Monday, February 28, 2011

A Day to Save Olga

Today I am sharing with you a message from a friend.  Her posts on her blog, A Perfect Lily, about Olga back in December opened my eyes, and I will never be the same.  Today, many of us bloggers are joining together to spread the word about this sweet girl and her family, The Abells, who are trying to rescue her.  They need $7000 ASAP to do so...Patti's note explains more.  When we started the day, the grant was at $75.

UPDATE:  The Abells have $1477 in their "Chip-In" account!!! And the family sponsorhip grant is up to $4548.94!!!  Let's keep it climbing!!!

Please take a few minutes to read this message from Patti. 

"But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person?"  I John 3:17 NLT

Once our eyes are opened, how can we turn away and do nothing?


Dear friends,
So many of you already know this beautiful little face....


Olga turned five last month. She has spent the last five years in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, without the love of a mommy and daddy- simply because she arrived in life exactly as God designed her. One chromosome too many, and her fate was sealed from birth.


Sealed, because in Eastern Europe, babies who are born with Down syndrome are deemed unacceptable at birth. They are discarded as cast-offs of society, and when they turn five they leave the only home they've ever known...


And I wish I could say that for most of these children, leaving that home meant going to a place of safety, a place of happiness, a place where they would finally know the love of a family...know what it meant to be cuddled or sung to or read to, tucked in at night, prayed for, loved.

Instead, they are taken to a place that most people wouldn't leave their family pet.

A place of living hell, where they will never know the tenderness of a parent, never know the security of being raised in a family, and there they will stay, one ugly, pain-filled day at a time...until they die.


I read a post last December that stayed with me to this day. It was called from baby dolls to bedstraps.The blog author wrote about Elizabeth, an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who had been transferred to a mental institution, waiting for a family to step forward for her. Her words still haunt me.

I wonder where she thought she was going as they led her out of the orphanage that day. Did she think that maybe it was finally her turn? That they were taking her to her forever Mommy and Daddy?

And when they instead took her inside that dreadful place, when they shaved her head and tied her to a too-small metal crib

when they turned their backs and



when they left her confused, terrified,

in a room where the wails of schizophrenic adults echo through the cold air

what was going through her young mind?

Did she wonder if she was being punished?

How long did she hold out hope that this was only temporary?

That any minute, they would come and take her back to the baby house

to her baby dolls and teddy bear,

to her best friend, Angelina?

Did she long to free her arms from the restraints

to cover her head with her hands to drown out

the scary noises

the scary sights

the scary smells?

That could be my Lily….

It could be your child.

And what if it were?

What if you woke up one morning

and by some hellish, twilight-zone twist of fate

your child wasn’t still tucked into that warm bed down the hall,

what if your child was trapped

across the dark sea

in that nightmare that is

the institution?





Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11

Elizabeth is being rescued today, thanks to the efforts of that blogging mama, and others like her.

Olga is being rescued today, thanks to so many of gave so much and created such a large grant that a family was able to step forward and start the process of adoption.

The Abells have done so much already, towards rescuing Olga. I can't even imagine all the paperwork and prayer and emotion and finances that goes into an international adoption. They have done numerous fundraisers, and will continue to do so until they can bring Olga home.

Through the help of so many, a grant of over $13,000 has been raised for Olga's adoption. That grant is set aside for the final travel costs and fees that it will take to bring Olga home. It will take every penny of that and then some.

Right now the Abells are in need of raising the $7,000 that is needed to submit their dossier for Olga. Without that dossier we don't even know if Olga has been transferred yet. Here in America you just pick up the phone and ask these questions. But here in America we don't tie five year old girls to cribs to keep them from climbing out.

The Abells need to submit that dossier as soon as possible- at the very least to find out if she has been transferred already- because I know an army of prayer warriors who is going to want to know that piece of information as well. And at the very most, it could be able to hold Olga at the baby house until the Abells can rescue her. I wish I could say with certainty that she won't be transferred- truthfully we just don't know that.

