Category Archives: Adoption

Call me Crazy or a Fool….

There is a song by the Christian group Avalon that is one of several “theme” songs for my life.  It is called “I Don’t Want to Go” . Here are the lyrics (or you can listen to it here):

You changed my world
When You came to me.
You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go.

So come whatever, (whatever may come)
I’ll stick with You (right by your side)
I’ll walk You’ll lead me,
Call me crazy or a fool,
For forever I promise You…

That I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go…

I can’t even listen to this song without tears streaming down my face.  You see when the Lord reached down and touched my heart so deeply in the summer of 1979 as a 16 year old girl I was never the same.  He did exactly what this song says…He drove a passion deep down in my soul to follow Him in everything!

And yes that has led to many many times being called…

Crazy or a Fool 

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be another one of those times.  And that is really ok by me…I am simply trying to follow the Lord’s lead.. where ever that is and whatever may come.

You may or may not know that ever since we adopted baby girl in 2009….we have hoped to be able to officially adopt at least two more children. Most doors for that are closed to us for various reasons:

  • Foster adopt in California has strict unbendable rules as to the the number of children per bedroom and with our home we won’t qualify for that until 2021 (didn’t they ever read or watch Little House on the Prairie or The Walton’s who all raised fabulous families with limited bedrooms?)
  • Private Agency Adoption has roadblocks with our ages….hmmmph! 😉
  • International Adoption is not an option because our annual income does not meet the immigration guidelines of $75,000 a year for a family our size (somehow I think orphans living in poverty around the world just hoping for one meal a day and clean drinking water might not mind living at the Lambdin “poverty level”…yes it is true that with our income and family size we are considered poverty level..sheesh…talk about crazy!)

So we have just smiled, told the Lord our desires & prayed knowing that a private independent (not agency) adoption  was really our only option & the likelihood of having a pregnant mom just come to us “out of the blue” and ask us to adopt her baby was very slim.

But God……

Six weeks ago we became aware of a woman who was pregnant with twins at the age of 51 and was going to terminate her pregnancy.  It was one of those facebook posts friend of a friend of a friend type things.  I called her on the phone   We spoke on several occasions but she was hesitant to get together and a bit “cold”.  I just continued to call and text offering any support I could. Then three weeks after our initial contact she called and asked me to come to her house.  She shared with me that it seemed every time she thought about going to get that abortion, she would get a text from me and it would stop her.  She said that my persistence made an impact on her life and that she would like to consider placing her babies with our family.

She has a long complicated life story….with some real sadness, horror and tragedy….that has led her to consider this alternative.  A story that has in its chapters – abuse, abandonment, molestation, rape, murder, prison, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, marriages, divorces, many children, a few miscarriages, domestic violence, poverty, restraining orders, government assistance, church attendance, friends, family, mental illness and a measure of faith.  To be candid, the more I learn, the more my mind is overwhelmed by one person having lived and endured such a life.

We have spent the past several weeks getting to know her, assisting her, supporting her and loving on her.  It has been fulfilling, exhausting, energizing, frustrating, exciting, good and crazy!  We have all come to love and care for one another.

And that brings you to today.  The question asked me daily by friends and family:  “How’s the adoption plan coming?” or “What’s the latest on your adoption?” or “Is everything settled with the adoption?”

To which I answer with a combination look of confusion, happiness, sadness and questioning….silence.  I do not know how to answer those questions.  I am dealing with a pretty unstable situation in many ways.  I am walking a road with someone, who in my heart of hearts, I believe simply does not have what it will take to raise those children as their primary caretaker.  It’s not just the lack of resources, reasonable shelter or stable family support relationships that are almost non existent…it goes so much deeper.  There are many complications and there is no clear path to a simple adoption. Perhaps an open adoption will be the answer. Perhaps we will end up somehow with legal guardianship instead. Or perhaps we will be a second family — Auntie Beth and Uncle Dan to these precious twins that are due to be born in just eleven weeks.  I simply do not know how it will all play out….and yes for a recovering control freak….this is bringing me to an even great level of giving over my control and letting God be in complete control of every part of our lives.  I am reminded once again of this scripture in James:

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to do this or that  or we have great plans to have this happen”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

Yes…my friends (especially those with the same control issues as I) that is what it the Bible says!

So I will say Lord willing….we will be adopting twins into our family.

Or Lord willing….we will be taking them and their Mom into our extended family.

Or how about this Lord willing…we will purchase the house next door that is currently going up on a short sale for a “steal of a deal”.

Wait! What did she just say?!

Yup…I said Lord willing, we could somehow, someway own the house next door.

And what does that have to do with anything? Why do you want to own the house next door?

Oh I am glad you asked!  Call me crazy or a fool…but just in the past few days I had this thought about the house for sale next door. I thought how perfect it would be if we could move our new friend into that house. We could then look after her and help meet her needs from right next door.  And whether we end up adopting, having legal custody or just being an ever present family providing stability and helping to train up those babies with the life skills that are missing from previous generations, taking then to church and teaching them the ways of the Lord…we would be able to do that and be a life giving blessing to the mamma as well.

Yes…that is just how my big vision, big dreaming mind and heart works.  And Lord willing….it could happen!  All we need is $130,000 cash and we could do it. Someone out there may just need a big year end tax deduction, right?!  By the way, have I told you that Inspire Ministries…is now officially incorporated as a non profit with the State of California, IRS paperwork filed to be a 501(c)3, bank account opened and ready for donations, website in process and facebook site posting! Wouldn’t this be an exciting first BIG project…a ministry home to be used to help those in need with the ministers right “on site” to train and support?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It could happen…Lord willing!

You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

11 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Callings, Faith, Goals & Dreams, Inspire Ministries, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

…who make lists for everything (and even keep files on the computer of “to do lists” for recurring events in my life)

…who start many conversations by saying “Let’s make a list

…who torture their family with their never ending “to do” lists, chore lists, packing lists and “honey do” lists

…who have been known to add things to their list that they have already done just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list <it is a sickness, isn’t it?>

So it shouldn’t shock or surprise you that in honor of my 50th birthday I created a list. It began a week or so ago as I was pondering having lived 50 years of my life and what I would like to share with others who are still in the first half of life! (although they are great reminders for whatever season of life you may be in!)

So….here is my 5oth birthday list (complete with many “Bethisms”) for loving and living life…and of course there are 50 points!

1. Life is short and quickly passing by (was I not just 30 and in a twinkling of an eye be 70?)
2. Life is even shorter when compared to eternity (wisdom & logic would say to invest your self in eternity)
3. Life is an amazing gift – enjoy it!
4. Life is a precious gift – celebrate it!

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

6. Life is a priceless gift – don’t abuse it
7. Life is a unique gift – don’t waste it
8. Life is a glorious giftSTOP worrying and stressing about it
9. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal! (this is the real performance people!)
10. Life is to be lived on purpose (and the occasional accidents are an exciting and sometimes course changing part of the ride)
11. Life – it’s not what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you respond!
12. Life is not fair – “you get what you get & you don’t throw a fit!”
13. Life is not fair – if it were fair we would all be headed to hell (for all have sinned and fallen short and the price for sin is eternal death…but thanks be to God for sending us Jesus to pay that price for us! It was not “fair” that he had to pay the price…but I’ll take it!)
14. Life is not fair – it is not a matter of holding good cards in life…but of playing a poor hand well!
15. Life is hard…at times really hard. 
16. Life is not a respector of persons – the sun shines and the rain falls on the good and bad alike (Yes, bad things happen to good people. If you still can’t accept that refer to “Life is not fair”)
17. Life ends in death for everyone: statistics say 10 out of 10 people die  Live like you believe this fact!
18. Life’s ultimate goal and chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
19. Life without love is nothing
20. Love is the answer ♥
21. Love covers a multitude of sins 
22. Love is not a feeling but an act of our will (we can always act lovingly without feeling the love)
23. Love is patient…enduring long 
24. Love is kind  (so simple yet so very difficult…)
25. Love is unselfish and self sacrificing 
26. Love is life giving 
27. Love bears & endures all things, hopes & believes all things 
28. Love NEVER fails…it never gives up 
29. Love the Lord with ALL your heart, soul, mind & strength 
30. Love your parents and honor them 
31. Love your husband or wife (if you are single love your future bride or groom by waiting just for them and keeping yourself pure and unstained by this world) 
32. Love your children…hug and kiss them often, speak powerful words of life to them & discipline them (yes that is a part of love) 
33. Love your friends through the good, the bad & the ugly 
34Love your neighbors (who is your neighbor? The one in need) 
35. Love your fellow believers – brothers and sisters is what they are called in the Word (even those from different denominations or those who have hurt you or that you vehemently disagree with) 
36. Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you (this goes against our very nature and yet….)
37. Love and do good to those who hate you  (yes that is oh so very hard)
38. Love your self for you are skillfully & wonderfully made by the Creator 
39. Give generously…even to a fault!
40. Be faithful to your commitments…don’t quit!
41. Discover your passions in life and pursue them whether or not they are practical, financially profitable or held in high esteem by society
42 Build on your strengths…don’t pay too much attention to your weaknesses (not as in weaknesses of sin…but in gifts, talents & abilities)…you can’t put in what God left out!
43. Think outside the box…you don’t have to do it the way it has always been done or the way everyone else does it 
44. Decide how many children you want or that you can handle…and then have one more! (even better yet ask God to give you what He wants)
45. Take full responsibility for your life…don’t blame God, the government or others for your lack of opportunities or failures
46. Regular consistent personal disciplines – prayer, bible reading, exercise, weekly church attendance will pay off in the long run…both in this life and the one to come!
47. “Adoption” (of any type – a baby, foster child, an international orphan, a family in need, a floundering young person, senior citizen, single mom, widow, fatherless/motherless child, foreign exchange student…for any amount of time – short term, long term, permanent or for life) is something everyone should experience!
48. Make memories and take lots of photos (if you are blessed to live to a ripe old age…they will be such a treasure)
49. Done is better than perfect!
50. Give up your control issues as young as possible and let God be in control of everything… (so says this wise recovered control freak)

