Archive for April 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fear Not: Part 6

(If you missed the earlier posts in this series, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

We weaken fears with faith by talking to God and we weaken fears with faith by talking to ourselves, in other words, by thinking about what is true.  “Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise-think about that.  Practice that and the God of peace will be with you.”  Do you see what the Apostle Paul getting at here? We weaken fears and anxieties by thinking, or talking to ourselves about what’s true.

This kind of thinking is not some sort of "power of positive thinking". This isn’t just trying to make yourself feel better by repeating, “Don’t fear!  Don’t fear!  Don’t fear!” This kind of thinking is a way of fighting for faith in who God really is.

But what if we do try to think about truth and we find that it’s just not doing anything for us-that it’s making no difference?  You know, “I’ve tried.  It didn’t work.”  Ever been there?  When fears and anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, it can be really hard to believe the truth. When we feel like the truth about who God is really isn’t helping us, that should be like a warning light.  “Alert!  Alert!  Something’s not right.  Check your heart!”  If we’re not believing that God is who He says He is, we’re doubting Him.  

Ladies, I just want to pause for a second and say again that some of the situations you’re facing right now are really absolutely frightening, more than I can understand. When fears and anxieties seem to be closing in all around us, believing that God really is our loving Father who will strengthen us and help us does not come naturally.  If you’re having a hard time believing the truth about God in the midst of your scary circumstance, that’s not surprising.  That’s especially true because our fears lie.  I’ve seen this over and over again in my own life; fears lie and their lies seem so believable when I’m afraid.

We’ll talk about this more specifically in a little bit, but right now, I just want to encourage you-this is why we desperately need the Holy Spirit’s help; we are so quick to doubt God.  We need to go to Him, just like Paul exhorted us to in Philippians 4.  We need to cry out to Him to help us believe. “I do believe, Lord help my unbelief!”  It may also be helpful to include others, asking them to remind us of what’s true about our loving Father that is with us.  And it’s also really important not to just read scripture, but to preach it to ourselves and to keep preaching it to ourselves rather than listening to the lies that whisper and sometimes SHOUT in our hearts.

Martin Loyd Jones, a Welsh preacher that lived in the first part of the 20th century explained it this way:

“The main trouble in this whole matter...in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?"


“You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself...you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.”

We’re constantly talking to ourselves.  Thoughts go through our head all day long.  But are we talking to ourselves about what is actually true? In the midst of being afraid, it’s not easy to believe what is true about God and to think about those things-that's why it's called a fight.  It really is a fight for faith.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fear Not: Part 5


(If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)


What does it really mean to weaken fear by fighting for faith in God?  Let’s look together for a minute at some familiar verses, found in Philippians 4:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

These verses mention two main ways we can weaken fear by fighting for faith in God:  first, by talking to Him-in other words, by praying and crying out to Him. And secondly, we fight for faith in God by talking to ourselves (essentially, by thinking about what is true).

The beginning of these verses pretty plainly say, “Don’t be anxious-don’t fear.  Instead-pray let your requests be made know to God."  And then, here’s what happens: the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.  We fight fear with faith by praying to God-pouring our hearts out to Him and asking for His help.  

So for example, when we face a really frightening situation like when we’re uncertain about the state of our finances, we can fight our fears by going to God.  “Lord, this is really scary.  I have no idea how You’re going to provide but I know that you’ve promised to meet our needs.  You provide for the birds! Please help me believe that you’ll provide for us, and please do provide. I know that You’re with me even though I don’t feel like it.  Lord, please help me to trust you!”  We weaken fear by fighting for faith in God through talking to Him.  Who else could we possibly talk to that can help us more than God himself?  

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Fear Not: Part 4


(This continues the series where I'm re-posting a message that I shared with the women of our church.  If you missed the beginning, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)
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There’s an analogy here that’s helped me think about how trusting in who God really is can shape my fears. Imagine that you’re on a walk with your brother who just happens to be a heavyweight boxer. He’s got muscles popping out everywhere.  He’s won every boxing fight that he’s ever faced.  The dude can seriously fight.

