Sunday, May 31, 2009

A great marriage reminder!


If you are like me, I always have my ears open for encouragement when it comes to my marriage...it is the sweetest relationship that I have ever known, apart from Christ, but it is also the relationship that has and continues to require the hardest of work to keep sweet! So, I am always looking for Biblical truth to encourage me, convict me and help me to be a godly wife! Today, I read a post from my sister in law, Kimiko, where she shared some advice she and my brother had been encouraged with at this past weekends couples retreat they attended at their church. I was really blessed and thought you might be too...click here to get there yourself!

And, while I am on the topic of marriage :), I thought I would share with you Bryan's and my summer marriage book to read. (We have tried the last few years to read a book on marriage over the summer...it just seems to be a good time for us to do that!)
This summer's book is titled, "Tying the Knot Tighter" by Martha Peace and John Crotts. What I really like about the layout of the book is that it is divided into 19 chapters/topics which are only 2-3 pages in length but then have a hefty dose of questions to use for discussion/reflection/application. So you, realistically, should spend a lot of time talking and communicating which is always a good thing!

A wonderful week

My sister, Kimberly, (who also happens to be 6 1/2 months pregnant!!!) and my mom came to visit for the week. My dad joined us for the weekend...and we had such a wonderful time together! My heart is so full of praise to the Lord that we were able to share a special week together not just because we are family, but, even more, because we are sisters in Christ!!!





Tomorrow (Monday) is my husband's surgery (around 10:30 am). A dear friend from church has taken on the "load" of watching our kiddos for the day and, Lord willing, Bryan will be released sometime in the afternoon. A big thanks to all those who have said they will be praying and I'll try to fill you all in tomorrow night!

"Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." Psalm 116:5-7

Friday, May 29, 2009

God does the growing!


"So then, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." I Corinthians 3:7

I was reminded of this verse as I picked some of the first vegetables from our garden (and, knowing my novice gardening skills...they may be some of the last!:)). The sweet peas tasted fantastic...but I couldn't help but stand amazed at their growth...from a bud to something edible and great tasting! No matter how hard I might try...I will never be able to produce fruit or vegetables. I can water, fertilize, pull weeds and seek to create an environment that is conducive for growth but I CANNOT make things grow!!! It is an amazing act of God.

So it is with our kiddos, too. I was talking to a girlfriend last week and, in the course of our conversation, shared with her something my mom had said to me many years ago when I was in tears over the rebellion and disobedience of a then, very young, Micah. She said, "Kristin, God does not call you to produce fruit in your son's life. That is HIS job. He simply calls you to be faithful."

I will never forget her words of wisdom. It took a load off of my shoulders and pointed me straight back to the one Who could give me the strength to be faithful while keeping me completely dependent on Him as I continued to seek to "create the right environment" of training my son to live his little life to the glory of God.
And that is still my job right now! I am not to question God's methods and the instruction in His Word on how to train my kids...but I am to faithfully uphold and live out those truths with my kids, EVEN WHEN I DON'T SEE THE FRUIT! Why? Because I know God to be true to His Word...and over and over again He promises fruit, He promises blessing, He promises that He is at work...it just may not be in MY timing. So, in the end, it is never about God's plan not working or Him being unfaithful...it is that I am full of impatience and doubt His beautiful plan!

Would you join me in being FAITHFUL and waiting patiently and expectantly on the Lord? And then would you join me in celebrating with GREAT JOY when He gives us glimpses of sweet, wonderful fruit in the lives of our kids?!!!

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A surgery on the horizon!

It's official. Bryan is having surgery this coming Monday. He saw the surgeon on Tuesday and we were surprised how fast they were able to get him to surgery. He is still unsure of exactly what all the damage is in his knee. The doctor said there was still too much swelling on the MRI to get a real clear picture. We are praying that he will be able to repair everything that is torn and maybe do it lapriscopically instead of with the long incision that might be necessary. The doctor told him to plan on being on crutches for 6 weeks, which I know will be a challenge...not to mention the brace that he has to wear (I just had to show you a picture of it...it's HUGE)! The surgery should only take an hour and a half...and I'll be sure to give you all the gory details when we get back :)

Seriously,I am already praying that the Lord would give me a servant's heart and great sympathy for my hubby and give Bryan joy and patience throughout this whole process. I know that God will use this "trial" to continue to prune us and make us more like Him. My heart is heavy for my dear husband and all that he will not be able to do the first half of this summer. But I am praying that God will give us wisdom and creative minds to find new things for our family to do together besides whiffle ball, bike rides and walks! :)


And, in other news, our dear, soon to be 5 year old son, Titus, LOVES to become whatever it is that he is watching. If it's baseball, the baseball gear gets put on. If it's Narnia, the swords come out along with any Playmobile figurine that looks like it could fit the part. And truly, I could go on and on. Today, he informed me that he needed to dress up like our neighbors ( a couple of boys that have dirt bikes)for our bike ride...this is how I found him a few minutes later and I just had to take a picture! :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do I really have to love THAT person?


Do you have a person that, when you think of them, nothing good comes to mind? Who, when you are around them, you can't wait to get away from them? Maybe they are an unbeliever who displays a hatred for the things of God and an unbelievable love for themselves. Or, maybe they are a believer with whom you are supposed to share a common bond with...a unity in Christ that supersedes differences, but it doesn't seem to ever work that way.

The Bible has a word for these type of people in our lives...they are called "enemies". If you read the OT...especially the Psalms...you might like calling them enemies as it seems, so often, David and other Psalmist had no problem asking for the Lord to destroy their enemies :) But we see a new picture in the New Testament when it comes to our enemies...a course of action set up by Jesus Himself! He makes us address our hearts!

Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-48:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Do you know how hard it is to pray for those that you don't like? Seriously...try right now!...I say that because it is a HUGE wrestling in my own heart. Words don't even come to mind when I try to pray for them. It is truly something I can only do in the strength of the Lord. And then Paul takes it a step farther in Romans 12:14 when he says:

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."


