Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{{ nevertheless }}

A lot can happen in a year. Really. A lot can be learned in a year. A lot of mistakes can be made in a year. A lot of good decisions can happen in a year. A lot of memories can be made in a year. A lot of people can enter your life in a year. A lot of people can leave in a year. A lot can bring you to the feet of Jesus in a year. 

Look back on 2014, I'm amazed that I am where I am right now. It was a year of discovery for me. Discovering that I am not all I thought I was. I've discovered more and more flaws, more areas where I'm weak, and more and more of me. I've discovered that the Spirit of God cannot work through you unless you let Him. Which was a big thing for me this year. Learning to let go of the world and grab hold of Him. Turning from the voice of Experience to follow Fact. Because I've had too many times this year where I've followed Experience. I let it define the experiences I was having. I gave in to what I wanted more often than not, and it honestly grieves me to think about all the times I've fallen this year. The times where I turned my back on the widow and the orphan because it was uncomfortable for me. Times when I disobeyed the voice of Truth to do what felt good in the moment. There were too many times of being caught up in the lie that life was too hard, that my circumstances were special and warranted me complaining. Honestly, it hurts to say this, but a lot of this year was me discovering what I am apart from Christ. It was a year of conflicting mindsets.

But, then, comes my favorite word in Scripture.

{{ nevertheless }}

There have also been times of triumph in the past twelve months. Times where I called sin for what it was, and turned. Triumphant moments where I went to work, or to a meeting, or to the post office, confident of who I was in Christ and what that means. There were times where I stood amazed at the presence of God Almighty. Conversations that I walked away from assured that I did not speak in my Flesh. People came into my life that I can't imagine life without. Other people have flaws, yes, and I learned a lot about that as well, but people are also put into our lives to point us to Jesus. Yes, I've made mistakes, but the past month especially I've heard that wondrous word spoken by my King. Nevertheless. Nevertheless, He will forgive. He will redeem. He will take what is broken and turn something beautiful out of it. If I yield myself to Him, He promises to take my ashes and bring up beauty. I'm amazed at that. I'm amazed because right now I'm forgiven. Right now, writing this, sitting at my little white desk, looking out my bedroom window at Palisade Mountain, I am forgiven. That is big news! And I'm so thankful for it! There's been too many times this year of condemnation. Too many times where it's been me. Not any more. I'm putting the past behind me. I'm going to take a step forward in faith, forgetting what is behind. That's taken care of, and I'm only looking back long enough to learn from my mistakes. There is so much more available for me, for you, for us, in Him. Take heart and sprint faster. But rest in Him. They're seemingly two different things, but they go together so seamlessly. Running His race and resting in His promise. And knowing that, nevertheless, He is still God. 

Let's begin 2015 with the reality of that: God is God, and we are not, but He loves. And He is with us on this journey!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

blessings and lessons to learn.

I'm blessed.

I say that a lot, but it's true. I am surrounded by a fantastic family, amazing friends, and serve a holy, loving God. I live on a mountain, in the Rockies. People from all over the world come to see where I live. I have two new little sisters that I can't imagine my life without. Yes, it's challenging on a daily basis, and I've never before had to deal with certain things that I'm dealing with now, but it's worth it. Like a hole that we never knew was there was filled. I get to see the Lord work in people all around me. I watch waves of people come in and out of my church simply to fall more in love with Jesus and become rock solid in their belief. I've watched multiple orphan choirs come through as well, singing to the top of their little voices about the goodness of God (though I was younger than most of the kids during the very first choir!). I watch the lives of people change as they step forward in the callings that God has for them. And then, I'm blessed because my Jesus corrects me. Oh, how I long to be more like Him, even if it requires me giving up more of me. I'm amazed that He cares enough, that my parents care enough, to correct me when I wander off the path. You could call my faith foolish, or my relationship with my parents strange, but I wouldn't be where I am today without either one of those things. I'm blessed because of them. I'm blessed to have friends who truly understand me when I tell them what the Lord has been doing in my life; friends that I don't even have to be in communication with on a daily basis for them to still be fantastic brothers and sisters. I sit here and marvel at my life.

Because it's not my life.