Now, let’s say you’re on a walk with your brother and a man suddenly approaches you and yells, “Hand over your purse!”

In that moment, you’re in a really scary situation.  But are you afraid?

Well sure, your heart’s probably still beating wildly but you’re certainly not as terrified as you would be if you were alone.  You’re probably thinking, “This guy doesn’t even know what he just got himself into!”  You’re not fearing because you know who’s with you.  You know that your brother can take this would-be thief out in an instant and flatten him like a pancake!  Not only does your brother love you, he wants to help you and he’s got the power to back you up.  It’s not a perfect illustration, but it’s helpful for me.

Our loving Father-God, is stronger than any boxer in the world.   And this powerful, loving God, this is the one who promises that He’ll be with us to strengthen, help, and uphold us.

Listen to what Charles Spurgeon tells us about the certainty that God really will help us:

“It is but a small thing for me, your God, to help you.  Consider what I have done already.  What! not help you?  Why, I bought you with my blood.  What!  not help you?  I have died for you; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less?  Help you!  It is the least thing I will ever do for you; I have done more, and I will do more.  I laid aside my glory and became a man for you; I gave up my life for you; and if I did all this, I will surely help you now.”

The cross has demonstrated once and for all that God really is for us.  Our God has promised to be with us and to help us.  So Isaiah 41:10 shows us that the fight to weaken fear is a fight for believing the truth about who God is; it’s a fight for faith in God.  The fight for peace is a fight for faith.



But what does it really mean to weaken fear by fighting for faith in God?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fear Not: Part 3


(This continues the series where I'm re-posting the message that I shared last year with the women of our church.  If you missed the beginning, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.)
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The reason that we’re called not to fear isn’t because scary things don’t happen (they do!) or because we can handle them on our own (we can’t).  The Israelites really were facing a very frightening situation that they simply could not handle on their own.  The reason that they were called not to fear, the reason we’re called not to fear is because of the truth of who God is.  This is how God wants us to weaken the influence of fear: by fighting for faith in Him.

God tells us, “Fear not for/or because: I AM WITH YOU."  Why are we called not to fear? Because God is with us.  He’ll never leave us; this isn’t just a nice idea or an isolated verse in scripture.  This promise is repeated over and over and over again in God’s Word.  Just one of many other places where this is said is Hebrews13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  He’s with us!




God tells us, “Be not dismayed for/or because, I am your God.”  Why are we called not to fear?  Because He is our God-ours!  He’s not a distant stranger; if we have put our hope in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we have a relationship with God as our loving Father. We’re His children!  He really cares about us because we’re His.  He promises this over and over again in His Word. For example, Isaiah 43:1 says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

God tells us, “I will strengthen you.  I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Why are we called not to fear? Because He promises to strengthen us! He promises to help us.  He promises to uphold us with His righteous right hand.

Think of the Israelites again.  They were in the desert for 40 years; a really frightening situation.  They were utterly dependent on God to provide even the very food that they ate.  And what did He do?  He gave them a new food that they’d never even heard of; He gave them manna.  He came through for them with just enough food for each and every day so that they wouldn’t starve.  God really did strengthen, help and uphold them even while their scary situation continued for decades and decades.  And this same God promises to strengthen, help, and uphold us.

This is who God is.  He’s our loving father that’s with us.  No matter what happens, He will strengthen us and help us and uphold us.  If we’re really believing this, shouldn’t it make a difference when we face things that are scary?

(Check back tomorrow for Part 4.)

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Fear Not: Part 2


(This post is part of a series where I'm re-posting a message that I shared last year with the ladies of our church.  To read Part 1, go here.)



Over the years, I’ve come to accept that I’m not an expert in many things.   I've had to accept that for whatever reason, apart from the Lord’s help, I am just very very prone to fear what is frightening.

