Giveaway Winner and Reflection Verses

Thank you to each of you who left comments on my blog, comments on the Encouragement Cafe links, and the encouraging e-mails I received. I am so thankful for EACH of you! The winner of the free copy of Ann Voskamp’s “1,000 Gifts” is CJW! Please e-mail me at colleengyoung@gmail.com and send me your mailing address. Please put “book giveaway” in the subject line so I know it’s you. ūüôā

I don’t know where you all live, but here in New England, it is a beautiful Saturday morning. I woke up early and drove to the beach to walk and have my quiet time. I just wanted to share a couple of verses to reflect on this weekend:

Psalm 143:8~ “Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk for I give myself to You.”

Ephesians 3:18-19 “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
 
Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
 
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Heart Makeover and a Giveaway!

Good morning! If you found my blog from the¬†devotional I have running over at “Encouragement Cafe” , welcome! I am so glad you stopped by!
Learning the discipline of contentment is not easy. It is a daily lesson. However, it is something that God has desired for us so we can have fullness of life.

Not too long ago I was caught in the trap of comparing myself to others, wishing I had certain things that they had. God worked and worked, and I tried to ignore and ignore. Until He put the brakes on it. He literally gave me a heart makeover. Instead of wishing time away or wishing I had something I didn’t, He¬†taught me to see Him in each day~ whether it was a day filled with happiness and laughter or a day filled with struggle and tears. ¬†One of the simple prayers that I have started praying before I step out the door to begin my day is “God,¬†I want to see You¬†and hear from You today.” Some days He is obvious; some days I have to search. In the end, His fingerprints are there.

Contentment isn’t a lesson that was taught when everything in life was going smoothly. For me, it¬†has been the opposite~ it has been during times of struggle and hardship.¬†I have found that the valleys are God’s classroom and we can choose to sit in the front and learn as much as we can, or sit in the back and pretend to ignore Him.
The first step is meditating on His words. Pick a verse. Read it. Study it. Let it become the forefront of your mind. God’s promises are alive and active and have the ability to transform our hearts and mind. God’s Word is also our protection from any kind of sin, such as jealousy.
Then start writing. I think you will be amazed at how God shows up in each day. My journal has especially helped me during our adoption and track the faithfulness of God in big and small ways.

I would love to hear from you!¬†I am giving away one of my¬†most favorite books, “1,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Her insights about contentment and living each day to the fullest have been life changing and I would love to share this with someone. So, please¬†leave a comment below and check back here tomorrow or subscribe¬†for e-mail notifications on the right hand side to see who won!
Praying¬†that you see God’s gifts surrounding you today!

Reflection:

Psalm 118:24~ “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 116:7~ ” Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”


Psalm 108:1,3-4~ ” My heart is steadfast, O God, I will sing and make music with all my soul…I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Check out Ann Voskamp’s blog: www.aholyexperience.com for daily post on how to live a joy filled life!

Meditating on God’s Love

If you are dropping by because you¬†read¬†my devotional “Difficult but Beautiful” running over at Encouragement Cafe, welcome! I am so happy you are here!
Adoption has stretched my faith in more ways than I could ever expect. I am forever grateful. When I stopped to reflect on God’s adoption process for me and for you, I was blown away. There was sacrifice. There were tears. There was physical and emotional pain. Yet this was all directed by Love.
I was adopted by Jesus at 4 years old so for most of my life I have known that God loves me and have read about it and have talked about it. It is so easy to become complacent with such simple statements and not delve into the truth behind it. Adoption has deepened my understanding of the love that God has bestowed upon me and has caused me to meditate on what exactly His love means.

I want to share just a few verses with you that have spoken to me. I encourage you to take some time over the next few days and meditate on them, also. Take a walk before your day starts. Grab a journal and a cup of coffee or whatever you do to start your day that allows your heart to focus on the Lord. My prayer is that your relationship with Jesus will deepen because of what He did on the Cross.

Ephesians 2:4-5~ “But God is so rich in mercy and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 1:7-8~ “So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with wisdom and understanding.

Matthew 11:28-30~ “Come to me , all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

His love for us is deep, wide, and overflowing. We are adopted into His family when we come before Him with a repentant heart and acknowledge that without Jesus, we have separation from Him because of our sin. This separation is dissolved when we place our full trust in the Cross of Jesus and claim the forgiveness that Jesus has offered. By the Cross we become children of God and are forever adopted into His family. Just as when our baby comes home, he/she will be forever ours. Nothing can change that. So it is with God. Nothing can separate us from the love that He has given us.He will forever be our Father.
I continue to be humbled that the God of the universe, the Creator, has adopted me as His daughter. He is my Father; I am part of His family! It is just simply amazing.
I am praying for each of you today, that the message of the Cross will seep into your hearts and that the love of Jesus will become more real to you today than it has ever been.

Stones~Village of Poiana, Moldova

                         
 
Their faces showed innocence as they waited expectantly for their one new gift that they would receive this year. There were 26 small children, ranging from 1 years old to 4 years old, ¬†gathered in a tiny school house in the village of Poiana, Moldova. ¬†As I took in each precious face, I listened to the words of the principal speak of how the love of Jesus allows her to care for each of these children as her own. She makes approximately $50 a month because she gives about 90% of her monthly salary to make sure each child is able to have food each day. The parents of these children are too poor to provide food for them so the kids¬†eat 3 meals a day at their preschool.¬†Diapers are a luxury so the babies are often in soiled clothes.¬†I am convicted by this woman’s compassion and sacrifice. ¬†She goes without so they can be filled.

Adam and I caught each other’s eyes as we scanned the room and we smiled. As we said goodbye, though, our smiles turned to tears. We didn’t have to say a word to each other as we knew each other’s heart. As we looked at each boy it was like looking into Noah’s eyes. Each girl was as if we saw Hope. But it’s not the baby we will have in America. It’s the little boy or girl we left In Moldova back in April when we decided that it was time to pull out of the Moldovan adoption program.

This was our second time in Poiana. By revisiting it, it has driven us to continue to pray more earnestly for the orphans of Moldova as well as the government as they work to establish  structured adoption guidelines.  How our hearts are heavy for these precious children. How our hearts are heavy for our Hope/Noah.

 

Last year, we attended a marriage conference and listened to one particular couple speak of how for one year they left small stones around the world at places that were special to them. Adam and I loved this idea and have started that tradition.  Before we left Poiana, I pulled a small stone out of my bag and laid it on the outside wall as we left the school.  Adam put his arm around me and hugged me before we got in the van to leave. As we walked away, Adam took the stone and found a tree right outside the entrance to the school and buried it. Our hearts are forever there and will always be given to the children of Moldova.

As I write this, I am on the plane home from Moldova and am listening to some music. One of the lines to the song is “Greater things are yet to come…there is no one like our God.” I believe that with all my heart and believe this as I pray for the kids who are waiting to be in families.
Our God is a faithful God, isn’t He?