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love, give, change

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1

I just started reading a book by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson called Counsel from the Cross. It’s a book that is rich in Biblical truth–so you have to read and then soak it in. And then read some more. If you lived by me, I might have to convince you to read this with me and discuss…completely my kind of book…I am a mom that NEEDS the gospel and daily transforming. I need to view life after being transformed daily–and to not interpret things the way I want to–but to come to the cross with all my stuff, see my daily sin for what it is, be changed and cling to Him…so that I may live through His strength and in His will. We serve a forgiving God–and we mustn’t get chained down forgetting we are already forgiven. Because WHEN we remember the power of the cross and the grace that happened there for our sake, we will no longer be robbed of living “those Christlike qualities of kindness, generousity, gentleness, and longsuffering. It will also rob us of the only acceptable motives for obedience: love” (page 28).

I want to thank YOU…those of you who are out there and for whatever reason…have read my blog and prayed about being used by God. YOU have been a beautiful picture to me of what it means to live like Christ and even serve those you do not know…simply because you are filled with His love…

…over a month ago, we shared the need for mosquito nets for the kids going to school at Korah. In 24 hours, many of YOU reading now were led to my blog that day–and you gave! In 24 hours, God used YOU to supply those kids with protection from malaria. Your heart was broken to think of your own child going to a malaria zone without protection…you identified with the need…you gave…YOU are literally being used to change lives!

…about a month ago, we shared the need for panties and pads for these girls and for the women at Wiphan…they continue to get infections and not attend school because they didn’t have sanitary things to help during their menstral cycles. HUNDREDS of you were led some how to read about the need that day…and HUNDREDS of you made the commitment to DO SOMETHING. You loved these girls and ladies from afar…you gave…and through you–there will be change.

…a few weeks ago I shared about a family who are missionaries and adopting (you remember…the incredible “Yellow, Red, Black and White” shirts.) You all took the challenge to share their need and joined us in not only buying their shirts but sharing their need with others…THEN just two days ago–I shared another sweet adoptive family’s shirts…and ONCE AGAIN…YOU (whoever you are out there I don’t know…but I do know that God leads the sweetest, most giving group of people to my blog during the most perfect times!)…YOU went over and bought lots of shirts…making my sweet friend one busy lady for 24 hours (they sold almost 50 shirts in just ONE day!). Many of you are adopting YOURSELVES…yet you continue to LOVE, GIVE and CHANGE lives. WOW.

I have to tell YOU this. God is using you to minister to me…to not give up loving, giving and changing. THANK YOU.

Lately, I have gotten really tired with the unknowns of our doctor visits. One doctor says he has parasites…another says his stool samples showed they were negative. One doctor says he has asthma and gives us a round the clock regime to follow…while another says he just has a virus. One doctor says his belly is big from giarida…another says it’s from malnourishment…and the GI specialist whom we waited an entire month to see told me after once glance and not doing ANY test, “His belly is big because he is obese, you feed him too much and I’m referring you to my nutritionist to put him on a diet.” (Don’t worry, I’m not taking that last specialists advice–and when I asked him how many post-malnourished babies with distended babies he had seen, he said none.) He also wrote me a prescription for reflux when I told him about night sweats and night terrors…it only happens 1-2 times a week…but he said it was probably just reflux. (Not sure we’re filling that prescription either). Some times I wonder if NOTHING is the wrong…just a simple case of hypotonia and all these doctors referring us in circles will give us any answers. I’m wondering if the pain he is in has nothing to do with the physical…and it really is only the Great Physician who can heal the pain, the delays and the hurdles.

AND just when I want to toss it all out to the birds…YOU remind me to not give up loving, giving and helping change happen.

I was driving home tonight from meeting with a friend, and I was thinking about how incredible it is that I could sit in my living room and share these CRAZY nneds across the world and across the country. I smiled thinking how our husbands probably all make fun of us for blog reading. BUT then…YOU guys use it to learn of need—LOVE…then you are led to GIVE…and lives are actually being CHANGED. Without blogs, the internet and technology–you all would not know these needs and neither would I. Yet YOU are using them to be used and YOU continue to step up to the plate and serve. THANK YOU. I am so encouraged.

