Tuesday, October 15, 2013

1 Step Forward and 2 Steps Back

1 Corinthians 13:13  And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

What keeps us moving forward?  These 3 things:  faith, hope and love.

We have been through quite an emotional roller coaster these past few weeks.  Just when we thought that we were done with our fundraising and ready to "get things accomplished" and get ready to bring some children home, God allowed another mountain to come up before us.  It is not like we didn't expect more mountains in our path, just not one quite this big and debilitating.  Some of you already know what has happened, while others do not.  We purchased a new to us van in July.  It is a great van and we truly felt God led us directly to this particular van.  So, 2 1/2 months later and less than 3,000 miles later, the van goes kaput on Sunday, September 30.  The transmission has to be replaced.  We have gone through a lot of options from selling the current van and buying a new one, fixing the current van's problem, and replacing the current van's transmission.  All the solutions are costly and quite honestly, more costly than we can afford right now.  But...not for God.  Ever since the day this happened, I have known and felt God would take care of us.  (Not to say that I haven't had my days--- I've cried and been mad).  But, God is faithful and He will provide.  So, here we are 2 weeks later and we are still waiting on God to show us the proper path, who to fix it, and where the money will come from.  Along the way, God has given us hope.  Hope that through all of these circumstances of our lives, He is there, a beacon of light that shines so bright in the darkness that we would have to be blind not to see it.  

I had to turn down 4 substitute jobs in 1 week because of only having 2 cars instead of our normal 3.  We just couldn't make it work for me to get everyone where they needed to be and not be overly stressed out.  So, I turned them down, questioning God, "Why God?  How can I pay to fix the van if I can't work to get the money?"  Well, during the week following that, we were blessed with the EXACT same amount as I would have made BEFORE taxes!  People, I can't make this stuff up.  God is amazing and He is working miracles daily.  We just have to open our eyes and hearts to see where He is working.  

We have definitely been experiencing a lot of spiritual warfare lately as well.  Through our children, marriage, friends, and finances.  But, our God is able.  Here is a quote from my Facebook post on October 8...

Somewhere along the journey, I must see past the circumstances that threaten to steal my joy, that rob me of my time, and kill my passion.  Satan has come like a thief to steal, kill, and destroy.  Somewhere along the way, faith is all that is left.  And it is there, where I meet Jesus face to face.  I do not understand today, but God is already in tomorrow.  He sees the end, I see the journey.  Lord, give me your eyes so I can see...

That post I have had to reread many times since that day.  The very next day after that, we experienced something that could have devastated us.  We definitely weren't happy about it, but we asked God to give us eyes and He did.  Why would we be upset about it?  God doesn't always answer us the way we want.  But He does answer.

One of my favorite songs from my teen/20's was by Garth Brooks.  It was Unanswered Prayers.  It says, Just remember when you're talking to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care, Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.  I have to remember that just because I don't see or hear the answer right now, doesn't mean He hasn't answered or won't.  Sometimes the answer is wait or no.  I believe that those are the hardest answers.  But I also think that those are the times that He is protecting us the most.

So, here we are.  We are waiting.  We are waiting on God to guide our next step.  We are learning so much in the process.  We are learning so much about God and His faithfulness and the hope that only comes from Him.  But the greatest is the Love for us.  All that we are going through right now, is because of His love for us, His children and the love He has for 1 or 2 special children and preparing a place for them in our home.  We have said all along that God's timing is perfect and oh how wonderful the day will be.  Until then, we wait and we learn and we love.

We still have shirts left.  Less than 10 now.  If you would like to order a shirt, please let me know.  They are $20.  We have small, large and x-large left.  If you haven't picked yours up yet, please contact me so we can meet up.  If you have received yours but haven't paid for it yet, please do.

I pray that you are blessed today.  I pray that your life is touched in a special way. Thank you so much for your prayers.  We love you all so dearly!

In His Grip,
Chris and Elizabeth

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!

