{together} for Good

Have you ever wondered how God could work all things together for good in your life? Maybe you’re in a situation that feels impossible, a marriage that is unraveling, a job environment that is unhealthy and all you can see is HARD.

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I share how I wrestled with this in the midst of very difficult circumstances during and after our daughter’s adoption, and the ways God showed me HOW He was working things for “good” in unexpected ways.

If you hopped over from my devotion, I’m so glad you stopped by! As promised, here are a few photos that tell part of the story of us bringing our beautiful girl home. {And there’s special giveaway at the end of this post.}

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All I could see were the hard parts. Everything we would have to give up: sleep, money, comfort, familiarity, others’ approval. All the hard things we would have to navigate: huge expenses and significant changes.

What if our sons resented us for re-arranging their lives forever? What if our parents and extended family didn’t approve? What if we exhausted our time, emotions and money only to end up with broken hearts and an empty bank account? How could God work all that together for good?

I could not see how. I could only see “hard.” Yet we knew God was calling our family to adopt a severely malnourished baby girl from Ethiopia. And in October 2009 we brought Aster home.

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Was it hard? Yes. Even more than I imagined.

But as I trace God’s hand over the past five years since we brought Aster home, I see Him working countless things {together} for good. Most of all, I see a handwritten love letter sent to our little girl from her Heavenly Father, written on every page of our adoption story.

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I see God working the hard things together for good. Despite our inadequacy, sadness and fear of the unknown when Aster was diagnosed with a speech disorder, global developmental delays, low muscle tone and sensory processing disorder, I now see God working it all for good.

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I see God working the overwhelming things together for good.  A year of sleepless nights brought out servant-hearted compassion in our teenage sons when they saw their dad struggling with depression caused by sleep-deprivation. I’ll never forget the night they decided to take turns sleeping on a mattress in their sister’s room to relieve her anxiety and give us back our desperately needed sleep.

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I see God working even the embarrassing things together for good. Like the day I had a meltdown in my car and a stranger tapped on my window to see if I was okay. And that same afternoon, I ran out of gas on my way to get my youngest son at basketball which mean my oldest son, who had a new cast on his broken foot, had to push our car off the road. I see awesome stories for them to tell their children about me one day.

When my reality doesn’t look or feel like “good” to me, I ask God to help me see how. How he is keeping his promise that “in all things [He] works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Roman 8:28).

What I’ve discovered is this: God is always working things together for good, but not just for our good. Sometimes we are part of His working things together for someone else’s good. 

You see, I believe Jesus heard a mother in Africa praying for her baby. A mother who was living in the middle of “hard” like I’d never imagined. A mother who couldn’t see how she could give her little girl the nurture and nutrition she needed.

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Hagere: Aster’s birth-mother feeding her during our visit.

Aster 5.1.09And when God heard that mama’s prayers, He tapped on the heart of a family in North Carolina who loved Him and were called according to His purpose. I also believe God saw an orphanage in Ethiopia searching for a forever family to provide unconditional love and medical care for a 6-month old, 8 pound baby with pneumonia.

So Jesus went back to that family in North Carolina who had been asking God to reveal Himself to them and through them, knowing this little girl would be an answer to that prayer.

And that’s when God started working the hard, impossible, and overwhelming things {together} for good.

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Is there a relationship or situation in your life where all you see is hard? Have you asked God how He can work some part of it together for good?

I don’t know about you, but some days I need a tangible reminder that He can. A visual that prompts me to pray and helps me remember how He does, like the beautiful bead necklace I’m wearing below made from repurposed bullets found in the rubble of Ethiopian soil.

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Each time I look at it, I remember how God answered a desperate mother’s prayers for her baby and filled my family’s longing to experience more of Him. Only He could know how much we needed the gift of a little girl to light up our world, and to remind us that He indeed can work even the hardest things {together} for good.

FBTB EarringsENTER TO WIN To celebrate how Jesus takes the hard and heart-breaking realities of life and works them together for good, Proverbs 31 Ministries is partnering with Fashion & Compassion to create a beautiful jewelry line from repurposed bullets found in the rubble of Ethiopian soil. “SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS” under this post and you’ll be entered to win. 

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The From Bullets to Blessings Collection is handcrafted from Ethiopian bullets, dug out of rubble, and assembled by vulnerable and rescued women throughout Mexico and Charlotte, NC. CLICK HERE to find out more about the collection and the women who create these pieces. It’s a beautiful picture of God working the hard things together for good in their lives through Fashion & Compassion.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing! The pictures of Aster with her birth mother broke my heart, as I can’t imagine how hard saying goodbye must have been. You have a beautiful family!

  2. Renee,

    Thank you for opening my eyes to see how God works in ways we cannot see or imagine for our good and the blessing worth receiving at the end of it, while enduring the circumstance or situation. Each point you made and emphasized, made me think and wonder about my own heartaches and circumstances I’m dealing with right now. I too would like to truly see and understand how God works these things in my life that are so hard and painful for good.
    I long to be a blessing to my family in every way, but the enemy is doing everything to keep me from being that and everything else God wants me to be, which is affecting my family and some other relationships in my life, that is causing me to live in a cycle of guilt and condemnation. But, i’m not allowing him to win, I’m fighting it out with the Lord and trusting Him to heal and set right all that has gone awry. Please keep me and my family in prayer. Your story and family have been an inspiration to me. Your persona itself has always been captivating to me – You Radiate Jesus. God bless you.

  3. martha pigott says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me encouragement, as today I am seeing only the hard parts. This story gives me strength and faith that God is working my situation for “good”.

  4. Erica Bancroft says:

    Perfect & Beautiful. Adoption, redemption, providing opportunity where hopelessness abounds…
    I dont want to ‘win’ these earrings. …I’m going to ask for them as a Christmas present. A good conversation starter!

  5. What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. It was a blessing to read this today. There is a relationship in my life where I tend to always see the hard and wonder why things aren’t working out in MY favor. I never stopped to think that perhaps the things I see as selfish downfalls are being used for the good of someone else. It gives a new perspective on life’s hard seasons. His ways and thoughts are not ours, and He always has our best interest at heart, even when we can’t see it. Thank you for sharing! 🙂 Praying God blesses you and your family.

  7. What a beautiful story and one that hits close to home. We too adopted a little girl with special needs. She is the light of our life and just what God knew our family needed. It has not been an easy road but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve learned so much about my Heavenly Father through parenting this very special little girl.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story Renee. Your family is beautiful! Romans 8:28 happens to be my favorite scripture. Lately I’ve been going through some challenging times with my stepson and his behavior. I sometimes wonder if everything I have done is for not. But after reading your blog I feel somewhat encouraged. Please pray for me as I go through this storm. And I will keep reminding myself that “God will work all that together for good”. If HE did it for you HE will do it for me in HIS divinely appointed time. Peace and Blessings!

  9. Elaine Stewman says:

    What an inspiring and beautiful story. Gives me hope and a reminder to pray about everything. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful family you have. What an inspiration and reminder to me. Your obedience and love helped me realize that in my current situation, God is working it out and someone else is being helped. I just need to trust him and everything will out according to his plan. Thank you again.

  11. Irene O'Leary says:

    Thank you for sharing this story! It is so easy to get caught up in the “hard” and lose focus of Who. I thank God for His working in my life. I know if the bad things I imagine do happen, it is because God is preparing to use it for something good. Your story reminds me to stay focused on Jesus! Thank you again!

  12. What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. A pastor once gave a beautiful illustration of this. His wife was cross stitching and from where he was sitting, all he could see was a tangled mess on the back. He got up to go get water and then he could see the beautiful design on the top. Sometimes all we can see is the messy circumstances down here on earth, but God sees something beautiful being designed. Love it!

  13. How hard would it be as a momma to give up your child? That is truly a deep love wanting something more for your child. And what an amazing story for you to be a part of, wow!

  14. Praying for the Lord to tap someone on the shoulder to reach out to our children who traded the safety of a Christian home for a life of sex, drugs, and alcohol. May the seeds we planted be watered with prayer and may we be tapped on the shoulder to serve while waiting for the harvest.

  15. Hi Renee! Do you remember me? I am so encouraged by your story, and it is a familiar road to me in many ways. God bless you today. In Him, Cindy Walker in North Carolina :))

  16. Yolande Hall says:

    Pictures really do say a thousand words. They brought supernatural life to your story. I had a little glimpse of your journey and I thank you for sharing. You truly have a beautiful family and your spirits are even more beautiful. You have encouraged me to trust God and to know that His plan will indeed work out for my good. I will continue to pray for your family’s strength in the Lord while you do your part in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

  17. Karen Hunter says:

    Such a beautiful adoption story and a needed reminder of God’s working in our lives. Thank you!

  18. Such a wonderful story of a family who followed hard after God and even though it isn’t always easy allowed God to use every part of the experience to make them more like Christ. What a beauty!

  19. Christine Barnhart says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. The pictures of Aster with her birth mother are precious. What a selfless act on both mothers parts to give what you both did! My daughter also has SPD so I can also understand the struggle with that. May God Bless continue to bless you!

  20. Heidi Miller says:

    Such an encouragement this morning! Thanks for sharing. We have adopted twins that are special needs and can be so diffiult some days. Thanks again!

  21. What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing this with me today. I am guilty of only seeing the hard parts of my life,. That is, until I can look back and see how faithful the Lord has been with me.

  22. Thank you for sharing! I needed this today. I’m following an assignment from God and it’s been so hard and so exhausting, but I know there is His good in it all!!

  23. What a wonderful story. Your daughter is beautiful. You and your family are truly blessed by God; there is so much love shown in those photos. Thank you for sharing and reinforcing how good God is; as well as to know that He does work things out for the good for all that are involved in the situation. May God bless you and keep you and your family.

  24. What a wonderful and encouraging story! Thank you for sharing.

  25. Thank you for the reminder of the hard things in life aren’t always about what God wants to work through you but that you are a part of His working through others too. God is good and His plans and will are good. Life is very hard at times. God bless you and your family and the gift He has sent you. I am sure the smile and joys far our weigh the hard times. Thank you again for the reminder, exactly what I needed.. God’s timing is perfect!

