Monday, November 26, 2012


My husband scanned the crowded lot for a parking space close to the store front.  He spotted a lady walking to her car, getting ready to leave. As any mature driver would, he paused, turned on his blinker and waited until she backed out so he could make the left turn in. 

Just as she was exiting the parking space, another car approached from the opposite direction.  The young, inexperienced driver drove up, completely oblivious to us waiting patiently in front of her, and selfishly hooked her car into the spot.

Honking the horn several times in an attempt to get her attention, my husband rolled down his window.  The girl was unfazed as she pulled in and turned off her ignition. 

"Oh no, she didn't." 

Neither of us could believe this driver's audacity.  She blatantly ignored us.  Without hesitation, she took what was rightfully ours.

We found that space first.  We had our blinker on.  We were following the rules of the road.

As we waited for her to get out of her car, our own girls' rapid-fire questions began. 

"What just happened?  Why did she do that?"  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.

After what seemed like an eternity, our challenger finally emerged from her car. 

Leaning out his window, my husband informed her, "Excuse me, but we were waiting for that spot.  Did you not see us sitting here with our blinker on?"

Her unapologetic and curt reply: "Nope.  Guess I didn't."

And with that, she smugly turned around and stepped onto the sidewalk.

Miffed, my husband started to drive off until I said, "Stop the car.  I'm getting out.  Right here."

I'm not exactly sure what I was going to do when I crossed in front of our car and headed in her direction.  I'm not exactly sure what I thought I was going to say when I caught up with her, but I knew a confrontation was in order.

After all, as a thirty-eight year old Mama and educator, I had an obligation to teach Miss Thang a lesson in parking lot etiquette, something she apparently had yet to learn.

Determined to give her the "what for and the why not", I followed her along the sidewalk.  She turned to look over her shoulder a couple of times and then dodged into one of the retail stores in the strip mall. 

Should I follow her in?  If so, what do I say? I turn around and back off?

With my hand nearly on the door handle of the store she just entered, I found myself faced with those two options.

Reluctantly, I chose to stop.  I turned around and walked into another store to cool off. 

As I stepped inside, I could feel the heat radiating through me.  What was I about to do?  Stalk a young girl?  Who was I about to become?  The crazed shopper who could've easily been filmed on a smart phone and turned into the latest You Tube holiday sensation?  Seriously?

As I regained clarity, I heard One Voice in my mind, "Why are you so offended? Bless those who persecute. Bless and do not curse." (see Romans 12:14)
They were the exact same words and life lessons my girls and I had been discussing the past month during our Bible and prayer time.  Bless.  Pray.  Turn the other cheek.  Don't be so easily offended.

I'll be honest.  In no way did I feel like blessing this young lady.  Not. At. All. 

No, because of this injustice, I'm ashamed to admit I felt like blessing her out instead.

But thankfully my Father intervened.  And in that moment, He renewed my mind. My spirit became willing even though my flesh was still struggling.

What story did I want to convey to my own girls when I returned to the car?  Did I want them to see a Mama who huffs and puffs and chooses to retaliate at the first sign of offense?  No.  I did not.

Technically, I know this girl didn't break a law.  But she did break the southern law of kindness while driving in a parking lot.  How should I respond?  As a child of God, I'm called to open my mouth and speak with wisdom.  On my tongue should be the law of kindness, not revenge (see Proverbs 31:26).

Looking back, I am so grateful for God's gentle whisper to get my attention.  I am so glad He stopped me from stumbling and kept me from further harm--to myself, to the young girl and to my witness with my own daughters and the rest of the Christmas shoppers. 

I am glad my husband and I were the ones she wronged.  If it had been anyone else on any other day, she may have left her shopping venture with four flat tires or a nice, long key mark on the side of her car.  :)

"Great peace have they who love your law;
nothing shall offend them or make them stumble."
Psalm 119:165 (Amplified)

How do you handle this world of offenses? Are you easily offended at the slightest injustice?  If so, let's pray to choose humility over pride. Kindness over woundedness.  Mercy over offense. 

By the power of the Holy Spirit, let's live unoffendable lives.

"Lord, grant me that new creation heart that can walk as Jesus walked, through a world of offenses without stumbling.  I want to see everything as an opportunity to pray, everything as an opportunity to become Christlike.  Lord, help me interpret offenses as opportunities that lead to transformations.  Grant me, Lord Jesus, the pulse and beat of Your unoffendable heart. Amen." ~ Pastor, Francis Frangipane

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time Enough

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Every day I hear it.  My clock ticking. 


Tick.  Tick.  Tick.

It's the repetitive sound coming from the clock hanging in our bonus room/school room.  I wanted a simple, inexpensive, analog clock with real numbers, one in which my girls could use to tell time.

What I didn't account for was how obnoxiously loud this particular clock would sound as it records each second passing by.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

This clock is good.  It helps me know how much time I have to do something.  It helps me see how much time I have left before I need to be somewhere.

But with every passing tick, I'm reminded of time gone.  No longer the future.  No longer the present.  Now the past.

"Time may be measured in minutes,
but life is measured in moments." ~ Mark Batterson

Opportunities.  Moments.  Time.  These three words have become cemented in my mind the past few weeks.