Good afternoon to all of our faithful family and friends!!!!  It is a beautiful day in sunny South Carolina and with that comes a smile on my face.  After months of rain, sunshine is always welcomed!  This relates well to my post today.

When God calls us to act, He doesn't promise that the road will be easy.  In fact, He tells us it will be difficult.  There will be trials and hard times.  There will be days that you want to give up.  But, He tells us that He will never leave us, nor forsake us.  He promises that His mercies are new every single morning.  Whatever your calling in life, God commands us to seek Him in all things.  This is easy peasy when the going is good.  But it is oh so difficult when things are hard.  

Over the last 6 months, there have been many days when life has been great.  There have been times, however, when I have been ready to give up!  Every single time I have felt this way, God has sent someone into our lives to encourage us and pick us up.  This is not an easy road.  Not only that, it is not going to be an easy road.  This road is hard and very lonely.  If you have ever adopted or are currently adopting, you understand.  My personality is a very positive one.  In fact, on our autobiography for the adoption, we had to answer questions regarding our personalities.  I am positive (to a fault) and Chris is negative (he calls it realist).  I try very hard to always look for the positive in life.  By doing that, sometimes I fear I may give the impression that life is always great.  

The selfish, spoiled little girl inside of me sometimes wants to sit down and not share my toys.  What do I mean by that?  There are times when I've dealt with all I can deal with, answered all the questions I can answer, cried more tears than I want to cry, stretched a dollar as far as I can possibly stretch it and poured my heart out as much as I can.  In those times, I just want to keep all the blessings that God has give to us to myself.  I want to take my toys and go home.  Oh, but God lovingly sits beside me and reassures me.  I've asked God, Why us?  Why would you choose us to be parents to possibly 2 more children.  There are days I can hardly parent the ones I have.  On those days, God says, Why not you?  I will give you all that you need for today.  And He does.  There are days that I have questioned the whole process.  But on those days, God points to the steps we have already taken.  He shows me that He has been the guide for every single step we have taken.  He has walked this with us and He is faithful and will walk the rest of the way with us.  There has not been even one day that I have doubted God.  The one I doubt is me.  I'm only human.  I can only do so much.  I can only love so much.  I can only give so much.  But God can do so much more.  God can love so much more.  God can give so much more.  And He is choosing to do that through us, a family of 5.  We are in this together.  We talk openly about this with our children.  We realize that there will be days that they might not want to walk this road either.  But God will be there to love them and guide them back to Him.  

It is very hard for me to share this post.  It's not my normal way.  But I felt that the only way for you all to see the reality of life was to hear my heart.  My human heart.  I choose today to live for God and do what He asks of me.  I will not question Him, I will simply obey.  This is a choice and I choose life.   

We love you all!
In His Grip,
Chris and Elizabeth

Monday, September 2, 2013

Houston...we have a fundraiser!

Throughout this entire process, God has provided for us every single step of the way.  For every single need, He has opened doors, windows and moved mountains.  He sold our house, helped us buy the new house, and guided us in buying both of our vehicles.  So, why do we need to do any fundraising, you ask?

When we actually decided to step out in faith and begin this process to adopt, it was January 2012.  I (Elizabeth) had been feeling the call since October 24, 2010.  From that point, I tried to avoid the subject with God during my prayer life.  I didn't even think of mentioning it to Chris.  But He continued to press on and nudge me.  After a year of nudging, I spoke to Chris about it.  In January 2012, we wrote our list of things God had to do in order for us to adopt.  We listed all of the HUGE mountains that God needed to move (because we could not in our own power move them).  Well, in a year and 6 months He single handedly moved those HUGE mountains from in front of us.  What an amazing God we serve!!!!  He is so cool!  During that time, we trusted that God would complete the tasks.  We also knew that WE had to do OUR parts in the process.  We struggled.  I never once doubted that God was going to complete the tasks, but I definitely doubted that I would be on the other side once they were completed.  You see, humanly, it was hard.  There were many days and weeks of really big ups and really big downs.  The world and Satan fought hard against us.  Thankfully, we have close family and friends who kept us focused on the end result.

