Sunday, April 24, 2011

Only God.....

Today our son Noah will have been home with us for 5 months! All I can say at this point is that God is good (too good to us) and that Noah is really the most remarkable child I know.

Most people are amazed when they hear him speak, at just how quickly he has learned English, and how well he understands what others say. This is really outstanding, and he has blown us away with acquiring English, don't get me wrong, but I don't think this is the most amazing thing Noah has done. Others, including his preschool teacher, remark about how smart he is- he indeed is a very intelligent little man, and while we are so proud of him, I also do not think this is what makes Noah so remarkable. And still others are amazed at how healthy Noah is, despite the fact that he lives with a chronic illness and has to take 9 pills each and every day. We are so very grateful for how well Noah has done managing his illness and that God has given him a strong and healthy body, but even this is not what I think of when I think of what makes Noah so amazing.

The first week that Zack and I spent with Noah in Ethiopia, we didn't hear him speak a single word in Amharic to anyone, rarely saw any emotion other than sadness, and certainly did not see many smiles. I blogged about our time there, and I am not sure how much I let on to the fact that we were worried, but we were very worried! We just didn't know if Noah would naturally have the desire to attach to us and to love us, given all he had experienced in his short life. But we knew God had called us to adopt this precious child, so we did out best to trust God depsite our fears. When I returned to bring him home almost 5 months later, I saw more smiles, but the fear remained both on Noah's part and mine. I am being brutally honest when I say that as we got on the airplane to come home, I felt like I was bringing a complete stranger home ( I am sure Noah felt the same about me), and I wasn't sure if I could parent an almost 5 year old- I was a little envious of the parents bringing home babies, as I had been there done that- this was a whole new ballgame.

But, as time went by, as God remained merciful and faithful to us, as Noah remained patient with us, as many family and friends prayed for us, God began to work in all of our lives, and that is when we began to see the most amazing thing about this little boy- his heart.

Despite the loss he has experienced, the living conditions he experienced in Ethiopia, not having a family, being institutionlized for more than a year, then coming to a whole new world with people he really didn't know or trust, Noah's heart is beautiful. God has healed his heart, and continues to heal his heart, so that he can love us, love his grandparents, and especially his little brother. This love that Noah has for us, in my mind is the most amazing thing! He has made friends, and cares for them as well. He is sensitive, as anyone could see as he watched the Passion Play at our church. From the time Jesus was crucified until He arose, Noah didn't quit crying. He is appreciative, as he is always saying, "Thank you, momma" for the slightest, tiniest thing. He wants to help others, and quite often I catch him helping Caleb put on his socks, or helping Caleb get into his car seat. And all of this in just 5 short months- 5 months! Only God could have done a miracle like this in Noah's life- we are just blessed to have been a part of it.

So many times I have read what a blessing adopting older children can be. So many parents of older adoptive children have encouraged us along the way. I will say, in the beginning, my selfish heart wasn't quite sure if this was true. But now, I can undoubtedly say that adopting a child that is older is such a blessing, and one of the most beautiful examples of how God takes us into his family and heals our hearts as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Hate All Your Show.....

At Christmastime in the Caldwell family, names are always exchanged for gift giving. This past Christmas, Zack's cousin Joey got my name, and I received a wonderful gift. A great book, a mug, and two great Cd's, one of those being the International Justice Mission's "Freedom Project". This cd has some of my favorite artists, like Toby Mac, Third Day, Jars of Clay, and on and on. The songs are all about justice- the justice that the Bible speaks about, the justice, that as Christians, we are commanded to bring to those who so desperately need it. This, afterall, is part of why Jesus came (see Luke 4:17-21). There is one song, inparticular, that God has really been using to speak to me as of late. I admit, the first time I heard it, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Not because of the music, but the lyrics- This song pulls no punches, and hits pretty close to home, as you might guess from the title of the song, Instead of a Show. It is performed by a guy named Jon Foreman from the band Switchfoot, and is basically taken straight out of the book of Isaiah, chapter 1. If you haven't read this chapter, open your Bible and see what God has to say. He doesn't care so much about the formality of worship as he does how we treat others. So what does this mean for us, for me? I think it means we better take a close look at our lives and ask ourselves: Is my life just a show, something that looks good on the outside, or am I living my life the way Jesus did, doing what Jesus did- reaching those who need his love and mercy the most? That's a tough question. I know for me, it is easy to go to church, help out with children's programs, and sing in the choir. But it is not so easy to love the hard to love people, to make time in my life and room in my heart for those who don't fit into "my plan". I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to the song below.