Thursday, November 27, 2014
In the past three months of my life I have built such deep friendships. I've needed that. I've gotten closer to people that I've only known on the surface, I've been through tough situations with them. Seeing how they've each walked through extremely hard circumstances has heightened my respect and love for each one of them. Seeing Jesus in them. I have seen friends turn into family, and I've gained some fantastic brothers and sisters. I'm so grateful for you. You know who you are. Just thought I'd let the few of you know just how much you mean to me.
I'm in Colombia this morning. With a family of seven more people. That is some serious stuff to be thankful for. But isn't it funny how the enemy comes in and attempts to twist your mindset, so that you only see the negative sometimes? I will not let him. No matter how hard he tries. I'm going to stay in my Strong Tower. I'm going to keep the mindset of Christ. It's all about mindset. And I'm going to be thankful. There's so much to be thankful for. I have two fantastic little sisters that have joined our family. And it's only been a week! What's crazy is that N is exactly like me and Anna. Exactly! She's very expressive, laughs a lot, likes being around people, and actually is silly right along with the rest of us! I'm beyond amazed that it's this way... but Jesus knew that. I'm a thankful for that. I'm thankful that we're this close to the end of this whole process, that we're only waiting on a couple more things from the Colombian government before the girls are ours. Yes, there have been delays here, and possibilities of us being here longer than we'd like, but if it takes three months of being here to form Jesus in me, than I'm thankful for it! I'm thankful that M has been sleeping better the past two nights than she did at first. I'm thankful that N is patient with my Spanish, that she laughs off something if I say it wrong. I'm thankful for her smile. It rivals mine, y'all. Just sayin. I'm thankful for the little things. Like smiles. It really does make the day better.
I'm thankful that I have two amazing parents like my own. Many of you know them – and I'll be shocked if they haven't changed or impacted your life in some way. They spent their 19th anniversary running around Bogota with six children. They gave up any alone time to pour into us. They gave of themselves to see that we were cared for and happy... and then some more. I'm grateful for the way they make sure that I'm okay. That I'm not turning to anything else but Jesus. I'm thankful for the lives they lead and the legacy they've already built. I'm blessed.
I feel like I'm rambling, but today my head's in a million different places. Today is Integration Day, where N and M officially say "yes" to us. It's Thanksgiving Day in my favorite country. It's the day after a miracle happened to my grandpa... he had multiple strokes, but the doctors have put him on the road to complete recovery, which will be less than 3 months. I'm living in the middle of a miracle, being surrounded by seven people who love each other. I'm thinking of people back home, and how much I'm blessed to have them in my life. I'm thinking of you. Yep, you, wether I know you or not. I want you to know that you're a blessing and that Jesus is so madly in love with you. He wants you.
I'm overwhelmed by the grace that has been given to me by the Lord. The grace and strength to hold fast to convictions, to not compromise, to love with all my heart, even when it hurts so badly. I can't believe I've been given the chance to live like Jesus, and to spread His name to the nations. I can't believe that I've been surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ that are willing to bring me to Jesus every time I talk to them. I'm thankful for forgiveness of sin. For grace. For mercy. For the Holy Spirit. I'm thankful that I'm content where I am. That Jesus knows what He is doing. That He is in control of my footsteps... that I belong to Him. Gah!!
I'm just thankful. There's too much to say here. Do you ever feel that way?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
My great-uncle told this to my sister a few weeks ago at my grandma's funeral, and it has stuck with me ever since. It's one of those statements that hits you square in the chest when you first hear it, and then the next time you revisit it it has the same effect. Today joy is something that we usually associate with things or a specific time season. We are joyful when our circumstances are easy and light. It's easy to be filled with joy when everything is going how we'd like it to. But that's not real joy. That's not real happiness.
