Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day "Tension"

Disclaimer: I am in no way downing our American Mother's Day and I think it is a truly special day. I deeply appreciated all the thoughts of encouragement sent my way! This is a testimony of what God did in my heart yesterday.

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Last year, I spent Mother's Day on an airplane, flying thousands of miles away from Ethiopia and my children. It was a difficult day. Weeks before, we had adopted our 2 Ethiopian children and yet I came home with empty arms. I thought this Mother's Day would be such a celebration. And while it was joyous, I was completely surprised and overwhelmed with the pain that pierced my heart. From the time I woke up and my husband said Happy Mother's Day, my heart and mind traveled across the globe to an African country called, Ethiopia. Memories flooded me; mothers and children begging on the streets with empty bellies and hollow eyes, mothers walking miles with their children strapped to their backs to try to make mere pennies, mothers changing diapers made of plastic grocery bags, mothers sleeping on the street holding their children as close as possible, and mothers who made a difficult decision to give their children life because death was knocking on the door.

Honestly, I deeply struggled this Mother's Day. I struggled with the "badge of honor" I received because I am now a mom. While I deeply appreciated the encouraging words and congrats of sorts, I wished I had a mirror with me yesterday that reflected the streets of Ethiopia. When people wished me Happy Mother's Day, I could've held it up and shown mothers who are so deserving of honor and support and yet live with nothing. Mothers who have had their dignity taken and yet they walk with beauty, pride, and love that inspires me to the core. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the love that surrounded me...it was truly a sweet blessing! I just longed for ALL to receive the love and support I did.

Someone recently said to my husband, "I just don't understand how anyone could ever give up their child". No...we don't. We don't understand what it's like to watch your child wasting away, looking at you with hungry eyes, knowing that this cruel world provides no life or future for your precious little one. We cannot imagine. To me, the family members who made the decisions to give up M&H are my heroes! They made a decision I don't know I could've made...not because of some great love I have, but because of my own selfishness.

While pondering these things, I asked God why everything has to be so hard with adoption. Adoption is this intense blend of beauty and brokenness and I have found that both things only deepen with time. "Why can't there ever just be pure joy God?" I asked. Immediately in my heart, I heard God whisper, "this is pure joy." I was defining joy as the lack of pain, suffering, and brokenness. God reminded me to "count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds..." (James 1:2) So, amidst an emotional Mother's Day, my heart was bursting with joy and my face was soaked in tears. It was such a meaningful day and I pray God used it to strengthen me as a mother. All of these thoughts, emotions, and reminders brought forth gratitude and worship. So, I think I'll try to embrace this "tension" of living in brokenness and beauty, a fallen world yet a restored follower of Jesus, and suffering amidst great joy. I'm learning that this "tension" is continually right where I find God.

Mother's Day is quite a day; for some it's filled with smiles, flowers, and cards, for others it's filled with sadness and loss, and for some it's filled with heartache and unfulfilled desires. I think what God showed me is, that is okay. It's okay for such a wide variety of emotions and experiences on such a beautiful yet broken day. God knows all His children, can meet them where they're at, and breathe His pure joy right into the very center of each heart. God gave mothers to children and when that design is disrupted for whatever reason, it hurts. It hurts because God's design is so good.

My heart squeezed as I drove by a busy graveyard of grown children planting flowers to remember their beloved mothers, as I remembered those longing to be a mom to no avail, as I thought of empty wombs where life so prematurely ended, and as I saw mothers' empty arms because their children are already with Jesus. But, God is a God who restores. I've tasted it and the beautiful restorative side of all this pain is oh so real and good. God's writing all of our stories and if you're in the "tension" or even fully immersed in the brokenness of it all, hang on! We can put our hope in our God's character...and His is a character who delights to redeem and restore.

