Monday, August 30, 2010

Two ways of Life

Mathew 7:13-14
13.   Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Have you ever read a passage in the bible so many times over the years only to find that one day you read it and hits you like never before??? like for the first time that it really hits you and makes you ponder and think and pray???  This verse did that for me. 
I don't know about you, but I want to be certain that I am on the narrow way.  The narrow gate is by faith, only through Christ, constricted and precise.  It represents true salvation in God's way that leads to eternal life.  The wide gate includes all religions of works and self righteousness, with no single way, but it leads to hell, not heaven.  

Christ continually emphasized the difficulty of following Him;

Mathew 10:38 - And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (He is demanding a total commitment from us!)

Mathew 16:24-25 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.  25. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it". (again demanding a total commitment from us, even unto physical death!) 

John 15:18-19 - If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (I love this...I am chosen... this was tough for me to grasp when I realized this, but Wow, how humbling.)

John 16:1-3 - These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.
(The connotation of the word 'stumbling' has the idea of setting a trap.  Remember this verse was talking about Paul, before he was saved, and how he personified this attitude as he persecuted the church, thinking that he was doing service for God! After Paul was converted, the persecutor became the persecuted because of the hatred of the world.)

Acts 14:22 - strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kindom of God".
(His way is narrow!)

Salvaton is by grace alone, but it is not easy.  It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord and a willingness to obey His will and His word.

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdon of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.

May I encourage you to spend time daily studying God's word and making the time to pray to your heavenly Father.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

sugar n spice and everything nice...

God is good, all the time! isn't He
Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
I prayed...and I prayed...and I prayed...
"Lord if only you would allow me to have just one, just one child, just one chance to be a Mom...
I promise...."
Not only did the Lord Bless us with a son, just 4 months later we received a call from the same birth Mom as Dustin, asking us if we would be willing to take on another baby????? 
This was 2 weeks before Christmas and it was the most blessed gift we could ever have imagined.  I remember falling to my knees as I held the phone and crying with Joy...a joy that I could never put into words...after all I didn't deserve any of this.
God had a plan, and who was I to question His ways?
We were priviledged to be a part of  the last 6 months of pregnancy with birth Mom and how blessed we were to find out that we would be having a daughter!  We rejoiced that God gave us more than  our hearts desire. 
We witnessed again the miracle of birth and on August 23rd Kassidy Nicole Christina entered this world and took her first breath. (2 weeks late I might add!!!) 
She was the cutest baby in the whole wide world.  She was perfect.  She was my baby girl, the little girl I always dreamed of that I would get to dress in the prettiest pink frilly outfits. 
We promised to raise her in the fear and admonition of the Lord...and that's exactly what we're doing. 

Kassidy,  you have made us sooooo proud.  You are growing up to be a Godly  woman, who loves the Lord.  We have watched you as you transition from our little girl to a beautiful young lady. 
You stole my heart the day you were born, but I remember clearly when you were about 4 and all you wanted to be when you grew up was a 'Mommy'!!!
To this day you talk to me about raising a large family, but for now you focus on learning all the qualities you will need to be a Proverbs 31 woman.  You strive to grow in your knowledge of God by spending time with Him daily by reading His word and even encouraging us to pray daily. 
Kassidy you are beautiful both inside and out...
You are an amazing sister to both your big brother and now to your baby brother.
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it
We are blessed beyond measure.
Happy 12th Birthday Kassidy
You are loved !

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How could He love a sinner like me???

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS A TOPIC THAT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN The Lord has laid this on my heart to share with you, and I pray that there will be those that read this and will find encouragement in the fact that we serve a God who  forgives when we truly repent of our sins.

