Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The "M" Word

I woke up this morning feeling a little anxious.  Actually, fearful might be a better choice of words.  For the first time, I was letting the "m" word bring me down. Its weird.  I'm really not worried about whether God will provide. I know everything will come together in His time.  Mostly I worry about other people's approval.  I worry whether my income level will be satisfactory...for my homestudy, for the adoption agency, for a judge halfway around the world who will make the final decision about whether I'll be able to take my baby home.

I hate that I'm worrying about money. Its kind of been my mission these last couple of years to try and forget about that stuff.  I do realize its necessary, but I'd just assume close my eyes and trust that God will catch me when I jump, as He always has.  At any rate; here we are.  I'm a little scared.

BUT how good is God that He would speak to me this morning, through His word, specifically, directly, purposefully...about money. And about worry.  No kidding.

I had an 11:00 date with a friend this morning at a diner within walking distance of the Bolivar House.  That 15 minute walk gave me just enough time to read a devotion from "Jesus Calling" and to look up the corresponding verses in my Bible (in case you're wondering, I only tripped once).  Not only did these passages speak directly to my need this morning, but God gave me fresh eyes and new perspective as I read.

The first scripture was a familiar one about worry found in Luke chapter 12. Only today I noticed that the section was titled, "Teaching about Money and Possessions".  Here are some things I took away from that reading, as it applies to my situation (and maybe yours, too!).
  • I am not to worry about "everyday life" stuff, or more specifically, "little" stuff. (I like that connection. My 'needs' fall under the category of "little" stuff)  These are the things that "dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world," but my Heavenly Father already knows I need them. Among these "little" things? Money.
  • I am to seek the Kingdom of God above all things. If I do this, God will give me everything I need. My worrying does not help Him procure the things I need.  It does distract me from the Kingdom.
  • It gives the Father great happiness to give me the Kingdom.
  • Finally, I am urged to "sell [my] possessions and give to those in need."  In other words, I should care for those less fortunate without fearing for my own well-being.  And while I care for others...God will care for me.  And no where does it say that this is irresponsible or careless, as the world might say. Because this is KINGDOM talk, not worldly wisdom.
Now, that chapter alone would have made my day.  But then I turned to the next passage and was blown away again by this:
"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly spaces." Ephesians 6:12
It hit me that if I cannot trust God with the "little" stuff (even a lot of money is a little thing for God), then how will I be able to trust Him in the BIG things (spiritual warfare, evil in the world, sin all around). I've got bigger fish to fry than the way my income looks or the measly $30,000 it will cost to adopt.  There is an enemy who doesn't want us to care for orphans, whom God loves and commands us to care for.

The last verse I read today was this one from Proverbs 16:
"Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." 
So, it appears I need to learn how to trust Him.  In everything.  Trust that He "who began this good work within [me], will continue in His work until it is finally finished."

Gosh I love that God!

If you'd like to pray for me, I'd love prayers that God will help me to continue to trust Him and for that spirit of anxiousness to subside. Also, please pray that I will be able to get an initial approval from my home study agency so I can commit to a child. This is the biggest desire of my heart today.

I'd love to pray for you all as well.  If you'd like, leave me a comment with your prayer requests, and we can pray for each other.

Lots of love to you all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On a Good Day

Every so often there are days in my life when the nearness of God is palpable. When the things of the unseen world seem to come into focus. When peace is real and all-consuming, and joy is bright even in the darkness of a sin-filled world. Though these days come and go, their length of stay doesn't matter so long as they come. And so long as I can remember they came.

I'm thankful today for some good days.  I'm thankful for a broken heart and eyes wide open to a world full of suffering. I'm thankful that God has imparted a realization that He alone is good.  And that He knows. He sees. He's not just standing by. I'm also particularly thankful that He persists in loving and teaching me; here's a few lessons He's been bringing to my mind a lot lately:

  1. We're not going to be here for long.  This life is BRIEF-only a grain of sand in the ocean of eternity.  
  2. This world is a messed up place, desperately in need of JESUS. 

Believe it or not, these two simple, some would say obvious, realizations, are what's bringing me such joy lately. No I do not take joy in the world's suffering, but I am filled with joy as I wait to see what God will do next.  Because just as sure as He's lovingly leading me, I KNOW He is at work in those around me. God is on the move, friends. Big time. And He will use us if we let Him.

Maybe God is calling you, as He has been me, to take pause and ask yourself, Am I doing enough?  Is God's church, The Hope of the World, doing enough for our fellow humans who are hungry, tired, sick, mistreated?  How much of our time is spent working toward selfish gain: more stuff, better stuff, entertainment, security, refuge from the troubles of the world?  Have we forgotten that we will have all of eternity to rest from the work we do here?

Please don't misunderstand me. This is not a message of condemnation.  It is an invitation to a better life.  A life full of more of Him and less of us. Excitement. Joy. Peace. Love. Nearness to the One who made us. I have yet to really understand the fullness of a life with Christ (and I won't on this side of Heaven).  But I can taste it friends, and it is so good. Don't slow down in your pursuit of it.

