So I really don’t have anything new to report, which is why I have put off writing. We are still waiting on the elusive LOA from China. Being involved in international affairs is starting to stink! 🙂 I just keep reminding myself that we will go get Kate in God’s perfect timing…not a moment sooner and not a moment later. It is difficult to watch the days pass and realize that every day, she gets a little older and spends another night without a Mommy and Daddy to tuck her into bed. I am so glad that it seems her orphanage takes great care of the children and the pictures I received from her birthday showed beautiful smiling women who looked to really love the children. I rest in the fact that she is in God’s care.

Waiting is hard, but with each day that passes, I am sure beyond a doubt, that God is preparing us. He is working so strongly in our family right now. In David and I, as individuals, and in our unit as a whole. He is working so definitely that I have actually been afraid to pray that this letter would hurry. We need to fully be prepared to add this precious child to our family. I need to stop running from the uncomfortable and I need to confront issues in my life that have been easily hidden.

So as a recovering performance driven, approval addict. I would like to share an excerpt from a great book I read recently called “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”. This would not be my usual choice since it was written by a Presbyterian :)… no offense to all the Presbyterians out there, but I don’t consider myself a sold out “Calvinist” so I usually stick to “Armenian” reading material. :)But no doubt, God led me to this book and it has worked some healing in me. I want to share it with someone else… perhaps you…especially anyone trying miserably to measure up or be perfect in any area of life. This touched my heart greatly…

“To close this book, let me retell a story that my friend, Steve Brown, tells that illustrates well how God deals with us according to the finished work of Christ. He says that one time his daughter, Robin, found herself in a very difficult English literature course that she desperately wanted to get out of. She sat there on her first day and thought, ‘If I don’t transfer out of this class, I’m going to fail. The other people are much smarter than me. I can’t do this.’ She came home with tears in her eyes and begged her dad to help her get out of the class so she could take a regular English course. Steve said, ‘Of course.’ So the next Day he took her down to the school, and they went to the head of the English department, who was a Jewish woman and a great teacher. Steve remembers the event in these words…

“She (the head of the English department) looked up and saw me standing there by my daughter and could tell that Robin was about to cry. There were some students standing around and, because the teacher didn’t want Robin to be embarrassed, she dismissed the students. As soon as the students left and the door was closed, Robin began to cry. I said ‘ I am here to get my daughter out of her English class. It’s too difficult for her. The problem with my daughter is that she’s too conscientious. So, can you put her into a regular English class?’ The teacher said, ‘Mr. Brown, I understand. Can I talk to Robin for a minute?’ I said, ‘Sure’. She said, ‘Robin, I know how you feel. What if I promised to give you an ‘A’ no matter what you did in class? If I gave you an ‘A’ before you even started, would you be willing to take the class?’ My daughter is not dumb! She started sniffling and said, ‘Well, I think I could do that.’ The teacher said, ‘I’m going to give you an ‘A’ in the class. You already have an ‘A’, so now you can go to class.'”

“Later the teacher explained to Steve what she had done. She explained how she took away the threat of a bad grade so that Robin could learn the actual English literature. Robin ended up making straight ‘A’s on her own in that class.”

“That’s how God deals with us. Because of Christ’s finished work, Christians already have an ‘A’. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. We’re in-forever! Nothing we do will make our grade worse. In this life, by His death, and with His resurrection, Christ our substitute secured for us the everything, the ‘A’, that we come into this world longing for and yet are incapable of securing for ourselves. All the pardon, the approval, the purpose, the freedom, the rescue, the meaning, the righteousness, the cleansing, the significance, the worth, and the affection we crave and need are already ours in Christ. We don’t need to add anything to it. The operative power that makes you a Christian is the same operative power that keeps you a Christian: the unconditional, unqualified, undeserved, unrestrained grace of God in the completed work of Christ.”

“As I said, the banner under which Christians live reads, ‘It is finished’. So relax, and rejoice. Jesus plus nothing equals everything; everything minus Jesus equals nothing. You’re free!”

This short passage of this book, brought a new understanding to my life. Since I am naturally hard on myself and used to beat me to a pulp on a regular basis, I find myself saying “What am I getting so upset about? I already have an ‘A’.” Christ did a whole lot on that cross and we often cheapen it by trying to add our works to it. You might think that this way of viewing things might make Christians lazy or more apt to sin… I disagree… I would give my life for this kind of freedom… I will be grateful for it EVERY day because I know how it is to be in bondage to measuring up…to trying to be perfect…to keeping everyone happy. And the more a Christian realizes what Christ actually accomplished on that cross to free us from sin, the less there is ANY desire to even mess with thoughts of sin. Why would you, when you can have all this amazing fruit and freedom apart from it? When our day is lived moment by moment, in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, our life becomes…well, it become LIFE! To know that when we accept Him and He makes His home in us, we automatically get an ‘A’, frees us from judgement and condemnation and people pleasing and criticalness, etc. etc. We are free!

I am so excited to be on my way to freedom. I know I still have a long way to go, but I am sooo very thankful that He leads me on this journey every step of the way and that He has promised to complete the work.

I get an ‘A’! Yay!