The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

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Faith in the Night

God gives us good gifts. I’m still reveling in that thought more than 4 months after Lilah’s adoption was final.

If you weren’t one of the many friends and family members who experienced the big day with us, I want to share with you the letter I read at court.

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Just a year and a week ago, we were sitting in this courtroom celebrating the finalization of Malachi’s adoption, and you were a tiny baby snuggled up on Daddy’s chest.

During the time preceeding Kai’s adoption, I learned that I can trust God in times of waiting. There were many prayers and tears as we contemplated jumping into the world of orphan care.

But it was different with you.

I will never forget the call from our licensor saying, “Malachi has a baby sister. She was born yesterday, and we need to know today if you want to take her.”

24 hours later, we met you in the hospital nursery and brought you home to meet your siblings. It was a whirlwind.

I think the greatest thing I have learned over this past year is that God gives us good gifts – beautiful, amazing, breathtaking blessings – that are sometimes unexpected and could never be earned. His love is delightful and lavish. You remind me of this every day. We didn’t expect you…but you were the best surprise. There is nothing we did to deserve the blessing of you, but here we are promising to love you forever.

You, my love, are a precious gift from God.

We chose your new name, Lilah Faith, not only because we thought it was pretty or because Malachi kept shouting “Lilah!” over and over when that one came up…but also because of its meaning. “Lilah” means “night,” and I’m sure you will face some dark things in your life, whether it’s coming to terms with the circumstances surrounding your birth, removal from your birth mom, and adoption OR other struggles God allows you to face. Our prayer for you is that you walk through these things with a steadfast and abiding faith in the One who made you and loves you. Lilah Faith – “faith in the night.” That’s our hope and prayer for you.

We promise to do everything we can to help you grow into the woman that God made you to be, with your unique and special gifts and good things God already has planned for you to do. We can’t wait to watch your beautiful life unfold.

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…Now, as we reach the end of the legal process, we’d like to thank you.

To Judge Hillary and his staff, thank you for enduring the difficult and sad parts of your job so that we can sit here today and begin our “happily ever after.”

To our amazing social workers at DABSJ, thank you for putting your hearts into your jobs and spending your days advocating for children and families. You’re making a positive difference in our world, and you’ve certainly made a positive difference in our family! We are thankful for you!

To our family – thank you for choosing to love our babies unreservedly regardless of who birthed them or how they joined our family. Our kids are so blessed to have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who love them.

To our church family and friends – I can’t imagine our lives without the incredible support system God has built around us. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people who are living lives surrendered to Jesus. We’ve obviously been impacted by those who actively live out God’s call to care for the orphans – Dana, the Perrons, the Perrys, the Sturmans, the Simonises, Cheri Kay, the Hoeflingers…Your boldness and courage inspires us and emboldens us. But we’re also so thankful for those of you who haven’t fostered or adopted but have prayed or brought a meal or loved our babies. Thank you for using your own unique gifts and abilities to encourage us and build up the church.

To Luke – thank you for taking the huge leap of faith into foster care and adoption. You lead our family well, with love and humor, pointing us all to Jesus. You’re the only one I’d want to experience this crazy adventure with, and I’m so thankful our kids have such an awesome daddy.

To Grace, Caleb, Ava, Jaden, and Kai – you are such great big siblings to Lilah, and I’m so thakful for the ways you demonstrate love and compassion and responsibility. You are each an important part of our family, and it’s fun to watch your unique gifts and abilities develop. Keep loving Jesus above all else!

And most importantly, to the One who orchestrated the events of our lives so that we’d be in this courtroom today – thank you, God. We could never earn your love and forgiveness, yet you give it freely through the gift of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. This adoption is just a small picture of how you take us – regardless of our own merit – and wrap us up in your eternal love and keep us forever in your family. We certainly don’t deserve your love, but we couldn’t live without it.

Thank you for blessing us with these six little lives to nurture and raise. Please give us the wisdom and patience and grace and humor that it takes to thrive in the midst of the noise and chaos of our busy home. More than anything, we want these kids to know and love you, so please equip us to guide them to that place.

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Happy adoption day, Lilah Faith!

Love,
Mama

Three

How can it only be three years since you came into the world and changed our lives forever? SO MUCH has changed in our family since God gave us His love for you, and we are SO THANKFUL that He did it.

But then when I look at all the newborn photos Miss Dana took of you, it feels like it might have just been yesterday.

Time is elusive.

This I know:

You are a gift from God, fearfully and wonderfully made. Your beautiful eyes are captivating. Your laugh is pure joy. Your smile makes me smile.

