Tuesday, November 10, 2015

If We Are His Body:Loving Children Like Jesus Did

Romans 12: 4-5 "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

While every individual's gifting is certainly a very personal matter the above verses are crystal clear. We, the Church of Christ, are the earthly manifestation of His body. Upon Christ's ascension into heaven and the first believers encounter and anointing of the Holy Spirit we were commissioned to be Christ's body until his return.

We are his hands, his feet, his mouth piece. We are called to continue the good and holy works that Jesus performed during his time here on earth. We, the Church of Christ, are utterly failing. So many of us sit in our church bubbles, involved in our church ministries, aimed at our church children, and wonder why the world is falling apart. We look on from "afar" at our missionaries to other countries and we put a little extra in the offering plate and then head to our comfortable homes and our good paying jobs. We look on at the members in our church who have taken on foster or adoptive children and we give them a pat on the back, we send them a meal that first week they join as a family and then we ignore their desperation as they begin the treacherous work of dealing with violent out bursts, eating dilemmas, reactive attachment disorders, etc. We look at them and tell them that we love them with our words but we all too often sit motionless as if God left His body somehow devoid of arms and legs with which to go and to gather the lost and the hurting, the meek and the lowly at heart.

Mark 10:13-16 says this, "People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

If we are His body then why are our arms drawing the little children to us? Why even in the midst of our outreach programs are we so unaware and uninformed regarding the issues that these children are facing that their "bad behavior" leads us to be like the disciples in the above passage instead of like the God who was indignant over the absurdity of turning them away.

I was recently pointed some statistics in the United States. They are dated 2013 so I'm sure the numbers have changed a bit sense then. Some states seemed "better than others" in comparison, but every state's statistic brought me to a point of indignant and righteous anger. What we can come to understand, is that in every single state there are more churches than their are orphans. In the entirety of the United States there are more than 3 times as many churches as their are orphans. That means if one family in every 3 churches adopted a child there would be no more orphans.

So many will go onto quote that adoption is expensive. It is, there are interesting and unique obstacles you must travel through in order to adopt. However, if 3 churches would get behind that 1 family and support them financially through that process, the cost would be minuscule and we would have no more orphans.

Not everyone is a hand, not everyone can be the feet, not everyone has a heart that is prepared for adoption, but if every piece of the body did what every piece of the body was suppose to do we could support the families who are God's heart in this area and we, as the community and body of Christ could eleminate the orphan crisis in our country and could even go on to eliminate the crisis in the entirety of our world.

What are you doing today to be the body of Christ that made clear the importance and the value of children? How are you supporting God's heart toward the orphan? If you haven't arleady check out our mission page and get involved. Let us wipe out our orphan foster care crisis one child, one family, one church, one community, one state, and one nation at a time. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Call to Action

I am but one person and cannot eliminate our foster care crisis alone. We must work together in order to see real and measurable change. So here is my mission to you....

  1. Think of a practical way you can help in your own county. (Here are a few ideas to get you started)
    • Start a Christmas food, clothing, and toy drive for your local Children's Services program
    • Create hygiene gift bags to be distributed throughout the year (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, makeup, feminine products, etc)
    • Collect new and like new duffle bags for foster children so that they might have something all their own to transport clothing in. (A trash bag should never contain your entire life)
    • Create a weekly program at your church aimed at teens who will soon age out of the foster system. From there create relationships that will last a life time.
    • Collect new or gently used baby items and clothing for children who will enter their foster homes without much. (you can do this by hosting a "baby shower" of sorts at your church)
    • Compile a list of foster families in your community as well as a list of families in your church who would be willing to provide alternate or respite care, then match up families and watch relationships blossom
  2. Get me your ideas along with any posters or flyers detailing your ministry. Not good at creating online graphics? No problem.... send me the info regarding your ministry i.e. what you are doing, what state, what county, and contact info and I'll create a poster or flyer for you to feature on the site.
  3. Share the heck out of this blog and your individual states link so that those in your area will be able to connect with one another and reach these children in a way they have never been reached before. (p.s. sharing could mean stepping out of your comfort zone and speaking in front of your church or every church in your community)
Together, we The Church, can bring Jesus to the entire nation through lives of the children He values so much.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Old Mission with a New Outlook

To those who know me well, it will come as no surprise that the foster care system is near and dear to my heart. It is a flawed, rip your heart out (repeatedly), unproductive system in many ways, however, the children within it are worth our acknowledgement, our time, our love, and our undying dedication.

