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

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Box--Searching




Things have been extremely busy around here, and I didn't think I'd have time for a Memorial Box post. But, I'm glad I found the time AND I can't wait to share this story with my girls tonight during our prayer time. (For more about what a Memorial Box is, click the photo above.)

I've told you before...I married my high school sweetheart.

We married young, and our wedding set was quite modest. The sentimental value though was priceless.

When we had been married less than 10 years, I looked down one day to find that the setting on the engagement ring was gone.

GONE........

All that was on my finger was the gold band. This ring was made differently than most, and it appeared that the small 1/4 carat diamond cluster was simply "welded" on. How could I possibly NOT have felt the force that would have broken it off?

It was a Wednesday night. I had worked all day, been to the dentist, and then to prayer meeting. The setting could have been anywhere.

The next day, my teaching assistant helped me comb the classroom. I went through files in my filing cabinet, we slept the floor, and she even dug through the garbage can. I called the dentist office, and the staff there looked. I went to the church and traced every step. After days of searching, I'd like to say I found the setting, but I didn't.

Stan and I looked into replacing the setting. We also looked a new rings.

With Christmas approaching and our tenth anniversary just a few months away, I decided I would like an anniversary ring instead. We shopped and found a nice ring on sale, and my sweet honey made sure he placed it on a branch of the Christmas tree that Christmas Eve.


Fast forward a few years.

I got up one morning and couldn't find my anniversary ring. I looked in the jewerly box and on the night stand. (I sometimes took the ring off at night because my hands will swell.) Not finding it, I went on to work.

When I came home from work, I began to search for the ring again.

Once again, I looked in my bedroom where I really thought it was...and couldn't find it. I took the things off my nightstand, placed them on the bed, and then moved the nightstand. Still no ring. Then, I placed the things back on my nightstand.

I decided I would "dig" through my purse. Maybe it had slipped off my finger at some time. As I looked through my purse, I felt God speaking. I thought about all of the lost people I knew, and how little I was doing to "search" for them. There was much in my purse that was just in the way, including a golf ball. I felt God telling me, "There is nothing wrong with a golf ball, but even good things get in the way of the work I have for you." Without finding the ring, I felt God was trying to teach me to search for the lost the same way I had searched for the ring.

I decided I needed to stop looking for the ring and begin looking in God's word.

I went to the bedroom.

I reached for my Bible on the night stand....

The same night stand I had earlier removed everything from.

There, on my Bible, was my ring.

You can imagine my surprise. Perhaps it's the same surprise you feel now.

I don't know where the ring had been earlier. I had moved THAT Bible just minutes earlier, had placed it on the bed, AND had moved the Bible back to the night stand. There is NO way I could have missed that ring.

I told some friends that an angel had it in his pocket. He kept it there until I slowed down enough to listen to the Spirit.

Maybe....

But, I do know that my heart was fertile ground for God's voice that night.

So, in our Memorial Box, I am placing a ring.....not THE ring, but a simple ring, to remind us that God wants to talk to us!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'll Call You Sister



The past few weeks have been challenging for our family. When you read this you may understand why I didn't post a Memorial Box story last week. And, I find it interesting that Linny, who began Memorial Box Monday, didn't post one last week either.

Stan and I both receive our salaries from state government. Furloughs and medical bills have done some serious harm to our finances. Sometimes, I'm not sure we'll be able to balance the family budget. More difficult financial news came just as we were leaving for Tampa with Ellie to see doctors at Shriners.

While in Tampa, we had disheartening news about Ellie's mobibility. One doctor further discouraged us concerning her future.

I've suffered pain in my neck. It was bothering me before we went to Tampa. The pain later moved to my shoulder, and down my arm until I finally lost feeling in my thumb. A subsequent MRI revealed a bone spur between vertebrae in my neck. I see a neurosurgeon tomorrow.

And, on Mother's Day, I received a call from Stan at work. "Can you come get me?" he asked. His shift at the prison was not over. I knew something was wrong. He had responded to a call for help from another officer. When he joined the "tussle" between three officers and one inmate, he later found himself at the bottom of a pile. His knee was injured. He's not been back to work yet. He sees an orthopedist this week.

Read all of that and wonder...How could this be a Memorial Box post?