If you've never heard about Jerry and Christy Shannon's ministry, Embracing Hope Ethiopia, please check them out. They are doing incredible kingdom work in Ethiopia to encourage, honor, and strengthen mothers in Ethiopia. Here's the link, http://www.embracinghopeethiopia.com/

I'm so tremendously grateful that God chose me as Malachi and Hadassah's mommy:). We have 2 incredible children and are beyond blessed to be awaiting another Ethiopian cherub!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Huge Yard Sale this Weekend!!!

2 DAY SALE this weekend!!!!
   Fri, May 4th (3-7pm)  &  Sat, May 5th (7-2pm)
   317 North George Street, Millersville, PA 17551   
  http://g.co/maps/pt373(check here for location details)

We have loads of VERY nice items (see detailed lists below). We'll have lots of FOOD too! Things are priced to sell and we want the place cleared out! Many families have donated and TOP quality items are being sold. Some things with tags or like new. ALL proceeds go to support our adoption of 1-2 children from Ethiopia! Please stop by, meet our family, shop the sale, and grab a bite to eat at our delicious food bar. It will not only be a great sale, but a great event and we hope to see you there! Here's a general listing, although there's much more.

APPLIANCES
-refrigerator (older but in great working condition)
-gas stove (with manual)
-GE profile dishwasher (with manual)
-microwave (like-new stainless steel panasonic)
-space heater

FURNITURE
-antique straight back chairs
-other various chairs
-quilt rack
-table
-tv/entertainment stands
-several pedastools
-over toilet metal storage rack
-sewing table (with machine)
-several end tables (different sizes)
-set of wooden TV trays (with stand)
-several shoe racks
-mission style bookcase with glass doors (like new)
-various lamps and shades

HOUSE DECOR
-lots of primitives (many new from Flower 'n Craft)
-baskets (many and different sizes)
-tons of wall hangings (country, primitive, antique, picture, painting, and more)
-primitive shelves
-candles and accessories
-wreaths
-seasonal items (Christmas, Halloween, spring, and fall)
-frames-a huge selection
-nick-nacks
-bird houses
-small old desk

HOUSEHOLD
-tupperware and other storage
-cookware
-bakeware
-like new China set
-glass & crystal items
-serving dishes (every day and formal)
-food mill
-George foreman grill
-crock pot
-bread box
-mug sets
-travel coffee mugs
-bagel slicer
-stock pot
-silver plated tea service set
-Ball jars (LOADS of them and different sizes. Some new in boxes)
-food chopper
-step stools
-wicker hamper
-trash cans
-Hoover floor max deluxe hard floor machine (with manual and accessories)
-kitchen towels
-bath mat set
-floor mats
-oven mit set (brand new)
-garden pots
-pillow set

CLOTHING (neatly arranged on hanging racks and tables...it will be easy to look through)
         EVERYTHING was presorted and only the nicest top of the line stuff kept!!
-tons of infant-5T clothing (brand-name, many with tags, both genders, NICE stuff and lots of it)
-some older children's clothing but not as much
-adult clothing (men and women's, brand-name)
-2 leather coats
-purses and bags
-shoes (adult and lots of very nice/like new infant-children's)

BABY GEAR & ACCESSORIES
-pack 'n play (extra long)
-evenflo highchair
-Eddie Bauer baby bouncer seat
-Fisher Price girls bouncer seat
-Kolcraft floor bassinet
-Chico side by side double stroller
-Graco single stroller (older style but in good condition)
-changing table
-like new GRACO diaper bag with matching travel bag
-exersaucer

ELECTRONICS & OFFICE
-various printers/fax machine
-Kenwood high-fi component stereo system
-various speakers (outdoor, indoor, computer, and more)
-alarm clock/radio (brand new)
-web cam
-track lighting
-cameras (1 film and 1 older digital)

MISC
-toys
-games
-puzzles
-kids plastic chairs
-wire metal dog crates
-tennis rackets
-suitcases
-badminton set
-roller blades
-costumes
-costume patterns
-DVDs
-old books
-new books
and MUCH MUCH MORE!
*And don't forget, YUMMY Homemade Food (cinnamon rolls, baked goods, coffee, hotdogs&sauerkraut, drinks, etc)