Sunday, October 21, 2012

2 years

Exactly 2 years ago today, after months of tackling paperwork and raising funds, we were finally added to the much anticipated boy wait list with our adoption agency! We started at #71 on the list... and today we sit at #4!!! I could go on and on about the crazy amazing stories God has written in this 2 year window, but what brings my heart the most joy is knowing that 67 little orphan boys have been given a forever family since we were added to the list! This wait sure seems long some days, but I rest in the truth that God is busy placing the lonely in families and I'm confident He's writing a story of restoration and redemption right now for our sweet Isa! I love that He makes all things beautiful! Can't wait to see our sweet babes face!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lifeguard Maddy

So clearly my lack of time is totally effecting my blog writing! Part of me feels guilty and wants to apologize for the lack of updates and promise to do better and make a point to blog more often... BUT who I am kidding and who the heck am I apologizing too?! So I'll take this moment to remind myself that I have been doing LIFE and LIFE comes before writing! If I was sitting around being lazy and twiddling my thumbs that would be one thing- but no siree bob, I'm one busy mama! At the end of the day, I think the little nagging guilty feeling isn't because I unrealistically think that I have readers who I owe an apology to, rather it's that I want to make sure that I adequately document all the amazing things that God is doing throughout our journey. For Isa's sake... and for mine! So often I forget about God's goodness, an answered prayer, His divine intervention... but if I have it written down, than I can reflect back over His faithfulness and once again stand in awe. So my prayer is that despite this season of busyness and the inability to write as often as I'd like- that God's goodness would remain fresh on my mind! May the incredible details that He is weaving together to bring Isa home and to transform our family never loose their awesomeness, whether written down or not!

All that being said, I would not want to leave a good God story unfinished, so I'll share with you part 2 from my last blog post!....

To catch you up real quick, the gist of part 1 of the story is this... I received an email from a friend, that was intended to share with me how God had been at work over the past 2 years transforming her heart from a place of bitterness to a place of beauty. But because of my emotional, insecure self, I got hung up on one line in her email about the fact that our fundraising had rubbed her the wrong way initially.  After "pout praying" (yes, that's a real term)  I re-read her email a couple times, asking for God's perspective, where He revealed, once again that His story is far bigger than mine- and that He will use our life how He sees fit (even in ways that make us uncomfortable) so that He can restore hope and healing to the broken! It was the following pout prayer that took place and got me to the point of seeing things through God's lens...

"God, Seriously, if SHE thought this, then no doubt, EVERYBODY does! Oh my gosh, how many other people are walking around out there thinking that we have some sort of expectation that they should pay for our life!? I'm not even kidding God, I'm so tired of fundraising!!!"
(then the overwhelming realization that if/when we move to Zambia, we'll have to be raising support there too came crashing down on me!)
"AHHH!!! GRRR!!! God, I know it seems like you're paving the way for us to get to Africa once Isa gets home, but UGH, I do NOT want to be a missionary and have to raise support for the rest of our lives! You hear me right?! I'm done! (insert pout, whine, pout, whine!). For real God, if this Zambia thing is where you're taking us, I need some serious clarity... and a paycheck would be nice too!" 
 I can only assume that because my emotions were blowing everything out of proportion, I instinctively pulled the "Africa card" out on God. The truth is, this gal's email mentioned nothing of us raising support in the future if/when we get to Africa- but I figured while I was on a role letting God know the parameters in which He could use me, I might as well make it crystal clear to Him that I was less than excited about any future support raising possibilities!

