This week’s writing assignment…

Sentences

In case you had forgotten, I’m starting a series of posts based on unfinished sentences that were chosen by fans of the Life in the Fishbowl’s facebook page. I plan on writing my response later this week. I’d love it if you played along, too. If this sentence has encouraged you to write your own post, please feel free to send it to me. I’d be happy to share your insight.

This week’s writing assignment is to complete this sentence:

“It’s difficult for me to have disciplined, consistent time with God because…”

#TwitterTuesday :: Adoption and sports and ice cream and suffering and all things in between

There aren’t many favorite tweets from the last week. It could be argued, however, that some of these tweets are worth a thousand words. Or more. I’ll let you decide.


This photo took my breath away. And gave me goose-bumps. Love everything about this. If you haven’t seen this yet, drop everything and do it now. I warn you, though. It might make you cry.


I know a lot of people who are hurting right now for a whole lot of different reasons. This tweet was perfectly timed.


Remember how we discussed whether or not you should rush the field of play? Just a friendly reminder to make sure the game is over before you do so.


What’s Summer without a creepy ice cream man?

M is for Manning, Brennan (1934-2013)

A to Z Challenge 2013 M is for Manning, Brennan 1934-2013

I had originally planned on writing about Milligan Homecoming for my “M” entry. With this morning’s news of Brennan Manning’s passing, I find it altogether fitting to use “M” to remember how he changed my life by helping to completely rewrite my understanding of who the Father is and how He loves me. And my understanding of grace? Don’t get me started…

I’m not sure if there’s a contemporary author who has impacted me so deeply.

Thank you, Brennan.

Waiting and worrying (just a little bit) in the Waiting Room

Even with all of these technological advances and all of these amazing things we’ve learned about this human body that You’ve created, God, we know that everything is ultimately under Your control. So we pray for guidance for the doctors and ready recall of what they have learned. We pray for a quick recovery. We pray for healing. Because You are the One who brings healing.

I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed that prayer (or something similar) while sitting with a patient in preparation for surgery. I know it’s the right thing to say. I know the One Who’s in control.

But I’ll be honest. It isn’t helping right now. They just wheeled Christy back for the surgery. She’s been waiting for this surgery for 7+ months. It’s time. It needs to be done. The recovery will take a while, but the end result will be worth it. And even though I know that, it’s hard not to worry. It’s hard not to imagine all kinds of complications that could happen. It’s hard not to be a little bit scared.

I know. Things today are as unpredictable as they were yesterday. They’re as unpredictable as they will be tomorrow. I’ve heard nothing but fabulous things about her surgeon. And God is faithful. I know all this.

That doesn’t stop me from wishing I could know with 100% certainty that this surgery will be the smoothest surgery they’ve ever performed.

But for now….we wait.

Man, I hate waiting.

Dear God,

I’m excited to see what you do through Blog Month for Compassion, International. I firmly believe that more than the 3,108 children that will (hopefully) be sponsored through this campaign. I know this is true because it happened to me.

It was at the Ichthus Music Festival in 1999 where I first came in contact with how You’re changing lives through Compassion. Christy and I began sponsoring a young girl in the Dominican Republic. Our hearts were captured by her and we loved writing to her, reading her letters, and following her progress. While it was a great thing for her and her family, I confess that I was a little bit saddened when we received notice several years later that she was no longer part of the program. Because of Compassion’s help, her family had found themselves in a stable place and the family requested that she be removed from the program so another child could be sponsored. Even though I was sad that we would no longer have a connection with her (I know – that was selfish), I’m still overjoyed that she and the rest of her family are on their feet. Compassion’s work changed this family’s life for the better!

I’m pretty sure You used that experience to prepare me for what would happen ten years later when we boarded a plane bound for Ethiopia to bring Mihret home with us. I can’t say I didn’t really care about children around the world. They just weren’t on my radar. They were just a bunch of people “over there.” Corresponding with a little girl in the Dominican Republic changed all that. You used her to soften my heart. And now I can’t help but do what I can to help stand in the gap for the most vulnerable of Your precious little ones.