Whether you’re a fear “expert” like me, or more casually aware of an occasional anxiety, we all are acquainted with fears.  In the midst of our fears and worries, something deep down within us wants to know...is it really possible to have lasting peace? If it is possible, how?  

We’re going to spend some time in God’s word this morning to see what He says about how we can weaken the influence of fear in our lives. Let’s turn together in our Bibles to Isaiah 41.  One passage that’s been especially helpful to me over the years in my own struggle against fear is found in this chapter. 

Isaiah is writing to the people of the southern kingdom of Israel.  In the early parts of Isaiah, God forecasts that the people are going to experience His judgment.  They’ll experience His judgment by losing everything they’ve held dear and taken refuge in in this world.  They’ll even lose their land and their homes.  Pretty scary situation, right?  But then later in the book of Isaiah, God begins speaking words of reassurance to His people, even as they face the prospect of a terrifying situation, of losing everything that’s mattered to them. Follow along with me in Isaiah 41:10 to hear the Lord loving speak to His fearful children: 

God tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you.  Be not dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

This call from God not to fear isn’t a judicial order; God wasn’t barking out an uncaring or exasperated command like, “FEAR NOT! “ That’s not the heart behind God’s words. These words are being spoken from the mouth of a loving Father that really cares about His fearful children.

Imagine holding your child that you deeply love in your arms-your child that’s crying and scared, afraid of the dark and looking to you for comfort.  You want to help this little one; you don’t want this child that you love to fear so you tenderly and patiently say, “Don’t be afraid.”  That’s how God is lovingly speaking these words to the Israelities-the same nation that’s well known for years before having wandered in the desert for 40 years, a nation that grumbled against God and forgot Him, a nation that doubted again and again that He’d provide.  God is lovingly speaking these words to the Israelites as a loving Father and He’s speaking them to us as well.

Do you see that when He says, “Fear not,” He’s saying it with love?  God is not merely a distant judge, He’s a loving Father.  Before we even cared anything about Him, He decided-He chose to make us His children.  He adopted us into His family.  “In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.” (Eph.1:4-5)  He is our loving father.

So we can see in Isaiah 41:10 that God lovingly calls us not to fear.  But there’s something else we need to see; we need to see the reason why He calls us not to fear.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fear Not: Part 1

Last year around this time, I did a series about the topic of fear.  A year might have passed, but I still need reminded of this stuff so I'm going to re-post it in large part for myself.  If it happens to help anyone else, well, that's great too!

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Recently, I had the joy of sharing at a women's meeting for our church.  The topic was something that each of us, men and women alike, are all too familiar with: fear.  I thought I'd go ahead and post the message in bite sized chunks for those who weren't able to make it.  
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Part 1
I’d like to start by telling you a story about a woman in this church.  You may or may not know her. It’s safe to say that we could probably characterize this woman as an “expert in fear.”   I’ve gotten her permission to share with you a bit of her story.  


Fear and anxiety had a grip on this woman even as a little girl. Even in elementary school and junior high she was so characterized by fear that she suffered from debilitating stomach aches.  She was so frightened about being alone that she begged her mom to sleep in her room each night.  She was so scared of talking with someone on the phone that she’d break out in a sweat whenever the phone rang.  Because she was so afraid of being seen as dumb, she rarely raised her hand to answer any questions in school even when she knew the answer.  She was so terrified of being kidnapped that she outright refused to go outside alone, even to the mailbox.


In high school, anxieties continued, even as her faith began to grow.  She was so frightened by the thought of getting into an accident that her parents literally had to make her get her driver’s license.  She feared falling short of the expectations of teachers, parents, and friends so much that she was perfectionistic in everything that she did.  She feared having nightmares to the extent that she dreaded going to bed at night.