Olga has been so heavy on my heart for months- friends, I want you to know that I DO trust that God has a plan here.

I prayed like crazy for a way to help the Abells. I truly believe that there is a network of people who love Olga here in blogland...a net that is woven by God and is stretching out across this blessed country we live in, and even beyond to generous hearts in other nations. I really cannot express enough how thankful I am to be a small part of what God has already done for Olga, Peter and Kareen. But I don't think our job is done.

Olga needs us.

I don't want her to spend one more forsaken day in that place than she has to.

We're not doing a giveaway here today. I don't even think we need to do one- I know so many just have a heart to help and to give, and prizes were never the real reason we all gave anyway.

So I'm just asking- for one day- for you to do whatever you could to help Olga. Whether that's $10 or $20 or even a hundred...if you are able to help raise this money for the dossier, please do so HERE...

This is the link for the Chip-In giving on the Abell's blog.  (Scroll down and find the "Chip-In" box on the right-hand side of their blog.)  Every single dollar goes to the Abell's adoption fund to help towards the dossier, and every single dollar will help.

We're calling this A Day to Save Olga, because there are about 17 of us blogging mamas who have set aside this day to blog, post on Facebook, pray, give and spread the word to SAVE OLGA.

Will you help us?

I know you will:)


Please prayerfully consider what YOU can do to help.  Don't just turn away.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


At the end of September, I had a very vivid dream...the kind that feels so real. 

In my dream, it was very cold outside and I was in a strange place....another country, perhaps.  There was a precious little girl named Olga who was running away from something.  When I asked her what was wrong, she told me that some bad men were after her.  I scooped her up, ran and hid.  I held her close in my arms and told her it was ok...she was safe now.  Then I woke up.

I woke with such an overwhelming desire to "rescue" a little girl, knowing that there are so many who are being chased by the enemy. 

In early December, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to this blog about a precious girl with Down Syndrome named Olga. 

It so very much touched my heart.  I have closely followed this blog ever since, posting links frequently on Facebook, trying to get others to see the stories.  You see, God had prepared me with that dream...and now He was showing me the ugly truth of it. 

My eyes were opened.

This sweet Olga has been so much a part of my thoughts and prayers and heart since then.  She is what prompted me to start this blog.  There are many other facets to my story with Olga that show how much God is in the details.  Maybe someday I will share those pieces of the story.  But, let me just say that she will always be in my prayers and a part of my life....for she truly changed me. 

Olga was a Divine Interruption.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sign here, please.

I want.  Please give it to me...soon.
I want.  Please make it happen...right now.
I want.  Can you show me that you are working on this?

That is what I tell God.  "I trust you will do what I want, right away."

"Yes, but....I have something more for you."

Grrr.  I really do want to be in His will.  I really do want what He wants for my life.  But I have found I have something in common with Corrie ten Boom.  In her book "Tramp for the Lord" she talks about how she had a tendency to lay out all the plans and then ask for God's endorsement.  She learned that it was much better to have Him draft up the plans and her just sign on the dotted line.

I still struggle with that.  If what I want is a worthy, good thing that is in line with His Word...why can't I have  Wow.  How impatient am I?!

He has clearly shown me this week that His answer is not necessarily no...He just has other things He is working out first.  So I sit.  And wait.  And trust.  And watch Him do things in the process that I never imagined could be done. 

While I am waiting, He is working.

He is teaching me right now.  Teaching me that He doesn't hold out on you just to show you He can.  He is working.  He is orchestrating.  He is refining you.  He is using your experience to touch others.  He is putting all the pieces in place.  He is removing your notion that you have the ability to do it all on your own.  He is giving you time to realize that He has the power to work the miracles, not you.  He wants to bless you.

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"  Isaiah 30:18

Blessed are all who wait for him.  Blessed.

I must admit, it doesn't feel like a blessing to wait.  But maybe my waiting is blessing others.  And maybe someday I will look back at my time of waiting and be able to see the full picture of the blessing in my own life as well.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God helps us through our struggles so that we may help others.  These two verses speak of God as being a God of compassion. defines compassion as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."  God does not desire for us to stay in the difficulty.  He works to alleviate the suffering.  He sends others who understand to help us, so that the waiting will be bearable.