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Marriage, My "take"

I wish I could….

My dear blog readers…today’s post is written for those of you who call yourselves Christians. So, if you are not someone who claims to believe in and follow the teachings of Christ I invite you to “listen in” on the conversation but know that I am directing this post towards believers.

Ok…let’s get right down to it.

As Christians we are commanded and compelled to help orphans and unwanted children. Period. End of story.

I could give you all the scriptures that point to this non negotiable commandment. (for those who may need “proof”Exodus 22:22-23, Psalm 68:5-6, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 24:19, Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 18:5, Matthew 25:40, James 1:27, James 2:14-17)  

I could tell you about the long history of church tradition of helping orphans & unwanted babies. (Did you know that unwanted infants in ancient Rome were often disposed of via the practice of “exposing.” Whether undesirable because it was malformed, female or simply inconvenient, the child would be left alone, outside the city walls, without defense before glaring sun, icy winds or roving animals. For centuries, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. The early church was known, even among many who despised it, as a people who defended the orphan. Believers went outside the city to find infants abandoned there, taking them in, and raising them as their own.) 

I could share with you my own story of adopting one of God’s precious children (if you are interested you can read about it here along with several other amazing adoption stories in the comment section – Chosen to Love and Be Loved)

But really I do not think most of you need any of that to convince you that God has a heart for orphans and unwanted babies or that His desire is that we be like Him and have a heart for them as well.   No, I think you are all well aware of these truths. 

What I really want to have you think about is the part you will play in orphan care and adoption.  What are you being asked to do? (and don’t tell me you are not “called” to help orphans…it is NOT a calling it is a commandment – go back and read the scriptures above) Now a few of you may take in a child and raise them as your own….the beautiful miracle of adoption. Others may become foster parents or legal guardians. Some may start local adoption ministries in your church or community. Many will sponsor a child through organizations like World Vision or Compassion International. A handfull will go visit orphans in foreign countries or domestic children’s homes and bring joy and love to them for a bit.

The bottom line as Christians is that we are all asked to do something.  And I know something that we can ALL do!

I can’t begin to tell you how many people have said to me – “I would love to adopt but it is so expensive”. And that is true for all foreign adoptions as well as many domestic adoptions.(you can however adopt in most states through the foster system for little to nothing…if you can get approved, which can be problematic for those with larger than average families, smaller than average homes or a host of other issues…but for those that qualify it is a great option)  But yes, the cost for private adoptions usually starts at $15,000  and can be as high as $50,000 (yikes!) And it is true that most people simply can’t afford that amount of money. And yet I know many who even without the “money in the bank” have stepped out in faith and began the adoption process hoping that somehow the money would come through. In fact this is exactly our story and the money did come through in miraculous ways and mostly from a large network of people who gave “a little”…that added up to “a lot”.

And that is the something we can ALL do…we can all give a little bit to everyone we know who is in need of financial help to adopt a child. Every family who is willing to take in a child and raise them as their own should not be hindered by a financial need….at least not as long as there are Christians around.

The Hoyle family

If you have read this blog for any length of time you are quite aware that we are not well off in the material sense at this season in our lives. In fact our current financial state has reverted back to our 1998 status (and we have been blessed with four more children since then). We live pay check to pay check and often time the money runs out before the month.  I am in no way complaining, as I know who my provider is and He is always faithful. I only share that with you because I know that many of you are already thinking, as we ourselves could easily fall into – “I have nothing left to give….to help anyone with their adoption.”  In fact just recently some newly made friends, the Hoyles, have begun their adoption journey and are trying to raise funds to pay for this adoption.  The other day I was reading over some of the responses to their plea for help. (right away I know some of you are shuddering at the thought of ever having to ask for financial help for anything…and believe me as one who has had to do this to adopt a child…it is humbling and it is hard. It would be so much easier to just be blessed with wealth…or win the lottery…or have someone just walk up and say…”hey, here’s $20,000 to pay for your adoption expenses.” And yet how often do we get the “easy road” in this walk of faith?)

Back to my reading the comments on their fundraising plea – one of their friends said this: “Oh how I wish I could help”. This caused me to stop and give pause to really think about this comment…..

  • I wish I could help.
  • I wish I could help. 
  • I wish I could help. 

How many of us have said that or thought that? And maybe the better question is –> Why can’t we help? If we wish we could….then why “can’t” we? Possibly this friend is like us….living paycheck to paycheck with no readily apparent extra money to help out. Or maybe they don’t even have a paycheck and are a young college student living at home or off the generosity of others. Or perhaps they are on a very strict budget and have a spouse or financial advisor who will not “allow” any deviation. I do not know what this particular friend of the Hoyle’s situation is…however I am going to challenge all of us, who “wish we could help” those who are stepping out in faith to adopt a child…that the fact is every last one of us, no matter what our particular situation is, in reality…we CAN help!

We can ALL do something.  And that is all it takes for the funding of an adoption to happen –  for everyone to simply do something….anything…even if it is as small as a $10 or $20 contribution. (often times those who “wish they could help” think that a small donation won’t help and they could not be more mistaken. Our adoption of baby girl was almost completely financed by small gifts from many people)

But hey….maybe even $10 or $20 is a huge stretch for you right now. And perhaps you have recently given that “extra” money you have to another family needing help to adopt. Or maybe you are like us and receive several invitations to help with adoptions each month. We currently personally know of four families in the process of adoption who need funds…not too mention the many people we “run across” in life through emails, facebook or mutual friends who are looking towards adoption.

I still believe that if we “wish to help”  we can! (and not to be redundant but we as followers of Jesus we should all “wish” to help every adoption that comes to our attention!)

And here is how. We can all pick merely one of the following ways to contribute to those needing help adopting:

1. Collect ALL the loose change around your house and use that to give a gift. I did a quick run around my house and came up with over $12 in loose change from the bottom of purses, in junk drawers, my husbands pants pocket and in a canning jar in the kitchen cabinet.(if I looked under the couch cushions I bet I would have even gotten more!)

These goodies would sell great!

2. Have a bake sale – just make a batch of cookies (say 5 dozen)….go out to a local youth sports league or park on a sunny day or maybe in your church foyer …set up a card table & sell two cookies for $1. Walk away with $30 ….even if you take out your expenses you’ll have $20 to give away. Or you could even not leave your home & sell them all on facebook….taking a few hours to deliver them door to door!

3. Get creative & find a way to work for a few hours & use that $$ to give (host a Moms day out for some of your friends who need a break, deep cleaning a house one time, doing yard work, taking a short term job doing inventory for a store…there are always people looking for very temporary help. My daughter right this minute is doing childcare for a wedding reception making money for her upcoming missions trip to Haiti) Most of us in just an extra 4-5 hours one time could easily make $50 to give away. I would do that to help a child who needs a home….wouldn’t you?

4. Have a yard sale and give away the proceeds. We have done this so many times…all it takes is cleaning out your “stuff”, asking your friends & family to bring their “junk” and setting up shop in your front yard for a day.  Most people make at least $100 in a yard sale and we have made as much as $1500. (you can sell baked goods too and increase your sales)  Wow! With this type of revenue you could help many families with a gift towards their adoption! All it takes is time and effort….we all have that.