  26. Thank you for your story and beautiful pictures. Such a beautiful reminder of God’s truth and love for us. I’m reminded of when we walk in the shadow of His love our perspective changes. When we trust Rom.8:28 then even the hard stuff is evidence of His grace. In Anne V’s words, “All is Grace”.

  27. Simply amazing, Renee, how God orchestrated all of these loose ends together. You are such an example to so many of us who go through the hard times. I am certain that Aster’s mom is eternally grateful for you, even though it is bittersweet – for both of you I imagine! Thank you for sharing your story.

  28. What a beautiful story. It reminds me to pray for the directions god wants for my life more fervently and to be still long enough to hear the answer.

  29. What a beautiful story, and what a servants heart you and your whole family have. Following His will is HARD, but the testimony for your sons (and others) is amazing. I hope that Christ radiates through me and I can be an example for my sons in that way as well. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging me today. Your daughter is beautiful! She has an amazing testimony to share, as well.

  30. Thank you. It is always amazing how our Father works…your family radiates..thank you for your heart words today.

  31. Such a beautiful story! Thank you for your encouragement. I have been seeing only the “hard” in my situation. I am now anticipating the “good” that God is working together for me and my family. Thank you.

  32. Barbara Cole says:

    God, in His infinite wisdom & timing brought your message, Renee, to my inbox. I am in the midst of taking care of my 85 year old ailing Mother. Most days all I can see is the HARD. Now I am encouraged to look for how God is working this out for the GOOD. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  33. Thank you so much for this devotional! I can so relate to your family’s journey. Sixteen years ago my husband and I heard God’s call to adopt a child from Russia. My beautiful son is now 17 and has autism. Our journey has also been harder than we ever imagined but a billion times more rewarding too. Our son has been a precious gift to us who continues to amaze us and touches the hearts everywhere he goes.

  34. Thank you for sharing – the part about how we may be part of someone else’s good was a powerful reminder to not always focus on things working out best for me.

  35. When you said “God is always working things together for good, but not just for our good. Sometimes we are part of His working things together for someone else’s good”, I gained a greater understanding of why I may go through hardships. I thank God through your words!

  36. What a beautiful story of how our God sees the WHOLE picture, while we just look through a pin-hole sized looking glass.

  37. Enjoyed reading this encouraging post. Beautiful daughter and family.

  38. All I can say is so precious and very encouraging. Blessings from our family to yours 🙂

  39. Beautiful story! Aster I’m sure is growing in the right direction because of you and your family. Your story is a reminder that God works ALL things for His purpose and we need to remember that when hard things or stress comes our way that it is part of His grand plan. God bless you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving too!

  40. Renee,
    Thank you for not only sharing your family’s journey, but your heart and reminding us that God is there in the hard, the overwhelming, and the embarrassing, As a mom that’s experienced all of those because of a daughter with a serious chronic illness and another that suffers from depression, I can look back at our journey, see how He placed each jagged and odd shaped piece perfectly into the puzzle of our lives where we can see His blessings.

  41. MARY LERTJUNTHARANGOOL says:

    Thank you for sharing your story because im reminded that we serve a might and faithful God. All I see is hard when I had to pick up and move to be with and help my daughter and her fight with alcoholism. As I see breakthrough I am so thankful that I trust in a God who knows what he is doing.

  42. Tammie Jones says:

    I love adoption stories. We have our own story and while it is unlike yours, the theme is the same. Love and redemption….and grace! Thank you for sharing.

  43. Donna Maggart says:

    Beautiful story. Beautiful reminder. Thank you and God bless your family.

  44. Thank you so much for your beautiful story of adoption. It is a wonderful encouragement to me today. It helps me to see more clearly the big picture for my adopted son…to see the “love letter” that God has written for him. Our son turns 18 in December, and we are seeing some things come together for him that we know are from God. Reading your story, helps me to look back at his journey that has brought him to this place and time and KNOW that God is working all the HARD things out for him for his good purpose….and it is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you for the reminder!

  45. Thank you for sharing your story…opened my eyes, again, to Gods purpose.

  46. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so encouraged by seeing God’s hand in each part of it. My family is in a hard place right now, but He daily gives me what I need to be the mom and wife He called me to be. Thankful!!

  47. Renee,
    What a beautiful story of God’s grace and mercy! Thank you for sharing your story. What an encouragement to me and many others (I’m sure!) It is wonderful that you can look back at those hard days and see our amazing God working in your family and in the lives of others. You have all chosen to focus on God’s goodness. I have been challenged to do the same.

  48. Thanks so much for sharing! I needed that! We get so stuck on the hard and don’t look for the beautiful that God is making out of it!

  49. thanks so much for sharing this….it has brightened my day and made me see lifes situations and circumstances in another light.
    keep on keeping on, God bless you and your lovely family. i pray Gods amazing grace and heart of love poured on you all

  50. What a beautiful example of how God works in our lives. Often we don’t see the big picture, for our eyes are focused inwards instead of towards heaven. Thank you for sharing and reminding us of his greatness.

  51. Thank you so much for sharing this, Renee! How Aster’s mom must have ached at the condition of her little one in a hard situation that we can’t even fathom. And how beautifully God used you and your family, even through the hard, to bless Aster, her birth mother and all of you. The pictures brought tears to my ears. Thank you for the reminder that God has a purpose in all things: the easy, and sometimes especially the hard. ♡

  52. Stephanie Schiefer says:

    Beautiful story. And a place we all find ourselves at some point in our lives. Thank-you for your transparency.

  53. Bobby A. Sturgeon, Jr. says:

    Exactly the storyline I was pondering when I read an email before reading your blog. Thank you for the confirmation.

  54. Thank you for your story of trusting God through the difficult times. I too am in a situation of trusting. Though I can’t see the why of it all I can trust my loving Savior and leave the why to Him.

  55. Oh how BEAUTIFUL! Brought tears to my eyes…thank you so much for sharing.

  56. Thank you for sharing pictures. They really bring your story to life and touched my heart. It truly is amazing how God works for the good of those who love him!

  57. God is so faithful and blessed you greatly by being faith-filled.
    It’s so easy to focus on our hard while missing the how in God’s use of us, his vessels.
    Thank you for sharing.

  58. Thank you for sharing pictures. They really bring your story to life and touched my heart. It truly is amazing how God works for the good of those who love him! 🙂

  59. This is a great story for all of us. I especially needed it today. My “hard” is nothing compared to what you have been through and accomplished. To give up a great deal to save one of God’s children is one of the best ways to show God’s glory on His earth.

    I pray that my “hard” will eventually glorify God. Thank you for takinga baby from Ethiopia. I have met many people from there as well as Eretria. They are a blessing.

    God bless all of you. You have wonderful children who understand what it means to work as a family for God’s glory.

  60. What a beautiful story of love and obedience. When we listen God so moves and He is glorified. He does work everything out. We just have to trust. I love that He is always there and He brings us through it. I am always so glad that He knows the end of the story and that gives me peace. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!!

  61. Marci Goodale says:

    Beautiful story and beautiful jewelry!

  62. What an inspirational story! As many of us I also have many “hard” parts of life. Through prayer, church, and many other biblical readings I am learning that it is not “my hard” that is the lesson but God’s way of changing my life to rely and trust in him is the true lesson. Your story brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful little girl and family you have. Thank you for sharing and prayers for many blessings ahead!

  63. God’s great love and story of redemption! Thank you for the reminder of how God’s plan for me is to simply trust and obey and He will take me through all the “hard” places!

  64. Thank you for your devotional, ministry. I love reading stories like this. Your daughter and family are beautiful.
    Have a blessed day.
    Kim

  65. I love the reminder that sometimes the good he is working is not for ourselves but for others. You have a beautiful family. I really love the way these bullets meant for harm are being repurposed to help these women. God is indeed good!!

  66. What a beautiful story. Thanks for all of your stories that inspire.

  67. So thankful for you and others who are part of Gods big plans by giving others a chance at life. Aster is so blessed to have you for a family. The love of Jesus is very evident!

  68. Your beautiful words meant so much to me! I have two sons adopted from Russia. They are such a blessing to us. One of my sons has had some serious health issues. You put into words exactly how I have felt in the past. The good news is that God is always there, walking with us through each difficult moment!

  69. A beautiful story with a beautiful ending!

  70. Gina Weeks says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with all of us. And for the teminder that is working it all out for good.

  71. Beautiful! Beautiful story, beautiful family and beautiful daughter! Thank you for sharing your story. i should be able to conquer my little problems when I hear about everything your family went through and what poor Aster’s mother had to endure. God Bless all of you!

  72. Thank God for leading you to Africa where too many children are suffering and needing love with devoted family as yours. May God Bless you and your Family as you do HIS work.

  73. What a beautiful story! It inspires me to keep my heart open to God’s calling.

  74. We are also an adoptive family. Although the details of country of origin, age at adoption, and specific special needs are different, our family can relate to yours. Thank you for telling more than just the “pretty” parts of your journey. Adoption IS beautiful and God DOES call His people to it – but that doesn’t mean life will suddenly be perfect for the child or the new family. Thank you for being real. I pray more adoptive families will find help and understanding instead of judgement and disapproval as a result of people like you sharing like you have here!

  75. Oh how this devotional brought tears to me eyes and a longing in my heart. We have long been praying about adoption and starting a foundation of some kind for children in need and your story was just yet another nudge in that direction! Thank you, Renee for being the example, for obeying God’s calling and providing that beautiful little girl with a loving, Christ-filled environment. God Bless you and your family!

