Monday, October 19, 2009

Retrospect: Graces

Shea commented on my last blog post and I wanted to publicly mention the graces that God has provided as we ourselves occasionally look back at the last 18.5 months.

We look at what we had and what we valued when it began: a hobby/race car, a 27' travel trailer, a large house, two full-time incomes with children in daycare and public school, etc... and see how God had worked on us to lead up to this adoption journey.

We think about how he changed our hearts to be more family-focused and not monetary-focused or thing-focused. Tina went from full-time work to part-time work to quiting work - when her full-time job was almost half of our income. She also started homeschooling. This allowed us to have more time overall which led to us thinking that we had much more time to offer to more children. Since I had a vasectomy (something I did when we weren't following the Lord with all of our heart) we couldn't have more of our own. That is something that I often times felt that I shouldn't have done, but in God's overall plan it makes a perfect real life story. We were forced to adopt if we wanted more children.

It then became a realization that we had more to offer than we were utilizing for God's glory. Helping out one of God's children, a disabled orphan, was something God put on our hearts to explore. As we (Tina mostly) explored the details, it became more clear that it was something that God wanted us to do as we discussed it.

Skipping some events, as we realized the poor condition of the orphanage and the poor physical conditional of the son we were in the process of adopting we began to think that if one of our biological children were in the situation that the child we were adopting was in, we would do whatever it took to be with them. And that's what we did.

"Whatever it took" meant that we needed to move to be with him. We sold 95% of our things I headed whole-heartedly in the direction that I felt the Lord was leading us.

Also at the same time and after being to Haiti once, God made me curious to check out mission work. I wanted to know what it was all about. This is a significant thing from the Lord as without the desire to check out mission work, we would have never landed where we are now. As tough as it is sometimes, being on the mission grounds has allowed us to live in Haiti with much more ease than if we had not checked out mission work. Here are some examples:

1) Being here at the mission has allowed us to live in Haiti without having to pay for housing.
2) The mission is set up with someone who goes shopping every day and can get us what we need. We do not have to do our own shopping (although sometimes it better if we did because we do not always get the right things or they may spend more than they should).
3) We have had the opportunity to borrow vehicles from the mission or the missionaries.

Those three things right there have allowed us an easier life as we live here in Haiti and they are related to time and money (a blessing to us from the Lord). Again, if it were not for the Lord giving me the thought of checking out mission work and being a missionary we would not have come here.

It has also allowed us to learn about mission work in ways that we would not have learned from a book or from listening to others talk - real life experiences are very valuable. We have seen good things from missionaries and bad things from missionaries. We see what things work and what things do not work. We have struggles in this area and have learned from those struggles.

Some of these struggles have helped us to realize the seasons that God gives us (people) for our lives. And that is our primary reason for the decision to leave the mission field when the adoption is over. There are other reasons that are significant, but our season of family is the primary one. If God calls us back to the mission field (where ever that may be), we hope that we are in His will and following Him.

As we struggle through the adoption taking longer than we expected and going through trials that we didn't anticipate, we realize that God has a plan for us in these things and that plan is not for our comfort/convenience or for our being glorified, but rather for His plan and for His glory.

These are some of the graces that the Lord has given us as it relates to the significant life/direction changing events. There are so many little graces that we have been given that go unmentioned on this blog. I hope that God is working through what I write on this blog to help others - whether it is relating to missions, the adoption process in Haiti, or however He would be pleased to use it.

God is good! All the time! He is so worthy of honor and praise and glory! How great is our God!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

So glad you shared that story. WOnderful to see how things have progressed. It's truly inspirational.

It's also 'funny' how we can see God's plan in retrospect but it's hard to live it/see it in the moment.

It will be interesting where the next stage takes your family.

Good luck,
Jan

Cindi Campbell said...

Wow! God has done GREAT things in your life and I admire all the changes you and your family have gone thru. You will get through this too with flying colors. You really do have God's perspective on the ordeal . Blessings and hoping it will be over soon.

Eastern Europe09 said...

Your family sounds so wonderful. It wont be long before you can look back on this with hopefully fond memories! Keep doing what you are called to do, it is GREAT!
From soon to be mom of Dania found on RR and a fellow Cottage Groveian,
Best of Luck and all our prayers sent your way!
Nance

Jennifer said...

I am friends with your sister and have been following your journey every few weeks. You are a blessing to Low and Haiti. We are praying for you. I am sure this gets harder knowing the end is so close yet in every turn you run into more obstacles. Hang in there and keep in mind that what you are all doing is a blessing.

Jennnifer

Shea said...

I hope I didn't sound like I meant that you needed to stay in Haiti long term. My words are not ever quite right lol. See, I came to your blog later than some. I came, when to be honest, I was about at the end of my rope. Hague had driven me insane, and I began to think we might never adopt our son. Every path we traveled down was a dead end so to say. As bad as this sounds, I kept thinking, if they can keep going, then I can hang in there and beat down some more doors. In fact, that is exactly what I had to do. One day I even parked myself in an office and refused to leave until I got to meet with a doctor and have him sign off on our papers. If it makes any sense, I had my own Haiti, it was just in the States. Anyway, it helped, you helped, reading your blog helped. Faith has never came easy to me. I struggle, always have, but I know I am a child of God. Sometimes fellowship with other Christians can be just what a hurting soul needs. Of course your family is a million miles away, or it felt like it, but it was nice to not have to go it alone. I look forward to the day I hear news that your family is able to come home and I hope you don't mind, but have asked my friends at downsyn.com to pray for your family, specifically for strength. I found Reece's through downsyn.com and have been a member for around 7 years. I most likely would have never adopted had it not been for them leading me to Reece's. God Bless

Ken Schlorf said...

Jan,

I often think of what God has planned for us because we have what feels like NO PLANS for when we get back to the States. It seems crazy to think of planning anything the way it has been going.

Cindi,

God has done some great things through us - we have rarely (ever?)felt worthy! Thank you for your encouraging words and your blessings. We, too, hope it will be over soon!

Eastern Europe09,

Good to hear that CG has another from RR! We hope to be back soon and we hope that your adoption is quick and that you have no issues adopting another child in a quick timeframe. Thank you for your prayers!

Jennifer,

Thank you for commenting! The Lord has provided many blessings to us and we have enjoyed (and struggled) as we have attempted to pass blessings on to others. I am happy to find out that you are a friend with my sister!

Shea,

I didn't think that you meant that we should stay here long term. It was something that we struggled GREATLY with (among all of the other struggles). So your words were good - I think I understood them correctly.

I appreciate your comment and am glad that our circumstace and this blog has helped you - it makes me feel that what we went (and are going through) and the blog isn't for nothing. We have, at one or two points, felt like giving up.

Fellowship with other Christians is often what we need and the Bible calls for that fellowship. That is something that we haven't had as much as we expected to have and wanted here at the mission (another struggle).

I'll have to check out downsyn.com - we haven't been there (internet is slow here). Thank you for mentioning it. We appreciate that you asked them to pray for us - we don't mind at all, but thank you!

We will pray that you stay strong as well!