5. Sell something that you are not using or no longer need on eBay, Amazon or Craig’s List. We collected all the books we were not interested in keeping that were taking up space in our house one year and put them on Amazon and within a week had made $50 on old books. Easy Peezy.

6. If you want to raise money and have fun at the same time – host a bunco or other game night…charge a small fee to join (example $10 per person to come x 8 friends = $80)…give away a cute “winner prize” ($20) and use the remaining money to give away ($60)

7. Cut off cable TV and you’ll have $40 -$60 EVERY month to give away to families adopting children. (ok Beth…now you’re getting pushy)

8. Have one night a week for a month where you either skip dinner entirely or have only rice and water…The “average” family will save $30-$40 in a month sacrificing this weekly meal. Give that away to those who are raising funds (we do this at Lent season every year). Bonus: you can lose a few pounds while helping a child be placed in a forever family!

9. Ask friends who do have the resources to give! We all have friends who do have extra money…perhaps we could step out of our comfort zone and ask them to consider donating towards that adoption we “wish we could help”. (actually even our friends without extra resources could all donate their loose change, we could collect it and I bet it would be a nice size donation.)

10. You tell me….I could  come up with even more ideas but I would love to hear yours. How could someone come up with just a mere $20 donation to help with an adoption of a precious child everytime they are asked? Please share in the comment section!

So the next time you hear of a family asking for financial help to adopt a child…don’t say “I wish I could….” but rather say “Sure I’d love to!” and pick a way to make it happen. (or you can always give up a coffee a week and donate that money you save…I know, I know don’t mess with my legal stimulant addiction Beth! I’m right there with you….Ouch!)

PS – For those who immediately need to put this into action because the Holy Spirit is doing His thing in your heart – the Hoyles still need $8,000. You can read their blog here –  Hoyles Promise  or donate here – Crowd Tilt

6 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Economics, Faith, Making a Difference, My "take"

I am the 1%

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard of all of the hullabaloo down on Wall Street with people protesting….oh wait….what are they protesting anyway?  It’s hard to say exactly but it appears, by all the personal signs I have read, to have something to do with being in the 99% and I guess this makes them mad because they want to be in the 1%? (you’ve lost something on me there folks…if we are all in the top 1% then ummmmm…there is no bottom 99% right??? We would all be the exactly the same…which I suppose is what true socialists want…but I digress)

 

Anyhoo….all these signs have got me thinking a lot about what percent I am in?  And darn it, being the driven, overachiever, competitive gal that I am…I want to be in the TOP 1%  Oh wait….but I am!

It’s true!  I am a part of the 1% in each of those categories.  As I began to look up statistics in different areas that I thought, just perhaps, I earned the right to be in the 1%, I wondered if I would be able to come up with more than just a couple.  I was pleasantly surprised (because I like to be #1) and at the same time a little disappointed as well, to find myself easily being in the top 1% in several areas.  Disappointed especially that more people do not adopt children, abandon TV or give away at least 10% of their income to those in need.  Wouldn’t our world be such a better place if even 10, 20 or 30% of our society did some of these things? Of course even if the world did not become a better place, we would become better people:

  • less concerned about the rich on Wall Street and more concerned about the King of Kings
  • less concerned about “getting our fair share” and more concerned about giving away some of our blessings
  • less concerned about our “things” here on this earth and more concerned with storing up treasures in heaven

What about you? What are you the 1% of?  Something to think about….

7 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Economics, Life Lessons

Don’t you know what causes that?

“Don’t you know what causes that?”

It started with my third pregnancy…as we began to share with those around us the news of the anticipated birth of our baby…the smirking and joking from a few friends who assumed that we could not have possibly planned to have a…<gulp>….third child!  I suppose several gave us a “pass” on their comments since we had already birthed two girls and they assumed we were “trying for a boy”.  But when the fourth pregnancy was revealed less than a year later friends, family and even strangers jumped on the band wagon to ask us silly and/or personal questions or make shocking and/or rude statements:

  • Were you trying?  (nope, we were doing and succeeding mind you!)
  • How many more are you going to have? (you’ll have to ask God)
  • Was this an accident?  (Really? Like getting pregnant is being in a car wreck or breaking your leg)
  • Are you going to get fixed after this one? (hmmm…didn’t know I was broken)
  • I am glad it’s you and not me! (I am sure the baby is too and my husband is definitely glad it’s not you)
  • How are you ever gonna pay for college? (I don’t know…how are you?)
  • You’re crazy! (if that was said to my face I can’t imagine what was said behind my back)
  • You’re having another one?  (yes, at least one this time)
  • When are you going to stop? (stop?….stop what?)

And my personal favorite from all the people who think they are “oh so funny”…

  • Don’t you know what causes that? (I have so many great answers in my head for this one that would make most people turn beat red or greatly embarrass my teenage girls…but I was raised to be a dignified lady so I try oh so hard to keep my mouth shut)

Assuming that the readers of this blog have all taken a junior high sex ed class, have been through a “secret weekend” (as they are called in our family) or have had “the talk” with their parents where they learned all about “the facts of life” (otherwise known as human anatomy, sexual relations and how life is conceived)…I do not think that you need a biological play by play on what caused us to conceive seven children during our almost 25 years of marriage.  But perhaps you are curious about what might cause a couple to have such a large family in a society that teaches and embraces a two child…or three at the most…standard philosophy? (and laughs at, sneers or condemns anyone who dares to do otherwise)

What caused us to have so many children?  Well let me tell you it all began 25 years ago this very month and if you are interested or curious, I have finally decided to write out and publish our story. (WARNING: If you have a tendency to feel “judged” simply by the lifestyle and choices others make that are different than yours, you might want to just stop reading now and save yourself the grief.  DISCLAIMER: I am in no way judging anyone for their choices regarding children, reproduction or family size nor am I telling anyone else how they should decide these things.  I am simply sharing our God inspired story for those who are curious, interested or questioning. It may challenge your theology or thinking and… it may not)

I was 24 years old and just a few months away from getting married when the Lord began to work in my heart concerning my ideas about birth control, family planning and being truly open to every life that He wanted to
give to me.

I was a very committed & passionate young woman who was serving as the youth pastor to hundreds of “on fire” teenagers. I had what were called “radical” views on dating and relationships as well as very intensive discipleship programs for our youth.  I considered myself extremely pro-life and wanted to do everything within my power to stop the atrocity of abortion in our country.  In many ways I was  quite different than the average church going evangelical yet I found myself among the norm when it came to buying into the “planned parenthood” mentality of our day.

I was engaged to be married to an awesome godly young man and we both agreed that the plan would be for me to begin taking the birth control pill and then we would wait several years, go off the pill and have perhaps two children, a boy & a girl, and then be done. Perfect, right?

As part of our marriage preparation we attended an Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat where we were encouraged to take an opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about our prospective lives together– our strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, our attitudes about money, sex, children, family, our role in the church and society–in a very comprehensive way. (I highly recommend this type of purposeful marriage preparation and am always shocked when couples have not taken the time to explore these areas and come to an agreement prior to saying “I do”!)   After each topic was introduced, we were given a list of questions to answer privately in a journal and then come together to share our answers with one another. (a great way to have honest communication)

About half way through the weekend the session on family planning, birth control and children was introduced.  As Dan and I each found a private place to write in our journals I began to feel a strong stirring in my heart. I was challenged in my spirit to completely rethink my beliefs in this area.  As I sat on some rocks in the foothills of Copperopolis and tried to write down my well thought out answers (you see I knew exactly what I wanted in this area of life and marriage), the Lord literally threw out questions one after another in my mind, fast and furious –

  • Have you ever considered asking Me what the plan for your family should be? (hadn’t really thought about that, Lord)
  • How about inquiring of Me how many children I want to give you? (Well, I just thought we would just decide what we wanted and you would be fine with it)
  •  Is it birth control or God control that you desire? (ouch…this one stung!)
  • Who is in control of your life anyway? (ummmmm….You are God?? I love you & want your will for my life)
  • Do you believe that children are a blessing from Me?  (of course….I think so)
  • Why do you want to limit my blessings? (well…..I don’t know?)
  • Do you believe that I know you and will give you the very best for your life?  (Yes!)
  • Do you trust me? (I thought I did)

I felt like I was in some type of wrestling match with the Lord as He tried to get me to release control of my life and give my plans over to become His plans. (Thy will be done)  But when I was finally ready to stop arguing with Him and listen He gently reminded me to just relax and trust Him…for He truly had an abundant life for me to live. Better than I could ever ask or think! After that hour with the Lord, and a subsequent long conversation with my soon to be husband (when we got together later to share our journals…and I had written not a thing down), together we gave our plans for family to the Lord and ditched the “planned parenthood” philosophy.