I remember it like it was yesterday...
I remember the struggle with infertility...
I remember  ... the guilt...and the shame and how much my heart ached
I wanted the chance to be a Mom so bad, that my heart ached... a real physical ache ...with every pregnant soon to be Mom I'd pass in the grocery store, or on the street, or at church...they seemed to be everywhere I was...and I wondered...maybe one day God would answer my prayers and I would miraculously become pregnant.
 I even dreamed of speaking at a womens event at church and sharing with them the miracle of answered prayer.
I so clearly remember standing in front of a mirror time and time again, with a pillow under my sweater wondering what I would look like.
Night after night for many years I would lie in bed thinking of names...wondering if it might be a boy...or maybe a girl.
But it wasn't meant to be.
At least not the way I imagined it would be.
You see, I was about to learn the biggest lesson in my life...that God's ways are not always our ways but His ways are always perfect.

I didn't deserve to be a Mom.  I would tell myself this over and over again.
Who was I to dream... and wonder if God was listening...
You see when I was only 16 I did the unthinkable
I had always wanted to be a Mom from the time I was a little girl...I loved playing house and I always got to be the Mom.  In fact I would dress my dolls up in the baby clothes that I once wore when I was a baby.  I even layed a childs cradle beside my bed at night with my baby doll all wrapped up like she was real.  and I would tend to her cries no matter what the time at night (ok so I imagined my doll would cry)
That's how badly I wanted to be a Mom.
Everyone else I knew had dreams to be teachers, or doctors or lawyers or ballerina's name it.  I only ever had dreams to be a Mom.
I remember my Dad...  Oh how I  LOVED my Dad. 
He was the best Dad in the whole wide world. I was going to make him so proud of me one day.  I loved that I had brown eyes...just like my Dad. 
You see, my Dad LOVED much that he drove the Sunday school bus to pick up all the neighborhood children to bring them to church,every Sunday... because my Dad loved the Lord with all his heart and he knew all these children needed Jesus.  And I got to be his helper on the bus.
And then the unthinkable happened.
I remember it like it was yesterday...
the phone rang at 7pm that night, and I answered the phone.  It was the doctor, and he wanted to speak to my Dad.   My dad was in bed already because he had to be up for work at 4am.  But I woke my dad up anyway because the doctor said it was important that he talk with him.
I remember my Dad getting up and asking my Mom to pack him a few things.  You see the doctor told him he needed to come into the hospital right away because the test results weren't very good and they needed to run more tests.
My Dad left us that very night with my Mom by his side. 
He had been diagnosed with 'Aplastic Anemia'  something that was pretty much unheard of back then.  It had similar  symptoms of leukemia.
It was almost 6 months to the day, that the Lord called him home, after putting up a valiant fight to wasn't meant to be.
I loved my Dad so much. My heart was broken and I will miss him on this side of Heaven. 
I had to grow up quickly during this time, after all I was the oldest, and while my Mom spent a large majority of the time at the hospital with my Dad, I had school work, a brother and a sister to care for and drive around.
I was young and insecure...and like I said earlier...the unthinkable happened...
I wasn't feeling well one day while I was in typing class, I thought it was the flu...I even ran to the ladies bathroom to throw up...but it carried on...I went to the doctors with my friend and it only took a moment and a urine sample later to reveal the unthinkable...
I was pregnant.
How could I have let this happen????
My Dad and Mom couldn't find this out because my Mom you see was overwhelmed with the knowledge that my Dad was dying, and it was only a matter of time...
I was overwhelmed with the very real possibility that my Dad would never come home...
My friend told me I had no doctor told me it was probably best considering....
there was only one option...
I should go for an abortion
I didn't want the last thing my Dad remembered about me to be the fact that his 16 year old daughter was pregnant.  He had so many burdens already, knowing he was leaving my Mom to raise us 3 children on her own. 
I remember vividly how quickly it all took place.  My friend (or so I thought at the time) took care of all the arrangements. 
I was numb , it was all over so quickly, and NOBODY except my friend (or so I thought at the time) even knew what had happened. 
My Dad passed away 2 months later.  He never knew.
This secret of mine was the most horrible agonizing, haunting, thing I would live with forever! 
How could I, when all I ever wanted was to be a Mom?????
I remember like it was I cried and wailed the most painful wail I ever heard anyone cry.
How painfully lonely were my thoughts of what I did, I couldn't let anyone know, because I couldn't imagine what others would think, I couldn't bear to go there.  The realization of what I did was unimaginable.  I wanted to block it out like it never happened, like it was all a horrible nightmare.  I would wake up crying for months and years to come, Knowing everyone thought I was only mourning the death of my Dad... noone knew.
With each passing year it only became more painful, that kind of pain never goes away. every anniversary of that day was more than I could bear.  Every Mothers Day was only another painful reminder of what could have been, but what was not. 