I grew up in a family that took in several foster children. Each story heart breaking in so many ways. Some had wonderful endings like little Joseph who went on to be adopted by the daughter of his second foster family and attended school with my sister (whose arrival in my mother's womb brought with it a bed-ridden pregnancy which ultimately led to his needing to be placed in a new home). So thankful for the way that story turned out. Others are completely tragic with the cycle of neglect and criminal behavior being passed from generation to generation.

My heart since a very young age has always been so burdened with a desire to take in orphans, to change their lives, to be Jesus to the least of us. I would beg my parents to adopt a baby for me to take care of. When the safe haven laws passed in the U.S., I placed a basket with baby blankets on the front porch and waited anxiously for the day I would hear a newborn cry beneath my bedroom window.

The years passed and no newborns were dropped on my door step. Events occurred that changed my plans for life, in so many amazing ways. I have been married to a sweet and loving man for 9 years now. We have 4 beautiful and healthy children. We are able to provide them with so much. A beautiful home, food on the table, a personalized home school education, etc, etc. We are beyond blessed.

As time has gone on there are many times when I look back on my "teenage ready-to-conquer-the-
world self" and wonder what would have happened if I had not had some of the painful experiences that I did. Would things be different? Would I be in my meager home in the middle of India or Haiti with my hundreds of orphaned children?

In some ways pondering these things brought me to a state of sadness for the passion that seems so hindered by my daily responsibilities. Slowly though, God has been revealing to me a new outlook on my old mission. He is taking me from a sense of loss over what I thought would be, to a sense of desire for what He now intends.

There is nothing that He places on our hearts that will not be seen through to completion. The fatherless are a part of my ministry and a part of my being. When I was woven in my mother's womb God knew He would bring me to such a work as this.

This blog will be my jumping board for what is to come. As God takes me on this journey I ask that you join me through prayer, suggestions, resources, donations, and anything else He may lay on your heart to bring. It is my hope to use this blog as a way to advocate for those with no one in their corner, to provide for them in a way that I could never do on my own, and to raise awareness in the body of Christ regarding this great and dire need.

We have come to a place where we let the world dictate how we "tithe". We see constant requests from welfare organizations and cps for new funding and the passing of new levy's. We complain as we see our taxes raised and how money is being spent unwisely (which it is because worldly powers can never bring the provisions that Christ can) and yet we allow God's command, His commission to the church, to be neglected.

When we search out God's word for His message on the fatherless we can find 56 verses, many so clear that our lack of involvement should be considered criminal. In fact, according to scripture it is. Exodus 22:22-24 says this, "You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless." James 1:27 also says this, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." 

God has called us to the weak. He has called us to be like Jesus. Jesus, the rebel, who was a friend to sinners, a friend to women, a friend to the least of these. Jesus who brought healing to those He came in contact with. Jesus who called the little children to Himself when even the disciples turned them away. Jesus who came to this world and took on our sins so that we would no longer be called orphans, but instead could claim the title Child of The One True King. God calls us to be like Jesus and that means stepping beyond our pro-life stance and into a pro-active one that values the unborn, the child, the teen, the meek and the lowly in heart. Help me on the journey to bring Jesus to our nations fatherless.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Whenever I hear that word, "Fame", I think of the song. You know the one that goes, "I'm gonna live forever" and "Baby, remember my name." Yeah that's about all I remember. What can I say, it's before
my time. The truth is, in light of what is going on today, it is something I have on my mind. Some of you may be my regular readers, some of you may be coming to my site because you saw the link to my book onThe Time Warp Wife webpage. (If that's the reason by the way, soooo cool and welcome).

