Adoption Update

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared an adoption update, so here it goes!

We’ve received news from our agency we are on the list of approved families in the Philippines. The way our agency works, they seek to find families for children – not children for families. The child’s needs are front and center at all times – and we LOVE that. As they look at a child waiting to be adopted, they look at the child’s personality, history, and needs and ask, “which family would be the best fit for this child?” One day we will receive a call – not they picked a child for us – but they’ve picked us for a child! Once they give us all the information on the child (photos, videos, health history, etc) we have 14 days to decide if we want to move forward and adopt the child. We haven’t received that call yet, but we are trusting God’s timing in it all and excited for the future. 

Many people ask why we chose the Philippines, and it’s a decision we came to after a lot of prayer, research, and discussion with our agency. One day when we know more about our child, we plan on hosting an adoption shower (of sorts), and will explain our decision in more detail to those who have surrounded us with support and love through this process. We are adoption advocates either way; domestic, international, private, or any other means of providing a loving family to a child–the Philippines just happens to be our path right now.

We love answering questions about adoption. Many people fear the cost, but we’ve learned so much about various options we look forward to helping inform other couples who might be curious. If something in your heart tells you adoption may be in your future, reach out! We’d love to chat.

God Bless,

Mel and Brandon

The Best Kind of Friends

After motherhood, I quickly realized friendships were going to look different. With less time on my hands and an adjustment in priorities, I needed to find a way to allow room for life-giving friendships. But it’s hard to build a close circle. It takes years to figure out who stands the test of time and the test of character.

Living in a season of having to prioritize your time differently, forces intentionality in relationships. In addition to being women of character and integrity, there is one verse I hold to tightly when I think of the kind of ladies I want in my inner circle.

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

I’ll never forget the first time I took my kids to Disneyland. One of the best days ever! We celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a fun family weekend and came back beaming. I expected my friends to be happy for my family, I felt shocked when a couple of them clearly weren’t. That day I realized not all friendships are alike.

Some people know how to stand with you when life gets hard. They will pray for you, stand by your side, check on you daily, and love every minute of it. They thrive helping others go through tough times. A true gem of a friend does all that, but still rejoices when you rejoice. They mourn with you when times are tough and rejoice with you when times are better than ever. On the flip side, some friends only stick around during fair weather. Any sign of tough stuff sends them running.

It takes a special friend who holds your hand in the hospital but also claps their hands when you get a promotion. It’s rare gem who brings brownies before the funeral, and balloons before the book launch. She stands with you in the storm and in the celebration. She sends a text when she notices something’s wrong, and sends a text when she notices something’s right!

We need friends in our lives who know how to go low and high, and we need to be that kind of friend to others. Who are you rejoicing and mourning with today?

Are you Seeking the approval of God or of Man?

Do you worry about what other people think of you? Do you fear people’s reactions to your decisions? Do you often find yourself feeling guilty when you can’t be there for someone?

If you identify with those feelings, you are not alone. Many people struggle with people-pleasing. It comes subtly and twists the best of intentions. Getting rid of people-pleasing has been a huge lesson in my life, I  check my motives and heart daily to make sure I’m living for the approval of God rather than the approval of other people.

The Lord ministered to me in this area through a passage of scripture I’d read many times before. This time, I read it with a set of fresh eyes, able to see truths I hadn’t noticed before.

In 2 Kings 5:1-6 we find the wealthy army commander, Naaman, who was a leper seeking healing. Through a series of events, Naaman sought the prophet Elisha to find healing. Arriving at Elisha’s house, he was met by Elisha’s servant who delivered instructions on how to receive healing. The servant told Naaman to go wash in the Jordan seven times to be clean. Naaman was furious Elisha didn’t come to him directly and wave his hand over him to heal him. But his servants convinced him to give the advice a try. Naaman went away furious but still dipped in the Jordan as instructed, emerging with skin like a child, completely healed. Naaman came back to the prophet Elisha declaring there was no other God but in Israel and offering a generous gift to Elisha, but Elisha refused the gift.

In this passage of scripture I noted 5 significant aspects revealing Elisha as a God-pleaser rather than a people-pleaser:

  1. Elisha didn’t feel the need to be the one to deliver the message.

Elisha sent his servant to tell Naaman the instructions on healing. Too often times, we feel the need to be the hero of people’s stories. We want to be the ones to always show up and come to the rescue. Elisha raised up another leader and delegated the work of the ministry to that leader. I don’t know what line of work you are in, but in ministry, I can’t possibly be there for everyone. I’ve tried and exhausted myself. Especially as my church grows, I need to trust the leaders we’ve put in place to help shepherd the flock and help carry the load – none of us can do it alone. 

Many times we pray to God for help and guess how he answers that prayer? He sends someone in our life to help us, but often we refuse the help they offer. In humility, we need to accept people in our lives God brought to help carry our load.

2. Elisha didn’t give an explanation.

I used to send long explanations for why I couldn’t be somewhere. I wanted to say yes to every birthday party, bridal and baby shower, every volunteer opportunity, every playdate. If I couldn’t make it, in addition to a long explanation, I carried around backpack of guilt. I should have been there for that person. They really needed me. My husband helped me realize I don’t need to give an explanation for everything, nor do I need to feel guilty or apologize for prioritizing my family and times of rest.

3. Elisha wasn’t afraid of Naaman’s response.

Naaman got angry and enraged because Elisha’s method disappointed him. Well, here is a truth which never gets old: We can’t please everyone. We will disappoint people. We won’t always do things the way others want us to. Sometimes, people will get angry or critical, but we can’t let the fear of people’s response stop us from obeying God’s direction. We have to continue to do what God calls us to do, regardless of how it might be perceived. Naaman was momentarily angry, but when he finally listened to the instructions, he received healing and made a declaration about the one true God. Sometimes people will react a certain way in the moment, but will later praise God for the results.

4. Elisha’s method brought glory to God and not to himself.

If Elisha were to lay his hands on the man directly, Naaman could have went back and declared what a powerful prophet Elisha was, one with incredibly healing powers. Instead, Elisha’s instructions made it so Elisha wasn’t present when the healing took place. Naaman later said, “Now I know there is no other God in Israel.” This isn’t to say we can’t pray for people’s healing, or lay our hands on them directly (I do all the time), that’s not the point. The point is to examine our motives and our methods. Do our methods bring glory to God or ourselves?

5. Elisha didn’t want the credit.

Elisha’s refusal of the gift Naaman offered was significant, it meant he did want to take credit for the healing. He wanted it clear it was not him who performed a miracle, it was God. People-pleasing is a pride issue. It seeks credit from man rather than obedience to God.

 

One of the verses I now try to live by is Galatians 1:10 “Am I now seeking the approval of God or of man? If I were seeking the approval of man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Living to please God (instead of people) keeps my pride in check and reminds me who I’m doing it for and who I’m pointing others to. It also strengthens my family, snuffs out fear, and gives me peace and endurance to run the race I’m called to. Burn-out isn’t an option – I’m in this for the long haul, enjoying the journey and keeping my eyes on Him. I hope you’ll join me in daily asking the powerful question from Galatians: Am I now seeking the approval of God or of man?