The Thessalonians

A few months ago, I found out we would be going through Beth Moore’s Children of the Day for our Fall Bible study. This is a study through 1 & 2 Thessalonians. It looks like a great study, and I was eager to jump in. Knowing we still had a few months before we would even have our books, I decided to spend some time reading 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In doing this, I fell in love with the Thessalonian people!

 

If you’d like to learn a little about the Thessalonians, you can watch this video where I teach about the people with whom I long to be best friends.

 

 

If you’re in the Greenville, SC area and would like to participate in our Fall Bible study, you can can register here.

 

Rachelle Adams || The Thessalonians

 

 

You Have My Eyes

You’ve been on my mind a lot. Some days, I forget you’re gone. I’ll be driving down the road, think of something, and reach for my phone to call you. Then I remember.

 

I’ve remembered a lot this week.

 

It’s now been two years since you died, and it still breaks my heart. It was just too soon. I wasn’t ready for you not to be in my life.

 

I’m a mama now, and you were supposed to be here for that. You were supposed to be the one I called every day to report how tired I was or how many times Asher smiled. (The report would have been, “I’m very tired, and I lost count of how many times he smiled, so I don’t care that I’m tired.”) You were supposed to give me advice on how to take care of Asher. Most of it would have probably gone against half of what the pediatrician said, but you would have told me that it worked for your babies and your grandbabies, so it will work for my baby. You were supposed to be here on my hardest days as a mama to tell me you’re proud of me and everything would be OK.

 

Sometimes, I feel sad for Asher because he doesn’t get to grow up with you in his life. You made my life so much better, and I want that for him as well. Then, I hear your voice from long ago.

 

I was an awkward teenager. In a world filled with beautiful people (my own mother was literally a model), I felt ugly. Then, I got contacts. Green ones. People complimented me regularly on my bright green eyes, and they made me feel just a little bit pretty.

 

You didn’t like them. You didn’t think I needed them. For years, you asked me to go back to clear contacts. Finally, you told me why: “You have my eyes.”

 

When we learned about genetics in high school, I mourned (dramatically) the fact that I didn’t have brown eyes like my parents (after I was confused about genetics and for about 10 minutes thought I was adopted or switched at birth). You replied, “I’ve always liked that you have my eyes.”

 

Any time I would say, “I wish I looked like so and so,” you would say, “But you have my eyes, and I like that.”

 

I like that, too.

 

I hope when Asher looks into my eyes, he’ll be able to see you.

 

When I peel an apple for him and hand it to him with a smile, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When we bake a cake together and I hand him chocolate covered spoons, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When he’s angry and ready to stomp off and I blow raspberries at him to make him laugh, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When he’s sad and comes to me for comfort, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When he earns a good grade at school and looks to me for affirmation, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When he seeks me out to share in his joy, I hope he’ll see you.

 

When he looks at me with his big, goofy grin and I can’t help but smile back at him, I hope he’ll see you.

 

And when he sees you in me, I hope he also sees Christ, because that’s who you taught me to see when I looked at you.

 

Thank you for pointing me to Him. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me your eyes.

 

I love you, Grandmama.

 

Rachelle Adams || You Have My Eyes

I Shall Not Want

If you read my last post, you know I’ve been struggling with a few things, mainly with the avenue we’ll be taking to adopt. I was praying for clarity and peace while I was on our church’s women’s retreat over the weekend. Thank you all for praying with and for me!

 

Friday night, Whitney and Lauren taught us a new worship song, I Shall Not Want by Audry Assad. God spoke to me through the prayer-like lyrics, and the chorus has been with me for days.

 

Rachelle Adams || I Shall Not Want #adoption

 

As soon as I heard the chorus, God reminded me of something that was already floating around in my mind: When He puts our family together, when I taste the goodness of Him working in our lives, when I experience the joy of God singing over us as we sing over our babies, I shall not want.

 

It’s going to be a beautiful moment.

