The journey of how the Savior ignited one woman with a passion to bring hope to the fatherless, and how He can add You to the equation!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hello everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful day of worship and rest. Again, I'm sorry that I have been very present this past week. This week I will be pretty sporadic in blogland, as well. Things are pretty hectic!

I have been reading the most amazing book by Beth Guckenberger, co-founder of Back2Back Ministies.

Have you read Reckless Faith? If not, you must! It's full of stories of God's grace, examples of His fiathfulness and protection for the orphan, and how we can live our life with abandon. I can't say enough good about it!

I was reading from it yesterday, and wanted to share an excerpt that describes an orphans world beautifullly. It is tragic, but needed to be said and shared. I hope you'll read on!

"Later that same fall, while hosting a team from the States, I try to explain...'We need help with the children's hearts. There is nothing for the gospel to be planted in. We don't just need to cultivate the soil; we need to add soil so the seed has someplace to take root.'
...I grab a piece of paper and begin.
 'Imagine that this piece of paper is the heart of an orphan. Every one of them has been abandoned or abused. There is no exception. For some, they don't remember the day they were dropped off; they just slowly grow up with the realization that they lived differently than other children....

For others, however, they do remember the moment they were left behind, and usually it starts with a lie. They are told they are going to a fair or a carnival, so they skip off the bus or jump out of the taxi and run toward the other children...Then sometimes later on that night, it hits them....
'Whenever that first moment of abuse or abandonment happens, it's like ripping a heart in half.' I rip the paper, 'Then, after that first trip, more start coming.
'You are the orphan kid in school [rip]. You aren't invited to someone's birthday part [rip]. You don't feel good and no one cares [rip]. It's your birthday and no one remembers [rip]. It's visitation day and no one comes to visit [rip]. It's visitation day and someone comes to visit, but they only end up walking away [rip].

'You don't play sports or go to school plays because there isn't anyone to pay the fees or cheer you on or pick you up [rip]...
'With each rip the heart gets smaller and smaller and harder and harder, so it's no wonder that when I told that girl, 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,' she gave me a look that said, 'Great plan.  I don't wany anything to do with a God who had this in mind.'"

I hope that you've read this with an open heart and open mind. All of these orphans carry burdens their little hearts and bodies were never intended to bear. I hope this excerpt will awaken your spirit and call you into action. Have a blessed week, everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sorry ya'll, it's been one crazy, busy, no-time-to-blog kind of week! I'm tired out of my mind, but I wanted to leave a little note that Thursdays for a Change will have to be put on hold this week. What a way to start out, huh?! Oh well, you can't stop life when it hits you!
By the way...

 how are your buckets coming? I hope that you're saving up some dough for orphans, and that you're able to teach your family in friends about orphan care during the challenge. Night all!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Be a Rebel

My husband had a student in our church come up to him and ask about a song he'd just heard. It was by a Christian rap artist named LeCrae, and in it he speaks of Jesus being a rebel. The student said, "I'm not sure about this song. I mean, he calls Jesus a rebel! What do you think about that?" My husband's response? "Well, yeah, Jesus was a rebel! Maybe the greatest rebel ever! He changed everything! He stepped in and called their way of living into question. He said if you wanna live this life, you've got to lose it!"

It reminded me of how, as imitators of Christ, we should have that same character. When people look at us, as Christians, they should not see the status quo. They should take one look at us, how we run our lives and our families, where we put our money and energy, and think that we're just weird. It's not commonplace to put the desires of others before your own. It's not popular to forego the material wants of this world and instead pursue with passion the things of God. But hey, isn't it what we're called to do?

