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Transformation by Truth: Day 30

Day 30

Excerpts from Transformation by Truth: 30 Days to a Healthy Heart, Mind and Body by Noelle Dey © 2012

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Noelle Dey

Blessing:

Sweet Heavenly Father, today I ask that You would bring us into Your presence. Cleanse us from the sin that lies within. Allow us to hear Your voice and understand Your truths. Let this time be used to glorify You. In Jesus name, amen.

Scripture Reference:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Today’s Message:

When I met Ryan months before we started dating, he had a ten-year-old pickup truck with a lot of character. It had 230,000 original miles and you could tell it was part friend, part transportation and part home. Part home? Well, at least part kitchen.

The first time he gave me a ride in it, he had to clear some space for me to sit down. McDonald’s wrappers and empty coffee cups blanketed the seats and the floor board. So, it seemed rather fitting that after we left the adoption office with Sierra, our first family meal would be at McDonald’s in China. Actually, we ate every meal there aside from our group dinners since it was the only restaurant where we felt safe ordering without an interpreter.

The next morning we woke up as a family of three. It was surreal giving Sierra a bath and getting her dressed in the pink and denim Old Navy outfit we received at my baby shower. I could hardly believe it was our official adoption day. When we were back in the adoption office, I asked Mona if Wen Wen and her family would be there with us. They would, but only for a bit.

I introduced myself to Gina, Wen Wen’s beautiful Mom. Like us, her world was turning upside down… or better said… right side up. Wen Wen, now named Alayna, melted into her Mom’s arms. I wanted to have meaningful conversations with Gina, but there weren’t any opportunities with all of the nervous energy around us. My heart was settled though since she had all of my contact information. I felt certain she would get in touch with me when we all got back to America.

Nearly a year went by and she never contacted me. So many questions consumed my mind. I wondered if I had overstepped my boundaries. Sporadically I would relive the words I hurriedly wrote to her. Were they offensive? Did she feel uneasy with our family since she looked to be a single mom? Was it just time to close that chapter of Sierra’s life?

It was a run-of-the-mill September day and I logged into my AOL account. I just about lost my breath as I opened an email from Gina. Her words carried a flood of emotions. I couldn’t pinpoint my feelings, but tears drenched my face as I read,

“I just uncovered the beautiful letter you wrote to me… That time in China was such a struggle. I had to travel alone since my husband stayed behind to take care of our special needs daughter Natalee… I desperately wanted John, or at least someone around me to help, but I was alone with a new baby and I was completely overwhelmed. We would love to see you!”

Wow, what a lesson in humility. I had made that year of silence all about me! I felt like I was stuck on a treadmill in my head. Endless thoughts were constantly running, but I was going nowhere. My mind was plagued as I second guessed every one of my good intentions. Since I chose the path of obsession, I missed the opportunity to take that energy and lift Gina and Alayna up in prayer.

The Dunns are a close-knit family founded firmly in God’s love. They live in Arizona, our neighboring state. We stayed in contact by emails, phone calls and shared pictures. Then four years after we had last seen one another in China, Gina explained that they were preparing for a vacation to San Diego, which is only an hour drive for us, “Is there any way you can come down so the girls can reunite?”

As we were driving, we asked Sierra if she remembered Alayna, “You would have known her as Wen Wen.” Sierra said she thought so, but she wasn’t quite sure. We pulled into the parking lot and saw their family. My tears flowed uncontrollably as we all waved and smiled. Getting out of the car, I held tightly to Sierra’s hand and we walked toward our newly extended family.

Gina gave me the biggest hug as Ryan and John met each other for the first time. We looked at our girls. Both were silent and mirrored one another’s stone face. They gave each other the up-and-down glance; similar to the kind of stare that we women hate receiving when we pass by a cheesy guy. But, before we could intervene, they had grabbed hands, ran to the park and were inseparable the entire day.

We promised that we would not only keep in touch, but we would make it a point for the girls to see each other as much as possible. The next year we stayed at their house for a mini getaway. After the girls went to bed, Gina and I stood in the doorway and watched them sleep. It hit us hard as we tried to grasp the enormity of God’s perfect plan.

God protected Sierra and Alayna by giving each of them the gift of the other. They slept in the same crib and grew up together for 17 months of their lives. Once their families were prepared, He handpicked the girls and perfectly placed them in loving Christian homes that were only separated by a six-hour drive. In that moment in time I remember Gina whispering, “If China could only see… Here we are five years later and our girls are peacefully sleeping together… again!”

APPLICATIONS

Heart:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Can’t you just hear God’s voice whispering those words to our girls in their orphanage?

His words were truth. Both girls are now nine years old and are prospering in personality and in love. They have amazing futures in a land of opportunity and freedom. They live in homes where God’s love reigns. His care for their stories is so intricate that He would hand pick them and give them new families at the exact same time so neither was left behind, not even for a moment. He gently placed them over 6,000 miles away from their birth country, yet their homes would only be separated by a six-hour drive.