I'm learning that. I'm being selfish when I make life about me, when I put what I want above what I or even you need. My eyes are being opened up to that, through adoption. It's crazy how the Lord uses things in our lives to teach us more about Him. And ourselves. When Nicol and Maria came into the family, the world shifted a bit, but everything does not revolve around them. It doesn't revolve around me, either. No one person is in the spotlight, as it were, and we all are equal. That's crazy, when you think about it. Nicol and Maria are not lesser than the Bios, and we're not in any way above them... we really are a family unit, all equal, and we work as a team. Thinking about that is when the Lord kind of shook me (He does that quite often nowadays). 

Do you not see it? My kingdom does not revolve around you. Or what you want, or think is best. It does not not revolve around the emotions of my saints, but my very heart for your life and the lives of others. And you are not above anyone else. Nor is anyone above you. You are all found in Me and that is where you should be concerned about being. Not in any calling or place, but in Me. I have a Body. A body works together. And you need to start functioning as one. You were adopted in. Grafted into this family tree.  Begin to act like a family unit. As a work force that is unstoppable, because I am at the head. Be a team. Wake up from your selfishness and serve where you are, because I need you there. I need you there.

I'm slow. And to be honest, I marvel that I am where I am. That the Lord works in the lives of His saints, even when His saints are slow to listen and quick to speak. But we're learning. I just have that feeling that something big and monumental is about to occur in the Church, but we need to wake up and get working. We won't be part of anything if we are sitting on the sidelines, living in the lie that life is all about us. 

Get up, and get on the race track. We need to sprint after the goal. Run after Jesus. 

Life is about Him, and I'm blessed by that.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

home at last \\ #therosensarehome

We're home! Finally! I don't even know how to properly articulate how happy I am to be home, although being overseas for an entire month taught me so much about what true happiness is, and true joy, and true contentment. Happiness and contentment are found in Jesus, not in the people we're around or the places we are. But we're home, nevertheless! Safe, sound, and extremely exhausted. You see, we've hit the ground running. We got to the airport late Tuesday night, where two dear friends (thank you, Philip and Michael!) picked us up and drove us home. But I'm jumping ahead. Let's go back to Monday night.

There's always a journey within a journey. Always a sub-plot within the adventure, if you will. We've been beyond blessed to find fantastic tickets and flights for six (and now eight) people, and Colombia is no exception. The Lord provided for our trip there, and He certainly did for the flight(s) back! Everything to get back home was just so expensive, but Mom and Dad found a series of flights that left late Monday night (late as in midnight :P) to New York City, and left late Tuesday night to Denver, all for a ridiculously good deal. The Lord provides. I'm just saying. 

We piled in the big van with all  of our luggage (I feel so sorry for the driver!) and set off to the airport. Nicol was rather nervous, but extremely curious, and when we got there, she had to be in on every little detail. At first I wondered why, because I've flown countless times, but then realized that this is monumental in her life. She's leaving the only city she has ever known. Heck, she's never been below 8,000 feet! This was a very big deal.  There were butterflies for everyone, I think. The Bios had them because we were going home, and Nicol was extremely nervous about flying for the first time. But once we got situated in our seats and the plane started taxi-ing, she didn't quite know what to do with herself. Takeoff was hilarious. She didn't want to look out the window, but Dad made her. She's glad now for that, but she was terrified in the moment!!

12 am flights never did sit well with us, I think.
 Then we landed in New York City. There were some who had funky attitudes, but the rest of us smiled anyways. I mean, we were in New York! I've wanted to come here my entire life, and now I was! Courtney Hartman, a dear friend of ours, picked us up at 7am. It was a cloudy, drizzly sort of morning, but we all crashed at her apartment for a couple hours, and then hit the streets of NYC. We only had a 15 hour layover, so doing everything was impossible, but we did hit some highlights. And Nicol and Nathan currently are obsessed with Balto the sled dog, and had to see the statue in Central Park. Dad fulfilled his promise to the boys about bringing them to the Empire State Building, and although I didn't get to go to Ground Zero (which was the one thing on my list. i have such a desire to go there) I saw the Freedom Tower from a distance, and was reminded once again of the freedom we have in America, despite all the mistakes and junk going on. We also went by the Rockefeller Center, saw the tree, and, although we couldn't go ice skating, watched everyone else for a few minutes. It was a good day.

