Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jude's first "solo" prayer

Every night we pray with Jude before he goes to sleep. He always repeats after us in going through our list of "thank you for..." and then he enthusiastically says "AMEN!" really loud at the end.

Earlier this week I decided to ask Jude if he wanted to pray on his own, all by himself. To which he shyly replied, "Nope, I don't know how." Trying to encourage him to step outside his comfort zone I said, "Yeah you do bud. Just like mommy and daddy do with you every night- you just talk to God." I heard him take a deep breath and with a little bit of attitude say, "Fine mom, I'll do it." To which I squeezed his hand and said "That a boy, okay- go ahead!".

So here you have Jude's very first solo prayer....

Jude: "Jesus? Jesus?! JESUS?!" (each time he said it he got louder and louder, as if he expected a response back.)
Me: "Jesus can hear you bud, go ahead." (as I tried not to smile or laugh knowing that he would stop praying if I embarrassed him in the least.)
Jude: "Thank you for our blessings. Thank you for making good choices. Thank you for making the good choice to die on the cross for our sins (melt my heart moment). Thank you for pirates and super heros (truly the important things in life... well, to a 4 year old at least!). Thank you for my puzzle fireman, my puzzle knight, and my puzzle worker man. Thank you for all our food (sounds like his daddy!). Please be with the people in Opia (the way he says Ethiopia) who do not have food... like Isa (love my tender hearted boy!). Bring Isa home so he can have a mommy and daddy... MY mommy and daddy. Wait... who is going to be my mom and dad?! (said with a little bit of panic in his voice)."
Me: "We're still going to be your mom and dad Jude, always!"
Jude: "Oh, okay (with a tone of relief). Amen then."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A long wait for a little man

This little man thinks the wait for his brother, "Sure is taking a long time!".... I can't say I blame him either! It's been almost a year of us talking about Jude being a big brother and praying for Isa every night- so it's no wonder the questions like, "Is he coming home today?!" and "Do we get to see Isa's face soon?" are starting to occur. It's with his innocent questions that my heart aches and gets a bit impatient as well. While I'm preaching one thing to Jude, that "We still have to wait a while longer, BUT God knows the perfect time that Isa will join our family!"... I have to remind myself to believe it as well! This whole adoption wait sure is more challenging for me then the 9 month wait of pregnancy, I have to be honest! Yes with pregnancy there is the "ugh" of loosing what was once your body, and worrying every time you have to sneeze that you'll pee your pants... but you knew, that in 40 weeks- you would see the face of this sweet child that was causing you such discomfort! I really struggle with not knowing when we'll see the face of our sweet Isa! At times, I'm cool with it- and totally can hang on the truth of God's perfect timing- and then at other times, I stink at it! Like today, when Jude brought up the fact that "This sure is taking a long time!"... AGREED Jude, agreed! Just being honest about my impatience.

Monday, April 25, 2011

His Kingdom Come

Since my last post regarding Joshua's Uganda support letters going out, God has once again been smiling down from heaven- working through people to accomplish His plans! $960 has already been raised towards his total trip goal of $3,300!!! I'm just shaking my head in awe of the generosity of others and the way God uses His people as His hands and feet to get the job done! I'm amazed at the willingness of others to give freely and I pray blessings on them for being such a blessing to us! Obviously over the past year the reoccurring theme in our lives has been God blowing our socks off, and it got me thinking...

It is simply humbling and amazing for Joshua and I to watch how God provides for the "kingdom come" things in life! At church a couple weeks ago our pastor was talking about how when we pray, God always listens, no matter what... BUT when we pray for "His kingdom come" type things, He's like "What's that Hilary!? I'm listening intently now! You want MY will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?! You have my attention!". This is true folks! I can testify first hand to the power of the change in prayer that this past year of our lives has brought- God has radically moved in mighty ways like we have never seen before! It's simple really- once our prayers were shifted upwards rather than inwards- our world flipped upside down... in crazy amazing good ways! God has moved mountains to accomplish His work! I can't even count how many prayers I have taken to God over the years filled with MY worries, MY plans, MY hang ups, MY desires, MY crap (let's just be honest)! I'm just sayin', the kingdom come type prayers, where I'm begging God for His will in my life have been so much more rewarding! And it's not that He didn't hear all the "MY" prayers, He did, He still does... I just think He's longing for us to come to Him with more! He's just waiting and hoping for us to come to Him with our lives and lay them at His feet and say, "Here you go God... I give my one and only life to you. Make it pretty because I make it a mess. Lead the way, I'll follow. Break my heart for what breaks yours. I am desperate for You God because the life you desire for me is far bigger than I can accomplish on my own. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." I can just picture Him sitting on the edge of His seat (eh, throne is probably more appropriate) waiting in anticipation when we pray, yearning for us to lay our agenda aside and beg for His, because I truly believe He LOVES to blow our socks off!

