Why We Call Our Blog the Miracle of More

The miracle is a beautiful image of Ephesians 3:20--more than I can ask or imagine. Every day is a miracle. Every moment is a miracle. Specifically for our family, the miracle of more is our family growing in ways I would never have imagined when we first committed to adoption 8 years ago. But, the greatest miracle is the change in ME!

If you have questions about adoption, our work in South Africa, or spina bifida, please email me at rbmattox@bellsouth.net

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wonder-Working, Awe-Inspiring, Jehovah-Jirah

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him; talk ye of all his wondrous works. Psalm 105:2

How can we put into words any description of the God we serve? And, yet, how can we sit quietly without talking of his wondrous works?

Today, I asked God for a big work. Yeah, I know, has He not done enough for me already? Am I Doubting Thomas? Stepping out in faith, committing to the mission to South Africa, having no clue where the finances would come from, I am WAY out of my comfort zone.

Stan and I agreed that we would take nearly all of our savings to purchase the airline tickets for Josie-Tatum and me. I think his words were, "We've lived on less." We stepped out in faith, trusting that God would provide. But, like Martha, I had begun to think He was four days late.

We were beginning to see red.....and, while red is the color of celebration in China, our bank has a different perspective. Many have contributed, and, as soon as our current fund raiser is finished, I will enjoy changing the amount below our header....but funds were really falling below sea level.

Today was pay day for both of us, so I knew we would rise above the surface, catch up a little, buy some more time to make up for the $3,100 we had already paid out for airline tickets.

I went to our online banking screen to see where we stood. There was my check and Stan's check listed, as we have direct deposit. But, there was something wrong with Stan's check. It was $973 too much! No, not $9.73, but $973.00. I knew there must be a mistake. We are both state employees. We can neither one make over-time, etc. We work for a straight salary/contract amount. I waited all day, until after school to call him at the prison. (He's not a prisoner, BTW, he's an officer.) I told him what had happened.

One-and-a half hours later, he called back, "That money is ours!!!!!!!" He had so much comp time built up, and had so much unused sick time and annual leave, he was paid for his comp time, over-time, holiday pay, and days in training. Did you hear me shout? "Praise the LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

We all know Abraham was on the mountain, prepared to make a sacrifice I could never make, when God provided the sacrifice. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jirah, the LORD will Provide.

What inspiration He sends when I am living His word. And, I must shout, "Today, I was living trust." Then, the LORD did what only He can do, not what I expected, not what I imagined.

And, if I could share one more inspiration.

As Josie-Tatum and I have prayed that the LORD would provide for our trip, you have read of the gifts from children, one who gave a dollar, one who gave five dollars. Josie-Tatum and I did discuss the fish and the loaves, how Jesus fed thousands with the small gift of a child.

And, isn't is just like God when that very night, after I put the little girls to bed, that same story was part of my daily Bible reading? How had I forgotten? They took up of the fragments that remained twelve full baskets!! God not only provided for the needs, he had left-overs. He spoke to my heart, that I should not expect Him to provide only the $6,000 for our mission trip, I should expect left-overs. We had learned that week that the cost of sending one orphan to the school at Build the Nations is $585 a year. I told Josie-Tatum we were going to expect at least $585 more than we asked for, so we could make sure one more orphan goes to school.

Then, when God showed up today, I was surprised. ;) When I am I going to live every day expecting to see the promises of Ephesians 3:20? When will I learn to look for him to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine? Will you join me in looking for the unimaginable?

Monday, April 27, 2009

All About Caleb---Please Say a Prayer

Our life will soon change drastically. All three of our "big kids" have plans to move out this summer, Whitney to Armstrong in Savannah, Brandon to UGA in Athens, and Caleb to the Navy.

Tonight, Caleb is once again in Jacksonville, FL with the navy recruiter. It is his third overnight stay there. He's been through the medical exams, the ASVAB...(I think), and tomorrow he plans to sign up! Tomorrow, he will choose his career, tomorrow, he will make the biggest committment he's ever made in his life, other than when we surrendered his life to Jesus at the age of 6.

Oh, Mamas out there, how do you let go? My Caleb, who would always check on his mama when she was sick, my Caleb who brings so much laughter to our home, my Caleb is going away. I am proud of him. I am proud of his ambition, his committment to his goals. He has been working out regularly for several years, preparing his body for SEAL training. He should receive his SEAL contract next month.

Could you pray God's guidance for him tomorrow as he makes the final decision?

And, can I tell you a story.

Caleb was saved at such a young age. He was really only 5 years old. He was about to turn six when he told me he wanted to be baptized, and I wasn't sure he was old enough to understand. I told him we would pray. At the time our church didn't have a baptismal pool, so baptism would occur on a Sunday afternoon in the river, the cold river. I took Caleb to my mama's pool, and had him step down the ladder thinking the cold water might change his mind. After he dipped in the pool, he looked at me and said, "Mama, Jesus told me in my heart it was time to baptized, so I have to, don't I?" You guessed it! He won. I believe God allowed that cold water to help him remember well the day he was baptized, no matter how young he was. And, tonight, this night while he is away, as I pray for him, I thank God for that most precious memory!

