Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Sonia Grace...

We all hopped out of the van and onto the red dirt at the orphanage, after a 18 hour long flight- all the day after Thanksgiving. We were getting ready to meet our Sonia Grace for the first time. I had butterflies in my stomach, we were getting ready to meet the little girl I had prayed for such a long time. They walked into the room with Sonia, Cooper, and Grace, and mom immediately teared up and dad got out the camera. They handed Sonia to dad, and she had a look of fear and wonder on her face.

The little girl we met two years ago is not the same little girl who has been playing with her "little people" nativity set today while we put up Christmas decorations(pics coming later). She is now one of the cutest, funniest three year olds you will ever meet. I love this little girl deeply, this little girl from "her wanda"(Rwanda). It's hard to believe that two years ago we met her, two years ago I held her little self for the first time. Many people say that we blessed her, but really, she has blessed us so very much. And we are so thankful for her, so, so thankful for our Sonia Grace.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Thanksgiving...

I'm thankful for my family...and the joy, the struggles they bring.

She's just so beautiful...

Aren't they so handsome?

I'm thankful for my friends....the cherished memories we have together.

Oh yeah...Taylor Swift with my bestie...can't get better!

Love these girls!

I'm thankful for those older than me, who have corrected me, loved on me, been loyal to me, and helped me become who I am today.

And most of all I'm thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ...I'm thankful for being free. I'm thankful for having someone who loves me every matter what I do.

I'm thankful today for all of these things. But most of all I'm thankful I can be free because I have a savior who loves me!

What are you thankful for today?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Journey...part 1(of 4)

Two years ago yesterday, my mom was asking two of her closest friends to pray that we would be able to get plane tickets for Rwanda. We had just been called and asked if we would like to travel FRIDAY to pick up Sonia. It was Tuesday. That's three days, and most places were closed on Thursday because of Thanksgiving. By Tuesday night we had gotten plane tickets, and our house was a disaster. I can see it- Sonia's suitcase on the table with sippy cups and clothes and bibs and diapers and snacks. The boys and I had just gotten down our boxes of summer clothes, we would be needing them in the warm weather of Rwanda. My mom was making a list of the things we would need to do in order to leave- run to Wal-mart, go to the bank, go to the drs, and of course pack for two weeks away from home.

The next two days were spent in packing, franticly running errands...and well, everything else that comes with leaving the country for two weeks. And that Friday morning we boarded a plane in Raliegh NC, at 6:30 am, with our stomachs in knots, we took off for a journey that no one was prepared for, because it would be the best and hardest two weeks we would have ever experienced.

To be continued....


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yes, Lord.

~Disclaimer: this is really really really long. Make sure you have some time to read it before you sit down.~

"It is not about God making my dreams come true, but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life."*

Katie Davis is 22 years old. She moved to Uganda when she was 18 years old, and fell in love with the country and it's people.

"I thought of how, after a long, hard day in my preivous life, I would have crashed on the couch with a pint of ice cream, a good sappy movie and my closest girl friends. Here, at the end of a long, hard day, there was nothing to do but cry out to Jesus for the strength to go on."*

At that point she was 18 years old, teaching kindergarten to over one hundred student daily- not knowing their language.

"I can enter into someone's pain and sit with them and know. This is Jesus. Not that He apologizes for the hard and the hurt, but that He enters in, He comes with us to the hard places. And so I continue to enter."*

Yet, in the middle of these circumstances she praises God for His example to us of how to care for the least of these.

"I am common and simple, with nothing special about me. Nothing special except I choose to say "yes" to the things God asks of me and "yes" to the people He places in front of me. You can too. I am just an ordinary person. And ordinary person serving and extraordinary God."*

Even on bad, hard days, she continues to say "yes". "Yes" to the man across the street who hasn't eaten in days, "yes" to the baby boy whose stepmother won't care for him. "Yes" to the ones no one will care for, everyone knows "Aunty Katie" will say, "yes."

"I can say "yes" to Him, or I can say no. I can go to the hard places or I can remain comfortable. And if I remain comfortable, God who loved us unconditionally will continue to love me anyway. I may still see His glory revealed in my life and recognize His blessings, but not like I could have. I can miss the will of God."*

"I wrapped him in a towel and, as my friend held him tightly, I began to cut away the dead skin that hung from his heels and the insides of his feet...He didn't scream or cry; he simply sat there in what must have been excruciating pain as tears rolled down his expressionless face. I, on the other hand, ran out of the room and threw up."*

She cares for the least of these, she has adopted fourteen girls, she runs a make-do medical clinic, she helps helpless ladies make a living. And you know what started it all? "Yes", she simply said, "Yes". "Yes" to God, "yes" to wherever He was going to take her, "yes" to the plan He had for her.

She is 22. 22 years old, 14 daughters, a medical clinic, homeschooling her children, managing a sponsorship program for hundreds of children- not to mention caring for those who just look like they could need some love.

"My heart was being broken. The situations with Michael and Patricia and so many other children were breaking it every day. While i never lost my love of compassion for the children, I did sometimes lose my patience with the circumstances they were living."*

All it took was, "Yes God. Yes, I will do what you are asking." Isn't that what so many of us, including me, aren't doing?

As I read Katie's book, it opened my eyes to the situations out there. And at many times I said to myself, "Okay God, maybe this isn't as easy as I wanted it to be. Maybe I'm not called to Uganda." It's not easy. Caring for people with third degree burns, gashes in their feet, and people who are so hungry they can't move- it's not easy. But every day Katie keeps moving- she keeps saying, "yes" to what God puts in front of her.

She doesn't do it for herself- but for God. For God's that in heaven every people from every tribe and nation will bow praising God.

