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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Confessions of a Single Mom: More than a Couch

(Please read all the way to then end to see the MIRACLE of MORE.)

I never prayed for a couch.

I needed one, but I didn't pray for one. I ran into a member of our church family at Goodwill where I was looking at a sofa. We had a sofa and love seat that was not cheap, but was apparently cheaply made. The arms were separating from the seats. The recliners were hard to open. There were other issues, too. But, new furniture is certainly NOT in my single mom budget right now.

A couple of days later I received a message from the same person I saw at Goodwill asking me if I was still looking for a sofa. She told me she was keeping her eye out for one for me. (I never asked her to do that for us.) A couple of weeks had passed when I received this picture.

She asked me if I liked it. When I told her I did, she told me to be praying.

Two days later she called. She and her husband had taken the time to drive to where it was located and see it, to sit on it, and make sure it was comfortable. As we talked, she added more details. Another member of our church family had been working with her. He had a trailer and was going to help pick it up. AND, they were going to get some men over to bring it to my house AND take my old furniture away.

My kids were BEYOND excited, especially when they learned both pieces were sleepers.

As a convoy of vehicles pulled up to our house, I was reminded that I did not pray for a couch. Five men and 3 ladies entered our home, delivered our furniture, and took away the old.

A precious godly man asked if he could pray for our family.

And, I remembered, I did NOT pray for a couch.

But, I want each of these men to know what I have been praying for.

Since the divorce, I have prayed for godly male mentors for my boys.( I do not wish to belittle their father. He has become a good dad, but in this one area, the boys still have a great need.)

As those men-and ladies- gathered in our great room and joined hands with my children and me to pray, I remembered what I have been praying for. I was overwhelmed at that moment, thinking of the servants' hearts that were in that room. I was amazed at how God was showing me a glimpse of His answer to the prayer of my mother's heart. My sons and daughters were seeing men who love JESUS serving JESUS and loving on us.

You can ask the boys where our new-to-us furniture came from. They will give one of two answers, "Our church friends," or "Jesus."

The LORD used His servants to encourage this mama more than they EVER could have imagined. And, I want them to know that they are serving an Ephesians 3:20 God. He is able to do more than we can ask or think.

Even as a single mom, He still is the MIRACLE of MORE!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Confessions of a Single Mom-Loneliness

Being a single mom brings to me two totally contradictory emotions:

Overwhelming stress on days when I can't seem to get it all done---a desire for some alone time to maintain my sanity.......


Loneliness when my children are gone.

You can understand why I might miss these faces:

I think what took me by surprise was the emotions I would feel when they left to spend time with their dad. They spend the night with friends, and I don't get emotional. I have gone away for a night leaving them at home with a sitter without getting emotional. So, why did I get so upset when they left with their father.

I think it's the unnaturalness of it all. God never intended for dads to take children away from moms to spend time with them apart from the family. These are moments that were meant to be spent together as a family. It's the un-family-ness of it all.

 It's the death of the family dream.

I have experienced two extremes as well in my attempts to cope. I would either fill my time with outside activities, going out with friends, going away to the beach, or sky diving. (Not really, I didn't go skydiving,  but you get the point.) Or, I would be totally unable to function. Fully intending to get something done around the house, refusing to go somewhere just to be doing something, I would stay home and, do NOTHING. I even took Benadryl some days just to sleep until they came home. REALLY.

I confessed some of these feelings to a dear friend today, and she said, "But, you didn't call me."

She's right. I didn't call anybody. I don't know why. I just climbed into bed and if I couldn't sleep, took something to help me sleep. Then I slept until my children came home.

Tonight, though, I want to praise the LORD. I can be thankful that they are able to spend time with their dad. I am thankful that he is willing to spend time with them. I thank God that my children look forward to going to daddy's house.

And, I want to praise HIM that He has helped me overcome. Tonight my children are with their daddy, and I didn't do anything special. I didn't lie around doing NOTHING. I went out alone and did something for myself. Then I came home to an empty house without feeling empty inside.

Thank you, JESUS!

Thank you for the friend who today said, "But you didn't call me." Thank you for the reminder that there are many who will hold my hand if I will swallow my pride and ask them to hold my hand. Thank you for allowing me the dark days that remind me to enjoy the sunshine.

And, thank you again, that I am sitting in an empty house and I do NOT feel empty at the core of my being. Thank you, Jesus, for overcoming the world, that I may also be an overcomer.

We played in the pool yesterday. We went to the beach earlier today.

My house is still a mess.

But I am NOT!!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Confessions of a Single Mom: I Am Not a Mess

It's been a while, a really LONG while, since I posted anything. With high hopes of returning to the blogging world, I thought I might begin a new series:

Confessions of a Single Mom

I am a single mom.

Not where I expected to be at anytime in my life, but this is where I now find myself. I've been divorced  for 16 months. There are days when that seems like a long time and days when it seems like only yesterday. Still, friends and strangers sometimes ask how I'm doing.

 (Most people don't ask, and I have yet to determine why. Is it:
a-They assume 16 months is enough time to be over it.
b-They can't fathom how difficult this time in my life has been.
c-They are afraid I might actually tell them the truth. OR
d-I always appear to have EVERTHING together, forever the picture of PERFECT MOM.
I digress)

People sometimes ask how I am doing. Sometimes I think they really want to know.

