I can not believe that Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is upon us. This year has felt like it has flown by faster than any other year before! I totally believe that when you have kids, life flashes before your eyes. I hope you are enjoying this season. I am learning to enjoy every moment, and remember that the beauty in Christmas is not the mall Santa, cute dresses,or the stockings hung on the chimney with care, but is in the Baby who brought redemption, peace, joy, and hope to our dark world. It is so hard not to get caught up in the Pinterest projects, but I am trying my best to not worry myself over all those things, because I do not want to miss what Christmas IS.

I wanted to share with you all some good things happening in our adoption adventure, a few prayer requests, and where my mind and heart is lately.

First, let me share with you an answer to prayers. We finally got a date for our first homestudy visit! It will be Friday December 12th! I am so thankful to be able to get this part started and done{hopefully soon!}. After waiting for a few months, receiving a new social worker, and filling out more forms, we are so excited to get the visits started. We are praying that by next month the homestudy will be completed, and approved. Then we can focus solely on finishing the dossier. Then we will just be waiting to receive our referral, and find out who our Charlie is!!!!!! Ok, I am getting a little ahead of myself, but I am just so excited, and finally feel like things are moving. Thank you to those who had been praying for those things. God hears our every cry.

I wanted to be open and honest with each of you today. This has been a difficult week for me, regarding the homestudy visit. I know that I just said up there that I am so excited, but I am also scared and hurting. One of the hardest parts of our original application for adoption was having to write in the space where it asked if I had been abused, YES. For the first time, I was forced to write that I was sexually abused when I was a child. For the first time in a while I felt MARKED. The thoughts of shame, unworthiness, brokenness, and pain that I worked so hard on healing, all at once flooded back into my heart and I felt useless. I began to wonder if this would be a deal breaker. I am so thankful for a husband who believes in the redeeming power of Jesus, who sees who I truly am, and not what has been done to me, enough to look me in the eyes and say that this will all be ok. So we sent in the application,  and sure enough we were approved. I was excited about getting over that hurdle, but I knew the homestudy would be much harder because they would ask those questions face to face, and for details. I have shared my story in front of groups of people, and one on one, but those were by my own decision to people who I for the most part knew personally. And so, I stand { or sit, whatever} before you and beg for your prayers. I ask that you would pray that this social worker would be sensitive, that she would see the healing that has been done, the forgiveness I have for my abusers, and that Christ would be glorified in every word that comes from my mouth. I ask that you would pray that what happened would not hinder our adoption in any way. I am so grateful for prayer, and I believe it is the most beautiful thing to bring our requests to the feet of Jesus. Thank you for every prayer that you have whispered on our behalf.

Maybe you are in a place like I am. Maybe it is not the same situation at all, but you have been feeling inadequate. Or your heart is in utter pain because of trials you are currently going through, or ones from the past. Maybe you are struggling with the shame of a sin that has a grasp on you. One thing I have learned on this journey of healing is that God is a perfect refuge. I have been failed over and over by people that I have put my hope in, but God IS hope. His love never stops looking for us and softly drawing us closer to Him. No matter what, nothing keeps Him from holding His children. I too often forgot that because of the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, I am redeemed and FREE from the tragedies of my life.

Oh how He loves us.

One of my favorite devotionals is Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. I feel like everyday pertains to where my walk is in life at that moment. Today’s was beautiful and fitting to where I am at, and I wanted to share a part that stuck out to me. I hope it will encourage hearts that are weary,and feeling attacked:

“Do not be surprised by the fiery attacks on your mind. When you struggle to find Me and to live in My Peace, don’t let discouragement set in… When you find yourself in the thick of battle, call upon My Name:’Jesus, help me!’ At that instant, the battle becomes Mine; your role is simply to trust Me as I fight for you.”

Call upon His name, and allow Him to take all matters into His Mighty, Never-Failing, Glorious, hands. I praise you Jesus, because you make beauty form ashes, life out of death, and never expect us to walk this dusty road alone. Praise HIM for He is good.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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. ~1 Peter 1:6-9