Now I am in no way implying that I'm famous or even that I ever will be, but if I were to become famous what is it that I would want to be famous for? What do I want people to remember about my name? About my life? About my character? While writing a book, writing for Deliberate Women, and writing my own blog are fun and amazing things, I hope that is not all that people see or remember of me after I am gone.

I hope that my children remember a mom who loved them and loved to teach them about Jesus. I hope that my husband remembers a wife who respects and values him and chooses to behave as Christ would in our relationship. I hope that my friends and family remember how much I loved and cared for them and that they remember the times I was able to point them to good Godly advice and scripture. I hope that the world can see Christ's love and a hope for eternity through my life. I hope that my legacy for future generations of grandchildren and great grandchildren is a Christ-centered one.

I guess through all of this I have learned, that if someone were to look at me or something that I have worked on and remember one name, I would want that name to be Jesus.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Day in the Life of Job

Ever have an experience where you feel like things just can’t get any worse and then something else happens to prove you wrong? Me too. In fact that kind of seems to be my life for the past few months. First, dealing with my miscarriage, then my daughter lost the blanket I have had since I was three and she has grown very attached to, throw in a bunch of crappy days full of things like kids dumping toilet water all over your floor, then another big whopper when 5 of my rooms were flooded by a broken pipe, the demolition that has begun in my house, being told that we had to go to a hotel as we won’t have a kitchen or bathrooms for the next several days (this turned into a 2 month long hotel stay), a mail full of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills from the surgery I had to have after I miscarried, strep throat, and poison ivy over 90% of my body all while still in the hotel.

As my house was flooding before my eyes and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone who might have a clue as to where I could find a shut off valve, grief and panic overtook my typical calm in the storm attitude. I literally cried out “Seriously God? What are you trying to teach me? We have had one thing after another happen lately and I feel like I have handled them pretty well. I haven’t cursed your name and turned away. I’ve honored you through every storm. What am I not getting?” 

I am not a perfect being, I make mistakes and fall short of what I would like to be almost daily. While there are moments of frustration with my children and irritated conversations that have occurred between myself and my husband in the past months, I can truly say that I believe whole heartedly I have honored God in the many difficult situations of the past few months. However, I have begun to struggle with a concept that was never a struggle for me before. I am not a fearful person. Based on the word of God I am not fearful and naturally it has just never really occurred to me to fear the every day. I have watched my husband go off to war for 15 months, I send him daily to a job where death can be found at the next routine stop. For many, these situations would elicit immobilizing fear. For me, for many years, I was at peace. It wasn’t that I didn’t worry about my husbands safety at times, it was that I knew that whether or not he continues to come home to me will never change the plan that God has for me. Lately though, despite my knowledge that God does not give me a spirit of fear I can’t quit thinking about the what ifs. What if my husband dies at work tonight? What if Avynne didn’t wake up in the middle of the night because she quit breathing and I forgot to check on her before I went to bed? 

I have been literally feeling these questions being pushed into mind. One minute I am thinking pleasant wonderful thoughts and the next minute dreadful ones. This is not me, its not how I was designed, and it goes against all the God given facts I know to be true. These thoughts are the works of Satan who wishes to control me by my fear of letting things of this world go. Our families are wonderful blessings from God, and they each have souls with eternities attached, but our dependence on these relationships, our inability to let God do what needs to be done with what is His, that is earthly.

I think of Job. He had wonderful things. God had blessed him in all aspects of his life and Job was grateful for his gifts, however, Job was aware of where his heavenly treasure did not lie. Job 1:21 says, ‘“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” Job 2:9-10 says, “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’”
There are many things that can be learned from Job, and he was not all peace, love, and happiness throughout his turmoil. In fact, he cursed the day he was born and wished that it had never happened (I thought very similar thoughts during my fight with poison ivy). Through it all though, he never once cursed God. He didn’t stop believing that God was worthy of praise simply because his own life wasn’t going the way he had planned or wanted for it to go. At the end of Job’s story we see restoration, healing, and blessings that went above and beyond the blessings that Job had once possessed. 