So it should come as no surprise that $960 has already been provided in just over a weeks time! I'm pretty confident that this Uganda trip is right up God's alley and His heart beats a little faster when we pray specifically about it... regardless, I still feel a little like (well, a lot like) Jude in this picture- amazed!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Uganda Support Letter.... on the way!

Guess what we've been working on?! That's right.... Joshua's Uganda Trip support letter! He finished up designing it last night and now we just have to settle on where we're going to make our copies- because the bargain hunter in me has to find the best deal out there! Our goal is to have them in the mail to everyone this week sometime! So keep an eye out for it your mailbox! 

Now a moment of being honest from yours truly... I get so nervous every time we send out support letters. Like the knot in my stomach, anxious, sweaty palms, kinda of nervous! Mostly because the people pleaser in me can't help but worry myself sick over what others will think. "Here's that Helms family once again asking for more money!" is the loud voice that nags at the insecure side of who I am. So if you're one of those people that has that thought cross your mind- I'd simply like to say- that we genuinely pray that you would know our motive in support raising is truly centered in doing our best to be obedient to God's callings! We are confident that God has opened this door for Joshua to go to Uganda, to use this experience in ways we could never imagine! We have no expectation what so ever that anyone is obligated to give! Rather our prayer is that those who whole heartedly want to be a part of this journey would desire to give and join with us in what God is doing! We're just letting the need be known and trusting that God will provide, period. Sigh, okay- I feel much better laying that out there and hope that our hearts are evident!

Here's a glimpse of the letter that will soon be in mailboxes of friends and family!  I'd humbly ask if you would join with us in prayer that God once again would bless our efforts and provide in ways that only He can! We know that it is ONLY by His hand that this trip will be funded and made possible! Just like with the adoption costs, please know we are committed to doing our part to think creatively and outside the box and take on extra odds and ends jobs to meet our financial goals! So here's to another piece of the puzzle that God is putting together in our lives! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cupcake Kids!!!

Yesterday was the much anticipated Cupcake Kids sale at Joshua's school! If you haven't heard about Cupcake Kids... it's a fundraiser to help the amazing ministry of Sixty Feet that helps the imprisoned children in Uganda! Truly they are an amazing ministry and I would encourage everyone to check it out... who knows, maybe God plans on using YOU to be His hands and feet to make a difference in this ministry?!

Our game plan for selling the cupcakes was simple... set up "camp" outside the main doors of the school, so that when the last bell of the day rang at 2:30pm- BAM! Hundreds of hungry students would see these amazing cupcakes! Not only did this genius plan work- the second we started setting up the table and put the first cupcake down at 1:30pm- students that had early release were hovering over my shoulder like, "Oooo, cupcakes! Can I buy one?! Huh, Huh, Huh?!". To which I replied, "Uhm, ABSOLUTELY!!!". We opted to NOT put a price on the cupcakes and just ask the students to make a donation. Joshua and I went back and forth on whether or not this stratagy would backfire on us, considering we were asking high school students who might just throw in a penny... BUT I'm just here to tell you- the incredible students of MHS are so generous and they dug deep in their pockets to make a BIG difference! I seriously saw one girl put a $20 in the jar, I made eye contact with her and through the crowd mouthed the words, "Wait, hun- do you need change?!" to which she humbly smiled and shook her head no, and walked away! It's little moments like that, that simply leave me speechless! 

So... the cupcakes you see on the table in the picture at the top of the post were all graciously whipped up by family and friends (Phoebe, Stacy, Beth, Kaydee, Gretchen, and Bekah's mom- ya'll are the best!)... those scrumptious cupcakes raised... Drum Roll Please..... $142.34 to help the sweet children in Uganda and the AMAZING ministry of Sixty Feet!!! 

I also just wanted to take a second and thank the students that helped set up and "sell" (even though it didn't really require any sales expertise, considering the crowd brought itself)... But once again, CLUB 2412... ya'll simply amaze me with your willingness to jump in and help with your big hearts that genuinely desire to make a difference around the world! Jude couldn't be more excited to go to "Daddy's School" either, because he gets to hang out, I mean flirt with, pretty girls like these! For real, he loves Mara and Hailey and has been talking to me about them since yesterday! He also keeps asking me if we have any more cupcakes- because he might be addicted! I mean, look at those PINK lips! Crazy kid! 

