Monday, February 22, 2016

Finding JOY


I have been thinking about writing this post for quite some time but honestly haven't wanted to write it. However, God continued to push me with His gentle whispers to share what's been in my heart. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. He knew I needed to write this to encourage myself as well as others.

The last few months have been difficult. I have felt an array of emotions almost daily ranging from grief to anger to joy. I have felt sadness as sweet friends have moved away (with more to come), taking pieces of my heart with them. Anger and frustration have risen up as we deal with disobedience and meltdowns in my sweet youngest child who is struggling to find her place in a new family and country while missing those she loved fiercely for the first four years of her life and left behind in China. Stress and fear have raised their ugly heads as I strive for excellence in all my roles from follower of Christ to wife, mom, and teacher. Concern has danced through our home as we watch loved ones struggle with cancer. Joy has never left. It has always been at heart of our home, but lately its voice has been somewhat stifled.  

So, there's been a lot on my mind, and many times, I let the sadness, anger, and stress pull my focus from God and get lost in the tumult of winds and rain. When my eyes are on the storm around me, I so easily forget, like Peter, to look at my one and only source of refuge, strength, and JOY.   

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31, NIV)

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2, NKJV)

Instead, of looking around as the storm clouds roll in, I should choose Jesus and the

JOY only He can bring in that circumstance!  

Joy is found in the face of my Savior.  

Joy is found in the sacrifice He made for me.

Joy is found in spending forever with Him.

Joy is in found when I remember that He allowed us, His broken followers, to adopt three precious treasures.

Joy is found in the love my kids have for each other and us.  

Joy is found in even the smallest things like the sound of the garage door opening, signaling the return of my husband at the end of a long day.  

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thess. 5:16-18, NIV)

It's all a matter of focus. Finding joy in every circumstance is not easy, not by a long shot, but the good news is, I don't have to do it myself. I can let go and let God work. All I have to do is acknowledge my weakness and look at Him.  

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  
 
Look at the situations I mentioned above. How could I turn the focus around? My dear friends are missed but instead could I thank God for the time we had together and the fact that in this digital age, they are just a text away? When disobedience rears up in my children or I feel stress about being the perfect parent, could I instead thank God for the simple fact that I am a parent after all those years of infertility? Could I thank God that I have a job I love?   

Oswald Chambers said, "Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook Giveaway!!!


We all have an evening ritual before bed for our kids. Aside from the usual brushing of teeth, we read from a Bible storybook each night. When I received the I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook, we naturally started reading from it. It is a wonderful book that tells a Bible story and then finds a way to help kids apply what they learn from the story in their own lives, teaching them what it truly means to follow Jesus.


One of our greatest desires is to see our kids follow Jesus and to understand what that means as well. It is a delight to have this book to complement our daily training and I am excited that one of my blog readers can win a copy! Sign up today!!


I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook by Judah and Chelsea Smith

*Meets a key need for Christian parents by helping them teach their children to follow Jesus

*Beautiful and engaging art pairs with Bible stories to teach kids about Jesus

*Judah Smith, pastor of The City Church and author of Jesus Is___, partners with wife Chelsea to write these stories
TOOLS:
Flipbook
Product Link
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!


Another year is beginning, the year of the Monkey! It's Anthony year!

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be writing today about our Chinese New Year celebration. I never dreamed I would be so interested in Chinese culture, but it is so important for our children to stay connected to their heritage.

The paths that God takes us down never cease to amaze me!.

After the amazing experience we had with Eva's foster family making dumplings (read that post {{{HERE}}} ), I knew I needed to start a new tradition for our family this year.



May you all have a wonderful new year, find time for your families and make new traditions together!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Adoption Changes Lives



My kids are precious gifts and have changed my life more than I could ever imagined. They bring me great joy and inspiration. There are, of course, up and downs every day, but there are also special moments or breakthroughs when you truly see the hand of God in their lives.
My sweet boy Anthony, a child who just learned about Jesus three years ago when we adopted him, wrote this poem this fall. This is why we adopt.
_________________________
God gave us his love
while we were looking above.
For he gave us Jesus,
to die and rose alive.
And oh, we trust Jesus,
So we’re truly alive.
And now we’re waiting,
For the Lord Jesus is coming.
-Anthony, age 11, 2015

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bible Memory "The Joshua Code"/ "I Can Learn the Bible" Giveaway!


"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (I Peter 3:15, KJV)

Scripture Memory has always been an important part of my life. As a child my parents taught me importance of hiding God's word in my heart. My mom would always say, we never what tomorrow may bring. What if one day we don't have access to our bibles (or today to our phones)? If we have hidden the word of God in our hearts, we have His living breathing word with us wherever we go and whatever may come. The more scripture we have memorized, the more opportunities we have to share His word, encourage one another and ourselves with the very words of God. 

 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

This week I have the privilege of sharing with you a scripture memory tool for the whole family. You can work together as a family to memorize God's word together. What a great project for the new year!! 





The Joshua Code/I Can Learn the Bible by O.S. Hawkins and Holly Hawkins Shivers

*Guides readers on a 52-week journey of learning how to memorize God's Word
*Enables believers to receive the Word into their hearts, retain it in their minds, and recall it in their mouths in order to speak it with power
TOOLS:
Flipbooks:
-Adult
-Kids

Product Links:
-Adult
-Kids

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Heart of Christmas Advent Devotional Day 14


NOTE: These devotional will mainly be verses and questions. My goal is to ensure that my children understand the meaning of the verse and it how it relates to the true celebration of Christmas. I will listen to their response and lead our discussion based on their thoughts, so in reality the questions may change. I will base my responses on their level of understanding of the verse we are discussing. We will then hang the ornament depicted each day on our special little tree. 

Day 14 – And the angel said . . .  

Today's Verse:

"And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; 
You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'"
(Luke 2:10-12, KJV)

Why do you think this news brought great joy?

Memory Verse 


(NOTE: I learned this passage in the KJV which is not the usual version I memorize in now, but it will be forever embedded in my heart in KJV. Plus, for this particular passage, KJV has such a lovely poetic flow to it, thus my children will learn it in KJV as well.)

Let's practice our verses again!

Grace – “And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

Anthony – I have given him a print out of the whole passage and we will see how far we get. ;)

Blessings this Christmas Season,



Heart of Christmas Advent Devotional Day 13


NOTE: These devotional will mainly be verses and questions. My goal is to ensure that my children understand the meaning of the verse and it how it relates to the true celebration of Christmas. I will listen to their response and lead our discussion based on their thoughts, so in reality the questions may change. I will base my responses on their level of understanding of the verse we are discussing. We will then hang the ornament depicted each day on our special little tree. 

Day 13 – The Angel and the shepherds

Today's Verse:

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. "
(Luke 2:4-5, KJV)

Have you ever been really afraid?

We never need to fear because the God of angel armies is on our side!

Memory Verse 


Let's practice our verses again!

Grace – “And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

Anthony – I have given him a print out of the whole passage and we will see how far we get. ;)

Blessings this Christmas Season,



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