I share what I share with you not on a pedestal looking down on you...but as one in the trenches fighting to take my thoughts captive to obey and trust God and His Word and yet wanting to feel justified in feeling the way I do. Wanting to feel that it is okay to strongly dislike someone...to count them an enemy more than I would ever call them a friend.

But if I truly want to follow Christ in every way (and I do!) and if I truly desire to love others with HIS love than I must remember that Jesus laid down His very LIFE for me when I was His enemy...when I HATED Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8



How dare I cling to God's grace and bask in His forgiveness and love and turn around and not do the same for others. And yet, that is exactly what I do so often. And even as I sit here typing my flesh is crying out..."You Can't Do It!!!"

So I find myself again, this morning, exactly where my Heavenly Father wants me... completely dependent on Him...recognizing that "apart from Him I can do nothing" (John 15:5).

And I am left with the beautiful reminder that YES, I really do have to love THAT person...because I, too, was THAT person and Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Memorable Memorial Day



We had a great trip to Seattle on Monday. My dear sister Kimberly flew in to Seattle to spend the week with me and my mom (who is driving up today). My brother's Paul and David and his wife, Michelle, live in Seattle...so it is always so great to be able to visit with them! We picked up Kimberly, hit Trader Joe's :), went to a beautiful park and ended the evening with dinner at our dear, new Ethiopian friends! And, now, I am so very much looking forward to some wonderful GIRL time this week!!!


A quick view of the majestic Cascade Mountain Range on our drive over


I don't think anything can beat the parks in Seattle!


While the boys threw rocks in the water, the girls were busy finding their own treasures on the land.


Our dear Faith is always collecting something wherever she goes!


Daddy time!


Fun with our Ethiopian friends! Thank you for your hospitality and a wonderful meal!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time with my girls!!!







I took the girls to North Town Coffee shop today. What fun we had...we spent time having a Bible study together, putting together a puzzle and playing "war" and "go fish". I wish I could say that this is a regular occurrence, but it is something I need to do more often. I am learning that one thing that really helps me give undivided attention to my kids is to be away from home. Maybe that sounds odd...or even wrong...but when I am home I am so easily distracted by all that needs to be done...but a trip to the park, a car ride, a visit to the coffee shop, a walk outside really wipes out those distractions and ends up being a sweet time of playing, laughing and conversation. Not that we don't ever share precious moments inside our home...we do...but it takes A LOT more work for me. I am praying that God would continue to mold me and help me to just "temporarily forget" about all that needs to be done and give me a devotion to my kiddos that rises above "stuff". I read a quote on "A Bushel and a Peck Blog" a couple of days ago and while I don't know anything about the author who said it (Dr. Purvis), it's a quote that I have been pondering and have felt a bit of a needed "rebuke" by it!

"Not because I was perfect but because I was present."

Yes, my kids need to see a godly example lived out before them...but they also need to see it in the context of living among them as I enter their world and we enjoy the sweet relationship of mother and child. Carolyn Mahaney says:

"You must regard parenting as one of your most important tasks while you have children at home. This is your calling...there is nothing more important. You have only a brief season of life to invest yourself in this task. You have only one opportunity to do it. You cannot go back and do it over."


How scary...but how exciting, too! And how wonderful to know that we have a Savior Who is quick to forgive and Who will accomplish His purposes for us and our family not because of any good in and of ourselves but because His perfect goodness has been imputed to us and He is working through us!

"He(God) made Him(Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

Thursday, May 21, 2009

JOY


I don't think I ever shared what fruit we have been working on this month...JOY! Joy is actually a hard word to give a definition too...it's more than happy but happiness is the overflow of it. Anyway, here is the definition we have been memorizing this month. Joy is being happy and full of God because His kingdom is in our hearts. I have also been continually repeating a quote from John MacArthur. I LOVE the way he describes joy:

"Joy is that like the flag that flies on the castle of our hearts when the King is present."


Isn't that just beautiful and so true! My joy, or lack there of, is in direct correlation to what my heart is clinging to! One of the easiest ways to know if there is an idol in my heart is to check my "joy-o-meter". A lack of joy is almost always a clear sign that there is an idol in my heart....that I am seeking pleasure and happiness in something other than Christ...and NOTHING will ever bring me true, lasting joy apart from Christ. Which leads me to our memory verse this month:

"You make known to me the path of life. In Your presence there is FULLNESS of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever more." Psalm 16:11


When we live in the light of God's presence as we study, meditate and memorize His Word we can't help but be full of joy...not necessarily because what we are going through is easy but because we know that the outcome of our faith is salvation and sanctification!

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." I Peter 1:8-9


Even Christ Himself had joy as He went to the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says that "for the joy set before Him (He) endured the cross". His eyes were fixed on His Father, God, and that brought great joy. And, when our eyes are fixed on God, we can have great joy,too, no matter what the situation...even as our eyes fill and flood with tears and our hearts ache with pain! Joy is an amazing fruit...an amazing gift from God!

I'll close with the VERY cool verse I read yesterday. A verse that is only possible to echo if we are joyfully standing on Christ, the solid rock!

"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid..." Psalm 112:6-8a

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A visit from Uncle Paul!


My brother Paul came to visit for a couple of days and it was such a blessing having him. He loves his nieces and nephews and he does a great job of "entering their world" and making himself right at home. He put together a puzzle with them, played legos and even made a star war's "movie" with Micah and his lego characters. He took the boys to lunch and let them talk to their hearts content, he helped with school work and joined in their art project...and so many other little things that we all appreciated!

Thanks, Paul, for your servant's heart...Christ shines through you and it blessed all of us these past couple of days! Love you!

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere." 2 Cor. 2:14

The Best Day Ever!