We did not decide to have a “boatload” (or 15 passenger van load) of children.

We did not decide to have one, two or three children for that matter either.

We did not decide to be married for three years and then start our family and we did not decide to get pregnant right away.

We simply decided to give God control of our family dynamics and to ask Him to lead and guide us every step of the way. (not really a complicated decision to merely ask the Lord what He wants and yet so few do ask Him when it comes to this area of life)

A month later I learned quite by happenstance that the birth control pill was an abortifacient. (well documented and researched so no need to argue with me on this point…even if your doctor told you it wasn’t they were using some type of semantics and faulty reasoning…all you have to do is read the insert that is in the pill container) I was appalled that no believer had shared this with me and I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord that I had never “accidentally” aborted a baby by making my womb hostile to implantation of a conceived child.  With my heart & passion for the unborn that would have been difficult for me to live with. During that time I had gotten even more confident in my conviction that we should simply put the control of our family in God’s hands.  After all He was the creator of life (albeit He lets us be a part of that as co-creators) and since His view on children as being a gift from Him and a blessing, we could certainly trust Him. I also realized that the Lord might not bless us with any children by birth and I committed that into His care as well. (something that in this current world of rampant infertility issues one would be best to realize early on — the truth that no one is guaranteed to give birth to a child) We had also already experienced the miracle of adoption through our newly adopted niece who joined our family the same week we got engaged…we knew that adopting a child was not “second best” to having a bio child and we considered that adoption would someday be a part of the plan for our family as well.

On our wedding day we publicly affirmed & committed to raising children to glorify God (to the actual laughter of many of our Christian friends…you can hear it on the video) and throughout our 24+ years of marriage we have continued to trust God in this area.  We have prayed at times asking for the Lord to give us a “breather” (after we had four children in six years and extremely difficult pregnancies) and we along with our daughters have pleaded with the Lord for over three years to bless us with yet another sweet baby to love (#7) and we spent countless hours and persisted through many roadblocks and closed doors as we asked God to let us adopt.  Children came at what others considered “bad times” (one during my husband’s last year in Bible school, several back to back, another when we had taken on a challenge of starting a Christian school, and of course the health risks for myself and baby that many gravely warned us about when I had two babies post 40 years old) but as always in hindsight we see that Gods timing was perfect with each and every child. Through it all we chose God control and ultimately said… “Thy will be done”.

The results….we have been blessed with seven awesome children by birth (six girls – 21, 18, 17, 15, 12, 8 and a boy 4 years old) and so far one girl (age 2) through the miracle of adoption. They have brought more love, joy & peace into our lives than we could have ever imagined. (as well producing other fruit of the spirit – patience & self control – we didn’t start off with these qualities but you better believe we have given ample opportunity to grow!) It would take another long blog entry to tell you about all the blessings and benefits that we have been given through each of our children as well as by having a plus size family. Things we could have never imagined those 25 years ago and yet God knew.  And we are ready, willing & wanting to take any more that the Lord sends our way through birth or adoption. (to the utter shock, amazement & sometimes dismay of most of the people around us.)

So……do I know what causes this?

Yes I do, thank you!

What causes a young soon to be married couple to decide to chuck the current popular world view on birth control, pregnancy, child spacing, family size and children out the window?

It was caused by:

  • the joining together of two hearts that wanted nothing more than to listen to the Lord and follow His plan for their lives.
  • a desire to give Him complete control over their lives and their destinies
  • a hope to come together in marriage to glorify God and be an example of Christ and His unconditional love for His church
  • a belief that all life is a gift to be cherished and that babies are a blessing from God
  • gaining an understanding of how much God loves the orphans, the fatherless and children without forever families that His heart beats for adoption
  • trusting God and saying…Not our will but….Thy will be done!

How about you….Do you know what causes that in your life?

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Faith, Fatherhood, Life Lessons, Marriage, Motherhood, My "take", Pro-life

It couldn’t get any better than that!

Today I participated in the Walk for Life – West Coast in San Francisco to speak for those who cannot speak, to walk for those who cannot walk; to pray for, fight for, stand up for, and love the life of every unborn child!

Today in the year 1973 the landmark decision known as Roe V Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion in our country resulting in millions of babies being destroyed.

Today is Christiana’s Adoption Day…last year this very day we stood in a courtroom here in San Joaquin County and with a raised hand committed to love our adopted child and give her the same rights and inheritance as our birth children. The gavel fell and she became officially our child. (in our hearts she was already completely ours)

 Everyone who knows me well will tell you that I am passionate about the lives of the unborn. It sickens and saddens me that we allow them to be torn apart and thrown away without even being given the chance at life. It angers me that many women are also the victims of abortion as they are not given the facts about the life growing inside of them and that they are duped into believing that it would be better to destroy the baby than to either parent her or if unable to do that then to place him into the arms of a family willing to love and raise the child. It makes me cry when I look into the face of my own innocent little one, sleeping so peacefully, safe & secure next to her Mommy and knowing that today thousands of babies will never get a chance to sleep in their Momma’s arms, giggle uncontrollably, sing & dance, explore the world and grow up to become anything they desire, find love, experience joy and glorify God. The tears flow when I think of the great loss for those mothers & fathers as well as the rest of the world.

Today I am also in complete awe that the God of this universe cared enough through His divine providential hand to coordinate so many special blessings for me with our own adoption experience:

  1. We could have adopted a child through a multitude of agencies. We had not seriously looked into any in particular when we got the call from a former student and dear friend who had moved thousands of miles away from California to Tennessee. She excitedly shared with me that there was an agency speaking at her MOPS (Mothers of pre-schoolers meeting) that morning about the need for adoptive families and she thought of us. Within minutes I was on the phone with the agency getting all the information needed. To my great joy & surprise this adoption agency was a crisis pregnancy center! Yes, that is right…the agency that the Lord led us to was committed to counseling women and helping them overcome obstacles so they would chose life for their child. They even have all prospective adopting families sign an affidavit proclaiming that they are pro-life! It was as if God just kissed my forward and said “Here Beth, I know how committed you are the pro life cause…letting you adopt through this agency is an extra gift for you!” It couldn’t get any better than that for me…..but it did….
  2. You see our sweet baby’s birthmom was abortion vulnerable. She was young and facing some serious life challenges. The easy thing for her would have been to have an abortion and end her child’s life. She would have had folks supporting her decision and she would have temporarily “solved” her problems and yet she chose life. She chose to not destroy the baby she knew she could not take care of or raise but instead gave her the greatest gift…a chance to live life. She then chose to place her baby in the loving arms of parents and a family who would love, cherish and nurture that baby as their very own. To have my first adopted child be “saved” from abortion…well it just couldn’t get any better than that…and yet…
  3. God gave me yet another amazing gift! Our adoption paperwork was filed with the state of California in November 2009, six months to the day after we brought her home. Our social worker told us that there was a chance that we could finalize before the year’s end or at the latest the first week of January. As I anxiously awaited word of our court date I hoped that it would happen before mid January as my eldest daughter would be home from college and could be a part of the ceremony. I was so disappointed when the time came and went with no word on our court date. The day after Michelle went back to school I received the much desired mail from the San Joaquin Superior Court with our court date. I tore open the envelope and gasped as I saw the date appointed for her to be officially adopted…January 22…the anniversary of what I see as one of the saddest days in our nation’s history, the day we sentenced millions of babies to death. I sat down at my kitchen table, shaking my head and smiling at God’s goodness to me. He took a day that grieves my heart and He redeemed it for me by allowing my precious child who could have been legally killed in our country, yet whose mother chose not to abort her but to give her life, to be adopted into our forever family on that very day.

 For me…it couldn’t get any better than that!

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Pro-life

“Cousin Kate”: Welcoming Orphans

I am blessed to be called “Aunt Beth” by fourteen nieces and two nephews (yes the “girl thing” must be genetic on both sides!).  On my branch of the family tree the first babies to make their entrance in this world  were my now 23-year-old twin nieces Kate and Beth.  When I saw them for the first time at six months old, they stole my heart with their cute smiles and precious giggles. They have always been sweet, loving,  “good girls” – wonderful and perfect daughters, grandgirls, nieces, cousins and big sisters. It has been a joy to watch them grow into mature, faithful, smart, talented, giving, beautiful, pure and godly young ladies. They are amazing role models for each cousin that came after them.  They bring life, love and joy to everywhere they go and to everyone who knows them.  I love these girls!

Kate recently sent me an essay she wrote about her summer missions trip to Uganda (not her first missions trip but one of many).  I put it in under the comments from my recent post on adoption –  Chosen to Love & be Loved – but then I decided that it needed to be shared with you all as it is such a beautiful, well written and inspiring look at adoption.  

