Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Girls, Discipleship, and Homemade Pizza

Back into the swing of things! With fall just around the corner and school back in session, some of our ministries are starting up again! We have an awesome ministry we call dgroups. These are small groups for jr. high girls led by some of our most mature high school girls! The high school girls teach Bible lessons and encourage scripture memory. The jr. high girls love being lead by these older girls and the younger girls are growing in their faith because these high schoolers are building into them.

We had us some kickoff fun today!! How I love me some jr. high girl madness!!!

We went on a scavenger hunt to beg, borrow, and steal ingredients for homemade pizzas.

Then we met up again and baked us some pizza masterpieces.

The girls were pretty adventurous with their topping choices because it earned extra points for their team if they ate them! (And ate them they did! Can I just say yum?!)

Love, love, love this sweet clan of girls. Jr. highers are the bomb!!! Pray for them. They have busy lives and it is a struggle to keep Jesus your focus with so many things screaming for your attention. Regardless, they are living out their faith successfully and I love watching them growing in the Lord!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Risks and Blessings

I will never forget the conversation that finally launched our family into this adoption adventure. I was with my dh after my darling kiddo had gone to bed. My dh was recalling when our kiddo was little and saying..Don't you remember how hard it was? Don't you remember that you cried everyday for three years because you had to leave her to go to work? (I am a true psycho mom.) Don't you remember the strain it put on our marriage..on our sanity..Don't you remember? (Let me tell you I do remember-It was rough.) He meant..Things are great now. We are in the home stretch-almost to the finish line. Don't you remember? Why do you want to go back? I said with tears running down my face..But wasn't it worth it? Think about the joy she has brought us and what that darling kiddo means to us. The way you feel just to see her smile after you have had a long day. The feeling you get to see her succeed and the indescribable joy you have as you watch her grow in her faith and give her life to the Lord. Wasn't it worth it? Aren't the numerous blessings so worth every risk we have taken and all that was hard?

So my motto for this journey has become if you don't take the risk-you won't receive the blessings! I could live my life safely never risking anything hard. We could have kept saying no to adoption but we would miss out on so many blessings that God intends for us along the way. Adding this Asian face to our family is going to be hard sometimes. We are going to have times when we feel broken, helpless, hurt, exhausted, stretched, weak..but oh it will be soo worth it.

It will be worth it because Paul writes in God's word...
But he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, For when I am weak, then I am strong.(2Cor 12:9-10) These hardships and weaknesses that come our way are merely a chance for Christ's power to be even more apparent through us! What an immeasurable blessing experiencing His power is..

What risk has God been asking you to take that you have just been too afraid to move on? Remember if you don't take the don't receive the blessing. If you don't become weak, He can't be strong in you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Surprise Visit

So I love to see my dh when I don't expect it. Today at work, I spotted him walking to my room through the cafeteria and I knew he was there to surprise me for lunch. So, how is it that I am lucky enough to be married to such a wonderful man and how is that I can still love him so much despite having been hanging around him for the last 20 years?..While our marriage is great(most days). There is a reason its great (most days).

Well, its because we work hard to love Jesus more than we love one another. Through his relationship with Christ, my dh has been challenged to be the kind of husband God desires. He pursues me with a selfless love-a love like Christ's love. He serves me and thinks of me above himself on a daily basis and I am grateful that God has blessed us with this beautiful marriage. God has given us one heart and purpose in ministry. It is easy to embrace my dh as God's perfect gift to me because we are so passionate about the same things.

Don't get me wrong this relationship has come with a price, but anything worth having isn't easy to achieve. I went to a parenting conference once called..Do your Kids a Favor-Love their Dad! Sooo true. So thankful that I am in a season in my marriage that I can do my kiddo that favor and I can't wait for Jill to have a daddy like the man who lives in our house!! Sooo blessed beyond words to be able to live out this life with him.

Monday, August 23, 2010


It is always with a very heavy heart that I send our kids off to college, but the sending off is inevitable so I am left to resort to the strongest weapon of protection that I have...prayer.

These kids are ever sooo special to me. I have had the privilege of walking along side some of them for a very long time. How I love them and know their hearts are strong in the Lord. Still it is so scary to send them away. Barna's new research says that as many as 80% of our "church" youth will go away to college and walk away from the church forever. YIKES!!! As a momma and youth ministry volunteer that really frightens me and I know that my kids need a good bathing in prayer each and everyday!! Will you join me? This generation is a powerful tool waiting to be used by Christ to bring many more into the fold. Will you be praying them on? Are you willing to build into them? To share your time and yourself with someone younger than you are? The first time my dear husband approached me with these questions (before we were in youth ministry) I have to admit to you-I said no.. I was afraid..Afraid that I would not have what it takes to be in youth ministry or to build into the lives of teenagers. Who was I to do that? I was nobody, but I have allowed God to be somebody through me and what a huge blessing it has been. I'm telling you that there is nothing like having 50 teenagers to meet with and love on every week..You outta get you some!! You never know the difference God could make in a life through you if you are only willing to be used by Him. So blessed to be able to be a part of what God is doing in ministry and to have had these sweet sheep in our flock!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not What I Had Planned