  76. Our God is awesome !! Thank you for sharing your story, the good and the bad. God bless you as you do His work.

  77. Beautiful story. We have a family in our church with a 3 year old girl they adopted from Ethiopia. Not easy but they are well and blessed. The same family now awaits for their son with special needs to be able to come home. They have 3 biological children too who have embraced their new sister wholeheartedly and are excited to bring their brother home too. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
    I would love to pass the earrings on to this loving mother…

  78. I’m walking in the “Hard Part” in a relationship with my teenage daughter. THANK YOU THANK YOU for your timely encouragement! ❤️

    What a beautiful Love story you have written !! Praying blessings forever on you and all other families!!

    • Diane. Not by power not by might but by the Spirit. May the Spirit of God in you overcome every obstacle for you. Rest in God and Stand in His Word. He has a convenant with you for your family including your daughter. He says He is in you and you will not be moved no matter what storms may come you shall not fall (psalm 46). I pray that Jehovah shalom, the Prince of Peace may reign in your household and in your hearts. Remind God of His convenant of peace, prosperity and well being (shalom) with you for your household. Remind Him of His promise for salvation for your household and then stand trusting in Him to fulfill His Word.

  79. Loved this blog post! I have been through cancer diagnosis & at that time I realized God would get me through the hard time. Your post is a reminder to me to continue to trust him to get through the hard times of everyday life. Somewhere along the way I forgot that fact.

  80. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and your perspective on Romans 8:28 which is my favourate verse in the bible. i have never thought of this verse from this perspective that God may use me to make things work together for someone else. That revelation made me think a lot…thanks so very much for opening my eyes I will start asking God not to just work all things together for my own good but also that He may use me to answer someone else’s prayers..

  81. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for the challenge! My heart and mind are whirling and processing now, wondering what God has next. Thank you for this perspective and reminder. God bless!

  82. What a great testimony, thank you for sharing! And specially for getting me out of the seldish “me” light that we usually have on…. Some o te good He promises is for others who are worst and waiting for that miracle touch of God.
    I love what it’s being done with the jewlery, such a blessing and beautiful too!

  83. Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. What a wonderful way to think about that verse of scripture. I’ve always known that God WILL work things out for good in my life…eventually, even when I cannot see it right away. But I love the addition of realizing that maybe He is working it out for good in someone else’s life! Thanks again for a beautiful story.

  84. God knew how much I needed to read your beloved story ; that he will bring me through my hard /unknown realities of jobs under review and potential cancer genes! He is bigger than it all. Thanks for sharing your story and helping me gain some perspective!

  85. Just what I needed to read this morning!

  86. Shirley B. says:

    Thank you Renee because I needed this story this morning. This was a beautiful and inspiration moment for me. I have been struggling with answers to different situations in my life. You have a beautiful family.
    Be blessed:)

  87. Brittany C. says:

    Renee what a beautiful testimony of just how God works it together for our good! Thank you for sharing for the betterment of his kingdom! I love all the photos of your family, very beautiful! Aster is a gorgeous little girl! Be blessed!!

  88. Thanks for being real. For obeying God and for being honest about the wonderful times and the blessings as well as the hardness in this life story. God blesses when we listen and obey. He doesn’t always promos it will be easy or all wonderful but He promises that we will feel and know His presence.

  89. Jacki Bornaman says:

    Thank you, so much, for sharing this incredible story of hope, trust, and love! It is amazing how you showed me another way of looking at MY FAVORITE scripture. I find no need to share my story, only to say that God has brought me through many hard times! But this morning I realize how a fabric is woven together with many threads and God gave this scripture our good as well as answer to prayer of someone else’s good! Use me Lord for the greater good of His kingdom!
    Thank you !

  90. God is so GOOD! He always has a great plan for each of us! And He definitely has a sense of humor too! What a wonderful fulfillment of his plans for you and your family.

  91. Ephesians 1:5 And before the world was made, God decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. This was what God wanted, and it pleased him to do it.

  92. an absolutely beautiful story, thank you for sharing…it amazes me everyday the miracle of God, how He works for the good for everyone and brings people together…God is good all the time

  93. Gloria Hardee says:

    What a wonderful testimony and inspiring story of God’s love. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  94. Tammy Williamson says:

    There is just something about taking things produced in tragedy and making something useful and beautiful…a lovely reminder that God brings beauty from ashes. I often feel broken…and He reminds me that I am also beautiful…His love for me is overwhelming.

    And I am so happy that God sent you a princess from Ethiopia

  95. Thank you for sharing this! I’m at a time where everything feels hard, and I needed this.

  96. I truly enjoyed reading your devotion and seeing the pictures that you shared of your beautiful daughter. I know her mother is forever grateful and thankful that you have provided her with so much love and care. I pray that Aster will overcome all the challenges and that God continues to bless your family.

  97. rebekah dayton says:

    What a much needed reminder :’)

    Thank you for sharing some thing so personal

    It inspires us to allow our messes to become our message as well

  98. Kelly Gratz says:

    The timing on this could not be more perfect. We are knee deep in the waiting process to adopt from Uganda. A call God has clearly placed on our hearts. The negativity and corruption surrounding International adoption has my heart in a vice and has had me at the point of wanting to give up. My 6 year old, Ethiopian son tearfully told me at bed time last night that he doesn’t like being the only brown one in the family. 🙁 So much hard this week, but GOD is working. I have to have faith in that.

  99. kathy wygant says:

    wow…your story just blew me out of the water..& talk about tears..i am grabbing for napkins, kleenex..anything
    i can find to dab my eyes..so i can keep readingthis is pretty cool stuff..& to see how your boys just stepped up
    to the plate & took care of business says ALOT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY’S VALUES…i would love to receive
    those earrings to give as a gift…i have 2 different people in mind if i am blessed to receive them..there is a
    lady @ church whise family as well did the same thing you did..but they adopted locally….they were foster
    parents & received this little girl as a foster child due to mommy & daddy wanting drugs more that parenthood
    & by the grace of God got to adopt her ..they are total servants @ heart…& my daughter…she as well has a
    100% heart for God…that is how she lives her life..pretty awesome…she has obeyed every command he has
    put in her path..w/o question…..momma here..unfortunately..likes to know the why first…not the way to follow
    i know…but weird like that…well..i will quit rambling…

    thank you again for your amazing story…Renee..oh…was Aster her birth name or did you guys get to give that
    one to her…

    have a great & blessed day…readers & Renee………….kathy wygant

  100. Sitting here with tears in my eyes, wondering if I would have had the courage to do what your family did. WOW! A life filled of purpose, living on purpose, for HIS purpose! You blessed me so much and the pictures just made your story pierce my heart. Praying for continued strength for you, your family and your beautiful daughter!

  101. I am trying to hold back the tears as I read your journey, even though I am slightly familiar with it. Thank you for your honesty about the difficulties of adoption, but also your faithfulness to be obedient to God’s calling on your life. You are proof that obedience is not always easy!!!! I would love these earings as a reminder to not be afraid to do hard because if I do not persevere, I will for sure miss out on amazing blessings God has in store for me:) Thank you for sharing the pictures!!

  102. Thank you for sharing this beautiful inspiring story!! Such a great reminder of God’s great love and power!! Praying for you and your family.

  103. What a precious family ~ Aster is such a sweet picture of redemption and joy through obedience. As I tell my adopted son, you were the missing piece of our puzzle. God knew we’d only be complete with you as a beloved part of our family!

  104. Johnette Peck says:

    Thank you for sharing your incredible story of how God worked in your life.

  105. Hard places, hard thoughts, hard hearts, hard…… God is working in all of these. I want Him to soften my hard edges to be a more loving person. He has already replaced my hard thinking with scripture and songs of praise. Only he could wake me with a song in my mind!

  106. I am so moved by this devotion. For years my husband and I have wrestled with the thought of adopting and I too wondered how we would survive and make it and adopt too. I was diagnosed at 29 with endometriosis and I and my husband struggled for years to endure tests, surgeries and much much prayer for a biological child that was not meant to be. Reading this today has given me hope that God will create good out of desperate and disheartening times.We would like to adopt from Ethiopia if possible, but funds are extremely limited and we are African American. Thank you for inspiring me… I will talk and pray again with my husband on adopting.

  107. Marci Kennedy says:

    Renee, this is so timely! We only found out last night that our adoption agency is closing down the Ethiopia program (except for extreme special needs). My husband and I have been waiting for almost 2 years for a referral, and now our lives are turned upside down, and we have no idea what our next steps are! I know God is GOOD and has a plan, but I am wondering what that plan is. We need some very clear direction/guidance from HIM right now! Thanks for your ministry!

  108. Absolutely beautiful story. Thank you for sharing and giving me the reminder I so desperately needed today.

  109. Thank you, Renee, for sharing your story and pictures of your lovely family. What a tangible reminder that even in the hard times, we have an amazing Father who is trustworthy and has a good plan for our lives.

  110. Caroline Holbrook says:

    I am so inspired by your story and I can completely identify with the struggles. Although I did not adopt my oldest daughter, Katie, I did have her at 16 in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. At 1 month old Katie developed severe colic and every night from 12am-3:45 am she cried and squirmed in pain.
    God knew the bond this would build between a 16 year old new mom and her little girl. There were no lines blurred. I was not her friend and we were not “growing up together”. I was her momma just like you are Asters.
    As my husband and I now have four children (Katie 21, Brady 13, Kendal 9, Izzy 7) we are embarking on a season of missions both local and foreign. We pray constantly for God to reveal himself to us and guide our path.
    Thank you for your transparency and the gift to show others that God is in the hard places too.

  111. Liz Weeldreyer says:

    Thanks for sharing the hard parts of your adoption. As others have commented here, I too see the picture of the mama and her baby and can’t help but cry. It’s unimaginable to me, having to give up my child because I couldn’t provide for her. A mother’s love…

  112. It’s amazing how our Heavenly Father does it. I’m just without words when it comes to describing His answers to the “how”? of that verse. I still don’t know exactly how he did it when “fixing” the giant in my life (and honestly I know He’s still at work). Your story is inspiring and motivates me to want to give back in response to the outpouring of love God shares on a daily basis.

