Under Fire

Well, do you want the good news or the bad news first?  How about the good news?  According to usps.com, our paperwork did indeed make it to Minnesota at 6:32 am!  The bad news:  Everything else in my life has gone haywire today...

I shouldn't be surprised, actually.  I did blog yesterday about trusting God's sovereignty--trusting that He is in all things and holds all things together.  And now I feel like that is being tested in every way possible.  And it's funny...I can look at the paperwork fiasco and laugh.  It was frustrating and moderately irritating at the time, but I never felt like God wasn't in control of that situation.  I trusted Him to work out the details.  I trust Him with our Colombian children.  But why is it so hard to trust Him with my kids at home?  Why is it so easy to trust Him some days, and so difficult on others?

If this process has shown me anything, it's shown me that our enemy is real.  And he has truly come to steal, kill and destroy.  He certainly knows my weak spots.  And he's working overtime on me today.  Today, he has been working hard to steal my peace, kill my joy and destroy my hope.  Normally, I can bounce a few attacks like this off with minimal effort.  Being in ministry, spiritual warfare is not a new concept for me and my family.  And following God's calling to adopt certainly puts a bigger target on our backs.  But days like this--days when the devil bombards me with what seems like every possible arrow in his arsenal--days like this just suck.

Weak spot #1: My kids.  The devil knows that if he really wants to get at me, he can do that best through my kids.  Landyn missed 3 days of school this week--her first sick days all year.  Now, Asher came down with her strange fever/fatigue virus.  But of course, his neck hurts, which scares the heck out of me.  (However, chances are, his neck hurts because of the somersaults he was doing off of the couch last night...I hope.)  My brain tells me he just has the same mild virus that Landyn just got over.  But the enemy starts squeezing his doubts into my heart...What if it's not?  Should I call the doctor?  How long should I let him sleep?  What if it's something terrible?  My peace: gone.

Weak spot #2: My job.  Early this morning, I had a dream that I went to church Sunday morning completely unprepared for Sunday School, Kids' Worship, and the month of February in general.  And I woke up with a sense of panic--like I needed to go to church right away and get this stuff done so I don't forget.  And with Asher being sick, I haven't been able to get much of anything done, which makes me feel even more panicky about it!  I get so much joy from my job.  But not today.

Weak spot #3: My time.  I've been seriously struggling with time management lately.  I like to think it's because my paper calendar is missing since we tore the kitchen apart.  I like to blame it on the fact that my house is a giant, hot mess because of our remodeling.  But it's mostly just me being a bad steward of the time God has given me.  I've let the stuff going on around me become an excuse for not being organized at home...which has caused me to miss more than one important event in the past couple of months.  Today, I was supposed to meet with a wonderful lady from church who has offered to coordinate our entire garage sale fundraising event.  With Asher being sick and my life being chaotic, I completely forgot.  And I feel so bad for making her clean her house and sit around and waste her day off work while I was sitting at home worrying my day away.  

Today, I feel like things are just spiraling out of control one-by-one, and I'm powerless to stop it.  And feeling completely powerless makes me feel hopeless.  So, I'm trying to remember that on my own, I am powerless.  But HE is not.  So that is where my hope will come from today.  It's not a coincidence that my verse of the day just popped up and says this:  

Psalm 59:16
But I will sing about your strength, my God, and I will celebrate because of your love.  You are my fortress and my place of protection in times of trouble.

As much as I'd love to rewind and restart today, I know there's a purpose for it, and that God can somehow use it for good.  As followers of Jesus, we are under fire.  Some days it's worse than others.  But in the end, it burns our doubt away.  Jesus never said that following Him would be easy.  And for every time that God was about to do something beautiful in or through me, I've experienced huge push-back from the enemy.  So, this song comes to mind today...check it out:

And here's another song that's getting me through today...

I could definitely use some prayer today...

Technology Hates Me

Really, it does!  My kids at church are always teasing me about not touching the laptop that we use for Kids' Worship every Sunday because something will inevitably go wrong if I do!  And someone else can push the exact same buttons in the same order, and get wonderful results...and when I do the same thing....epic fail.  Not every time, but more often than not. 

So, it should come as no surprise that everything went wonky when I attempted to send our first stack of major paperwork to our agency via technology.  Ugh.  Where to begin.  Well, first, we got this paperwork back in October after we were officially approved to work with our agency.  At first, we didn't have the money for the fee that went with this batch of paperwork, so we took our sweet time filling it out.  But, thanks to some awesome family and friends, we got exactly what we needed for the first fee at Christmas time!