- place or means of safety, protection, refuge, or stronghold
- place of safety, fastness, a harbor
- refuge (of God)
Friday, November 21, 2014
We arrived in Ft. Myers, FL, Tuesday evening, and stayed with a friend and his family. Dad has worked with Dan on many projects, and it was really neat seeing the fruit of dad's work manifested as Dan showed us the homeless shelters they had built and the many ministries that dad had done promo videos for. After we got a tour of Dan's church's ministries Wednesday morning, he drove us to the airport, and we were on to the next bit of our adventure! The flight attendants all spoke Spanish, and I was reminded that I'm going to be the minority. No mas Ingles, people! We boarded at 3:22 and got situated in our seats. I personally was made very happy with the discovery of a USB charger for my iPhone... which was pretty much dead by that point. And then we began to taxi, and I felt that pounding in my chest again... this was real. I was actually flying to South America! There was no more thinking about a someday, but we were actually going! I've traveled internationally before, but I don't remember the flight experiences because we flew when I was two years old. All of us Rosen kids were a bit excited: the boys because the flight attendants *actually* served us dinner for free, Anna because we were actually going, and me because I got to watch Lord of the Rings for the first time. Yes, I quite enjoyed it. We flew over the ocean... some people get freaked out about that, but it didn't really bother me. When we flew over Cuba I wished I had internet so I could text some friends of mine that are Cuban... I'm weird that way. :) No, they've also been a big part in this adoption. But as we neared Bogota all of us girls got really emotional... I began to feel a little of what Jesus must have felt in the Garden... it was literally saying goodbye to life as I know it and embracing the future. That is where the life is, anyway. Then we landed. All of us were freaking out!
Thursday morning we left our hotel and took a walk around the streets of Bogota. I've already fallen in love with this city... it's surrounded by mountains, too! I haven't been to a lot of big cities, so this was a new experience for me. I'm liking it, so far. ATMs in Spanish, though, are fun to watch my parents handle. We ate lunch at a little market not far from our hotel, and then rushed back to the rooms to get ready for the ICBF meeting. My hands were shaking the whole time I was straightening my hair, and Anna was freaking out. Mom couldn't remember any Spanish, and began to mix English and French. You can tell when she's nervous. :) It was crazy, though. I wasn't scared anymore. I had given my fears to the Lord, and I knew that He was going to take care of it all. I've begun to look at life through the lens of taking one step at a time. I don't need to worry. The van picked us up at 1 o'clock, and we drove to the other side of Bogota (which is comparable to NYC) to the ICBF offices to meet the girls. But, because of traffic, they ended up being quite a bit late.... which had all of us quite stressed out! Finally, when they did show up, mom and dad had to stay in the room with the attorney for a meeting, but they took us kids to go meet N and M and wait for the meeting to be over. Nerves, anyone?! I was completely surprised by N's reaction to us. She enveloped Nathan in a big hug and wouldn't let go for at least two minutes. I picked up M and she smiled her cute little smile that I've grown to love so much. We were all left in a small room together and looked at each other with awkward smiles that seemed to say, "Now what?" But then N started to laugh. I know some of you say that y'all love when I smile, but I've got nothing on her smile and her laughter. It blows me away. It's practically angelic. N is Nathan's size, although she's eleven, and so I really enjoyed being taller than her.... a lot taller than her! ;) We said what we could in Spanish, but mostly just smiled, and laughed, as we played with a balloon. I'm learning how to play again. It's a fun process. After a while mom and dad's meeting finished, and they got to meet my sisters, who I'd already grown to love. That was an amazing meeting!
We headed back to the hotel all together (we're complete now!) and were surprised to find that the ladies that run the hotel had cake and tea waiting to celebrate the "gotcha date" of N and M. There were lots of big and happy smiles. After that we had balloon wars, and then dinner. What a first meal together.... gah! Getting ready for bed was fun. Showing them their new clothes, and brushing our teeth side by side, and then asking N where she wanted to sleep. She decided to sleep with Anna, and so I had to "endure" hours of them under the blankets, giggling and talking. Apparently they thought it would be fun to take pictures of me sleeping, and rushed to see who had just texted me (the time difference is two hours, so when I'm sleeping you most likely aren't :). N is precious. Already I love holding her close, or just having my arm around her. Dad is M's favorite, I think. He gets all giddy when she reaches for "Poppy". Over all we're a pretty happy family. It's been less than 24 hours of having the girls with us, but I have a pretty strong feeling that we're going to live happily ever after. Thank you guys so much for praying, and I'll try to keep y'all updated as I can. I can't post pictures of them, though, until they're legally adopted, so I'll try to paint as good a picture using words as I can.