There are countless God-given opportunities in front of me every day.  There are opportunities to help.  There are opportunities to give.  There are opportunities to bless. 

There are moments to remember.  There are moments to relinquish.  There are moments that define the future.  There are moments that conjure up the past.  There are moments to celebrate.  There are moments to mourn. 

And time.  The older I get, the less I seem to have of it.  Or so it seems.  Each day pushes forward at warp speed and I cannot seem to trap it or hold on to it, or multiply it to save my life.

But one thing we all have in common is the same 24 hours, in the same day, of the same week.  We all have access to the same amount of time.  And most of the time, we all wish we had w-a-a-ay more of it.  I would be a millionaire if I had a dime every time I thought, "Man...if I just had ten more minutes..."
“All we have to decide is
what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Since time continues to tick on, I have to choose what to do with my time.  How will I use what has so graciously been given to me? 

That's the question I'm facing right now.  What will I do with my time?  How will I choose to spend each minute that ticks by?  Not craving more of it, but making the most of it.

“Be careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.” 
Ephesians 5:15-16

Ten years ago when I taught in the public school system, I was evaluated once a year by my principal.  One of the areas in the state-mandated observation was referred to as, "time on task."  How did I, the teacher, spend the 7-8 hours engaging my students each day?  Did I value their time, stay on task, maximize the time to its greatest potential? 

And I feel like that's where I still am.  Wondering if I'm taking full advantage of the time given to me.  Weighing the moments or wasting them.

"My times are in your hands..." Psalm 31:15

Not enslaved to the ticking of the clock, I want to live my one life well, being present and enjoying His presence.  Often sitting instead of stirring.  Being instead of becoming.

I never liked the phrase, "I don't have time."  Hearing myself (or someone else) say it rubs me the wrong way.  I always think, "Sure you do.  You are just doing other things with your time."  Sometimes that's okay.  Sometimes it's not.

Time will continue to tick away.  No doubt. 

What are the everyday opportunities to experience? What are the extraordinary moments ahead?

At the end of the day, my heart agrees with author, Ann Voskamp, when she said, "I just want enough time...I just want time to do my one life well."
“I don’t really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep & time to see real & time to laugh long, time to give You glory & rest deep & sing joy…
I just want time to do my one life well."
One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

And you?  Do you hear the sound of your clock ticking as well?  Do you find yourself yearning for more time?  Or time enough?  Time enough to live your one life well? 

Lord, help us all to seize opportunities, magnify moments, and treasure the time.  For You and Your glory.  Amen.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Questions, Some Answers, & No Answers


"How's the adoption going?" 

"What's the latest?"

"Any idea on how much longer?"

"Do you know who she is yet?"

In light of the curious and justified questions asked of us over the past few weeks, an update post is probably l-o-n-g overdue. 

(By the way, we love the opportunity to talk about our adoption journey.  It thrills us that you care enough to ask!  So, THANK you!)

With our Home Study's completion in mid-September, our agency was ready to register us with CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), the governing authority responsible for all adoptions in India. 

On October 1st, our family was entered into the online registry in India.  Here was my Facebook status early that morning:

"Our family REALLY needs prayer! PLEASE circle us we submit our request/info. to CARA, the governing agency dealing with all adoptions in India. According to our agency, we will be matched with an orphanage in approx. 2 weeks. Please PRAY for God's hand to move our paperwork to the exact orphanage He planned beforehand and where our daughter is currently being cared for. This is a BIG deal! Thank you for praying BIG prayers with us to a BIG God who alone can do BIG things.”

CARA matches each family with one orphanage and each orphanage matches each family with one child.  There are no books for us to peruse, no pages of children for us to decide upon.  Control is in the hands of CARA and the orphanage, not us. 

No worries though, because we know and we rest in Who ultimately has all the control!

Just this month, another huge responsibility was checked off our list of requirements to adopt.  The dossier ("doss-ee-ay") was officially completed and mailed off on November 1st. 

The dossier really put the hunter-gatherer in us to work.  Particularly Derek, who gets all the credit for spear-heading this colossal task and for maintaining the documents checklist.  He's a total rock star in my book. :)

The dossier is an extensive collection of papers containing very detailed information about us.  First it goes to our agency, then on to India.  The good news is that many of the same documents we had to gather for the Home Study were also needed for the dossier.  Each document had to be notarized, and also apostilled, which is a special governmental stamp verifying the notary stamps were authentic and legit.
The infamous apostille stamp
VERY thick stack of papers!

Anything and just about everything one could possibly want to know about us!
Bottom line: 
*We have done all that we are required to do at this time.  To date, it's been over a month since we were registered with CARA and still no word on an orphanage.  How exciting it will be to finally know what city she is in!

*We do not have any idea how much longer.  As we have learned, our agency can only estimate time frames.  And surprisingly, we are okay with that.  God's timing is absolutely perfect.  We will know what we need to know when we need to know it. 

*We do not know who our little Pearl is yet, but God does.  He is loves her. He cares for her.  He created her.  He has a plan for her.  He is preparing her to be with us.  And He is preparing us to be with her.

Thank you for asking questions; it reminds us how much you truly care!  Keep asking and we'll try to keep answering. long as we have the answers, that is!

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