How thankful I am of dear friends who understand!  I can never fully express how much they help!  And I hope that I can be that help to others as well. 

I have been finding so many amazing scriptures of comfort and hope and encouragement.  Scriptures that show me how amazing and powerful God is.  It is not through my strength, my wit, my wisdom, my abilities that anything happens.  It is all GodI pray that the process, the journey, the waiting, and whatever comes of it all, will glorify Him.  And that at some point, I might get better at this waiting thing and learn to let Him draft up the plans for me to sign on the dotted line!

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory...for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

Psalm 130

OUT of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I LOVE seeing God's miraculous timing in other people's lives.  There are so many miracles happening every day.  So many testimonies of His faithfulness and His perfect timing. 

I have even experienced it in my own life.

So why is it so hard to wait on His timing with each new situation?

I have read amazing testimonies such as this wonderful story, For the Love of Vera.  And this one, Announcing Peter's Family.   After reading these, how can anyone deny the awesome beauty of God's divine plan?!

And yet, when you are the one waiting on an answer, the days and hours are so painfully and silently long.

Yet, I am reminded over and over again:  If we let Him, He will orchestrate such incredible beauty in our lives in such a way that we will be left speechless.  His plan and His timing are so much more amazing than we can ever even dream of!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD. 
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts." 

                                               Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What if it were your child?

God is so faithful to answer prayers that are in His will.  Over the past couple years I have read alot of books with heart-breaking stories, some biographies, some historical fiction.  About a year ago, while reading some of the historical fiction and sobbing my eyes out, I cried out to God.  I asked Him to open my eyes to see what He break my heart for the things that break His heart.  Boy, has He ever answered that prayer! 

These days it feels as if my heart is going to literally burst.  Do you know that feeling?  My chest actually physically aches.  Both last night and this morning, I felt like it took every ounce of my strength and concentration to not break down into the ugly cry.  Oh, how heavy my heart feels!

Today, I got to spend my morning snuggling precious babies.  I helped out in the nursery at our Bible Study.  We had four sweet little ones, and four of us adults to care for them.  While I thoroughly enjoyed playing with them, watching them giggle and rocking them to sleep...I could not stop thinking about all the children who never experience this.  All those precious babies in orphanages around the globe who never giggle at their caregiver, who don't get rocked to sleep, who don't get cereal-o's to snack on just because.  The thousands of beautiful children who spend their days laying or sitting in a crib crying because there is no one to pick them up, who don't know what it is to play, who don't get their diaper changed but maybe once a day.  The children who don't know what a loving embrace feels like, who don't know what safety and peace and joy and warmth and love feel like.  All because they are not "perfect". 

I want you to take a minute and picture your own children.  Whether they are little now or were long ago, picture your child as a toddler.  Now imagine that someone took that child away from you and put them into one of these orphanages where they were not hugged and not loved and not cared for, but rather neglected and ignored and abused and forgotten.  They were forced to stay in their crib all day a room full of cribs with crying children who were never attended to...a room that smelled horrendously from all the children made to sit in their own filth...  A place where they barely got enough food to sustain them, and no one ever picked them up to cuddle them.  Endless days of dreadful existence. 

And your child is there, crying out for Mommy and Daddy to come...crying out for nothing more than to feel loved and secure and safe.

Could you turn your back on your child?  Leave them there?  Say it is not your problem?  It is not your "calling" to go rescue them?  Someone else needs to do it?

No?  Then why do you turn your back on the ones that are there? 

You may not have been the one who abandoned them.  But you are the one who is ignoring and neglecting them.

If that were your child over there, you would stop at nothing to save them.  No one and no thing would stop you from getting there as fast as you could to rescue them.  Your thoughts and actions would be consumed with trying to get them back into your loving arms and safe home.  You would be appalled and disgusted by what you saw there.  You would be angry that anyone could do that to a child.