Our ways are not His ways, but through every trial and tribulation we can know that we are never alone. We can know that God is enough. We may get handed a plate that is far too full for us to carry, we often are faced with situations that are too much for us to handle, but for every situation like this that we face we can be sure that the arms of a loving Savior are ready and waiting for us to run into them. We are given situations that we can’t handle so that we can learn to run to Him. We are faced with the loss of earthly belongings and relationships so that we might be reminded of how little this life has to offer when compared to a heavenly eternity. This world is not my home and the things of this world can never be my security. My day in the life of Job has brought me back to a place where I am reminded that no matter what is stripped from me, my hope and my joy can be found in the Lord and the Lord alone.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Time for Everything

I have been learning a lot lately about timing, patience, and reliance on God. I have been thinking quite frequently on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8(NLT) which says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” There is so much that can be taken from these verses, in fact, I could see an entire study coming from just these 8 verses (maybe I’ll write one), but right in this moment, in this situation, in this season of my life I am focused on verse 4 which says “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”

In that verse it seems so cut and dry; while the times of grief and sorrow may be difficult to handle we will also be given a time to dance. However, in the midst of a sorrowful time in my own family’s life; time when tears and grief are expected and a healthy response to loss, I am finding it hard to see it as acceptable to be fully focused on the sorrow of my own situation. While I am going through a season of loss, I am constantly reminded that others are going through their seasons of rejoicing. These others range from perfect strangers on the street to dear friends who are finally getting through their times of loss. So the challenge that I am facing, one that I succeed at fully on some days and not so much on others is how do I rejoice with those who are in a season of laughter and dancing when I am shoulder deep in a season of grief?

I for one am an extremely empathetic person, I don’t just feel bad for other people when they are hurting, I literally feel hurt and pain myself. It might not be the same level of pain, it might not have the actual experience attached, but I am a woman who hears about the loss of a child, or about a new mother’s semi conscious coma and will lose sleep agonizing over what those involved must be feeling. This most recent time in my life has allowed me to practice the other side of this coin. All the information I have been given or read on the emotions one often experiences with miscarriage have had a section on the resentment that is often felt towards other woman who are pregnant or have newborns, etc. Before I had my surgery, in fact only moments after having the sonogram that revealed my baby had died I was determined that I would not do that to myself, to other women, or to the precious blessing of new life in this world.

It is by God’s grace that I am continuing to accomplish this task. We have had friends who had babies just days before I found out, friends who had babies a few weeks after my surgery, friends who announced their pregnancies in the midst of that week and a half from sonogram to surgery, friends who are finally starting their family through the power of answered prayer and adoption. Each family is unique, some never knew they wanted kids until they day they found out they were pregnant, others were expanding their families, some just found out they were pregnant with their first baby, others had been waiting for several years to even know what ethnicity or age or background their children were going to have.

I will not lie, I have had my days of struggle. Days where the sorrow seemed too much to let in any laughter or dancing, but I have a God who designed me in a very specific way and who allowed me to experience the other side of empathy. So over the past few weeks while I have been processing the sorrow of this my season of life I have come to a grand conclusion, while I may be going through a season of sorrow there are so so so many people who are finally entering their seasons of joy, their seasons of laughter, their seasons of healing. While it might not be any comfort to understand this when it comes to strangers who pass you on the street and with whom you may never have any involvement, I have found it extremely comforting to know that even in MY time of sorrow that God has placed people and families and situations in my life that are worth rejoicing over. Romans 12:15 says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” So those verses from Ecclesiastes aren’t cut and dry. Yes we each have seasons in our individual life that are full of sorrow, or full of joy, full of building or full of tearing down, but for every time we are in a certain season of life we will be sure to be able to look up out of our own world and see that the lives of others aren’t often experiencing the same season. We get the chance to weep with those who are in times of trial and grief, we get the privilege to rejoice with those who are entering seasons of healing and joy and laughter, and if we choose to move our focus from our own pain and suffering we may just get the opportunity to find some joy, and laughter and dancing mixed in with the storm.