 

In the Catacombs

I have the privilege of serving third graders at my church on Sunday mornings. They have powerful, space-themed curriculum that is teaching them to be ambassadors for Christ. Yesterday’s lesson was, by far, one of my favorites this year.

The lesson centered around the persecution of Christians, a topic that has come up a few times as they’ve studied the book of Acts. Specifically, they learned about early Christians worshiping in the catacombs (basically underground cemeteries with tunnels and bones). In order to engage the children well in the lesson, the Fellowship Kids staff set up a special room for worship.

Rachelle Adams || In the CatacombsThe room was lit by battery operated candles, and there were skeletons and bones scattered around the tables. Even as an adult, that was a lasting image for me.

The children had to whisper and walk quietly into the room, showing a card with a fish symbol on it to communicate secretly to the worship leader they were Christians. Once we were all in the room, we sang quietly so the Roman soldiers wouldn’t hear us and arrest us for worshiping Jesus.

Singing quietly next to tables covered with bones stirred within me thoughts of our risen Savior. His bones aren’t in the catacombs. His bones aren’t in a grave anywhere. We worship a risen Savior who defeated death.

I also thought about the dedication members of the early church must have had to worship in the catacombs. They loved Jesus enough that they were willing to go underground and worship surrounded by death, probably a constant reminder of their own fate if they were caught. I imagine it was cold and damp, and the stench of death likely filled their noses and saturated their clothing. Yet they were faithful.

I have the freedom to worship Jesus openly and publicly. I have a cushy seat at church each week, and I serve third graders under the glow of a black light in a space ship. I have more Bibles than a shelf can contain.

Yet I find myself wandering.

The things of this world grab my attention daily. They distract me from my personal time with the Lord, and they bombard my thoughts during times of corporate worship.

I oversleep and miss my time in the Word, and I feel rushed and flustered on Sunday mornings.

But, in other parts of the world, Christians gather quietly. They share God’s Word with one another in hushed tones and sing softly to their Savior, knowing their fate if they were to be discovered.

I needed that visit to the catacombs yesterday. I needed the reminder of my risen Savior, and I needed the reminder that I have it easy as an American Christian. I needed to remember there are persecuted Christians all over the world.

Would you take a moment and pray for the persecuted church? Maybe even ask God what He wants you to do about it. I’ll be praying with you.

A New Year, a New Site

For years, I’ve dabbled with blogging. Each time I wanted to blog about a new subject, such as crafting, I started a new blog, resulting in four separate blogs. Rather than continuing with those individual blogs, I decided to create a site (with a lot of help from Husby) that would incorporate all of them. Thus, rachelleadams.com was born.

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If you’re viewing my blog on a computer, you can find the categories from my previous blogs over on the right. For now, I have crafting, photography, uncategorized (maybe I’ll come up with a catchy name for “everything else” at some point), and weight loss. There are two additional categories I hope to incorporate within the next few weeks, but I’ll tell you more about those as the time comes. My crafting and photography blogs did not have much content, but I hope to add to those categories this year.

My goal this year is to blog at least three times a week, regardless of the topic. So, I may have a week that is nothing but craft posts followed by a week of photography projects. The goal is simply to write more this year.

When I was in sixth grade, I said I wanted to be a writer. More specifically, I said I was going to write a book. Eleven-year-old Rachelle, I’m sorry I haven’t lived out your dream. :O) I don’t have any immediate plans to write a book, but I can at least exercise my writing muscles this year. If you’d like to follow along, I’d love to have a reader or two!

For those of you who read my old blogs, here is a little cheat sheet:

Crafting Category = craftchelle.blogspot.com

Photography Category = shutterchelle.blogspot.com

Weight Loss Category = chubbychelley.blogspot.com

Uncategorized Category = rachelleville.blogspot.com

 

The Loneliest Moment the World Has Ever Known

“So many of my friends are in relationships now. I’m content being single. It’s just lonely sometimes.”

