Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Encouragement from the Lord . . .

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do." 
Ephesians 2:10

Recently, in the midst of all the craziness here with adjusting to our new normal, I found myself asking the Lord for something to encourage my heart.

I really don’t know exactly what I was searching for . . . I guess I just wanted a little reassurance that this truly is the Lord’s good plan for us, and that He is pleased with our labors of love.  Of course, I know full well James 1:27 and so many other verses about caring for orphans in my head.  I also have read so many times how it is the Lord that directs our steps, even when we think we are planning our ways.  So, it seems so silly to even say this as I’m typing this out.  But when the hard days and doubts came, (and still do sometimes) I just wanted that little encouragement from my Heavenly Father . 

 And it is so special what He did  . . .
Soon after Christmas, I still had one Christmas card to send to a very special friend who lives in Hungary.  I had misplaced her address, and in the hustle and bustle, I didn’t get around to searching for it until after Christmas.  I ended up emailing  her, and she replied right away.  As I began to type out to her an update on what the Lord was doing in our family with bringing W. And G. to us, it hit me!   God was in the process here of answering my prayers for a tangible affirmation that we are indeed walking in the good deeds that He had planned for us long ago.
About  28 years ago and only 3 months after being married, Ted and I went on a missions trip with our church to Hungary to help refurbish an old mansion in the countryside.*  Once remodeled, this castle would house four Christian families that would each adopt five kids, in addition to how many ever biological kids that they had.  While we were working there, a family had already moved in to a little area of the castle that was already finished that became their “apartment.”  They had four or five kids of their own, and they adopted five.  To us, it seemed that they were all about the same age . . .around 4 or so. It was a beautiful sight, seeing this family.  I remembered thinking back then, I want to do that!  I want to be one of those families!   
But as the years have gone by and we’ve had so many twists and turns in our family journey . . I had kind of forgotten about how the Lord gave us that desire all those years ago.  We knew back in 2008, that the Lord was leading us to adopt.  He brought us Ben, then Brielle  . . . and we still didn’t feel like that was all he had for us.  So we continued to pursue whatever orphan care plan the Lord had for us.  And then, He brought us W. and G.  
So, as I was explaining our journey to our friend Ildiko in that email, it dawned on me . . . and I realized that the Lord is truly bringing us full circle from those first few months of our marriage!
Ildiko got ALL excited, and said that we really need to send a letter to the leaders of the ministry there to let them know about the seeds that they helped plant in our hearts back then for orphan care, and how He is still bringing the seeds to fruition all these years later.  Wow.  It suddenly hit me!  Yes!  He had stirred in our hearts back then His vision to care for orphans.  And He has been working out His plans all along, even over all these years.  
 It really was such a special moment!  To think that the Lord had October 14, 2016 already planned as the day He would continue to add more orphans to our family when He gave us the vision back in 1989.  My heart was greatly encouraged!  Thank you, Lord!
So, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, this is a good reminder that even when we may not be thinking about or seeing day-to-day how the Lord is directing our steps in the plans He has for us, He truly is guiding us!  Here’s just a sampling of verses about the Lord directing our steps in life . . .

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

“The Lord directs the steps of the Godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.” Ps. 37:23 (NLT)

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)

“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.” Proverbs 20:24 (NIV)

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course.” Jeremiah 10:23 (NLT)

*This is another great part of this story - - backing up to how we even ended up in the little town of Bodrog in the Hungarian countryside, meeting this family that had adopted the five orphans.
One day while at our church in Phoenix, AZ (Ted and I were either engaged or newly married), we happened to sit down by a new visitor to the church.  Then, Ted happened to notice that she was reading a Hungarian Bible.  He recognized that is was Hungarian, because of a short missions trip he had taken to Hungary a few years prior.  We got to talking to Ildiko, (the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this post) and through this relationship that developed with Ildiko, she set up the missions trip for our church to serve with the Christian organization that she works for in Hungary. The old mansion in the countryside was one of their projects that they were working on for orphan care and also to have the first Christian school there.   We have continued our relationship and support of Ildiko all these 28 years!


Teresa B said...

That is so amazing to read. I have another friend who had a dream as a child that she would be a mom to nations and always had the desire to have twins. She was a foster mom(single) home schools, works from home, and she has now adopted 6 children from many nations and the last 2 were two in girls!!
God is so amazing! Thank you for sharing these thoughts! Gives me goose bumps! Love to you all!.,

Teresa B said...

Two=twin girls, I do not know why spell check thinks it knows what I'm thinking! Lol

The Bowes Family said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement, Ter! I enjoyed hearing about your friend's testimony of God working similarly in her life! That is soooo awesome! Thanks so much for taking time to leave comments! We love hearing from you and you are always such a blessing to us. Thank you, thank you!
God bless you in all you do for Him and others!

Teresa B said...

I love you all very much!

Ted and Karen said...

I have just caught up with all the recent blogs,Robyn, and this one really took me back to your mission trip and all those great memories. It is so so awesome to see how our Lord has led you and Ted to where you are now in your life together. We praise Him for directing your path and are thankful for your faithfulness to Him even when times got so hard. We know you are right where our sovereign God wants you to be (even if it means we only get to see you all once a year) His ways are not our ways but His ways are and always will be perfect. We love you so very much and you are always in our hearts and prayers. I remember you telling me way back then that your favorite verse in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5 & 6 you are a great example of trusting in that verse. All those years ago,who'd thought you'd be in WA with 11 kids !

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