Questions keep being asked and so I'd like to take a moment to answer them.

  • The main question that is asked most frequently is, Are you really getting 2 more kids?  The answer is, if that is what God wants to give us, YES!  When we began the process, we said, NO!  WE said, we would only take 1.  But throughout the training and seminars, we have listened to God's voice and trusted in His message and we have heard Him loud and clear.  He wants us to be WILLING to take siblings between the ages of 1-5 years old.  That doesn't mean that is what DSS will give us, but we are willing to accept the calls for siblings in those ranges.  
  • Another question commonly asked is, Why those specific ages?  Well, through lots of research on our own children, as well as adoption, we have decided that it would be best for our family to add to the end of the family line so as to not disrupt the birth order of our biological children.  We feel a peace about this decision and trust that God will place the exact children with us that need to be placed here.
  • Have you specified boys, girls, or ethnicity?  No.  When God placed all 3 of our bio children in my belly, we didn't know, nor could we request that they be a specific gender.  So, we are not specifying which gender we would like to receive this time either.  As far as ethnicity goes, no.  We are not specifying that either.  We feel God will only give us what we can handle.  
So, why fundraising?  Why now?  Well, we have felt very strongly that God was calling us to enlist friends and family to help out in a small way (shirts are $20 each) that will be a HUGE blessing to us.  What are the reasons to need the fundraising?  I have been asked on numerous occasions, Why do you need to spend money, I thought DSS was free.  Well, the process is.  BUT, we had to get to the point where we could take the children in (new house, new vehicles, etc).  Then, we had to travel for all of the training, plus lunch at each one and gas to get there.  Finally, we have things that have to be done to meet the fire inspection and the DSS inspection.  At the end, when we receive our children and go to adopt them, we have to hire a lawyer and pay the lawyer.  DSS will reimburse us for the legal fees after the adoption is final.  But we have to pay those costs up front.  We have that part covered but need help with the "little" things right now.

So, we are asking that each family prayerfully consider how many t-shirts you would like to buy.  They are very nice shirts.  I designed them.  They are Gildan 50/50 Ultra Cotton.  I have inserted the proof for the shirts.  If you want to order a shirt or 5 shirts, please send the correct amount for the shirts to my Paypal account: fowlerfamfive@gmail.com and in the description, put the sizes and amounts needed. If you are local and would like to just get me the money for the shirt(s), that is great.  Please send me an email, text or facebook message stating the size(s) you would like and number of shirts. 

Our totals for this weeks fundraising are:  

20 shirts pre-ordered (we need payment for the shirts ordered by this Friday (9/6/13)).  We have payment for 3 so far.  

We have $70 in donations.  

We need 30 shirts pre-ordered and paid for in order to place the order for the shirts.  

Total amount needed to be able to complete the projects and have the house ready to receive possibly 2 children into our family......$1475.00!

So, we are $1345.00 away!  This is very attainable!  I will also be doing an online yard sale on Facebook soon.  Watch for that!  Clothing for women, boys and girls, and household items.  

Thank you for praying and supporting us on this journey.  We are so blessed and thankful for each and every one of you!  Be safe today on this Labor Day.  

In His Grip!
Chris and Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Calling for back up...

Hello precious friends!  It has been a while and I'm so sorry.  I don't mean to not update, but as of today we have entered into the 20th Century with high speed internet and honestly up until this point, it has been quite tedious to update.  Now it should be much easier!

We are settling in nicely into the new house and new routine of school.  While we are much closer to town now, we are now 15 minutes from Kathryn's school (used to be 5 min) and about 10 minutes from Benjamin's school (used to be about 8 min).  We are still about the same from Zach's school.  With the purchase of the 2 new vehicles, Zach now has his own transportation to and from school and soon, work.  Yay!!!  He got a job keeping an 8 year old boy 2 days a week beginning in September.  This was a huge answer to prayer!