Father God, thank you so much for the many blessing you have bestowed not only on my family but on the family of others. Father, right now I am specifically rejoicing for my dear friends Angela and Joe. I am rejoicing for answered prayer, perfect timing, and for no holding back when you answer. I am rejoicing that three precious little ones will get to have two amazing parents and that two dedicated followers who are steadfast in their faith and commitment to you will have the opportunity to grow and nurture and teach these children who you are and that you have a purpose for them. Thank you God for the opportunities to stop focusing on my own little world and to see life through your eyes, to see that even in times of sorrow there are so many reasons to rejoice. In your precious name, heavenly Father I thank you, Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Royal Calling

With all of this royal baby news, and the most recent video of Prince William and Duchess Katherine presenting their baby to the world, I got to thinking. I looked at Kate holding her newborn son and wondered, “Has it hit her yet?”, you know the realization that in her arms she is holding royalty. She just gave birth to a prince. Her little guy due to name and bloodline could someday be King.

I wonder if the thoughts going through her head are similar to those of Mary. Katherine’s son, whether he wants it or not has duties, responsibilities, and tasks set before him before his little mind can even comprehend them, before his body can perform them. In a much more significant, yet less grand way Mary gave birth not just to a king, but to the King of kings. She gave birth to a baby whom she was told would be the Savior of all. I highly doubt she knew exactly what that meant, but somewhere deep down she knew there were things this little boy in her arms would have to face, things he was responsible for completing, and though she didn’t know the details just yet she must have at least sensed the danger that always comes with a task so important and necessary.

I imagine that Kate and Mary have much in common. Each being so enthralled with the birth of their first baby, each being caught up in the moment, the new exciting reality of every day with a new born, yet each in the quiet moments of the night as they hold their new born baby wondering what life and the future will hold for a child with so much responsibility already resting on his shoulders.

One of the biggest differences in the realities of these two women lies in the announcement. In some ways similar, the new prince had his birth announced on the steps of the hospital, our King was announced with a brand new star in the sky. Yet unlike the celebration that Katherine and William get to enjoy with most of the world rejoicing over the birth of her son, Mary and Joseph were quickly whisked to a country that was not their own to seek refuge from those who wished to see their son, our Savior, dead. Most of the world did not fall on bended knee, the “reporters” were not swarming to get the latest on the baby prince’s new life, they weren’t heading back to a life of riches and royalty. Instead they were running from hit men and living in poverty.

I wonder if Mary ever wondered “who am i, who am I to have given birth to a king?” She had so little that she couldn’t even give birth in an inn. She instead gave birth to her baby in a barn having no bed for her baby she had to place him in a manger to sleep. I am sure that while she was very willing to do God’s will that she often wondered why her, that she felt inadequate and weak. She probably felt incapable of providing her Royal Baby with a life that could properly serve his needs or his station, and yet God called her, God chose her. 

Often there are tasks set before us that seem too big to handle, too important to be given to us and yet God does give them. He calls us to tasks that seem insurmountable, unbelievable, and unachievable. He calls us to things that are above and beyond our abilities, that could easily point out all of our weaknesses, failures, and flaws and asks us to trust Him. He urges us to pursue these callings by leaning on His strength instead of depending on our own. In this way He turns our weakness into a testimony of His steadfast commitment to the completion of every good thing. Hebrews 13:20-21 says,
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, or like the task you are currently holding in your heart is to big for you to accomplish, remember Mary and the baby she held in her arms. Think of the task that was placed in the arms of a young virgin, a girl younger than most new mothers of our day, a girl who literally had the fate of the world born of her womb, the young girl who held the King of kings in her arms and called him her own.