These fears also ran deep in her relationship with God.  Because she was absolutely terrified of confessing any sin or really anything personal at all, she would feel sick even at the thought of giving a prayer request in youth group.  She was absolutely terrified of committing the unpardonable sin (even though she didn’t know what it was), worried that she would unknowingly commit it and be banished to hell forever.  Even though she was a Christian, she feared that maybe God wasn’t really who she thought He was-feared that maybe He wasn’t even real; this kept her up at night and she could hardly think of anything else.


The fears continued as she went away to college.  She was so anxious about the number of people in her lecture hall once that she had an anxiety attack, she broke out in hives and had to leave the room.  She feared falling into the same sins of drunkeness, sexual immorality, and worldliness that friends participated in so much that she felt panicky, even just being around them.  Because she was afraid that she might never get married, she struggled constantly with jealousy towards engaged and married friends around her.


And you can imagine how she has continued to struggle with fear once she did meet her husband and navigated learning to be a wife, not to mention getting pregnant and becoming a new mom.


This woman knew fear very well, didn’t she?  Fear was something she dealt with on a daily basis for years and years -it nearly overwhelmed her at points and even had physical consequences.  And I can verify that her fears about frightening things have absolutely consumed her at times.  I can verify that because this woman is me.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thirsty-First Year

I was with my awesome grandma last weekend. As usual, I left thinking about just how much wisdom she has, how much life she's lived, how much we all love her, and how beautiful she truly is.  My mom, my aunt, my grandma and I sat around my grandma's kitchen in small town Iowa, talking about the craziness of growing older.  Grandma said something to the effect of, "Oh, I know!  Sometimes I look in the mirror and I think, 'Who is that old woman looking back at me?  That can't be me.  83?  No.  I don't feel a bit like 83.'"


I smile now, thinking of how she shook her head, how she really just couldn't believe that so many years had gone by.  And it's so true, isn't it?  We never really feel "grown up."

Monday I turned 31.  I was awakened by the sound of giggling little children, dressing up in their "finest" to celebrate my birthday.  Tali had on a cute brown dress that she knows I like.  Owen put on khakis, an orange plaid shirt, his red Christmas vest, and of course his yellow suspenders.  When I went to change Addie Beth she said, "Mama!  I can't be wearin' pajamas for your birthday party!"  Adorable.
We all went out for the morning; Josh and the kids had planned to take me out for a "surprise" birthday lunch to Noodles and Company.  (I say "surprise" because Owen kept saying, "Mom, it doesn't have anything to do with noodles.  Nope.  We're not going to be doing anything with noodles for your birthday!")  After lunch the kids sang to me at the top of their lungs, completely unaware of anyone else in the restaurant.  I loved it.
(Sugared-up after the tasty Swirls Cupcakes we brought with us to Noodles)
When we got back home, I had some surprise cards stuck in my door (thank you, McRosties!), was blessed by lots of birthday wishes on FB and email, and talked with incredible family on the phone.

My dear friend, Karen came over to babysit and also blessed me with a thoughtful gift.  Then, as Josh and I were leaving to go out for dinner, my "like a sister" friend, Angie, brought me some homemade flourless chocolate cake.  (My fave!  And yes, I did lick the plate when it was done.)  So many blessings in one day. :)

We headed to dinner (tasty non-raw fish sushi...the only sushi this midwestern girl can handle) and I talked and talked while Josh listened and listened.  (He's had laryngitis so I've done lots of talking lately and he's done lots of listening.  Pretty fun, actually.)
My favorite part of the dinner was when he gave me a sweet note he'd written me.  The most memorable line? Hands down, "What do I pray in anticipation of your thirsty-first year?" :)  I'm still laughing about it because my husband is meticulous about his grammar and spelling.