Isaiah 49:13
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

I would have never thought on Friday morning that I would be sharing with you the news that I am about to. And, for some of you, if you received an email, these words may sound familiar but there is some new stuff too :)

We had spent a lot of time,this past weekend, in prayer before the Lord asking for His grace and mercy and, if it be His will, that we might get a referral sooner than later. I had no idea as I prayed, that sooner would mean first thing Monday morning!!!!

I got an email from CWA with a list of some children that were ready to be adopted. I looked at them, felt a tug on my heart in regards to one of the cases and then forwarded them on to Bryan to get his take (without telling him what I was thinking or feeling). He called me and said that although he had been feeling very strongly that a sibling group was what we should pursue there was one little boy that stood out to him and, in my husband's words, "Kristin, I think he belongs in our family!" It was the same boy that I had seen and felt my heart break and leap all at the same time. It broke thinking about the situation he was in..but it also leaped at the thought of giving him a forever home.

He is 6 years old and his dad died of AIDS and his mom is sick with AIDS too and can no longer take care of him. Sadly, AIDS is a death sentence in Ethiopia. He has been in the orphanage since the beginning of April. And I couldn't help but smile at some of the notes on him...they said he is excited to go to America and wants to become a doctor. We couldn't help but think he might feel that way because of the death and sickness he has been surrounded by.

We felt an almost instant pull, we believe, from the Lord to pursue adopting him...but at the same time felt a level on confusion. He was the only one that we felt we should adopt from the list. There was not another child to "pair" him up with. So, to say "yes" to him meant that we would be adopting only him. We knew we had time to think about it and pray about it .... because we fully believed God was calling us to adopt two children.

So, I sat at the computer just praying God would give us wisdom, but as I sat there, I also just laid out my heart to Him...He knows it already, right?!!! I just simply said, "Oh Lord, I wish that there was some way that we could bring home a little girl, too."

A few minutes after praying, I opened my email...and this is what I read from one of the gals at CWA:

Kristin,

I know I said I didn’t think we had any little girls coming available anytime soon, but I was wrong!

Here is little "E", approximately 4 years old, in Soddo orphanage. She is also available for adoption, and you would be free to consider her as well.

If you wish to adopt her, you could pair her with one of the unrelated boys, possibly, if you were interested in taking that route. Of course, you can choose whatever route you prefer.

Can you believe it?!!!!! My heart was pounding as I called Bryan. The decision seemed like an easy one to make...one literally handed to us by God Himself! It didn't even matter what she looked like or anything...we knew that this was the girl we should pursue to become our daughter! I couldn't help but think of Hannah's words in I Samuel 1:27, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me the petition I made to him."

Sweet E's mommy died two years ago of malaria and her dad took her to the orphanage last month. Although these two precious children are not siblings they are in the same orphanage (what a blessing!!!). They arrived at about the same time and we rejoice that they are living together right now.

We will have to get our home study amended (I talked to my social worker yesterday and she hopes to have that done by the end of the week) and we are looking at about $3,500 more in fees because they are not related and there is more paperwork, etc. We, most likely, will not get in before the courts close due to a large amount of paperwork and medical reports (but, with God, all things are possible, right?!!!). We know that we may still have a long wait ahead of us but we are at peace and rejoicing in what we believe God is doing. We are a little stunned with how quick it is all happening...but do not feel as though we are rushing or being impatient. We are just taking the next step!!!

Samuel and Caleb will always hold a special place in our hearts...and while they may not have been loaned to us by God as Micah, Grace, Faith, Titus and, Lord willing, "A" and "E" are...they are forever adopted into our circle of prayer....prayer that they will grow up to love Jesus with all their hearts and minds and strength! So, we are not saying good bye to them and hello to new faces, we are just asking God to enlarge our hearts for all of them and anyone else the Lord may have planned for our family one day.

This morning, as we prayed as a family, Micah got all choked up as he thanked the Lord for today being the best day ever...that even though we were not going to be adopting S and C, God had given him a new brother AND a new sister and today was the best day ever!
He is right, isn't he?! When we are walking with the Lord, trusting His plan and His timing, resting in His Sovereignty...every day can be the best day ever!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Peek into the Pichura's Weekend

This weekend was a full one...but a blessing in so many ways. Friday night we got together with the women (and their families) that had helped plan and put together the fundraiser...and it was great to be together...and also helped keep me from having a "pity party" with all that had gone on that morning. Saturday evening I had the sweet encouragement of a friend who stopped by and told me "I'm planting your garden!" I had honestly given up on the idea of having a garden after having my surgery...I can't tell you what a blessing she was to me in that hour! God used her to answer a prayer I had not even prayed...if that makes sense. Sunday evening was youth ministry at our house and a couple of the gals (and a mom) stayed after for a little while sharing, talking and then praying. My heart was so full of thankfulness to God for that half an hour of fellowship and genuine comfort.

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." I Thessalonians 5:11




It has hit the upper 80's the last few days and Faith, in particular, was begging for some sprinkler fun. I don't think that poor girl has sweat glands (thanks, Nanny!). So, I have a feeling she is going to be begging to get wet most of this summer! :)


Titus cracked us up. He came out of the girls room wearing one of their doll hats on his head, declaring to all of us: "I'm an Israelite!" :)


Tessie has got to be just about the best dog out there. She lets the girls do just about anything with her! :)

Micah and Bryan had a wonderful opportunity to go see the Red Sox play against the Mariners with some dear friends on Saturday. The rest of us watched the game on the TV and had a good time too!

Go Red Sox!!!!


Micah with his friend, Matthew...they had a great time together!


Safeco Field in Seattle

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where do we go from here?


I write this post with grief that is still very real. We came home on Friday and it is amazing just how easily tears keep coming. The bunk beds set up and ready to go...comforters and all, the drawers and closets with lots of extra clothes in them, our collage of pictures of the boys on our fridge, their stuffed animals, special cups and odds and ends we had been saving up to take to Ethiopia in bags in our bedroom closet. They all have brought fresh reminders of what is never going to be.