While I feel like I can be judgemental of the culture, the church, believers…whatever NOT loving, giving, changing…really–my being judgemental IS sin and it is not trusting and it is NOT from the cross of Christ. When we carry grudges, hurt feelings, judgement that others aren’t helping the problems of the world…or even little ole us in our need…IT IS SIN. BUT…there is HOPE. We can confess that—and stop TRYING so hard…we can stop trying to do so much and wondering why the church and believers aren’t joining us…we can stop working so hard to improve ourselves…AND we can even stop asking what would Jesus do…and then becoming so consumed and overwhelmed because it is TOO MUCH FOR US. It can NOT be us working. We can NOT do it. It must be Him. When we begin to really think about what has ALREADY BEEN DONE through the cross…when we REALLY focus on that and see us and see others how He sees us and how He sees others…then the heaviness fades away and He can be the one doing the work through us and being glorified. When I begin to really understand the grace HE has given ME…it becomes so easy to extend that same grace to others. All of the sudden I am trusting Him in new ways to provide and be glorified through my life.

AND THEN…I SEE YOU! You, who are ALREADY there—and even in the midst of financial strain or raising money for your own adoptions…you continue to LOVE, GIVE and CHANGE.

I just wanted to encourage YOU. I know I said the other day…this blog world can so often feel one-sided. BUT I love to watch how YOU make it something different…how YOU hear a need and you don’t think twice. And I am just so honored to get to do this life with so many of YOU. YOU continue to pour out your love and resources for change–and I am so encouraged every time I say a need or prayer request. When personally, I am tired–and have shared our journey and prayer requests and like I’m even too tired to pray…I know YOU my sisters and brothers in Christ are there. And so many others you lift up and care for. Thank you for loving, giving and changing. Thank you for shining Jesus and being used in the lives of so many He dearly loves. And thank you for encouraging me through your faith and good deeds to keep on keeping on. Goodness, I feel like ending like Paul so often ended his letters…

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:24)

Lara - October 7, 2010 - 12:58 am

The book sounds wonderful and encouraging!

Kelly Jo - October 7, 2010 - 1:05 am

Amen!! You continue to encourage my heart time and time again!! You are a sweet blessing my friend!! 🙂

Elle J - October 7, 2010 - 1:12 am

… and for me … I would not be the same person I am today had God not directed my hand to click on your link via Cris’. Seriously, I have learned so much through this circle of blogs and have grown so much this year. Thank YOU for being YOU and for sharing as openly and authentically as you do. LOVE!!

Megan - October 7, 2010 - 3:06 am

You continue to inspire me Andrea! You have a heart of gold. If I was in your shoes I would probably be so overwhelmed with life. And I know you ARE but you keep giving and sharing and I know that with every post God is using your words to reach hearts. I know they continue to touch mine. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and allowing God to use you in such incredible ways!~

Tisha Alexander - October 7, 2010 - 3:08 am

Beautiful post!! I just want to encourage you regarding ITY. My middle son was born with a birth defect and for 3 years we were given the run around and I became very discouraged with the medical world. I do not have a medical degree, but I am a mom and the whole time I went with my mommy instinct. In the end it paid off. He found out what was wrong and we have been treating him ever since. You are Isaac’s mom and honestly you know what is best for him. I will be praying for you for clear guidance, because I know how frustrating it can be!

Kim - October 7, 2010 - 4:39 am

Simply Beautiful. You are such a gift to ME! Wish I were next door to hug your neck, hold your baby, and digest what sounds like an amazing book together!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Makenzie - October 7, 2010 - 7:03 am

Whenever I read your words, I find myself so often saying, “I needed to hear this today!” – And today is no exception! I am so glad that I started reading all these blogs about people who truly have broken hearts for the world. And yes, my husband makes fun of my “blog world” too 🙂 Praying for Isaacs health- God knows exactly what he needs!

missy - October 7, 2010 - 8:59 am

i am sorry that there is so much confusion related to ity. could i please have that last doctor’s number so i could call him and say “you are a big, dumb poophead!”? amen to our need for the gospel for daily transformation! amen to bloggy friends who keep us connected and remind us of what is important!

Sara - October 7, 2010 - 9:01 am

Just wanted to add my 2 cents about the doctors…just continue to pray about it and trust your gut instinct. Before N became ill, I trusted doctors wholeheartedly, but once a true medical issue crops up, you realize that lots of doctors will have different opinions and different treatment plans (we were given everything from a strict diet to a month of antibiotics to anti-depressants). It’s a learning process where you have to lean on God more than the doctors – which can be surprisingly difficult in a society that puts a lot of stock in modern medicine. It sounds like you are approaching everything with discernment, but I just wanted to say I know how frustrating it can be, and GRRRRR! :o) Also, I can’t believe the obese comment!!!

