JESUS CHRIST - MY ONLY BOAST

BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Did I Have Enough Faith?

Every time we are approached about an adoption opportunity, BJ and I always say yes, believing that God will close doors if this child is not meant to be ours. Although, I have learned not to put my heart in any situation until God clearly pushes us forward.

When we were approached about this last adoption opportunity in the early part of October, I was excited to see what God was going to do, but also very cautious. However, as time went by and we had more and more talks with the birth family, it appeared that this may very well be a viable adoption opportunity. I remember having to go to the store one night to get my father-in-law some medication, and I allowed myself to wander over to the baby aisle. “Well, should I?”, I thought. “Should I step forward in faith and buy our first baby item believing that God was going to allow us to adopt this child?” That night I bought a pacifier with a heart on it. This marked my first leap of faith into the unknown.

On Sunday morning, October 21, we received the call. I was at home taking care of Dad (who was bedridden at the time) and BJ was with the kids at church getting ready to teach and preach. We were both in shock . . . the birth mother's water had broke, a month early! That afternoon I took a flight out of Memphis and three flights later I landed in Baltimore, Maryland just shy of midnight. Some ladies I had never met picked me up at the airport and whisked me away to the hospital. And there SHE was . . . perfectly healthy, beautiful in every way, and so unaware of all the excitement and turmoil around her.

I was at the hospital every day that week with HER and her birth mom. It was a wonderful week of getting to know one another and making many special memories that I had hoped to share with HER when she was older. So many people were praying for HER. No one knew how much the drugs were going to effect her health, but God performed miracle and after miracle. She had little to no withdrawal symptoms!

On Thursday, October 25, the court granted temporary guardianship to me and BJ and SHE left the hospital that day with me. The next day BJ and the kids arrived and we were all so excited to be together again with our new baby sister. It was sheer bliss seeing the children hold HER as they grinned ear to ear. Even little Byron, who begged for a baby brother, was in pure heaven holding his new baby sister. We felt blessed beyond words. Praise Him! Praise Him!

Then on Sunday, November 4, BJ received a call from our attorney stating that the birth father was contesting the adoption. Our hearts sunk. That was the end of it. This father wanted this child and there was absolutely nothing we could do. (No one, not even the maternal birth family, thought the birth father would want anything to do with HER.) That day, all 6 of us sat on the bed and cried. Oh how it broke my heart to see the children crying and asking, “But I thought you said we could take HER home?” Little Abby, who had grown so fond of HER, cried herself to sleep in my lap. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of the my chest. I wept and wept. Why God? Why get us this far just to take HER away? Why do this to our children? Why God?

The next two nights I could not sleep. I laid awake feeding and holding HER, pleading with God to let us keep her. All night long I would beg, “Please God! Please God!” In fact, I even tried to reason with God on how giving HER to us would bring Him more glory. Why else would so many people be involved with this adoption, praying for and supporting us? If He stopped it now how would He receive the glory and fame due to His name? If He stopped it now it would only discourage people from adopting, and that is the last thing we want to happen. We wanted to share this journey with others to get them excited about adoption . . . “Please God! Please!”

Then, on Tuesday morning I felt the Spirit of the Lord lift up my countenance. I felt Him urging me to greater faith in Him, believing that ALL things are possible. I was reminded of the Israelites who witnessed miracle after miracle and yet they still wavered in belief when things did not appear to be going their way. Am I going to sit here wavering in my faith or am I going to BELIEVE that ALL things are POSSIBLE with God? I was convicted about my lack of faith and was reminded of Hebrews 11:6 - “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” So, I woke up everyone that morning and announced that God was going to do GREAT things and we just needed to believe. It was a roller coaster ride after that week. There were many ups and downs, but I knew that I HAD to have FAITH in Him. And I believed with all my heart that He was going to place HER in our home.

On Monday, November 26, I left Maryland without HER. It appears as if SHE will never be placed in our home. I spent thirty-seven days in Maryland (most of that without my family) and yet, God was sending me home empty handed. That Monday was one of the worst days of my life.

What happened? Did I not have enough faith? Did I not believe enough? Those two questions have popped into my thoughts many times over the past week. How could I feel so confident that God was calling me to BELIEVE (even when everything seemed impossible)? I believed that He could part the Red Sea. So many miracles happened while in Maryland. And God always met every need that we had. But why meet all the little needs and not our hearts' desire – to bring HER home? Why did it seem like He opened door after door to get us to Maryland just to let the adoption fail? What happened? Did I not have enough faith?