But I also decided that calling this my "thirsty-first year" is a pretty awesome label.  That's what I want for this year.  I want to be a thirsty one.  I want to be thirsty for the things that matter.  I've already lived a lot of my life and I don't want to waste it.  I want to be thirsty this year.  Thirsty for more of Jesus.  Thirsty for appreciating my husband more.  Thirsty for enjoying my kids.  Thirsty for loving my family and friends and thirsty for serving even when it hurts.  Thirsty for living for what's eternal and lasting and not for what never satisfies.

Because 31 will turn into 81 in the blink of an eye.  And I'm already looking in the mirror like Grandma, thinking, "Who is that woman looking back at me?  That can't be me.  No.  I don't feel a bit like 31."
Thirsty-one.  So far I'm loving it.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Letter

As a part of the matching grant that we're being awarded from Hand in Hand, they asked us to write up a letter explaining where we're at.  Here's what we wrote:

Photo Credit: Misha Seger
Dear Family and Friends,

It is with huge smiles that we send this letter to you!  As many of you may already know, God has given us a desire to provide a “forever” family to a child through the process of adoption.  We love adoption because God loves adoption!  He has adopted us into His family, making us His children forever through Christ’s saving work (1 John 3:1).  And for us, adoption is just one way that we can spread His love and reflect it to a birthmom and a child in need.  

We’ve been walking down this path for a while and after a number of twists and turns, the Lord has led us to pursue adopting a baby (or twins/siblings) domestically.  We’ve completed our homestudy and the next step is for us to apply to agencies and lawyers’ offices.  Then, we will wait to be matched with a birthmom and hope to bring a new baby home within the next year (maybe as soon as this summer)!  

Adoption is really exciting, but it’s also really expensive.  Homestudy costs, legal fees, adoption agency fees (which include the cost for social workers to help the birthmom through this time), and travel expenses will likely total around $30,000.  To date, we still need about $20,000-which sounds crazy, except that we have God who has a heart for the fatherless, and who often uses crazy ways to provide.

In fact, we’re writing to let you know about one way that God has just provided for us. We were recently awarded a matching funds grant to help with the expenses of our adoption through Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc., a non-profit private operating foundation.  Hand in Hand will match any funds that are donated through our friends and family for the expenses of our adoption.  All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount.   All donations are tax-deductible.  

Here’s what that means: if you donate funds to Hand in Hand, with our name on the envelope, 

- they will pass along those funds to help cover the costs of our adoption; 
- they will send you a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution; 
- plus they will match up to a total of $3,000 given between now and May 18

A couple clarifications: anything donated after May 18 (even if our name is on the envelope) will not go to us for our adoption but will go to the general fund of Hand in Hand.  Second, any funds given before May 18, even after the $3000 match is reached, will go to our adoption expenses.  We're praying that God uses this grant to help us with the rest of our needed funds.

So if you would like to give through this way at this time, your gift can be doubled and will also be tax deductible.  You can find out more about Hand in Hand through their website, www.handinhandadopt.org. If you have further questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program please feel free to contact us (alreadyloveyou at gmail dot com).  You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have.  They can be reached at 913-248-5015 or by e-mail at handinhandadopt@gmail.com.

If you’re receiving this letter, we know that you’ve expressed a desire at some point along the way to support our adoption (whether financially, or through prayer, or through your personal encouragement).  We don’t want you to feel obligated at all to give, but we wanted to make you aware of this opportunity.  Thank you so much for wanting to be a part of the process of bringing our new baby home!

If you do desire to give, please send all donations made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by May 18 to: (for tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself).

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Josh & Katie Fenska
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS  66030

With grateful hearts,
Josh & Katie

(You can read more about the grant here.)

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Monday, April 9, 2012

An Adoption Grant Surprise!

I know that I've written a lot about adoption lately.  About how we decided to adopt domestically.  About our baby's birthmom.  About the challenges of the paperwork paling in comparison with The Cross.  But maybe you've been wondering for a while about a different adoption issue, wondering if I'll ever just come right out and say it.  Maybe you've been wondering, but you're just not sure how to ask.   "Just exactly how much does adoption cost?"