Her tiny arm was deeply scarred. I held out the bubble wand and she tried to lick the soap as I giggled and tried to show her how to blow. This wisp of girl had more spunk and attitude than I had ever seen in a 2 year-old package, but then she’d always been a fighter. She was birthed into a pit latrine – a hole in ground filled with human excrement over 20 feet below. She was found lying there amid the stench, alone and abandoned. It took hours for a slip-knot in a rope to finally catch around her wrist. She was pulled out, but not without profound damage to her wrist. They thought Zoe would never have use of her arm again.

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) Is that just a statistic? Not to me. I’ve held children in Uganda burning up with fever from Malaria who have no mommy to comfort them. I’ve listened to kids in Romania try without success to play the recorder because they had no daddy who ever taught them to count to 3. I’ve seen the look of belonging on the face of an adopted cousin as she reached for her mommy. She will never know the fear of being alone.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Every human heart is an orphaned heart. We are all in that boat together until we are adopted by God the Father into his family. We never have to feel alone again because God care’s deeply about orphans. He has a father’s heart. A heart that is willing to take someone who may look different and have a completely different background then they do, into their family and love them like their own flesh and blood – this is the heart of Christ. This is the heart that is also ready to love people whose souls are in a different place. This is the heart that is willing to love others and bring them to a face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ. I care about orphans and adoption because I too was a spiritual orphan who was adopted into the family of God.

Nicholas is a precious baby that was discarded into the bush of Africa when he was only hours old. He spent his first months at a baby house at New Hope Uganda. He learned to eat his porridge from a normal cup, not a bottle, because there was nobody to feed him several times a day. I met him when he was 6-months-old. I hugged him and kissed him and tried desperately to somehow convey to him that he was loved and things were going to be okay. When he was 1-year-old, he was adopted by a missionary family in Uganda. I saw him again two years later. He ran into the room in his train pajamas with a big smile and put his little hand out for me to shake. He will never remember what it was like not to have a mommy and a daddy. He knows that he is unconditionally loved and it has made all the difference.

“Mommy?” Zoe said as I walked into that same baby house. It broke my heart. I wanted to say yes. I wanted this little girl to have someone that she knew she belonged to. One day I want to welcome orphans into my home and family. I want to hear little voices say “Mommy?” and I can respond with a nod and a hug of welcome and belonging. One day all of us will stand before God and say “Daddy?” and he will welcome in his adopted children to spend forever with him. Zoe’s arm is completely healed now and one day her heart will be too.

May this essay challenge us all to consider what we may do to be a part of someone’s adoption story…whether that adoption is physical into a family here on this earth or spiritual into the family of God.

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Life Lessons

Chosen to love and to be loved

Today was the deadline to turn in our adoption testimony and pictures to Show Hope – Steven Curtis Chapman’s orphan care ministry – who generously gave us a grant that helped with some of our adoption expenses.  I thought I would share it with you all, along with this word of encouragement – If you have ever considered adoption (and perhaps even if you have not) but out of fear, obstacles or finances you have not pursued it…take that first step today towards the most amazing, beautiful and miraculous experience of your life!

Sunday May 17, 2009 was a stellar day for the Lambdin family!  It was the day that the Lord placed into our loving arms, through the miracle of adoption – our newest daughter – Christiana Michelle Lambdin.

The journey that began 19 months prior and consisted of mountains of paperwork, home studies, interviews, exhaustive investigations, steadfast determination, hope deferred, patient perseverance, government bureaucracy, faith, fundraising and flying thousands of miles from California to Tennessee….came to both a joyous end and exciting beginning when we looked into the eyes of the most beautiful, perfect and precious six-week old baby girl.  The tears flowed from everyone in the room as we rejoiced in the most amazing gift we were ever chosen to receive!

Yes, we were chosen!  Is there anything better than being the one chosen?  Throughout life we rejoice when we or our loved ones are chosen to – be on the team, win an award, get invited to the party, attend a desired college, be promoted at work or be honored for an achievement. It is such an amazing moment when you realize you have been the one chosen. For decades we have experienced the joy and fulfillment of knowing that God has chosen us for His purpose, His glory and His kingdom but I must tell you that being chosen to adopt this sweet baby girl was a pinnacle moment in our life!

  • We were chosen by the birth mother to raise her child in a loving Christian home (she specifically wanted “church goin’ folks” for her baby).
  • We were chosen by the adoption agency, Life Choices as a qualified family to adopt one of their beautiful babies.
  • We were chosen by Show Hope to receive a grant to help with the financial needs of this adoption. 
  • We were chosen by friends, family members and even strangers who believed in us enough to give of their money to cover the remaining expenses of adoption that we did not have available to us.
  • We were chosen by God to experience firsthand what it means to be adopted by Him – “He predestined us to adoption as children through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” Ephesians 1:5  “…you have received a spirit of adoption as children by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!’”  Romans 8:15

 And yet there is more…

  • We were chosen by Christiana! 

With every smile, every wet kiss, every squeal of delight when I walk into the room, every time she calls me “Mama”,everytime she lays her head on my shoulder to cuddle or surrender to sleep and even when she is hurt and will not be comforted by anyone else….I am struck by the fact that she has chosen me! 

As we prepared for this adoption many questions were asked along the way by those all around us regarding different aspects of adoption.  Often the questions would include concern as to if we thought we might find it difficult to love a child who “was not our own”.  I summarily dismissed these concerns for several reasons:

  1. First, my husband is obviously “not my own” (biologically related to me) and I love him just fine. (and vice versa) Anyone who believes they cannot love someone who is not biologically related to them better take a second look before marrying.
  2. I had already birthed seven children all with different personalities, weaknesses, annoyances, challenges and flaws…I had managed to love each of them despite these hardships so certainly I could love any child God gave me through birth or adoption.
  3. I do not believe that love – true love – is a feeling but rather it is a choice.  Don’t get me wrong, feelings are nice but they are not a good foundation for love because feelings are also fickle…they can be really beautiful one minute and unbelievably ugly the next.  Anyone who has been married for five minutes can attest to the fact that loving “feelings” come and go.  No, love is a choice to act in a loving way no matter how your current feelings happen to be fluctuating.  Love is making a lifelong commitment to a person to be faithful, kind, self-sacrificing and giving.  We knew that we could make a lifelong commitment to love an adopted child.

What I had never considered was the unconditional and undeserving love that would be poured out to me from my adopted child. You see, I thought she would have to learn to love me over the years.  While my “bio kids” appeared to come out of the womb attached to their Mommy & Daddy, I assumed because I had not birthed Christiana that I would have to “earn her love” through my actions of love, care and service. Was I ever wrong!  From the moment she was placed in my arms, she looked up into my face and her eyes overflowed with joy, acceptance and love. That love has been poured out to us daily,  growing because she is learning more ways of expressing that love as she develops into a darling toddler, yet it has been there in her heart and in her eyes ever since that first day.  Yes, we have been chosen by Christiana to be freely and unconditionally loved and that love has changed us profoundly.

As a large family who is in the full time ministry of Christian education we never thought that we could afford to adopt a child.  Yet, we stepped out in faith and the Lord provided.  We  are so grateful for those donors who give to Show Hope so that they can provide grants to help with the often overwhelming expenses of adoption.  We know that the Lord used this wonderful organization to increase our faith and help us to move forward towards  adopting our precious gift from God. You who have given to this ministry have been chosen by God to partner with Him and others to participate in the miracle of adoption. Our gratitude to you is overwhelming!

If you have adopted a child or been adopted yourself, I would love for you to share your adoption story in the comments section of this blog in hopes of encouraging others to consider opening their hearts and homes to become a forever family to a waiting child.  Adoption is truly an amazing miracle and a priceless gift!  Maybe God is choosing you to be given a miracle and gift too!

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Life at the Lambdins

Dedications, Commitments & Forever Church Families

This past Sunday was a very special day.

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 We dedicated our dear Christiana to the Lord during the Sunday morning service at our church. As our entire family stood along with our pastor and his wife before our church family and dedicated this newest blessing back to the God who gave her to us I was overcome with emotion on many levels.

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 I was filled with joy that God has chosen to bless us with this precious life.

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I was filled with love for Christiana, my amazing husband, my beautiful children, my extended family, my pastors and my church family.

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 I was filled with peace knowing that this child belongs to the Lord and that He is in control of her life.

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 I was filled with hope, awe & wonder at the knowledge that God has a very special and unique plan for her life and that she will certainly be called by God to do great & mighty things for His kingdom.

