Monday, November 23, 2015

Restoring the Years of the Locust

Joel 2:25a - I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten

You may be familiar with this verse from the book of Joel.  In fact, if you’ve been in church for any length of time, you have probably heard a sermon or two based on this verse.  It probably went something like this:
  • There have been hard years in your life – could be from sin or natural events – such as illness – but the trial is long and hard.
  • God will restore those lost years and make it new.

What a wonderful, redemptive picture.  Our hard times are not hopeless or wasted.  With repentance comes restoration in the case of sin.  With trials, comes growth, hope and promise for the future.   These years are not wasted.  Amazing and so encouraging.

But as I have been pondering what these restored years may be like, I realize restoration does not give those years back or even make it exactly as it was before. 

The Old Testament book of Job gives a great picture of restoration following intense trial.  Job lost everything.  His wealth and health were gone, and his children were dead.  Yet, he continued to believe and trust God.  By the end of the story, we see God’s restoration at work.  His health and wealth have been regained and he once again has children by his side.  A happy ever after story, right?  Yes and no.  You see, there were still graves of his older children.  I’m sure there where days where, even though surrounded by his younger children and all the wonderful provisions God had restored, he wondered what it would be like if all of his children were still alive. 

I think you could compare it to restoring an older home.  Picture a family in 1920 moving into their new home.  It is amazing.  Everything is up-to-date.  It will meet their needs so well.  Now, picture a family in 2015 who are moving into that same house.  Nothing has been done to it 95 years but this
new family has a plan.  They want to restore the home.  If they restored it too exactly as it was when it was finished in 1920, it still would not meet the needs of a 2015 family.  I think most of us appreciate electricity, indoor plumbing, dishwashers, laundry facilities…you get the idea.  Restoring this 1920 home to its original condition would be missing a few necessities we take for granted in modern homes.  Restoration to 2015 would include some changes.  Frankly, I think most of us would agree these changes are improvements!

God’s restoration of the years destroyed by the locusts are much the same.  Like Job’s experience, it may look similar but it may be very different.  Maybe, like me, you are grieving the loss of a spouse.  It is easy to think that if God is going to restore these years of illness and sorrow, it will come with a new spouse and things will get back to normal.  Or maybe you are in the midst of financial difficulties due to a lost job and assume as soon as you find that perfect, new job all will be back to normal.  Although the restoration may look very similar to the previous years, it will be much different.  I know I am not the same person I was prior to my husband’s cancer diagnosis and death.  Like the restoration of the old home, how God chooses to meet my future restoration will most likely be very different than what my past looked like.  I do not know what the years ahead will be but I do know God has a plan for my life that will make it perfect for that time – not perfect for the past because but perfect for now.  Those years of illness and grief will be rebuilt with new hope and new promise as He continues to work in my life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Good-bye 8 - Hello 9

Tomorrow we say good-bye to an eight year old and hello to a 9 year old.  This will be the third birthday we have celebrated together.  The first one was only weeks after we became a family.  Last year was everything a kids birthday should be complete with friends and lots of excitement.  Tomorrow will be a family celebration and on the weekend a celebration with aunts, uncles and grandmas. 

I can’t believe we are at this point again.  How did another year slip into the history books?  How did shirts get too small, pants get too short and a little girl start to transform into a “big” girl?  It just goes so quickly. 

Year 8 has been filed with milestones:

  • Completion of first grade
  • Start of second grade
  • Road trips to Branson, MO and the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • No more training wheels on her bike
  • Said good-bye to her goods friends when they moved to Florida
  • Got a US passport
  • Received Outstanding Student in Math and Handwriting at the end of first grade
  • First Brewer’s baseball game
  • Experienced the loss of a very loved pet – RIP Abby
  • Made many new friends at our new church
  • Learned to ice skate

It has been a busy year.  I can’t believe how quickly time passes. 

As we say good-bye to 8 and hello to 9 my prayer is that God will continue to grow her into a godly young women that will serve Him faithful and that as her parents, we will faithfully teach and model what being a Christ-follower is on a day-to-day basis.      

