put you in a situation that will test your patience.  This is an old saying that you hear when you grow up in church.  The thing I was not told was not to pray for perseverance.  Trust me, I know now from experience that if perseverance comes into your prayers GET READY.
I have said over and over again that through out this adoption process God has put me in the book of James.  I have found myself continually drawn to read the writings of Jesus' brother James.  I now know why the Lord directed me to these scriptures.  Many adopting families refer to the verse James 1:27.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I love this verse and hold it dear to my heart but it is not the verse in James that I have been dwelling on.  I have been rereading James 1:2-4, 12.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 

I now know that God has had me spending time is these scriptures since February so that I would have the strength to persevere through this.  I love Africa but I miss my family and home.  I know that what God is doing in my family here is to bring more Glory to Him.  Therefore I am able to find joy in this process.