God answers prayer in many different ways, and in His timing. Sometimes it seems the answers will never come, but that does not mean God has not heard. He hears. He listens, and he is faithful.
The Lord recently answered a big prayer request on our behalf and it's too big and too good not to share. To explain, I'll have to go back in time a bit so you will get a clear understanding of what was happening.
Ten years ago we started attending a church in our area. That was way back when my now ten year old was just a baby. There were a few reasons why we began attending that church, but I will admit, prayer was not a factor. Finally, two summers ago, I knew it was time to move on. There were so many different red flags, factors and other circumstances, coupled with prayer that made us realize we were to move on and find a new church home. Now, we have never been church hoppers, or people that enjoy a lot of change. We like to be firmly planted, and want more than anything to raise our children in a healthy church with a strong body of believers. So two summers ago I thought we would visit some church's and by the end of the summer we would have a new church home. Wow, was I mistaken. I came to realize that this was not going to be an easy task. We had a short list of some things that we were looking for in a church. Really, only about 4 things that were non negotiables, but very important to us. Also, we knew that, like when searching for a new house, sometimes you walk in, and just "know" this is home. We visited many churches that first year. Many times we would come away quite discouraged, not understanding why we just couldn't find the "one". I believe finding a church home is an extremely important decision, because it effects all family members and becomes a very influential part of your life. I also realized that I was not just looking for a church that had everything we needed and wanted for our family, but that we were seeking a church where we could serve, be a part of the body and use the gifts and talents we have to build God's kingdom and carry out His will. For God, for our lives, and for the church.
We became frustrated, discouraged, and I even got to the point of giving up, not believing there was a church in our area that we could be a part of. We stopped praying. We tried doing this on our own and forgot that God was ultimately in charge of this desire of our hearts, and that He knew right where we would need to be. So, recently we realized that it had been two years, and our search had been unfruitful. Not that all these churches were bad, it's just that they didn't have the things we were looking for, for our family. The good news is, we were able to learn to do church as a family, and realize that we are the church, no matter what and that even if we didn't have a building to worship in, and group of believers to fellowship with, within those walls, we could still learn and grow at home, and worship God in all we do.
A few weeks ago we felt at a loss, not knowing what to do about finding a church. Then, all of a sudden it was as if God was tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Hello!...what about me? Have you asked me? Have you given this over completely to me???" I realized that we had stopped trusting Him for provision in this. So together we prayed and gave it all to God...since we had gotten to the end of our own resources and had run out of options. (and stopped praying about this issue quite a long time ago). The next day DH asked if I had any idea what church we should try on Sunday. The strangest thing happened. I blurted out a church that I had completely forgotten about, and one that we had never attended. He decided to go, and when he returned that day, he had nothing but good things to report. We decided that we would all go as a family the next Sunday. I honestly walked into this church building not expecting anything, and was distracted by my six kids, and hadn't even had the time to really look around, compose myself, and become present in the moment. That didn't matter. I felt something. There was something different that had hit my spirit the moment I walked in there, and it caught me totally off guard. Then we began to worship the Lord by singing praise music to Him, and I looked around and to my amazement I felt totally at peace. I felt at home. I had no idea who the pastor was, but about half way through his sermon I noticed something quite remarkable. This guy knew his stuff. He was preaching with a Bible in his hand, no notes, no cheat sheets, no powerpoints, etc. And his message was raw, and real, relevant, and he delivered it in the most humble, loving, and empowering way. There was something different here, and I was hooked. That is not all...God just continued to bless me on this day...we met one person after another and I realized that this church was full of people that truly love the Lord and have a huge heart for missions, and bringing the message of Jesus Christ not only to our neighbors but to the world. The pastors wife had just returned from a mission trip to Africa, they had just sent off a team to Peru, and they were getting ready to send a young girl to Haiti. It was a breath of fresh air to see all that was going on, and all this church is doing which is something I saw lacking in so many of the churches I had visited. I also met quite a few other adoptive families, and foster parents, and found out that many in the church homeschool. It was truly an answer to prayer because I knew it was supernatural. Everything from the atmosphere, to the pastor, to the missions focus, to the people felt amazing, and beyond anything I would have ever had expected to find. Only God could have surprised me like this! Of course, it's not perfect, as nothing is, and church's are made up of people, as imperfect as we are. But it is a church that is definitely on the right track and has it's priorities straight. It is very family friendly, and God centered and the preaching was deeper than most I have heard in the two years of searching. We feel like for the first time in a very long time, we have a church home, and a church family. It feels right, and I am so thankful that I listened to that nudge on my shoulder, and prayed once more, and I am able to report that once again, God Does Answer Prayer...and sometimes He might just wait, until He can catch you totally off guard, so that the impact is so strong that you know that you know it is Him, and so that you realize how BIG His blessings truly are! The praise goes straight to Him, and I can't wait to see what else He has in store!
We are a christian adoptive family! God has pieced together our family in a way that is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined! We have adopted internationally, as well as through the US foster care system, but most importantly we have all been adopted by God! Ephesians 1:5 says "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ".
We live on a small hobby farm, and homeschool our six children. Life is full!
My first miracle born in 2001. After giving birth to her, I realized that being a mother was the best job out there, and children are a miracle and precious gift from God. She is a true country girl at heart. Horses are her passion. She is an amazing big sister to her 5 little siblings!
Adopted from China in 2007.
Her sweet spirit fills our home with beauty and love. She is our little dancer, and introduced me to the world of recitals, dance practices, tutu's and ballet! Most of all, her love for Jesus shines bright, and even at her young age, she has a passion for orphan care and missions. These are subjects she talks and prays about on a daily basis! Can't wait to see where the Lord takes this girl!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
God's surprises never cease to amaze me. He is Laney's full sibling who came to live with us in Nov. 2011. Our son since the day he arrived. This is the sweetest boy you will ever meet.
Adopted from U.S. foster care November 2011.
Words cannot describe the joy this precious pumpkin brings to our lives! Another sweet miracle fromt the Lord. She was our first foster baby, arriving at the age of 7 weeks. We were blessed to adopt her in November of 2011. She refers to herself as a princess, and is also a lover of kittens, books, and dancing. I guess many more dance practices and recitals are in our future, lol!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
She was our second foster child who came home from the hospital at one week old. She livens up our days with her endless energy and strong will! It has been such a joy to see her and Austin have the chance to be together as brother and sister, and they definately have a bond that makes my heart smile!
Adopted from U.S. foster care July 2013. What a surprise it was to see that the little boy I pictured in my mind, who only the Lord would know, was actually in need of a forever family! Another miraculous gift from the Lord. He arrived at 4 mos. of age in Oct. 2011. Cute as can be with a contagious laugh and smile.