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 As I stood there and looked out on the congregation, it hit me that 20 years ago in 1989 we had brought our first born daughter, Michelle to that very same altar, at that very same church and dedicated her to the Lord. Over the past two decades, everyone of our eight children has been dedicated to the Lord at this same altar.

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 It also hit me that this is a rarity in our modern day mobile society where for one reason or another folks seem to switch churches every few years.

 I officially joined this church 26 years ago as a single young college student who after spending the summer as their youth intern decided that I wanted to become a part of this church family. My now husband, Dan became an official member after he decided to commit to being a part of the volunteer youth staff almost 25 years ago.

 One of the benefits of staying put over all these years is that many of our important spiritual milestones have taken place within those church walls and with our church family.

  •  Dan proposed to me at the altar at the conclusion of our youth service on March 18, 1986 (and I said yes!)
  • We were given counseling and married by the staff of this church and held our wedding reception in that very same sanctuary.
  • We served on staff as youth pastors of our church for four years.
  • Besides all of our children being dedicated to the Lord at that altar – one was saved during a children’s puppet crusade there (all the others prayed to receive Christ at home other than one who happened to be at a local gas station), three have been baptized in water at the church, four have been crowned an honor star through the outstanding girls ministry of Missionettes and two have held their Rite of Passage ceremony in the chapel.
  • We have sat in the same section in the front left hand side faithfully every Sunday and worshipped together, prayed together, given offerings together, been convicted, inspired, amused and yes even sometimes put to sleep, by the messages, gone to the altar for prayer and ministered to others all in that sanctuary.
  • We have taught Sunday School, worked in the nursery, volunteered in children’s ministry, attended special events, rejoiced along with dozens of young couples as they were wed, watched multitudes of baby dedications, baptisms and celebrated the lives of precious saints who went home to be with the Lord…all in that very same building.

 Now perhaps you might be thinking, that we found the perfect church since we have stayed and remained faithful all these years.   The messages must always be compelling, funny and interesting. The programs must be comprehensive and state of the art with something for everyone from infants to senior citizens. The music must be perfect and pleasing to everyone. The pastor and staff must be kind, compassionate, forgiving, wise, moral, charismatic, friendly, organized, effective communicators, dynamic leaders, ready to drop everything when you need them and willing to go the extra mile. The people there must be wonderful, supporting, encouraging, loving, serving one another – never gossiping, backbiting, complaining, grumbling  or…..

 …..oh wait – are you laughing yet?

 No, my home church is just like every church I know – full of imperfections, flaws, problems and frustrations.

 We have had some very amazing and awesome times at our church and we have had some very troubling and terrible times as well.  There has even been the “in between” rather dull and boring years with not much happening at all. We have seen hundreds if not thousands of lives dramatically impacted and we have seen people hurt and become bitter and angry.  We have gone through three pastors, five children’s pastors, six worship leaders and seven youth pastors. We have experienced an abundance of resources as well as times where we did not know if we would be able to turn on the lights the next Sunday.  We have had seasons of favor in the community and years marked with scandal.  We have seen people come and people go (and even come back again several times)  We have seen them trickle out because they were unhappy with this or that or because they were searching for better preaching or programs and we have seen them leave in droves because of some controversy, offense, disagreement or because of the latest and greatest new church starting up across town.

 And yet through it all….we have stayed.

 Why??? I am glad you asked.

We have stayed because we see commitment to our local church family the same way we see our commitment to our marriage and family.  We have made the commitment for the “long haul” – in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and hopefully until death do us part.

Now of course their could be legitimate reasons to leave a church – like moving miles away, being called to minister to another congregation, if the church was to start heretical preaching (I’ll call this church adultery since they are forsaking the true Jesus – I might not leave for this but rather stay and fight but I do understand those that do leave for heresy)  or if their is abuse going on from leadership (one of the reasons I have chosen to stay in a church denomination that has a governing body over the local church that can intervene when leadership goes awry – non denominational churches lack such accountability) – but unfortunately the vast majority of people who leave a church do so, not for the reasons stated above, but because they:

  • are unhappy, frustrated or bored with the services, teaching or music
  • are not “getting fed” (ie – want the preaching to be dynamic, motivating and challenging)
  • want a better nursery, children’s or youth services, Sunday school or other program they deem vital
  • are angry at some church decision, the leadership or policies
  • things are not new & exciting enough
  • someone has ticked them off, offended, hurt or sinned against them

Now, I don’t know about you but I would not leave my marriage or trade in my family for any of those reasons.  Yes, there are times I am unhappy, bored, angry, hurt, frustrated and not very content with both my marriage and my family. Yes, there are times I want change or feel the need to have something new & exciting but that does not cause me to run off with a new guy or leave my children. And of course on occasion I long for a bigger house equipped with the all the” bells & whistles” and yet that is not what makes a house a home it is my family and our years of memories together that are the most important.

Since the Bible compares Christ and His commitment and love for His church to marriage and how it should operate – I think that we should all more seriously consider our commitment to the church as well.

Maybe it is time to stop church hopping. Maybe it’s time to make a commitment to a body of believers and stick with it.  Maybe it’s time to:

  • pray during service if your unhappy or frustrated (or look for someone to minister to)
  • feed yourself! (one of my biggest pet peeves is when adult Christians say “ I am not getting fed”. Really? Grow up & feed yourself)
  • volunteer to make your church programs better or realize that perfect programs are really not that vital compared to what you are teaching your children about commitment & faithfulness by sticking it out through the good, bad & the ugly
  • graciously and humbly communicate with your church leadership when you are concerned or have problems and at the same time let them know that you will not leave if things don’t change or go your way
  • trust God that He is using the leadership of your church in your life for good even if they make wrong decisions or policies
  • forgive those church members who sin against you (definition of forgiveness here – throw it in the sea of forgetfulness and remember it no more – you know – like what Jesus has promised to do for you…whew!)
  • remember that “new & exciting” is fun while it lasts….but it always, always, always ends up being old & routine. (so start seeing that as solid, secure, consistent and faithful)
  • “get over it” and realize that there is no perfect church – expect that you will at times be unhappy, frustrated, hurt and offended and enjoy the other times when you are thrilled, excited, amazed, touched, loved and blessed. Just like it is at home. 🙂

I believe that we have been blessed beyond measure by making such a unshakable commitment to our local church.  I also believe that the Lord is pleased that we have chosen faithfulness, commitment, forgiveness, long suffering and love over taking the easy way and “jumping ship” when we were unhappy, offended or discontent.

My one regret is that there are only a handful of others in our church who also chose to have that same type of commitment.  Oh how I would have loved to look out at that congregation on Sunday and seen the hundreds of church family members who were there when I became a member in September of 1983, who celebrated with us as we were married in 1986, who were there to commit to helping us raise our children up in the Lord as we brought each one of them to the altar and who played with them in the nursery, taught their Sunday School classes and led their Missionette clubs . Instead most of those folks are scattered throughout churches in our county, yes serving the Lord and yes still part of the greater body of Christ and while we have done our best to stay connected it is just not the same. We have all missed out on the joy, love and blessings of being an intimate “forever church family” while here on earth.

I hope and pray that my children as they grow up and settle down wherever the Lord leads them that they will find a church family that they will commit to and that they will be blessed to have members with that same commitment.  Does that exist anymore? I believe it can if we each just start today with our own decision to commit to our church family…..forever.

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Consistency, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

Oh what a beautiful baby!

Oh what a beautiful girl!

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I can’t believe that it has been seven weeks since I have posted anything on my blog!   It certainly hasn’t been —

  • for lack of anything to say (this girl ALWAYS has something to say)
  • and it hasn’t been because I am sitting around eating bon-bons (although I have been eating a bit too much these last few months & the clothes are getting tight….again. darn it!)
  • or because I am sitting around watching TV (in fact there is no longer television available in my home – which is not really much different than before the big digital switch over,  since we only watched sports and an occasional Hallmark movie anyway).
  • and no there are not any big JECHS events or fundraisers (although we did enjoy a reunion picnic in June), Creative Memories activities or homeschooling functions chasing me with deadlines at the moment.

Can I just call it “maternity leave”?  I took 12 weeks “off” with my first four babies (back when I had not yet decided that I needed to be an “at home Mommy”, whether we could afford it or not).  So a seven week break from blogging seems reasonable, after all there are 204 archived posts for everyone to read or re-read! 😉

What have I been doing for seven weeks? I have been enjoying my sweet baby girl…immensly! 

FAQ

Is she a good baby?

She is practically perfect – and I am not just saying that.  When she fusses it is because she is hungry, tired or messy.  Other than that she is happy, happy, happy! She is really an easy baby. (and I have had HARD babies so I know the difference!)  But ya know….even if she was extremely fussy and hard, we would love and cherish her just the same…this just makes it more fun!