So why don't you feel that way now?  Are those children any less deserving of love than the ones in your home?   Is it ok that they are treated that way?  Should you just leave them there and do nothing because they are not your responsibility?  Of course not!

It is your responsibility!  It is your calling! 

"Defend the cause of the fatherless..."  Isaiah 1:17

Doing nothing is not an option.  God says clearly in many places in the Bible that we are to take care of the fatherless.  In the book of Deuteronomy, He gave the Israelites many laws and instructions on how to live.  In there He repeated many times how they were to provide for the fatherless.  Does He care about the orphans less now, in today's society?  I'm pretty sure the answer to that is absolutely not!  He loves them and wants them taken care of just as much today as ever. 

"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."  Proverbs 21:13

So why do we go about our lives thinking that it is someone else's problem to deal with?  We live in a nice, suburban bubble here in America.  Even if we "struggle" a little financially, we still have no idea what much of the world's "struggling" looks like.  And instead of reaching out and trying to educate ourselves on the matter and figure out a way we can help, we gladly put on our blinders so that we can fully concentrate on our own lives.

"Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!"  Ezekiel 34:2

You need to prayerfully consider what you can do to help.  As I said before, doing nothing is not an option.  Can you financially support a family who is adopting?  Can you babysit for a family who needs to take the training classes?  Can you make meals for the family who just brought their child home?  Can you donate $10 or $25 a month to an adoption grant, such as the ones on Reece's Rainbow?  Could you use your tax return to help a child get a home?  Can you forward this post to others?  Can you educate and encourage others to take off their blinders?

Could you open your heart and home to another child?

No matter what it is, trust God to help you...financially, emotionally, physically.  He is faithful!  You won't have to do it on your own.  Whatever it is.

Just do something!

And, may I make one more suggestion?  Don't pray, "Lord, let my heart be broken with the things that break your heart" unless you are really prepared for it to happen in a big way!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Praising Our Weaknesses?

Here is another old "note" that I posted on Facebook a while back.  This note came about because I was watching a lot of "House Hunters" episodes at the time and had noticed a trend with the women on the program.  I was struck by how many of them were looking for a large closet to fill with shoes and clothes.  At the same time, they really didn't care about the kitchen, as they had no plans to use it anyway.  It just bothered me, and I said so in a status update on my page, which quickly turned into a debate on gender roles.  So, I attempted to explain my frustrations better in this note.

I don't believe that the woman must always cook.  My husband is a wonderful cook, and I thoroughly enjoy the times he prepares our meals!  I don't believe it is wrong to indulge yourself occasionally.  I certainly do from time to time.  What bothers me is the attitude that is so prevalent in today's culture...the message we are being fed as women: 

"It is all about you.  You need more things.  You should pamper yourself as much as possible.  Don't waste your life at home taking care of your husband and children...there are more important things, more exciting things you could be doing, you should be doing.  Cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning your house, teaching your children...these things are beneath you.  These things aren't your strong-suit.  You would be wasting your talents and your life if you spent your time doing these.  If you don't enjoy it, don't do it!  Pay someone else to do it.  Get a job.  Climb that corporate ladder.  Then you will have the money to buy all the stuff you want.  Because that's what matters in life.  The more you have, the happier you will be!"


Is that why we continue to see the news reports of people who seem to "have it all" committing suicide?  What about the normalcy of being on antidepressants or antianxiety medication?  An article on CNNhealth from July of 2007 states, "The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs -- those that affect brain chemistry -- has skyrocketed over the last decade.  Adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000.  Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported."  Today, we have way more "stuff" than our grandparents had.  As women, we have more "opportunities" than ever before. 

So why are we so miserable? 

I would have to agree with Dr. Ronald Dworkin, a Maryland anesthesiologist and senior fellow at Washington's Hudson Institute who was quoted in this article, "Doctors are now medicating unhappiness," said Dworkin. "Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives."  And what changes do they need to make?  I would suggest eliminating the materialism, to start.   The message of 'more is better' is a lie.  When you try to fill the emptiness with more "accomplishments" and material possessions, all you find is more emptiness.