On every street corner there were Salvation Army ladies dancing to their music, and when they discovered that this was Nicol's very first time ever in the States, they grabbed her hands and began to dance with her! It was so precious, seeing her smile and have so much fun. 

Dad and I were the only ones that wanted a picture
of this. Everyone else thought we were crazy. :P

I couldn't resist. :)

The best calzone we'd ever had. Obviously you can tell, by
our faces. Obviously.

|| freedom is never free ||
 We ate dinner and then headed back to Courtney's apartment. From there she drove us back to JFK airport, and we set out on our final leg!

Philip Hartman (Courtney's brother, who goes to our church) and Michael Morgan picked us up at the airport late Tuesday night. We piled in our van and their car, and began the long drive home (#themountain). We got in at two in the morning, but we weren't done yet! Even though she was tired, Nicol still had to see her new home. When we walked in the front door, there was such a peace that was waiting for us. Nicol was so peaceful as she took in her new room, with all of it's feminine splendor (we didn't think she'd like it, since she detests practically anything feminine!). But she loved it. I wish we would've captured her face when she turned around and just smiled. That big smile that says "I don't know what to I'm so overwhelmed! But I'm happy!" And within ten minutes, Maria had seen the entire house and was toddling around like she owned the place. Which was fine with me. :)  

Yes, she is wearing a His Little Feet shirt. Which
is more like a dress. It's super adorable. But seeing
her run around wearing a shirt that says "Reaching
children one step at a time" is kind of surreal.
This is real! We've adopted!

First breakfast!

she's a daddy's girl

We've already jumped back into the swing of things. For instance, Thursday we spent the whole day shopping for Nicol and Maria (they only came to us with the clothes on their backs, so they don't have a ton), during which they got their first Costco experience. That was fun :)  And yesterday, Friday, we woke up, hung lights on the house, and then headed to Centerra to spend the afternoon and evening hanging with friends and ice skating (within thirty minutes Nicol was flying by with no help from any of us. We did have quite a few spills, though :). It was SO good to be reunited with a lot of my best friends, and to have Nicol meet a lot of the people we've been telling her about. When in Colombia, Nicol and I had FaceTimed a good friend, Mia, and she got to meet Mia last night. Already I believe they're going to be the best of friends.

I'm pretty much always the one that makes the crazy face. Always.

They really are best buddies!

Dana and Nicol

a good evening spent with the bestest of friends

Yup. They'll be fine. :)

Karen and Maria

He had scared her at first, but as she warmed up
to him she started giving high fives. :)

the fantastic four. back together again!
Of course, being back in the States means life is normal again. And normal life for the Rosens isn't your version of normal. If you've known any of us for any period of time you know there is no normal in our family! Lately our car has been having issues, like the doors not working, etc. So, to wrap up the evening, we go to get in the car, and the door falls off. I'm not lying. Or joking. This seriously happened. And it would happen to us, too. So back inside the house we all go as Dad, David, Mr. Lozada (or Tio Izzy as he's being called now :), and Mr. Coleman put their brilliant minds together to figure out how to get it back on. David laughed and told me, "I don't even have my permit yet and I'm fixing cars!"

So, we're home. I'm not sure wether to laugh or apologize to Nicol for coming into our family, but she's getting a taste of normal life with us! She's called us all crazy on multiple occasions, but that's okay. I thought that life would be the way it always was, and it is, but different, if that makes sense. It's so much better than I ever thought it would be. There's so much to work through on a daily basis. It is literally dying to your flesh moment by moment, and if you don't, it's miserable living. But that's not only true for my situation. It's true for all of us. 

When we are not living harnessed by the Spirit of Almighty God, life really is miserable, because we're living by our strength, in our efforts, in our flesh. I'm learning that really is just a series of decisions. It's made up of little moments, little things, and little decisions, that make up the big things. If you choose to live in the flesh, that affects not only the moment. but moments later. To him who knows to do right and does it not, to him it is sin. To follow Jesus, and live in the Spirit, is right. And when we choose to walk in our emotions, and what we feel, we sin. And sin always affects not only us, but others, too. The people around us are supposed to see Jesus when they look at us. We're His bride. It's time we step up to our calling and act like it. It's just a choice, like everything else is. Choose the Spirit. Choose to be lost in Him, so that all you are is found in Him. Choose joy. Choose His baptism. And choose life. Smile in the hard times, because that's when others are looking for hope. I want to show others how to face the difficulties, the rainy days, with His life. With His character. Let's do that. 