But I can also tell you that the hope we have in Christ is greater still. While we are ever increasing in our knowledge and understanding of Him as we read and study His Word, we have a firm foundation in our knowledge of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We believe the precious truths in His Word that all His ways are perfect, that He is a gracious God... slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. That there is no plan that can usurp His decrees and that He is forever Sovereign, always faithful, never sleeping, all powerful and even His "foolishness" is wiser than the wisest man. He is worthy of all of our trust and all of our praise. In Him there is no shifting shadows...He is the constant One. He may not give us all that we want, but He ALWAYS gives us all that we need...namely, HIMSELF!!!

And, knowing those truths makes it possible to take the next step. Makes it possible to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding. It causes us to be completely dependent on Him, acknowledging Him each step of the way knowing that He will direct our paths. That He will light our way. That He will gently lead us into the plans He has for us.

Having said that, I wanted to share with you what the next course of action is regarding our adoption. I will be honest, I do this with a bit of an anxious heart for a couple of reasons: I think there are some who would see this "closed door" and believe that God must be closing the door on our adoption as a whole. When we started this process it was because we believed God was calling us to adopt. As the process got underway, we believed it to be the Lord's will that we were to adopt S and C. While we see today that His will for us does not include those precious boys, we know that His purposes have been accomplished through that process and we believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are still to adopt. The faces may change, but the calling has not. I also am concerned that there may be those who feel jumping "right back into the process" does not give enough time to "grieve" or that it just shows impatience. Or that some may feel we are not content with the precious children we do have. But, I really do want to continue to be honest and transparent throughout this process and leave the rest up to the Lord.

We are joyfully, tearfully, expectantly and cautiously continuing to pursue adoption because we believe that is what God has called us to...and there is no place we'd rather be than in His will...however painful it may be at times! At this point, all we have really "lost" is time. All of the money invested still "carries over". Essentially, we are back into a phase of waiting. Waiting for children who need a mommy and daddy, who need a family to call theirs. We are also ammending our home study. Right now we are approved (by the US Government) to adopt 2 siblings (boy/boy, boy/girl, or girl/girl) between the ages of 1-8. We want to extend the age from birth - 10 (who knows how long this might take!) as well as opening things up to two unrelated children or siblings.

This could be a long waiting process...but we are also praying that it would be God's will to graciously give us a referral in the next two weeks. I know that sounds crazy and even in my own heart, it would feel like almost a miracle, but I know that anything is possible with God. If we had a referral before June 1st, CWA says that we would have a court date before the courts close in August and, therefore, would probably be heading to Ethiopia in the fall. If it is past June, we will have to wait for the courts to reopen and, it would become more unlikely (of course, with God...anything can happen!!!) be able to bring children home till after the new year. That would put us in the position of having to renew/redo things like fingerprints, FBI checks...things that expire after one year.

But we also know that the Lord uses everything, including waiting to make us more like Him and to teach us and grow us in ways we would not otherwise. So, we will pray for patience and wait with patience knowing what we already know to be so true...that God's timing is never too late or too early...it's always perfectly right on time! Would you join us in praying...praying for 2 little boys and a mom half way around the world that have left a print on all of our hearts and for 2 little lambs that live in the same time zone...that God would unite us in HIS perfect timing?!!

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Happy, Sad Day


"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

I sit here writing with tear stained cheeks. It has been a painful morning. As we explained to the kids....it is a "Happy, Sad Day".

We got a call this morning that our adoption was over. The boy's momma had gone to court and could not give up her rights. PRAISE THE LORD (said with tears!). She cannot afford to take care of them but CWA/CCCE are going to work at making it possible (as they do for over 500 other children who are living with a parent/relative in Ethiopia) for the boys to be reunited with her and live with her. PRAISE THE LORD (said again with tears!).

This is truly the best situation imaginable...and yet the most painful one possible for us. We are grieving a "Pichura life" that will never be, but a situation that we would not change for anything. It reminds me a little of what we experienced in the life and death of our first born son, Garett. The joy of finding out I was pregnant (we were going to adopt these precious two boys), the pain of finding out at 5 months that he had deformities so severe that he would not live (finding out 4 1/2 months into the process that our adoption might not take place) and then the day,at 8 months when Garett was stillborn (our phone call today). The grief is real in both of these situations, but so is the hope and joy. Our sweet baby boy is in the arms of Jesus, never to be deformed again. And our two precious Ethiopian boys are, Lord willing, going to be reunited into the arms of their dear mommy!

Why did God take us through the process of carrying a baby that was not going to live outside my womb? Why has He taken us through a process of adoption these last 8 months that is not going to end with these two brothers becoming Pichuras? I do not know those answers...but I know the God Who's ordained this to be...and He is a GOOD God, a gracious God, a sovereign God who is working out ALL things for our good and for His glory. Our hope is in GOD not in this or any situation...and that is what turns our tears of sadness into tears of joy. He will accomplish His purpose for us (Isaiah 46:11) and He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). It's not just a "cliche" verse...it's gospel truth!

Our kids had tears of sadness...but they also showed great evidence of God's grace at work in their little hearts. I'll give you the quotes from my boys as they are quotes I never want to forget!

Titus said (in speaking about the boys mom): "I get it mom. First she lost her "honey" and then she was going to lose her boys and then she would be all alone...and that is not good."

And my son, Micah, spoke wisdom above his years (and blessed my heart greatly) when he said, " You know, maybe God has kept S and C in the orphanage this whole year so that they could learn all about Jesus...and now they can go and tell their mom about Jesus so that she can be saved."

Our adoption process is not over, in many ways it's just beginning... and we continue to ask for your prayers...but that will be a post for another day. For now, I would like to close with a verse and some thoughts (shared with me by my dear friend) found in "When Sinners Say I Do" (by Dave Harvey) as they truly do echo both Bryan's and my heart in this situation.

