|The Stone Turret built by Chris|
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The invisible bridge... Stepping out over the precipice. Remembering financial miracles.
August 21, 2013
Today I want to tell of His faithfulness- to encourage myself and anyone else...Because He did another little miracle today. During our first two adoption journeys, we had to trust for God's provision for finances, physical and emotional strength and wisdom. Daily, my sister encouraged me with a mental picture- a dark, deep canyon that we've been invited to step out over. At each step of faith, a bridge appears. Our Shepherd is inviting us to trust and HE says to step out- over the precipice. With the teensy, weensy, wimpy faith I had, we stepped- one step of faith at a time. And with each step over that precipice, a bridge appeared- fully supporting the step made in faith.
Remember this from Indiana Jones- his step of faith?
So many times over the last four years, He has provided in many ways. Yet financially is the most obvious (And the primary reason most shy away from adoption) In 2011, We were still wading through the foster/adoption court system for Sierra and infant Alyssa. To meet county foster adopt standards for having a new total of five children, we had to move to a larger home. (Rent for even the simplest, run down four bedroom in San Diego County is crazy high.) We needed $3800 to put down yet had nothing. There was a time crunch to move within two weeks. David and I decided to not tell anyone of our financial situation- not even our families. Instead, that night we prayed and asked God to meet our need. The next morning my iphone alerted me that a deposit had been made into our bank account. Can u guess the amount? $3800!!!! I was confused. WE hadn't told ANYONE. I asked David, "Did you tell our parents?" Once the banks were opened, I researched the source. My grandmother had died months earlier and left an insurance account to me that no one knew of. Her executor had discovered it and deposited it into our account- on the day we had prayed. The bridge appeared!
Our three oldest children came to us in December of 2011 as we were waiting for a date to finalize Sierra and Alyssa's adoptions. They had been saving their pennies and dollars for two years in hopes of buying a pony. That morning they placed into my arms a clay pot- filled with coins and money bills. It counted out to a few dollars over $2000. They had reached their goal. Ianna, the oldest (11 at the time) spoke for each of them and said "Mom, we have been talking. All three of really want you and Dad to use our pony money to adopt again. If we were in foster care or an orphanage, we'd want to be adopted. Can we please use our pony fund to help our family adopt again? Can we adopt a child that is not likely to be adopted?" Then Liam added "Can it be a boy? and I hope he's black- blacker than Alyssa!" What does a parent do with that? We had it in our hearts to easily love more children, but the logistics were impossible. David and I talked together. I got on my knees the next morning and prayed "GOD, please honor our children's faith. Please turn their $2000 pony fund into $30,000 to fund the adoption of child- perhaps from Africa- if this is what YOU have placed into our hearts." Here's the first miracle and clear answer to prayer. Two hours after that prayer my iPhone rang. It was Family Court calling to ask if we could come in the next week and finalize Sierra and Alyssa's adoptions. It was the LAST day to finalize adoptions in 2011. Only in 2011, the IRS paid families cash of approximately $13,500 per child that was adopted within the year of 2011. That was the LAST year that refundable tax credits have ever given by the IRS for child adoption. We adopted Sierra and Alyssa and the IRS gave us over $27,000. Since we'd already swallowed any costs of enlarging our family, that became our adoption account. That is how we are paying for the base costs of an international adoption.
The next miracle we needed was a larger home. San Diego Foster Adoption requires a home that is large enough for their standard of no more than two children per bedroom. Down on my knees again in the dark of the morning in the spring of 2012, I prayed "God, either take this adoption desire out of our hearts or please provide a home large enough to adopt at least two MORE children- a home that we can FILL UP with children." There were three obstacles. We needed 5 bedroom home that was $200K below market value. We also had over $200K of unresolved debt from the short-sale of our home in 2008. Our credit was ruined. I prayed for it to be $200K below market with at least 5 bedrooms to satisfy county restrictions (and hard floors that kids couldn't destroy.) In my heart I felt that this miracle would happen in May. Knowing this could be my imagination, I tucked that away in my heart and life moved on. IN the last week of May I looked again on Zillow. There it was...a 6 bedroom home priced nearly $300K below market value. I called our realtor and said "I think I see the miracle house on Zillow...Find out what's wrong with it!" He called me back shortly and said "you are not going to believe this..." Within hours we drove up to the home. I'd prayed for a miracle and was enthusiastic about a large double wide or destroyed fixer upper. However, I was not prepared for this type of miracle. The home was beautiful- a work of Art. And somehow I knew it was Him at work. I didn't feel worthy to be stepping into such a beautiful building- we could not afford this.