  113. Lisa Myers says:

    I enjoy reading all the devotions on the Proverbs 31 ministries website, but this one in particular touched my heart in a special way. I often tend to “selectively” recall the verse where God will work everything out for MY good because I love Him. I have never approached that verse from the perspective of another who loves God as well, or considered the possibility that I may be the vehicle He uses to bless someone besides me! Thank you for the blessing you provided today, and keep up the amazing work!

  114. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

  115. Gaye Hattaway says:

    WOW – what an amazing testamony!!! Talk about walking in the faith. She is such an adorable Little girl and both she and your family have been truly blessed by each other. God is so awesome and continues to work everyday in our lives. Praise the Lord.

  116. Thank you for allowing the Lord to work through you and your family. May He continue to bless you and yours.

  117. I can so resonate with your story, being an adoptive mom of 2 international children with 3 biological children as well. God birthed this journey in our hearts and we stepped out in faith in spite of our fears. We have seen God mold and shape each member of our family along this journey, especially during the challenging times. He has shown us what unconditional love REALLY means. And He does work everything out for our good – not necessarily how we want it. Since the adoptions we have also fostered around 22 children, another huge step of faith and relying completely on God with each child and situation that entered our family dynamic. Thank-you God for this journey, for the growth opportunities, for molding and shaping us to become more like you and for loving us through each of these children.

  118. Todays devotion was the encouragement I needed today! And isn’t that just like God, to give us what we need, when we need it? Thanks for correcting my path as I struggle with a difficult relationship caring for an aging in-law.

  119. Renee, what a beautiful blessing your words are to those out here in cyberspace! The story of your family is inspiring, thank you for sharing.

  120. Thanks for sharing your story so intimately. We also felt called to adopt and had to move past many fears. Our family traveled to Korea for our son and discovered that besides a cleft lip and palate which we knew about, he also was delayed, had low muscle tone, sensory issues and quite a temper. It has definitely been a journey with multiple surgeries, therapies and a huge financial commitment, but God has met our needs and our little boy is doing very well. He still has behavioral issues, but it was so awesome to see him running up the field playing flag football a few weeks ago – my little boy who needed some much therapy and time to learn how to sit and crawl and take those first few steps – wow. Would life have been easier if we didn’t adopt? Maybe I would have a few more “things” in my house, but I wouldn’t have my youngest son and I can’t imagine our family without him. That sounds really noble, but there are still plenty of opportunities to develop my patience on a daily basis!

  121. Amazing story of how God works even though we may not see him. We adopted my brother Jericho when he was a baby, I am now 15 and he is 12. I can’t wait to see how God works out the quarrels of siblings to his good. Please pray that we may love him as much as God has loved us

  122. Deborah Herbst says:

    What a moving story and enjoyed the pictures! Convicting about how God may use me for the good of others, not just me. Maybe our daughter’s longterm health issues will be for someone else’s good.
    Thank you very mcuh.

  123. Wow – what a beautiful story. The reality is that life is often hard, filled with challenges. But God takes us by the hand and gives us what we need – helping us along the way. Thank you for sharing God’s answer to your prayer – to reveal Himself to you and through you. Thanking God for opening your eyes, little by little, to see how He was (and continues) to answer your prayer.

  124. Winifred SHOKPEKA says:

    Thank you Renee. A heart opening piece that just moved me from the place of hard to the grace place concerning a friendship one will rather do away with in the natural but I know God would rather work with Him in that life for all things to work together for good. My resolve is to call her immediately I done with this. It’s been a while I spoke with her because I was tired of her constant complains & endless negativities. Guess I have to leave my comfort zone to be God’s hands & legs to rescue her. Ultimately her family will be better off with a joyful mum & will be a vessel of honour to our Heavenly Father. Hmmmm, what a lovely family you have. The transformation of Aster is beyond expression. May God Almighty remain the Shield, Glory & Lifter of your family both now & forever. Amen.

  125. Thank you for sharing this. Just yesterday I was “sharing/moaning” about the hard to a friend, she shared this exact verse. I too think the Lord is leading us to adopt, a sibling group of 3, but the Lord is still working on my husband’s heart, and like you there is so much else, family, finances, bio children, seemingly everything seems impossible but yet the leading will not leave. I was getting so discouraged, it’s been ongoing for almost 3 years. I so needed this reminder, it is so wonderful of God to send me these to help me. It gets so discouraging when you are surrounded by most telling you how whacked you are in your thinking. Though I know it is their thinking that is out of line with God’s. Again, thank you for sharing and being faithful.

  126. This is a touching story. I am dealing with some hard times right now. I am believing that Gd’s hand is in it. However, I am tired and praying for relief. This story was very timely. Thank you Lord for sending this message to encourage me. May The Lord continue to strengthen you as you are doing the work of His hands.

  127. Terri Septer says:

    It was a blessing reading this today! Seeing the pictures of all of y’all made it even better! I can’t imagine the pain the birth mom had giving up her beautiful daughter or the relief she must have felt knowing how much better off her daughter is now!? Thanks for sharing this today! I too want God to show me how I can be a part of His good for others!!

  128. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. Inspiring because we all see God working in your lives through your best times and worst times! It takes great love and faith to answer God’s call in this way. You are just like many of us and it inspires me to see God working in your lives. Thank you and many blessings to your family!

  129. Thank you for your inspiring devotional today. I helps to remind me that there is good in the hard times we are going through right now and God is working it out for our good…

  130. What an awesome story! Love sees no color or impossible challenges. So heart-warming and beautiful.

  131. Thank you for tracing back how you see God has worked through the hard parts. Its very encouraging to see how God raised people up to help you through the difficult days. We serve a wonderful God that I am looking to in order to get through the hard spots.

  132. Such a wonderful devotion today! Thank you for this reminder not to get caught up in my “hard” and to trust that God has a plan – my hard is just a puzzle piece in a much bigger picture. Thank you!

  133. Beth Roberts says:

    I loved this devotional. I am a missionary with SIM in Guinea, West Africa. Due to ebola I am not able to return there at this time. It has been hard but just the reminder of knowing that God will work it out and it will be good has been an encouragement to me. Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  134. Dear Renee, Thanks for sharing another part of your world with us. Your story has provided me with food for thought. I thank God for my beautiful sisters in Christ.

  135. Vicky Miller says:

    What a beautiful testimony of God’s promises to us! Thank you for sharing.

  136. What a beautiful description of adoption and the love of Christ as He works to mesh our lives together in ways we cannot even fathom…which is why His timing is perfect. It’s NOT all about us, but the many others whose lives interconnect with ours and as we trust, the Lord blesses in the ways of His which are higher and better than anything we could come up with! Thank you for sharing your testimony!

  137. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. A good reminder that it isn’t “all about me”… what an honor when God uses us to work things out for the good for others!

  138. Michelle Woo says:

    Dear Renee,
    Such a wonderful life story that you shared! Do you know whatever happened to Aster’s birth mother?
    I cannot even imagine what her ‘hard’ has looked like. But it is a wonderful story of how God connected the both of you together!

    Thank you for all you do!
    Michelle

  139. That’s a beautiful story…. It’s a very encouraging story.

  140. Your story reveals the very essence of hope! Hope in Christ Jesus!

  141. Pamela Shelley says:

    Thank you so much for this testimony. I feel God speaking to me this morning through this as I surely needed. Our lives right now an for the pa St year have been filled with so many “hard” things it becomes so overwhelming an Satan tries so hard to get us down. Seeing how good could come out of our life situation seems almost hopeless. I know if God can an does do “good” for that mother in Africa all the way to NC. Then he can surely turn “good” in our lives. Thank you so much for this today.it is just what I needed to be reminded of.

  142. I enjoy everything you write but this was especially moved by this beautiful story of live and compassion and God’s ability to lead us and then sustain us in all situations!! Thanks for sharing! Love the jewelery and it’s significance! A perfect example of how God can turn bad into beautiful!

  143. Marilyn Farr says:

    God wanted me to read this today. My husband and I have Guardianship of our three year old grandson who has mild Autismwith a severe speech delay. We are 61 years old, so the beginning of our “Golden Years” is not how we expected life to be. We also had to uproot and move to Phoenix from Utah so I don’t have much of a support system in place.

    Today has been an especially difficult morning as Gibson has had several meltdowns and I am feeling very inadequate in oh so many ways. It is picture day at his special needs pre-school and he refused to take a bath. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get him in the tub. After calling out to Jesus many times, I felt like he was telling me just to let him get dressed and to pick my battles. He may not have the nicest looking hair, but the picture will reflect where he is in his young life.

    Our blessing, however, is to have this (usually) sweet boy with us. My daughter is a heroin addict, so God allowed us to take him out of a situation where he was not safe.

    I cried many tears this morning asking for the strength to make it through. Gibson has settled down and in a few minutes we will go wait for the bus. Another morning successfully completed by the grace of God. I thank him for his new mercies every morning!

  144. Deanna Furrey says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! We hope God lets us adopt someday.

  145. What a beautiful story! I so needed this devotion and to read your story today! Thank you for allowing God to use you in the ways that He is!! Please pray for me that I, too, can find that purpose or direction for my life – be it hard or not easy to understand…

  146. JoAnn Garcia says:

    Wow.!! You and your family are amazing. I wish for myself and our world to be soo selfless. As hard a decision it was, you listen to The Lord and followed where He led you. What a blessing and inspiration you are to all your followers. Thank you for the story.

  147. Some hard things just seemed to get a whole lot harder today. While my emotions didn’t want to read this today, my heart was drawn to the words. Thank you for sharing.