"For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." 2 Corinthians 4:17


"The Greek word for "slight" in 2 Cor. 4:17 means light in weight, easy to bear, without much substance. It's the same word Jesus used in Matt. 11:30 when he said, "My burden is light." Paul is not portraying pain as irrelevant or insignificant. We have probably all been close enough to the bereavement process to know that the pain of losing a loved one (or for us, an adoption) is real.

Nor is Paul attempting to trivialize affliction. He wants to elevate our perspective above affliction. The loss is real, but the pain need not become a crushing burden. In fact, the word "slight" is intentionally set in contrast to the "weight of glory beyond all comparison" that awaits us in heaven. "When Paul says his afflictions are light," writes John Piper, "he does not mean easy or painless. He means that compared to what is coming they are nothing. Compared to the weight of glory coming, they are like feathers on a scale." In this life, the death of a spouse (or adoption) is a defining moment that will mark us until we also die. But compared to where we are headed, it is but a slight change of course in the ocean of eternity."

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Snapshots from this week!

It has been an amazing blessing being with my parents and brother while I recover. My mom's tender care couldn't be topped, my dad's reclining chair (thank for giving it up for a few days, Dad) was a comfortable home and hotel for several nights after the surgery and the "playfulness" of my brother, Andrew, has been extra fun for the kids and SO helpful to the rest of us! Especially since it has been raining the last couple of days and we've all been inside a lot. Bryan is coming tonight and we'll head home on Friday. I miss my husband, but I am so thankful for our time in Hood River!
Also, would you please join me in praying for my mom, though. Her fibro myalgia has really flared up (I can't imagine why!) and she is in a lot of pain which is so hard to see. She has brought me such sweet comfort and I wish I could do the same for her.


One of MANY games of "Go Fish"! Uncle Andrew has graciously played many games with the kids as well as taken them on trips to the park, library, grocery store and even Walmart! Thanks so much, Andrew!


Grandma made some play dough for some extra "entertainment" while we stayed with them. The girls,especially, have had fun making all sorts of creations!


I had to snap this picture of my dad...he was giving me a good laugh. If you know my dad, you know he is a huge BOSTON fan...and it couldn't get any better for a Boston fan than right now. At the time of this particular picture, he was watching Boston games on a total of 3 TV's!!!! One was showing the Boston Red Sox play, another was showing the Boston Celtics (semi-finals) and the third was the Boston Bruins playing for a spot in the finals...and only my dad would rig it so he could watch all 3 at the same time!


Titus just loves wearing catchers gear...even if it is Papa's and weighs almost as much as he does!!!

If you watch nothing else this week, watch this.


One of my favorite blogs is "Girltalk". It has been a blog that has encouraged me in my walk with Christ in more ways than I have time to type. From Biblical encouragement to fantastic book and CD recommendations to giving me a deeper love for the Puritans and a more beautiful picture of what it looks like to be a godly wife and mother...see, I could go on and on! :) The reason why I tell you all this is that when they make something a high priority on their blog than, to me, it is worth checking out.

Problem is, whenever it is something to listen to or watch that will take more than 5 minutes...I usually don't end up doing it. Come on...be honest...how many of the youtubes and video clips that I have posted on my blog have you actually really watched even though you may read this blog everyday? I bet for some of you, the answer would be NONE, right?!!! And, honestly, that okay! But I will tell you that I learned a valuable lesson today. If I had not heeded the Spirit's prompting and watched the 55 minute (yes...that's right...55 minute!!!) testimony that was posted on Girltalk, I would have missed out on one of the most beautiful, humbling, heart convicting testimonies that I have ever heard. I would have missed out on a blessing from the Lord.

Now, I am not saying that I can watch every cotton pickn' youtube or message that comes through my email or on a blog...but I need to learn to say yes a lot more than I do and be blessed as a result through the testimony or message shared. You can bet I'll pass up a message to listen to because I "just don't have the time" but my favorite show (that is usually even longer than the clip I was encouraged to watch or listen to) most certainly gets watched that night!

It is not my desire to make you (or even me) feel guilty about what you do or do not watch. My desire (not only in this post but in each and every post) is to simply share with you, as transparently as I can, not so much the "sin that so easily entangles" me but, more importantly, the GOD Who gives victory over sin. The beauty of the One Who can actually sanctify me and make me more like HIM!!! And He has called us to encourage and build each other up in the process...and if He can be honored through a clay pot like me than there could be no greater joy to my heart and no greater reason to keep sharing!

Having said ALL that...there is a video testimony that I am pleading with you to watch. I want it to bless you heart as it has mine! It may mean forgoing your favorite TV show tonight, but I promise you, you will not walk away unchanged or wishing you had never listened. Rachel Barkey is a 37 year old wife and mommy dying of bone cancer...and she has a message to share...a message of hope and joy and peace in the midst of pain and grief and suffering. A message that God is good all of the time, even when you are literally dying. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE grab your hubby or a pillow (and a few tissues) and sit down and watch, cry, praise the Lord, rejoice, be convicted, be humbled, be renewed in your Spirit and be reminded that "death is not dying" when you know Jesus and life is not truly lived without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! May we all have the same goals as Rachel.... to know God,to know ourselves,to know the gospel and to know our purpose! And may He be glorified in all of our lives whether by life or by death!

Click HERE to watch her beautiful testimony! Or click HERE to just listen to it. ( I would recommend the video...but I'm for of a visual person:))

"HE must increase but I must decrease." -John the Baptist in John 3:30

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A book worth reading!!!


"In You, the orphan finds mercy." Hosea 14:3

While I have been on the "down-low" I have had the privilege of reading a book that has been a sweet encouragement to my soul as well as shown a beautiful picture of what adoption looks like...not just on the horizontal level, but first, and most gloriously, on the vertical level with God's adoption of us! One of the quotes by the author, Russell Moore, is: "The question is not IF you should be involved in orphan care but HOW you should be involved in orphan care."