You are quick to encourage. “I love you, Mama.” “Your eyes pretty, Mama.” “Hug me, Mama!” I hope you never lose that sweetness.

You love to laugh. And that makes all of us laugh.

You have come SO FAR since that time 3 years ago when you were a tiny, sick baby. We didn’t know what healing God would give you, and we are so thankful for your amazing development. You can run and jump and somersault and string together great sentences.

One of my favorite things about you is the way you remind us of the love that God has for us. He loves us – adores us, cares for us, died for us – because of no merit of our own. Just because He is good. And the way He brought you into our family reminds us of His love all the time.

Happy 3rd birthday, my sweet boy. I love you so much.

BSF Sharing Day 2017

At the end of each year of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), we have a special open-mic day, where ladies are invited to share what they’ve learned from BSF that year. This year, I felt the Holy Spirit compelling me to speak, so I wrote out what I would say ahead of time. I wanted to share that with you.

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Two years ago, I stood here with a sweet baby boy in my arms and told you how the study of Moses had inspired our family to follow God’s leading into the realm of foster care and adoption. We were thrilled to think that little guy might become a permanent part of our family.

Last year, I sat quietly listening to my sisters in Christ share…and little did I know that our son’s biological mom had given birth that very morning to a tiny baby girl. When we received a call the next day, asking if we’d be willing to take her into our home as our foster daughter, we were fresh off the study of Revelation, and an eternal perspective rang in our minds. God gave us the courage to say “yes.”

Today, I can’t help but chuckle at God’s omniscient timing. We will celebrate our Lilah’s first birthday tomorrow…but today we celebrate because this is the day that she is no longer our foster daughter but is permanently welcomed into our family as our adopted daughter.

I don’t know why God orchestrated the events of our life this way…but I can’t help but wonder if someone here needs to hear the message that it is SO worth it to step out in faith (like Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water), to follow Jesus’ call (like the fishermen who dropped everything to become His disciples), to pour out our lives to Him (like Mary, who anointed His feet with expensive perfumes)…

I will not tell you that it is an easy path. I have six children at home, and the chaos is sometimes a force to be reckoned with.

But it is worth it.

John 20:31 has stayed with me…”These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (emphasis mine)

True, beautiful, abundant LIFE is found only in Jesus.

Say yes when He calls you, friends. You won’t regret it. Because He is always faithful.

Thirteen

{To Luke}

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God has been gracious to us, my love.

Thirteen years of blessings and growth. Warm homes and beautiful children and crazy adventures. An incredible church family.

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Sure, we’ve had some sad things. Grief. Tears. My dad’s accident. Grace’s diabetes diagnosis. Emily’s surgery. Deaths of some dear church friends.

But God has always been good. And faithful. Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

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I’m finding more and more gray hairs mixed into the brunette these days…and I realize, God is making our dreams come true. We are growing old together.

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I can’t imagine a better life than the one God has given us. He lavishes good things on us, and I’m so humbled. And grateful.

Especially for you, my love. Always for you.

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Happy anniversary.

He Created Color

BSW_4783

I’ll admit it: for much of my life the issue of race / civil rights was just a textbook page to me.

I wouldn’t have gotten into a heated debate about black skin vs. white skin, except to insist that people of all skin colors were made valuable by their Creator, as they were ALL made in His image.

But now I have a black son.

I can see my son’s face in place of those who have been murdered just for the color (the beautiful, dark, rich color) of their skin.

It’s not an academic issue anymore.

It’s a heart issue, and it’s tearing our country (and my mama heart) apart.

I can’t tell you how often strangers comment about how adorable Malachi is. It’s true – not only does he have big eyes, curly hair, and a killer dimple, but he has a sweet and hilarious personality, too. He’s so stinking cute. And for the most part, white people tend to love black babies.

So why is it that when Malachi gets bigger, manlier, more muscular…when he loses his little pot belly and gains a mustache…that he’ll suddenly become a “threat” to those who once called him “adorable?”

Why are black men scary to white people?

And what in the world can I do to prepare my son for the day that people treat him not as the star of the show like they do now, but as less human because of his skin color?

How can I explain that to a little boy who only knows that he’s dearly loved?

When he’s 8, or 10, or 12, I’ll have to tell him that some people hate him. Because he’s black.

I have never had to sit my biological (white) children down and give them a talk like that. Because in our everday existence, no one feels that way about them.

I’m so thankful that Jesus, in His amazing creativity, created skin colors of all shades. The variety is beautiful. His Creation is amazing. And I long for the day that everyone bows the knee to Him and acknowledges the beauty and wonder of it all.

He’s our hope.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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