I received the following from a dear sister this week:
As we were studying scripture with the kids this past week, it occurred to me how many times Joseph's prayers must have gone unanswered. He had to have begged God with all of his heart not to allow him to be sold as a slave, not to have been falsely accused, not to have been thrown into prison. I then thought about him sitting there in that cold, dark prison, day after day for years begging that this would be the day that God would allow him to be freed. I'm sure that he must have questioned God time after time for not hearing or answering his prayers. We of course, see the big picture now and know all that God had planned during his lifetime.
I am so thankful that my friend shared this with me. It reminded me that God works in His own timing. While in Maryland, it felt like the Red Sea was before us and we needed IMMEDIATE help from God (part it NOW or we'll doubt Your goodness!) But that is not the case. God sees the big picture and I don't. Sometimes I think I see the big picture or think that my big picture is better than God's . . . But He alone is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end.

Did I have enough faith? I can whole heartedly say that I believed God could do ANYTHING! Where I failed miserably is when I doubted His goodness when the outcome was not what we wanted. I may never understand why this adoption failed or why I spent 37 days in Maryland. But I do know that God is not through . . . He will faithfully continue His good work of hope and salvation in my heart, in HER heart, and all of those affected by this adoption.

Help me, Lord, to believe in Your goodness day after day.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Sorrow

Merriam Webster defines SORROW as “deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved.”

You never know when sorrow will penetrate the heart . . .

There will be moments when you don't feel the depths of “distress” and “sadness” and you begin to find normalcy again. You might even laugh at something silly or forget for a time all that has happened. But then, there are moments – completely unexpected – when all the emotions coming rushing back.

Today was a good day. I was laughing with the children. I enjoyed putting together one of my favorite puzzles. I did not feel weighed down with grief, but hopeful – 
HOPEFUL that Christ would help us through this. Then, I decided to read a book and lay down for a nap . . . And there SHE was. I woke up a few times and was completely convinced that I was back in one of our hotel rooms caring for HER. Completely disorientated, I would sit up and look for HER. But SHE was not there. After a minute or so, I would remember.

That past two days I have been surprised at the things that have triggered grief and sorrow -
  • I wake up constantly in the night, tossing and turning, feeling like I need to get up, and I remember . . . I was up all night/every night with HER the past 32 days.
  • I open the fridge and see leftovers that I did not make, and I remember . . . I was not here to feed my family because I was with HER in Maryland. 
  • I hear the cry of a baby on a cartoon that the kids are watching. My heart breaks, and I remember . . . It was HER cry that I listened for day and night.
  • I pick up my wash cloth in the shower and wonder if it's clean. It's dry, and I remember . . . It's dry because I was gone from home for a month with HER.

But . . . God is able.
In fact, Jesus Himself said it was better for Him to leave so that the Spirit would come (John 16:7).

Why is the Spirit so great?
  • "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:13-15
  • “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:25, 26
  • "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

So, I press on . . . with the help of the Spirit, the work of Christ, and the love of the Father.
And even though it is so painful to pray (picturing her little face in my mind and heart), I keep on praying for God to complete the GOOD WORK He is doing in HER life, as well as our life through this momentary and light affliction.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kroger Shopping List

I love my Atoka Kroger
However, in the past month they have done some major renovations which has me wandering aisles, searching aimlessly for every grocery item on my list! For those of you who have been just as lost and frustrated, I have created a grocery list that details the items on each row - beginning on the produce side.

This is a great list to keep on your refrigerator. When you need an item, just circle it. There are also spaces to write-in specific details or preferences. When it is time to shop, you know exactly what items you need AND it's already in order (by aisles). This is also great for husbands and children who need to run to the store for you - yet have NO IDEA where anything is located!

Enjoy!!

Kroger Grocery List (click on this link)
This is a 2 page list - ideal for large shopping trips.
If you have any problems downloading or printing, 
let me know and I will email you the original.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Psalm 69

My Old Testament reading for today was Psalm 69.
Truth. Hope. Comfort. 

 Answer me, O Lord. Save me. Deliver me. Humble me.

In times of great despair and pain, I often think of Jonah 2:5-6:
Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, BUT YOU have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
Salvation!  

O Father, help me trust in You alone. Fix my heart on Christ Jesus.
 Let Your Word speak . . .
Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life.
I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.

I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;
Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies;
What I did not steal, I then have to restore.

O God, it is You who knows my folly,
And my wrongs are not hidden from You.
...

Those who sit in the gate talk about me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.

But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;

O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.
Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink;
May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.
May the flood of water not overflow me
Nor the deep swallow me up,
Nor the pit shut its mouth on me.
Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good;
According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,
And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
For I am in distress; answer me quickly.
Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it;
Ransom me because of my enemies!

You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor;
All my adversaries are before You.


Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.
And I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none. . . .

But I am afflicted and in pain;
May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high.
I will praise the name of God with song
And magnify Him with thanksgiving. . . .

Let heaven and earth praise Him,
The seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah,
That they may dwell there and possess it.
The descendants of His servants will inherit it,
And those who love His name will dwell in it.