Friday, September 16, 2011

Mt. Everest



( I wrote this last week, during a day spent away in prayer about many things heavy on my heart)
image courtesy of Michal Marcol

Today,
I had to run.
I HAD to pray.
I had to question,cry,be disappointed,
and be filled with hope.

Cause I've really been struggling.

So I took a half day of prayer
(don't be impressed. I tried to get out of it)

To be blatantly honest,
this week I have struggled with sheer hopelessness.
And it has made me sad,discouraged,tired,angry...you know
...a HUGE blessing to my family.

Over the past year and a half,
God has led our lives to some pretty spectacular places.
And through this leading, I believe,
we find ourselves in some very challenging spots as of late.

To give you a picture,
I REALLY feel like I am just standing at the base of Mount Everest,
looking up and thinking...
what?!?!?!?!?!!?!?
How?!?!?!??!
What, you think this is amusing to watch me try to climb this thing and come tumbling down Jack -and -Jill style??
Or even better, get close to the top, only to get altitude sickness,just sit down and die?

IT.
IS.
IMPOSSIBLE.

Surely, you know this Lord?
Surely you don't want to make a fool of me and my family?
But then why so much impossibility?
I don't mind hard things,tooooo bad.
I won't complain,tooo bad.
But the impossible?!
That's just cruel.

Let me elaborate.
We want to do work in Ha*ti.
We've been led by God to do this in the form of a ministry developed this past year out of our local church.
(a button that links to the site can be found at the top right)
We believe strongly that God has blessed this ministry and for it's continued success,
it needs someone's full attention.
So that's what we've done for almost an entire year.
The work has been challenging and oh so wonderful.

Almost a year ago, Noah stopped working at his regular job and began working on this ministry full time.
Most people don't know that.
To be honest, I've not known how much I should share about our families personal financial situation on my...
blog.
Or at all sometimes.
I mean, I don't mind being open,
but I have as much personal pride as the next gal.
Not to mention that whole privacy thing.
I really do like it sometimes.

Anyway....

We've been diligently working on the development of Ha*tiLove, along with the daily workings of keeping a ministry of partnerships between many people in 2 countries up and running and functional.
This truly keeps Noah busy on a "full time" basis,40 +hrs a week, blah blah.
Then there's the going to Ha*ti for 2 weeks every 6 weeks thing.
He's working harder than I have ever see him work.
And I couldn't be more proud.

And now we need desperately to raise the missionary support to sustain this work and our family for a long term basis.
It has been slow going, getting our support up and running.
I some ways the slow going can be attributed to details that needed working out to be able to raise support through the local church, and some can be attributed to us being so busy working on the tyranny of the urgent in Ha*ti, we can't seem to find the time to raise the support for our family.I'm sure some can even be attributed to our own unbelief and hesitance in this matter.
And now, we are a year into this,
and needing desperately to get our missionary- support- raising going.
It's a real nail-biter, if ya know what I mean?

Simply put,
we KNOW this is God's plan for our family.
No question.

I'm not gonna lie.
I pretty much hate this whole money raising thing.
It's a little bit,
or a lot,
humbling.

Sometimes I just get sick of being the ones in need.
Isn't that prideful of me?
Boy would I love to be a bit more self sufficient.
You know?
like real adults?
Except that those aren't the kind of real adults God has shaped us into.
Right now,
they are the kind in need.

Who hopefully reflect God's greatness in their weakness.
Hopefully.
image courtesy of Ambro
Another reason why I had to hit the pavement this afternoon was the adoption.
I promised myself as I ran that I wouldn't stop a SINGLE minute sooner than I was allowed,
and I picked the hardest route I have to run on my ipod.
(I run with this "couch to 10k" type app, but I'm closer to the couch than the 10k)
With this app, I can listen to my playlist while simultaneously following a directed plan.
So mid-song, the music dims and a nice, british woman named "Allyson," comes on and gently reminds me that I have "5 more minutes" before I can walk for one minute.
And as it goes, "2 more minutes"...
on and on, she kindly reminds me in her sing-song voice, that there is an end in sight,if I'll just keep going.
She even tells me when to "walk" and when to "run!"
She's very helpful.
Because her guidance means I can just worry about one thing...
running.
And none of the other details,
like how long I have left still to go, or how far I've gone already,
for that matter.