I hope there are more good days coming.  For all of us.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Monday, August 22, 2011

Please Pray!

Several days ago I had an overwhelming feeling that I just wanted to know who this child is that I've been praying for. I had already inquired about a few little girls, but decided I had been going about this the wrong way, so I sent an email to Reece's Rainbow asking, "Can you make recommendations to me of children I should consider?"

God knew what He was doing, allowing me to send an email at that particular time on that particular day because I immediately received a reply that God used to COMPLETELY break what was left of my stubborn heart. I received a small amount of information and 2 photos from an orphanage in Eastern Europe where children are severely malnourished, neglected, and in need of families. I was also directed to the blog of an adoptive mother who was at that very orphanage on that exact day, visiting her daughter for the first time. I spent the next few days pouring over every word this woman has written, looking at her pictures over and over and over again, and staying up way past my bed time trying to let the reality of it all set in. My faith was completely shaken, but in a way that has only increased my trust in the Lord and my awareness of our need for Him.

I received news tonight that there is some major spiritual warfare going on concerning this orphanage, which could stop these fragile, vulnerable children from being adopted. These kids may very well die if God does not step in. They'll die without ever knowing the love of a family. I'm choosing to believe that God wants their freedom even more than we do, and that He will stop at nothing. And so we pray.

I don't know yet if God has revealed this to me because this is where my kiddo is, or because He wants me to raise awareness, but at this point it doesn't really matter. "Now that I have seen, I am responsible." Please take a moment to read this post from "The Blessing of Verity" about some specific details that need to be lifted up in prayer, and then join me in praying without ceasing for these kids to be safely delivered from the enemy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


The call is clear. Just as clear as it was when I was a kid.

I've waited until now, always having thought that kids were something you figure out inside the context of marriage. But God has shown me, and continues to show me that this is the time. In fact, He's given me 147 million perfectly good reasons not to wait.

147 million orphans in the world.

147 million children falling asleep tonight without the love of a mom or a dad.


There is an insecurity that rises up inside of me as I put this journey here on the internet for ALL the world to see. I hate to admit this, but I wonder what people will say. I wonder if they will see me as "fit" for this high calling. I wonder if some may think I'm crazy. Maybe people will talk about me behind my back. Maybe they'll question whether I'm capable of taking care of a special needs child on my own.

Maybe. Either way I'll continue to remind myself of what I know is true: No, I am not capable. And yes, I am crazy (really, though)! But GOD can do anything, and if He wants to, He can even do something great through me.

There is a little girl (or boy?) out there somewhere who I believe is my child. A child with Down Syndrome, who has been cast away by society, and who, this very night, lies in a crib, hungry, and without love. I don't have any specific information that I can share with you yet, but I hope to soon. What I do know is that many of the children waiting to be matched with families are living on borrowed time. So will you please join me in praying that God will lead me swiftly through this process and to this beloved child? More specifically, will you please start praying that God will bring me through my home study without delay? And finally, pray that God will continue to lead more and more Christians to the ministry of Reece's Rainbow so we can bring more and more orphans home!

More to come.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where It All Began-A tribute to Love Maidene

In a crowded open-air tent, 3 months after the earth shook Haiti, Love chose me. At least that's how I like to remember it. That day lives on in my memory, clear enough to have been yesterday and surreal enough to have been a dream. Forty newly orphaned children sat in rows of benches facing eight American missionaries. Their tiny bodies frozen in grief and fear. Their eyes tired and lifeless. There was nothing we could say to do justice to such sadness, so no one said a word. No one moved. Except for one courageous, fiery little 4-year old girl. Love Maidene wiggled her way down from the bench where she sat snuggly, safely in a row of several other children her size. She ducked and dodged her way through that tiny crowded room and confidently took residence in my lap.

I've often compared little Love Maidene to "the girl in the red dress" from Schindler's List. Her life has been the lens through which I've viewed Haiti over the last 17 months. And as I've watched her grow and struggle, I've fallen more and deeper in Love. From those first days, thinking about what she must have been through after the earthquake (Did she know what happened to her parents? Was she lost? Who found her? And what hardships did she endure in the meantime?) to times of joyful singing, laughing, and dancing, to days when she was so sick, and cholera so rampant, that I wondered whether I'd see her again this side of heaven.

I've visited that sweet (and sassy!) girl's orphanage 4 times now, and each time I come home, there is a sadness that follows as I imagine her sitting in the backseat of my car or playing with the kids next door. I am so thankful that although it doesn't seem to be in the Lord's plans for me to adopt Love Maidene; (I am six years away from being eligible for a Haitian adoption) I know that she is well cared for by House of Hope and is safe in the arms of a Loving Savior. And I am immensely thankful to her for preparing my heart for the Lord's latest work in me!

So, I'm calling this blog, "Love's Ransom", as it will chronicle the redemption of an orphaned child, precious to God and already dearly loved by me, who may even someday bare the name Love. I honor you, the little girl who started it all.