Waiting in Faith, Trust and Hope

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;
they will mount up with wings like eagles,
they will run and not get tired,
they will walk and not become weary.

─Isaiah 40:31

Waiting in Faith,
Trust and Hope

You may have noticed that I did not publish any blog posts last week. That’s because of some wonderful news I get to share with you today. Rick and I were in Phoenix because our family has officially increased by two precious babies.

Our journey with twins Austin and Alex began in June 2016 when they were just four months old. They were brought to Alan and Denise (my son and daughter-in-love) through the foster care system. Unsurprisingly we all immediately fell in love with them and have spent the last 33 months hoping, praying and waiting for everything to work out so that Alan and Denise could adopt these sweet little ones. Last week that long-awaited event happened and Rick and I were there at the adoption hearing, along with many family and friends.

I often write about faith, trust and hope. Over the past three years, all of us have been praying and praising God with faith, trust and hope during the waiting. Admittedly there were times when we all wondered if the adoption would ever happen. We repeatedly found ourselves high on the mountains of good news, only to be thrust down into valleys when those hopes were dashed. Still, we continued to rely on God for his comfort and peace while we waited.

Years ago, a fellow writer shared this gem with me about waiting. I have shared his wise words before and they never get old. It definitely applies to our situation:

Even though it was very hard at times to keep on trusting and believing that God was working out the details for the good of all of us, including the babies, we never gave up hope that adoption day would finally happen. The most important thing we learned from everything we went through is that God already had a plan in place, and last week we witnessed the fruition of that plan.

So here we are, almost three years later. Because of the anonymity and protection required for children in the foster care system, we haven’t been able to speak publicly about this … until now.

Oh, dear Lord, this Meemaw is utterly thankful to be able to finally tell how You walked with us through all that waiting. To You—our awesome and everlasting God—be the glory for allowing us to be part of such an amazing journey with these two precious children.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, 
the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
─1 Timothy 1:17

As I was writing this post, the song To God Be the Glory kept running through my head, so here is a video of Nicole C. Mullen singing My Tribute (To God be the Glory)/My Redeemer Lives:

Marriage for Worse, for Poorer, and in Sickness

This is an excellent article from UnlockingTheBible.org.

Marriage for Worse, for Poorer,
and in Sickness

By Sarah Walton

I remember the moment I stood before my groom and recited my wedding vows. I certainly didn’t expect life to be perfect, but I assumed my marriage would be filled with more of “better” than “worse.”

With stars in my eyes, and blissfully unaware of what the future would hold, I confidently vowed, “I take you, Jeff, to be my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.”

That was almost 13 years ago.

Trials Can Test Your Marriage Vows

Little did I know those thirteen years would hold chronic illness, financial loss, special needs, suffering children, marital strain, and overwhelming stress. I never imagined that I’d experience so much of the “worse, poorer, and in sickness” part of our vows.

I’m grateful as I reflect on the unexpected trials that have tested our marriage. In God’s goodness, the “worse” parts of our marriage have ushered in a deeper, Christ-centered experience of the “better.” This hasn’t come without the pain of loss and failure; yet Christ has used it to mature us in him, change our character, and increase our love for each other.

This, of course, is only possible with and through Christ. While God can certainly change the heart of a non-believing spouse and use the pain of unbelief to draw both spouses to himself, the following truths reflect a husband and wife who’ve put their faith in Christ and desire to follow him. If you’re married to an unbelieving spouse, I pray God will use the trials to draw them to a saving faith in Christ.

Read the rest here.

Saying Goodbye

I have written about my parents before here. Last year I shared a prayer request about my Dad here.

Earlier this week the Lord called Dad home. He had been struggling with dementia and other health problems for some time. Last fall his health began to go downhill fast.

I cannot travel by air these days because it causes severe migraines, so last year I faced a difficult decision. I wanted to see Dad again but knew what flying would do to me. Reality: should I see Dad while he was still alive or wait and go to his funeral?

I happen to have the greatest sisters in the world. I’ve written about them here before. They know what I go through each day, and all of them encouraged me to see Dad while he was still with us. So I flew to Florida in November to be with Dad and my sisters. It was the most special, yet bittersweet time, and I am ever thankful I got to see him one last time.

I can only imagine the joyful reunion Dad and Mom had in heaven and am looking forward to seeing them there someday.