We have completed 2 of our 3 training sessions with DSS.  These sessions are full of information and we have learned a LOT from them.  We have our final training session on September 14!  This will be the adoption specific training.  The other 2 were more focused on foster care.  With the end of these trainings drawing near, we have a pressing need to complete all paperwork, get our medicals completed and prepare our home for the new addition(s).

Here is how you can help.
1.  We need to do a small fundraiser for the window replacement and the labor to replace the window.  This should cost around $750-$1,000.  If anyone has any suggestions on a fundraiser, we are open to suggestions.
2.  We also need to put 2 separate twin beds in the playroom.  If anyone can help us out with the either building the beds or supplying us with twin beds you no longer need, we are accepting offers of help or donations.
3.  If you live out of town and cannot physically be here to help us with the beds or participate in the fundraiser and would like to help us out, we are accepting donations through our Paypal account at fowlerfamfive@gmail.com beginning tonight.

We will keep everyone updated on our progress weekly from here on out.

We need to raise the money for the window soon.  We need to have that part complete before the home study and fire inspection.  You can send suggestions for a fundraiser to fowlerfamfive@gmail.com.  You can also suggest on my Facebook page.  We are working hard to get everything finished before the end of October.  This way, we can be completed and licensed and on the list by the first of November.

God has moved some HUGE mountains so far!  Between raises, jobs, selling a house and buying one, and buying 2 vehicles.  There is no reason to doubt that these small mountains in front of us can be moved.  They CAN!!!!  We believe completely and fully that God has orchestrated this entire process.  If God is calling you to be a part of our journey, we simply ask that you follow His call.  If you can simply pray, then you are contributing in a HUGE way!!!  We are so excited about this part of the journey.

Thank you all for your prayers and support till now.  Please do not stop.  We need you now more than ever.  This where the rubber meets the road.  The little details that can cause stress.  God is in those details.  We love you all and treasure each and every one of you!!!

In His Grip,
Chris and Elizabeth

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Mountains are GONE!!!

Where do I begin?  Well, I will begin with the greatest news of all!  We are homeowners (1 month today) and we absolutely feel like the most blessed family on the planet.  It was hard and definitely taught me a lot about patience and mercy.  But, in the end, we are owners of a beautiful home that we love.  Now, for the story.  (That's the best part anyway, right!?)

First, God doesn't make mistakes.  Whether that is by allowing certain things to happen to us, by creating a life, or by taking things or people away.  Second, God is always on time.  He is not a day late or a minute early.  His timing is exactly what it needs to be for His glory and honor.  Finally, God has so much more for us when we surrender to His will and lay our will aside.

With all that said, here we go.  We began our search for a new home and wanted to stay close to our "current" home.  We searched and searched.  We looked at every possible home that came available.  Every single time I thought that God had led us to the "perfect" house.  Each house, I would imagine in my mind what it would look like with us living in it.  When the homes would not "pan" out, I wasn't disappointed.  I had a peace each time.  With each one, God kept saying to us, "the best is yet to come."  I kept thinking, that's crazy.  This house (the one we were looking at) has to be the best.  But, oh, how patient God is with us.  I had given God a timeline (LOL) for our home to have a contract.  I had said to Him that it had to have a contract by April 30, in order for us to close on a new home by the cutoff date for our preapproval.

On April 26, we had yet to show the house even once in almost 2 months.  BUT, my specific prayer from the beginning was to only show the house once to the person who would buy it.  On April 26, our amazing realtor called to say that she had a showing on Monday, April 29 at 6:15!  We, of course, cleaned the house like crazy and got it ready.  We left the house and headed to eat dinner.  At 6:18, we got a call from Olivia (our Realtor).  We had a cash offer!  What?  Are you kidding me?  Oh my!  By 6:45 we had worked out the details and we had a contract on our house.  WOW!  God is so good!  And a day ahead of "my schedule".  HA!