I'm happy. *big smiles*
Saturday, November 15, 2014
It has been quite the week. A full one. A hard one. A challenging one. Last post I talked about us heading down to Louisiana and Texas for my great-grandma's funeral. We packed up the car Thursday morning and arrived Friday evening at the wake... totally exhausted. Even with three drivers now, we're still tired. It was good to see family and old friends, and reconnect with some of them. Even more than that, though, was just the fact that our God loves to perform miracles, which He did! From having people be there who previously couldn't, to little details of the service, it worked out perfectly and to His glory.
It never seems to be that you can go through only one thing at a time. For me it always has to be two or more. I was struggling a lot with my great-grandma passing away, because she has been such a role model and a fantastic example of what a woman of God is to be. She was the pillar to our family down South and it seemed like the roots to the tree were ripped out. There were a lot of mixed emotions at her leaving us here and her being with Jesus... and of course right in the middle of all that and the unknowns of when we'd travel to Colombia comes the situation to complete the trio. I got very convicted about something that I had been doing, and knew that if I continued in it more issues would arise. It was a very hard time for me: looking at my sin square in the face, calling it for what it was, and changing. Hence the utter brokenness. It hurt. A lot. I don't know if you'll ever know how much it hurt. I saw me in all my glory and compared it to Jesus. And I failed. And I was broken. But sometimes that's good.
When we see who we are apart from Jesus, and when we look at the Cross, it causes something inside us to cry out to the Lord for mercy, for forgiveness, and for grace. I don't know if you've ever felt the pressure buildup inside your chest and it hurts so bad physically, but I've been there. And it is only when we turn to the Cross and to our Savior that we can be healed and restored from that state. He loves the broken. He specializes in mending us, which I think is phenomenal. So everything that was weighing on me, everything that I had done, I poured it all out to Jesus. I cried out to Him for grace. Literally crying out. It's amazing how He hears us, but even more than that is that He listens and responds. And I heard what He said. It was a gentle correction, with His still, small voice, yet it changed my viewpoint.
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights." ~Proverbs 3:11-12
He is jealous for me. How did I let that one thought escape? I would give anything for the God of the universe to be jealous for me, and to want me... yet He already does. Despite all that I've done to Him, all that I've rejected, He still beckons me. He offers me His righteousness in spite of my past. I've come to realize that Christianity is not about sin. It's about Jesus and the Cross, and us becoming conformed to His image. I don't know why I let my feelings get in the way of Truth sometimes; why I let my circumstances decide my attitude, or my mindset. It's not about my circumstances... it's about His life being formed in us, and us believing on who He Is. I am no longer defined by my sin [if I sin! (1 John)] but by who I am in Christ. When I choose to look at my self, my sin, and my selfishness, and wallow in it, I am hindering myself big time. If I say I believe then why would I stay in that which held me captive? This life is about what He has done to set me FREE. It's the basics, but I need to remind myself of it over and over again. Because it's the Truth. And the Truth will set you free. You can fake a smile in the hard times, but it's not a real one. Only in Jesus can you truly smile and laugh at the days behind and the days to come (Proverbs 31) because you are resting in who He is, His joy, His rest, and His peace. And I'm in Christ today. Nobody is gonna tell me otherwise. I'm in Him and I'm smiling. I can. Even when the road is rough and the world is falling apart I can smile, and smile big, because of who He is, not of what I've done. So I'm smiling!
And so I'm home now. I'm enjoying being back on the mountain (#themountain) with the snow, my chai lattes, the fire, and my wool socks. Did I mention that I was so excited to go from calm-weathered Texas through a blizzard in New Mexico and Southern Colorado and now am at home in my own Winter Wonderland? I'm smilin', y'all. I'm learning. I don't think I'll ever stop. But I'm grateful because He is faithful to show us where we need to change, and is ever present to guide us down this narrow road. This morning I'm gloriously reminded of His faithfulness. And also of my failures in and of myself. But more important than me is that I'm seeing promises being kept and miracles happening! We booked flights yesterday and wrapped up bits of loose paperwork, cleaning the house and packing frantically. Yes, the time has finally come for the Rosens to head to Colombia! I get to meet N and M in person on Thursday!!! We head to the airport to fly at 8am this Tuesday... :) I'm chiding myself for ever listening to the Flesh, ever listening to the voice of doubt. But He is BIGGER than all that. Bigger than me. My feelings. My situations that are "so big" in my world are nothing to Him. Yet He cares enough to prove me wrong in my doubt, confusion, and concern. He loves proving who He Is to me, day after day. And so today is beautifully chaotic as we prepare to head to South America. As I reflect on even just the past week I'm awed by my God and how he works in my heart, my friendships, my family, and the Body of Christ. Oh, what a Jesus!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
A lot has been going on. Stuff that makes my heart happy and that makes me want to cry. Well, I have cried, actually. Sometimes people are worth crying for. In the past months of my life more has gone on the inside of me than I think I even realized. I might talk about a few.
