So I have to say that God continues to blow me away with His persistent encouragement. I want to start off with a little story. It may be long, but it's a good one, so read on :) First I want to start off by saying again that this adoption isn't easy, and we have barely started. Although, we have had many wonderful contributions towards our adoption, the money is coming in slowly, and we haven't been able to get started as soon as we would have liked. We have this one amazing man that has been giving us a little something on a weekly basis. One day I wrote him a thank you message to let him know how much of an encouragement he was to us during this time. He replied back and said that we were an encouragement to him, and told us to "suffer well." I thought to myself...'Wow! What a profound statement." It just really stuck with me. To jump ahead a little, one night God gave me a dream.... He often speaks to me in dreams.....could be because I'm a little hard headed, or it could be that I am so busy with my family during the day, He feels as though He has my attention more in my dreams:) Whatever the reason, He speaks to me in dreams often. Anyway in this particular dream all it was, was me looking at this big water jug full of coins. That's it. End of dream, and I woke up. I thought to myself, 'Was that from you God, or was that just a random eating pizza before bed kind of dream?' Well, I forgot about it and went on with my normal day. We have been on a tight budget lately, and I wanted to go on a date with my husband, so I was trying to think of a thrifty way to be able to do that. I immediately thought of that dream, and I went and gathered up a pint size cup of coins and took it to coin star. That little pint size cup was $40.00. I couldn't believe it! Aaron reminded me of this big can of coins we had forgotten about and I started to go dip out of these coins for the grocery store. One day as I was doing this, I felt this really strong conviction, and I wondered why on earth would I be feeling conviction about spending my coins. Immediately in my mind's eye, I had a vision of that big water jug again filled with coins and it was sitting in the lobby at New Hope...our church! Then it clicked!!!!!! Oh my goodness. I was so excited God had given me the most simple idea to raise money for adoptions, not just ours, but others as well within our church. You know just in our can under our bed was $300.00 in coins. I felt God spoke to me and said just about everyone has forgotten coins around their house. Ask others to count their change too! I was so excited about this, that I went and shared it with my knitting friends. This particular night I was sharing, Kelly L. had brought a super sweet visitor with her....Jennifer from North Dakota ( could be South, but it was one of the Dakotas.) As I started to share the dream,...mind you, I hadn't shared the story or vision yet, and Jennifer just blurts out,"We have a big water jug set up in the lobby of our church for people to drop their spare change in to raise money for families that want to adopt. It's called 'Change for Change.'" I thought what on earth!!! I was shocked and amazed, and I then shared my dream and vision, and we all just laughed at the confirmation God had given us with the sweet girl from N or S Dakota. So random! coincidence you may say...I think not! That was way too random and right on! So to jump ahead a couple of weeks to this morning. I was in a little funk about the adoption. I started thinking well, the money isn't there for us to really get started, and I had this very small thought of maybe it wasn't the right time for us. On top of the finances, we are farmers, and this time of the year is so busy and stressful... so I have had too much on my mind. I guess you could say I was carrying too many worries and not giving them to the Lord. I knew better than that. We went on to church and our pastor was out of town, so our dear friend Steve Horvath brought an AMAZING word. I encourage you to go listen to it...www.newhopechristian.org. He talked about suffering as a Christian. The whole thing was amazing, but one of the things he said at the end was "suffer well." He said that God doesn't promise that this life lived for Him will be all rosy and easy, but through the times when it seems like He's not there, He SO is! And that we as followers of Jesus, are to praise Him in the hard times too, not just the good times. He said "suffer well." That phrase again!!!! The whole sermon was just awesome! I can't even try to paraphrase and ruin the perfect words God spoke through Steve, but Aaron and I both were crying. He reminded us that we weren't alone, but when we can't hold our arms up to God anymore, there are friends that will hold our arms up for us. It was such a sweet time! Courtney came over and held my arms up and prayed over me and someone was praying over Aaron, and we left feeling refreshed. As if that wasn't enough, at the end of the service, sweet Jennifer from N. or S Dakota and Kelly L. came over and said, "We made you something." and they handed me this jar that they had painted that said " Change for Change. Help change a child's life in Ethiopia forever." And they opened it up and had filled it with change. Oh! It was too much for my heart! These sweet people with the heart of Jesus, whom we barely know, said,"We love you, and just wanted to give this to you for your adoption." Again Aaron and I both were just boo hooing like little babies.
Let me just point out that each and every time I have ever doubted this adoption, God has been so very quick to bring encouragement to keep going. As I said before, just that morning, I had that tiny thought to myself that maybe this wasn't the right time for us, and BOOM! He gives us that incredible message from Steve and then that awesome "Change for Change gift."
I will say this again.....God overwhelms me with His sweet encouragement through His people. He is so good and has perfect timing. And I can say once again we are moving forward and sending in our application for the adoption tomorrow. Thank you thank you thank you a million times to all you precious people who have contributed towards this adoption. We love you and are so thankful! In the words of another friend "God wants this adoption for us more than we do." That is so clear! If you know and live near us, and feel led to give us your spare change, we now have a jar and are collecting, or start your own jar :)