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How is she adjusting?

This question always makes me laugh.  I want to look at her and say…”Christiana, how are you adjusting?”  She seems to have taken to us just fine. 🙂

How is she sleeping?

Ahhhh….the number one question every Mom & Dad of a newborn gets asked. (or a variation of it  – “Is she sleeping through the night?” or “Are you getting any sleep?”) First let me say that I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night since I began this mothering journey in 1989 (Well except for my annual anniversary get-away, CM conventions & incentive trips). I get woken up at least once after going to sleep by either a fussy two year old, a six year old having a bad dream or telling me they are using the bathroom, a sick child, a coughing child, a teenager with a question, a late night phone call, giggling girls having a slumber party or an all night study session. Oh and then there’s the 63 months (over 5 years) I spent gestating in which I am up with bladder issues, heartburn, nausea, back aches or just plain being TOO large to sleep.  So does it really matter if she is sleeping through the night?  Nah…not really. Besides someday I will enter into my eternal rest…right?

But I digress….to answer the question. She usually sleeps for 10-12 hours at night, only waking up for one bottle at 2 or 3am. She drinks the bottle, burbs, smiles with her big beautiful smile and goes back to sleep.

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How is Daniel doing with not being the “baby”?

He loves being a big brother.  He kisses her feet each morning and says “My baby”. He really does adore her.  It is so neat to watch the protective big brother come out in him.

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Actually the only child of mine that ever had a problem with a new baby was the #1 child who after having her little sister for less than a week said – “When are we going to take her back to the hospital?”

I think one of the bonuses of having a large family is that no one ever feels displaced when a new baby arrives…since they were never the center of the universe to begin with.

Is she yours?

Yes! I  am the proud Mamma!

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What are people’s reactions to her?

 Oh my!  I feel like a celebrity every time I walk out the door.  Everywhere we go people stare at her saying she is beautiful.  They want to touch her, hold her and ask lots of questions.  Its really amazing – people are always attracted to babies, but I have never experienced this type of attention with any of my other children.  She is charismatic! How great God’s plan for her life must be.

Is the adoption final?

 We just signed “semi-permanent” placement papers today (leave it to the State of California to have a long drawn out process).  The adoption should be final in November and we will have a court date before the years end.  Although it is all just a formality…there is nothing that will stop the adoption from being completed. But it gives us another date to celebrate!

What no one has asked –

Are you going to have any more? or Are you done now?

Wow! How fun is this.  After the birth of every baby since Amy (#2) I have been asked if I was going to have more.  And after the last few people have gotten bolder and just flat out asked us if we were done now. Sometimes this is said with curiosity, often it is said with sarcasm. To which I have always replied either:

  • “I hope not”   OR
  • “Ask God – we leave the BIG decisions up to Him”

But no one has asked us if we are done or if we will be having and/or adopting another.  So either we have finally reached the tipping point and everyone just thinks we are crazy (so they just don’t ask) or the word is finally out that we trust God with our family size and that we think children are the most amazing blessing in life! But in case you were wondering the answer is:

  • We sure hope we are blessed again with another child
  • Ask God – we leave the BIG decisions up to Him

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My eight amazing blessings! Thank you Lord.

Well dear friends, I’ve missed you ….here’s hoping to be blogging more regularly from here on out.

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Life at the Lambdins, Motherhood

Adoption Update: Christiana’s Homecoming

Was there ever a baby so loved and adored?

You wouldn’t think so by the overwhelming response upon our arriving home on Tuesday afternoon.  We arrived back home to the squeals of delight from all of our children. They each took turns meeting, holding and adoring their new baby sister.  It was such a special day. 

Throughout her first week she was greeted by friends and family members who stopped by the house to meet the newest little Lambdin. She also took her first trip to Jim Elliot Christian High School where she was “oohhed & aahhed” over for hours by hundreds of teenagers.  Friends & family members stopped over all week and we had a “Welcome Baby Christiana” Open House on Sunday.  She is blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love her and are committed to her.

As the saying goes…”A picture paints a thousand word” – I will let you enjoy these photos of Christiana’s homecoming week.

Tennesse, pics 261Daniel meets his new baby sister! (Who he has claimed as “mine”)

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Kristen adores her newest sister

Tennesse, pics 264Joy is going to be a fabulous big sister!

Tennesse, pics 281Our dear friends Kelly Hale & her Daddy “Grandpa Jim” meet the baby girl

Baby Christiana 192 Tiffana stops by to meet our newest addition

Baby Christiana 229Cousin Janessa adores her baby girl cousin

Baby Christiana 233Auntie Jennae chats with her sweet new niece

Baby Christiana 232Daniel helps feed his baby sister – what a great big brother he is already becoming!

Baby Christiana 188Sooooooooooo sweet!

Baby Christiana 240Nothing better than a sleeping baby to take a nap with!

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All eight of our blessings from God together at church on Sunday morning.  This moment made my heart swell with joy. Truly these children are my greatest treasures along with the love of my life, Dan. I can only encourage everyone reading this to give thanks for the blessings you have been given. If you are debating or considering having another child….do it! If you have ever thought about adoption (or even if you haven’t) begin to look into your options. If you have the room in your heart & your home (and believe me there is more room in both those places than you think) – why not open them up to a child of God? Be open to all life that He may want to let you play a small or even large part  of here on this earth. Don’t miss out on all that God has for you….you just may be “entertaining angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2) and you will certainly be close to the heart of God.

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Enjoy this slide show of our “Welcome Baby Christiana” party!  Yes….I would say she is loved.

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Adoption Update: God’s Providence & Provision

There are some amazing circumstances surrounding our recent adoption that are evidence of the providential hand of God in every detail of our lives.  Let me share them in “bullet” form so that I can get them out quickly in the limited time frame I have.

  • Many have asked about her name.  Yes, it is her given name by her birth parents and it is PERFECT.  All of our girls first names are ones that we simply like and all of their middle names are “family” names connecting them to a member of one or more of our extended family members (grandmothers, aunts, cousins etc..) and giving them role models to follow.  When they told us that our sweet new baby girl’s name was Christiana Michelle, I just couldn’t help but smile.  Christiana is a beautiful name that means “follower of Christ” , “anointed”.  And her birth Mom giving her the middle name Michelle — well it just doesn’t get any better than that.  Our first born daughter is named Michelle and we are thrilled to connect her to that name and couldn’t ask for a better role model.  Wow!  God is amazing!
  • As I shared in an earlier post we just “happened” to have our placement the same day as the Open House for Life Choices and got to tour the facility and see the ministry up close & personal.  Just watch what the Lord does with that inspiration in the future. Wow! God is amazing!
  • God provided us with a place to stay in Nashville – Amanda, a former JECHS graduate and a place to stay in Memphis – Kim, the sister of a CMC friend. Connections we have because of two of the great passions & pursuits in our lives – Jim Elliot Christian High School & Creative Memories. Wow! God is amazing!

DSC_0114We decided to visit the capitol building in Nashville while we were there – partly because we wanted photos of Christiana in her birth state Capitol and partly because I had one of my homeschooling daughters with me (Rebekah who is the 13 year old “rich” babysitting daughter & paid her own way to be there for the adoption of her little sister) and after all “life is school”.  When we arrived in the building there was a lot of commotion going on.  We asked the security guard what was happening and he shared that they were about to start a legislative session.  Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to see government in action, we headed towards the balcony seating to watch a few votes.  To our surprise we ran into Karen & Sue at the bottom of the steps – the Life Choices Executive Director & Board President.  They were as surprised as we were and asked if we were there for “the vote”.  DSC_0136Not having any idea what they were talking about it was quickly shared that the strongest pro life legislation in Tennessee was up for a vote that very afternoon and was expected to pass – giving a great victory to the pro life movement.  They began introducing us to the multitudes of pro lifers that were there and were showing off our sweet Christiana to all, as a testimony to the option of adoption over abortion.  I can’t begin to explain to you what this all meant to me – a lifelong passionate  pro lifer.  Wow! God is amazing!