"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is, destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father wil honor and reward anyone who serves me." John 12:24-26, The Message

The call to orphan care is not for the faint at heart. It is not normal to yearn and desire for a child who is not your own. The ladies in your social club most likely will not understand if you choose to wage war against poverty and disease in order to defend the orphan in their distress.(James 1:27). It is not common to pack yours bags and go to a foreign country in order to give aid to those less fortunate. There very well may be people within your church who do not understand. This call may not be popular, but it is necessary. After all, we are called to live with abandon for Christ's sake. We are called to go against the grain; to be rebels for God's glory.

God’s position on orphan care is clear. Orphan care is not merely charity; it's Gospel. He wants us, as Christians, to have a part in it. Adoption and orphan care are not suggestions of how to go about ministering, they are mandates for Christ’s church. They spur us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and abandoned, and beckon us to give ourselves away in order to bless another. One of the most selfless things we can do is open our hearts and homes to a child. It involves putting our wants to the wayside, and truly becoming the hands and feet of the church. When we reach out to children that are not our flesh and blood, may not look like us, talk like us, or be the same color as us, it slaps Satan in the face! The very notion that we would love outside of ourselves goes against everything the world has to say about Christians. It's weird.
The Bible says we should be set apart. The end of James 1:27 states true religion is to "keep oneself from being polluted by the world", and the world knows this. A watching world is waiting to see if we will live out the hope we proclaim in Christ Jesus. Our unbelieving neighbors are watching us intently to see if we practice what we preach. Let's show them just how reckless we can be.

Are you ready to be a rebel?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Fun and a Little Life Lesson

With one child away, we decided to go have some fun. We did a little school shopping, some fish-watching (the baby loves aquariums!), and some general meandering. A great Saturday; lazily going about enjoying the day with our first-born.

Part of that fun involved going to a brand new Christian bookstore in our area.

Now there is something you need to understand. We love books in my house!

My husband is a pastor. Before surrendering to the call, he was a journalism major. Writing and reading is what he does - it's what he loves. I wrote several books while in grade school (What? You've never heard of them?!) and used to proof read youth members' school papers for them. My oldest will be in first grade this year, but reads on a third grade level. And she can't read books fast enough to satisfy her hunger. She reads to my youngest daily.

So you can understand how exciting it was for us to peruse the aisles of this grand bookstore, milling through all of the titles and looking for the perfect book. When all was said and done, we found ourselves having to put book after book back because there was just no way we could afford all of them! We walked out of the store with at least one book for all of us. As soon as my daughter got into the car she began to read her book. By the time we got to our next destination, she had finished it! As she put it down to look for another, she said, "Mama, I loved that book. And I didn't realize it was a true story! I just love how that lost baby found her mommy".


Oh, the joy that filled my heart when I realized that my baby had read about the miracle of adoption!

Has your child read it?

It's so cute, and good, and wonderful! It's written by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, founders of Show Hope and adoptive parents to three Asian princesses. And it's illustrated by Jim Chapman, who is Mary Beth's brother and whose family has also been blessed through adoption. You should pick it up today.
And if you are looking for a phenomenal read, look no further than Choosing to SEE", Mary Beth's chronicle of how God's path for them led to adoption, and the heartache of loosing their precious daughter, Maria. It is a tear-jerker, eye-opener for sure!

Although my daughter knows my heart for adoption, she does not yet fully understand it. Her book opened her eyes to the world of an orphan, and gave us an opportunity to talk openly about what we can do to change it. What a blessing! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday For A Change

What are Thursdays good for, anyway? I mean, there they sit, sandwiched between the mundane existence of workdays Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday's "bring on the party" celebration. Poor Thursday, though; it doesn't even get a cool nickname! At least it didn't until now!

Welcome to Thursdays For a Change! Since we all need something to look forward to on Thursday, I would like to begin a weekly challenge; using our creative efforts to benefit the world around us. For the very first Thursday challenge, I'm making Buckets For Change.

