Thursday, January 15, 2009

Miracles

I have to say that before I went to Africa, I believed in miracles.

I really did. I believed that God gave Gideon a sign. I believed that He supernatually killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could assault Jerusalem. I believed that Jesus healed a blind man, and a crippled man and even raised Lazarus from the dead.

I believed that God raised His Son, Jesus, from the dead after Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life as an atonement for my sins.

I really did and do believe all of those things.

I also believe that God caused me to miraculously become pregnant with our son when all the doctors said "No, chance, babe. You'll need IVF"

What I had never really given a lot of thought to was whether or not I really believed that the God of the universe still works miracles - personal small, everyday miracles - today.

And lets be real. The miracles I listed above are personal miracles. Yes they had huge impact and significance on a nation or even on mankind, or on my life as I knew it, but they were personal.

God gave Gideon the specific sign he asked for. Twice.

God defeated 185,000 Assyrians after King Hezekiah went into the temple, spread out his problem before the Lord and sought His help and counsel.

I think it is safe to say that to the blind man, the crippled man and Lazarus, their respective healings were very personal.

And I think that being restored to communion with the Father was a personal miracle for us all.

So what's the point, Mandy? Why all this talk about personal miracles?

Because, in Africa, He performed one for me.

When we landed in Lietnhom, Sudan, I stepped off the small, twin engine aircraft into a world I arrogantly thought I had imagined, but had not begun to understand.

The sights, smells, heat, dry air, crush of beautiful people - adults and children - who want to be exactly where you are, and the overwhelming desire to love, hug, and otherwise intimately know each and every one of them was, to say the least, overwhelming.

When all our luggage was off the plane, we began to walk. I wanted to see everything, as did everyone with us. To visit places they had seen before, that I wanted to see for the first time. To assess the damage that had been done in the attacks launched against this precious people seven months before. To visit those they knew, that I would come to know.

We stopped at the area where the team had stayed last year, then the River, then walked through the market, all on the way to the Alarm compound where we stayed.

About three-quarters into the walk, I started to feel faint, and strange and realized that I had not been drinking enough water and had not applied sunscreen before the walk. I was getting burnt and dehydrated.

In Nashville, this would not be a big deal. I would come inside my nice air conditioned, cool house and have a nice tall glass of ice water and lay on my couch until I felt better. Not so in Sudan.

For the next two days, I was very sick. I couldn't eat or rest. I questioned my decision to come to Africa - as if it was my decision in the first place - HA - I cried, missing my family, and I prayed asking God why I was even there if I was just going to be sick the whole time...pity party anyone?

I wrote a prayer in my journal asking God why I was there if only to be sick and begged Him to heal me. To "make me whole" and "fill me with Your peace and calm and make my body strong."

Right after I wrote those words, I "suddenly" had the idea to get my MP3 player out of my bag to listen to it. Interesting considering the battery was completely dead. On the plane flying into Lietnhom, it had died and cut itself off. NO CHANCE it would turn on...except it did.

I sat in the middle of my bed, staring at a battery indicator that read 3/4 full still holding my prayer notebook.

I should also tell you that there is NOTHING more soothing to me than music when I feel sick. It helps me rest. It soothes my soul. The Lord knows this because this is how He created me. He knows that the best way to give me "peace and calm" is through music.

I laid back on the bed and pressed play. These are the first words I heard:

"The universe is vast beyond the stars,
But you are mindful when a sparrow falls.
You're mindful of the anxious thoughts that find me, surround me and bind me."

From a song entitled "Jesus, King of Angels" by Fernando Ortega - my NUMBER ONE choice for calming music.

For the next hour and a half I laid on my bed and listened to Fernando on my "dead" MP3 player. I even slept, which in Sudan in the middle of the day is quite a feat...it's very hot, and therefore not comfortable napping conditions.

When the rest of the team returned from a walk they had taken, I woke up and went to join them to sit outside. I was already beginning to feel better and was even able to eat dinner that night.

I didn't have a moment's feeling of illness for the rest our stay in Sudan.

A couple of days later, on a whim, I decided to try the MP3 player again, just because I wanted to...it was dead as a doornail and did not come on again until I had charged it back home.

Falling Whistles

Today I am brokenhearted by a story I read.

I know this blog is supposted to be about the process that our family is walking through in our adoption story, but today, it's going to be about more than that.

Today, it's going to be about the story of precious babies on the other side of the world who have been ripped from their homes - if you can call them homes - and their families. Babies who have been abused, neglected, used and then forced to kill or be killed.

Today it's going to be about the story of the helpless children in the DR Congo, Africa.

The link at the end of this post tells the story of some of the children of the Congo. They have been abducted and forced fight in a war they did not start.

But more specifically, this story is about the youngest of these. The ones, too small to hold a weapon, and so, given a whistle to scare off the enemy, are placed on the front line to be a human barricade.

Read it. Then bring these precious ones before the Father.

http://fallingwhistles.com/SOS-82644-FallingWhistles.pdf

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Lord is my Helper and my Redeemer
In a time of pain, He is my Strength
And in illness, my Healer
When I am hurt and alone, I am not
Because He never lets go of my hand
He is with me every moment of all the days He gives me
I am never alone
Though I may feel fear, He is my Peace
For His protection is perfect and everlasting.