Cheryl Shares Our Adoption Journey // @DaytonMomsBlob

Cheryl is back on the Dayton Moms Blog this week and shares some of our adoption journey.

This month we celebrated World Adoption Day and the month of November is National Adoption Month.

You can read what she wrote on Dayton Moms Blog.

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Whisper // Mark Batterson

“God wants us to hear what He’s saying and we must heed His voice. So He whispers softer and softer so that we have to get closer and closer. And when we finally get close enough, He envelops us in His arms & tells us that He loves us.”

Mark Batterson concludes his new book, Whisper, with what might be considered the thesis statement for this writing: because God loves us, He wants to communicate with us and He does that through whispers.

Throughout Whisper Batterson underscores the thought that God desires to communicate with His people and highlights seven languages that God uses: Scripture, Desires, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings and Pain.

I appreciated that he continually pointed back to scripture as the means to interpret the other voices God uses.  Some might raise concerns when you speak of dreams or desires or looking for open or closed doors.  While God certainly can (and has) used other voices to speak to His people, He has given us His Word to be our guide.  As Batterson said in one chapter, “. . .we don’t interpret Scripture via signs; we interpret signs via Scripture.”  In another he reminded readers, “God-given dreams won’t contradict scripture.”

Through his own experience in ministry and through the stories of others, Batterson shows how God uses the other voices to whisper to His people.  One particular voice that I wrote about in a previous post is how God uses doors to speak to us.  This phrase stuck with me: “We put a period where God puts a comma.”  His comment that we interpret a closed-door from God to be a “no” when perhaps what God is saying is “not yet” was a good reminder.  He also said that sometimes we have to walk through several doors to get to where God really wants us to be.

Whisper points readers to listen to the voice of God.  The foundation of the book is that because God loves us, He wants to speak to us.  We need to be listening.  Batterson’s book is a good tool to help us do just that.

 

#WORLDADOPTIONDAY is Nov 9

You are invited to join us in celebrating #WorldAdoptionDay this year. It is a day to globally celebrate families created through adoption and all those who are touched by adoption.

For the past 4 years, people around the world have put a smiley face on their hand and posted it on social media with #WorldAdoptionDay.

We’ve seen people participate from multiple countries, host events all around the world, and influencers like Ellen DeGeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson Jr, Shonda Rhimes, Connie Britton and more participate.

I’d like to personally invite you to join us this year! Draw a smiley face on your hand and post a selfie on your social media account with #WorldAdoptionDay.

It’s easy, kind of fun and a great way to support a growing movement of celebrate the beauty of adoption. So, grab your sharpie and plan to post your smiley hand for #WorldAdoptionDay.

Putting a Period Where God Puts a Comma

A couple of weeks ago I received a review copy of Mark Batterson’s new book, Whisper. I’ve had the opportunity to read several of his books including The Circle Maker. Any of his books that I have read have proved helpful.  While I still need to finish Whisper, there have been a number of things I’ve highlighted and earmarked.

The subtitle of the book is How to Hear the Voice of God and Batterson writes about different voices that God uses to speak to us.

In one particular chapter I read this phrase: We put a period where God puts a comma.  Batterson is writing about doors that God opens and closes as we seek to know what He wants us to do.  He remarks that we interpret a closed-door from God to be a “no” when perhaps what God is saying is “not yet.”

As I read this particular chapter, I thought about our adoption experience.  Like many, we’ve had a number of starts and stops on the way (I’ve shared some of our experience in previous posts.)  We actually waited close to two years between potential adoptions.  Our son Eli is four and a half months old as I write this and we weren’t sure God wanted us to adopt again.  We had a feeling that perhaps that door was marked “closed.”

As it turns out, God was just saying, “Not yet.”  Things fell into place at the right time and we have added another little boy to our family.

Back to the chapter from Whisper, I think we were interpreting a “no” instead of a “not yet.”  Perhaps Batterson’s insight a page later in the chapter described us fairly well:  “Simply put, we want what we want when we want it, and usually we want it now.”

While there is no formula for hearing the voice of God, this chapter was a good reminder that what we perceive as a closed-door could be more of a delay than shut forever.  Because while most of us are by nature impatient, it may be that God is waiting for a better time or better situation or even a better us.

As I was looking back at the posts regarding our son’s adoption, I ran across this quote:  What God originates He orchestrates.

I think we are always learning how to understand and hear the voice of God.  No one has it perfected.  In the process this chapter was a good reminder to me that listening at times means waiting.