  • Our last night in Tennessee we had the awesome privilige of having dinner with a former student who, without going into details, was a special part of our pro life journey over two decades ago. It was an incredible “full circle” experience to meet and share sweet fellowship with her and her husband who traveled over an hour and a half to join us for dinner.  Wow! God is amazing!DSC_0181
  • My eldest daughter just “happened” to be flying home from her freshman year in college on Tuesday the same day we were flying home from Tennessee.  And even better yet she just “happened” to have decided to fly into Los Angeles to spend a couple days with her cousins before driving home to Stockton.  And of course we just “happened” to have a 2 hour lay over in Los Angeles on our way to Sacramento.  And all this just “happened” to converge at 11:30am on Tuesday.  Christiana was greeted by her eldest sister & namesake Michelle as well as three screaming cousins – Kate, Beth & Jen along with an adoring Aunt Caroline in LAX.  Wow! God is amazing! lax

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  • And last but not at all least an update on God’s provision.  Just hours before we left for the airport we had received enough contributions to pay for the adoption placement and all of our travel expenses. (thank you to everyone who has so generously been a part of this amazing adoption – may your generosity be multiplied back to you over & over again!) This left just our post placement adoption fees of between $1200 – $1400 (the amount will vary based on court costs & mileage fees)  Just this week we have received over $400 towards these expenses.  We have less than $1,000  left and we will have paid it all (the total cost of this adoption has been $16,000+).  We had our first post placement visit yesterday and I asked when our fees would be due – we should know that answer next week.  We are confident that the Lord who has provided in amazing ways thus far will complete His work on time!  Wow!  God is amazing!

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Adoption Update: Placement Ceremony

Sunday May 17 was an amazing day!  It was the day that the Lord placed into our loving arms, through the miracle of adoption – our newest daughter – Christiana Michelle Lambdin.  Unlike the days our other children came into our lives,  I was actually all  “showered, shampooed & shining” for this momentous occasion.  We drove three hours from Nashville, Tennessee and arrived at the home of our hostess, Kim in time to get freshened up before heading over to the agency – Life Choices – who just “happened” to be having an Open House that afternoon.  DSC_0023We met the staff and toured their impressive facility which offers a full range of services for women experiencing crisis pregnancies – everything from ultrasounds, counseling, prenatal and parenting classes to adoption services, financial, clothing and housing assistance for both women and men who are walking through an unexpected or crisis pregnancy.  DSC_0019It stirred up a passion that has long lived in my heart to see this type of organization exist in my own hometown.  Nothing about our entire three day in Tennessee was “accidental”  but merely the providence of God bringing together our passion for life into our pursuit of adoption. There are so many things I could share and hopefully will have time soon to do that.

After our tour of the facility we met with the adoption counselors to sign papers and review information concerning our adoption of this sweet baby girl.  DSC_0031We the drove over to the home of the family that has been lovingly caring for Christiana for her first six weeks.  We were joined there by several staff and board members of Life Choices as well as the cradle care family.  We had a time of scripture reading –

“For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You for I am fearfully & wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”

and sharing by the adoption client counselor, Amanda who worked with the our birth Mom; Rebecca , the Mom who has been caring for our dear baby and both Dan & myself. It was an emotional time of sharing as we each realized the hand of God in the adoption of this child.  We were then led in a time of prayer by George, the cradle care Dad who having personally experienced the adoption of his three children, brought the room to tears with his heartfelt prayer for our family and this precious baby.  They then presented Dan & me with the most beautiful and sweet baby girl who we held and loved as everyone in the room  basked in the joy and presence of the Lord during this miraculous moment.

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We enjoyed sweet fellowship with everyone before heading out the door (and to Walmart to purchase bottles –  minor detail!) to begin our adoption journey and a new chapter of our lives as the parents of eight blessings from the Lord.  We will always remember this special day as a stellar one in the Lambdin family.

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Adoption Update:Ready for Take Off

Tomorrow morning we will board an airplane bound for Tennessee and all of our lives will be forever changed.   Although we are obviously not new to parenting, we are new to adoption.  In many ways I have many of those same thoughts and feelings that I did almost 20 years ago as the days grew close to deliver my first child:

  • What will the whole experience be like? (no labor pains – I’m likin’ that…wooohoooo!!)
  • Will Dan & I be good “adoptive” parents? (is it any different than biological parenting? I don’t know?)
  • Will the baby be easy or  fussy? (although the preliminary  report is that she is easy)
  • Am I really ready?

Just like most of us in new uncharted waters we find ourselves perhaps anxious, apprehensive or simply wondering what it will all be like.  One of the best things being a “Mommy of many” has done for me is to become more comfortable and relaxed with the unknown as well as more willing and able to just trust God and give Him complete control. (yes I am a “recovered” control freak…or maybe the better wording is “in recovery” as it seems to be a life long process) I am confident that just like 20 years ago after delivering my firstborn, all my questions and feelings of uncertainty will quickly give way to a complete overwhelming and unconditional  love as I take this sweet baby girl into my arms and look into her eyes.  Perhaps it will even be more amazing as I experience for the first time what God has done for me when He adopted me into His family.

“He predestined us to adoption as children through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” Ephesians 1:5

” …you have received a spirit of adoption as children by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!'”  Romans 8:15

As we go to pick up this precious child of God and adopt her into our family, it will be a living picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for each of us who have been adopted into the family of God.

 christiana

This is a recent picture taken by the “cradle care” family  last Sunday on Mother’s Day. Isn’t she just darling? We all can’t wait to kiss those soft chubby cheeks!

I am taking my computer and my camera to give you all updates from Tennessee.  It is sure to be an exciting several days. We so appreciate all of your love, support, enthusiasm and prayers.

Financial provision update:  Thank you to all who have helped us raise the money to fund this adoption.  We are praising the Lord that in a short four days we now have the money to pay the agency in Tennessee. (thanks to over 65 friends who donated this week everything from $5 to $500 – every gift of every size counts!)  We put our traveling expenses on a credit card that we will need to pay off within 30 days. We will also have to pay our “post adoption” fees to the agency here in California by the months end ($1200 for 4 “post placement” visits from a social worker).  If you want to be a part of meeting these needs you can contribute here – https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5373935  or email me for my mailing address beth@bethlambdin.net  We are truly grateful for everyone who has been a part of this adoption…..may it be blessed back to you in abundance!

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Adoption Update: Life is a Whirlwind

Wow…can one phone call change your life in an instant and send it in to a whirlwind of activity.

Since Monday afternoon and my last post we have been going a “mile a minute” with preparations and details that need to be completed.

  • Booking plane tickets to Tennessee – looks like we will be leaving on Saturday and coming home (with our baby girl!) on Tuesday
  • Finding places to stay in Nashville & Memphis (thank you Amanda, Kim and Jan – who helped us find housing and are offering their hospitality!)
  • Talking with the adoption agencies both in Tennessee & California
  • Faxing forms and completing paperwork (it never ends!)
  • Arranging meals, transportation & supervision for the rest of the family while we are away (thank you Sallee, Rachel, Kelly, Rachael, Leslie & Sarah)
  • Raising the funds to pay for the remaining adoption fees and post adoption fees for both agencies. (we are currently half way to having the money – and God is doing a miracle! I have heard from some that the original link to make a donation did not work.  Here is one that should –  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5373935  ) The vast majority of these donations have been $10 – $20.  God can take a little and multiply it abundantly! Thank you to all who have been a part of bringing sweet baby girl home – from the beginning in October 2007 –  those who have bought Christmas wreaths, donated to yard sales, helped with our “barn raising” (adding that new much needed space to enlarge the family), encouraged us, prayed for us, cheered us on  and now those contributing for this last leg. You are ALL a part of the miracle!

On top of all that, life around here just doesn’t stop – still working on multiple things for JECHS, chauffeuring kids to appointments, lessons & practices, homeschooling (life is school!), wrapping up my National Scrapbook Day event from last Saturday along with upcoming CM events that have begun registrations, preparing to speak at a women’s retreat at the months end  and of course taking time to snuggle that cute little blond boy.  (oh and did I mention a major plumbing problem that needed attention immediatly –  thank you Mr Plumber – Roy Hale – once again you were my hero!)

In the midst of the whirlwind…I got an eye infection – which ultimately paralyzes me with pain and makes it hard to do much computer work, driving or being out in the sun. In fact laying there with both eyes closed is the best therapy.  At first I screamed (in my mind of course) – “Lord I don’t have time for this!” and then as I laid in my bed with a warm wet wash cloth over my eye I realized that about all I could do at that point was spend time in prayer.  There’s a thought!  That is what we should always do first during “crazy” times of life anyway – but I am such a “doer” that sometimes God has to go to extreme measures to get me to STOP & pray.  My eye is getting better today – but I will still be stopping to  pray for all the details of this adoption  – for the birth mother & father, for the adoption agencies and their staff, for a smooth transition, for the financial need, for traveling mercies, for the sweet baby girl, for her “cradle care” family (temporary family) as they say goodbye and for our family as we transition to this new exciting path for our life.

In the midst of your “crazy” whirlwind life – don’t forget to STOP & pray!

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