Thursday, July 16, 2015

Courage:)

As I have mentioned before, I really felt like the Lord gave me the word "Courage" as a defining characteristic of this year. I honestly thought it was in regards to adopting our 3 very beautiful children from Ukraine, making our family grow from 5 kids to 8:) And then I found out I was surprisingly pregnant, and I thought for sure courage was something I would need to face the many who thought we had lost our minds!!!!:)

However, this word, "courage", has been a word I have come back to over and over again; yet, it is for a different reason that I expected. This year has been one of many ups and downs, causing me to cry out to the Lord, throw tantrums at times, and learn how to trust Him all over again. We have had to look many fears in the face, and say "NO, I will not be afraid". Our adoption has been delayed 3 times, and although I have had a very wonderful pregnancy, I have heard words like "hysterectomy and placenta previa", "steroids" and "early birth". None of them have at this point proven true. But every time the words came up, I have had one more opportunity to look fear in the face and say NO! I will not worry. I will not fear.

At one point even the adoption looked like it would certainly not happen. This was a fear I had not ever imagined facing. The possibility of losing children we loved. And I constantly had to come back to the word "courage".

Courage when I didn't want to. Courage when I was tired of the battle. Courage when I wasn't sure what the end result would look like. Courage when His will and mine seemed to battle it out.

It has been incredibly humbling, and I see the way the Lord has worked on my heart, my pride, my understanding, and my attitude. And through all of it, He has shown me more of Himself, and who I am in His eyes.

And honestly, I don't have that strength of my own accord. The verse that says His strength is made perfect in my weakness, is absolutely, hands down true. I CANT DO THIS ON MY OWN. And yet over the past few years, He has proven Himself over and over and over and over again. He is faithful. He can and will carry me. He will not leave me, and I will never be abandoned or alone. Every time I look at what He has done so far, I remember.

This is more of a reminder to myself than it is a blog:) I am learning, a constant work in progress. He is my King. He is writing a story that I could never write on my own, and Im starting to recognize that His story is the WAY better version. I want more of Him. I want to see His glory. And no matter the result, HE is good! And He alone can be trusted!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Wild Ride, Full of our God:)

So.......

These last few weeks have been a ride. One that we never anticipated, and really could not have prepared for. But the Lord was preparing us.

It began at the end of April. My very healthy pregnancy thus far was halted with a trip to the hospital. They discovered I had placenta previa. I had an ultrasound 2 weeks before and everything had been normal, so it was definitely a shock. My hubby and I took it hard, because we were supposed to travel together, as a family for this trip. We also knew our home study approved us to travel as a married couple, and not as individuals, and so we were not sure how to proceed.

We prayed and really felt like we needed to just continue taking a day at a time. We still had several weeks before we thought we may travel, so we figured we would see how far my placenta could move as we waited:) Finally, 3 week later, we went in for another ultrasound and it was on the move. Praise God! I was feeling better, and it seemed we would be able to travel together as planned, no problem.

However, just a week later we would find out that our dossier was rejected based on the misplacement of one number. We were devastated. We grieved. We knew having to redo our dossier meant I could not travel. I am due in August, and traveling in July to start the process would put us too close. So here we are again, redoing the one document, plus our approval so that my hubby can travel alone.

When will he travel?Will it be close to the baby? How will it all play out? Will we get the kids home beforehand, or have to start and finish afterwards? There are so many questions rolling around in our heads. We don't have answers. But we do have peace. And we are walking in that peace with God's help.

No doubt He knew what would happen, when we committed to our 3 children, and we found out we were pregnant:) No doubt he knew the previa would come, and the paperwork mistake would happen. He is writing this story. He gave me a verse a few weeks back that I have been thinking about. A verse regarding NEW things.

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

A Road in the wilderness! A road through the haze, and mess, and things we cannot see. We have no idea yet how this journey will end. We know that there may be more trials ahead even. But God has been going before us. And we are following Him one step at a time!