Through our most recent trials, God has proven Himself faithful through the family of God.

After posting about our visit to Tampa, I received much encouragement from many of you. (Read that post "Passing Through Deep Waters" here if you missed it.) At the end of the week, one of my former students came to see me. She carried a gift from a "secret" friend.

I don't know who sent it, but I'm certain I can call her Sister.

Ellie doesn't know all of the details the doctors shared with us. She doesn't know the significance of the gift. But, she asked if she could put it on her bed. I couldn't think of a better place.

Within a few days, as I struggled with the pain in my neck, and knew I would soon have an MRI, with copays to add to our financial strain, I found an envelope in our mail box. There was no return address. Inside the envelope was a handmade card with no signature, only these words. "The LORD takes care of all who love him." (Psalm 145:20) Also in the card, was this....



Did any of you hear my gasp? Can you imagine the Holy Ghost bumps?

I don't know who sent that gift either. But, I am certain I can call her Sister, too.

Following Stan's injury last Sunday, our pastor and his wife left for a visit to family in Virginia. When I sat at the piano for Wednesday night's prayer service, though, I found a note from our pastor that read, " Sister Robbie, what a blessing you are. Keep playing and singing." (I don't think I'll call him Sister. I'll stick with Brother.)

And, you know what?

Stan and Ellie are still walking with crutches. (Ellie said, "Hey! I'm not the only one with crutches. But I'm faster than Daddy. He's not used to it yet.)

My neck still hurts.

The pain medication makes me itch.

Our budget remains super tight.

But, I read past verse 20 of Psalm 145.

I read verse 21.

"My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD."

Though we have trials here on earth, I serve a Savior who is worthy of my praise.

He is the Comforter. He comforts me when I am alone. He comforts me in my prayer time. He comforts me through the body of Christ, faithful servants of the LORD.

He is my provider. He can balance the family budget. I never know what I'll find in my mail box. And, he may choose to provide for us through the body of Christ.

He is the Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother. I can trust Him. He is there. He is always there. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.

So, in our Memorial Box, I have placed the cards.

I think I'll leave the pillow on Ellie's bed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Gift Beyond Measure

I was leaving Wal-Mart late tonight, Friday, sometime after 10:00 PM. I heard someone calling, "Mrs. Robbie!"

When I turned around I saw her, now a young adult, and I knew instantly who she was, though it's been some time since I last saw her.

I was her third grade teacher, and I looped with her class to fourth grade, so I taught her for two years.

When she entered third grade, she couldn't read.

I was determined that she would NOT leave third grade being unable to read.

We worked.

HARD.

She found it difficult to stay focued on any task. Sometimes, we sat together, just to two of us. I would hold both of her hands, and have her look me in the eye. We would practice sounds together.

I remember the day she read her first library book. She smiled more brightly than any student I had seen before, beaming actually, and exclaimed, "I can read!" I took her to the telephone and had her call her Sunday School teacher. She shouted, "I can read!"

When, I was putting my groceries in my car tonight, I said a prayer, "Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the privilege of being a part of her life."

And, as I drove home, I thought....I never heard her say, "Thank you for teaching me to read." But tonight, when she left the store, left her boyfriend in Subway placing her order, and followed me outside to say, "Hello," my heart smiled. It was all the thanks I needed.

And, I don't know who has received the greater blessing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How Could I Decide





I've had to make a lot of difficult decisions in life...my major in college; the decision to adopt; when, where, if to go on a mission trip. The Holy Spirit has prompted and guided.

For this, though, I decided NOT to decide. I couldn't decide which photo was my favorite.





Once again we drove to town to the lovely field of flowers that bloom each May.



The girls were more than willing models for Mom's photo shoot. We took far too many photos. Since I couldnt' decide, I'm posting lots.



You tell me. Which photo(s) is your favorite?


I really did choose a few of my favorite above.
But, here's a slide show of others before I did any editing.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

You Know What?

I want to go back to Africa.

I've listened the past few weeks to Brother Brad Palmer, and his life challenges us all to LIVE OUT LOUD for Jesus.

I was looking for another post from the past and caught myself reading how God miraculously provided for our trip last summer.

I want to go back to Africa.

We surely don't have the money now. I've just learned I may need surgery on my neck this summer. I don't think God is calling me to go this year. But next summer...