Enjoy the photos from the past 6 years....I'm sure you'll see more of him before he leaves for boot camp. ;)

Caleb's favorite birthday meal...chocolate chip pancakes....what he always asks for.

Just another day in our life with Brandon and Caleb. The boys bought the bikini briefs as a gag gift, but had to model first. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bet I Can Make You Smile

I was taking pictures of the girls, and they wanted to take pictures of their mama. Well, I think they did a pretty good job, don't you? And, how often is Mama in the photo?

Ellie's physical therapist recommended we get her a tricycle. Does she look proud of it, or what? We bought it on Friday night. On Saturday morning, the girls came into my room. Josie-Tatum was pushing Ellie, who was already "suited up," helmet and all. She was ready to go. It took most of the day, but she finally began to make progress pedaling!

Just playing around with the girls. They were too cute in their pink dresses. And, yes, that is red drink around Ellie's lips. Guess what they had to drink in Children's Church. Guess what stayed on her mouth for the next 12+ hours. ;)

Saving the Best For Last
A young adult friend walked over Saturday. He has promised Josie-Tatum $10.00 from his paycheck each week. He was delivering once again. Josie-Tatum was not at home, but Ellie was outside with me. I took his ten dollar bill, thanked him, and put it in my pocket. When he left, Ellie reached inside the "trunk" of her tricycle and pulled out a dollar. She said.........

"I got that dollar for Josie, so she can take care of orphans."

Now, that has to put a smile on your face!! I have been praying for Josie-Tatum to grow spiritually as we endeavor on our first ever out of country mission trip. I see now that God is working in Ellie's life, too, as she watches prepare.

Thank you all for your prayers!!!

And, if you haven't left encouraging words on Josie-Tatum's blog, please do! She loves them. You don't need a google account, just click on the comments link at the bottom of a post.

Many Blessings,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something is Terribly Wrong

Ellie announced with much shock, "Mama, your heart sounds like a rooster!!"

And, did I mention she was listening to my knee with her stethoscope?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blessed Season of Easter

This Easter Season brought the ususal.....

Pretty New Dresses

Coloring Eggs

Hunting Easter Eggs

But the two greatest joys of Easter for me were my Bible study and our passion play. Thanks to Terry for challenging friends to read through the gospels, one chapter each night from January until Easter. As we practiced our Easter music and drama, God spoke volumes to me through His word while I was reading.

One song this year became all the more special, "Only Believe." God had spoken to me with the verse, "Fear not, only believe," as we were making our decision to go to South Africa. Then, the first night of our complete passion play rehearsal, as we began singing that song, I felt the Spirit like never before during the play. This was not about other people who were to believe in Jesus for miracles. This was about me and the miracles God wanted to do in my life.

Below are some of those miracles.

This is my daddy. His story is amazing, such a God thing. My daddy never went to church, but was a moral man. He grew up with an over-bearing step-father, learning it was better to not be seen or heard. He was a good daddy, worked hard to be loving, though he never had a role model. He was quiet, though, and many of my friends never heard him say more than a few words.

Daddy met Jesus as his Savior when he was 53 years old. Now, he's a deacon in our church, the church treasurer, regularly visits the sick and widows, shares his testimony, and talks MORE than any of us ever knew he could. His part in the play was Simon of Cyrene. He started playing this part several years ago. Oh, the tears that flowed when my daddy picked up the cross that was meant for Jesus. Then, to hear his monologue, the same man who would take a zero in high school, rather than stand before the class and give a report. God is good!!

This is my mama. She took me to church when I was really young, but then fell away. She is now one of the most faithful. She's the best grandma to her grandchildren, and lots of other kids. There are many who call her Grandma.

This is Mrs. Ruby. She is not part of my biological family, but she is part of my spiritual family. I should dedicate a separate post to her someday. She and her family took me to church when I was a teenager, years before my family started coming. I am certain her faithfulness is part of my salvation story.

My sister, Bobbie, ever faithful in church, in choir, and the best Aunt Bobbie in the world. If you're ever in south Georgia, you really should hear her sing.

Whitney has a solo part in the music. She is such a compassionate daughter, who works hard to help out her mama.

This was the first year the boys had a part in the Passion Play. Brandon played a soldier and Caleb was one of the disciples. Brandon was the soldier who took Jesus from the cross. That scene always brings more tears to my eyes, but this year all the more.

On Easter Sunday, I saw all of my aunts and uncles and my grandmother. We also visited with Stan's family. What a blessing to spend time with extended family.

And Today:
Ellie received a good report from the doctor, continuing to heal well. And, the best part. Though it was raining, Ellie shouted as we got in the car in Tampa, "I have to go poo poo." So, back inside, running all the way, with Ellie in my arms. Yes, she made it. And now, she's gone to the potty for bm's for about 6 weeks.

