Seasons

I believe God is constant.

I also believe God is a God of seasons.

He graciously gives us valleys and He sweetly gives us mountains. He gives us seasons of heartache and seasons of joy. There is a time for waiting and a time for going. There are sometimes that He is teaching and other times where we are [finally] learning. We have seasons where He feel Him almost tangibly, and then there are other times where we wonder if He is even there.

But, you see, the thing is- He is. He is always there. He never abandons us. He gives us new and different seasons for a purpose, but He never leaves. And He never will.

I believe that God gives us these seasons for the same reason He gives us so many things- so that we can know Him and draw closer to Him in new and deeper ways. Without new and unique circumstances and experiences, we become comfortable. We fall into routine. We lose sight of who He is and the fact that He is real. The fact that He is a passionate God who consistently pursues us.

This season. The one that I am living right now. Most of the time, it makes me feel like I’m standing in the middle of a hurricane of seasons as they swirl around me. It feels like chaos a lot of the time. On most days, I struggle with whether to call it a mountain or a valley. Is it a time of desperate heartache or pure joy? Maybe both?

What I do know, is that it is a whirlwind. 

Quite often, I feel like everything is going on around me and I am just an onlooker. I feel alone and like nobody really gets what’s going on in this heart of mine, but for some reason, I’m still content. After all, I don’t even really get myself.

It’s a whirlwind that challenges me to cling to the Father.

I am experiencing the Lord in fresh ways. He is showing me parts of Himself that are new to my heart. Sometimes, He really is almost tangible. I know that He is the only reason there is energy left to pour into the kids. He fills me up and then some.

Can it be that I am in the midst of it all?

What I know and what I hold onto is the fact that in the midst of this seasonal free for all, my God is a God of order. What seems like chaos to me is perfectly orchestrated by the hands of my Creator. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He knows what will challenge me and how He will reveal Himself in that moment before it even happens.

As I feel completely inadequate and unprepared, He is ready. And that brings pure joy in the midst of heartache.

Do you see the contradiction now? The contradiction that makes up most of my days.

Through it all, His beauty and grace shines the brightest.

She’s Back

My  mom always tells me I don’t write on here enough, so I told her I would write today. I wasn’t sure what to talk about, but as soon as I got to the orphanage, I knew.

YenYen is back!

Maybe you remember me talking about her a while ago. She stole my heart last summer and has continued to fill up it since. She is an 8 year old girl who has well over her share of health issues, but continues to daily choose joy. I don’t have sweet enough words to describe the beauty that flows from her life. She is simply stunning.

She left 3 months ago, along with a few others, and headed to another city for therapy. This is a picture from before she left.

Well, today she came back and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was holding XiaoBai when I saw her and I instantly put him down to run over and scoop her up. She had the biggest grin on her face as if she was so happy that somebody had missed her that much.

We played together today and I couldn’t get over how much better she was doing after that physical therapy. She had gained some weight and strength and had much more mobility with her legs and arms.

I’m praising Him for the transformation I got to witness today in my sweet YenYen.

Here is a picture from today.

 

 

Sweet Elyse


Summer 2011 in the Lily Orphan Care Center

Working with orphans is my passion. I think we all know that by now.

This weekend I was able to go to guangzhou and visit one of the little girls that Hannah and I kept last summer. She was finally with her forever family.

While Hannah and I took care of Elyse, then known as Stephanie, we fell in love with her. It’s hard not to. She has unusually big eyes for a Chinese girl and I’m convinced nobody in their right mind could take a glance in them and not see pure beauty. She has dimples. Big ones… and, come on, who can resist dimples?! Not only did her cute appearance catch our eyes at first glance, but her contagious personality soon showed and we fell in love. She was always so joyful and sweet spirited.

She is beautiful, y’all; inside and out. 

Sometimes, I wonder if what we did and I am doing will really make a difference. Sometimes, I think I’m weird because of how hard I fall for these kids. Is that normal? Sometimes, I don’t know if I can keep loving hard, but holding loosely.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m ever going to get the chance to be on the other side of this whole thing?! [i know, i know. i’m not even married yet. but you watch a few ‘gotcha days’ and tell me it’s not contagious! psh.]

But in these moments, moments where I get to watch “my” kids join their forever families, moments where I can watch a mom, their mom, pick them up when they fall, kiss them goodnight, and praise their achievements for the first time; those are the moments that I know. I know that it is all worth it. I know that our Father is continually at work. I can see Him at work.

These are the moments that He uses to renew my passion. To give that passion new life.

And this weekend, because Elyse’s generous family hosted me, I was able to experience one of those moments… and I wouldn’t change a thing!

She is still the ridiculously beautiful little girl that I held, rocked, and fed last summer, but this summer she is different. She is part of a family. She is a daughter. She is a sister. She has a mom & she has a dad. [and they too are beautiful, Jesus lovin’ people!] And that will never change; it is forever! They will teach her of her creator and pray for her salvation daily. Can I get an Amen!? 🙂

THERE IS ONE LESS [and many others from their travel group ;)] ORPHAN FROM TODAY ON & I believe that should never be said without a crowd of people shouting PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!

And without further ado, here is sweet Elyse.

Summer of 2012 in Guangzhou as Elyse waits for her US visa.