So, what will fill that void?  The answer is God

"O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." Psalm 84:12 

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." Proverbs 8:34 

The books of Psalms and Proverbs are filled with statements like these.  God fills our emptiness with Himself, His ways and His blessings.  Children are included in that: "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him...Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:3,5  Our children are a blessing from God...not a burden.  Jesus shows us how He views children in Mark chapters 9 and 10.  Mark 9:37 goes so far as to say, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me." 

Are we valuing our children this much?  Do we see them in this light?  When we serve our children and give our lives for them, we are serving and giving our lives for Jesus!  That is NOT a waste of our lives!  That is the most meaningful and wonderful thing we could possibly do!

Matthew 20:26 shows us that Jesus identifies greatness with serving: "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant."  But it is not just the act of serving one another that is important.  In Ephesians 6:7, Paul addresses the issue of our attitudes, telling us to "serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men."   Again, Paul says in Galatians 5:13 to "serve one another in love."  Don't serve begrudgingly.  Don't cook and clean and care for your family because that's what you're "supposed" to do.  Do it because you value them.  Do it because you love them.  Do it because you love God and trust that He knows what is best for you!

God didn't just put us here and say, "Good luck!"  He has given us guidelines to follow for a good life.  Titus 2:3-5  says "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."  This is God's Word to us women, which is considerably different than the world's message to us. 

Who are we listening to, God or society?  Whose voice guides our daily choices?

All that being said, do I enjoy an occasional pedicure, Starbucks coffee, and shopping trip?  Yes, I do.  Do I feel that indulging in these on a regular, frequent basis is a good use of my time and money?  Absolutely not.  Am I always a good steward of my time and money?  Definately not.  Do I always enjoy cooking and cleaning?  Certainly not.  Do I think doing the laundry is fun?  HA! That's funny.  Is my house a fine specimen of housekeeping abilities?  If you think so, you obviously have never stepped foot in my home!  Am I always excited and happy to spend every waking hour with my perfectly well-behaved children?  Ummm, no.  My children are certainly not always well-behaved, and neither am I!  (Have you ever spent 24/7 with someone?  It gets ugly sometimes!  Am I right?!) 

But shouldn't we be making a constant effort to improve ourselves, our choices and our attitudes?  Why have we become content as a society to accept our weaknesses?  Shouldn't we be trying to turn those into strengths?   When did our flaws become accepted, expected, and even promoted?

Let me take a minute to emphasize here that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. (Eph. 2:8-9)  It is not through our "traditional gender roles" that we are saved.  It is God's grace.  We are not bound by a long list of "rules" that we must follow.  But God also tells us in Titus 2:12 that the grace of God "teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." 

Again, are we living our lives according to worldly passions?  Galatians 5:13 says, "You...were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."   Verse 20 lists "selfish ambition" as an act of the sinful nature.  Don't use your freedom to persue selfish ambition...use it to serve!  That is how we find fulfillment in this life.

But, serving can be a very difficult, overwhelming, and sometimes all-consuming task, right?  Do it anyway.   Romans 5:4 tells us that perseverance produces character.  The word used here for perseverance is the Greek word "hypomone", which means "steadfastness, constancy, endurance".   When you are doing a task you don't want to do, do it with perseveranceWhen you feel like you are being stretched beyond your abilities, don't give up!  When the days are long and difficult, persevere! 

God is improving you, refining you.  The Greek word for character here is "dokime", meaning "approved, tried character".  Through our obedience in serving with love, even when it is difficult and/or unappealing, God is shaping our character. 

"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver."  Psalm 66:10  

I want to be refined.  I NEED to be refined.  I am a very different person than I was 10 years ago, and, LORD willing, 10 years from now I will be a much different person than I am now!

Louisa May Alcott said it well:

"I do not ask for any crown
     But that which all may win;
 Nor try to conquer any world
     Except the one within."  

