Wow, I can hardly believe that a month has gone by since I last posted to the blog. I have started posts, and left them undone, unable to really gather my thoughts and put them into sentences that would make any sense. So let me try to summarize where we are with life, adoption and deployment.
Ryan has been gone almost 2 months. I cannot believe that we are almost a quarter of the way through this deployment. A wonderful friend of mine helped me to put into words why this deployment has been the hardest yet. As I shared in the last post, our marriage has really been transformed. The tragedy of a wonderful marriage is the intense pain that comes when you are separated. Amen!!! This deployment is unlike the last deployments when I was stricken by fear - fear of death, not only the possibility of Ryan not coming home but also the death of our marriage. I don't fear those things, but I miss Ryan deeply. Reality is that you never get used to it, it never gets easier, and it never hurts less! BUT God!!! He gives me the grace to walk through this, and he lightens my load, and comforts my broken heart. He is near!
This month, I have muddled through homeschooling. Haha!!! All of the greatest of intentions have not led to the destination that I envisioned, but my children are learning, and we are putting one foot in front of the other. Some of the greatest growth in my sons has not been academically. They are truly becoming young men. There are moments when I see the little shoots of life sprouting forth from the seeds planted long ago... how badly I want to just move the "dirt" out of the way, but I know that doing this would only weaken them. Strength, character and fortitude are being solidified in these moments! I am so proud of them! The boys are so much help and I am so blessed to have them home with me, even if school doesn't always look the way I had envisioned.
As for Ava and Zoey, my sweet girls, they seem to be doing well. They are in a new orphanage in Kinshasa. The orphanage is much cleaner and the caretakers are very nice! (Fellow families from CCI shared these facts with me. They just "GOT" their kiddos from the same orphanage that our girls are currently living.) On September 25th, we received our adoption judgement that means we had passed court! It was amazing to see their names Ava Joy Owen and Zoey Grace Owen written on the official document. YESTERDAY, we passed the required 30 day period of non-appeal. Today we received our Certificate of Non-Appeal. It is official, we are a family of SEVEN!!! There are still many steps in the process, but we are praying that they will be home soon!
This past week, my sister-in-law, came to help me clean and organize my house! I cannot even express in words the huge blessing that it was to have her help, but also her company. We worked hard, and my house has become an uncluttered sanctuary. The most exciting part of it all is that the girls' room is completely put together!!! Due to some super generous donations, there are more clothes in their closet than I could ever have imagined. Breanna organized them all by size and season, and neatly arranged them accordingly. I could have never done all of that on my own. Thank you Breezy!!!
God continues to show and extend His grace daily, though sometimes I return it with a smug-upturned nose. Life doesn't always look how I think it should, and it is in those moments that God has gracefully reminded me that I am not in control, and that in fact, I am HIS, to be a vessel to glorify Him in whatever it is that He choses. The unbelievable beauty is that He still choses to use me. He promises me that He has a plan for me each and every day... I am moved to humble tears when I think of all of the ways that He has demonstrated His love for me. Reality is that I am nothing... I have nothing good to offer anyone... BUT GOD!!! In my brokenness may I always remember this... Apart from Him I can do NOTHING, but through Him I can do all things! Even the really hard things.