Grab a bucket, pail, jar, or whatever other container you have handy. I just happened to find some adorable bright, cheery buckets at Target in the Dollar Spot. Next, you'll wanna decorate your bucket. I'm gonna leave this one up to you because, #1- I wanna see your amazing craftiness, and #2- I'm still pretty new to this blog stuff, and didn't think to make step by step tutorial pictures; ha! I used simple black rub on transfers, but you may use fabrics, stickers, glitter - whatever you'd like! Here are some examples of the fabulousness:
You know you love that painted goodness!

The crisp black lettering makes this look soooo good!

This would be great if you're doing your bucket with your kids.

And this one? Well, you just can't look at it and be unhappy!

Scrappy happy!

And this is mine!

The sky's the limit when it comes to these! Once you've decorated, set your bucket in a place of prominence within your home, workplace or church. Each time you see it, empty your loose change in the bucket. Encourage others to do it, as well. When people ask what the bucket's for, you can tell them "This is how I'm changing the world"! Once you've completely filled your bucket, send the money to The Sparrow Fund, Show Hope, Holt International, or an adoptive family/foster home in your area. So, are you ready to make a difference?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Suffering produces Hope

I have a friend. A wonderful man who is loved by all those around him. A  happy guy who always has a joke for when you need a laugh. A big, teddy bear whom children flock to, and who always seems to have a neverending supply of lollipops.

My friend was in an accident about 2 months ago, and it left him with a broken collar bone, and several fractures in his back. In the blink of an eye, his future became very uncertain. All of the sudden his hopes and dreams shrank, and the biggest hope he and his family had for tomorrow was to see him walk again. Yet he didn't loose that smile.

I tell you all this because I believe in small victories. Because I know that baby steps may be shaky and wobbly, and small, but they still will get you to your destination. And I can say this with renewed certainty, because my friend walked today.

I wish you could have seen his face, captured in the photo I was shown. He was smiling the biggest smile I think I've ever seen. And the therapist had a smile that was just as big! They weren't just smiles, they were badges of honor.
The hard-earned rewards of persistence, courage, and faith. They were proudly displaying the laurels of hope, and boy; did they look good!

His expression brought tears of joy to my eyes, and they reminded me, once again, that our hope is not found in the things of this world. Our hope is found in Christ alone. It is by His strength that this man was able to walk again, and it is through Him that we can call even our sufferings blessings! My buddy is a living example of this, and I pray that he uses each triumph, as well as every struggle, to glorify the One who makes all things new.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Does ONE Person Make A Difference For The Millions?

This question is daunting, I know. I've asked myself this same question a thousand times or more. It's the reason I started this blog.
To give hope to those who feel insignificant.
To inspire those who wish to make a difference.
To remind myself that it only takes one willing heart.
One person can change the world for orphans. Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. We still haven't answered the question! As I've prayed and read and researched, one of the things that the Lord has told me over and over again is not to discouraged. Small measures may feel like tiny grains of sand in a giant ocean, but those grains add up, and soon you have a beach shore. With every measure, we are building the foundation on which millions of orphans can be saved from extreme poverty and maltreatment, sex trafficking, malnutrition and more. We CAN make a difference! Let me show you how!
  • Pray for the millions of orphans who will not know the love of a father and mother tonight.
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child in foster care.
  • Receive training to become a foster parent, or give respite care to foster parents in your area.
  • Host baby showers or "gotcha day" parties for expectant adoptive parents.
  • Host an Orphan Sunday event in your church or community. Go here to get more info. and for resources to share with your church/civic leaders.
  • Start a small group within your home and review materials concerning the plight of the fatherless. Consider looking here or here for materials.
  • Host a 5K, garage sale, cupcake sale or other fundraiser for orphan care. There are many different organizations to support. Show Hope offers adooption grants and cares for special needs orphans. World Orphans and Stella's Voice build suitable orphanages and offer much-needed care.
  • Support organizations that speak up for the less fortunate. These are numerous, but some of my favorites are WorldVision, Compassion International, Show Hope and Holt International.
  • Prayerfully consider welcoming an orphan into your home.