DadCollageFramed--AMP

Beloved, family life is special but there are also times of anger and strife. We’re only human after all. If there is one thing I want to leave you with, it is to choose to forgive and love. Okay, that’s two things, but my point is that life is short. Don’t allow circumstances or disagreements to keep you at odds with or separated from your family.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body
to hardship that I may boast, 

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

—1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

 

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Family Prayer Request

My family

I have written about my family before. You can read about us here and here. The photo above was taken back in 1995. Obviously a lot has happened since then.

Mom went home to the Lord in early 2007. It will be Dad’s turn soon. 

In a couple of days I will be traveling to Florida to gather with my sisters so we can be with Dad, who has been faced with some severe health problems over the past couple of years. It seems Dad’s time here on earth will come to an end soon, so we want to see him before the Lord takes him home. He may not even recognize us but that doesn’t matter. We haven’t all been together for several years because I don’t travel well these days, especially by airplane which makes my migraines so much worse. However, we need to be together as a family now.

Beloved, I am sharing this with all of you to ask you to pray for us as we come together with Dad. I cancelled the posts I had previously scheduled to publish during the time I’ll be gone. I want to concentrate on being with my family without having to wonder about how things are going with this blog. I’ll be back soon. My family and I thank you in advance for all your prayers.

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Thankful for My Family

today-thankful-orange…..

my family.

I grew up in a household full of sisters—5 of us altogether—and although we’ve had our share of rough times and in spite of living so far apart, we are probably closer than ever. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for my precious family!

I love this photo of all of us taken way back in 1995 (I think).

My family

Left to Right: me, Nancy, Palma, Mom, Dad, Julie, Maria

Mom has been home with the Lord since 2007 and we all miss her so much. Dad is living in an independent retirement community these days. He participates in many of the activities where he lives, and keeps busy doing a lot of walking with the help of his rolling walker. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a speed demon with that walker!

You can read more about us here and here.

The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  —Erma Bombeck

AnnaSmile…..

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Family Tidbits

Tidbit Tuesday

Mother’s Day 2013

Enjoying Mother’s Day with Kathy and Alan

Loved the gift of these gorgeous pink tulips!

I’ll never get enough of being around these two!  ♥ They turned out so great in spite of me and I’ll always be thankful to God for them in my life!

AnnaSmile

My Treasures, Part 5

On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the fourth of the treasures on my list:

My Mother and Father

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12

MOM

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. —Abraham Lincoln

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. —Tenneva Jordan

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. —Sophia Loren

I no longer have my Mom because the Lord took her home five years ago, but I always love sharing this favorite photo of her. This version is “enhanced” with my image so you can see the resemblance:

Don’t you just love Mom’s fabulous smile? Here are some other photos of her:

Our family waaaay back in 1995

Mom relaxing after dinner

Mom and grandson Daniel

A couple of years before the Lord took Mom home

I miss my Mom but she is in a much better place, probably dancing and laughing joyfully with Jesus.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

DAD

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. —Bill Cosby

There are three stages of a man’s life: he believes in Santa Clause, he doesn’t believe in Santa Clause, he is Santa Clause. —Unknown

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. —Euripides

Dad worked hard to provide for our family and I’ll always be grateful for that. We didn’t have many luxuries but we had the necessities and a few things more. I don’t ever remember feeling deprived, but that’s probably because there was so much love to go around.

Dad lives in Florida and is flying here to visit Rick and me next month. Because of health problems on my end, I haven’t seen him since Son Alan’s wedding in 2010, so we’re really looking forward to his visit.

Here are more photos of Dad:

Me & Dad at the Grand Canyon

Dad hamming it up on the Grand Canyon excursion

Dad & Rick geared up for a ride

Relaxing after dinner

As I said before, Dad worked hard to provide for our family but now he gets to relax and spend time with each of us. As you can see from the photos, he loves having fun so I’m wondering what fun things we’ll do on his next visit here.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Parents have a huge role in shaping our lives. We alternately look to them for guidance while seeking to assert our independence. We want their approval and blessing at the same time we think we know better or more than they ever could. I am ever thankful for the treasures of my Mom and Dad. They taught me the value of a solid work ethic, patterned the “waste not want not” attitude that still guides me today, and showed me what family togetherness is all about.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. —Proverbs 1:8-9

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. —Proverbs 23:22

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. —Proverbs 23:25