Even if you never plan or feel God's call on your life to adopt...He has called you to care...and He has done so through first adopting YOU into His family! He could have saved you, justified you,forgiven you and sanctified you without ever adopting you but, in the words of Moore, "Adoption is a powerful testimony of God's PERSONAL LOVE for us." And his book, "Adopted for Life" is a book that I would encourage any and all believers to read. Simply to see more clearly the beauty of our adoption into the family of God and just how precious the body,the family of God,should be to us, makes this book worth it's weight in gold!

I was tickled to see a review of "Adopted for Life" done by Tim Challies yesterday and I would encourage you to check it out here

Also,why not pretend you just have had surgery and have some extra time to spare(tee-hee)and take a half an hour and watch this short message given by Russell Moore. I truly believe that God has called us each to use our gifts and to minister to the body and to the world in different ways...but, when it comes to the care of the orphan and widow, we have a common call and,as a result, I believe we can have an "uncommon" response that, together, is more beautiful than we ever thought possible!

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." John 14:18

Click HERE to watch the message.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kristin know's best...or so she thinks:)


I wish I could say that I never have a single ill thought about anyone or have spent anytime wondering just what went on in someone's head to make them do what they did...but, sadly, I have wasted much time in frustration over choices people have made, especially when their choices have involved me or caused life to be more difficult for me as a result.

I wish it wasn't such an easy tendency of my flesh to assume I know what is best for everyone else and, at least in my head, spend time planning out what I think they should be doing or fighting irritation over what they did do that seemed, to me, to be an unwise decision.

Truth is, I am not talking about blatant sin issues...those are clear and God's Word calls us to be discerning and to hold each other accountable. I am talking about all those other "decisions"...the ones that are not so clear to me, the ones that I don't have all the facts on but still end up convinced that I know what the best course of action is....even if, in the process, I end up having to do some judging of heart motives.

And, in the end, these thoughts leave me reminded that I, like Paul, am the chief of all sinners...forgetting that only GOD "discerns our thoughts from afar" (Psalm 139:2)and that true wisdom is found in Him for He IS wisdom (Prov. 9:10). He has called me to "live a peaceful and quiet life,godly and dignified in every way." (1 Tim. 2:2). To be careful how I walk..."not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16-17). And I have been commanded to "work out MY salvation with fear and trembling(Phil. 2:12)...not someone else's!

With my lips I proclaim that "In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign,does not declare,'That is mine!'”(Abraham Kuyper)...but with my heart and thoughts I go about often seeking to BE god in the lives of others (whether they realize it or not). Ugh...that is not a fun truth to own up to, let alone type out!

So, I greatly appreciated an article, written by John Piper, that a friend emailed me. You can click here to read it all but let me share the opening paragraph with you:

One reason to admire and trust Jesus above all other persons is that he knows more than anyone else. He knows all people thoroughly, their hearts and their thoughts. "He knew all men" (John 2:24). "You, Lord, . . . know the hearts of all men" (Acts 1:24). "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, 'Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?'" (Matthew 9:4). There is no one who perplexes Jesus. No thought or action is unintelligible to him. He knows its origin and end. The most convoluted psychotic and the most abstruse genius are open and laid bare to his understanding. He understands every motion of their minds.

What am I thinking???? Surely, I can rest in the fact that He knows everything, holds all things and everyone in His hands and He will do what is BEST in each and every situation. I need to trust that He will complete the good work He has started in others and that He is way more intimately involved in their life than I am (Psalm 139:1-6)! I need to be Kristin, daughter of the king, slave to the most wonderful Master in the Universe,and sister in Christ to the dearest family of all..the family of God! Most of all, I need to be renewed in my thinking and affirm God AS God...not just in word, but in my thoughts of others too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update on my surgery


Just thought I would send out a quick update. I am off of all medicine and drugs. I started becoming incredibly nauseous yesterday and called the doctor towards the end of the day. He suggested I go off of the vicodin, which I did immediately. I have felt much relief from the nausea but have felt an increase of pain...I guess you can't have it all! :) So, I have tried to keep my activity to a minimum (thank you mom and Andrew!!!) and have been feeling tired, but comfortable!

Thanks so much for all of your sweet emails of encouragement and prayer! They have blessed my heart! I continue to rejoice in God's sovereignty and in the extra time with my family!:)I'll have a follow up appt. with the doctor who did my surgery on Thursday, welcome Bryan back Thursday night, and then, Lord willing, head home on Friday!

It's all "up in the air"!


"When He summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, He had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the Word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free; he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions," Psalm 105:16-21

As I sit here today, I continue to preach to myself that God's plans are not our plans...and that I should never desire to have it any other way... Even when it hurts emotionally, like Joseph's fetters and collar of iron must have hurt physically.

We received word today, as well as last Friday, that there will, most likely, be more delays with our adoption. Concerning our court date this Friday, the 15th, my case worker wrote,

"You’re still on for a week from tomorrow … as far as I know. We had some delays the last couple of weeks due to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs not having recommendations written in time, but we won’t know about that until the last minute if it occurs. Everyone is experiencing the same delays (agencies) as we all make that last push to get cases through court before the recess."


The reason there is such a "push" is that Ethiopian courts close for the months of August and September. There are no Embassy dates given during that time. That brings me to the second bit of news that we received:

"We ran into our first snag today with embassy dates having to be pushed out because birth certificates won’t be ready in time. They say it is a shortage of manpower at the Central Authority that issues them. We’ll keep everyone posted as we learn out this is going to play out. Up until now, we have been able to stay with 5-6 weeks after court for an embassy date. But true to form, with international adoptions “change is constant!” We are expecting that this new process might push travel dates out as much as 8-10 weeks after court. However, we have no way of being sure until we get enough longevity to see if there are any norms. Meanwhile, it is just safer to say we will schedule the embassy date when we have birth certificates in hand. From there, we can predict pretty well."