“All of our married friends have children now. We don’t. This is a lonely season for us.”

“I’m stepping out in faith to go where God has called me. I am confident in this calling, and I’m happy to go where He leads, but it’s lonely out here.”

“I worship with hundreds of other people each week, and I feel lonely in the midst of everyone.”

“I’m surrounded by people – friends, family, great community – but I feel lonely all of the time.”

“I believe God has promised He will never leave me or forsake me. I know the Holy Spirit is always with me. I don’t want to sound like I don’t believe Him, or even that I’m doubting Him a little, but I’m so lonely.”

Lonely.

Alone.

Loneliness seems to be a very common feeling among almost everyone I’ve ever known. I get it. I’ve felt this way during several different seasons of my life. 

I was lonely when my parents divorced, and it seemed like no one around me really understood. Sure, there were people who had been through similar situations, but none exactly like mine. 

I was lonely when I stepped out in faith and transferred colleges the day before classes started my Sophomore year. 

I was lonely my first morning in Canada, serving as a summer missionary and having no clue what that was going to be like. 

I was lonely for a large portion of my time as a college and grad student, never feeling like I fit in anywhere.

I was lonely in my twenties, wondering why God didn’t read the plan for my life that said I would be engaged when I graduated college.

Or grad school. (Not that I actually graduated from grad school.)

Or at least by the time I was 25.

Ish.

I was lonely when I lost a job I didn’t even really like anymore. It turns out working in a cubicle is at least a little better than being a professional Pinner and number one fan of that fancy automatically playing the next episode feature of Netflix.

I was lonely when I went back to school in my thirties and, once again, felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere.

I was lonely when both of my grandmothers passed away. I never wanted to go through life without them.

I’m lonely now. When I look at the lives of people my age, even people younger than me, I feel like I’ve been lapped. Several times. When I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and see all the cute kiddos or read another fun pregnancy announcement or we only have two trick-or-treaters, one of whom was my husband, I’m reminded that I’m not a mommy yet, and that feels lonely. 

I know God doesn’t have a set of cookie cutters that He uses to determine each of our lives. “You’re a flower. You’re a dinosaur. You’re a pumpkin. You’re the letter H.” (I’m assuming He has the same box of cookie cutters I do.) That’s an oversimplification of God, a reduction that has taken away His very Godness.  He is complex, and He has a more complex plan for me than what could ever fit into a butterfly-shaped cookie cutter. 

As I’ve been contemplating the idea of loneliness over the last couple of weeks, one image has come to mind over and over again: Jesus praying the night before His crucifixion.

Matthew 26
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying,“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”



I don’t know what exactly Jesus was feeling in the garden that night, and I don’t want to read too much into the text. I know for certain He felt “sorrowful, even to death” and “troubled” (verses 38 and 37). Do you think He felt lonely in those moments? He was willing to be obedient to His Father, and we know He followed through and was obedient. We know that He, in fact, experienced joy through His death and resurrection, reconciling all who would believe. But do you think He experienced loneliness in the midst of the obedience? In the midst of the joy? 

I do. As He was on the cross, He asked His Father why He had forsaken Him (Matthew 27:46). He didn’t ask that question in sin. He didn’t ask that question out of regret for being obedient. He didn’t ask because He forgot about all of the joy that was before Him. He didn’t ask because He forgot about thousands of years’ worth of sinners in need of salvation. He didn’t ask because He stopped being Jesus for a second.

In that moment, the worst moment He had ever known, the moment all of our sin was placed on Him, He wasn’t in perfect community with the Father and the Holy Spirit like He had been for all of eternity, and that had to be the loneliest moment the world has ever known.
Thankfully, it wasn’t over in that moment! Thankfully, God’s story didn’t end there! Thankfully, yes, Jesus did die, but He rose again!

HE ROSE AGAIN!

