Linking Arms

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Our pastor told a story in church on Sunday about a tribe in Africa that spread out to find a missing little boy and couldn’t. The next day, they linked arms and tried again. This time they found the boy, but it was too late. The mom cried out “why didn’t we link arms sooner?”.

It’s an incredibly sad story. But the image of everyone walking arm-in-arm, looking together, has stuck with me. As I sat and heard this story, I suddenly saw all the people linking arms with us to get our little girl home. Just me and my daughter for a moment, then so many others joined us.

I have taken part in some projects lately to give hope in Africa. inCourage, an amazing group of women, got together to fund Mercy House in Kenya. So far, they bought a van, built school rooms, bought a generator and a computer lab and are working on building an additional home. This is for single moms in Kenya, so they can keep moms and babies together. It’s a beautiful thing.

Last week, Lisa Jo Baker asked her followers to help build a community water project in South Africa. In less than 12 hours, it was fully funded.

And it got me thinking. I played an incredibly small part in both of those things. I am saving most of my pennies for our adoption, but felt so moved to help out in whatever small way I could. So I linked arms with all the other ladies and we got it done.

I can’t get the image out of my head. And I am so grateful for those who have already linked arms with us on our mission to bring an orphan home. My friend who told me I could sew bags (even though I don’t really know how to sew). She then figured out a pattern, sewed some samples, taught me to sew them and made about 20 bags for me to sell.

My friends who surprised me with what they called “a very small amount” to help with the adoption, that really isn’t small to me at all. Every single dollar counts.

The couple who told me last week that they support me and want to help with the adoption.

The people who have purchased necklaces and coffee.

My sister who is going to sit with me at a craft fair next week.

My mom who cut the strings on at least 25 bags, so far.

My little one who puts every single coin she gets into the fund for “Sissy”.

There is such a long way to go. But it means the world to me to have so many standing by us, linking arms to rescue an orphan and bring her home. One day soon, she will have a loving haven of a home. And I am so grateful to each and every person who will help get us there. Linking arms in prayer. Linking arms in support. Linking arms with a hug that makes the waiting bearable.

 

 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 

 


Five Minute Friday – Together

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Together.

Five Minute Friday

 

Together

GO.

Together. What a beautiful word.

Lately my 7 year old had been drawing a lot of pictures of us together with her adopted sister-to-come.

I am pushing through tons of paperwork. I am working on fundraising. I am making crafts like crazy, getting ready for craft fairs to help raise the money to get our girl home from Ethiopia.

It’s hard to know she is there waiting and we are here waiting and I can’t make this go any faster. All I can do is keep doing the next thing and trusting God to provide and bring her home in His perfect time. When I lose sight of the final goal, being consumed by the minute details of today, my daughter shows up with another drawing. It’s always me in the middle holding hands with one little girl on each side.

And I get a beautiful glimpse of the future. The future where we are finally united. Holding hands, walking through life.

It’s a breath of fresh air to me. Joy flows into me and I can’t stop smiling. I can hardly wait until these drawings are reality. Until then, I’ll keep looking at the someday of togetherness, and holding on to hope.

We’re coming, little one.

 

STOP.


Standing in the Gap Day

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Just so you know, I am ridiculous about remembering dates. Not that I necessarily remember to send birthday cards (sorry!), but actual dates that things happened in my life don’t tend to leave my head.

April 9, 1991 – Our first date

Easter morning, 2000 – woke to the news that my Grandma had died

November 24, 2000 – My dad died

March 1, 2003 – lost my first child to miscarriage

AUGUST 22, 2006 – MY BABY GIRL ARRIVED!

March 2009 – lost my second child to miscarriage

October 18, 2009 – my husband left

Hmmm. Yup. 4 years ago today. It’s amazing the perspective shift that can happen in four years. At times, I am still sad about it. It’s still not what I wanted. But the pain isn’t anywhere near as deep.

I remember a story I heard in church after he left. (if I’ve told you this before, please humor me!)

A man was stuck on a desert island. He had nothing but the clothes on his back. He lived off the land and worked hard to build himself a hut with what nature on the island had provided. He worked and worked and worked. It’s a lot of work to build a hut by yourself. The day after he finished building it, he was fishing on the beach and looked back towards his hut. It was completely engulfed in flames. He was distraught. All his work. His only worldly possession, completely destroyed. He couldn’t take any more and was ready to give up.

Several hours later, a massive ship appeared on the horizon. When they got him on board, he asked how they knew he was there. They told him they saw his smoke signal.