So, in a nut shell, everything is back up "in the air" again...but, truthfully, that is exactly where it REALLY has always been and exactly where we want it to stay...in the heavens:

"Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases." Psalm 115:3


I share this with you all not because we are fearful or full of worry...but because we desire that you see clearly the "labor pains" of adoption and, therefore, rejoice all the more in the "birth" of the boys lives into our family. We would ask for your continued prayers...both with us and for us. With us...as we pray that the Lord might allow our court date to be successful this Friday and that we might be able to head to Ethiopia before the courts close in August. And for us...that, not matter what, we would "rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances." (I Thess. 5:16-18) And, please, share your hearts with us too! We would love to be praying for YOU in whatever road the Lord has led you down!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Expecting the Unexpected!




"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

I am not sure how many times I have typed out this verse in one of my posts...but I know it has been frequently! This time, as I type, I feel a bit loopy and unsteady (thanks to some good ol' drugs) but God's Word is just as true today as it was yesterday and last week!

For those who have not heard, I'll try to sum it up quickly.

On Thursday evening we headed to Hood River to see my brother, Andrew (who just got back from Israel) and to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom. I woke up about 4:30 Friday morning with, what I thought were, unbelievable gas pains all over my stomach. After a couple of hours I got back to sleep, only to be awakened an hour later by another bought of pain that seemed to be specifically in my lower right abdomen. After making phone calls to the advice nurse, our insurance company and to someone in our church who's son had had his appendix out a few months ago (Riley...I still believe you have appendix cooties and that you gave them to me!!! :) ), we decided I had better head to the hospital.

My pain was manageable, so I had my mom take me to the hospital and we sent all the guys and the kids on the hike we had planned on taking that day. My mom and I spent the next 4 hours talking...not at a fun little cafe like I had planned...but in an ER room in between urine samples, blood work and sipping on a nasty drink that they called a "vanilla smoothie" (YUCK!!!) so that I could get a ct scan done of my abdomen. :) It was still a sweet blessing to spend that time with my mom!

The doctor confirmed that I, indeed, needed to have my appendix removed and about 5 pm Friday night, that is exactly what they did. I spent the night at the hospital and was given a room with an amazing view of the Columbia River and Mt. Adams! Bryan teased that it was definitely a "thousand dollar view"...but we have a feeling it is going to cost a wee bit more than that! :)

I had some sweet time in the Word of God before being sent home around noon. I was reading in 2 Corinthians 8 about the Macedonians. In vs. 2 it says, "for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part." The words in that verse seem to be one big contradiction....severe test/abundance of joy and extreme poverty/wealth of generosity...WHAT????? The more I sat in the hospital bed thinking about it, though, the more my eyes flooded with tears at the truth of it. In Christ, we are NEVER without reason to be joyful...no matter how hard the test or trial. And, in Christ, no matter what we may feel we lack, we have all that we need to be exactly who He wants us to be and to be used in exactly the way He wants to use us.

Ephesians 1:18-19
"...having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might..."



My Mother's Day cake made by Faith :)

I sit here today, on Mother's Day thankful for the Word of God and His indwelling Spirit that is a light to my path and a beacon of hope when I feel like a failure as a mom, thankful for another day to be called "Mommy" and the extra hugs and touches my kids keep giving me to express their concern and thankful for my dear, precious, godly mom who is having to do, again, what she has done so amazingly over the years...self-sacrificially serve me and now my kids also as I recover. There is nothing like having your mom take care of you...especially if your mom's name is Sandy Parker! :)

Today is also especially sweet as it marks the first date Bryan and I went on 13 years ago! Bryan, these past 13 years of really knowing you...and our 11 years of marriage have been more full than I could have ever imagined. More full of pain and trials, more full of testing and battles than I ever thought we would have experienced..yet is has also been more full of love and joy than I could have ever thought possible, full of growing in the Word of God and clinging to Him as our life and length of days, full of laughter and giggles, full of KIDS!!!, full of forgiveness and learning just what it means for the "two to become one." It has been full of precious memories...Bryan, it's been full of YOU...and I can't imagine it any other way! Love you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quote, not just for the day but for the rest of my life!!!!


The kids had a lot of fun making parachutes and sending them over their bunk beds!




"If there is one thing I could encourage every mommy blogger or work-at-home mom out there to remember, it is this: anyone can be a pretty good blogger or pretty good business owner, but there is only one person who is mommy to your children and wife to your husband. Don’t let all the good things out there take precedence over the best things. You only have one life to live–make it count!" Crystal Paine, author of www.biblicalwomanhoodblog.blogspot.com


I read this quote a couple of days ago....and it is just one of those quotes (that will join a few others) that will be burned in my brain for good! There are so many "good things" out there...but they often become little more than a distraction that keeps me from doing what is MOST important...the job that only I can do best! I was so thankful for this timely warning and encouragement... on this "hike" called life I was starting to poke around the bushes and eat the berries while my kids and hubby were pushing forward on the trail without me. And while the berries have been tasting good,there are times when I have missed out on something much more wonderful...sweet fellowship, laughter and friendship with my dear, precious family! What an honor it is to be Bryan's wife and Micah, Grace, Faith and Titus' mommy and God has seen fit to give that job to me and no one else...may He find me faithful!!!!

"So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A glimpse into life at our boy's orphanage


I had the pleasure of being in contact with the dear woman (and her family),Stephne Bowers, who oversees 3 orphanages in Ethiopia, including the one our boys are in. After watching the Youtube video of CWA interviews with Stephne the Lord convicted my heart that I needed to be praying much more intensely and specifically not just for our boys but all the children, nannies and the Bower family. The ministry they serve in is constant and can be very emotionally and physically draining.

You may have noticed under "Blogs that Bless" in my sidebar I have added the Bower's blog. Just reading gives a greater glimpse into life in Ethiopia and in the orphanages and provides much to pray for. Feel free to check it out:

thebowersinafrica.blog.com

I was also thrilled to receive from Stephne a glimpse into what life is like in the orphanage for our two boys and the other older children. I thought you would enjoy a peek too!