My dear friend Whitney and her adorable son Mekele stopped by too (he is adopted from Ethiopia- and just a little background, I know I've mentioned it before, but they were the first couple we ever talked with to beg for wisdom when we jumped into this adoption journey! So they will always hold a special place in our lives for the very reason that they're such a part of Isa's story!). I'm so grateful for Whitney in my life and that our hubby's teach across the hall from each other! So I just have to share the cupcake sweetness of Mekele's face too- because it's just too cute to pass up! 

And if you know my mom at all, you would find it no surprise that she too swung by to help out and show her support... and maybe love on her grandson too! Seriously, one day I will do entire post on how incredible my mom is! My eyes fill up with tears just thinking about it! She is and always has been my number one fan in everything and I do- this adoption process and all the facets that God has worked through it, whether it be starting up Abba's Children or these fundraisers for other ministries on the side- she's there, always! I'm telling ya, if I can be HALF the mom she is to me, I'm good to go in life! I'm going to stop now because if I go on I'll become a blubbery mess! 

So, once again- God showed up, and provided for His children around the world through high school students here in Texas! I love seeing how He uses other's to accomplish His work! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Abba's Children

I've yet to mention how great our last Abba's Children (our church's unfolding orphan care ministry) went on March 31st! I sit here amazed at how God is clearly at work in this group already! We had about 30 adults and 10 kids at our potluck packed into Nancy's house and the buzz in the room of hearts that desired to love on orphans just brought a smile to my face! We all represent different aspects of orphan care but we're united with a passion to "do something" and love the fatherless and live out the gospel in Christ! I'm genuinely excited to see what God has in store for this group and I continue to beg for His guidance along the way as we grow and develop as a ministry! We haven't even had an official launch of Abba's Children at our church (and probably won't for several more months)- and just by word of mouth- the people are coming! It's like Field of Dreams... "If you build it, they will come!". LOVE it!

Last night, we had our first ever spontaneous Abba's Children Airport Welcome Home Party for one of the families from our church! It's actually our worship leader and his wife, Warren and Sonya, who, in a whirlwind of God ordained events, adopted a sweet little boy from Alabama (name is still to come!). I can't even begin to tell you how much joy this whole evening brought to my heart! I stood there looking around at the group of people gathered in anticipation, excited to welcome this baby home... everyone was starring at the escalator waiting to see the feet of Warren and Sonya and the new addition to their family come down, and thought to myself, "This is what it's all about!". Wrapping around families who are stepping out in faith to support and love on them! The cheer of joy when we finally saw their feet and then their faces was pure heaven! It was humbling to be in a moment where you knew God was looking down smiling- because a child of His was given a family! And not just any family, but a WONDERFUL family who will raise this boy to know Jesus! "God sets the lonely in families" Psalm 68:6. It was just pure goodness all around! We are so excited to have front row seats to watch God work in Warren and Sonya's family!
As we arrived. Can you tell I was excited?!

We all gathered waiting for them to arrive!

They had NO idea! They didn't even know this was "a thing" to do in the crazy world of adoption! 

Warren and Sonya with their Itty Bitty! 

The first of many Abba's Children welcome home parties!

And we sent them off in prayer... in the parking garage as they loaded up into their car! Classic. 

So there you have it! A little glimpse of what God can do when you say "YES" to His plans in life! He knew Abba's Children needed to be "unofficially" up and running- if for nothing else, just for this very moment of welcoming home this family! If He can take me and all my inadequacies and true fear of speaking in front of people, and use me as a leader to make something beautiful like this out of an orphan care ministry, what might He have in store for YOU at your church?! I say, step out in faith and do something, start something, come together as one voice, and watch and see what God can do!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Precious Equipping Time in our Lives

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times- this adoption process is just the tip of the iceberg to what God is doing in our lives! He has used our journey to Isa to work in numerous facets in Joshua and I's souls to reveal Himself in fresh new ways, over and over again! I've been reluctant a little bit to share details of specific burdens that He's placed on our hearts, because A. We're still sorting through what responding to these burdens looks like in our lives, and B. Honestly, I am scared of the accountability that comes with actually putting it out there for others to read! Actually typing out the words and having them stare back at me, somehow makes things more concrete. Scaredy cat, I know... but I truly do feel like the Lord is asking me to be transparent through out this process in all the ways He's at work in our lives.

That being said, I shall nervously begin pouring out one specific burden that is weighing heavy on our hearts...

