Thursday, February 20, 2014

For this child I have prayed

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him." ~1 Samuel 1:27

Dear Readers,

In December 2011, I saw this picture.

She grabbed my heart. I had just found out about Reece's Rainbow, an adoption ministry that helps orphans with special needs find their families. I had scrolled through several pages of children, my heart breaking at each picture. But for whatever reason, hers was the one I was drawn to. I couldn't stop thinking about her. 

And so I prayed and hoped with all of my heart that she would have a family. 

On the day I found out she was transferred to a mental institution I sobbed. I learned that she was struggling with the change and had lost hope. I pleaded with God to rescue her from that place. 

Over a year after I had first seen her beautiful picture there, she was unlisted from Reece's Rainbow. It seemed that she was not going to be adopted. Friends, a mental institution is a rough place. Especially for a child. It's hard for them to leave their baby house, the only home they have ever known, to go to a place full of crying children and adults. It is hard to sit in a bed all day untouched because there just aren't enough nannies to go around. Many children die in these places. 

I thought that was going to be Marcia's fate. I framed a picture of her and placed it in a prominent spot in my room. I was afraid she was never going to have a family place her picture on their refrigerator, and so I wanted to honor her in that small way. I prayed for her to feel God's peace, hope, and even joy. I checked occasionally to see if she was still listed on another site, knowing that the day she was unlisted from there she would most likely be with Jesus. I flinchingly prayed for His will to be done in that sweet girl's life. 

God knows every day of sweet Marcia's life, and He has perfectly planned each one. 

I found out a few days ago that Marcia walked out of that institution with her mama. As I type, the tears well up again. She is free. She is home. 

God had a plan for her, and His plan was for her to be adopted in her home country. What a beautiful, beautiful plan. 

Will you jump up and down and scream for joy with me, friends?!?!? It deserves a million exclamation points--

MARCIA IS HOME WITH HER FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lord is good. And He is in control--even when it feels like evil is winning out, He is in control. 

Will you continue to pray for Marcia and her family with me? Will you pray that she knows her Father who loves her so greatly? 

And please, in Marcia's honor, do not forget all of the other millions of orphans in the world who are still waiting to come home. 

I never knew how greatly you could love someone you've never met until I loved Marcia. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but it's the truth. That girl has a special place in my heart, and she always will. I love her dearly, and pray for a day in Heaven when we can meet and I can finally hug her close. 

This will be my final post about Marcia. I am honored to have been able to share her story with you all, and to have been a voice for her these past couple of years. 

I wish you so much joy, beautiful girl. Know that you will always have a friend across the globe who is praying for you and loving you from afar.  I love you, Marcia. 

Your Blogger,

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It is currently today, not tomorrow.

Just in case you were wondering!

Dear Readers,

Yesterday we fished out one of Mom's high school year books. The pages are covered with well wishes and stories from her friends. I have always loved reading through Mom's old yearbooks and scrapbooks, seeing a part of her life growing up in Tupelo, MS. I especially love to open a book of hers to find a note fall out addressed to "Carol Leigh".

Next weekend we are going to visit Azusa Pacific University. I'm pretty excited because I've heard great things about the school and they have some wonderful missions opportunities. We've visited Mississippi State and Grand Canyon University this year, as well. While I love looking at these wonderful schools, the thought of leaving and attending one is a bit...overwhelming.

One of Mom's friends wrote in her yearbook that she knew they would always be close--no matter if they lived in separate states. My Mom has tried many times over the years to reach this friend, but she hasn't been able to. That breaks my heart. 

Dear ones from Seussical last semester!
I don't want to lose touch with any of our dear ones someday. I want to be just as close in ten years as we are now. Why does change have to come along and ruin this good thing we have going here?

Another from Seussical :)

 I know that God has plans (great plans!) for each of us, and I know that will carry some of us away from our little patch of desert. 

And I'm going to have to be okay with that. (because, you know, kidnapping is illegal. :)) 

From Honk! 2012

But today I'm not okay with it, and I don't know that I will be in a year and a half, either. Goodbyes are hard no matter how great that college/job opportunity/whatever is.

They might kill me for this one, but it is too cute to not share!
From Snoopy! 2010

It will be okay, though, because we will all be right where God needs us to be, wherever that is. (and it may even be right here all along!) 

So for today I'm going to hold tomorrow gingerly, and cherish every moment of today. I'm going to let God take care of the future and try to stop worrying about it. And instead of wondering if we will be just as close ten years from now, I'm going to hug my dear ones close today. 

I encourage you to do the same, dear Readers--squeeze every moment out of today and anticipate the plans God has for you without fear. 

Now go hug your dear ones long and close. 

Your blogger,

Monday, February 3, 2014

A story for your Monday

Dear Readers,

I'm taking a moment from studying Marine Biology to write. No matter how fascinating it is (and Marine Biology really is my favorite science!), writing is always my preference. Always.

So here's a little story to satisfy my need to write and your desire for a story: (because I'm assuming if you are here you want to read something, right?)


The little girl stood still in the middle of the room. All of the other kids in the classroom were dancing around in a wild game of freeze dance, but she just stood watching.

As I looked around the class of little thespians, my heart went out to her. I knelt next to her and asked if she liked to dance. She shook her head no. I whispered to her, "You know what? I don't either."

I was confessing one of my biggest insecurities to a four year old. She just smiled at me.

I know how she felt. I'm most awkward when dance music is playing. What feels to me like really putting myself out there is almost always just me awkwardly tapping my foot and bobbing my head to the music. Haha...yeah. Pretty awkward.

I sucked it up, though, since the purpose of this game is to pull you out of your shell. And I was teaching it, after all. ;)

So I grabbed her hands and we danced. When I twirled her around, she didn't even smile. We stayed in the exact same place for several rounds. We kept it up, though, and with each round both of us were getting more comfortable. By the end of the game, she was asking to be twirled, spinning me around, and completely enjoying herself. I have to say I was, too. :)

Pretty sweet, huh? I love that God used that little one to encourage me to stop being so stinkin' insecure. I love that she overcame her fear and had fun.

Because, really--life is so much easier when you toss all of your insecurities to the wind. And it's a lot more fun if you just go ahead and dance.

I hope you do something that makes you smile this week--even if it requires conquering fear to do it.

Your Blogger,