All that being said, after re-reading her email through God's lens, I began to have a sense of peace about the whole thing. You see, God could have stopped there- He could have just left me with a new perspective and that would have been sufficient. But He didn't. He poured more peace on my soul that day! Remember how I begged for some serious clarity about Zambia if that's where He would take us?!...
We decided to head to the neighborhood pool as a family later that afternoon- at this point, I had pulled myself together and was totally up for a some quality family time and suntanning (I'm always up for both those things!). Joshua, Jude and I had gotten out of the water for lunch and were eating our packed picnic on some lawn chairs. I noticed a young girl lifeguard approaching us that I had never seen before. (If you know me at all, than you know that the lifeguard instructor that lives inside of me makes me keenly aware of every lifeguard at the pool! I critique their skills, or lack there of, behind their back and regularly point out to Joshua, or anyone who will listen for that matter, which lifeguards are quality and which lifeguards are crappy. It's horrible, I know.) All that to say, all summer long, I had never seen this lifeguard girl before. She walked straight up to us and the following conversation took place...
Lifeguard:  Mr. Helms?
Joshua: Hey there! 
Lifeguard: I don't know if you remember me, my name is Maddy, and I was one of your students  like 3 years ago?"
(Keep in mind this happens to us A LOT when we're out and about- it's just a given when have a husband for a teacher/coach! The uncomfortable thing is that Joshua is HORRIBLE at remembering names and faces, so half the time he just smiles and goes with it.)
Joshua: Yes, Maddy! I remember you! (he was being honest here... this time!) How are you?
Lifeguard Maddy: Good! I just wanted to come say hi to you guys, I saw you walk in here to the pool a little bit ago and I had been thinking of your family! I heard that you guys are thinking about moving to Zambia?!
(At this point I totally perk up wondering how in the world this mysterious lifeguard girl had heard anything about us moving to Zambia?!)
Joshua: Yeah, we are! How did you know that?!
Lifeguard Maddy: Well, just last week I was actually IN ZAMBIA on a mission trip with my church! We worked with a place called Lifesong for Orphans along side of Mitzi and Shane McBride! We would have dinner in the evenings at the McBride's house and one night I saw your family picture hanging on their refrigerator! I told Mitzi, "Hey! That guy used to be my teacher!" And Mitzi shared that you guys are actually praying about moving out there to work along side of them!
Me (you know I had to chime in here!): Seriously Maddy?! That's crazy! Yes, we have been praying for quite awhile about moving there to work with them! Things are still up in the air with everything because we're waiting on our adoption, and we can't make any big commitments until we get our Isa home. That's crazy though that you saw our picture on their fridge! (Hold up! Had God seriously just put a teenage girl right in front of me to speak peace into my heart?! For goodness sakes, she had just been to the EXACT same place/ministry in Zambia that we're praying about moving to and she's coming to talk to us on the EXACT same day that I was begging God for clarity?! Uhm, YES that's the way my God rolls!)
Lifeguard Maddy: Well, I just feel like I need to tell you that it is TRULY AMAZING THERE! The kids are awesome, the work they're doing there is awesome, and the McBride's are awesome! It was truly a life changing trip and I can't wait to go back! I'm actually praying about applying for an internship there right now! Who knows, maybe we'll all be there together someday?! 

The conversation went on for a couple more minutes about her time there and how God had used it to change her forever. All the while sweet lifeguard Maddy completely unaware of the fact that God was using her to speak peace to my heart! Ironically, she shared her fears (and her parent's fears) about the task of raising support if she did decided to go over there as an intern. It was if God whispered, "Now... it's your turn Hilary to bring peace to her heart".  I was able to encourage her to never let support raising get in the way of your obedience to go and do what God asks of you! I genuinely shared that while it's hard and uncomfortable, God will bless it richly and use it in ways you never thought imaginable! 

She thanked me for my encouragement and said, "Well, who knows?! Maybe we'll all be working there together one day! I'm so glad I came over to talk to you guys, I just knew when I saw you guys walk in today that I needed to come talk to you!"

Oh sweet "mysterious lifeguard that I've never seen before Maddy", if you only knew how God used you that day! Coincidental that you felt the need to come talk to us, I think not! Thank you God for using Maddy that Thursday afternoon in August to reassure me that you are indeed alive and well! You are indeed alive and well and at work in Zambia, at Lifesong, with the McBride's... and if it takes a teenage girl to travel half way across the world to see our family picture on a refrigerator, so that you can later use her to speak encouraging truth into our lives- than so be it! YOUR ARE WORTH FOLLOWING, no matter the costs, even if we have to raise support for the rest of our lives. Thanks for the clarity God. I stand in awe.