Deep Breath... We feel like, in time (and I don't know when that time is yet), our family will move to Africa. There you have it folks, I said it! We know that right now, our priority is to get Isa home- and that we're kind of in this "holding phase" until our adoption is complete. Right now, the timing of when we get Isa home is completely out of our control- we did our part in busting butt to get our dossier whipped up and sent off... and then, well- we wait, and pray, and wait some more, and pray some more! Any international adoption, as a whole, is somewhat risky and unpredictable- seeing as how any country could choose to just shut down for whatever random reason at any time. And while I don't see that happening with Ethiopia, there is still so much out of our control as far as how the rest of this process plays out! We have no real grasp of what our timeframe from here on out looks like. So, we continue to hold loosely to our desire of having Isa in our arms and home by Christmas andtrust that God is using this "waiting for Isa phase"as precious equipping time in our lives!

Like I said, I have NO IDEA of when and where we'll move to Africa,  and what door of ministry God will open up for us to walk through at just the right time to get us there! And when I say "no idea", I really mean, I am completely clueless as to how this is all going to pan out! Maybe that's why I feel a bit silly writing about this- but I'm determined to lay it out there as God throws it at me, so that in the long run, His hand will be all the more evident in looking back and seeing how He was clearly putting puzzle pieces together at this point in our lives. So that's my motive in sharing. For months now, both Joshua and I have had an uneasiness about staying here, our hearts have been captured by Africa and it's people, we feel an urgency to go and share the gospel, and we feel a strange peace about God leading us there... yet at the same time- I'm the one who is scared to type it out! Go figure! Like I said, I trust that God is equipping us during this "waiting for Isa phase", for bigger "God things", that He probably knows we would freak out about if He revealed all of it to us now.... so I'm soaking in these moments of preparation.

Okay, all that being said- there is an obvious "equipping opportunity" that we truly feel like God has laid in our laps and we're going to ask you to be in prayer with us about.  Joshua is going to Uganda this July on a mission trip with our church, PTCC! We just found out this past weekend that his application was accepted to be a part of the team going to Kampala to work with Hesed International and Food Step (Natalie from the Sixty Feet Bereaved Documentary that many of you have seen). We went back and forth on whether he should apply or not- (the "NOT" aspect of our discussions centered almost entirely around me being pooped on raising money and not really in the mood to tackle another $3,300- if I'm being real here). So here's the deal... at the end of the day- I had to ask myself once again if I trusted that God is faithful to fund His callings? Well how stupid would I be if I said no?! Duh... God has clearly rocked our faces off in less then a year in providing in crazy amazing ways towards our adoption!  (I'll have you know, we are seriously ONLY $459 short of our TOTALY GOAL OF $28,000!!!). I find it no coincidence that God timed this mission trip at the exact time of us being almost fully funded for our adoption- knowing that I totally would have shut the door to it even being considered if we still had thousands of more dollars to raise towards our adoption (I'm not sure that speaks much on behalf of my faith)! So here we are, almost entirely funded for Isa... thinking that we were just about to sit back and take a deep breath and relax a bit... BUT once again being challenged to step out in faith and raise a little bit more!

I trust this Uganda trip in July is just another piece of the preparation puzzle that God is putting together! We'll be sending out letters here shortly with more details and specifics regarding the trip. BUT for now, be in prayer that this "waiting for Isa phase" would be a time of growth and maturing in our faith- because I'm pretty sure we're going to need a whole heckva lot of both when the "moving to Africa phase" is upon us! (o:

Monday, April 4, 2011

He is Able

After my last post about feeling inadequate and in over my head, I feel like God has provided some much needed reassurance that this state of uneasiness is exactly where He wants me and actually good to be in this place. I'm learning that God is a fan of dependency. I'd love to say that I'm super confident of all that I feel like the Lord is asking of me- but nope, not so! I will however say that I am learning to rest in His peace and rely on His abilities and even though the inadequate "Me" is still there trying to squeeze her way in my thoughts to freak me out... I'm learning to rest in the underlying truth that I know HE is able. There is an old school Willow Creek song that I remember when I was a little girl that I unknowingly find myself singing to Jude when I put him to bed at night (because he might be the only person in the world that hasn't figured out I can't sing yet!) The song goes like this: 

He is able, more then able, to accomplish what concerns me today. 
He is able, more then able, to handle anything that comes my way. 
He is able, more then able, to do much more then I could ever dream. 
He is able, more then able, to make me what He wants me to be. 
Written by: Rory Noland

Isn't it funny how God uses the sweet unexpected moments of being with our children to speak straight to OUR hearts?  I gotta wonder if He does that because sometimes throughout my day I'm in the "Go, Go, Go!" mode that when I put Jude down for the night, it's often the first time that I've slowed down enough to really be quite and listen. I'm grateful for the reminders He gives me in being a mom!