God is indeed good!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayers for Ellie

We'll leave today, Monday, for Tampa. Ellie has an appointment tomorrow at Shriner's. Please pray for continued healing!!!

I have lots of photos from the weekend. I hope to be able to share when we come home.

Love to my blogger family,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Josie-Tatum's Blog

Never a day passes that Josie-Tatum does not talk about South Africa. She is beyond excited about her mission. I see the LORD working wonders in her life, in her heart.

Yesterday she said, "I think my job when I grow up should be to go around the world and help orphans." I really sense that God is calling her to great and mighty things, and I feel an awesome responsiblity to encourage her in His work.

Many of you are already praying, but I thought you might like to become more involved.

Josie-Tatum now has a blog. She is no average 6-year-old, and is able to write rather well, her proud mama thinks, for a young girl still in kindergarten. I'd like to invite you to go to her blog and leave a comment.( You can click on the picture at the right and it will take you directly to her blog.) I will be moderating the comments, of course, to protect her from the very few in the world who might be less than kind.

I would be honored, too, if you would add a link to her blog from yours. You may use the picture I've used if you like.

I can't wait to see what the LORD is going to do through my loving, faithful daughter.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Why Was It So Hard?

I was to shout, "Crucify him!" During the practice for our passion play, I absolutely could not. I couldn't even open my mouth.

I spent Saturday morning, before our first performance in much prayer. I asked the LORD to help me.

On Saturday night, I was one of the people shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD." Then, as Jesus entered the streets again, I took a deep breath and cried, "Crucify him!" I began to tremble and cry. As the soldiers cracked their whips and shouted, I sought strength again and was able shout one more time.

I've talked with others who heard my shout and knew it was my voice. They told me of the chills it sent. I've talked with still more who said they couldn't do it. Why was it so hard?

I've thought of that often, given it much thought the past few days. I will be asked to shout again next weekend as we "perform" the play on Saturday and Sunday night.
I've decided it is because I know that my sins did indeed crucify him. In my flesh, there is no good thing. My righteousness is as filthy rags. We don't like to admit that we are the reason He was crucified. It is far easier to sing and worship than to take part in the brutality that was the cross.

I've got a suggestion for you as Easter approaches. Take a deep breath and shout, "Crucify him." It will serve as a reminder that He was crucified for your sins. It will draw you closer to your Savior.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Exceeding Abundantly More Than I Could Imagine

God is proving himself faithful, magnifying his name, and speaking to my heart in ways I would never imagine.

On Thursday, he spoke through a child....

There is a little boy named Joseph in Josie-Tatum's kindergarten class. Joseph was adopted through the foster care system. Josie-Tatum and I have had conversations about how much they have in common. Joseph's mother came to see me Thursday. She said...

"Joseph received a $5.00 check for his birthday in January, and had
lost it. He has been very upset recently, insisting that we find it." Joseph finally told his mother, I need to find that check and cash it. I want to give the $5.00 to Josie-Tatum because she's going to South Africa to help little children
who don't have families. Joseph's mother has rheumatoid arthritis, and is undergoing chemo to try and force the RA into remission. She took the time yesterday, as sick as she was, to take Joseph to the bank. He endorsed his own check and brought Josie-Tatum $5.00 today at school.

Somehow, I know that the angels in heaven looked down on that little child and sang a few bars of the Hallelujah Chorus--as excitedly as I sang about our $900
contribution. I have so desired that God use Josie-Tatum, and manifest His glory during this season of our lives. Our pastor has spoken words to make my prayer be I want this to be HIS mission, while I am along for the ride.

What a thrilling ride it is!!!!

Meeting Karen
When we first began the adoption process, I never could have imagined the friends I would make as our family grew. God has connected us with so many in the adoption community, faithful prayer warriors who share our heart for the fatherless.

This was the second time I've met Karen in person. She is part of my Children of Promise family, and while we communicate regularly via the internet, this week I met her again via the interstate. Living in south Georgia, I've been privileged to meet some of my internet adoption friends as they travel to Florida for vacation.

I thank God for the time I spent with her family and for the blessings she has shared with me. What a great God we serve!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More Words of Wisdom from Josie-Tatum

I don't think my Chinese mama would have taken me to South Africa, do you Mama?

No Josie-Tatum, probably not. She probably wouldn't have been able to.

Mama, God puts different children in the right families, even though they're different, right?

Yes, Josie-Tatum, and I'm so glad he put you in my family.

Anna says Allee and I shouldn't be friends, because we don't have the same skin color and we're not from the same county.

Well, I'm afraid Anna is mistaken. Just like God puts children in the right families, He puts them in the right church. He put you and Allee in the church just so you could be friends.

So, Brother Bobby listened to God when He told them to come to our church.

He absolutely did.

Good night.
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