Just run.

And don't stop 'till I tell you to.
And walk when I say you need a breather.
And run when it's time.

This is what I needed from God today.
Just the reminder that he is with me and all I have to worry about is,
to be sure I,
Just.
Keep.
Going.

As a symbolic act for my heart,
I didn't allow myself to take any extra breaks or stop even seconds before sweet Allyson suggested I "walk."

Isn't there just something about running when you're heart is breaking and your out of your own strength and resources and you feel like you've got nowhere to go and nothing left but your own ugly heart and hopelessness.
I get it, Forest Gump.
I really do.
There is something about the physical challenge to match the spiritual and emotional one.
And the silence ad no distractions.
When I run, I feel like my emotions are so raw and there's no pretending I am strong.
But I also feel as though my senses are highly aware,
and I can hear my Father's voice clearly.

And he said to just keep going,
and tell the story of what He is doing
and to see what He wanted to do,
and just be faithful with the very little I could do.

But I won't lie, I have MANY fears
and often get the feeling I am standing on the stage, de-pantsed, after the high school B-ball game.
Don't laugh.
It happened to me.
And it's not the reason I left high school early and got my GED.
I don't think.
Though I do clearly remember begging God on my way home that night,
for him to have mercy on me,
and bring the rapture before I had to go back to school on Monday.

In the words of Garth Brooks, "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers"

And apparently it was to become a pattern....
humility comes in many shapes and sizes.
Right now, it has taken the shape of raising support to be non-resident missionaries to Ha*ti and adopting 2 children.

The mountain we face with adoption is directly connected to the mountain of our support raising.
Let me explain a little.
Last I told you, Ha*ti wasn't going to allow us to adopt for another 2 1/2 years because of age requirements that we do not meet.
This week, we were told that someone very important in Ha*ti was willing to hear our case and interested in helping us.
Someone who could make all the difference.
PRAISE GOD!
And I did...
for like 3 seconds.
Before I started to FREAK OUT!!!

Because WE CANNOT ADOPT!!!!!
NOT NOW!

Not without an income that supports a seven member family!!!
And we haven't raised all of our support yet,remember?

Mt.Everest again.

In the words of the british philosopher, Austin Powers,"throw me a friggin bone here!"
Their government says they are open to helping us adopt...finally...and we can't,
because we not only don't have enough money saved up for the adoption,
but we don't even have an income.
And FYI, no government gets excited about giving two more children to a family with no substantial, secured, income.
Makes sense.
Yet God has said to walk forward.
And I know we must.
With dreams/nightmares that go a little something like this...
We finally get our homestudy done and it lands on someone's desk at immigration (this particular person may or may not have a wort on her nose with stray hairs growing out of it.One cannot really say for sure) and random person looks at our family and our income and the whole "situation", and with eyes rolled back in their head,
they grab the REJECT stamp and with clawed hands,
bang the gavel/stamp down onto our papers with the verdict,
INADEQUATE TO ADOPT,
Fools!

I'm really afraid of that.
All joking aside.
I know from the outside looking in, we look like a mess.
But in my opinion,
a mess is two children who dug through garbage for the first years of their life,
and a little girl who needs the protection of a daddy desperately, as she already builds patterns of survival,relying on her God given beauty.
And a young boy, quickly growing into a young man, who has only ever been told that he is blind.
And only blind.
He's not smart and special and made perfect. No.
He's just the blind kid, the one who's easy to steal from and pick on because he can't defend himself.
And NO.
Those children thrown away like trash are priceless treasures. And I will proudly call them mine and give them my name. Those are Joyner's.
And they are worth fighting for.

And they are more important than my pride.
So I am asking for all of you to pray with us for the impossible.
We simply can't climb Mt.Everest alone.
We aren't even athletic,for heaven's sake.


