1: I am so blessed. When I look at blog posts about children who come home from China with their families and die shortly after due to their medical special need (two in the last month), when I find myself praying for miracles in the lives of two others who have had major heart surgeries in the last week (read one amazing girl's story here: http://ourplacecalledhome.blogspot.com ), when I hear stories of children who aren't adjusting or bonding to their parents after months of stress and tears, I look at my little 22 month old daughter who wakes up from every nap and night's sleep with a big smile, greeting me with a "Hi ya' " I realize how blessed I am. God knows what each family can handle. He knows how big or small our faith is, and how much burden we can carry. He gave us an "easy" little girl because He knows best. He knows that Kris works 70-100+ hours a week and I need to teach my older children every day while watching the younger ones. He knows that my boys are in a stage where they are struggling to find their spots in the world among siblings and peers and often need discipline and training. He knows our heart's desire to fill up this house with even more children and one day see all of them be lights for Jesus wherever He sends them. He knows. And He provides and blesses.
|Playing in the sandbox|
|Vacuuming like Mommy. This has cured her fear of vacuum cleaners!|
A: Homeschooling. It's exhausting, draining, and gives me headaches some days. I've heard my kids tell me some days that they hate school. They sometimes get on each others nerves so much I wonder if they will kill each other. Yet when I see their eyes light up when we do a fun project for history, when they learn to bake, plant flowers, tend a garden, or repair something for me, when their reading improves and they hit a milestone and we rejoice together, when they recall a Biblical truth all by themselves and I want to hug them and do a happy dance, all these little triumphs would not happen if it weren't for home education. It is so hard, yet so worth the sacrifice.
B: Giving up our winters overseas. When we returned from the mission field in 2006, I longed to go back almost immediately. One winter in Paraguay, three in Canada working with internationals, and two in China pursued. When we decided to start the adoption process, choosing to begin with one girl from China, Kris told me there was no way we could continue to spend our winters overseas with four or more young children. Logistically it is nearly impossible to temporarily house and get local transportation for so many children and effectively minister at the same time. Financially, we would have a greater burden as well with more airline tickets and living expenses. As much as my heart yearned to stay overseas and share Jesus with those who have never heard, I knew what we had to do. We were receiving a greater calling to bring the mission field to us, to be a part of our family. We had to obey the call. I keep trying to figure out "is there any way we can have both?" but have not found a way yet. It may never come. Our season of winters overseas may be over indefinitely, just like our season of being full time workers on the mission field. We just don't know. But sacrificing these extended trips with our entire family has brought and will continue to reap rewards. My heart years to be with my former co-laborers around the world, especially when I hear of the needs and reports from them. But God has a season for us right now and if I don't submit to that and see the blessings and rewards of being planted here, I will miss out on the opportunities He has placed in front of me to do short term trips (one week a year), minister in my church and community, and tend to the mission field that is under my roof!
|Eating rice at a Mexican Restaurant.|
|With Mr. Stevie|
|With Gran, Kris' grandmother|
|Giving Daddy kisses|
|Sitting with her Grandfather at the boys' homeschool promotion|