Thank You.

Thank You for changing her life. Thank You for using her to soften my heart and change my life. It’s amazing the way You weave lives together like a beautiful tapestry to put Your story on display.

I can’t wait to see how You weave the lives of these 3108 children into the lives of those who are willing to take the next step and stand in the gap with them.

Thank You for Compassion and the amazing work they do. They are changing the world in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine.

But You already know that.

I stand amazed at Your mighty works!
– Matt

What I Wish

Open door (via http://www.greenworld365.com)

I wish I could say
That all the doors I’ve walked through
Were opened by You.

I wish I could say
I haven’t beaten my head against so many walls
And kicked down the wrong gates while ignoring Your calls
Just to prove a point.

I wish I could say
That I have knowingly, willingly, and wholeheartedly
Chosen the path that You have placed before me
Instead of the easy path of resistance.

I wish I could say
That Your blinding Light,
And earth-shattering might;
That Your grace-filled showers
And unimaginable power;
Have guided my path along the way.

That’s what I wish
I could say.

But I can’t.

Show Hope

As part of Mihret’s third birthday celebration last month, we had the opportunity to volunteer at a ShowHope booth for A Night with the Chapmans. Both ShowHope and the Chapmans have a very special part in our adoption journey to bring Mihret home.

Last Summer, we received the unexpected news that we would be bringing Mihret home much sooner than we’d initially thought.  At the same time,  The fees and travel expenses we knew were eventually coming were needed much, much sooner than we’d planned.

And we didn’t have the money. At all.

When we came to this realization, we were crushed. How were we ever going to be able to make this work? I must confess, I began to panic just a bit. I didn’t have any answers.

A few days later, we received a letter from ShowHope, informing us that we had received an adoption grant from them. And it covered the rest of the fees and the plane tickets. The date on the letter? The same date that we found out we had passed court in Ethiopia!

I’ve heard all kinds of adoption stories about how God provides. I half-heartedly wrote them off by saying to myself, “Yeah, yeah. I know God provides. And that’s what you’re supposed to say in this situation.” To me, it had become the expected Sunday School answer, just like how “Moses” or “Elijah” are always the answers to Old Testament questions and “Jesus” or “Paul” are the go-to answers for New Testament questions. But this was no fluke. This was no Sunday School answer that everyone expects to hear. I am convinced that God moved this mountain before we even knew it was in our way. And our family is grateful to the people who work with and support ShowHope for allowing God use them as an instrument of His grace, love, and provision.

So we were excited to be able to spend the evening helping at the  ShowHope booth at the Capmans’ concert. It was just a small, tiny-tiny way we could help give back to them. And the Chapmans’ passion for orphan care and adoption is contagious. I remember thinking that the last time we saw them live at Anderson University. In early October. 2007. That’s three years ago, in case you’re having trouble with the math. You do remember who celebrated her third birthday in early October – right?

Who would’ve known that while we were listening to Steven Curtis Chapman sing When Love Takes You In that our Little Girl had just been born half a world away?

A Child of God

The first time I heard this song was when I resigned from my first ministry position in Kentucky. I was driving down the road and actually had to pull over because I couldn’t see where I was going through the tears pouring down my face. It was such a timely song for what I was going through at that time.

And now, when I face uncertainty about the future, this song comes to mind. I’ve been singing it the last two days (along with the one I shared earlier). This was the only video I could find of the song. It’s a little more ‘cheesy’ than I prefer, but that doesn’t minimize the power of the song.

Still waiting

Blog stats have picked up, so that might mean that you’re hoping for more information about the Committee’s decision.

Well, we’re still waiting.

Thanks for praying!

Perfect Timing

This verse is a little out of context, but the message has still been very helpful while we’ve been waiting for an answer…

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.

Habakkuk 2:3

God’s timing is perfect timing. Even though I hate waiting.