ok, i haven't written on here in months but i couldn't not boast of the goodness of God in my family. it's been almost 6 months since my last post and 25 months since the boys joined our family. it's been almost 4 years since God first spoke that our timing to adopt was now. crazy how time flies. some days i look back at what all he has done and can't believe this is my life. i would have never written it because i would have never been able to believe that God would have entrusted me with this kind of journey. i'm humbled each day that he would pour into me to pour out to my family. and then i'm humbled again when i see how God is using our family to touch people we know and don't even know. wow! i'm telling you, don't miss out on what God wants for your life.
as some of you know last week was spring break and my family participated in our first family mission trip. at the beginning of this year we heard the Lord very clearly tell our family that he was going to use us in the midst of our brokenness, messiness, and deep fear. we still work daily to be a family and some days are still really hard...but God! he has a plan even when it doesn't feel like there is any plan. so in february we signed up with our church to go to New Orleans on a mission trip. We planned for little K to stay with b's parents so we could focus on serving with our older boys (By the way our kids are 14, 11, 10, and 4 now). It was a leap of faith to even sign up for the trip and put down a deposit but we stepped out in obedience. And literally up until about 30 min before we got in the car to drive to New Orleans Satan was throwing every reason to not go in our face. it was ridiculous. but still we remembered that God was going to use us. we aren't the perfect family. we don't have our happy faces on all the time. we don't pretend like everything is ok when it's not. we don't always trust each other. we don't brush our problems under a rug. we are very honest and sometimes that's messy. and let's be honest people don't like to see other people's messiness (that's an entirely different soap box i could get on another time). we obeyed. we drove the 8 hours to New Orleans and i still believe that was one of the biggest steps we've ever taken as a family thus far.
we arrived in new orleans on a saturday night with a team of 32 people from our church. we stayed at a local church that provided housing for church groups. the wonderful bunk style bedding with boys on one side and girls on the other (lucky for me because b had all the boys with him). there were several other families on the team with kids our boys ages, couples, and several single adults from our church. I was a little nervous at how our family would blend with this group of strangers but God quickly looked at me and whispered "you be faithful and i've got the rest!" in just the first night b and i were playing games and laughing with other adults, the boys were playing so well with the other kids, and everyone was enjoying themselves. i realized it had been weeks since i had laughed so hard. it felt amazing. it was only the beginning of what was to come.
on sunday we worshiped at a local church that we partnered with on our trip. sunday afternoon was free time in the french quarter were we got out shrimp po boy fix. on monday we went to work with the church. we walked about a 1 mile radius from the church hanging door hangers on the doors in the neighborhood. we were inviting people to their easter service. b and i got to walk around with j and talk with him more about what the trip meant and what it meant to serve others. it was a pretty cool time. we did this for at least 4-5 hours. on tuesday we were split up into different groups and z and i went to help out with a port ministry that ministers to seamen. we cleaned up their facilities and did some landscaping. it was nothing extravagant but it was such a wonderful experience to watch my 10 year old son do whatever was needed to be done. no matter if the job was cleaning the bathroom or hanging a sign he was eager to help. i was so thankful God was opening my eyes to see how much they had grown. sometimes it's hard to see that when you are in it day in and day out.
but i will be honest it wasn't until the end of the second day that i realized what God was doing. you see, i've spent a lot of time in new orleans. i was born there, spent my childhood there, worked at a camp there, met my husband there, and more. i've done a lot of mission work in the city but nothing like what we did on our trip. at first i was a little disappointed that i wasn't working with the people of new orleans. but again God had a much bigger plan. you see i came to realize that the trip for me wasn't really about what we actually did in new orleans. it was me trusting God. i always wanted to have a family that would serve God together but for a long time i didn't believe that would ever be possible...but God. i didn't believe that other people really wanted to have anything to do with our family and our messiness...but God. i wasn't sure that i would ever get to have that overflowing proud momma moment...but God. i didn't believe that my kids would trust others...but God. on this trip there were 28 other people besides our family. Each one of those people made a huge investment in our family. Other adults were teaching my kids, encouraging them, loving on them, and praying for them. My kids responded to their guidance, encouragement, and even gave it back to them. people were bragging on my boys about how wonderful and helpful they were. they were seeing things that it's still hard for me to see. these team members learned our names and encouraged us as a family. my heart was full.
i was able to serve with both z and j but i never got to work with i. he spent most of his time with the youth and worked really hard. but i was a little disappointed. but on the very last day before we left we had a group prayer time. and my 14 year old boy prayed the most honest and sweetest prayer. i cried my eyes out. i was the proudest momma around and my heart overflowed with gratitude. i had never experienced such love for my family. my thoughts quickly went to one of our devotions during our trip from Psalm 66:20 "Praise God who did not ignore my prayer or hold back his love from me." all the times i question where God is i can now say with confidence that he is not holding back anything from me or my family. he is the Redeeming God and the Grand Healer. we walked away from our trip with a greater confidence in our family, a greater love for our Father who lavishes his love on us, and a desire to serve as a family wherever and however He calls us.