Things like learning to love people. I know. If you knew my family you'd be like "you don't love people?" because that's just how my family is. We get in a situation with somebody and refuse to get out until we see victory and Jesus manifested. I'm not naturally like that. I'd prefer to stay in my corner on my mountain and write blog posts and read my Bible and hike. But that's not what I'm called to. I was put in my family for a reason, and right now I'm leaning how to love people beyond what I think I can do. Loving them when they may not love me back. Loving them when my heart physically hurts. Loving them when I may not feel anything towards them. I'm learning to look beyond the appearance of things and try to see the heart of that person. That's what I'm wanting to do.
Things like being content. When everyone around me is growing up and leaving to do "great things" from Jesus, and I'm still at home trying to finish high school, I easily am tempted to become discontent with my life and wish for something more. Well, right here is where I am learning to grow. Where I am growing. It hurts to grow and stretch beyond what makes you comfortable, but it is worth it. Jesus has me here for a reason, and has others where they are. I may not be ready for that yet. Jesus knows. And being right here in my home with my family adopting two little sisters is what I need.
Things like embracing the unexpected. I missed a very important arrival yesterday. Not all of it, but the initial arrival. I was saddened because of how badly I had wanted to be there and see certain people and meet a whole bunch of precious children. But I couldn't make it. I also had to say goodbye to my precious great-grandmother on the phone yesterday morning. She didn't know who I was, and couldn't talk back. I had promised her a couple months ago that when I finished school I would spend the summer with her to take care of her. Now I'm going to her funeral this weekend. Leaving very possibly tomorrow. And on top of that I won't be coming back, most likely. We're trying to figure out how to fly from Houston to Bogota to get our girls. Which could take up to two month of being in Colombia. And I might not get the chance to say goodbye to people I love. The past day has been full of the unexpected. Death, sickness, pain, surprise, and shock. However, how I let that affect me determines a whole lot. Am I allowing Jesus's life to flow through me and leap for joy in trials? Am I wallowing in self-pity or crying for myself? How we react to the unexpected creates part of who we are. I want to be so willing to embrace the unexpected that I charge headlong into it with a smile on my face. A big, happy smile. Not because of my circumstances, but because of my God.
I'm not quite sure what to call all that. Rambling, maybe? I tend to do that a lot. I think it was more of reminder to my own soul to bless the Lord and press into Him all the more. People will fail me. Things will fail me. But Jesus always is. He never changes. He is my Rock, and I probably needed a refocusing of my gaze upon Him. We need that every so often, I've found. But press into Him and continue to climb the mountain He has placed in front of you and live the adventure you're called to. Make Jesus everything. And smile. A smile can change a lot.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Do not settle for anything less than what God has for you. Do not stop moving forward. Do not pitch your tent.
You are called to a life of radical abandonment and complete adventure in Christ. This is no walk in the park, though - this is a full on sprint up Everest.
The moment you think you're good enough to not keep moving is the moment that you are weak. The moment you let down your guard against the enemy is the moment your most vulnerable.
We are called to run a race, not pitch a tent on the sidelines and say we've done it. That we've gone the minimum requirement. Let me tell you, though, that in a race there is no minimum requirement. There is no halfway stopping point. In a race you run it all. No stopping. You run to obtain that prize. Do not settle for a cheap imitation of a trophy that this world or anyone else has to offer.
Do not measure yourself in terms of other Believers and people but against the high standard of Christ. We were made in His image, not the image of others. We are measured against Him. We are to seek His approval, therefore.
Do not pitch your tent and enjoy the view in comfort. Rather, I would have you and I throw our tents behind us, forgetting that which is behind, looking to what lies ahead, and run with everything we have. That resting wouldn't even be an option to us. When Jesus is the goal, why settle?