So, here is my current answer to this question. This answer is subject to change at any moment of any day, but here is how I would answer right now:

My house is a mess. My car is a mess. My purse is a mess. My yard is a mess. My desk is a mess.

But, I am not a mess!

Exhibit A:

This is my great room. What you see strewn across the floor is laundry. Most of it is clean, I think. I have the most difficult time keeping up with laundry. We wash it, we sometimes fold it, and we sometimes put it away. The current problem is: there is not enough room for all of the laundry.
"Purge," you say. "Who has time?" I ask. "Get your children to help," you suggest. "Do you have a Drew Bear at home?" I might ask.
I have projects planned, lots of projects, but the reorganizing and sorting through wardrobes has yet to make to the top of the list. I suspect it will before each of my children graduate from high school, and I am confined to a wheel chair. You may also feel better if you learn that my great room floor no longer looks like that; however, my bedroom does. My house is a mess, but I am not.
Things are messy. But, we are not. I don't have as much time to do what used to seem very important anymore. But, I do have time to be mama. And, that is MOST important.

You may see us pull up to the grocery store to buy popcorn for movie night, or chicken livers for fishing. We are on a mission to enjoy life. If you see us in the parking lot, beware. Any number of things my fall out onto the pavement when we open the door. It may be a box of crayons, a French fry from last week, a flyer from church, or a bar bell. If it is the barbell, we apologize in advance for the injury to your foot. My van is a mess, but I am not.

If you find yourself behind me in the checkout line at JCPenney, please do not judge me by the looks of my purse. When I reach in to retrieve my wallet and my debit card, I might pull out a catheter, one of 47 receipts for recent or not-so-recent purchases, a half-eaten granola bar, the foam thingy that separated my toes at my last pedicure, my camera card reader, chapstick without a cap, or 79 pennies from the last time my coin pocket emptied. If you see any of these things, do not be alarmed. My purse is a mess, but I am not.

I admit that I have been a mess. Sometimes I was a mess, but my van was not. Sometimes I was a mess, but my house was not. (That might have happened once.) Sometimes I had a new purse, so my purse was not a mess even when I was.

But, for now.

My house is a mess. My van is a mess. My purse is a mess. My desk is a mess. My yard is a mess.
But, I am not.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fulfill Your Ministry


That's what I must be.

In the past 2 1/2 years, I have experienced BOTH the greatest blessings and the MOST difficult hardships of my life. Following, God's blessings, the attack of Satan has left me feeling much like the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. There have been nights of tears, days of tears, and mornings when I just didn't want to get out of bed.

God is healing me, but I have finally realized that I had to let myself mourn. Grieve for the betrayal I suffered. Mourn the loss of my dreams. Allow myself to feel LONELY and allow JESUS to fill my emptiness.

He give beauty for ashes.

I can choose to let the past dictate who I become. Or, I can choose to allow God to use my past to make me more like HIM.

Less than 2 months ago, on a Saturday, I learned there would be return trip to South Africa this summer. I did NOT immediately respond to the invitation to join the team.

The following Sunday, I felt God speaking. I felt him telling me it was time to go again.

I cried.

During the entire worship service.

The most difficult part of my testing and trials began when I was in South Africa, almost 3 years ago. I could not stop that thought. There was fear of returning, fear of another long, hard battle with the enemy.

I've continued to pray...some...and think lots about going.

Then, I started a new Bible study, Beth Moore's Believing God.

I needed that.

During the study, I really felt God was speaking directly to me. I had begun to be intrigued with the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. I read the account multiple times, fully believing God wanted me to learn something there.  And then Beth Moore camped out there- in Joshua chapter 4.

I learned God had much more to say to me through those verses. Beth wrote, "The middle of any challenging journey can be the most critical point. Many of us may not be where we were, but we're not where we want to go. Perhaps the terrible bondage of Egypt is behind us, but the land of promise seems remote. The longer we wander in the wilderness between, the greater the chance we'll return to captivity."

I think of myself standing on the edge of the Jordan. God set me free from emotional and spiritual bondage, but it is time for me to put my foot in the water. I must trust him. I must keep moving. I must follow him.

I believe God is ready for me to get to work on the other side of my faith journey.

Then today, our pastor preached a sermon from 2 Timothy. And these words jumped from the pages, "whether convenient or not," (4:2)  "fulfill your ministry." (4:5)

During the struggles to hold myself together and hold my children together. During my battle with loneliness and rejection, I had lost my passion.

It is time I trust my first love JESUS, and return to my passion: orphans.

I am now planning and praying for Josie-Tatum and me to return to South Africa this June.

I believe God is calling us to be his hands and feet in ministering to the orphans there.

I also believe God is preparing a great work in my heart and in Josie-Tatum's while we are there. Just as the Israelites  had the first Passover before they left Egypt, and celebrated Passover again when they crossed the Jordan, I believe God is completing a work for us.

I am hopeful that God will use this trip to further heal my heart, and to further heal Josie-Tatum's.

Please join me in prayer.

Once again, we won't be going unless the LORD provides the funds. But, more than any other time, I believe they will be there if He desires us to be there. He will make the crooked paths straight. He can do more than I ask or think. He is an Ephesians 3:20 God. He is the Miracle of More.
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Ellie Min Chun

Ellie Min Chun
Josie-Tatum's MeiMei