This was not the post that I had planned. I was going to do another perfect day post. Yesterday was one of those near perfect days for me..I spent the day with my dear husband and darling kiddo savoring our last moments of summer together. We ate at a fun drive-in rootbeer stand for lunch and then my dh whisked me off for a dinner date (just the two of us). We went to a fancy smancy restaurant that we had been given a certificate to as a gift. When we got the bill I said to my dh, we just "spent" enough money on this one meal to pay for two months of sponsorship for our new sponsored daughter in Uganda. Peace (our Ungandan orphan)could be fed, clothed, and housed for two months with this money, but for us-it was one meal.

This thought has been brewing in my mind and then I see this when I check in at today.

(Turn off the music at the bottom of my page before you watch.)

The Village of Korah from ReFocus Media on Vimeo.

Children Eating Trash..Orphaned, Abandoned, Thought to be Unimportant, Unloved, Poor, Helpless...Can you imagine? My heart is broken to think that this is happening right now in Ethiopia and all over the world. People cast aside with nothing. People are working to get these children sponsored and many people are making a difference in their lives by donating as little as $5. If you are interested in reading more about it or you can find $5 to help, please visit to donate to the cause of caring for the children of Korah.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


We are getting closer. Our Homestudy is complete and sitting on the desk of some DCFS worker waiting to be stamped. Word from our social worker is this process is moving faster than it has been and we could have it back in two weeks. This is great news and much better than waiting five or six weeks. Next it's off to US Immigration where it could take up to three months to be stamped. While it could take up to three months, it is also moving along quickly right now and has only been taking thirty days to travel through their maze. Finally, the paperwork is off to China!! It will take about 6-8 weeks to get us logged in the China Center for Adoption. (If you are doing the math, all these weeks would take us to January or February!!!)

THEN WE CAN FINALLY GET A PICTURE OF OUR DAUGHTER!!! We will see her little face..Oh to see that face. I saw a picture frame at the christian bookstore that I just had to buy. It says..We loved you before we knew you. Even before there was hope of you-we loved you. How I love this little Asian princess and I don't even know her..Some days the hope of her is more than my heart can bear and I am tears before the Lord because of her absence in our family.. I want her here now.

Other days there is a good dose of fear that keeps me thinking..I need more time to get ready to be her momma. I wonder will I be able to be a good mother to her. How can I make enough time for two daughters making sure each is given special mommy time? How am I going to adjust to sleepless nights again, extra laundry, a house that's not tidy? Is my marriage strong enough to take this on again? How will I be able to serve in ministry? Will we have the money we need when the last adoption payment is due? and on and on..

While a good dose of fear in the Lord is healthy...most of my fears come from not trusting in Him. So I got my scripture on...the fridge, the mirror in my bathroom, my desk, the computer..Scripture is the way that I combat this fear. Some of my favorites right now are...

Opening my Bible this morning, He led me to Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in the sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.

Also love this one I put in Emily's bday card this year..Joshua 1:9 Be strong and couragous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Praying that I can continue to give this wait and the timing to the Lord. I know He is using it for His purpsose in my life.. Still hoping He will see sooner is better than later...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All I Ever Wanted

All I ever wanted was to be married to my high school sweetheart (my dh), teach at a small school with him, have one daughter, and live in a country neighborhood in Pekin. All I ever wanted was to live this life out peacefully and own my share of the American Dream. At 30, I was certainly on my way to having all I ever wanted.

That's all I ever wanted, but then I joined up with God and found out that what He wanted (and wants) for my life is so much more than I imagined it could ever be. I have been doing a great study about discerning the voice of God. Last night at Bible Study, we were asked to think about the fact that God's voice reveals His plan. We talked about how God's plan can certainly change the course of your life. About how a new destination that you never had in mind comes into your heart..

All I ever wanted has become so much more..I am the wife of a godly man lucky enough to serve in full time ministry. I have a much bigger house than I ever could have dreamed I would (because we live in a parsonage). I have many more children to love than I ever thought possible (because we are in teen ministry and I dearly love each one of the sheep God has brought us). I have a unity and love in my marriage I never could have fathomed (because my man strives to love me as Christ loved the church). I am adopting from China (because of the generous help of believers who gave unselfishly of themselves to see James 1:27 fulfilled). I have traveled to foreign lands to share the good news of Christ with those who don't know (because He has the cattle on a thousand hills and provides abundantly so that I can serve Him). I am led to tears each and every time I think of all that I never wanted because I never knew to dream that God could do it. I didn't even know to hope for these things because I didn't know Him. If I just hadn't wasted so long holding on to All I Ever Wanted... what might God have done??