  148. This story was absolutely beautiful! What an inspirational story and a lesson to anyone struggling through the hard times and wondering and asking God, where is the good in all this? My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for awhile and when we found out we were pregnant on July 4th of this year, we couldn’t have been happier! Then at about 8 weeks in, I started to have some spotting but no cramps and my nurse assured me this was normal. When I woke up the next morning and saw the bright red blood, I knew something was wrong. So with a heavy heart and tears streaming down my face, I had an ultrasound and found out their was no heartbeat and we had lost our second angel in a years span and haven’t been able to get pregnant ever since. We have talked about adopting a child like Aster who needs a good family to raise her and take of her or him. Then, we found out on Monday that my boss has secretly hired someone to take my place and she will finish training at our other location tomorrow and we know the boss will be in tomorrow when his clinic closes after lunch to let me go. Not only our we struggling with the fact that no one including the doctor I work under has any idea why I am being let go and we can’t ask yet because the people in the office training her we’re all told they would lose their jobs if anyone told me or the doctor I work under, we are now struggling with the facts of being in the middle of moving into a new house and those expenses and wondering if we will ever be able to even adopt now living off of one income! So this story was truly a blessing to me and I am happy to hear that in God’s time and in His Will for our lives, we are going to make it through all this. Please pray for me and my husband as I know the power of prayers in numbers and thank you for this story!

  149. Jeannine Vote says:

    Your story really touched home with me. My husband and I have 3 biological children who are 20, 19, and 16 and a foster daughter we are in the process of adopting. She was placed with us when she was 5 months old. We were told she could possibly have Cerebral Palsy as well as many other issues. We felt like God put her in our home for a reason. She just turned 4 years old last week. She does not have Cerebral Palsy, however, she does have seizures, sensory processing disorder, and significant delays. Sometimes it seems so overwhelming and I wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. I wonder what others may think of us starting all over again with a little one with so many problems. Then I remember, this is what God calls us to do, to take care of the widows and orphans. She is a beautiful little girl with an adorable smile that melts my heart. It’s going to be a long hard road and we don’t know that she’ll ever be able to live on her own or have her own family, but it’s worth every bit of the journey. Thank you so much for sharing your story and reminding me that this is all in His hands.

  150. Sondra Harford says:

    What an amazing, uplifting story of God’s love and grace! An awesome example of true Christianity in a broken world.

  151. What a beautiful story and what timing. Our adopted daughter (26) has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We did not know this until recently and I usually felt like a failure as a mom. Who am I kidding, I still feel that way. Today her life is in a downward spiral. I am so concerned for her and her two precious boys. The boys, 5 and 2, are with us most of the time and we feel we should have custody but are afraid of what it will do to our daughter and that it may give their dad opportunity to gain custody which would not be good. He has a history of abusing women (we saw the evidence on our daughter many times before the courts intervened) and abusing children. He was however recently acquitted on the child abuse charges…we do not understand how the judge could reach that conclusion. My heart is so pained. Our family members (including our other children) do not understand fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and that adds to our burden. Some days we wonder if we misread God’s will when we adopted. Today’s blog was a good read for me. Thank you for sharing.

  152. God is carrying me through remembering and grieving the beautiful, gentle man that I married and lost.
    I began losing him to Alzheimer’s Disease which was diagnosed in 2008. And then I lost him completely when he passed away on July 12, 2014.

    Through the hard times, God continues to provide soft landing places, mostly through the shared sacred stories of others.

    Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful family. May God and bless keep you all in His comfort and care.

    ~ teRi

  153. I know a family who has adopted 5 children (three girls from China and a girl and a boy from Guatemala), several with special needs. It truly takes dedicated parents to undertake such a commitment as you have….Jesus is for sure at the center of your family. Thanks for sharing.

  154. Amazing devotion, and perfect timing. My family is going through a very tough ‘season’ right now, and I sometimes feel SO emotionally inadequate to handle these trying times, but I have to remember GOD IS FAITHFUL and is working good in ALL things, maybe NOT for me. Thanks for sharing, and may God bless you. In HIS service, Terri.

  155. Thank you for sharing your story! May God continue to bless your family and may you feel his presence as he walks through every “hard” thing with you!

  156. Jennifer Tackett says:

    Thank you for sharing. In the midst of my storm where all I can see is “Hard” I need to be reminded that God sees the “How”.

  157. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Renee. I am struggling with ME and it is affecting my marriage as well as friendships. I have allowed Satan to tell me how I am not good enough, not pretty enough. I am trying to hold onto God’s promises but I still struggle. Can you please pray for me?

  158. Renee,
    What a beautiful story and your daughter is a beautiful little girl. Please keep sharing with us the fruit that God reveals from your having opened up your heart to your daughter in her need just like He opens up His heart to us daily in our need.

  159. What an answered prayer for me this morning. I am struggling so despperatly right now with my own daughter. As I came downstairs this morning I was reminded about praying for her specifically and your devotion this morning was the reminder I needed to remember that God DOES have a plan and I may not see it right now but I just have to trust in Him. Pray for me and my daughter, Megan, that we can work together peacfully and also that God will soften her heart to the help that so many are trying to give her. She’s 10 years old and is struggling at school with her Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and possibly dyslexia and dysgraphia. She is so angry at everything. Your prayers are SO appreciated. God Bless

  160. Thank you for sharing this story! God has truly been revealing this to our family lately. We have been dealing with the struggles of my teenage stepdaughter making choices we never would have hoped or dreamed for her life. Yet God! God knew that this is what it was going to take for her to discover her need for Him, for her mother to deal with anger issues and for us to grow closer as a family! God has used this trial for her good and for our good. I love how God knows every detail of our lives and has the most beautiful stories written for our futures that we cannot even imagine!

  161. What an Awesome story! So precious, and hope for others to see God is in control of the ending.

  162. Thanks for sharing your story! What a beautiful daughter – and an amazing journey! And I appreciate the reminder that sometimes God uses us for the good of someone else. My prayer is to be open to God’s prompting – to be used by Him to bless others.

  163. Renee,
    This post came at the perfect time in my life. I have been selfishly thinking that God isn’t giving me the good for my life without realizing that He could be working through me to offer someone else the good. It really has changed my perspective on how He is working my life. He is working good in my life just not in the way I expected but in His way. Thank you so much for sharing!

  164. May God richly bless you and your family for your willingness to follow His leading in your lives. Thank you for sharing your story.

  165. Lara Stephenson says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story. As a mother of two little ones I often wonder how I will manage all that lies before me each day…. it is truly by God’s grace that we all care for our children. My mother was born and raised in Asmara, Ethiopia. She has shared countless stories of growing up and your story has added to the blessings of knowing that we serve a mighty God. A God who knows no geography or boundaries.
    Thank you for sharing and I pray that my family would also be ever reminded of our need to listen to God’s voice. To follow His calling regardless of how dificult we may feel that it will be.
    May God bless you and your family.

  166. What a powerful story!

  167. Blessings to All!
    Thank you Renee for honestly sharing your life – your words truly encourage me (as well as countless others).
    I had lived in the “hard” for so very long that it was impossible to see the “how.” I grew up in a dysfunctional family (looked good on the outside but was “hell” behind the closed doors. I lived in fear for most of my childhood & left home in my teens. Imagine life for a teenage girl in the streets of Chicago & then think even worse). I had thought if I could only try harder maybe it would get better, maybe I could get better, be better and yet I felt I’ll never be good enough. I felt so alone, so dirty, so worthless…
    What I didn’t know was God was ordering my steps so that I would be able to help other women see how they are loved by an amazing God. That He has made me a new creation, that I am shiny & sparkling clean.
    Having lived in the “hard” I’m able to share hope in the “how” = crying out to God in all the brokenness & coming to believe that Jesus washed me clean.
    I am holy, righteous & redeemed!
    Janet A.

  168. Joanne Peterson says:

    Oh my goodness! You are exactly describing my situation now. We adopted domestically two little boys with hard beginnings but have the same issues you are facing with your sweet little girl right now! We still have the sleepless nights, I am now in the process of having the older boy evaluated for school services, in fact just got off the phone with starting the process. I can’t seem to be able to keep up on the house with all of the housework, cooking cleaning, therapy, etc., etc. We are seeing an adoption counselor for behavioral issues, and have health issues, and just plain are tired. I do know Jesus will work this all out for good, for us, for the boys, for our extended family, for other parents who are struggling with adoption issues, and for other people who are needing hope. Yes just last week I was a puddling mess, and today I’m not feeling so overwhelmed, but know I have a ton on my plate yet, but the Lord assured us without a doubt that He was, in this adoption. We can see His hand in all of this, and He has assured us He will give us everything we need to raise our/His boys.

    Thank you for this timely post, this speaks to me exactly where I am today……Like Jesus speaking these words to me to give me the boost and encouragement I need(ed). Many blessings!

  169. Thank you for sharing. You are so right, it’s so hard to see how God is working things for good when you are in the middle of a storm. For me it’s so hard to trust Him and know that there is a purpose for those hard times. Thanks for giving hope.

  170. Lord give me you eyes for just one second to see what you see in others and in circumstances. AMEN

  171. We also adopted. We have had many challenges with our little girl but God has been so merciful and has given us all the strength and hope we’ve needed. Without a doubt he is working everything for good!

  172. Thanks for the encouragement when HARD has been going on for so many years and GOOD has not yet made an appearance.

  173. Renee you and your family are a true blessing to Aster and her precious Mom. The dedication and love of your 2 boys to their baby sister was heart warming. Aster
    is so precious too Renee. Your devotion confirms to me that Our Lord and Savior is in our Reality as well. I was having doubts that God will see me through but somehow He was not in my reality here on earth. Your devotion has helped me see that Jesus is in my reality here on earth as well. I had hysterectomy surgery but the doctor injured me now I am praying I do no have to go through open surgery again for them to cut me open again that would mean longer time away from work. I pray my injury can be correct and I get back to normal soon.
    But Renee you and your husband and children has shown me today that its not about me only that God is also working in the lives of others as well. You have given Aster and her Mom a special gift. You are now Aster precious Mommy too.
    God BLESS you and your entire family and Aster ‘s other Mom.

