Sunday, February 21, 2016

Waiting on the Lord

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31

This passage has been on our minds lately.

God creates, works, understands, helps, renews, strengthens, and so much more.

And what role do we have while God does all of this?

We wait.

It’s right there in the scripture…”but they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength”.

Am I the only one that finds this odd?

I don't know about you, but typically in my life waiting is never associated with a renewal of strength. 

Yesterday, I was waiting to check out at Wal-Mart while watching my kiddos trying to make sure Walker didn't open the candy I'd already told him to put back. Holding items I needed to buy while also trying to avoid toddler breakdowns and asking myself why I didn't go Wal-Mart alone and leave the kids with daddy. Yeah, I never leave that wait in line feeling renewed. 

When I was in PA school, there was a particular library that I liked to study in because of these small "study rooms".  However, other nerds like me liked them too, so if you wanted one, you had to be in line when the doors opened. Cody made a comment that he had waited in line for a lot of things in his life like concerts, sports games and midnight premiers, but never before me had he waited for a library to open. I don't think he found the waiting renewing either. 

Waiting isn’t fun.

After waiting five days recently to learn if a certain expected baby girl would be joining our family, I didn't exactly know what to do with the wait. And Isaiah 40 came to mind. I knew it had the word wait in it. I found that other translations use the word "hope". 

Those who wait...

...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 

I want that. 

And I know what the difference is between many other "waits" in life and the "wait" this verse describes. I'm sure you do too. In between the wait and the renewal of strength is the word Lord

Doesn't He make all the difference?

As emotionally tolling as this road has been, it has also been spiritually renewing. We are dependent on Him. We hope in Him. We trust Him. We wait for Him.

I wanted to give an update for those following our story, and for this season...we are waiting

We wait for the next situation to be emailed to us so we can see if this is a family we will present to. We wait to see how loved ones and family will respond to us as we travel the long road of adoption. We wait to see if funds will arrive which would allow us to move forward with a family. All the while knowing once we present, we will be waiting again for an answer…then likely again for that child’s birth.

With all this, we know what we truly wait on is the Lord. We wait for His timing.

While we wait, God continues to show Himself faithful.  We have had an overwhelming sense of peace at each step, even when emotions tell us to feel differently.  The peace of God which passes all understanding comes again to remind us of His sovereignty.

Last week, we said no to one situation not fully knowing why other than that we didn't feel the Holy Spirit leading us forward.  After the fact, Cody was able to talk to the attorney again and we found out that the birth mother met with one family and that the match was perfect!  She said even if another family would have presented, the birth mother was so confident in that family that she wouldn't have even met the other families after that.  We won't always get to know specifics with each situation, but I was grateful that in this case, God reminded us that our no may be someone's yes! That His plan is so much bigger than ours.  He is working out many beautiful stories, not just our story. 

We have been confident that we are called to adopt.  We haven't always known where the money would come from, but through the blessing of family, we found a way to borrow a large amount without interest.  How awesome is that?

In the same week, we were gifted a large donation that will allow us to borrow a significantly smaller portion when we do match!  I had a chance to say thank you to this family today.  They said, "though we have not felt called to adopt personally, we do feel called to help those that do. This is all of our story. God adopted each of us." They simply wanted to be a part of the gospel fleshed out through adoption. Not because of us, but because of God.

I've been reminded that the money part that loomed over me for so long has no power over us.  Our God is bigger than finances.  He's bigger than unknowns.  He's bigger than my biggest concern and cares for my smallest concern.  He is faithful. And as scripture said earlier, we get to see Him be faithful when we wait.

So back to the waiting.

Yes we are still waiting, but we see God active in our waiting.

And although it's a new stress at times... 
And there are new emotions we are working through...
Although there are unknowns...
Although we are anxious...

We are being renewed. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentines, God's Timing and Rustic Cuff

On this blog we have shared the story that began us down the road to adoption. We have shared information about the process of adoption. We have shared ways to partner with us through buying shirts, prayer, direct donations and other support that will help us move closer to bringing home a baby.

Today, I (Cody) am happy to share a moment that will forever be a fond memory of mine. A story that would not have happened if we had not accepted the call to adopt. A story…well…you just have to hear.

Cue flashback.