Following God has been the greatest adventure of my life!! I continue to be overwhelmed, amazed, and speechless at His working. He works out His plans for me, not because I deserve it, but because He loves me and desires for me to walk intimately beside Him so that I might bring glory to His name through my life.
How I praise Him for the way that He continues to speak to me and change my ideas about All I Ever Wanted... I am grateful that His plans for my life have been so much more than All I Ever Wanted..and I anxiously anticipate the days to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day of School

As a momma, I hate the first day of school. School takes my girl away from me a whole lot more than I like. (It also brings with it homework-which I loathe!) Anyway, the first day of school is unavoidable so I took the chance to snap shots of my baby's first day of sixth grade. Yes baby and sixth grade just don't seem to fit together. It seems like just yesterday she was born. NOW she is 5'3" and wears size 10 shoes! Always my baby though..

Here she is not-so happy to be getting up early this morning (OR MAYBE SHE IS ANNOYED THAT I AM ALREADY TAKING PICTURES--NOT SURE WHICH)!!

Dressed and Ready to go!! A new backpack and supplies is always super exciting. She picked out a teal and blue backpack. (Her favorite colors this year.)

Getting in the car to ride the ten minutes to her amazing christian school to begin another year.

What a wonderful young lady she continues to grow into. My prayer for her for this year is that God's word continues to take root in her heart and that she can grow in her understanding of Him and His will for her life. Love, love, love that child..

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Down Right Convicted

Last week at Gull Lake, we heard a message by Daniel Wallace (aka Ambush). The message was about how to share the gospel. I have to admit to you that because I was birthed in a bible believing church..I think I know how to share the gospel. I have all the verses Daniel presented memorized Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, and Ephesians 2:8-9. Got em down! Know em! As a result, I was less than enthusiastic about the subject matter.

Then God hit me like a ton of bricks..When was the last time you shared this gospel with someone outside of church, Sunday school, or ministry? Ouch!! I honestly can't remember the last time I did shared the gospel...Sure I live alongside plenty of people who don't know Jesus, try to be pleasant, help them when it is convenient for me, but never share the gospel with them!

Next he went into the reasons why we don't share..selfishness(worried about what they might think of ME), we don't really think the gospel is good news, or we just don't know how. Well, I know how to do it. Like I said, I have been versed in scripture, theology, and understanding and I know it is good news. I can clearly see that God has personally rescued me from a life of ugliness and given me His peace making me a new creation in Him. (Praise God for that!)

I realized for me it was all about selfishness. I don't want to be rejected. I don't really want to give my time to hang out with unsaved people when it is a sacrifice for me. I don't really want to show these unchurched, who are very different from me, that I love them..Most of the time I am much more interested in counting the ways that they are different from me than I am in pointing them to the reason I have left that different life behind. I am too "busy" to reach out to them, but not too busy to enjoy a nap or good book for an hour in the afternoon. Ouch!! The Plain Truth is hurting me deep..

Ambush said..You aren't just here to suck air and eat groceries! God has been clearly bringing to my mind this week times that He has called me to share and I have been down right disobedient. Clearly, I have been doing too much sucking air and eating groceries.

A boy who lives in our neighborhood was passing by on the sidewalk last week. I smile and am pleasant when he goes by, but keep him at a distant. I clearly heard God telling me invite him..You're getting a sandwich-invite him in-offer him one too. And I didn't. My disobedient and sinful heart must just grieve the heart of God. As a result it is definitely causing me some grief these days. More than anything, I want to be an example for Jesus while I am here. I want to surrender every area of my time, life, energy, resources, family to Him and His work. Nothing else matters. I am thankful for this conviction coming from the Holy Spirit even though it hurts to confront it. I pray that God continues to send conviction down and that my humble response to His prompting is authentic change in my life and obedience.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

God Provides (AGAIN)

Last week at Gull Lake, we were blessed to hear about a ministry called Parental Care Ministries. This ministry was started because of the prompting of an 8 year old girl who wrote in a Christmas card she made for her mother..I feel like Jesus wants me to tell you but I have been too afraid to say. We need to be missionaries for poor and needy people. As a result of this card and some other divine appointments with God's will, this ordinary family was obedient to God and began to walk alongside poor and needy people whom God brought into their paths from half way across the world. Parental Care Ministries was born and has hundreds of orphans they are serving in Uganda by providing them education, food, and our Savior's love. Seriously, the heart of these people and their ministry absolutely moved me to tears every single time they spoke!!