The owners came to the door. Penny is my size and has red hair like mine! Her husband, Chris is looked and muscular with a kind face. They'd heard of our story and began to tell theirs. They were moving to Costa Rica to rescue children out of human trafficking. They'd prayed their home would be bought by a family with a heart for orphans. Chris told of his childhood as an orphan in Germany. With tears in his masculine, kind eyes, he recalled the pain of feeling desperate, unwanted and excruciatingly lonely as a child. A tall stone church tower blocks from the iron bars of the orphanage that imprisoned him would ring loud bell chimes of hope. Years later as a successful mason in the United States, Chris learned of the love of Jesus. Chris became an adopted child of our Heavenly Father. In response, he built this home with a stone turret at the center to symbolize Hope to the fatherless. The turret was designed after the in Germany that had echoed hope into his aching, orphaned heart many years ago. By the end of his story, all four of us had tears. In the Center of this home's majestic stone tower, we all held hands and dedicated it to God and asked HIM to bring children near and far to learn of the love of our Father. We prayed for Penny and Chris and their ministry SEEDS OF HOPE. Then we waited to see miracles unfold. Within one week, Bank of American forgave our short sale debt and another bank gave us a mortgage loan on this miracle home. Another unexpected inheritance had been given to us that exactly covered the minimum amount to put down. The Bridge appeared.
This first winter in our miracle home the heater broke. We found a used wood burning stove insert on craigslist for $1200 but did not have the $. Again, we prayed. A check from the IRS came the next day to refund us for paying too much property taxes?!! Guess the amount? $1400. David and I paid cash for that stove and for the $200 of supplies needed to install it. Neighbors dropped wood off at our home because they had "too much." They did not know of our need. The bridge appeared.
Our car battery was old and worn out this winter. I needed to charge it before leaving home each day. We were left stranded in a parking lot. AAA came to charge the battery. When they checked our history we were told it was still covered by warranty and we got a brand new battery for NO CHARGE. The bridge appeared.
Our cat was sick. On the drive to the veterinarian's offfice, I prayed out loud with the kids "God, please let this visit be under $200 because we want to use all we can to adopt another." After the vet checked the cat she gave us a treatment plan and then said "there will be no charge for this visit." (!!!) She had no idea of our circumstances or prayer. The bridge appeared.
There have been many more miracles of provision than I'm not taking the space to list. He is FAITHFUL. The Bridge has appeared after each step of faith. He promises that even if we do make a mistake, He will hold us....Psalm 37:24 "though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Here's an example of when our attempts failed- yet he was still faithful- Even in Failure.)
With such a FAITHFUL GOD, HOW DARE I FREAK OUT AND PANIC when I look at the precipice ahead? Without excuse, I still panic...and have sleepless nights...I am SO WEAK!!! Yet, HE is full of Grace. GRACE and MERCY and LOVINGKINDNESS. I addressed this adoption blog "laughing on the water"--- because He is faithful to support our steps when He invites us to follow Him- even when I'm freaking out in fear or discouragement. Here is the latest miracle:
Last week our agency requested that David and I fly out to Tennessee to meet with two visiting goverment officials from Lesotho who are over child welfare and adoptions. The airfare and hotel cost came to $1200. In faith, we made reservations. This weekend a Good Samaratin- one who we have never met- even from another state- a stranger- but a neighbor in His Eyes- delivered our miracle. This Good Samaritin bought $200 of "Owwie Pets" and booties from Ianna's Etsy store. Then, she donated another $1000. The total of $1200 perfectly covered the cost of our latest step. The bridge appeared. Again!
Has He put a desire into your heart to step over a precipice? We can't walk on water unless we step out of the boat.