The truth is that it costs a lot.  Every adoption is different but ours will cost somewhere around $30,000+.  And yes-that is an absolutely ginormous amount of money (money that we currently do not have).  So what in the world does all that money go towards?  Here is an estimated list of costs (none of these fees are completely fixed-they vary from situation to situation):

Homestudy: $5000
Adoption Consultant: $1600
Agency/Lawyer Fees: $16,000-$25,000
(This includes counseling for the birthmom before & after delivery, help with some of her living expenses, possibly her medical fees, etc.)
Travel Expenses: $2500
Legal Fees to Finalize Adoption: $1250

Pretty crazy, isn't it?  So, that brings up another question:  "How much do we still need?"  
We need a lot.  As in the $20,000 kind of a lot.  We realize that's a little nuts but we also know that we serve a God who loves the fatherless and who goes to great lengths to care for His children.  We know that He will provide.  And one awesome way that He's doing that is through a matching grant we were just awarded from Hand in Hand Christian Grant, Inc..

Here's how this rockin' matching grant works:

If friends (like you) donate funds to Hand in Hand between now and May 18 with our name on the envelope, 

*  they will pass along those funds to help cover the costs of our adoption; 
*  they will send you a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution; 
*  plus they will match gifts up to a total of $3,000.
(A couple clarifications: anything donated after May 18, even if our name is on the envelope will not go to us for our adoption but will go to the general fund of Hand in Hand.  Second, any funds given before May 18, even after the $3000 match is reached, will go to our adoption expenses.)

We don't want anyone to feel at all obligated to give.  Still, we wanted to share with you about this awesome opportunity to join with us as we seek to bring our little one(s) home sometime this year (maybe even this summer).

If you do want to give, you can write your check out to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by May 18 to this address. (For tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself.)

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Josh & Katie Fenska
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS  66030

Thank you so much for all the ways you've supported us along this journey.  Thank you for your words of encouragement, for your prayers, for your giving, and for your excitement along the way.  We're so grateful!

(Hand in Hand asked us to provide the information below.  Feel free to look it over if you want or feel free to contact us with any questions.  Thank you!)
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You can find out more about Hand in Hand through their website, www.handinhandadopt.org. You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have.  They can be reached at 913-248-5015 or by e-mail at handinhandadopt@gmail.com.

(The following is the award letter we were given.  It explains the grant more in detail.)

Dear Joshua & Katie:
We have reviewed your application for a matching grant and are pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a dollar for dollar matching grant up to $6,000.  The specific amount received will depend on the amount of funds donated by family and friends on your behalf.  The grant amount includes both the funds raised and the funds matched by HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc.   If you raise $3,000 from family and friends,  HANDinHAND will match those funds for a total grant of $6,000.

All monies will be disbursed directly to your adoption agency, adoption lawyer or other adoption expenses after HANDinHAND has received an approved invoice from one of these sources.  Monies already paid will not be reimbursed.  Only outstanding balances will be paid by your awarded grant.  Monies will be disbursed up to the amount of the final awarded grant. Funds received over the grant amount will go toward your adoption expenses not to exceed the outstanding adoption costs.  Funds received over outstanding adoption expenses will help other children find “forever” families through the general fund of HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc. 

All donated monies must be in our HANDinHAND office or postmarked by May 18, 2012 to be considered in the dollar for dollar match for your specific grant.  Funds received after this time will go toward the general fund of HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc. to continue to help children find “forever” families.

In the case of a disrupted adoption, monies will be held for your use for up to 1 year from the disruption then after that time will be used to help other children and their families through Hand in Hand’s general fund. We are so excited to be able in a small way to help a child find a “forever” family.  Thank you for being obedient to God’s call in your life to help a child. We appreciate your heart and look forward to working with you in accomplishing this goal.

Sincerely,
Trudy A. George
President
HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc.