Friday, October 18, 2013

Long overdue update

I haven’t stopped by here for awhile to update Brooklyn’s blog.  Mostly because she is just a normal second grader, enjoying normal second grade stuff. 
Brooklyn’s teacher designates one week of the year for each student to be the “Star Student” for the week.  They bring in pictures, choose a special treat for Friday, are teacher’s helper all week, line leader… you get the idea.  This was Brooklyn’s week.  She was so excited about it.  At the end of the day today, I am brining in her favorite dog, Willow, for her to show her class.  She was trying to keep it a secret.  Not sure if she has. 
She also had a field trip this week.  The kids spent the day at Busy Barns Farm.  They had a great time.  There is so much to do there.  Animals to hold, corn mazes, slides, pumpkin patch…  She was exhausted when she got home and absolutely filthy but she had a great time.
Brooklyn and her best friend on their field trip.
Next week she gets glasses.  She has been having headaches and told the teacher when she moved to the front of class, “Oh good, I can see the board.”  So, we headed off to the eye doctor.  Her eyes aren’t terrible but enough that glasses are needed.  She is super excited about it.  She told us in the car after we had ordered her glasses that now we were all alike because we all wear glasses. 

We also started orthodontics.  We are trying to make a bit more space in her mouth for teeth.  She has a small mouth with large teeth.  This should help some but she will most likely need more work as she gets older. 
So, as you can see, a very typical second grader.  She loves school and is doing well.  I continue to be amazed at her heart for God and her hunger for the Word of God.  She loves Bible stories and will always ask for us to read them to her.  We are so blessed to be her parents. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Long Overdue Update

Life gets in the way of updates sometimes.  Here is a recent picture.

Brooklyn finished school and has been spending the summer at home with Dennis.  One of her big accomplishements this summer is learning to swim.  She has been enjoying swimming lessons and loves to go to the pool.

We have not been traveling this summer as Dennis has weekly blood tests but we hope to get a vacation in before summer is over.  We have been enjoying some summer activities in our area including fireworks and county fairs. 

We continue to marvel at the amazing gift God gave us in this incredible little girl. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Loved Seven

As of yesterday, we no longer have a seven year old in the family.  I loved seven and will miss it a lot.  Seven was a year of discovery and adventure for all of us.  More so than for most seven year old girls as it was Brooke’s first year in our family.  Some of her firsts were:

Brooke with her buddies - Abby, Maddie and Willow.
First Grade
Having a family
First Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter
Learning about Jesus
Being a very loved daughter
Snow and sledding
Growing her hair long
Birthday Party
Learning English
Starting Piano lessons

The list goes on and on.  I know I will love eight as well but there was something magical about this first year with Brooke in the family.  I hope I never forget the sparkle in her eyes as she relates some events from her day or is excited about the anticipation of Christmas or her birthday.  I love her fist pump and “Yes!” when she is excited about something.  I love how she asks people she meets if they love Jesus or how she sings in the bathroom – even in public ones.  I love getting notes and pictures she drew just because she wants to give something special to us.  I love how she sparkles and spins when she is wearing a full skirt just to make it puff out.  I love going into her room at night just to see her sleeping.  I hope she retains the “little” girl for a little longer.  All too quickly I know it will be replaced by a “big” girl and I will love that too but right now, I am loving the little girl and looking forward to another year of  first with an eight year old. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What a Difference

I was looking through some pictures in preparation for our one year post-placement report for China.  We have to submit eight pictures with each report.  I got browsing through some other pictures and it amazed me how much Brooke has changed.  It is amazing to see the changes in each area of her life.  God is so good.

Picture we received when we were considering adopting Brooke.

Christmas 2012

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Can’t be Super Mom

I’m turning in my cape.  I simply cannot be Super Mom.  Nope, I’m not the Mom who has homemade cupcakes, decorated perfectly for my child’s birthday.  The ones from the grocery store will have to do.  Christmas decorations have a longer shelf life than you would think.  If the tree is not down by February, we can hang hearts on it.  The house is not in perfect condition.  When I dust, you can see the trail the dust rag leaves.  Laundry breeds in my laundry room – that is the only logical explanation for the baskets full of both clean and dirty laundry.  My home will not be in the parade of homes.  The d├ęcor is not the latest thing from the Home and Garden show. 

But, I am going to be super at being my daughter’s Mommy.  I’m going to give her my full attention when she is telling me about the Bible story she learned at school today or about her struggles with her friends.  I’m going to take time to snuggle and to watch Cinderella with her for the 100th time.  I’m going to show up at school and have lunch with her just because I miss her.  I’m going to let the dust settle and the laundry piles grow because there is new snow on the ground and making a snowman is more important.  You see, I’ve come to realize that laundry will always be there, cleaning will always need to be done, she won’t care if the cupcakes came from the grocery store or not BUT she will care if I gave her my time and frankly 7½ will not last forever.  All too soon I will be wishing for her to be home more or to snuggle together before she goes to bed. 
I may not be Super Mom with all of externals in perfect order but I can be a super Mommy when it comes to cherishing my little girl and building a relationship and memories.