With love,
Monica:)



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Update and New Pics of our Kids!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi friends,
Just wanted to give an update on our kids! We are currently less than 3 months away from meeting our sweet kiddos, Lord willing! Our dossier was just notarized, and we plan to apostille next week! The closer we get, the more excited we are to meet our kids. They are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Our daughter Olya is finally getting to grow her hair!

 Our second oldest son, Yura, has the gift of joy! He is always smiling like this!
 And our oldest treasure, Maxim, is one of the most special boys you will ever meet!
Ukraine is very heavy in battle right now. Our children's region borders the war. Would you cover them in prayer please? The thing we do know...Our God is the DEFENDER of the orphan! He is with them. And He is with us. He loved them and knew them before we did. And I trust Him with their hearts and lives!

We will be there soon sweet ones! Your brothers and sisters are very excited to meet you, as is your whole family!

Sincerely,
Monica:)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Enlarge and Gather: Our 2 words for 2014 that God is making true:)


So a dear friend and fellow RR mom, Lisa, encouraged her friends last year to ask the Lord for a word(s) that He would want to declare and speak over each family in the coming year. So I wanted to take the challenge! I asked the Lord and one verse was on my mind constantly for weeks. It was the following:

     Isaiah 54:2-4

  " Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame, do not fear disgrace;you will not be humiliated."


So I knew one of my words was "enlarge". I knew that God wanted to enlarge our lives in certain ways. I was not sure if we would go back and adopt at that point, but it was certainly the most obvious way I thought we may "enlarge". However, God's ways surprise us sometimes, and so I was guessing myself what this could be.

The second word I felt in my heart was "gather". And this was my entry on January 15, 2014.

        "GATHER- Jesus, gather what? gather who? gather where? when, how? Your thoughts?"

I sincerely was at a loss for "gather". But I really felt it on my heart, and so I trusted God would help me figure it out as we went.

Tonight I have been reflecting over this entry. It made me smile. I showed it to my husband and he said I should write a blog post about it. About God's plans that were put into place before we understood. Because, YOU KNOW WHAT? We are enlarging! We are gathering! God has put us on a journey to go and gather more sweet beautiful children and bring them into a FAMILY! His words to us are more relevant now in so many ways. He has been preparing us and teaching us how to trust.

Isaiah 43:5 says " Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will your children from the east and gather you from the west.

He who called us is faithful!

Thank you for walking with us,
Monica:)




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beautiful and Messy

This life that we live. Its so imperfect. Finding joy in the hard stuff; that's where I am at right now. And it seems funny to me because the 'hard' stuff is not coming when it's easy to battle. It comes amidst the battle already waging. But my God has kept proving Himself faithful, faithful, and more faithful.

Today was a tough day. I am not great at seeing my need for Jesus, and then immediately calling out for Him. But He pursued me today. And praise and worship was on my heart and in my mouth. It blessed me so much to see Him be faithful to me over and over again.

We were greatly blessed with a special video of our future sons and daughter saying "hi" to my husband and I! Ill post the video in the links!

If the Lord puts it on your heart to support us, you are more than welcome to go here:
http://reecesrainbow.org/84178/sponsorsotolongo-2


Thank you for walking with us,
Monica:)

Monday, December 8, 2014

How God Answered Our Prayer, and Why We said YES to adopt again!

