"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Author of Radical Speaks on Missions

David Platt, author of the book Radical, speaking at the Desiring God conference. I try to only rave about things that are truly remarkable-and this counts. I promise you won't regret the hour you spend watching this!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Picture Time

If you don't like random old pictures, don't read this. I was enjoying some pictures and memories today, and was reminded of how many amazing things God has done for our family.

"Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt boutifully with you"
                                                                                                            ~ Psalm 116:7

When we lived in England, I hated wearing coats and would stick with just gloves. '
Yes, I note  the huge 90s hairbow!

Loved our string quartet days. I'm still hoping we can have some "jamming" sessions together!
Adoption paperwork-2010. So grateful for all the prayers that got us through this stage!
A little girl I saw in St. Petersburg. I loved her glamor, but was amazed to see the huge contrast between the loved children with parents and the orphans I was privileged to work with.

My oldest sister Anna.  I think she was an adorable baby!  I'm excited to see what she and Aaron's baby will look like...
My sister "Princess Bink" in December 2004 in her orphanage.

 And here she is after a few months at home. I love the visible difference love made in her life.
Duluth September 2011-we took a boat cruise which was wonderful-I love any chance to get out on a boat.
My beautiful sisters, December 2010-their first Christmas home.
Tennessee, October 2009
My parents with my brother "Alexander" in Moscow January 2010. Yes, he's the one crossing his eyes. Alexander is our 24/7/365 family comedian.
*Sigh* You have to stick in a nerdy old picture now and then. Yes, the girl on the left is yours truly 16 years ago.

My youngest sister with her daddy, Moscow November 2010.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2011

Picture taken this August when I was in St. Petersburg Russia 

Orphan Sunday, a day set apart to worship God through loving care of the fatherless and vulnerable, is almost over. It was amazing to hear believers praying in Indonesian, Amharic, Swahili, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, and of course English that the church might see the world with God's compassionate eyes; that we would be courageous and adopt as God adopted us; that the church would wake up out of self-absorption and shine Christ's light and love on the world.

Orphan care is not a social gospel movement; it's not to make us feel good about ourselves; it's not even ultimately about the orphans themselves. It's about God. It's that His name deserves to be glorified among all peoples; it's that He's a big and compassionate God and calls us to be compassionate as well. It's that He's the Father of the fatherless and He places the lonely in families. Orphan care is about missions; it's about giving the broken and hopeless healing and hope through the precious news of a Savior and Rescuer who loves them and cares for them.

God doesn't call a few people to care for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger. In His word, He clearly calls all His people to demonstrate His love to the needy. It may not be comfortable or easy, but if you step out in obedience, you will come to know our compassionate God more deeply and He will shower His blessings and His care upon you. So how can you get involved? Here's just a few ideas (if you hadn't noticed I like lists so here goes another one!):

  • Visit http://www.christianalliancefororphans.org/ for ideas, resources, and information, all presented in a God-honoring, Biblical way.
  • Pray for orphans. Choose a country or a certain group (foster care, teens, kids with HIV, etc.) and pray for them on a daily basis. God will hear your prayer and answer in amazing ways!
  • Pray that the church will be a shining light to unbelievers through loving care of the needy. Here's a wonderful example of the church doing just that. 
  • Support an adoptive family. Pray for them, provide meals for them, babysit, organize a fundraiser, give financially, listen to them, and encourage them-and please don't forget them after their adoption! Wonderful College Plus friends provided incredible prayer cover and our church provided amazing help in other ways during our family's last adoption and I literally cannot tell you how much that meant. It is thanks to the support of loving friends that we are doing as well as we are.
  • Start an orphan care ministry in your church. See the Christian Alliance for Orphans site above for help
  • Pack a shoe box...or two...or ten for Operation Christmas Child! 
  • Investigate how you can love on local foster kids.
  • Support a local foster family.
  •  Adopt. If you are holding back on this because of fear, step out anyway. God will take care of you. If you are holding back because of finances, step out anyway. God (and hopefully the church) will take care of you. If you are holding back because of selfishness, I've been there and done that-repent and start the adoption process! You will be blessed and stretched beyond your wildest imagination, and you will change the life, and perhaps eternal life of an orphan forever.
I'm wrapping this up because I've said way too much again. But please, don't read through this and think "this is for someone else." No. We were loved by God and adopted by Him when we hated Him and were hostile to Him. We all are called, we all are given the privilege of spreading God's praise and making His name beautiful by self sacrificially loving the broken and needy.

So will you answer the call? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Underestimate Her

          Maybe this sounds harsh, but I think sometimes the stay-at-home American mother can feel like a second class citizen. Isn't it ironic that the feminist push of the 1970's, which sought to "liberate" women has left many women chasing careers, torn over or just plain negative about motherhood and wifehood, and in general, unhappy (The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, Stevenson and Wolfers)?

         Please don't get me wrong! I understand that there are situations in which a woman has to work outside the home. I also believe that the Proverbs 31 woman sets a beautiful standard of a strong woman who supplements the family income with her own creativity and industry (Proverbs 31:13, 16, 17, 24). Some wonderful and godly women never get married, like my own dear Aunt Jean, who not only worked hard to support herself, but also offered love and support to my grandma and her three young boys when my grandpa was killed.
        Nevertheless, I think that mothers who do have the great privilege of staying home with their children can often be shamed by the culture or discouraged by the seeming mundane-ness of their task. I've seen people unconsciously minimize the enormous, daunting, and beautiful task my mom tackles everyday. I've had many well-meaning people respond to my spoken dream of someday being a stay-at-home mom with, "Are you sure you want to do that? It will be a waste of your talents and abilities! You could really get into a good career and make a difference in the world." Let me clearly state that I'm flattered and grateful that they think I have talents and abilities. But I think they're missing out on the idea that motherhood isn't all about emptying the dishwasher or wiping runny noses for the millionth time. Being a mother is ultimately about preparing souls for their true and fulfilling purpose of glorifying God and enjoying Him as King and Savior of their lives. 

         Though the process is long and painstaking, moms have the incredible opportunity of molding a godly character in their child and encouraging them to become men and women who can change the world through their passion to "love God with all they got, and love their neighbor 'til they drop." In a long-term sense, moms  can not only "make a difference in the world" (see paragraph above), they can multiply the difference they make through their children!


         I'm not a mom, and I obviously don't understand everything about this issue. There's lots of godly mothers who have made a difference through a ministry or a business or in some way outside their role as "mom." But I just want to cheer on those mothers (including my own) who pour themselves out and sacrifice so that their children will grow into passionate God-fearing, people-serving men and women.

Don't believe me? Read up on these women and how they impacted their children:
  • Mrs. Beaver (yes, my mom!)
  • Hannah (mother of Samuel; see 1 Samuel)
  • Susannah Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley)
  • Ruth Graham (mother of Franklin Graham) 
  • Sarah Edwards (wife of Jonathan Edwards and mother of 10)

And here are a few quotes from others grateful for their mothers: 

"I remember my mother's prayers--and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."         ~Abraham Lincoln

"All that I have ever accomplished in my life I owe to my mother."    ~D.L. Moody

"My mother's kiss made me a painter."     ~Benjamin West, first great American painter

"The influence of a good mother is worth more than a thousand school masters"     ~George Herbert

"If I am Thy child, only God, it is because Thou gavest me such a mother."     ~St. Augustine 

Thanking God for my own mother,