Oh, did I mention it's good to be home?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

my family // expanded edition

Wow. If you don't believe in miracles, I highly recommend you take back your unbelief and believe... because there is really no other explanation for the past three weeks of my life! It's crazy, really. The usual time for families to be here in Colombia is six to nine weeks, and that's without interruptions such as holidays, etc. But we're going home this weekend!!! People!! That's us being here for just over three weeks! I'm still in shock, honestly... sentencia is today and for those of you who don't know, "sentencia" is us signing the official document stating that the girls are ours, officially! And legally! Which also means that I can tell you their names (instead of just referring to them as N and M) and show y'all pictures! (I've been setting aside special pictures here and there to whip out for this occasion:)  So without further ado, I'd like to introduce my family {now expanded}!

The Rosen 8! All of us! L to R: me (Kate, 16), Nicol, 11, Mom, Nathan, 8,
Dad, Maria, 2, Anna, 14, and Stephen, 12


Meet Nicol Rosen. She's eleven, and is about the height of Nathan. If you don't know how tall Nathan is... well... I guess you won't know their size :). Nicol and Nathan are best buddies. They are sooooooooo cute together. Seriously. Partners in crime, and I'm not joking. They laugh. All. The. Time. As for Nicol and I, we are learning what our relationship looks like. It's strange and difficult, merging two lifestyles into one, and expecting it to all work out. But it's good. Really. Sometimes she'll give me an unexpected kiss on the cheek, or will run up to me laughing her head off and just hug me while giggling. Other times she's more serious and standoffish. Anna has become a go-to for her, I think, because she can speak the most Spanish of anyone in our {biological} family. Nicol has opened up to Anna in the past few days, sharing about things that we didn't think she'd talk about for a while. And Anna is there to love her, and hug her, and just hold her hand. I have the most amazing sister.  As for her and Stephen, he's the big brother.  They play together but he's definitely more mature than she is and is trying to set an example of what a godly young man looks like.

ps. Anna is like my hero. I'm not lying.



 Meet Maria Rosen. This little two year old (JUST turned two!) is a ham. And is extremely awesome, since she's potty trained and can handle a fork and spoon just like the rest of us! *insert heart eyes* She's in love with her daddy (she calls him 'Poppy') and will snuggle with him forever. Seriously. Her smile is the sweetest, and her hands on your cheeks are precious. The best feeling in the world (and this rivals anything I've felt!) is her arms wrapped around your neck for a hug and her little lips kissing your face. She particularly likes kissing Dad's nose. And pulling his lips, and tickling him, all the while saying "tickle tickle tickle!". It's precious. And Dad's smitten, too. It's hilarious, sometimes, their relationship. When she's being sweet, but her little fingernails are digging into his face, he'll sit there with a look of pain and joy. At the same time. I just laugh, and he says, "We're bonding. It's very important to bond!" Oh – and she also sings along to "How Great Is Our God" in Spanish. Which is fantastic. Enough said. 

She's learning to call him Daddy, and it's 
sooooo precious.

The sisterhood has expanded! :)

We used to be the Fantastic Four (Mom calls us her BFFs [biological first four])
but now I suppose we're the Super Six...? *still figuring that one out*

my girls

We've had some ups and downs since that Thursday afternoon at the ICBF office, some of which are hilarious and some which are really hard and stretching. But I'm learning that there is grace available. Strength for those times where you don't have it. But that's okay, because He does. But sometimes I wonder if it's adoption related, or if it's just our family. If you know us, or me, you'll understand that we make life... interesting. :)  But just yesterday we took a train to the Salt Mines of Zipaquira and then ate lunch at a little nearby town. Poor restaurant owners, they tried to squeeze eight bodies around a tiny little table, which resulted in spilled drinks, a broken plate, and rice on the floor...and none of that involved the new additions!  (*confessions*) ;)

The very first time I met Nicol and Maria…
 I was smiling big, happy smiles! 

