Anyone who knows me will be surprised by what I am learning to love. Especially my friends who had the <ahem> “pleasure” of being in zumba class with me. After huffing and puffing my way through a few of those high energy moves, I would have to take a break. But I was the only one sitting on the sidelines. I think the real problem is that I have always hated exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I know exercise is a good, really necessary part of life. I have just been more of a fan of activities that happen to be exercise at the same time, such as dance classes. That’s actually why I tried zumba…because it incorporate dance. And while I adored the smiling face of the zumba instructor, these classes were much tougher than most of my dance classes because they were non-stop, high energy, start to finish. And I simply could not hang.
I decided yet again to join a gym. And I started going. But I still didn’t like it. Until…
1) I realized that it was really helping reduce my stress level and 2) I found a friend that would go with me. Regarding #1, I told clients for YEARS that they should exercise regularly. There is plenty of scientific evidence that exercise helps improve mood and mental health. Even the Center for Disease Control recognizes this (http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html#ImproveMentalHealth)!
I have always been aware of the benefits and even recognized them for myself, but lately, it has been even more apparent. I am more motivated to engage in the dreaded “E” word knowing that it really does help reduce anxiety and increase those feel good endorphins. Regarding #2, y’all, time really does fly when you are working out with a friend. And talk about multi-tasking! You are able to catch up with a friend while also getting physically and emotionally healthier. Score! What’s funny is that even when I wind up at the gym by myself, I find that I am more used to exercising longer and am able to hang in there by myself. Go me. Go YOU!
There are so many benefits of exercise. And I know many of us don’t actually like exercise, but most of us love how it makes us feel. So, yeah, I am learning to love exercise. And for your own emotional wellness, I encourage you to try and fall in love with it too. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll even try zumba again one day…Read More
As soon as the door to the agency closed behind us, we stopped and prayed. With tears in my eyes, peace and excitement spread over me. We had completed all of our requirements in order to be placed on the waiting families list. What a relief! Part I of our adoption story is now complete. It was filled with ups and downs…including emotions I did not anticipate and had never experienced before. My worries and fears were more pronounced because they were no longer just about two adults. Life may soon include a baby. Whoa…
I am hesitant. The nursery sits empty without furniture or decorations. We aren’t guaranteed that an adoption will take place. And all of that is okay. With sweaty palms, we wait and trust God’s will and timing. Yet, we must prepare to some extent because we know that this timing could mean a placement happens soon. I can’t define “soon” except to say that on any given day, a woman could give birth, decide to place the baby for adoption, call our agency, see our profile book, and select us. In the state of Virginia, the birth mother has 10 days to change her mind after terminating parental rights, so the agency typically does placement on day 11. Of course, the birth mother who selects us may do so with several weeks or months to go in her pregnancy, but we have no way of knowing or anticipating what Part II of our story will look like. And, still, we have to be ready.
James 1:27 says this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Yes, we are all called to take care of those children in need. It could be through foster care, adoption, or sponsorship. (We sponsor three adorable children: a little girl in Honduras and brothers in Indonesia.) Perhaps the way you can get involved is by supporting a family who are in the process of adopting. I know a great one.
Friends, it is such an honor to have so many of you walking this journey with us through prayer and financial contributions. If you have not partnered with us in one or both of these ways, would you consider doing so?
~Pray for the birth parents (primarily mothers) who are choosing life for their children. Pray that God will lead them to the right parents for their child. Pray for these birth parents and their families as they grieve the loss they will experience.
~Pray for the staff and volunteers of Family Life Services as they work with both birth parents and adoptive parents. We all want what is best for everyone.
~Pray that if a child is placed with us, it will be in accordance with God’s timing and will. Please also pray that the relationship with the birth family will be as smooth as possible.
~Pray for emotional peace during this season of waiting and uncertainty.
~Pray that our finances will come together for the placement. God has always provided for us and we have strived to be faithful with tithes, offerings, and support of other ministries, charities, and those in need. We know that God blesses faithfulness and fully trust and believe that He will provide these funds in His way and in His timing. If you are willing to help support us during this special time in our lives, there are two ways to give (see below). You will be blessed in return!
1) We have set up an account through Pure Charity. This allows your gift to be tax deductible. All funds will be sent directly from Pure Charity to Family Life Services at the time of placement. Please follow this link to donate online: https://www.purecharity.com/shaler-adoption
2) We know that some prefer to write a check directly to us, so we have set up a savings account specifically for our adoption fundraiser. If you would prefer to donate in this manner and do not have our mailing address, please send private communication and I will get that to you.
It is humbling to make this financial request, but then I think of an analogy that makes it a little more comfortable. If we are willing to request and make donations for mission trips so that lives can be changed in the name of Jesus, why not request and make donations for an adoption so that the life of a single child can be changed in the name of Jesus? After all, God loved us enough to adopt us through Jesus (Ephesians 1:5), and we are each changed as a result. So, you see, adoption impacts us all. It’s just going to impact our family a little more. And we pray that as a result, it impacts you a little more as well.
Thank-you for your consideration and May God bless you!Read More
There will be a day of judgment, but today is not that day. Today is a day of grace.
That is the message I took home from church this morning. The man who shared this is not a pastor, but he sure knows God’s word and shares it powerfully. Like Paul, he eagerly preaches, and I, for one, was convicted.
Why do I not share about God’s mercy and grace with more people? After all, it is the power to save everyone. That means anyone. And that includes you. Today, no one is outside the reach of God’s grace. I know that we sometimes view others as if they are. We proceed to become judge and jury. But, that is not our role. Our role is to share how Jesus Christ changes lives. To preach about what His life, death, and resurrection really mean.
Don’t get me wrong…there will be a day of judgment for each of us. I don’t want anyone I love getting to that day without knowing for sure that they will spend an eternity in paradise. How can any of us be sure of this? It really is simple. We have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess that Jesus is Lord of our lives. We have to repent of our sins…turn away from what we do wrong and turn to God for forgiveness and salvation. We can’t force anyone to follow Christ, but we should feel compelled to tell others about His great love.
Yes, today is a day of grace. We don’t deserve it, but God will save us anyway. Any one of us. But, we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We must make today the day of salvation. It might be the only chance we have to accept Jesus Christ as Savior or to share this free gift with others. Don’t waste it.
“Lord, instill in me a deeper, more compelling desire to tell others about You. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. Amen.”
If you are ready to accept God’s free gift of salvation, you can use a prayer such as the one below (from Billy Graham Library).
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.”Read More