I hope, that through God's strength, wherever He plans to take me- that I can say "yes" for God's glory.

"We know you are here. Let us bring all our wounds and brokenness to You expectantly, without a doubt. Remind that all the children we touch, and all the children we don't, are Yours. Your in this broken life, and Yours in eternity. Come, Lord Jesus. We wait in hope."*

Thank you, God, for those who are saying "yes". Thank you for Katie. Thank you for giving us hope. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for what you have done and will continue to do in Katie's ministry. We wait in hope to see what you will do- one child- one person at a time.

Yes, Lord. We wait in hope.

*All quotes are from Katie's book, Kisses from Katie, you can read more of Katie's story at Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And then we saw her...

We saw her face for the very first time. I remember it vividly, we were rushing around the house getting ready to leave for classical and we had been anxiously awaiting the email with her picture. With my hair still wet, and my dad had just pulled out to go to work, my mom got the email, the one holding the picture of our precious little girl. We all starting freaking out, my mom called my dad and told him to turn around and come home. When he got back, we stood around the computer and slowly opened the email. "Sonia Uwamahoro, April 14, 2008" And then we saw her face. Two years ago we saw her face and we all said, "She is beautiful, but look how mad she looks!"

The little girl I had prayed for almost my whole life, there she was. 18 months old, tall, just like her big sissy(who is now 5'8"), beautiful, but she looked so mad. You would not think my little sister is the same little girl in this picture. She is now probably one of the funniest people you will ever meet, she loves our dogs, she is full of life, talks all the time, she loves our whole family, makes a new friend wherever she goes, and she really just loves life all together. I could go on and on about how much I love her...but for now this will have to do. As the months of November and December go by you will get to experience the two year celebration of having Sonia Grace with us through many stories and pictures!

Sonia Grace- I love you more than you can imagine, I can't wait to see what God will do in your life as you grow up. I will be there for you no matter where God takes us. Love- Bailey.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not Just a Number

"147 million is just a number to most people, but when you see their faces and know their names, they become something more than just a number to you." David Platt: Secret Church 2011

Today is Orphan Sunday. A day to remember all of the orphans in the world, those precious children who don't have parents. And you know what? There are 147 MILLION children. 147 MILLION, do you get that? Kids- who don't get to live a childhood because they don't have people to love them constantly, and some of them are taking care of themselves. It is proven that if every family in the U.S. adopted a child from somewhere, THERE WOULD BE NO ORPHANS. NONE.

Do you see why I want to go to Uganda, so I can show children the love of a family? Today I was talking with a young mother in church, we were talking Wednesday after church about the book "Kisses from Katie". I told her Wednesday, "Can't you see me doing that? With all of those chocolate skinned children, teaching kindergarten and loving on kids in orphanages all day long." She jokingly replied, "And you can save a couch for me when I come visit you!" This morning, she came up to me and said, "I just wanted to tell you that after I pulled away I thought of something. No matter where you go I will be so proud of you. When I read 'Kisses from Katie', I could vividly see Christ shine in Katie's life, and I can see you serving somewhere because I can see Christ shining in your life too, and I just wanted to tell you that."

I just love her. And you know what? Africa was not in MY plan, I have always loved children, but I had always wanted to go to college and get married and have kids and homeschool them. But, that's my plan, not God's. His plan may be for me to go to Africa and teach and adopt kids, but I'm not totally sure yet. What this young mom said to me, encouraged me to keep praying, keep asking God to shine through me and that his will would be done in me.

Not at all am I saying I am perfect, because I'm not, at all. But, If more families in the U.S. would be willing for Christ's will to be done in them, than there would be so many less orphans in the world, and that means that there would be more children being loved by a family.

And now, on Orphan Sunday, waiting for God to tell me what to do in life, I can pray for all of those families, that 147 million wouldn't be just a number. That 147 million would be faces and names of precious children who are in need of love, and who long to be loved.

Would you join me in praying that people would be awakened to the will of God in their live's, and that God would make 147 million not a number, but names and faces?

I'm sure all of the orphans in the world would appreciate it. ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Moment

Is it really November? It can't be...the calendar has to be wrong. It feels like yesterday was New Years of 2011, and soon we will be celebrating new years 2012. Crazy. It feels that every year of my life is flying by so much faster than I would like it to.

I want to spend all day with Paige, and Mary laughing over Paige stuffing fries in her mouth at Zaxby's.
I want to spend all day with my BFF's, Emily Grace, Anna Gray, Beth, and Breanna, goofing off and being girls.
I want to spend all day singing at the top of my lungs at a Taylor Swift concert.
I want to spend hours in God's word, and letting myself fall deeper in love with God everyday.

I want time to stand still for just a few minutes(or hours or days) so I can appreciate the moment even more. I don't really want to grow up any more than I have now.

I want to stay in 9th grade, and still be a "little girl".
I want to stop growing since I have so many cute clothes, but obviously that's not going to happen just yet.
I don't want to think about college, when I don't know what God is calling me to do after high school.

But the weird thing is...I am looking forward so much that's not in this moment.

I am looking forward to Christmas, and everything that it entitles.
I am looking forward to driving my self to places.
I am looking forward to seeing Sonia grow up to be a Godly young woman.
I am looking forward to see what God is going to do in my life.

But for right now...I'm going to stop trying to think about "Later" and think about today, and what today entitles and appreciate every second of it. It may be crazy that it is already November, but that's life. And our life is incredibly short in God's ultimate plan. This means we need to live it to the fullest, love God with everything we have, and be open to his plan for tomorrow, next week and the rest of our lives, no matter where that will take us.

~Bailey~Philippians 4:13~