He accomplished the work that was set before Him. He died so we might be reconciled to Him. He died so we wouldn’t be lonely anymore, so we wouldn’t be separated from Him any longer. He brought us near. He made us part of His family, part of the household of God. Please read Ephesians 2! Powerful, powerful words from the Lord.

As I type all of this, I feel encouraged, but I still feel lonely. Well, a little less lonely that I did before I started typing. So, what next? I have some thoughts.

1) I need to stop thinking about myself so much. Honestly, I think that’s a big part of my problem with loneliness. When my thoughts are filled with  me and only me, there’s no one else in them. (Duh.) When there’s no one else in my thoughts, chances are I’m not living out my faith. I’m probably not being encouraging. Likely, I’m not being very hospitable. Chances are, simply put, I’m not loving others well. Jesus didn’t die so I would sit around thinking about myself all the time.

2) I need to preach truth to myself daily – sometimes many, many times a day. If you didn’t do this already, read Ephesians 2. If you’re struggling with loneliness, read it out loud to yourself. Write it on your mirror. Tape it to your dashboard (to read while you’re stopped in traffic or parked somewhere). Write it in a card and mail it to a friend who may be feeling lonely, which leads me to …

3) I need to reach out to other people. This one is linked closely to the first thought, but it takes my thinking a step further into action. I need to be intentional about serving and encouraging others.

4) I need to care for orphans. They are some of the loveliest, loneliest people in our world, and they need people to care for them. God adopted me. Jesus experienced the loneliest moment the world has ever known so that I could be a part of His family. Now it’s my turn to reach out, to extend that love and grace to little people who likely are far lonelier than I’ve ever been.

Now, what are you going to do?

Not alone. Adopted!


Thoughts about Our Future

We’re on our way to Charleston. When this is my view, my tendency is to lose myself in thought. That’s a rabbit hole much deeper than the one that transported Alice to Wonderland.
Today, I found myself thinking about when my cousin’s first child was born. Several of us traveled a few hundred miles to celebrate her birth. We flooded the hospital room and oohed and ahhed over the perfectly squishy little girl with a head full of hair.
Those thoughts led to thoughts about our future. If God chooses to bless us with biological children, who would come to the hospital to celebrate with us? Would anyone drive hundreds of miles to ooh and ahh over our little one?
What about our future adopted children? How different will those first days be? I know we’ll be over the moon excited about the additions to our family. How will they be received by everyone else? I hope they’re embraced with as much warmth and excitement as any biological children might be. I want that for them (and for us).
Then I started thinking about the children we hope to adopt. Have they been born already? If so, is it possible we’ve crossed paths before? Is there a woman out there who just took a pregnancy test and is terrified to have a child – but brave enough to carry that child for nine months and then trust us to give her baby a home? Were our children ushered into this world with joy, only to suffer the consequences of their parents’ bad choices? Are our children in foster care, longing for a forever family who is willing to adopt a large sibling group? Are our children thinking about us while I’m thinking about them? Will our children like this CD as much as their daddy does? If so, I can get used to it. ;0)
All those thoughts led to prayers. Prayers for our children, whether they’re out there now or not. Prayers for their biological parents, because chances are our children won’t come out of ideal circumstances. Prayers for us, because fostering and adopting stir up tons of questions and emotions.
As I was thinking about birth and adoption, I thought about my own birth and adoption. There is a cute picture of my aunt and two of my mom’s friends peering through a window in anticipation of the doctor coming out to announce my arrival. There are pictures of my parents holding my not-so-cute screaming and Jondice self, grinning from ear to ear.
I don’t think there are any pictures of my adoption, not even of my baptism. My friend Kara D. was close by for my adoption. I don’t remember who else was there. My mom, stepdad, and grandmother were there for my baptism. I don’t remember who else came.
I wish there had been a big celebration, because those were big moments. The moment God adopted me into His family was the most important moment of my life. That moment impacted the rest of my life like no other moment.
When I think about adopting our children, I can’t help but think of God adopting me. It’s the reason I want to adopt.