Category Archives: Adoption

The Difference (Proverbs 15:16)

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. [Proverbs 15:16]

About three years ago, my wife was bombarding me with information about adoption agencies. And I remember thinking, “This is silly. We don’t have enough money to adopt. And do I really want to go into that much debt to do so?” But I didn’t relate much of this thinking to my wife. Instead I dragged my feet. I wondered aloud,sometimes, if we could afford this. My hope was that my wife would eventually lose interest and give up on this “fantasy”. Basically, I wanted her to let me off the hook because I was nervous about how much we didn’t have.

Thankfully she didn’t give up.

She continued pressing forward and eventually we found this agency and case worker that we would end up using to adopt our children. Yes, that’s plural. I am the proud daddy, now, of two beautiful and wonderful children. And I can’t imagine my life without them.

What was the difference for me?
A faith journey and transformation, and a better understanding of the fear of God through Jesus Christ.

You see, I was comfortable with my comfortable checkbook. I enjoyed my freedom and the flexibility that having “treasures” afforded me. I was still a Christian, serving as a pastor, but I wanted my cake and eat it too. But deep down inside I knew I was missing something; I just couldn’t place my finger on it then. Eventually (and I am not sure what precipitated this) but God pushed me over the ledge and said,

“Trust me”

So I did.

It was still scary to dive into adoption knowing the high cost of it, but along every step of the way, God brought friends and family and other caring community members to help us raise money and eventually finance our adoptions. And I praise God for each and every one of them because I know it was God acting through those people.

Money can’t buy you happiness.
A comfortable checkbook can’t truly make you comfortable.
A peaceful life now can’t bring you true peace.
Treasures in this life will never last.

The author of the Proverbs is not saying that if you have great treasure that you will be miserable and that if you have very little then everything will be great. That’s not what he is saying. The difference, he says, is faith; faith in the living God. And for us Christians, it is faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; truly believing that Jesus died and rose for you that you may have true peace and hope.

That’s the difference.

And so for me, my checkbook is a little thinner, but I don’t seem to care much about that anymore.

[Please don’t praise my faith here, but rather give glory to God where it belongs]

God has provided and I believe God will continue to do so. Sure, I have my moments of worry from time to time; wondering how I am going to pay for certain things for my kids (especially as my oldest approaches school age). But as I worry and wonder and maybe even drag my feet a little from time to time, God continues to push me and say,

“Trust me, my child, trust me”

And so I do. And that is comforting.

Loving Father, please continue to push me when I starting doubting Your provision in my life. Give me those reminders of what you have already done so I may cling to those as Satan tries to plant hopelessness and fear in me. May I see very much even when I have little. And if I ever have very much, may I see that I have very little without you. Grant me the strength, oh God, that you may be glorified in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Glory to God

On my desk I have a picture frame that houses our family’s 2014 Christmas card. The card proudly shows off six pictures. Five of the pictures are of my two beautiful children and the sixth picture is a shot of our family of four. I find myself staring at this picture often; in awe that that is my family.

But as I stare at that beautiful arrangement of pictures; my eyes drift to the bottom left side of the card. There, in that corner are the words:

Glory to God

The words are meant to be a Christmas greeting and proclamation to our family and friends but they also remind me of God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives.

You see, about two years ago, my wife and I were wondering if we would ever be parents (especially after our painful failed adoption in March 2013), but now we are the parents of two beautiful children (both under the age of two, crazy, I know). Life has definitely changed for us, and in more ways than one:

~ Our house is now chaotic as our living room has turned into one big toy room.
~ Our Schedules are more complex.
~ Sleep is a premium.
~ Children’s songs now ring in my head.
~ Packing and traveling is stressful.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way :-)

But also, our faith in God through Jesus has been strengthened (and I definitely wouldn’t have THAT any other way).

Glory to God

You see, I was a Christian before the failed adoption, but afterwards, something “more”. And that’s the best way I can describe it. My wife and I became so much closer to each other and especially to God. We began to look at God differently (and in a good way). We began to lean more on God, especially during the healing process following the failed adoption. God was great before, we just noticed it better after we thought our lives were falling apart. God never deserted us; He was just doing something amazing.