Granted, sometimes God tells us, “No,” – just like we do with our children – but there is also the potential for God saying, “Not yet.” Because He sees more, knows more and in control, we need to keep our ear tuned to Him.

When He does open the door, it can be a beautiful thing.

Great Reminder For Parents As Kids Perform

There are some pieces of advice that you hear that stick with you. Maybe it comes from a conversation you had with someone or something thought-provoking you heard a speaker say or something you read. I was reminded today of a solid piece of parenting advice I read a while ago through a rather unlikely source – Timehop.

My Timehop today pointed back to a post on my blog from four years ago. When I saw it, I thought two things:

  1. I can’t believe that was four years ago
  2. That is still so true today.

If you are a parent who has a student involved in sports of any kind (or any performance activity), this is so helpful. Check out this advice from four years ago that will be of value for years to come.

I thought what Tim Elmore shared in a recent post was great advice for parents. He wrote about what parents should say as they watch their kids perform and it would be worth your time to read the whole post.

If you’ve been to sporting events, you probably have a long list of what parents shouldn’t say as they watch their kids. In the post, based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:
1. Have fun.
2. Play hard.
3. I love you.

After the competition:
1. Did you have fun?
2. I’m proud of you.
3. I love you.

Then he shared six simple words that parents should say based on what they heard from college athletes: “I love to watch you play.” If we could keep that as the primary part of our vocabulary, it would free the students to perform and the parents to cheer.

The Plagues in Exodus = God’s Power and Mercy

For the past few weeks, I have been brought back several times to the Old Testament book of Exodus. Our Sunday Morning Junior High class is doing a series on the Old Testament and is currently in Exodus. Our High School class is a little over half way through a series on Exodus. Somewhere in the midst of that my Bible reading plan took me into Exodus.

If you are familiar with the book of Exodus, you know about the ten plagues that God sent to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelite people go free. At the time the Hebrews (God’s chosen people) were in slavery to the Egyptians. Pharaoh was stubborn and needed some convincing before he would part with his slave work force.

My reading plan took me to Exodus chapter 9 where God threatens to send the plague of hail if Pharaoh doesn’t agree to let them go free.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.”  [Exodus 9:13-15]

The plagues definitely show God’s power.  He sends hail that will destroy both livestock and the crops.  At the raising of Moses’ hands, God unleashes a plague that brings a lot of destruction.  God clearly shows His power.

As I read this chapter again, I see how the plagues also show God’s mercy.  While God was definitely going to bring destruction, He didn’t do it without warning.  He gave Pharaoh and the Egyptian people opportunities to avoid what He was going to do.

Notice was it says in Exodus 9:18-19:  “Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’ ” [Exodus 9:18-19]

Anyone who would listen to God’s warning would avoid the damage done by the hail.  God was flexing His muscle, but He also revealed His heart – He gave the Egyptians a chance to protect their animals and possessions from the hail.  Those who feared God listened and brought in their slaves and livestock.

God demonstrated His power and His mercy.

Later in the chapter God shows His mercy again:

“The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.”  [Exodus 9:31-32]

Not all the crops were destroyed.  God spared some of the Egyptians future food supply.

As I was brought back to the book of Exodus, I was brought back to both the power of God and the mercy of God.  Yes, God brought judgement.  Yes, God brought His power down on the people of Egypt.  But He didn’t do it without warning.  He didn’t do it without giving Pharaoh and the Egyptians a chance to respond.

The good news is that God does the same thing for us.  He continues to offer His mercy and gives us a chance to respond.  That’s good news for those of us who can be stubborn like Pharaoh.

Kelly is a Kingdom Worker

Most summers we attend the Christ In Youth MOVE Conference with our high school students. It’s a great environment for our students to be challenged to live as Kingdom Workers. A few months ago I shared about a project our students took on because of the challenge.

Last year one of our former students, Kelly, was able to be a part of the Kingdom Worker Crash and share her story. While in high school, she accepted her Kingdom Worker Challenge and took part in a ministry in our church for ladies with special needs. It was encouraging to see how she was able to serve and then able to share about that experience through the Kingdom Worker Crash. MOVE chooses ten students from across the country to video their stories and then show those at the various MOVE Conferences they host each summer.

We showed Kelly’s video a few weeks ago in our church services and plan to show it in our small groups this Sunday as springboard to our discussion. Kelly does a great job sharing not only her experience, but how God shaped her through it.