It is only by the grace of God, that I was able to overcome this.  It is only by the grace of God that I am here in this moment typing these very words, for never did I think that I would have the courage to let anyone ever know.  (I can't believe I just did this)

I did it...I am sharing this with all of you most of whom are hearing this for the first time.  I'm not sure how anyone is going to react upon reading this, but this I do know...
Ephesians 1:7-8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.
I'm sidetracked at the moment cause I want to share with all of you the lyrics of a song that has spoken to me through the years:
He Paid A Debt He Did Not Owe

He paid a debt He did not owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
"amazing grace"
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

He paid that debt at Calvary
He cleansed my sould and set me free
I'm glad that Jesus did all my sins erase
I now can sing a brand new song
"amazing grace"
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

One day He's coming back for me
To live with Him eternally
Won't it be glory to see Him on that day!
I, then will sing a brand new song
"amazing grace"
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay
Yes, Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay
by Ellis J. Crum

Allow me jump ahead a few years...
I married the love of my life on February 13, 1993
I would walk to work everyday praying that the Lord would grant us a miracle, after all, all I wanted to be was a Mom.  And  I prayed everyday on my way to work, that if He would allow me to have just one child, that I would spend the rest of my life raising this child to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.

I was managing a Subway store, when one day I hired a girl, a beautiful girl with red hair, to work for me.  I was captivated by her as I got to know her.  There was something about her...that I was drawn to, and though I couldn't pin point it then, I was soon to learn that she was pregnant.
When she shared with me of her horrible childhood my heart broke for her, and it was then that Scott and I took her in under our wings.  We wanted to care for her as she prepared to bring this miracle of life into this world.  It wasn't long that she came to me one day and asked me if I would be her coach when she gave birth.  I thought I was in heaven.  
And then it happened...she went into labour (for about the 20th time!) 
I remember like it was yesterday...
I raced her to the hospital in my Jeep (not the best vehicle when ones in labour) and on August the 18th with me as her coach we welcomed the most beautiful baby boy in the whole wide world.  She even let me hold him when he was just seconds old (I have pictures!!) never would I have imagined in that moment that one day that precious little boy would one day be my Son!  Yes, Dustin Alexander Gram not only entered the life of my God given, most special friend that day  but just two weeks shy of his 2nd birthday, that most special friend asked Scott and I if we would like to adopt him.  She sacrificed  the one thing she truly loved, to give him a better chance in this world with 2 loving parents who dreamed this would never be.  We are eternally grateful to her, for prayers that were answered, in God's timing, His way not ours.
And so today we celebrate with the utmost Greatfulness, and Thankfulness in our hearts, as our Son Dustin turns 15.
To God be all the Glory for the great things that He has done!
We have been blessed beyond measure.
Happy Birthday Dustin
We love you with all our hearts, and we promised to raise you in the fear and admonition of the Lord and that's exactly what were doing.
You are growing up to be the most loving, kind hearted,  son and brother that anyone could ask for.
We love you forever and always.
You may not have grown in my womb, but you grew in our hearts!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Every Moment....Cherished!

It was already the night before the 'Queen' was to arrive, Dustin and Kassidy kept themselves busy making a welcome sign and making sure every last detail of preparing for the 'Queen' (hehe) was done.  The banner was 10 feet long! and because they were totally puzzled as to who the 'Queen' was, this is what their banner read...

In case you cannot read it , it says "Welcome Royal Family to Our Humble Home" We love you

It is with utmost gratefulness that I get to share with all of you a little glimpse of the treasures we welcomed into our home and our lives for one week....