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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fun Spring Activity

Looking for a fun, inexpensive, and easy spring activity to do with your kids?  We made some colored rice to play with the other day and it was a huge hit.  * Warning: when your kids play with rice it will likely end up everywhere but it's worth it!*


Easy Colored Rice Recipe (kids can help with every step except the hot water):
1)  Put 2 cups of rice in a plastic bag.
2)  In a bowl, pour in 1 package of kool-aid and enough hot water to dissolve the kool-aid (about 1/4 a cup or less).
3)  Pour the kool-aid into the rice bag.  Seal, and mix it together with your hands.
4)  Pour the colored rice onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet or pan and use a spoon to even it out into one layer of rice.
5)  Let it sit outside in the sun for about 20 minutes or until it's dry.  (If it's not sunny, this will take a couple of hours.)
6)  Scoop it off and pour it into a container.  Let your kids play!
(As you're cleaning up a huge mess on the floor afterwards, repeat to yourself, "Making this memory with my kids was totally worth it.")

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Isn't There Another Way?

Last night my mind was running through all of the paperwork for adoption grants yet to be applied to, then to all of the paperwork yet to be filled out when we apply to agencies, then to all the paperwork that I don't even know about that will likely happen after being matched with a birthmom.  As I was mentally picturing all of these papers yet to be filled out and all of the papers that we've already done, well...I felt tired.  Then I thought, "Isn't there an easier way?"

God instantly brought to mind Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, staring into the cup of God's wrath that awaited Him as He looked ahead to the cross.  And He pleaded, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  (Matthew 26:39)  But He knew there wasn't another way.  Our sin completely separated us from God.  It was either Jesus endure incredible suffering and agony being hung on the cross, taking on God's full punishment for sin or God's children could not be a part of His family forever.  There was no other way.


I'm not trying to compare adoption paper work to the crucifixion of Jesus, believe me.  But, I think the Lord wanted to show me two things through remembering this.  First, no amount of suffering I go through compares to the suffering that Jesus went through for me.  He was still completely human while He was completely God.  So He completely felt every bit of that excruciating pain and suffering.  It wasn't lessened because He was sovereign and knew what was coming next.  And that pain?  Being utterly separated from His father and having every sinful thought, action, and word heaped on Himself, bearing the guilt and full weight of that sin even though He had never done anything wrong, and taking the punishment for it all...that is a pain unimaginable.

My weariness at all this paperwork?  It is real and it is hard but it does not compare to all that Christ went through for me.  I will never know what it's like to have every single sin of every single person put on me.  I will never know what it's like to then experience God's wrath and condemnation against all of that evil that I never actually did.  I will never know it because Jesus suffered in my place.

Secondly, adoption is not easy.  It wasn't easy for God to adopt His children into His family.  It wasn't easy for Him to send His Son to the cross.  It wasn't easy and pain free for Jesus to be crucified.  God's adoption of His children came at a great cost to Himself. Is it any wonder that there would be some hard things for us as we're in the process of adopting?

So when I picture the paperwork that awaits me, I want to be amazed at what Jesus has done to make me God's child.  I want to stand in awe as I remember that there was no other way.  And I want to thank God that Jesus didn't give up in the midst of the hard but said, "Not my will, but Yours be done."

* If you'd like to know more about becoming a part of God's family, here's a great link to check out and it'll be worth your time: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Silly Pig

Owen's a high energy kind of guy.  He will definitely sit still for a couple minutes to draw, but usually the end result looks like a frantic scribbled eruption of color.  Then, he promptly rolls, folds, and/or rips it up. 


The other day he'd been upstairs alone for way too long and everything was much too quiet so I went up to investigate.  I found him in my room on the floor, surrounded by markers and a piece of paper, grinning ear to ear. I was shocked when I saw that he had actually drawn a real picture!  His creation?  The silly pig.  He went into great detail explaining this picture to me.  My favorite parts are definitely the hearing aids and the suspenders.  Priceless.



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