  174. Thanks for sharing this post today. I have been struggling through HARD for quite a few months now, and everything I have done, only seems to make things harder. I have been to the point of thinking God just wants me to be in pain and struggle. It doesn’t matter how much I pray, read the bible and devotionals, such as yours, nothing I am doing is bringing even a glimmer of light at the end of this long, black tunnel. There is no one in my home who shares my faith, so I basically have to fight alone. I have a wonderful Christian counselor who I have reached out to again, hoping to ease the pain. I am currently housebound, so everything I do is through phone or written communication. I have always suffered from chronic depression, so this many months of pain and infirmity, has brought it to the forefront. I haven’t given up hope yet, and your post helped to affirm my continuing battle through “hard.” God bless!

  175. Wow.. what a wonderful testimony of love and encouragement. Thank you for reminding us it is not always about “us”. What an inspiration your testimony God has provided shines the light of God’s love so everyone can see HIM through you. God has provided you with a wonderful family and ministry to share and you do it so wonderfully. May HE continue to bless you beyond measure.

  176. Melissa Wallace says:

    What an amazing story of how God works! I am sure it was hard for her birth mother to say goodbye, but it had to make her feel better that her daughter was being adopted by a wonderful, loving family. She is a beautiful girl and I sure has blessed you over and over. Thank you for sharing your story!

  177. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing, Renee! I, too, can’t imagine being that mom having to say good-bye to my little one who would be going so far away, yet the hope that must have been in her heart! This adds to what I have been reading this morning about praising God in the difficult things, as well as the good, for all He as done for us and given us. We don’t always know what it good for us and bring our preconceived ideas to God. We must let God decide what is best for our eternal souls and the souls of others. (Merlin Carothers – Praise News – November 2 014) Perhaps we want to know too much – more than we need to know at the time- God knows (from my husband). Along with this from Gary Wilkerson: “Thankfulness is faith. It’s simply an outward expression that we believe God will do what He promised. it is believing He will keep us through any season of our lives.” (World Challenge Pulpit Series – “A note from Gary Wilkerson” – August 18, 2014.) I hope this makes sense. God continue to bless you and your precious family richly. Praise God for lessons learned in both the good and difficult! I am doing that too, as I have been working consistently for the past month and 1/2 – outside the home- for the first time in nearly 28 years. I am 58 years young. 🙂

  178. Thank you Father God for using Aster to bring some many blessings to this family .Thank you Renee for sharing your story. It is greatly encouraging to be able to look back and see the blessings from such hard times. I have been blessed by your story. We too are going through a hard place. I look forward to being able to see the blessings from this time. I know that God is faithful !

  179. What a wonderful story of God’s plans working every time. Thank you for this blessing!

  180. Renee,
    I have followed your journey with baby Aster well she’s not a baby anymore!! I’ve read your struggles, concerns, melt downs etc I have to say, your strength, faith & encouragement have helped me numerous times during my difficult journey in this temporary life.
    This summer I had 2 life changing events occur, the loss of a man I thought was the one but that wasn’t the biggest betrayal he caused, besides the lying, cheating & allowing me to love his daughter as my own, he played a part in being fired from my dream job as a flight nurse, something I’ve worked for my entire career.
    Through this devastating time though, I’ve been blessed beyond measure. One of our previous pilots & his wife who I’ve never met were my strong cheerleaders. God provided them to me to get through this hard lesson. I would love to win the earrings to send to her. Their faith is strong & mighty. I’m learning God has a very different plan for me. I’m hoping to go with a medical team to Haiti next year, my sister just left Tuesday with a group of amazing women from our church!! Please say a little prayer for them.
    Thank you for your blogs, it helps to read the struggles every Christian woman experiences!!
    Give Aster & the boys hugs & kisses from our family to your, god bless all of you.

  181. Winners NEVER Quit . . . .Quitters Never win . . . .Thanks for allowing me to WIN!

    Amen Jesus . . . .

  182. W. Strohecker says:

    Thank you for sharing this post today. You have a beautiful family and I really love your blog.

  183. Thank you for sharing your family’s story. There is such pain in the world. But if each of us does a little, together with Christ we can move mountains. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with my quilt group. I am responsible for devotions for our retreat this weekend and i know this will touch their hearts as it touched mine.

  184. Thank you for this beautiful testimony today. I was very touched by it. I find myself in “hard places” more than I care to be — often struggling with the “easy things” that I watch my friends sail right through, yet I find myself fighting the waves, changing current, and ebbs and tides of the situation. There are times when I simply wonder if the enemy has assigned an imp specifically to me to just make things hard. But I am always REASSURED that God has a plan and purpose for everything he allows us to endure. So, though I struggle … I also trust God. As my favorite scripture (Proverbs 3: 5-6) reminds me, I am to trust God, lean not to my understanding, acknowledge Him in everything, and He will direct my paths. So though I inwardly hope that things will become easier, I also know that God may allow the thorn in my side to remain by his permissive will to keep me depending on Him. I know that in my loving Father’s PERFECTNESS, He has ways that I don’t understand, resources that I don’t know of, and a supply of grace and mercy to see me through all my needs. With that, I won’t give up because I have an inexhaustible source of help.

    May God continue to bless you and your lovely family. Praise God for your obedience concerning Aster despite the unknown “hard places” that came with your decision. I am grateful for your honesty … yes, Christians can face “hard places” in life. We are not exempt from that. Today’s devotional has truly been an inspiration for me!!!!!

  185. Thank you for this post. I needed to hear this today.

    I am struggling to see “all working for good” in the midst of my hurts. But I believe Him though I have not seen Him.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles to encourage others. Blessings upon you.

  186. Thanks for sharing how God worked in your family’s life to be open to the possibilities that God offers each of us. Aster is one of those special blessings that God had in mind for you and your family. It is never easy to open up and listen to what we are asked to do. Some days are just hard and this helps me to look for the good that can come in the midst of struggle.

  187. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  188. I feel kinda selfish for even posting this ( what I have been through is nothing compared to that mother giving up her baby.) but I recently saw God work something heartbreaking out for good. TWO STORIES to tell. I have a daughter who dropped out of high school right before turning 18 and disappeared I worried I cried I searched all to no avail, it was almost 3 years before she came home…. bringing with her a beautiful ( 5 mo). redhead little girl. My first grand baby and 3 grandchildren later still my only granddaughter. Laura Story’s Blessings is my song and my little Alana is worth every tear and every sleepless night. I have another daughter whom I loved her daddy very much. The night I told him I was pregnant was the night he walked out. He said he didn’t want another child ( he had three from a previous marriage) fast forward to this past Feb the 8th my daughter gave birth to my fourth grand child little Jayden Thomas, standing in my kitchen a couple of weeks back feeding him a chocolate chip cookie I realized every moment of pain going through my pregnancy with my child and birthing her alone raising her without her father…. all the pain turned to pure joy while feeding my little blessing Jayden that cookie.

  189. Derricka Hawout says:

    Thank you! I needed to read this today, as we are in the process of being approved to be foster parents to a 15 year old girl, with much opposition from family. I don’t know how it is all going to work, but as you say, God does.

  190. Beautiful! Love the part about things working out for good, just maybe not my personal good! New perspective on that verse.

  191. Such a touching story of a child who needed stability and another family who felt led to adopt this child as their own. I am awed by your obedience to the Father and how all things worked together for good as Romans 8:28 says. May you be blessed in your journey as a family that honors God and brings a testimony of God’s love to those around you.

  192. Blessing to you and your family for “hearing” the call. May your road become easier, but your hearts still fulfilled. May your testimony build character and obediance in my life and help me to “see” and “hear” my own calling.

  193. Michelle h says:

    thanks for the reminder that it’s not always MY good that is the focus!

  194. I love our God! The Holy Spirit just brought this Scripture to me this morning before I read this. I’m currently watching a loved one going thru some hard stuff and they are in need of encouragement and this Scripture was the one that came to mind. Thank you for sharing your life story!

  195. Thank u for sharing this. I have been through the hardest time of my life these past 10 months. My husband believes beyond a shadow of doubt that I have been having an affair and then believed I was trying. To make him believe that. I have been called and told things no woman should ever be told by the man they love. My flesh has wanted to quit numerous times! But I have found My God is faithful! Can’t go into all the details but the trial is still here I just have a different view! Spiritual eyes. I know that God will use all this hurt and pain for good one day. Thank u because this really ministered to me. Be blessed

  196. I read your story of Aster, then Tracie’s about how God uses our trials. II Cor. 1:3,4 has pretty much become ‘my’ life – mostly because of the deaths of family/friends. God doesn’t waste any of these experiences when we let Him wash His healing over us, trusting Him in the hard, and walking with Him, leaning on His strength, and He truly does work all things together for good, to those who are loved and called according to His purpose.

  197. Thank you for sharing your story, your family, your love! May God continue to bless you and your family! The earrings are beautiful!

  198. What a Blessing your family is for this beautiful child of God! Oftentimes God see the rainbow, when we only see the clouds……praise God for your willingness to be used by Him!

  199. Your daughter is beautiful! As a mother of five, I can’t imagine having to give up a child. That is what unselfish love is all about. Exactly what Jesus did for us. My family is going through an extremely rough time right now, and I will admit, I haven’t exactly been strong enough to get through each day of it. However, I know in my heart that God will work all things together for good once we are through the storm. Thank you for sharing your story. It was very encouraging.

  200. Missy Clendaniel says:

    What a great reminder that no matter how bad things seem, God has a plan and he sees the big picture.

  201. AnnMarie Dixon says:

    Aster has grown into a beautiful girl. I pray that God will continue to show His glory through the development of Aster. God be praised

  202. I am so touched by this story. I am a music teacher in a public school and many times I have felt the need to adopt families or groups of students in order to provide what they need. I am so blessed in my life even though I am not money rich, I am spiritually rich and that is all I need.

  203. Thank you for sharing. Such a tender story of how your sons stepped in to help out. The love you have given to a little girl is so precious. She is a very beautiful, special little girl and so fortunate that God gave her to your family to love.

  204. I know I can look back at those tough times and see how God worked thing together for His good! I see His set of footprints in the sand. I know I can rely on Him to look out for my best interest regardless of my interests.