Jae-Un and Jae-ah (a.k.a. Kathy and Kelly)

From the moment we locked eyes as they came through the doors into the room of many strangers all awaiting their special loved ones too, we quickly ran into each others arms and the tears of Joy began to fall!  Dustin and Kassidy...yelling and running
"Kathy and Kelly",
"I can't believe it",
We couldn't stop staring...they were so beautiful and so grown up, they were young ladies now.  Even Corey was smitten with them both (as they were with him), and warmed up to them quite quickly!
The rest of the week is quite a blur as there was never a moment that we weren't catching up...laughing...hugging...praying...laughing some more and making the most of EVERY moment we had together!  They were the much anticipated "Queens" for the week.

We sat up until 3am the first night...of course talking and giggling...we picked up where we left off 5 years ago...and it was bliss.

We went for Ice-cream at Adeleen Dairy.  For those of you who don't know, they make the BEST ice-cream ever, fresh!  It was wonderful and sunny. Scott took advantage of the big tree that was begging him to climb it! and Corey couldn't resist his first tree climb too!!

Here are some highlights from our time together...
Just before the water fight!

meeting and feeding the horses
Canoeing in Pitt Meadows
taking a break and enjoying the view
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One of the many trampoline times

Kassidy and Kathy in Stanley Park

This was the mud wasp nest we found outside our front door!

Inside the wasp nest we found at least 100 spiders that were paralyzed but still alive, and plenty of larvae!!

These baby racoons were wandering around the park and deceivingly friendly!
more fun in Stanley Park
a brotherly moment

I just love the look on Corey's face as Dustin catches him at the bottom :)
on the seawall as the sun was setting, so beautiful!
On our way to go blueberry picking.
Kelly and Dustin having fun!
My handsome son picking blueberries for the first time.
Kathy, isn't she beautiful???
Kelly, isn't she beautiful too???
My pretty girl, I love her smile!
even Corey got in on the action of blueberry picking (ok so he ate more than he saved!!) but he had loads of fun!
The love of my life!
what else do you do with all those blueberries, but of course...blueberry custard pie mmmm good! By the way the girls made these all on their own, I just gave direction :)
we celebrated Grandma Carol's birthday with this made by the girls peaches and cream dessert! can you say mmmm again?
learning to play boche ball in Grandma and Grandpas backyard.
a cuddly moment
we were reminiscing as we used to do this before bed 5 years ago when the girls were with us, in case your wondering,  this is very good on the stomache muscles (Scott had already been in bed but couldn't resist wondering what all the laughter was as it was much harder this time!  good times
My DH  was whipping us up a batch of cookies, well ok, it looks that way but actually he was just helping Kassidy to remove the cookies that she herself had prepared to give to the girls for their plane ride home ... very sweet of her! and they tasted really yummy too!!

Kathy getting ready to learn how to make candles!
this was taken the morning before they  left us, we wanted to teach them how to make candles so that is exactly what we did!
WOW, the finished product...homemade candles...and they took them all home as a gift from us!
Well we had sooo much fun together that we forgot about rush hour traffic going to the airport so we made it there JUST in time...they were the last to board the plane...our goodbye was rushed, but yet there was still time for tears, and hugs.

The final moment before we watched them walk away down the corridors and through the doors out of our sight, we waved and cried and waved somemore wishing for just a few moments more.
We wouldn't trade this week for anything in the world
Kelly and Kathy... YOU ARE LOVED and sadly missed

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letter from Jesus

I have to confess...Today has left me feeling incredibly sad as we had to say 'goodbye' to our Korean girls. There were LOTS of tears, in fact if the truth be told we have been fighting tears all evening long.  I don't like 'goodbyes', I have never have and I don't think I could ever get used to them, especially when you feel like your saying goodbye to family. That is exactly what these girls are to us. Don't get me wrong, we had the most amazing memory filled week.  This was the summer of 2010 that we will NEVER forget.  I have yet to download the many pictures that we captured, so I will be posting about our week very soon! But for now I read this Letter to Jesus some time ago on one of my blogger friends site and  it spoke to me in such a way that I have often gone back to re-read it.  So I want to leave it with all of you.

If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to your rescue

If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went through?

If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?