So, of course, this throws me into crazy mode because we don't have a house to buy yet.  We looked again at a house that night and quickly marked it off the list.  On Tuesday evening we opened our search area just a bit.  When we did, a few more houses popped up.  But one house in particular caught our eye.  I jotted down the address on a notepad by my computer, sent a text that we wanted to see it on Thursday to our realtor, and went to bed.  The next day, Wednesday, May 1, I got to work at school and was given a stack of papers that needed the addresses, phone numbers and parents' names filled in for each child in our class.  I pulled the first one off and wrote his address down.  Shocker...it was the same address I had written down the night before.  I was in shock.  Not only that, but the child in our class is adopted and so are his 3 other siblings.  Seriously, God, can you line things up any more perfectly?  I called our Realtor on my break and moved the showing up to that day at 3.  We saw that house and one other in the neighborhood.  We felt very drawn toward the 1st house (our house), but because the price was so much less, we felt we should make an offer on the 2nd house.  We headed back to the office to make an offer, but the whole way, neither of us had a settled feeling.  I kept hearing God's voice saying, "Trust me."  We talked quickly before arriving and decided that God wanted us to make an offer on the 1st house.  After going back and forth for about a day, we arrived at an agreement and we had a contract on the house.  YAY!!!

Now, I would be wrong to tell you all of this went off without a hitch and we closed with no bumps.  That was definitely not the case.  BUT, God was with us every single step of the way.  We closed on our "old" house on May 30 and moved into the new house that day.  We closed on the "new" house on June 11.  Again, God is so good.

We now have a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home with over 2400 square feet, almost 3/4 acre lot that is fenced in and a pool!  The house is gorgeous and we love it.  We definitely did not deserve it!!!

This past Friday, my van (that we were trying to push replacing until the fall), decided to act up.  The transmission was going out in it.  We called our sweet faithful friend Nick and go the "low down" on what we should do.  After assessing the situation with the van, what it was worth, minus replacing the transmission, we decided to cut our losses and trade it.  So we did.  We traded it for Chris' vehicle.  We got him a 2003 Toyota Avalon and again, God was in the entire process.  He got us an amazing deal and we love the new (to us) car!

Throughout the process, my parents have been helping us look for a new van.  Of course, we thought that we were going to be replacing it in the fall.  But God had another idea.  My parents found us a 2003 Honda Odyssey where they live, 3 hours from us, in another state.  Without seeing the van, trusting God and my parents, we purchased the van.  It is being delivered to us on Wednesday.

So, for those of you keeping tabs.  Our list that we started out with, is complete.  There isn't anything else that God has to do.  He has completed a good work in His servants.  Now, the fun begins.  We are almost finished with our paperwork.  We have signed up for our 2 training sessions that are 7 hours each in Simpsonville.  We have completed our fingerprinting.  We are a month away from being able to have our home study scheduled.  This is getting real!

How can you pray for us?
We are going to have to replace a window in our house to make it work for the fire code for DSS adoption.  It is going to cost us money out of pocket.  Please pray that when that time comes, the funds are there.  We are trying to come up with a fundraiser to do for this.  If you have any ideas, please let us know.

Please pray for our health, finances and relationships as we strive to do God's will.

Please pray for our stamina.  This has already been a long road (1 1/2 years) and we have a ways to go.  Please pray for focus and determination to finish the race.

Please pray for our children.  They want so badly for their new siblings to "hurry up and get here".  It is so hard for them to understand that God's timing is perfect.  But they are learning and it is awesome to watch them see God's masterpiece unfolding before their eyes.

Please pray that the mountains left to move, will move according to God's will, timing and glory.

Thank you so much for praying for us!  Thank you for supporting us.  We love you all!

In His grip,
Chris and Elizabeth

Monday, June 3, 2013


I'm going to try to update from my phone.  If there are typos, I'm apologizing now.