I want to go back to Africa.

Would you help me pray that God would make the crooked paths straight, that He would reveal His will, that He would manifest His glory...because....

I want to go back to Africa.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another...I Get to be the Mama Moment

Yesterday when we came home from school, there had been lots of rain, and our red neck driveway was full of puddles. Ellie asked, "Mama can we play in the puddles?" When my teenagers were younger, I might would have said, "No," but I've learned how quickly they grow up, so my answer was instead, "Why not?" Josie-Tatum, however, did not want to dirty her feet.... She played photographer instead. But...Ellie jumped right in! And, may I remind all of you who've watched your big kids grow up, and miss the pitter patter, or run and splash, of little feet. There are 147 million orphans in the world. You could be the Mama, too! Check out the video and see what you are missing.
video

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Faith Calling--Memorial Box



Many of you have read this post already, but after what I saw this morning, I had to make it a Memorial Box post. Read the update at the bottom!!!

My fingers can hardly type, as my heart flutters and my breathing is shallow. I hear faith calling, calling loudly. Please listen. Spend some time with Jesus and tell me what you hear. Will our spirits bear witness together of a mighty work of God?

When we committed to adopting Ellie, we knew very little of her condition. When I first saw her face, I only knew her medical condition as lumbar meningocele. I didn't even know at the time that it was form of spina bifida.


After much research and much prayer, the short part of this story is, as a family, Stan, Whitney, Caleb, Josie-Tatum, and I committed to adopting the little girl, Dang MinChun. We believed, regardless of the extent of her disabiltiy, she was meant for our family. We knew that paralysis and lack of continence were possibilities. We discussed how we would be willing to push her in a wheel chair for all the days of her life, if necessary. We would be willing to change diapers forever if necessary.

After sending our letter of committment, someone contacted me...not from an adoption agency, or from China. I was contacted by a lady who had considered adopting Dang Min Chun. She knew someone who had met and held our Ellie in China. Can you imagine my joy when I saw this first photo, when I saw that she was crawling?


The lady who had met our Ellie had visited her foster home earlier that year. She had taken lots of photos and had posted them on her blog. While awaiting our Ellie, I had access to an abundance of photos. I looked through everyone of them over and over, but the very last two photos she posted of her visit to the foster home were these:




Please click here to see the pictures full size. You don't want to miss this.

Go ahead. Click the link above first.

Did you look closely? Did you see the title of the book Ellie was "reading?" I don't even remember if I noticed it the first time. But, later I did, and I wondered if it was a sign.

Now, if you read Tuesday's post, "Passing Through Deep Waters," then you know our faith has been challenged. Is it a coincidence that our missionary friend from South Africa suggested just this past Sunday that what American Christians lack most is FAITH? Is it a coincidence that I had a conversation with another pastor on Friday about our lack of faith, and what faith can do.

Then, Friday, my sweet sister rented a movie, Faith Like Potatoes. (I highly recommend it.) As, I watched the movie tonight, my faith was challenged. I was asking God to help me step out in faith, to ask for the impossible. For, as the movie-based on a true story suggests-miracles occur when we are faced with challenges, but the potential for a great miracle is the impossible.

With all of these thoughts rolling around in my mind, I picked up my Sunday School book to prepare to teach tomorrow. (Yes, I should have begun studying earlier.) The lesson is from Acts 3 and 4. It began with a discussion of Acts 3:1-10.

Go get your Bible.


I dare you.


Read it.

Read it now.



I'll wait.



I don't want to spoil the surprise.




Did you see that?

The lame man leapt and stood up and he entered with Peter and John into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God!

Do you hear faith calling? Please share what you hear?

After posting this story on Saturday night, I continued to listen for God's voice. On Sunday, we were part of another moving service with our missionary friend Brad Palmer. Brad prayed for Ellie after the service....

Then, this morning, still asking God to send affirmation, I had already made sure the girls were in the car. I forgot something and ran back inside. As I reached for the door, I noticed something on the door frame. It was a sticker, with only one word....







When I came home from work, I took the sticker from the door frame. There was enough "sticky" left on it to stick it inside a card. The sticker's new home is in our Memorial Box, a reminder that our Heavenly Father wants us to hold out hope for Ellie.
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Ellie Min Chun

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