  205. Your story blessed my heart. And the theme is so true. God certainly does work everything out for good even when we can’t see it for a long time filled with sacrifices and pain. That’s what happened to me when my husband decided to go into business for himself. Even though the business did well for a start-up, after paying business expenses, there was no money left to bring home. We soon lost our beautiful home and had to sell most of our earthly possessions and leave behind all of our friends and activities. Even though our family of five still had each other (which was a blessing), I cried for a week when we moved to a small town (where rent in a substandard home was affordable) about 25 miles away. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. In a few years, God connected me with people who encouraged me to take a job that I didn’t believe I was capable of doing. Even though I told the company people I didn’t qualify, they said, ‘you’re hired!!” It was all God’s doing, and it turned out to be a fantastic career of 38 years. Through this job, I often was also able to serve the Lord many times by sharing Christians’ testimony to an audience of about 50,000 readers. Praise God!

  206. Thank you. I needed this reminder today in the midst of the hardest thing I have ever done. Thank you.

  207. What a beautiful and touching story, thank you for sharing it and such wonderful pictures. such a nice read and devo on P31. God bless you and your family!

  208. Jordan Brooks says:

    You have no idea how much this post touched me today. My husband and I are actively moving towards adoption as the reality of my infertility is becoming more and more present. I’m so glad that her mother was brave enough to give her child a chance at a better life, and that God has blessed Aster to not only have a self-sacrificing birth mother, but a Godly and loving adoptive mother.

  209. Thank you for sharing your story. I read it twice, the second time seeing the photos of beautiful baby Aster with her birth mother holding her, and I cried. How amazing her sacrifice and how it must have broken her heart, but knowing adoption was the best she could give to her. The love your family gave and continues to give Aster is priceless.

  210. Candy Hamilton says:

    Beautiful story. I pray God shows me my purpose. God Bless!

  211. Nancy Martinez says:

    Just one more confirmation that God can and will use all things for His glory…. beauty from ashes! 🙂

  212. After years of “hard”, culminating in 2014 the hardest year yet from one crisis after another I am worn out .It was good to be reminded of this verse and yet I say, how does constant illness,surgeries,husband’s infidelity ,child’s rebellion and depression, my own depression -how will it work for good? How indeed?.
    , I feel like Aster.I want someone to hold me, .Yet I conclude that if indeed if all that results is me closer to God then it is for good.I have also become somewhat more empathetic to others as I appreciate more how hard some people’s lives are. Today has been hard,sleep deprived, persistent pain ,wanting to cry. yet God is still working things out for good. Amazing and comforting. Thank you for the story.

  213. nancys1128 says:

    Your adoption story puts the hard things into perspective. And point us to look through them for the good. Thank you for sharing your experience. Blessings to you and your whole family for following God’s lead to bring Aster into your family.

  214. Romans 8:28 is a hope and promise given to us by our ever so loving Father. This scripture has been preached at our church, I read it on two books I am reading, it came up on our women’s ministry meeting, it has been all around me these two weeks and now your testimony. How awesome is our God. We ask for answers and He responds. He has shared this scripture to let me know that my circumstances will never be bigger or mightier than my God. I am greatful for the power of His word and the fullness of the Holy Spirit that He left to comfort, teach, lead us on our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Congratulations and God bless you and your family.

  215. Elaine Segstro says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and abiding faith even when the circumstances are gloomy.

  216. God bless you for “choosing life” for little Aster. It was wonderful to read your story and to see that I am not the only one who has looked at the “hard” and neglected to remember that our good God DOES work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!! And I had never really thought about sometimes those whom we love or whose lives we touch being the recipients of the “good”. Thank you for a wonderful post!!

  217. Thank you for your beautiful story about your beautiful daughter. Our Father is wonderful in how He has our lives so perfectly orchestrated for good. I have two adopted children. The son’s situation was and still is difficult; which keeps us humbly on our knees in prayer. Our second child adopted, a girl, was born in a women’s prison. She is such a role model for me in her personality and how she see’s the world through faith in her Heavenly Father. Both children are dearly loved and stretch my family and me in our faith walk. All the while thanking our Father for the wonderful love gifts he has given us in these two special children. (as well as our natural 6 children)
    Blessings to you and your family.

  218. I think you have a beautiful family. Your post today is a wonderful reminder of how God works through us, even through some of the hardest things we face in life. I would also like to thank you for this timely post. You see, my husband and I had debated (briefly) about adoption. It was never really something we talked about at great length, although we knew it was an option. In the last few months, I have seen several blog posts about international adoptions, all beautiful children. It’s certainly making me feel like God is putting us on the path to an adoption of our own!

  219. Linda Shemenski says:

    Thank you so much for today’s devotion and this blog. I love hearing you on KLOVE. I have a daughter that was born with a partial chromosomal deletion. She is globally developmentally delayed, has overcome tremendous speech delays and now we are working on her physical delays. God is so good! There were some people and even doctors who thought that the would have never come as far as she already has in just the almost 8 short years she has been here. She is an angel sent by God to work many miracles and I am sure Aster is as well.
    Thank you for your honesty and compassion! You are amazing! God bless you and your wonderful family!

  220. I am so thankful that you and your family were willing and vulnerable to God’s leading you to Aster. He is glorified by your obedience. Thank you for being God’s example of trusting HIM no matter what.

  221. My family comes from Mexico and I have been back and forth all my life on visits and mission trips. What I’ve learned again and again (sometimes I ignore this truth) is that even though I go to bless, I am always the blessed one when I leave. God works for the good of the innocent and His children. Thank you for this post.

  222. Sophia DeLonghi says:

    If only I would keep my mind on Christ when the struggles and hard things pull me to focus on myself and my reliance on my own power. I need to always remember what He has done in the past! He is trustworthy!
    Love the jewelry made with bullets! It’s beautiful!

  223. Beautiful!

  224. What a neat idea—to take what is meant to harm and make jewelry–a reminder of good from evil.

  225. This is an amazing story, thanks for sharing. May God bless you and your family as you help this beautiful girl.

  226. Thank you very much Renee for sharing. I broke down when I saw Hagere having to separate with her child, every Mom I know can relate, but to know that at least she is in good hands brings alot of comfort.
    There’s alot to learn from your story. God bless you always.

  227. I really needed your devotion today. I realize I need to ask God for help in my relationship with my husband mite than any other.

  228. Such a good thought that our hard thing may be a part of the good in someone else’s life. That’s a difficult reminder, that life isn’t all about us and our good.

  229. Wow, thank you for sharing this story. It brought tears to my eyes…& fills my heart with so much of His Love that I see through this story. God is amazing, & your family is beautiful. So beautiful 🙂 Aster is going to grow up into a beautiful lady…

  230. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story. God is good!

  231. Thanks for sharing your story and how God worked in your life. I needed to hear that today! I know that God will work things together for good …. I just need to be willing and allow Him to use me for others …

  232. What an amazing story! It is indeed difficult to see God’s grace in the hard places. I am in a hard place now, as my Dad appears to be losing his battle with cancer and we are adjusting to my husband’s new schedule with his new job. I just keep praying. It’s all I can do right now.

  233. Thank You Jesus. I look at these photos and all I can see is love. I thank God for this family and I thank Him for Aster’s birth mother who loved her enough to give her to someone who could give her a better chance than she could have.

  234. Diane E. Dodd says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Romans 8:28 has always been “my verse”. But until I read your story it never occurred to me that God could have meant he would work all things together for “someone elses good”. When my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in late 2006 I claimed “my verse”, believing God would heal him and David would be a walking testimony of God’s power and love. But God had plans other than mine. David died on 3/31/2007 and the only way I could accept my loss and unbelievable grief is that knowing that God healed David in heaven.

  235. What a moving story, still continuing. Have friends who have been able to adopt & it’s so neat to see how the have been woven right in as if they were born to them & they the family characterisics taken on either make them resemble one another more either physically or or meld the differences & you see how God has worked:)

  236. It puts things in perpective for me! Thank you so much for sharing, I feel less guilty knowing that it’s normal to see the hard stuff but that we must turn to God and trust that what matters is that he’s working thing out for me and others and that it’s all part of His glorious plan!!

  237. Karen Robbins says:

    Thank you for sharing this story and testimony. Aster is a symbol of what obedience to God can do for a person and a family…..

  238. Kimberly Steele says:

    I am simply overwhelmed by Gods goodness, and mercy as I read this story of baby Aster. When I awoke this morning to begin my day, my heart was breaking for our wayward son with multiple issues, but as I read this story my heart began to believe again that our God DOES work all things together for good. How blessed I am to be reminded that if the Almighty of the universe and beyond would hear they cry of that mother’s heart for her child, He would hear my cry for our son. Thank you for sharing and allowing the Lord to work in your lives, and give hope to this heart broken Mama praying for her son.

  239. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  240. Renee I have been so blessed by your sharing your life stories with me. I am so thankful a friend shared “A Confident Heart” with me and I have read your stories, your thoughts on your blog.
    Your witness for Christ is a blessing and encourages me. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was for Aster’s mom to let her go but then the sweet love to know you would love her and care for her the way she couldn’t. Such a sweet picture of your family. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  241. Renee
    I read this post while I was waiting to see a doctor about the results of a medical test and I was a little unsettled, I had just had a difficult conversation with my boss about “my attitude” prior to coming to the appointment.
    My mind was flooded with how reapetedly God has rescued and healed me both spiritually and physically.
    My spirit was lifted by reading your testimony of God’s Love and Grace.
    No matter what the future holds. He will be with me and never let me go. He took a lost broken young woman was in so much pain from the choices she made she would drive her car at night and scream at the top of her lungs an he restored her and gave her a new life and healed her by

  242. Thank you for your transparency in sharing your story. What love that mother showed her daughter by giving her to you!! What a masterful plan of God to meet Aster’s needs through your family and to grow you and your family’s faith and Christ-likeness through her!