Two weeks ago I saw this image on my wife’s newsfeed:

It clearly caught her eye, but we are saving money. She looked, smiled, and scrolled on.
I don’t know what she saw when these bracelets crossed her screen, but I know what I saw.

I saw a cuff with an arrow and heart on it. Where others may think cupid, all I could think was Psalm 127:4, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” I thought about the arrow God was already shaping for us, but is not yet ours. The arrow God would bring us in His timing. The arrow that has already stolen our hearts and we haven’t even met yet. I thought about my bride being able to look at her wrist and be reminded God was shaping this arrow and would be faithful to bring it to us.

I thought…Valentine’s Gift!

We have been saving every penny, but I still had hoped to surprise Breanna with a little gift. This would be perfect. Especially if I could just buy one part of the stack. So I called first to see if they would sell just one part of this stack. I talked to a super sweet person who informed me they don’t, you have to purchase the whole stack.

But don’t worry, it gets worse.

She then proceeded to tell me they were sold out. That if she had one she would sell me hers, but she didn’t even get one. She recommended I try a store and then we hung up.

Bummer. But…it gets worse.

The next day I thought I’d swing by a Rustic Cuff store to find out if they had one and find out how much it cost. For those familiar with Rustic Cuff, you are now laughing because you don’t “swing by” Rustic Cuff stores. You carve out an hour to wait outside in a line to get into a store and then you don’t leave empty handed because you actually got in! After driving by the old location to find out that place was closed, I headed to another location close to a meeting I had downtown. I stood outside in line for 20 minutes before I had to give up. I had a meeting to get to, so I left without even gracing the door. But this would be the perfect gift…so I wouldn’t give up.

It gets worse.

The next day I decided to arrive at a store when it opened. So 5 minutes before it opened I pulled in to see 50 people waiting for the doors to open. Again, I couldn’t afford to wait that long. So I drove away. Decided I would go back to Cherry Street and see if I could get in and get this perfect valentines gift.

On the way I am getting real with God. “This isn’t how this is supposed to go!” I tell Him. I had it all planned and just knew it would be perfect. Doesn’t God want me to make my wife smile with a gift that reminds us of Him? Shouldn’t it be easy to buy a bracelet? It’s not like we are asking for a kid! That’s a different prayer…this one should be no big deal. I was frustrated. My timing, my gift, my plan…all falling through. And my expectations of my next stop were minuscule to say the least.

So I arrive and I get in the door just before the security guard starts making people wait outside. WIN!

I bob and weave through shoppers looking for the cuff. Man on a mission. A mission that seemed to be failing. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Confused I headed to the front desk to ask for help when I spotted it. That perfect gift to remind us of God’s timing and provision. And it was in a box marked “Display Only”. So inserting the question to the worker between other customers, I asked where those cuffs were. Her answer, “Online only."

It gets worse.

I pull up their website thinking no big deal. Except I was quickly reminded it was SOLD OUT! And I saw the price for the first time. Both things disheartening. But I was hopeful…and perhaps now entering that mindset of a “I am man and refuse to go down without a fight because I want my girl to swoon.”

So I did the only thing I could do. I asked the woman if I could buy the display. She frowned and told me they couldn’t sell those, but said she would ask just in case they could make an exception. I then watched her walk over to the woman in charge of this store to get confirmation. I saw the woman’s head shake no, make eye contact with me, and then go back to work.

Mission. Failed.

As the original lady came back to inform me they couldn’t do it, the other woman startled us by stepping in and said, “Let me ask the woman in charge. We aren’t supposed to sell these, but I don’t know. Maybe she will let us.”

It gets better.

I stood on the wall and prayed. How ridiculous! I am asking God to let me buy a bracelet. But at the moment, it was bigger than a bracelet. IT was about God caring for the little things like Breanna’s smile and a reminder to have on her wrist that our arrow is coming. I just knew the beauty in the meaning of  this bracelet and wanted to share that with my bride. So I prayed for favor. For a gift. For a surprise. And I got one.

She came back and said I could buy it! The owner of the company told her if she “deemed me worthy” then I could have it. She told me “For whatever reason I just looked at you and thought…he needs this.”

It gets better.

