Since we FINALLY have a waitlist number that we pray we can watch drastically fall each month (please pray with us!), I wanted some way of keeping our number visible in our home. Not that we really need it, but having our number and things about Easton right in front of us are great reminders to be praying for our son and for orphans worldwide. We have the arrangement right by our kitchen table so I have a feeling we'll have many mealtime conversations about the little brother coming soon!
So let the countdown begin!
Another adoptive mom creates these beautiful Africa paintings as a fundraiser to bring their own little one home from Ethiopia . . . thanks Emma! (I can get you her info if you want one for yourself!)
On Thursday last week, Chad and I celebrated our 9th anniversary! We of course didn't have a digital camera way back in 2003 so here is a picture of one of our wedding pictures! We were such babies . . . 22 and livin' on love!
I've sat down to blog about our anniversary and this last year of marriage several times in the last few days, but I just haven't had the words. Not because there is nothing to say, but because there is so much to share.
Last year for our 8th anniversary, I wrote and posted pictures about the highlights (and some lows) through the years. I also shared about the new anniversary tradition we were beginning.
We kept the tradition going and had another anniversary party to celebrate #9. Some of our closest friends came over to our house with kiddos in tow for an incredible night. We of course ate some delicious food and desserts, but the sweetest part came after the dishes were cleared and all 8 kids piled into Ava's room to play. :)
We sat around and shared words of wisdom with each other about marriage, loving your spouse, and loving God. It was so encouraging to hear how God is teaching us, refining us, scraping away the old, leading us by the Spirit, and renewing the love and commitment in our marriages even after 1, 7, or 9 years! We laughed a lot because most of the wisdom came from getting it wrong, but even our mistakes are beautiful when they put God's grace on display!
We wrapped up our night with our sweet friends laying hands on us to pray for our marriage, our family, parenting, and ministry. There are no words for how precious it is to have friends intercede on your behalf . . . encouraging us for how we've lived, but also challenging us to a deeper faith and to love more.
As we shared with our friends about this last year, the word that summed it all up was GRACE.
God's grace has truly been lavished on us in numerous ways this year and we are different because of it.
Just under a year ago, God graciously gave each of us a great desire to be in His Word. It isn't that we weren't already spending time reading our Bibles, but this was different. God gave us a hunger that we had never had before. He gave us the ability to discipline ourselves to make that time a priority each day. For the first time, I was really feasting on the Word of God and It. Is. So. Good.
Naturally, this changed everything else. Our marriage has grown in depth and love because we are knowing and seeking to love each other as Christ calls us to. We've learned much about our roles in marriage and as we've embraced them, each of us has given more and received more love from the other.
Ahhhhhh! This is where I just don't have the words to fully express all that God has done by His grace this year! But I'll keep trying! :)
He has graciously led us every step of the way in this adoption process. Because of immersing ourselves in the Word, we were ready to obey when He put it before us that we are to adopt an HIV positive little boy. The Word has been the foundation of our parenting Ava and Grayson. God has been so loving to speak to us by the Word in the hard and intense times, to confront sin in our lives, and to encourage our hearts to greater faith. It is all Him. All the Word. All His Grace.
Year 9 has been an intense roller coaster, but a year that has taken us to a new place as individuals, a couple, a family, and a church. I'm so grateful for my precious husband and look forward with excitement and much hope for what #10 has in store for us!