I haven’t had a ton of time to sit and reflect on 2011 – a new baby kind of keeps you busy. However, I am floored by all that God has done this year! I have seen His hand on every inch of my life. He has put the pieces of an amazing puzzle together and just blown my mind! Here’s my list of highs and lows from 2011….I will start with the lows. There aren’t many, but God used each of them to teach me something and to draw me nearer to Him.
- My Mom being diagnosed with breast cancer: when she told me the news I cried myself to sleep, yet at the very core of my being I had peace and knew that God was in control. My mom might just be the toughest woman I know. I might even go as far to say I’m scared of her (not really, but she seriously threw a desk at a little boy in grade school because he wouldn’t stop poking her butt with a strait pin). My mom has handled her diagnoses, surgery and recovery with such an amazing spirit and fight! I don’t believe for a second that God GAVE my mom cancer. But I do believe He will use her story to bring glory to His name. (P.S. This story continues in my highs of 2011)
- Ethiopia Adoptions slowing WAY down: Our Ethiopian adoption journey has been an emotional roller coaster this year. In December we celebrated 8 months on the wait list (I am a failure and forgot to blog!) and we still have a LONG ways to go. Our hearts have ached over the slow downs and all the children who need mommy’s and daddy’s. We have been so invested in Ethiopia for so long, yet we really have NO idea what is going to happen or how long it will take for us to bring children home. We are praying, seeking God’s wisdom and direction and trusting in His perfect plan.
- Saying Goodbye: I work at a wonderful place full of hurting people and this year I have witnessed some tough stuff. The hardest is saying goodbye to the kids who have stolen my heart. Watching them walk out the door, into situations that are so, so, not good and not being able to do anything about it. Helpless.
- Broken Friendships: This might be one of the hardest things I have struggled with this year. I have grieved, cried, struggled with bitterness and asked forgiveness so many times. I have wanted so much for things to go back to the way they once were, but that hasn’t happened. It has been hard. But once again God is teaching me things, He is changing me.
- Our Little Man Jackson Henry: I just don’t think there are words to describe the AMAZING adoption story God wrote for John and I. When we least expected it, when we thought we had YEARS before welcoming a child into our home, He did the unimaginable. He weaved together two lives at City Rescue Mission all for the sake of a baby boy who He loves SO much. I am just moved to tears when I think about it! He is so faithful! I am humbled that He used me to fulfill His purpose and plan for Jackson.
- My Job at City Rescue Mission: At the beginning of 2011, I spent my lunch breaks sobbing in my car, absolutely miserable with my work situation and desperately wanting to be in a job position that God wanted me in. Once again He was faithful and within a weeks time I had sent my resume in, interviewed with the Mission and was hired. I absolutely love my job! Through our adoption, God has given John and I a passion for the poor and the orphan – for social justice. Each day I get to pour into the lives of those that Jesus calls us to love! It has been such a rewarding job (and stressful and emotional). I have fallen in love with so many kiddos. I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus each and every day!
- My Mom being declared CANCER FREE: Told you this story continues…after my mom’s surgery, she was declared cancer free! God is so good! She still has a long road to a complete recovery but she has already come SO far. She will start chemo at the end of January – just another precaution to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back and once she finishes chemo then she will have reconstruction. My mom pretty much kicked cancer’s butt! I told you she was a tough cookie!
- John was Baptized: I have watched God do amazing things in John’s life since we began dating in 2007. He has become an amazing man of God and I had the honor of watching him get dunked this year! I was also excited when my parents and sister decided to be baptized – to renew their commitment to Christ. I am so glad my family will be praising Jesus together in Heaven some day!
- Witnessing God do AMAZING things in friends adoption journeys: from one couple bringing their son home from Taiwan, from another traveling to meet their daughter who has down syndrome, to our friends Clint and Kathleen who will have a baby in just 26 days! (Woot Woot!), to a friend traveling to Ethiopia to meet her daughter, to the thousands and thousands of dollars I have seen God provide each of these families and families I don’t even know. Being able to host Orphan Sunday at our church and discover that a couple in our small group have started the process. To an old friend from childhood contacting me to talk about her and her husband adopting. It’s been amazing to watch each of these stories unfold! WOW!
- An amazing small group: In February, we will have been going to our church for 2 years. This fall we finally got plugged in to a small group and God has just blown me away by this group! We laugh together, we pray together, we stand in the gap for one another. I can’t imagine a better group of people! I can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for our group!
- New Friendships: Between my new job, church and the adoption community, John and I have met some pretty incredible people. All of which, have encouraged us, prayed for us and continue to do so as we figure this parent thing out. We are beyond blessed by the new (and old) friends in our life.