I had hand her the cash I had been setting aside since Christmas. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. And overwhelmed with the conviction to share why this mattered so much. To let these ladies know they were now part of a story much bigger than a cuff. I asked if I could share with her why this was such a big deal to me. I told her why the cuff caught my eye. The crazy journey to end up in this room. The meaning associated with that arrow. And I was stopped mid-sentence.

The woman put the cash I had given her back in my hand.

She said she would not take my money.

It gets better.

She went on to tell me her husband was adopted. That if his mother had not chosen life, she would not have her family. If he had not had someone to adopt him, she would not have him. She said she would be praying for us every step of the way and said, “God is going to give you that baby.”

And then the first woman I had spoken to leaned over to inform me every one of her nieces and nephews are adopted. She affirmed the beauty of adoption and how thankful she is that it happens.

And there I stood.

With my plans and my timing and my frustrations and my money all in my pocket because God had a better plan. Not only did I walk away with money I had saved for a gift that would now go into the adoption fund, I walked away having seen our adoption support family grow by a store full of people who witnessed God’s provision and timing. I walked away reaffirmed that the God who takes us through crazy frustrating times so we can get a free gift would also deliver to us a child He has already set aside for us. My God is faithful in little…and will be faithful in much. And somewhat like the Grinch, it was not my heart, but my faith that grew that day.

One day we will go (and wait in line) and walk inside that store to introduce a precious baby to a room full of women who prayed for that child. And for all the waiting, and questioning, and praying, and “it gets worse” struggles of doing what we know God has called us to do...we will be able to hold a child, surrounded by a community of friends and family and tell that precious baby, “it gets better”.

- Cody Brumley

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Growing Faith

In God's timing...

Isn't it such an easy thing to say when you're saying it to encourage someone else in their waiting?
I know I've said it hundreds of times I'm sure.  But when you are saying it yourself, more to remind yourself than to tell the person asking, it's just a little bit harder.

However, God is moving in our waiting.  He is preparing the way on our side by continually providing towards our finances.  We have been so touched by people who choose to sacrifice to help us.  We are confident that we will soon be able to present to expectant families.

We've finished our t-shirt fundraiser and had a great response!
Thank you to all who ordered one.  We expect them in within the next week.  
We've had money donations to our Adopt Together account and to us directly.
My sister has offered to host a Thirty-One party for us in Stilwell with part of proceeds towards our adoption.
My friend has offered to host a Noonday Jewelry party for us here in Tulsa.
Our friend from church is making us a BEAUTIFUL quilt for us to auction off for a donation.

Isn't that all so exciting?!

And suddenly the impossible, doesn't seem so impossible.  Thank you for walking aside us to encourage and support us along the way.

And as always, God continues to challenge me and stretch me.  This week it has been specifically with the word FAITH.

Cody and I had a late night chat one night about just that.
As we discussed the process, it was very evident to me that he was doing better than me with the unknowns.

I know this because he was calm and I was tearful...
...actually...crying...I was crying...
I do this a lot.  You can ask my closest friends and my Sunday School class of youth girls...
Really good day. I may cry.
Hard day. Yep, I cry.
Stressful day.  You better believe it.

Anyways, back to the story.
I could tell that emotionally, I was worn.

I wanted to have the faith that Cody had.  The faith that allows you to rest well knowing God has got this.  The faith of the woman in Luke 8:43-48 who reached out and touched Jesus to be healed.

"And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?"  When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!"  But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.  And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

I have always loved that story.  Don't you just want a faith like that?  To just reach toward Jesus knowing and BELIEVING in His power?  And not just knowing that He's powerful, but remembering that He cares for you? 

Our pastor and friend, Rick Frie, shared with us this week something that really stuck with me.  He said,

"Our focus shouldn't be on the size of the challenge, but on the size of our God."

This has been a beautiful lesson for me this week.  The reminder that the same God who healed the woman in Luke loves ME, cares for ME and is much bigger than my challenge.

The same God who healed the centurion servant from a distance because of the faith of the centurion.

The same God.  The challenge isn't bigger than what God has done before and what God can do.
The difference is my faith.

And so, the last few days have been better. 


As I learn to rest in God.

I'm not at a place yet where I have the faith of those spiritual giants in the Bible that I admire.

But you know's growing.