May we see our materialism and selfishness for what they are:  flaws.  And may we not be content to let them flourish.

Refine us, LORD!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Other Option

It occurred to me the other day after I wrote the post Here I Am that I had completely left out an option.  (And it is very odd that I forgot this particular option, as I have had personal experience with this one fairly recently.) 

When God tells us to do something, we can argue like Moses, obey like Abraham, or take the other route:  Jonah's.   

Jonah didn't argue.  Jonah certainly didn't obey. 
"Jonah ran away from the Lord..."  Jonah 1:3

In verse 2, God told him to go to Nineveh.  Verse 3, Jonah runs in the other direction.  No arguing.  No debating.  No negotiating.  He just ran away. 

This is a familiar story to most people.  A cute kid's tale about a big fish that swallows Jonah.  I never really got it, though.  Until about a year and a half ago.  I started the book "How to Study Your Bible" by Kay Arthur, which teaches you how to do inductive Bible study.  To demonstrate the methods she is teaching, she uses the book of Jonah.  God used this book to speak very clearly to me.  I had been running from something he had been telling me to do for over a year.  He was asking me to give up something.  I really didn't want to.

So here I was reading the story of Jonah.  I mean really reading it and analyzing it.  Jonah heard God's instruction to head east.  So, he went west.  He hopped a boat, went below deck and fell asleep.  God sent a great storm to wake him up.  Still he slept.

This part of the story really spoke to me.  It is the picture of a little kid with his fingers in his ears, saying, "La, la, la, la, la...I can't hear you!"

That was precisely what I was doing to God.  I knew what He was telling me.  I just didn't want to do it.  I ignored Him...and experienced the resulting turbulence. 

Jonah was finally awakened by the other terrified men on the boat.  He accepted responsibility for the storm and asked to be thrown overboard.  Immediately the storm was calmed.  God sent a big fish to swallow Jonah.  Think about that for a minute.  It is not a cute kid's story.  Jonah had no edible food, no drinkable water, no warmth.  He was soaking wet and in utter darkness for three days and three nights.  Really picture that.  He was not a cartoon character.  He was a real man in a real predicament.  Talk about the ultimate "time-out"!  He had nothing.  He could do nothing to get himself out of this situation.  And so, it was here that He cried out to God.

Why do we always wait until things are so bad--until everything has fallen apart, until we have exhausted all other resources--before we cry out to God? 

Why do we hide from His divine plan and purpose for our life, thinking we know better than Him what is good for us? 

Why are we so focused on our own comfort, rather than being willing to follow what He says and live fully by His grace and guidance?

Living out our own plan in our own strength will always fail.  Living out God's plan with His provision will always succeed.  Why do we have to repeat this lesson over and over again?!

Are you currently experiencing some great stress in your life?  Could it be a result of not following God's instructions?  Granted, not all stress in life is God trying to wake you up.  But, sometimes it is. 

Are you having a "big fish" encounter?  Are you running away from God's plan, fingers in ears?  After studying the book of Jonah, it became very clear to me that I was indeed doing so.  I cried out to God for forgiveness and asked Him to help me obey Him.  He has been faithful to do so each and every day since. 

Don't wait for God to send the storm.  And if you are in the storm right now, don't wait for the fish!!! 

Jonah.  Moses.  Or Abraham.  Who are you going to be like?

Whatever He is calling you to do, do it.  He will help you.  He has promised not to leave you.  Just like He did with each of these men, He will give you what you need when you need it. 

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

Trust Him. 

Follow Him. 

Like the old hymn says, "Trust and Obey":

When we walk with the Lord 
 in the light of his word, 
 what a glory he sheds on our way! 
 While we do his good will, 
 he abides with us still, 
 and with all who will trust and obey. 

