Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thank You Anonymous!!!

Since I can't thank you in person here is a note to express my deep gratitude and to tell the world what God did today through YOU!

Today you Mr. and/or Mrs. Anonymous gave me a 2002 Honda CRV!

Thank you for being so faithful! Thank you for trusting God and investing your money in my family! You could have done so many other things with that money but you got us a car! Thank you for being obedient! Thank you for this incredible gift! Thank you for getting me a cool car!

Here is just a short list of the things I love about my new car! I love that it has air conditioning (for 3 yrs I've been driving without A/C or heat), I love that it has a sun roof, I love that it is all wheel drive, I love that it has a CARD TABLE that pops out of the cargo bay, I love the color green, I love the khaki interior, I love that it has 100 different compartments for me to stash all my gear, I love that it has 4 brand new tires, I love that it has a new battery, I love that it only has 54K miles, I love how it handles, I love that my wife feels safe in it (and it will be a safe car for her to drive to her Atlanta doctor appts), I love the orange glow of the dash, I love how bright the headlights are, I love the little table that pops up between the front two seats, I love that it has three cup holders in the front, I love how many interior dome lights it has, I love how good the speakers sound (my old ones only crackled), I love that it is such a tangible reminder of God's love and grace towards us!

As if the car wasn't enough you also put a gift basket in the front seat full of individually gift wrapped gift cards to: REI, Whole Foods, Target, Starbucks, Sonic, iTunes and Restaurants. Plus you put a giant bag of our favorite popcorn in there and a sweet typed letter! Thank You! God is so good! God gives such incredible gifts

I will never forget this day. Here's how it went on my end of the story. I walked out of a late lunch meeting with my friend Jeff at Oscar's Taco Shop (delish) and received a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered, though ordinarily I'd let it go to voice mail.  The man on the other end introduced himself as Q (true) and said he was with Daryl Waltrip Pre-Owned vehicles and he had my car ready. I said, "um I don't have a car there." The man said, "No someone is giving you a car. It's all been paid for - tag, tax and title included. All you need to do is come pick it up." My heart was racing.  My mind was racing. I kept feeling like this was some kind of sales technique like when you "win" a free vacation. The man could tell I wasn't convinced so he said, "If I'm kidding then I'll refill your gas tank for going to the trouble of driving down here." I said, "okay I'll be there at 4:30". I drove to our house with my mouth open. As I drove I prayed out loud, "Jesus...what are you doing?"  Eliana was at a baby sitter's and Lindsey was resting. I walked in our bedroom - woke Lindsey up and said, "Lindsey wake up. I have something to tell you. It's good news. Someone has given us a Honda CRV and we need to go pick it up!" 

Going to pick up our new car was the longest drive ever!  Lindsey and I were chatting nonstop wondering what in the world was going on. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as we pulled into the lot. The salesmen at the Honda dealership seemed to be as amazed as we were. They had never heard of such a thing. They told me that you wanted to remain anonymous which just mde the whole thing feel that much more dramatic and exciting! It felt like we were on TV. One guy even got on the intercom and joked, "Ashton Kutcher you can come out've been punked!" Which is what it felt like - as if cameras were on us and someone would rush out any minute and yell it's not real, but the crazy thing is - it is real! We were given a car today!!! By the way - you were very sneaky because your name didn't appear on ANY of the paper work anywhere! I have no idea how you managed all of this!

I called my Dad to tell him the good news and he hardly even seem surprised (though he didn't know anything about today's gift).  Dad said, "well that's exactly what we've been praying for!" I love my parent's faith! They both were just sure that God was going to provide us a vehicle! God hears our prayers all right - and takes really good care of his kids!

Tonight all three of us (Lindsey, Eliana and I) piled in our new CRV for Eliana's night night drive. As we drove Lindsey and I just marveled at God's provision. I just finished moving all my gear from my old jeep to the new car and I'm still just stunned.

From now on - anytime you see a green Honda CRV let it remind you that God is faithful. If you happen to pass me on the road be sure to honk!

Grace and Peace,
Chris Wheeler
Proud owner of a 2002 Honda CRV!