Hi beautiful friends. On the eve of my 30th birthday, I wanted to tell you the story of how God led us to adopt again. We aren't special, Seriously we aren't. Adopting Nikita was a God adventure like none other that my hubby and I had experienced. But like all God adventures, it was RIVETING at times, and desperately hard in others. We knew to go back to Ukraine, to adopt again, meant we were going to be holding very tightly to the Lord for every step. We should be like this everyday honestly. But for my hubby and I, adopting put us in a place of clinging like never before. And so as we thought and prayed about returning for some very beautiful kids, the following happened:)
    In early September of this year I was asking the Lord if we should go back. I felt like I wanted a sign, something tangible so that I "knew" for sure that this was where God was leading our family. As I was thinking about what that should be, the thought "200 dollars" came to mind. I knew I hadn't thought that random number on my own, so I felt it was the Lord leading me to ask. So that is what I did. I asked him to bring us 200 dollars specifically for our adoption. I knew this would be hard for 1 reason. Nobody knew that we were contemplating going back to adopt from Ukraine right now. There were some who knew we were thinking of it, but not for right now. So I knew for God to send 200 dollars for our adoption would be, in fact, a miracle.
   Fast forward to about 3 weeks later. I was a bit discouraged. I felt like I should keep trusting and praying, but God had not sent any money. I was tempted to tell somebody, but I knew this was a big decision. If God wanted us to go, I needed to trust He would answer in His timing. So I went to the mailbox one day, and received a card in the mail. I opened it up, completely expecting a nice card reciprocating a deep friendship I had with this person. Instead I opened it up to find a check for 100 dollars, and a note stating that God had put our family on their heart, and they wanted to give us 100 dollars to invest in our adoption. I NEARLY JUMPED OUT OF MY SEAT! I just knew that I knew that it was God answering me! But, it was only for 100! At this point I was fully confidant that God was going to bring the other 100. I knew it!
  Everyday I would go to the mail, awaiting the second 100. Weeks passed, and I didnt know what was going on. "C'mon God", I thought! "Let's get this rolling". I talked to my hubby about it, and we agreed that we would wait together. So early in November, we were ready to take a small step. We were going to commit to our sweet Olya and set up our FSP on Reeces Rainbow. (An FSP is a tax deductible account where you can donate towards our adoption! We had one with Nikita, as many of you can recall!) That morning my hubby was going to fax the paperwork necessary to set it up. But he overslept, and I wasn't ready, and he had to head to work. Boy, was I frustrated. And then I considered what happened, and realized maybe God was giving me a chance to pray and think through something else that had been strongly on our hearts-adopting 3! Yes, adopting 3. So my hubby and I decided to really pray, and my hubby asked God to very specifically bring the last 100 dollars if we were supposed to adopt the 3 we were intently considering. AND 2 days later, God sent us that last 100 dollars, specifically for our adoption, in UKRAINIAN MONEY! 200 dollars. The very number He put in my head, He had supplied!!!!
  So our newest additions, the 3 we prayed uniquely for, are being pursued by our family, and a God Who loves them and smiles over them! Our journey has begun!:) We have no idea what this journey will look like, but we are following a God Who answers prayer!!!!!!!!!!!! Glory to God!

To see updated pictures, go to the blogpost below, entitled "You Make Me Brave"!

If the Lord puts it on your heart to support us, you are more than welcome to go here:
http://reecesrainbow.org/84178/sponsorsotolongo-2

Thank you for walking with us,
Monica:)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

You Make Me Brave ( New Pics !!)

So yes friends! We are going back to Ukraine! There are three beautiful children who captured our hearts when we went to get Nikita. They have stayed on our hearts and in our minds for many months. They were incredible children too! Maxim was just a ball of smiles! Seriously, he gave me a hug when I went, and my heart simply melted! This boy is AWESOME!



Yura is the epitome of fun! He was constantly moving, playing, laughing. Despite where they live, they find everything in the world to have JOY about! It blows my mind.



And sweet Olya, who is learning to stand now! When we were at her orphanage a year ago, she was rolling on the playroom floor. My husband saw her army crawl once, and that's it. It amazes me to see the work that Maya's Hope is doing there. She really is a God send.



So those are the 3 incredible children we are pursuing. I will update you with new pics and information as we go!


As to the title of this post, I wanted to share one thing God has been growing in me. Bravery! Bravery! I desperately want to be brave. In all things. In adoption. In raising my family. In enduring trials. In my walk with Christ and others. I want to be BRAVE.
I think we all do. I am excited about this season of life, but it has not come without walking through the fire. Honestly I still feel like Im walking through the fire. But God is very real, very true, and very faithful!

Please stay tuned to our journey towards our 3 newest treasures:)


To donate to our Reeces Rainbow fund, you can go here: http://reecesrainbow.org/84178/sponsorsotolongo-2

Excited to journey with you,
Monica :)