Glory to God

Now I wonder how people do it. How do they navigate life without God? How do they deal with loss without God? How to they deal with tragedy without God? How do they face death without God? All of these questions perplex me and drive me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. I don’t want anyone to deal with the crap of this world on their own.

I want people to lean on God through faith in Jesus.
I want people to know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
I want people to see their sinfulness and need for a Savior.
I want people to see their need to confess their sins.
I want people to hear God’s forgiveness through Jesus.
I want people to know the hope of the resurrection.
I want people to know Jesus.
I want people to give…

Glory to God

So in case you wanted to know what drives this pastor to serve and minister and write all these blog posts, well, there you go. It’s about Jesus. It’s about the Gospel. It’s about Life. It’s about giving…

Glory to God

…always and forever; for He is worthy.

The Pastor -|—

Changes and adjustments

I must admit…this new daddy role has taken some getting used to but it is sinking in more and more with each passing day.  There are many things I knew would change and others I didn’t know exactly how they would change.  I guess that just goes with the territory.  I keep learning and keep adjusting.  Eventually I will develop the illusion that I know what I am doing :-)

Anyway…

One of the big things I have been trying to get use to is working from home.  The congregation gave me the gift of working from home during the month of May so I could spend more time bonding with Mayah.  A couple days a week (when my wife is home) I do go into the office.

When this schedule first started I got a little frustrated because I didn’t anticipate how difficult this working from home would be.  I had big plans on how much I was going to get done while Mayah was sleeping.

Silly daddy…

The biggest problem was that I didn’t plan very well; so the first couple days at home not much work got done.  Now…I have planned my week out better and have set more realistic expectations for myself.  I have also adjusted my hours so I can get done everything that is expected of me by others and myself.

Wednesday was worship prep and sermon prep day from home.  I planned worship for Sunday and did some sermon prep reading and research.  Today (Thursday) I am home again but this time I will be fully ready to write the sermon while Mayah is sleeping…despite the fact I didn’t get much sleep last night.  Oh well…that’s what coffee is for.

So here we go…another day at home bonding with my little girl and doing ministry here in Jackson.  The best of both worlds.

The pastor/new daddy -|—

Daddy

Wow, it has been a while since I have posted here but believe me ~ I have a good reason:

I’m a daddy!

On April 26 my wife and I adopted the cutest little baby girl you will ever see.  We received a call on the 23rd that this baby was born on April 18 and that the birth mother has selected us to raise her daughter.  We were overjoyed, scared, nervous, thankful and a host of other emotions.  My wife and I packed up and left for Houston on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:30 p.m.  We drove through the night and arrived in Houston on Thursday afternoon.  Our daughter was placed in our arms on Friday night.

Her name is Mayah Jo.  Mayah is a Hebrew name meaning “close to God“.  And considering the ups and downs and ups we have been on, Mayah’s name is very appropriate and meaningful to us.  Our prayer is that Mayah grows up to realize this for herself; that God is close to her.

My wife and I will be sharing more about this amazing experience on our adoption blog ~ Adopted as an Heir.  We haven’t updated there for a while but it is coming.  And because of some privacy issues with adoption I will not be posting pictures of Mayah online (but like I said, she is cute).  I may sound over-protective but I am O.K. with that.  So I hope you understand.

Wow ~ daddy ~ it just boggles my mind that I can be referred as that.
God is so good!
God is so awesome!
God is so faithful (even when I’m not)!

Let all people praise and worship Him.

Let’s prayer together…
Loving God…you are so good.  You are so awesome.  Even when times are tough and the road looks bleak, you are there.  Even when the valley is dark and long, even when the storms rage oh so strong, you are there. Even when the hurt hurts so bad and the outlook looks so dim, you are there.  On the highest mountain top and lowest valley, you are there.  Satan would have us forget your goodness in the midst of despair; trying to convince us that you are some cosmic bully.  Satan would have us forget you in the good times; trying to convince us that we don’t need You.  But the Good News is that you reign supreme and you have chosen us.  We belong to you and Satan has no claim on us.  Help us to see you near us in the dark and tough times.  Help us to see you near in the bright and joyous times.  You are close to us always and forever.  God, Oh God, you are so, so good and we praise your holy name.  Through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

The Pastor a.k.a. Daddy -|—

Give1Save1

What in the world is Give1Save1?