So, in writing this post, I am trying to take one step away from my pride.
And refuse to make this about me.
This is NOT my story.
MY life.
Ultimately, I don't believe MY decisions are what got us here.
Cause I'll tell ya right now.
I personally would not choose to feel so weak and vulnerable.
I personally don't like to need to ask other people for help so much.
I personally would not choose to adopt 2 children with broken pasts,
not now.
Let's at least wait till we have jobs.
And lets not choose one of the hardest countries in the world to adopt from,
k?
do ya mind?
Great.

And the thing is He does mind.
This is HIS way to use our lives.

So I am going to try to stop apologizing for my need and brag on it because it's a work of God. As embarrassing as I feel my weaknesses to be,
what I really have to be embarrassed about is not
shouting about what GOD has done, because I think it makes me look bad.
Pride.
It's ugly.


It seems that from what I can tell we need 2 things to happen and quickly.
PLEASE pray with us for this miracle.
(Ironically, I had been using this Everest analogy already in my writing of this post, but pre-editing, I ended up watching a documentary called "Blindsight," about a team of blind Tibetan teenagers who were taken on a trip to climb a summit of Mt.Everest with their blind guides.Woah!
It was beautiful to see them truly attempt the impossible and risk great loss,
to prove that they were not JUST blind kids, but valuable,brave, young men and women.)
If they can do this in their own strength,
can we not try some impossible things in our lifetime,
as humbling as they may be,
as draining and risky as they may seem?
For the fame of God's great name?
Please pray with us.
Please consider climbing with us.

Our Mountains are these.
1.We need to finish raising our missionary support of a significant amount. And the sooner the better:) We'd love to see 100 people join us by giving $40 a month.
If you would like to be a part of the team of people who support us financially, you may email me at joynerfamily@ymail.com,or post on the blog. If you are interested in a one time gift or long term support, we want to know who you are and get you on a contact list for keeping you updated on what is going on.You can also go directly to our church's website to give online immediately and get started with your monthly support today.
Just be sure to put "HaitiLove missionary support" in the drop down box:)
2. We need to raise the first $1,500 to finish our homestudy. The money we had previously raised for the homestudy had to be used to begin building a case for us in Ha*ti,proving our children's situation is a desperate one (homestudies there in Ha*ti,psychological evaluations,medical eval's,etc) and worth waiving the traditional requirements for us.
I am brainstorming some ways to raise funds and will keep you all updated on any ideas I have. Please feel free to share yours with me,too:)
Part of my being found in my weakest is that my very weakest trait, hands down,
is that I am a TERRIBLE problem solver.
TERRIBLE.
It started in elementary school with car #1 having to get from point A to point B without hitting point C and has continued through life.

Ask anyone who knows me really well.
I'm no dummy.
But don't ask me to solve a SINGLE practical problem EVER.
It would be to your great demise.
The gears in my brain work for many things but problem solving isn't one of them.
And so this week, I have spent every day frustrated,sad, angry at this looming problem I have set before you.
And I have toiled and stayed awake at night, and worried and plotted...
and I've been CRAZY...
and still...
I got nothin.'

Except Mt.Everest,
and me,
a weakling.

So I'm thinking this is going to have to be God's thing.
But I know he likes to work through his people.
So I'd start by putting it before you to pray about and see what God does.



2 comments:

K Newman said...

Stephanie,
This encouraged me today, as I look at my 7-person famiy, and back at God with that same "What were you thinking?" that you seem to express here. Thank you. I'll be praying for your family as you work towards these goals.
Kristi Newman

P.S. Where can I find this C25k mP3? you've described it so that I really want to try this, in a week or two when I can. (the 7th Newman is 10 days old)

P.P.S. came to the blog from your FB post tonight, praying for you all and your youngest's health tonight too.

Stephanie said...

Kristy,
I've loved watching God bless your family with each additional little one(over facebook). You are a blessed woman, of this I am sure.Thank you for your prayers for the many things out there. Truly. Wish we could see you guys,have dinner,that sort of thing,but I love watching your beautiful family through pictures:) The program I use is an app I got for $2.99 on Itunes. Its technically called "ease to 10k" but there are a number of different ones. I really love it.It gives good structure to a hard task. Thank you for posting! Hoping you get lots of chill,snuggle time with your new, precious, miracle. God bless.Tell Scott Hi!