It's been how many years?

Last night I resolved myself to get up and start this blog.  I have been blogging about our Ethiopia Adoption on heswithus.blogspot.com since the beginning of that journey two years ago.  I've written that blog to have a documentation our adoption for sentimental value, to encourage other adoptive families, and for fundraising reasons.  International adoptions are not cheep.  I've started this blog so I could have a place where I could share my heart about all of my crazy life, not just our adoption.

Rolling out of bed this morning, I had the thought that last time I took writing seriously was when I was on the high school newspaper.  I've written things here and there: our adoption blog, a few articles for the Citychurch newsletter, journal entries, some team blogs for missions.  Nothing has been something that I couldn't have backed out of or done half-heatedly.  It's been spotty.

Back in high school, I loved journalism.  I loved the nervousness of deadlines, those weird wax pencils that you use to write on photographs,my liberal UT Austin teacher who was also my neighbor who taught us to read upside down anything on the desks of someone you are interviewing.  There were perks to being on the school newspaper.  I had a pass to leave campus at lunch (which I only abused exactly one time.  I was a goody goody.)  I got to see the teacher's lounge once.  It was like seeing behind the Wizard's curtain.  We heard the juicy school gossip.  One year we got to go to Austin for a weekend journalism conference.  Another year we went to Dallas, and we go to see an early screening of Dumb and Dumber.  They had us fill out comment cards.  I was a new Christian and super offended by the majority of the movie.  I wish I had my comment card, but I'm pretty sure I wrote something about cutting the fire-fart scene.  These days my sense of humor is much better, some days I wonder if I have too much of a sense of humor.  Journalism and newspaper staff was fun.  Why wouldn't a 16 year old love being a part of it.

While searching for colleges, I had an interview with a scholarship committee.  They asked me what my major would be.  I had chose accounting, but I told them I was considering minoring in journalism.  The committee basically told me why that was a bad idea and to strongly consider giving up the minor.  I took their advice.  I guess it is not surprising that a group of business professors would give me very practical advice.  As soon as I walked away from that meeting, I filed my school newspaper days away in the "that was fun, but it's over now" category of my brain.  I was going to learn about tax law.  Doesn't that seem like more fun.  Ha!

It's January, so I'm not unique in evaluating my goals and priorities this time of year.  I've been reflecting on what has God brought me through in the last two years, in the last five years, in the last twenty years (that school newspaper was twenty years ago.  Can that be right?)

Looking back at just the last year, I can't help but think a lot about the mission trip to Ethiopia.  It was a big moment for me.  It was my first international mission trip and a chance to get to know the country where our little boy would come from.  It was an experience that grew me in many ways.  I worked with a team of other Christians that I didn't even know.  God moved and used us in ways that we couldn't even dream of.

When I look at the highs and lows of that trip, there are some obvious lows and some obvious highs.  Some biggies are the time hugging on babies, international church, the transition home, the food.  But one highlight I realized looking back, was my opportunities to serve God though writing.  Our team wrote a collective blog.  We each were assigned a day or our trip to write about.  I was assigned our last day.  I looked forward all week to my turn to write with excitement and dread.  Our last day turned out to be an amazing one.  I wrote my blog post on my iPhone, in the middle of the night, in line at the Ethiopia airport.  As the words flew out of my little fingers onto my little phone, I had that excitement of deadline that I had back in high school.  It was fun.  I was giddy.  And I love what I wrote.  I loved sharing it.

The second writing opportunity was writing about one of the children on the waiting children's list.  The waiting children's list is a group of children that have all their paperwork together to be adopted, but no family in the adoption agency has requested to adopt a child that matches that child.  Most of the children have special needs or are older.  Each of our team members were assigned a child off the waiting children's list to meet and write about.  The hope was that after our team told their story, became a storyteller for them, someone would be moved to adopt them.  I was assigned a teenage girl with special needs who had been living in the same orphanage for half of her life.  Putting myself in the role of storyteller for that young girl affected me.  It was heavy, it was emotionally draining.  She was such a beautiful, sweet, smart girl in such a dark and clinical living situation.  She was so real to me.  I struggled with urges to throw out God's plan and just adopt her myself.  Almost 4 months after our trip, she still had not been matched with a family.  Then one day I got a FaceBook message.  This lovely woman was telling me that they were adopting her.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  And it was clear to me that this was God's plan.  It was a better home than I could have provided because she would already have siblings that had also been adopted from Ethiopia.  She was going to have a family.  My prayers had been answered.  My storytelling wasn't the whole reason that happened, by any means, but a was a piece of the story.  I had invested my heart in praying for her.  I had convinced others to invest their heart and pray for her.  It was rewarding.

Looking back at my year, I am surprised that these moments of writing were such a big part of my year.  I've thought of myself as a numbers girl (remember my accounting degree) or a minister or a mother.  Writing hasn't been something I take serious or have been intentional about.  But now I have this blog as an outlet, I'm going to be intentional about writing here this week.  My hope is that putting my words and heart here will allow God to speak to me about where he wants my writing to be used.

So here we go.