But if you think of their story from only a human perspective, what would the odds be that they would have thriving lives? Taking only the facts, things didn’t look good. They were born female into a male-dominated society. They were abandoned at birth. Many orphans go to foster homes where they learn to bond and how to love. Our girls stayed at their orphanage where the child-to-staff ratio made it difficult for them to get affection, eye contact or attention that the caretakers would have desired.

But God…

But God knew the plans He had for them. But God planned to prosper them and not harm them.

Are you facing a challenge today where the odds are completely stacked against you?

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Write out Jeremiah 29:11 in your journal.

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Take time to really let those words sink into your heart and mind.

How does this change your perspective?

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Write your prayer responding to this message God is speaking to you.

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Mind:

Life isn’t about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain.

Author Unknown

For John and Gina, this was their second adoption. Five years before Alayna, they had adopted Natalee. God had given John and Gina a very special desire to give their hearts and their home to a healthy Chinese baby. When their moment of “giving birth” took place, they excitedly opened their referral picture with anticipation.

They looked at their precious daughter with overwhelming adoration. She was two years old; significantly older than they expected, but they quickly adjusted their desires. As a first time mom, Gina tenderly studied Natalee’s photo. But there was something in her maternal heart that felt a bit unsettled, “Something doesn’t look quite right.” John tried to reassure her by explaining, “Underneath that sad face is a happy girl.”

For the first two years after her adoption, Natalee didn’t talk aside from speaking the words “Mama” and “Dadda.” She couldn’t seem to focus when her parents interacted with her. When I asked Gina what was going through her mind, she said, “I kept thinking that our love would fix her. We were committed to do whatever God called us to do for this sweet child.”

It wasn’t until she was nine when they met with a gifted and compassionate neurologist who explained that Natalee is autistic. Gina said she broke down. Although Natalee was tagged as a “special needs” child shortly after they left China, the diagnosis of autism broke her. She had no idea.

I met Natalee when our families reunited shortly after this diagnosis. After our day picnicking, we took the kids to Balboa Park. Sierra and Alayna went on the kids’ rides, but Natalee’s only desire was to go on the big rollercoaster. John took her while the rest of us watched the younger girls.

I voiced my surprise to Gina, “I can’t believe Natalee isn’t afraid of those steep hills!” It turns out she lives for that adrenaline rush. Since her neurons don’t fire correctly, it takes extreme excitement to stimulate certain parts of her brain.

She walked off the ride and immediately asked if she could go on it again—this time she invited me. I sat next to her in awe. I’ve never seen such a joyful smile on anyone’s face in my entire life.

Natalee taught me that I can mentally choose to embrace the rollercoaster of my life just as she does… just as John and Gina do… or I can fear every turn and hill.

What is the rollercoaster in your life?

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What will it take for you to submit to God by putting your hands in the air, letting go of your controlling nature and embrace the ride like the Dunn family?

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How can you let John and Gina’s testimony impact your journey? Journal your thoughts.

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Body:

Ah yes. Me. The clean eater. I ate at the McDonald’s in Nanjing everyday. Of course McDonald’s is not somewhere I would ever choose to eat. But there are those random times in life when I find myself at an unhealthy restaurant or a fast food chain.

Has this ever happened to you?

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List all of the restaurants and fast food joints that you go to. I’m not there to see your journal, so be honest!

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Google the nutritional information and choose a couple of items at each of the restaurants and that fit into your eating plan.

Most chain restaurants have their information available at their locations, but I highly recommend you make your decisions before you arrive. Commit to eat the healthier options you researched and pass on the emotional impulse items.

What about the food you really, really love? Brainstorm your ideas for items that you don’t want to live without.

Can you give your special recipes a healthy makeover?

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If not, how can you change your portions?

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What other ideas can you think of so you stay on track with your health and fitness goals? Journal and Execute!

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Closing Prayer:

Precious Heavenly Father, thank You for another opportunity to sit at Your glorious feet. Lord, there are so many times when our plans don’t mirror Yours. The unexpected happens, and we are left feeling slighted. But God Your are bigger than any bump on our path. Help us to trust Your hands are sovereignly guiding our way. We ask these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

What is God showing you through this study? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.

Are you craving MORE? Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? He is waiting with open arms to comfort you in any situation. Click here for Extreme Encouragement: and five life-changing steps to eternal peace.

Encouragement Cafe was given permission by Noelle Dey to bring you this study via Encouragement Cafe. Content may not be reproduced or distributed without written permission from Noelle Dey. To purchase Transformation by Truth: 30 days to a Healthy Heart, Mind and Body in its entirety visit Amazon.com.

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