OLDER CHILDREN SCHEDULE IN ALL THREE ORPHANAGES:

Early Morning: Awake, make beds, help nannies with toddlers and little ones;
Baths and personal hygiene;
Some children help cooks to prepare breakfast and hand out;
Clean up after breakfast and teacher nannies spend about 2 hours with children in classroom setting;
Tea/Chai/Mittin/Fruit
Reading/Story time/Music;
Lunch
Clean up and rest time for everyone;
Snack and tea;
Play time and for the older children, there is more schooling;
Supper time, clean up and preparation for bed time;

Older children are active in helping with the little ones, in the kitchen with food preparation, peeling, washing, etc. To keep the children active and busy is much more healthy for them - this is also what they are used to in their villages and homes.

Ethiopia may not be on your heart like it is ours. The Lord may have given you another "mission field" to be praying for but I pray that God would help us all to see the beauty and purpose of prayer on behalf of others. Paul states it wonderfully in 2 Corinthians 1:11:

"You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many."

What a privileged it is, not only to bring supplications and petitions to the Lord on behalf of others, but then to have the sweet joy of giving thanks to God for the blessings He grants on their behalf!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ever feel like a yo-yo?


It's not my habit to just "cut and paste" other peoples blog post in my blog...but this one was just too good not to. I think not only can we all relate to what Michael Mckinley (from the 9marks blog) shares...but we can walk away with hope and a smile! This was posted last week on 9marks...and here it is again now, for your viewing pleasure and spiritual encouragement! :)

Yo-Yo Sanctification

by Michael Mckinley

In the excellent Changing Hearts, Changing Lives video series from CCEF (which, BTW, makes an excellent Sunday School or small group curriculum), David Powlison uses a very helpful illustrations about sanctification. He says (and here I am not quoting the words exactly):

The pattern of our life and growth is like a yo-yo. Up and down, up and down.

Pretty depressing, huh? But he continues:

The pattern of our life and growth is like a yo-yo... in the hands of a man walking up a flight of stairs.

I tell you, that one insight has been very helpful to me both in my own life and also in my counseling of others. So often we are so acutely aware of the yo-yo feeling, the ups and downs of our growth and holiness, that we miss the larger picture of growth and maturity that God is graciously working in us.

So a man might still struggle with bursts of anger (up and down, up and down), but if he finds that as he grows in Christ those he is more loving, that the outbursts of anger are more rare, less violent, shorter in duration, and that he is quicker to repent and seek reconciliation... there is real upward progress.

This is one of the reasons that we need other Christians in our lives. We need people who can draw our attention to the larger upward pattern of God's work when we can only see the yo-yo.

Categories: Discipleship & Growth

Posted on April 28, 2009 | Link to this Post | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Money Saving Blog!!!!


I stumbled across this blog tonight and I just have to pass it on to you...it basically alerts you to deals that you might not have been aware of otherwise. For instance, I just printed off 4 coupons for 4 free meals at KFC! That is a free lunch out for the Pichura Family which does not happen very often. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those blog sites I check often!

http://www.moneysavingmom.com/

It really is busted!!!


"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

Well, it is official. Bryan's knee really is in pretty bad shape! The end of February Bryan spoke at a Jr. High retreat for another church in town...and, on the first night, he had a Jr. Higher run into him (more specifically, his knee) while playing basketball. After meeting with our beloved doctor ( who also happens to be a dear friend and an elder in our church), both he and Bryan determined the best course of action was to give it some time and see if it was just a sprain before going in for an MRI. Well, 2 months later, it was time for an MRI and we were all shocked by the findings:

-his ACL was completely severed
-his miniscus is torn
-he has a cyst on his upper calf muscle (probably a result of the injury)
-and he as swelling in his bones

I'll be honest, my first thought besides..."my poor husband" was "this is going to cost a fortune"(thanks to a rather large deductible and co-pay). And while we are praying that the camp's or churches insurance might help with the bill...ultimately it has been another good "heart check". Who's plans am I holding on tightly to? Who really owns all that we have? Do I really believe in my heart that God is sovereign..or is it just lip service?

I am so thankful for medical care and knowing that, prayerfully by the end of summer, Bryan will be able to be active again without pain or fatigue. It does not look like Bryan can get in for surgery and be back on his feet in time for Ethiopia and we are unsure of exactly what the recovery is going to look like either way. So please just pray for wisdom and that God would open the right doors for the right doctor in the right time.

"I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75


Monday, May 4, 2009

Hannah: A Godly Example


My read through the Bible plan has me in the first couple of chapters of 1 Samuel. It starts with Hannah. Verse 10 of chapter 1 describes her as being deeply distressed and weeping bitterly as she prayed before the Lord. She was without child in a day and age where truly "women were preserved through child bearing". To top it all of, her husbands other wife treated her unkindly, provoking her and "rubbing it in her face".

Hannah took her grief and pain to the Lord. She knew that only the Lord could open her womb...only the Lord could truly meet her needs and the desires of her heart.

What I love is what the Word of God says she did after she got done praying. Verse 18 says that she went her way and ate and her face was no longer sad. What had changed in her circumstances? Absolutely nothing! But what was changed was her heart. She had gone to God with her hurt and pain and walked away with hope knowing that He would accomplish His will in her life. She lived out 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many."

Hannah knew on Whom she must rely and go to. She set her hope on the only One that would not fail her. Her testimony is a sweet reminder to me. It's amazing how quick I am, when a problem arises, to immediately try to "fix things"...to figure out a solution...and I don't even go to the Lord in prayer. I don't exalt and recognize the God Who has already commanded what will be, Who spoke and there was light, Who prepared good works for me to do before the foundation of the world, Who's "foolishness" is wiser than the wisest man, and on and on I could go. There is truly no end to the Glory of God...to His majesty...to His worth!

No matter what the situation, I want to be like Hannah. I want to take my pain, my confusion, my frustration, my heartache, my concern to the Throne of God. To be still and know that He is God. And to get up and walk away no longer sad but saying confidently that "the joy of the Lord is my strength"!