I stared at the faces of these children all week on the sponsorship boards. Like many ministries, they have a program that allows your family to provide $35.00 a month to a specific child. Through this sponsorship you are able to write to the child and get to know them while providing the financial means for their very necessities of life. WITH EVERYTHING IN ME, I WANTED TO PROVIDE SPONSORSHIP TO ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL UGANDAN FACES. God was laying out a big call..

There was one problem.. I already sponsored two kiddos in Guatemala and apparently the Lord forgot He has called me to adopt from China. I need $15,000 more in the next eleven months (or hopefully sooner) to bring my girl home. How could I take on more monthly support with my daughter waiting to be brought home?

God kept kept calling loud and clear though..I want you to care for one of these orphans. I was so burdened as we left last week having given only a lump sum to the ministry but not taking on an orphan to support monthly. I was burdened and still praying.

Then yesterday, we got a call from the organization that I currently support my two kiddos through in Guatemala telling me that one of my children had dropped out of the program and would no longer need sponsorship. The representative told me that this was highly unusual and she didn't know why my child would drop out of the program. She didn't know, but I knew. God was clearing the way for me to "adopt" an orphan in Uganda by supporting her monthly.

So yesterday evening, our family sat down at the computer and poured over the pictures on the Parental Care Ministries website. Welcome Peace Kyasiimire to our family. I hope that we can visit this precious child someday and tell her how much our family has loved and prayed for her. Until then, prayers are being sent up daily that God's love will be shown to her and her needs will be met through this incredible ministry. May God use her life in mighty ways for the Kingdom.

(Click on the link below to look at the orphans and sponsor a child yourself.)

Parental Care Ministries: The Father's Love in Action

Can You Hear the Scream?

OUR HOMESTUDY IS DONE!!!! We have the 15 plus page document in our hand!! Now, we double check to make sure all the data from the China forms matches the narrative in the homestudy, send it to ILDCFS for approval, and then to China. I really wanted to get the study done before going back to work and God was gracious enough to work out all the details. The one bummor is that our state requires DCFS to approve our homestudy before sending it to immigration and that is a five or six week process I did not expect (most states don't require this step). More waiting...God is in control of this entire process for sure. His hand is writing this story. A story I never even imagined to hope for. God is so good and O HOW I LOVE HIM!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Now That My Eyes Are Open

I have just spent another wonderful week at Gull Lake Ministries. It is an amazing christian family camp (I use the word camp loosely-definitely more of a resort!!) located on the shores of the crystal clear Gull Lake in Hickory Corners, Michigan. This is the third year that my family and I have come to this little piece of heaven on earth to "vacation with a purpose". We are given family devos to do together each day, are taught from great Bible teachers, eat delicious food, lounge by the lake every afternoon (mostly only momma), play active and sweat inducing games (mostly daddy), and eat ice cream everyday (mostly darling kiddo). There is something wonderful about this place..You see Jesus is so easily found there. I can't tell you how much my family and I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

There are so many wonderful things about gathering to vacation with 300 other christians that one can't describe and while I have enjoyed every year..This one brought something new. NOW THAT MY EYES ARE OPEN, I saw so many families created through adoption...

We line up to take our family picture for the dvd and I spot two beautiful Asian faces with their adoptive momma. We got to know the youngest well as we spent much time in the creation station coloring and crafting away together...precious.

Then, I was standing in line waiting to enter into the dining room the first day. A little blonde dude about six (so darling) decked out in a Guatemala soccer jersey was waiting patiently in front of me. Recognizing that he probably got the jersey in Guatemala, I strike up a conversation with him. He says, "Yeah, I got the jersey in Guatemala. My family went on a mission trip there this summer." Just then the sweetest thing..A very handsome and dark little guy (also about six) standing in front of the little blonde dude turns and says.."Did you say Guatemala? I was born there." This little man was adopted by a family vacationing at Gull Lake the same week I was. SOooooo sweet to see this little Guatemalan cutie singing the song Oh How He Loves Us and praising the Lord with his sis who was white as snow at the talent show on Thursday night.

Then I am lounging in the Adirondack next to the shore in the sand when a beautiful brown princess caught my eye. Her dark ringlets were so black and her pink swimsuit just made her skin glow. She was a show stopper for sure-soooo cute. She runs out of the lake and into the arms of a white man yelling, "Daddy, Daddy"-another adoptive family in my midst. What a beautiful picture it was.

One more adoptive family to meet at week's end. That is four encounters in one week. To think that God orchestrated all of that for me to see-now that my eyes are open. God is a God of encouragement and He knew I could use some. It was so encouraging to see these families functioning in real life. The love and normalcy of it all gives me such a clear picture of the way that the Father takes each of us into His family and accepts us just as we are-be it ever so different than Him-when we trust in Him!!