We are out of the old house and into the new one!  We are in love!  We love the house, neighborhood, area, yard, everything!  God truly showed off!  Last night we stood (bc we don't have any seating yet) on the screened in porch and listened to the rain beat on the tin roof.  It was wonderful!  We finally cooked a meal Sunday night and that was so nice.  We have been blessed with amazing friends!  Thank you Steadmans, Lees, Prices, Ramellas, Duane, my parents, my in-laws, and even new neighbors, who have provided meals, snacks, helped with moving and so much more!  We could not have done it without you all!

We have closed on the old house, but not the new one yet.  We had to change the type of loan we were doing in the middle of the process and so that I'd prolonging the process.  The Rogers (owners of three house we are buying) have graciously allowed us to go ahead and move in though.  So, we aren't homeless!  God's provision is amazing!

Please pray specifically that everything will come together quickly and that we can get closed and move on to the next thing God had for us!

We are very ready to move into the next phase of this journey...adoption!  We will be getting our packet together to send to DSS in the next 2 weeks.  From there, we have trainings and home studies between us and waiting.

Please pray as we continue to get settled.

We cherish your prayers, love and support!

In His Grip,
Chris and Elizabeth

Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's the Climb

We have some good friends who have a daughter that fought cancer 6 years ago.  We were not friends with them while they battled cancer, however, God brought us together over 3 years ago when our boys played on an All Star Baseball Team together.  We realized then, that we had prayed for that precious girl.  Since then, she has turned into the most beautiful young lady inside and out.  Our daughter, Kathryn, looks up to her and thinks she is just amazing!  She has continued to face mountains as a result of her cancer years ago.  Last year, she sang the song, "The Climb" for a Relay for Life video, shown at my kids school.  My kids came home singing the song and Kathryn put it on her ipod to listen to all the time.  Recently, she has faced another mountain.  We listened to the song today on the way home from a baseball tournament.  The conversation all goes to that precious young lady when the song comes on.  Today, I began to really listen to the song and I realized that the lyrics really relate to all Christians and specifically to our lives right now.  We are watching God move mountains, but we are also climbing them.  If you have a moment, please pray for her tonight.  I'm not putting names on here, due to the high traffic volume, but God knows who she is.  We love you sweet girl!!!!  Here are the lyrics:

I can almost see itThat dream I am dreamingBut there's a voice inside my head saying"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm takingEvery move I make feelsLost with no directionMy faith is shaking
But I gotta keep tryingGotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be a uphill battleSometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb
The struggles I'm facingThe chances I'm takingSometimes might knock me downBut no, I'm not breaking
I may not know itBut these are the moments thatI'm gonna remember most, yeahJust gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strongJust keep pushing on
'Cause there's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be a uphill battleSometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb, yeah!
There's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be an uphill battleSomebody's gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb, yeah!

Tonight, we are praying.  We are praying over our upcoming move.  We are praying over the sweet girl mentioned.  We are praying for 2 precious little girls.  We are praying for all of you!  We are so thankful for all of the Mom's in our lives.  My Mom, my mother-in-law, my MamMaw, my Aunt Marsha, Aunt Doris, and Aunt Lisa.  All the mother's in our lives that have already gone to Heaven.  All the mom's that have shaped us and made us who we are!  We are especially thankful to a very special Mom.  That Mom is the one who will give us the gift of her child/children.  This is a gift that we could never repay.  Thank you will never suffice.  Tonight, on Mother's Day Eve, I think of the heart of that Mom.  How much she will sacrifice in order to ensure her child/children's safety, protection, love, and comfort.  What length's will we go to as a Mom to make sure our children are taken care of?  We would die for our children.  
How much more so does our Heavenly Father love us!?!  He loves us so much that He died for us!  He laid His own life down so that we might have life!  And that we would have it abundantly!!!  How amazing is this!?!  I stand in awe!  I'm so thankful for my Savior!  I am so thankful that He blessed me with the ability to be a Mommy to not just my birth children but those He will bless us with through adoption.  
In His Grip!Chris and Elizabeth