The very thing that threatened to tear him apart and destroy all hope was the very thing that delivered him.

Sometimes our lives are the same. We are stranded alone on a desert island, fighting with everything we have to save something. We pour all we have into it and it still burns to the ground. And it IS devastating. But it just may be the very thing God uses to rescue us.

He knows what He is doing. It’s so much easier to see it from here. So if you are in the middle of your catastrophe, please remember that God always does what is best for those who love Him. For those who are called according to His purpose. He has a different perspective. He sees the whole picture, knows what is best for us and will use everything to fulfill His divine plan. And He won’t forget about our good in the process.


Five Minute Friday – Ordinary

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Ordinary.

Five Minute Friday

GO.

We have big events coming up. Unusual events. Fundraising concerts, piles of paperwork, trips to Ethiopia. Bringing a little one home. They are life changing events that will stand out in our memories forever. Shared moments that will mark our life and bond us in new and wonderful ways.

And I am excited for all of them. Well, maybe not the shots and the 30 hour travel.

But what I am most excited for are the ordinary things. The ordinary days. Looking in the backseat mirror while driving and see my TWO girls sitting together. Making pancakes on a Saturday morning and filling THREE plates instead of two. Tucking two little ones into bed at night and kissing two little heads before I turn in. Taking a walk and watching my girls holding hands and laughing together. Even the moments I won’t enjoy, like teaching them to share.

I am looking forward to the ordinary days of an ordinary family, brought together by God’s great love and mercy.

 

STOP.


In Pursuit of Lost Lambs

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I just read an article by Beth Guckenberger, an author and executive director (along with her husband) of Back2Back Ministries, an international orphan care ministry. I’ve never heard of her before, but this sentence jumped right off the page and into my heart.

“I cry when I run out of what I need and ask for more from Him. I feel Him respond (often giving me more than I need) and I know again I am not alone in this pursuit-of-lost-lambs.”

The Pursuit of Lost Lambs. This is what I am called to.

I saw a friend of mine at church on Sunday. She told me how my mom talks about my calling to care for orphans through adoption. And she told me she is waiting for the day she hears that I am director of an orphanage. It caught me off guard. It’s truly something that never crossed my mind. And the Spirit moved in me and said, no. I am not the one to do fund-raising, to hire workers, do the business side of orphan care. I am called to be in the trenches. Holding them through the tears. Loving them through the hurt. Proving to them that they are valued and cherished and special and loved with a crazy love that won’t ever quit.

I am so glad she said that to me. God used those words to speak clearly into my very soul and tell me what He is calling me to do. The kids that come into my life and family will be broken (as we all are). They will have major hurts. And I get to be a tool used to help them heal and bloom into all God created them to be.

This will not be easy. Please, don’t for one minute think I am walking into adoption blindly. I feel such joy over it because I know it is what God is calling me to, but I also know it’s going to be impossibly difficult. I am going to hurt with my children. Ache for them. Be exhausted by the tears and the pain and the work of helping them get through the difficult life they have had. But…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


My Hope is in the Lord

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Life in this world is hard. HARD. And the little platitudes, like, “but God is good”, just don’t cut it. Not in the midst of abandonment and broken families. Orphaned & trafficked children. Starvation, grief and anguish that punctuate our world.

There are days when I am not sure my heart can take one more story of brokenness.

I imagine you might feel the same. So we go along, pretending that everything is alright, because the problems are too big for us to handle. Too big for us to have an impact on. We serve and give our money, but hold tight to our hearts. Attempting to protect them from any more pain.

Then another broken soul crosses our paths.

I have heard so many stories of single moms. Abused, threatened, in danger. And I watch God work to heal and restore. So glad I get to be a witness to His glory. Then I file it away and keep going with life. But there’s always another story. Another woman whose husband walks out after 15 years of marriage. Another family left broken and hurting. More kids confused and scared about what the future holds. Another cancer diagnosis. Another lost job. More pain.

And it brings me to my knees.

Some days, I look around and don’t know how God can stand to watch how we treat each other. His beloved. I don’t know how He can stand to see more weeping.

But I do know this.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…  Isaiah 43:2-3

God didn’t just watch Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were in the furnace. He went with them. And He sent an angel to physically walk through the fire with them. And He will do the same for you and me. Through our furnace. Through our floods. Through our deserts. Through our wilderness.

I am so grateful for the One who goes with us through it all and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The next time you find yourself taken to your knees by the suffering in this world, please remember that God is right there with you. Cry out to Him and find how close He really is.