And still, we didn't feel an urgent need to send in our paperwork.  I was feeling remarkably calm about the process, and I didn't feel like we needed to rush.  So, in early January, I finished up the 15 pages of seriously detailed information about our lives, signed my portion, and set it out for Michael to proofread and sign.  

For those of you who don't know, Michael has been remodeling (read: destroying, gutting, rewiring and totally remaking) our kitchen.  And it has pretty much consumed his free time (what little he has to begin with).  So, those papers just sat unsigned for a few weeks. In mid-January,  I was finally able to steal 5 minutes from the kitchen, and the paperwork was officially complete and ready to go!

And still, I didn't feel a sense of urgency.  I didn't feel like I needed to get it to Minnesota ASAP.  So, our paperwork sat in its blue folder on top of our kids' toy chest for awhile longer.  And then suddenly, last weekend, I felt like we needed to send it.  Now.  It's time to get things moving!  I'm really trying to trust in God's sovereignty and timing for this crazy process, and I believe that He has our babies chosen and waiting for us...whether they're born yet or not.  He knows.  And He also knows exactly when which paperwork needs to be here or there.  And so I'm trying to stay out of the way so that He can work things out in His time, and not mine.  I believe that sense of urgency was from Him.  It was time to take the next step...

Well, our sending options were as follows: fax, email, or snail mail.  So, I opted for what I assumed was the quickest and simplest way to send it: email.  Now, I'm only computer-literate enough to be a little dangerous.  That's why I married a programmer.  :)  I'm sure he loves all of the tech questions I text him during his work day!  So, I asked Michael what I'd need to do to email this mass of paper, and he told me to scan it on our new printer/scanner/copier thing.  So, I did.  (All by myself!)  But then, I couldn't figure out how to save it as a PDF file on our old desktop with XP.  I'm a Windows 7 girl, after all!  (Whatever that means....)  So, I had to wait on Michael to help with that part.

But then, we went out-of-town with friends for the weekend, and those .jpeg files sat unsent on Michael's work laptop for another weekend.  So, Sunday night, we looked at them, and Michael said the quality might be too grainy....  Of course.  Because I touched them.

So, on Monday, I considered just taking the stack to the post office.  But that takes too long!  We have a fax machine at church, and I work on Tuesdays, so I convinced myself to hold out one more day...  Tuesday rolls around.  I take my stack of paper (which is now a little crinkly around the edges) and ask our office administrator, Steve, for a quick tutorial on using the fax machine.  (Something I've never done in my life...ever.)  Steve warns me that the fax machine is a little quirky sometimes.  But for some insane reason, I assume that it will work properly for me!  I kept thinking, "This will be so fast!  Our paperwork will be there in minutes!"  Eh...not so much.  The fax machine would only send the first 4 pages.  I tried 3 times!  

So, I begrudgingly gave up on the fax machine (after I mentally cursed it several times).  I texted Michael and told him the faxing idea had failed and asked if he thought the PDF files were a possibility.  He said it was worth a try and that he'd email them to me.  

In the meantime, our contact at the agency emailed me and politely asked why I sent only 4 of the 15 pages.  And this was just the beginning of a 12-email conversation we had on Tuesday.  All I know is that she is very patient and polite...and that she probably thinks I'm completely crazy!  I won't bore you with all of the different technology issues that we ran into...suffice it to say that between firewalls, large PDF files, password protected internet links, and just plain evil forces, none of the emails that we sent actually worked.  Our paperwork was still in Ohio.  

Yesterday, on February 1, almost 4 months since we received this paperwork, I finally gave in and chose the route that was supposed to take the longest...snail mail.  And if I had used the good old postal services from the beginning, our paperwork would already be at our agency.  But alas, today, at 2:55 am, it was somewhere in Pennsylvania...which is weird because it appears to be going east instead of west.  (I paid $.75 extra so I could track it...you never know what could go wrong at this point!  I wouldn't be surprised if it spontaneously combusted or just vanished into thin air at this point!)  But www.usps.com tells me it should reach Minnesota by tomorrow, praise the Lord!  Unless a tornado sucks up the mail truck...  

All this to say...our first stack of paperwork is on its way, and this process should start moving along soon!  We've been collecting garage sale donations (much to my husband's dismay) in our garage for the big event in May!  And I have a wonderful lady at our church who is going to coordinate the whole thing for us!  I feel so blessed by the response from our friends and family! We are definitely not in this alone!  We have so many people who want to help us bring our babies home, and I absolutely love that!  Also, we have most of the songs for our CD picked out and we've figured out how to get permission to record all of them for a small price!  And once our kitchen is complete and our house is back in order, we can finish our home study agency app and get that part moving along!  

I think I'll be sending that home study app via snail mail.  The people at the post office are going to know me by name when this is all said and done!