The concept is simple:

It is an adoption website/blog that helps families raise money to help fund adoptions.  Give (at least) $1 and “Your dollar will be saving and restoring lives in all kinds of ways…

My wife and I were encouraged to check this site out.  Couples submit an application to be a featured family of the week; they make a short video talking about their adoption journey and that’s it.

Well…

…last week I got an email saying that we were selected to be a featured family.  Their web address is:   http://www.give1save1.com

Once there click on the United States and that will take you to the domestic adoption section.  We are the Hullstrom Family.  The “donate” button, below our video, connects directly to my PayPal account.

The other thing about this site is that there is no cost to us (except the time put in to create our video). And with the video we were blessed by many people bringing their gifts together to help us. I tell you…when God wants something done God doesn’t hold back.

Praise be to God!

But don’t get me wrong here though…I am not trying to solicit money from you; that’s not what I am doing.  If you feel called to help us…great…but more than anything I ask for your prayers for my wife and I. I also want to continue to raise awareness for adoption. There are so many couples out there called to adopt but adoption is an expense process; something that is difficult to do on your own.  My hope is that you will visit this site, read and watch the stories of other couples and decide if you are called to assist couples in bring a child(ren) into their homes.

Thank you for indulging me with all my adoption related posts recently.  I guess it is no secret that I am pretty excited and fired up about this topic.

God bless!

The pastor -|—

Adoption blog

Greetings one and all…what a beautiful morning :)

[Please excuse my chipperness (my new word for the day)…I am enjoying my morning coffee]

I wanted to let you know of a project my wife and I are working on.  We have started an adoption blog called Adopted as an Heir.  I wanted to have a central place for adoption related content instead of it getting lost in the shuffle with everything I write about here.

Our goal for this new blog is:
(1) To share what we have learned along our adoption journey.
(2) To share resources we have found helpful.
(3) To share how we have grown closer together.
(4) To share how we have grown closer to God.
(5) To educate
(6) To encourage
(7) And…whatever else God reveals to us in our journey.  The door is wide open.

I have written a few posts here already about our adoption journey (If you go to the “My Adoption Story” page above you can quickly find those posts). I (along with my wife) will be writing adoption related content on our new blog but you may still find adoption related posts here from time to time.

So feel free to stop by our new sight and share it with others.  We are still learning and growing and we are by no means experts.  My wife and I are just a couple of God’s children stumbling along in this process and seeing God’s blessings along the way.

I hope you enjoy :)

The pastor -|—

Praying scripture

The following is a prayer based on Psalm 23 that I wrote for a funeral; a prayer I prayed before preaching the message:

O Lord, you are our shepherd, therefore we shall never be in want; for you make us lie down in green pastures, you lead us beside quiet waters and you restore our souls. Thank you, Oh God. We ask now that you may guide us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake; for we want to give you praise and glory.

But during this time of mourning, Oh Lord, it feels as if we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  We ask that you may comfort us with your presence, keep us from fear and protect us from the evil one.

May we feast at your table in complete peace and comfort and security as You anoint us and fill our cups to overflowing.

Oh Lord our God, thank you, for your goodness and love follows us all the days of our lives, and through faith in Jesus Christ we are confident that we will dwell in Your house forever.

Amen.

_______________________________________________________

Don’t get me wrong here.  I am not trying to re-write scripture.  I just enjoy praying through scripture and using scripture to give my prayer a voice…and what better place to do this than in the Psalter.

When my wife and I were freshly grieving our failed adoption I immediately started reading in the book of Psalms.  I found those places where the psalmist was crying out to God; asking how long; wondering where God was at.  I was thankful that the psalmist gave me words to pray as I “borrowed” his words.  I was also thankful for the reminder that God is faithful. The psalmist may have been crying out to God but he usually ended with words of praise for God. I need those words too…so I “borrowed” them as well.

What a great diversity in the book of Psalms. No wonder Martin Luther called the Psalter a “little Bible”.

So…if you need some words for your prayer today…try the book of Psalms. If you don’t needs words right now…go to the Psalms anyway. You will need them eventually.

Praise be to God!

The pastor -|—