Yep. She fits in perfectly. =)

It's crazy how much us four kids (the Bios) have grown closer in just this three weeks. I didn't know how this would affect us, but we're learning to turn to Jesus and each other when we're overwhelmed, or hitting a rough spot. It's humbling for me at times, but sometimes you need to lean on others to grow stronger. It's called teamwork or the Body. And we're learning how to lead by example, and let the parents be the parents (*guilty*), and just have fun with Nicol and Maria. We're connecting with them. It's going to be rough, but Jesus slept in the storm. So we will, too. Trusting Him.

Some of our adventures thus far....

  • The "Tourist Train" from Bogota to Zipaquira. We had a two hour ride of live music, "real tamales", "chocolate caliente", chatting, and enjoying the countryside. Colombia really is a beautiful country.

  • Salt mines in Zipaquira. That was really fun, until Maria had to use the restroom as we're in the middle of a mountain, in the middle of the tour. Also, Anna and I have been watching too much Lord of the Rings, I think, so our imaginations were going a bit wild.... but we survived ;) {as in too much I mean waiting for the rest of the kids to go to sleep so we can grab the iPad and open Netflix. Don't judge}

  • La Candelaria in old Bogota. This is the historic government district in Bogota, and it has amazing little coffee shops, and markets, and open squares where you can feed pigeons. Maria wasn't quite sure what to think about it, but Nicol had a great time watching Stephen's reaction to them, as did all of us...

Yeah. Only we would ask for a picture like this one... 

  •  Deciding to walk in the pouring down rain on a Sunday afternoon to our favorite restaurant, which was closed because it was Sunday. We never even thought to bring umbrellas, so the Americans made use of the available materials! ;)

  • Lighting candles for a Colombian holiday {which basically announced that Christmas is here}! Nicol had such a fun time twirling in circles and whipping out some dance moves while wielding her sparkler.

  • We did have a fun reunion here in Bogota a couple nights ago! We've been telling Nicol all about Colorado, and showing her pictures of places and people that she'll go and meet, but I'm sure that in her mind it's all so far away and foreign. Weeellll, Saturday night we jumped in a taxi after a long day of strolling about La Candelaria (old Bogota/historical district) and headed south to a part of the city we hadn't been before. We met up with a group of friends from Ellerslie who are down here for a missions trip at a local orphanage, and spent the evening hanging out, catching up, meeting the alumni we hadn't met, and worshipping. Crazy how there's a bond between people who don't know each other or do, but only on the surface, because of Jesus. I love it. And it was good for Nicol to see a glimpse of what life is like back home, what the people and the atmosphere is like. She met possible EPA teachers, and some of my best friends. At one point Maria fell while playing and got a pretty nasty knot on the back of her head, and would not stop crying for at least a half hour. Some of the guys (Cam and Peter, I believe) whipped out the guitar and we began to sing worship songs. Nicol watched with curious eyes, and almost instantly Maria settled down and it was so peaceful. We sang song after song of praise to Jesus, laughing when we couldn't remember lyrics, and then singing acapella to finish it all off. We even got a classic Ellerslie sendoff from their guest house, much to the surprise and shock of our taxi driver... poor guy, I don't think he knew what to do with it. :) I went home happy. Happier than I've been in a while. Fellowship with the Body does that to you, I think.

Ah, Bethany and Destinee! I seriously *love* my friends. 
They're more than that – they're my sisters. =)

both me and Destinee have obsessions with panos, I think, because we
both took a ton within two hours :P :)

It's all my people!!! 

So, there's an update. A bit scattered, I know, but it's me trying to show you the past three weeks of my life in a blurb. Do you know how bad I've wanted to show you all my family since that Thursday afternoon? Really bad. So sorry for inundating you with a zillion and five pictures

This is only the beginning. It's hard, and scary, and full of unknowns. There are situations from back home that are I'm still having to walk through, and days when I just don't want to die to my flesh and not let the Spirit live through me. But I'm learning that every day, no matter what situation (even when you feel like you're dying at times!), you have a choice. You can choose to embrace the hard times, accept the correction, and live in that moment filled with the life of God, or you can give in to how you feel. I wasn't created for an ordinary life. This is more than I ever thought I'd get! But it's good, and full, and rich, and fun. Definitely has downs. And it for sure has happy moments. Which I'm living for. So I'm praising God that I have two more little ones sleeping next to me tonight (legally my sisters now!), and that I have the opportunity to show Jesus to them. What a fantastic gift. And privilege. 

*big smiles*