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Archive for April, 2011

He is Risen!

 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 

Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 

And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me…

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

-Matthew 20:1-10, 16-20

May you rejoice this day in the glorious salvation given us by our LORD Jesus Christ!

HE IS RISEN INDEED.

We trust and hope that next year’s Easter picture will be of our family of six!

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Already and Not Yet

This post has been several weeks in the making… unfortunately.

And fortunately.

Or more like it: providentially.

It has taken me many, many days to wrap my head and heart around what God did on March 3.  The day we saw a beautiful little face that we now know was not meant to be ours… but we had no idea at the time.

Let me explain.

I had felt a tug for a couple of months to look at our agency’s waiting child listing, a place where pictures of children who aren’t yet matched with families — mostly because they are older than toddler age — show us faces and ages, glimpses of little personalities and longing eyes.  I thought God wanted me to start praying for specific children to find homes.

So on March 3, I finally called the agency to request the new password to access the site.  I was actually on the phone with the waiting child coordinator while I typed the password into the computer.

And then I saw her.

A sweet three-month old baby girl, with beautiful full lips and a head full of loose curls, sitting up in a Bumbo chair with some milk dribbling out of the corner of her mouth.

I think I stuttered something incoherent before coming to my senses enough to ask about this child, who found herself outside the normal referral channels because of her potential for serious medical issues.  Serious enough that they would cause Bryan and I to pray fervently, petitioning God not only for a sign as to whether we should ask to move forward with her, but for Him as our Great Physician to protect her from harm and sickness.

Her name is M.

After 24 hours, we confirmed to the agency that we did want to review her file if we were the highest priority family.  The agency had informed parents that they would wait for a certain day to gauge interest, then the family who was most paper-ready and highest on the wait list would be given her file.

We knew it was a long shot.  After all, we were #30 on the list at the time.

Yet we hoped… and the momma heart that I had pushed to the back of my consciousness, not willing it to beat for fear I would drive myself crazy in what we expected would be many more months before a referral was possible, dove to the front and through a door that suddenly appeared to be cracked open.  I couldn’t sleep.  Over the next several hours and days, I kept returning to the computer, looking at her picture (always open on our desktop) and praying, wondering if she was meant to be ours.  The feelings were overwhelming.

Four days later, we received an email telling us her paperwork had been given to a family higher on the list… and a few days after that, we were notified that we had moved to #29 because a referral had been accepted.  Her referral.

The twenties were a milestone we had been waiting for for months, yet getting there under these circumstances was beyond bittersweet.

And as a result… I have been changed.

I couldn’t have honestly said this even two months ago… but today I am no longer just a “potential adoptive parent”.  I am a momma times four already… to our three littles and a baby girl halfway around the world, a child I have not yet seen.  Whose face has not yet graced my computer screen.  Who today may be awaiting her paperwork in an Ethiopian orphanage, or perhaps may still be in her birthmother’s womb.

And I can’t push back this longing any more.

Because God used sweet little M, even the unrealized potential of her, to move me to a place of preparedness for the child who will come.  In fact, her arrival is closer with each passing day.  Her name is on our lips, and someday that name will grace a new birth certificate attached to our last name.

This unknown child is ours already… and not yet.

Which, by the way, is making me a little nutty.  I may not have pregnancy hormones raging… but ironically the way I feel is not all that dissimilar.  Only this particular brand of craziness does not have a definite end date (sorry hubby!).

God is showing me through this process, this journey-before-the-journey, just a tiny glimpse not only of the expanded motherhood that is to come but also of the extent of His grace and mercy to me, which — like the love I have for our newest child — is a gift I hold completely yet know only in part.

So though it makes me crazy, it also gives me comfort.  He knows.  And the events of these past several weeks are not outside His plan.  In fact, He used them to bring me to this place of expectant longing.

Which is right where I need to be.

And for that I will praise Him.

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This is seriously one of our kiddos’ favorite things to do: play music!   And they actually all GET ALONG WELL while doing it.

Serenading Mommy on my birthday

Music is quickly becoming serious business in the Starr household.  It’s in their genes… on Mommy’s side, anyway (I used to be a musician back in the day).  Jonah is already finishing up his third year at Children’s Music Academy, an amazing program where he has learned music theory, piano, rhythm, ear training, and now guitar and recorder.  The boy knows intervals by ear… at age SIX.  I’m telling you, if I could sing (CMA founder and Jonah’s teacher) Jan Cross’ praises all day, every day, it would not be enough.

Jonah at his first CMA recital (January)

Jonah performing with his class at the CMA recital

Posing with his wonderful teacher, Mrs. Cross!

The younger two have also caught the music bug, assisted by Nonna (my mom) and her thoughtful musical Christmas gifts: a stand microphone and toy guitars.  Bode is chomping at the bit to start his own CMA classes with Mrs. Cross this fall, and Annie… well, she’s convinced she’s a rock star already.

This boy takes performing SERIOUSLY.

Annie putting on one of many solo performances

Every rock star must have the attitude that comes with it...

I’m thinking in about 10-12 years, we’ll have ourselves a little Nickel Creek-esque band.  Which will pay for their college tuition… and their parents’ retirement.

An early-years band rehearsal

At least that’s the best plan we’ve come up with so far!  😉

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Last Friday, April 1, marked our baby girl’s second birthday.

Still shaking my head in disbelief as to how this precious wee thing…

Has grown what feels like overnight into this (almost) running, (almost) jumping, jubilant toddler.

Many of you know the struggles Annie has had during her short life, specifically dealing with a kidney disorder and accompanying concerns regarding her growth and gross motor development.  We have asked for prayers from others… and we have been up countless nights on our knees for her… pleading with God to help her crawl, to gain the strength needed to walk.  We rejoiced at each little sign of progress: when she finally crawled at 15 months old, when she walked a few cautious steps at 21 months old.

And I am beyond pleased to report that at her two-year check-up a few days ago, we heard the words we — and our pediatrician, for that matter — didn’t think were possible so soon:  “Her RTA is gone, and she is tracking normally for a two-year old on her gross motor skills.”

All we can say in response is Praise Jesus, for through Him alone are all things possible.

We could not have guessed how wonderful — and challenging — life would be with a little girl.  With this little girl.  And we wouldn’t trade a single moment.

May God bless you as you continue to grow in Him, our dear Annalie.  May He fill you to overflowing with His grace and mercy… and mold you into a faithful, noble, and kind daughter of the King, just as He designed you to be.  We can’t wait to watch His plans for you unfold.

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