Our plans vs. His plans and a Happy Birthday to a lil dude!

So today is Elijah’s 4th birthday.  And it was a blast.  We can’t believe how much he has grown up and grown into an … well interesting little boy. I almost cried (well maybe it was just dusty) when I was thinking about this time next year we will be getting ready for him to go to Elementary School!!!

Hey..what’s that?  Why are my eyes getting all misty?

Every year on his birthday, Amy and I can’t help but reflect on his life, his story.

We think about the fact if it was our plans we might have not gotten pregnant.  But God had different plans.  For those new to our adventures check out this post when I found out about Amy being pregnant, 3 months into living in Belize.

We think about the fact that Elijah almost lost his life in a tragic car accident before he was born.  Again for those that are new to our adventures check out “the call” in this post from June 2013

We think about the favor of God as we used the right tool for the job (prayer) in welcoming Elijah to this world.   Check out the link for a brief story of his birth in Belize Central America!

And then we can’t help but look at this now 4 yr old and we cannot imagine our life without him.  He bring so much fun, laughter silliness, and joy into our lives.

We start to think about our plans for his life, who he could marry, how many grandkids he would have for us and what he might be when he grows up (right now his plan is animal doctor).  But then we realize God has brought him into the world through His plans.  He literally spared his life from the accident in Belize.  And He was so faithful in bringing Elijah into this world.  Amy and I stop ourselves and our plans and we pray.

Lord He is yours.  We are blessed to be his parents.  We pray Elijah meets you at a young age and draws close to you.  We pray that his feet do not stray to the right or the left and that he does not wander from you.  We pray that his testimony is filled not with sin that you had to redeem him from because of poor choices but rather opportunities that he was kept from because of his relationship with you, Jesus.  We pray most of all that he learns a deep yearning and love for you.  That he draws close to you and Lord listens to you and does what you say, even when it doesn’t line up with our own plans.  Finally God as his parents, will you give us the wisdom, courage, and patience to parent Elijah in the ways You are directing us?  And God may He have the passion and drive to serve you with everything He has and may we have the Faith as his parents to get out of his way!  Amen.

Will you join me in praying this over Elijah as his birthday present today?

Literal Birthday

2 year old elijah

3 year old elijah

Elijah at 4 years old

Elijah at 1 year old

Advertisements

The days are long but the years are short….It’s been 2 years

If you’ve followed us along with our family on our adventures, you know that one of my favorite pieces of parenting advice is “the days are long but the years are short.”  I remember first hearing it at a cafe in Belmopan Belize in a podcast by Andy and Sandra Stanley.  It really was just a reminder that in the midst of the chaos the days may seem long but the years are really short.  Time flies when you’re having fun? Right?

We were hit with that fact the days are long but the years are short.  Amy woke up one morning about a week ago and said “can you believe it’s been two years?”  I shook my head and nodded politely.  (Truth is I had no idea what she was talking about).  That is until I saw my Facebook, which so kindly reminds us of what has happened in the past…Thank you Facebook.

Anyway, I saw it was two years since we made a drive from Orangewalk Belize to the airport, tears streaming down our faces as we said goodbye to that season.  Two years that I tried to navigate 20 suitcases through customs in Miami, my two luggage trolleys toppled and all my bags fell, blocking two switch-back lanes.  Two years as I asked each stranger to stop and help (silly me this was my welcome to America…it took 12 people before a kind international woman offered her assistance).  Two years since I lost what was my identity…I was Josh the missionary in Belize.  We were the missionary family.

But it’s been Two Years.  Two Years since our church family cleaned our house, filled our fridge, left notes in each room for our kids and us.  Two years since they took Amy to New Orleans.  It’s been two years since they dropped almost everything and cared for me and my family.

It’s been two years since we drove past the “Foster Parents Needed” sign outside of the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem.  It’s been two years.  A lot of long days but really really short two years.  The days are long but the years are short.

At that moment, on the plane (in first class because we found a steal on the tickets for our family…and luggage….remember 20 suitcases), I remember sobbing when all the kids finally went to sleep and begging God WHO AM I?  I have no purpose.  I have no identity.  I was lost.  And I struggled for about a year and a few months to find out.

Now as we are here in this new but different season, I find myself drifting back to identity.  We may not be the Edmonds, Belize missionaries, but we are The Edmonds, foster family to Z and L.  The Edmonds family those crazies with 5 kids!  What if they don’t stay?  What if? Who will we be then.

Identity is a funny thing, we always search and desire it but often place it in the wrong things.

Fast-forward to this week….Man I had a particularly challenging week this week.  I was faced with a relatively taxing and challenging situation at work that required many hours of late night conversations (way, way past my bed time).  In addition, we had a gas leak.  Let me run down the gas leak.

  • Sunday – Amy and Josh smell natural gas coming from the brand new and newly installed water heater.
  • Monday – Gas company contacted, identified the leak, provided instruction for correction and turned off gas.  Plumber comes out to address corrections (delayed over 2 hours, and same plumber that installed the BRAND NEW water heater).
  • Tuesday – Gas company came back out, checked leak and informed us that the plumber did NOT correct the mistake.  No gas day two.  Did I mention that gas is how we have hot water?!?  Oh and he let us know that we now need a city inspector to sign off on the corrected gas leak prior to the gas company turning on the hot water.  Plumber comes to correct the gas leak, finally.  It’s around 8:30pm.
  • Wednesday – City inspector comes to inspect the system.  He finds that the gas leak is improved BUT there were other issues with the hot water heater that were not up to code.  So the plumber returns at 9:30pm (still the SAME plumber that installed it) and complained that he had to fix his mistake.
  • Thursday – City inspector comes signs off on the corrections, plumber returns at 4pm to do final check and at 5:30pm we have hot water!

It’s been a week for of LONG days.  In the midst of it, I was sharing some of this with a friend at work and they suggested Psalm 62.  I spent the rest of the week there, resting on God’s promises.

I wait quietly before God,
    for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will never be shaken.

So many enemies against one man—
    all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
    or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
    They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
    but curse me in their hearts. Interlude

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
    He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge. 

I found myself re-realizing, as I have always known that my identity is in who I am with the Lord.  He alone is my refuge and my strength.  God was my refuge 2 years ago and for the year and a half that I struggled with who I was / am.  God is our refuge in the LONG days of Foster Care.  And God is our refuge now as we struggle through a challenging week.  I choose to trust Him at all times!

My prayer is this week as y’all are going through the week, as you reflect back on a particular challenging season or as you struggle with who you are and what’s your value that you read, reflect and ultimately rest on the promises of God as laid out in Psalm 62.  May His word refresh your soul.

Many of our pre-dinner hours of the week are spent here! Don’t worry L is floating on her back in this pic

Children’s Museum fun!

L marching to help mommy in the garden

More museum fun

it’s all fun and games until someone eats a black marker….long days remember?