PS Eliana loves the CRV and wants to eat all of our meals off of the card table in the back!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

family sticks together

Yesterday was a big day for our precious was kindergarten preview day!  This is a day that I have pretty much looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time.  I can't believe Eliana is old enough for kindergarten.  I feel like it was just yesterday when we stepped off of the airplane from Guatemala holding her in our arms...our little forever family finally together in the U.S.  So much has happened since bringing her home.  We've had extreme highs and extreme lows...but our love has never wavered.  She is our gift from God.  Her name means "God answered our prayers" and He did.  I could not have birthed a child more perfect for us.  I truly believe that. 

After preview day, we had an incident that will forever be ingrained in my memory.  Eliana was exhausted beyond belief and full of anxiety from her big morning in a new school surrounded by tons of faces.  Sweet girl went to the bathroom four times in two hours....four.  On the outside she looked like all of the other kindergartners, but on the inside I knew she was struggling...full of questions and worry.  A few hours after we left, I ran her to the UPS store to mail something to a friend.  She seemed fine.  Then, just like a flip of a light switch...she was not fine.  We had walked to the car and I turned around and she was GONE.  Seriously, two seconds.  I looked frantically and saw her through the windows of the dry cleaners next to UPS.  So, I take off running (this is not abnormal...I chase her everywhere).  I walk in and in a calm voice tell the lady behind the counter that I am so sorry.  She barely spoke English which just made everything worse.  Eliana was already in the back of the dry cleaners...losing her mind.  This is not a tantrum that "normal" five year olds have...this is a child experiencing an intense panic attack.  I ran in the back and things went from bad to worse in a few short minutes.  She was weaving in and out of the racks of freshly cleaned clothes...I'm praying nothing would get ruined or broken.  Her panic turned to rage and lasted more than 15 minutes in front of a woman that did not have a clue what was going on.  I remained calm and tried every Karyn Purvis trick in the book....EVERY SINGLE ONE!  If you have not parented a "trauma" child...this might not make sense.  You can't grab your child and walk out.  If I grabbed her, all hell would break loose.  I just kept calmly telling Eliana "you are safe"..."let's go pick up daddy"..."I love you"..."I'm so sorry you're anxious" over and over.  The lady is looking at me like I am a child abuser.  A lot more happened, but you get the idea. 

Then, the lady says, "ma'am, your car is getting wet."  I look out the window and realized when I took off running after Eliana, I left my car door open.  And much to my surprise (and the lady), the sprinkler system went on ALL inside my car.  I am literally watching 3 different sprinklers spraying inside my car and I can't do anything about it.  Honestly, I think I might have laughed at this point.  So, I am telling Eliana that we need to go close the doors, our car is getting soaked, etc...that didn't help.  So, after a long while...I get her to the front of the store.  And, finally I am luring her to the car with promises that we need to get some food or a treat.  Things didn't get better in the car.  She lost it on a whole new level.  I want to protect her and not share details...but it was pretty horrific.  I was begging God to bring peace, trying my best not to cry or scream or lose it.  Finally, my sweet girl became exhausted.

The next thing that happened broke my heart into a thousand pieces.  I looked in the back seat and she is curled up in a ball crying her eyes out.  I just kept repeating..."It's safe baby"..."no one is going to get you"..."I'm not going anywhere."  She looked at me sobbing and said "momma, I'm so sorry" and "momma, are you going to give me away?"  Then continued to repeat, "please don't give me away."  I'm crying just writing this.  Eliana has NEVER heard those words come out of our mouths...she does not even fully understand her adoption.  This is a deep, dark wound that was left when she was given up as a baby.  I cried and just told her a thousand times over that we would NEVER leave her.  That she is 100% our girl and we are family.  I repeated our biggest family rule that "FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER."  I couldn't tell her enough how much Chris and I loved her.  The fact that she has to struggle with this makes me want to cry for days on end.  But, we are making breakthroughs.  And her counselor said this was a really good sign that she is being vulnerable.  Her heart is precious and tender.  There are moments when our little family of 3 feels like we are in a war and then other times, I feel so incredibly blessed.  This was one of those moments.  I was hurting for what just happened...but overwhelmed with the love I have for my girl.  Like I said before, I truly believe with all of my heart, God created her for us.  We will keep fighting to help her little heart heal.  We will not give up.  Please keep praying for our precious Eliana Hope...for healing for her little brain and heart.  My God is a God of restoration...and I'm so thankful He chose me to be her momma. 

Love you all,


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