  243. How wonderful of God to build a bridge between Aster’s family and yours. He is so awesome!

  244. Nikkolena Riley says:

    This was a beautiful testimony of the arrival of your little blessing. My husband and I are struggling through the adoption process and this testimony gave me some hope. To keep pushing through. Thank you.

  245. Tammy Warren says:

    There is a family in church that recently adopted two siblings from Ethiopia. Your story has reminded me to continue to pray for them, for you and all adoptive and birth families. The needs are sooooooo great. Thanks for sharing your ah-ha scripture moment. I love how scripture speaks in new ways as we grow in Christ. God bless you, Aster and your whole extended family worldwide. You are a blessing!

  246. Christine Dietz says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story at a time when I need reminded to follow, regardless. May God continue to bless you through all. And I pray for faith like yours to follow His path for us.

  247. That was the most beautiful story I have heard..Thank you for sharing it, it was just what I needed to hear today. God Bless you and your family.

  248. Jennifer Tenhoff says:

    WOW! How awesome and amazing! I could only imagine adopting a baby girl! Such an amazing testimony and story you have and are continuing to share! Thank you for sharing!

  249. Roxanne Kerley says:

    Love reading your story. I am new to your website and let me tell you that your devotions are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for all you do…….I live in North Carolina as well

  250. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I am sure Aster has a very exciting ministry ahead. As do your sons. They have seen love modeled and will carry that on as well. God bless you all.

  251. Thank you for sharing your story. We have been in a hard situation now for almost a year where my husband is unemployed but we continue standing on God’s promises and know that He will provide for us and will provide the right job in His timing not ours. It has been Hard and not easy I must say at times, we get discouraged but God continually reminds us that He will not forsake us. Thank you for this reminder today. I love P31 and read your devotions each day.

  252. Adoption is such a beautiful illistration of God bringing us into His family and calling us His sons and daughters, and caring and providing for us even when we don’t make things easy!

  253. This scripture verse is one of my favorites. God has used this verse to show me how a very difficult situation in my childhood worked for good. I can share with other women who have experienced sexual abuse. I can relate and share with them and help them see how God has worked in my life. God has always
    been faithful to me. I want to show Jesus in me in hopes that others will see Him. I will praise His name forever.

  254. A beautiful and touching story. Thank you for sharing from your heart. And for you and your family being a wonderful example to others to open and their hearts and minds to what God is telling them to do. Especially if it’s out of ones normal comfort zone.

  255. Kelli Wright says:

    Amazing story of God’s perfect timing!

  256. Lois Davis says:

    A dear friend sent me an email about your family’s journey.Thank God for such caring people! I am so glad you shared your story.It gives me new hope and a much needed reminder that I needed to remember. We have a grandchild who is in rehab Again. He has just become a new father and I pray for his girlfriend also. I just feel so concerned for his parents and want to make things work out for everyone. But just now feel as if I am of no help… so you see why your story brought me a miracle today!

  257. I am here because my niece shared this on her FB. While I am in no way facing what fellow Christians in Ethiopia are facing, I am facing a very desperate time here in the US. I am trying to keep things in perspective at this time, and with the Lord’s help, and this is a real blessing to me. Thank you for sharing.

  258. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I am a birth mom who gave up her daughter at 18. I can relate when you say you look back and see God’s hand and faithfulness in all HE does. HE promised if I turned my situation over to HIM, I would be blessed as well as I also had HIS forgiveness. My daughter is now 34 and I have had a wonderful relationship with her for 8 yrs. I have also been married for 33 yrs and have a beautiful daughter and son as part of this marriage. God has blessed not only me, but my 1st daughters adoptive family as well. HE takes ALL things and uses them for HIS Good!

  259. Renee,
    What Wonderful pictures and a Wonderful story about the Adoption and Your Blessing !!
    I watched the webcast tonight with you all and Max Lucado. It was Wonderful. I’m doing the bible study.as well. It struck a chord when you were talking about your son turning from his Faith. My 14 year old twins(boy and Girl) chose to go live with their father, my Ex Husband , and my present husband and me have not seen them since May 29. We have been communicating via email, but it has been my choice , with God’s help, to not see them. It is very hurtful what both kids did in court May 28 th and even prior. I am trusting that God is in control and will reveal the next step. I feel my daughter’s eyes are being opened to the TRUTH and that she is drawing close to God. My Ex is not a Christian so the kids have gotten away from God by living with him…. This has been so Heartbreaking , but I know what they have meant as evil, God will turn it to GOOD. I love them and Pray without Ceasing. I am at Peace more now than ever and closer to God !!! Thanks so much for your Ministry !!!!

  260. Such a powerful testimony. Aster is absolutely beautiful! I am believing God is working all things together for good in our own family as we unravel the future for our son Chase who will be 5 in January and has been diagnosed with autism and a micro-deletion of his 15th chromosome. He is unable to communicate and as you know finding the best for what your child specifically needs is not always crystal clear when dealing with developmental delays (well..or at all for that matter)… But I’m clinging to Daniel 2:21&22 “He changes the times and seasons; He removes Kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom and knowledge to those who have understanding! He reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells in Him!”

  261. Mahalo for that testimony. Your stories are an inspiration! It has certainly made an impact in my walk with Jesus! Aloha!

  262. Renee, thank you so much for this message! I was talking to God about this very thing last night and this morning. All I could see was the ‘hard’. Thank you for turning my eyes, and my perspective, back to the one who works all things for good, even when I can’t see it.

  263. Ola Cooney says:

    Your story reminds me greatly of my beloved grandparents. After my mother’s second divorce. My grandparents took in three very scared kids. Myself, my sister and my brother. They were seeing their youngest child leave high school and join the Air Force during the Vietnam War. My mother left a very dangerous situation with my mentally ill father and went across country from CA to NC with us. I was greatly blessed to of had my grandparents in my life and didn’t realize what they had to give up to care for us and take us in. I pray that God blesses you and your family continually for doing his will.

  264. Janice Chambers says:

    Dearest Renee,

    Thank you for sharing Aster’s adoption story with us! I am a single woman, who due to abuse suffered as a child, had to have a total hysterectomy at the age of 20. I will be 48 in 29 days, on the 31st of this month. I just relocated from FL, the Sunshine state, to Michigan, on November 10, 2014 with two suitcases of belongings, to be obedient to God. Currently, I’m facing many challenges, but God is stretching me, and growing me for His Divine purpose, so I can fulfill the purpose He created me for, when He formed me in my mother’s womb!

    Growing up as I did, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, EXCEPT a MOM! I dreamed of having about 13 children, or more, if God would allow me to! Now you already know this wasn’t the case. About three years ago, I was looking into adoption, and discovered that most adoption agencies won’t give a single woman the time of day, and one who’s over the age of 45, well, let’s just say that my investigation into the process caused me to “give up” on having my own child. I grieved the loss of my own child, once again, and did my best to move on with my life. BUT GOD…..

    I have a friend, and dear Sister in Christ, who owns her own international adoption agency in FL. This past December 8, 2014, I noticed a couple of pictures on her Facebook page. The post, and photos, were about her recent trip to Tanzania, for her first adoption in that country! In fact, she was commenting while in the Atlanta, GA airport, awaiting the boarding of the last leg of her flight home from Tanzania! I asked her if someone of my age, and being single, could adopt? I even said, “I don’t really know why I’m even asking you this question.” Much to my amazement, she told me that age wasn’t a factor, and that her lawyer was petitioning the court to allow singles to adopt. She went on to say that he made a point to tell her that, right before she left to return to the US! She said, “I believe God was giving me this information JUST FOR YOU!” I immediately began to sob uncontrollably, and felt completely overwhelmed by God’s LOVE!

    The total cost to adopt a child from Tanzania, is about $25,000. This dear Sister offered to give me her services for whatever her cost was, along with helping me to obtain grants. I am not in any position financially, to adopt just yet, today. But God…well, let’s just say, where He guides, He provides! And, His word tells us in Mt. 19:26 that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE for GOD! So, if He wants to give me the desires of my heart, by giving me a child from Tanzania, or any other country; and it’s His will, then I’m willing to do everything necessary to make it happen!

    Will you please keep me in your prayers, concerning this matter, Renee? I sure would appreciate it! Feel free to share my prayer request with any friends who might not mind praying for me too! I am going to be ordering your book, “A Confident Heart”, and have downloaded the “7 Day Doubt Diet”. I just began reading the 7 Day Doubt Diet tonight, along with chapter 1 of A Confident Heart. I am VERY EAGER and EXCITED to become the CONFIDENT woman, God created me to be! I’ve already taken the Doubt Analysis, and am not surprised with the results which explain what a problem self doubt is in my life!

    I “AM” confident about one thing: I serve an AWESOME, LOVING, MIGHTY, OMNIPOTENT GOD!! And, He promises to return to me what the locusts have eaten! Double for my trouble! I’ve been on two international mission trips, one to Honduras, as a member of a 12 person team to serve at a Christian School and Mission (we were gone a total of 7 da ys); and one to Cambodia, with God, for 23 days in country, to love an orphanage of 75 children, and serve God at the Christian school next door, of 412 children, ages Kindergarten to 12th grade. So, I believe that God can work a miracle in my life, by changing my finances from “barely enough to OVERFLOWING” if He chooses!

    I did send my friend an email that I wasn’t going to fill out the application, and additional paperwork just yet; that I wanted to be in a better position financially, before proceeding. Maybe I did this because of my vast amounts of self doubt! At any rate, I am 100% certain, that God created me for a purpose, and that my breakthrough/my blessing, is right around the corner! I will keep you informed about my progress with self doubt, and learning to walk with “A Confident Heart!”

    With much appreciation and love in HIM,
    Janice

  265. Sonya England says:

    I have been asking God how any good could come from all the circumstances I have been having to face in my life. I have wondered if I am a poor student who He is having a hard time teaching me. Your devotion was very uplifting to me. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, God Bless you and all those you love. <3

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  1. […] want the next several years of our life to be a lot less stressful than the past few. I guess adopting a baby and navigating her special needs, then walking through our son’s spiritual exodus, as well as […]

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