Christi - October 7, 2010 - 12:34 pm

Amen sister! LOVE your heart and LOVE you!

I have this book on my shelf, but haven’t started reading it yet… just bumped up on my list! 🙂

Brittany - October 7, 2010 - 1:02 pm

A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon your blog when I really needed some guidence in my walk with Christ. I am nearly brought to tears with every post because of you passion for our Father, your family and your friends. You inspire…Thank you!

Kelly - October 7, 2010 - 3:45 pm

LOVE Elyse! I got to hear her speak last November. I’m reading “Comforts from the Cross” Another one of hers… its excellent if you haven’t already read it! 🙂

Becca Harley - October 7, 2010 - 4:49 pm

oh dear friend – really needed to hear this today. I have been fighting a physical battle here (pretty sure Satan is not happy about the life-changing stuff that has been happening in our house:), and I have been feeling oh so discouraged. And yet again you remind me to look to Him – needed that reminder today!! So, even with the UTI, cold, pink eye, kidney stone, herniated disk, poison ivy that I have – I am choosing to praise Him!!! Thanks for the needed kick in the bum:)

Denise - October 7, 2010 - 5:06 pm

Don’t know you but am also a Christ follower. Very inspiring life you are living for Him and His glory. Have you thought about gluten intolerance? My best friend’s 2nd born went through 2-3 years of no one believing her mom instinct that something was actually wrong with her baby until one pediatrician suggested gluten. Presto chango, new baby. Praise God and pass the rice flour. (Of course today on Stuff Christians Like, Mr. Acuff discusses the person who wants to fix your prayer requests. Totally not trying to be that person but why reinvent the wheel?)

Jenny - October 7, 2010 - 6:27 pm

Oh goodness… I can’t even imagine the frustration of the doc visits and the circles they have you running. We are constantly praying for Isaac and I’m kinda with you in the belief that he is healing from past malnourishment and muscle weakness but he is doing SOOO well and has come SO far. It’s so hard when docs just quickly dismiss you.

Thank you again for giving our shirts a shout out! We love you! I’m SOO excited to get a chance to go visit all of these blogs of the women who bought our shirts:)

Shannon - October 7, 2010 - 8:59 pm

I’m not a doctor- but I play one at halloween. (not really). Here’s the scoop that 8 mo has taught me on the belly situation.

Parasites are not always noticable in the stool samples. Giardia is especially difficult for a few reasons. (i won’t go into them). So if the parasites or eggs were spotted in one sample then they are there. Even if, without treatment, they aren’t spotted on the next sample. Another thing to consider- is to treat imperically for .. campo… something or other. It is quite common and it is a bowel infection caused by kids having poo on their hands and then in their mouth. It creates a call from your states CDC but it is quite common and answering… “he’s had since I met him in Ethiopia” is generally enough for them to realize he didn’t get it from a public source.

The belly size. It gets huge for a number of reasons. First- he has no muscle tone. Not just skeletal muscle that we see when we are inshape but the muscles that keep his organs in place. Plus his organs now have to FIT into place. THAT TAKES TIME. Second- They feed him extra calories in ET to get the numbers on the scale to go up. Often this is with sugary milk. Regardless of how they get the weight up- his body isn’t ready/able to absorb it- because it is geared toward retaining fluid/calories rather than using it because it is stuck in ‘survival’ mode. Add in the parasites and belly infections and it simply takes longer than we expect.

Teg had HORRIBLE night sweats. I never said much about it to the doc = I just assumed it was normal. The DAY- VERY SAME DAY – he started being treated for campo… (bowel infection) the sweating stopped. WHOA! I had never thought about that.

He also had gas that would literally- I mean literally- clear out the house. (I thought my nephew was bad). People visiting in the middle of winter would go outside for fresh air as it was so prolific and pungent. That went away within 48 hours of treatment. (just what you wanted to read about… sorry)

Our ped- said that it could take a year for T’s stomach to not be so.. ‘out there’. After 8 mo- it is ‘pretty normal’ most of the time now– but any swimming activity where he swallows air and water in mass amounts and it’s right back out there looking painful as ever! But keep in mind T is older than your little one. So I have no idea if it might take more or less time, for proper belly distribution (hee). I posted some before and after photo’s on my blog back in my August update if you want to see a bit of difference. It’s better now. I don’t know if I can add a link in this but I’ll try.