 Trust and obey, for there's no other way 
 to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

 Not a burden we bear, 
 not a sorrow we share, 
 but our toil he doth richly repay; 
 not a grief or a loss, 
 not a frown or a cross, 
 but is blest if we trust and obey. 
 Trust and obey, for there's no other way 
 to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

 But we never can prove 
 the delights of his love 
 until all on the altar we lay; 
 for the favor he shows, 
 for the joy he bestows, 
 are for them who will trust and obey. 
 Trust and obey, for there's no other way 
 to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

 Then in fellowship sweet 
 we will sit at his feet, 
 or we'll walk by his side in the way; 
 what he says we will do, 
 where he sends we will go; 
 never fear, only trust and obey. 
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Great Find

This blog has become one of my favorites:
What an amazing family living boldly for the Lord!

The entries on this link are mostly written by her husband.  When reading so many blogs by women, it's great to get the guy's perspective from time to time. 

Take a few minutes to read it. 
Very inspiring.

"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity we plan only the things we can do by ourselves."  AW Tozer

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

here i am

I ask your forgiveness right from the start.  My thoughts are all jumbled up in my brain today.  Maybe it's the lack of sleep.  Maybe it's all that has been weighing on my heart lately.  Probably a bit of both.

I have often struggled with praying honestly, "Lord, use me.  I am here to serve you as you see fit.  Whatever you want for my life, I want.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Nothing else.  Lord, I want your will."   You see, I am terribly afraid He will do it! 

What if He asks me to uproot my family?  Move across the globe?  Start a time-consuming ministry in an unknown area?  Give up things I hold dear?  Step out of my comfort-zone?  Help a needy person?  Adopt an orphan or two?  What if He just asks me to walk across the room and share the Gospel with a stranger?  Or worse yet, a family member?!

I often feel like God is calling out, asking for volunteers to step up to the front...and I am sitting in the back, sliding down in my chair with my head bowed trying to hide from view. "Please don't pick me....please don't pick me..."  You see, I have an idea of what my future is going to be.  A plan.  The schooling plan.  The vacation plan.  The retirement plan.  So many plans. 

"Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails."  Proverbs 19:21

Why is it so difficult to trust God?  I mean trust completely.  No lip-service, while keeping a tight grip on our own plans.  Trust Him.

"Here I am."   I love that phrase in the Bible.  It has really been jumping out at me lately.  There are numerous examples of men answering God, "Here I am." 

Such as Abraham in Genesis 22.  Abraham obeyed immediately.  No hesitation.  No questioning.  No rationalizing why he shouldn't do it.  Immediate obedience.  The result?  Tremendous blessing. "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore...and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."  He got to experience first-hand, Jehovah Jireh...the God who provides.

Then there's good ole Moses.  His story in Exodus 3 is certainly not his finest hour.  And yet, this is a story I can identify with.  This is my paraphrase of what went down:

God:   "I have seen. I have heard. I have come to rescue them. So, now go." 
Moses:   "Who, me?" 
God:   "I will be with you." 
Moses:   "But, what if no one listens...." 
God:   "Tell them I sent you. They will listen." 
Moses:   "But, what if they don't believe me..." 
God:   "I will perform miracles." 
Moses:   "But, I'm not qualified..." 
God:   "Go. I will help you." 
Moses:   "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." 
Then the God got very frustrated with Moses.

Wow.  As a mom, I want to send Moses to his room until he can obey immediately without whining and arguing!  Seriously!

But, we are all like Moses.  Isn't it easy to come up with excuses why you shouldn't have to do what God has told you to do?  Reasons why it is someone else's calling and not yours?

Abraham or Moses?  Who do you want to be like?  I seem to be more like Moses, but desperately want to be more like Abraham.

When God opens your eyes to something that calls for action, DO SOMETHING!  Be like Samuel and say, "Speak, for your servant is listening." 

But what if He hasn't "called" you?  You don't feel any great "calling" on your life?

Open your Bible.  If you proclaim the name of Jesus...if you are a Christian and want to live a faithful life: Open your Bible.  It doesn't take a scholar to find the "calls":

"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it?  Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?"  Proverbs 24:11-12

"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans..."  James 1:27 NLT

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves..."  Proverbs 31:8

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."  Proverbs 3:27

"But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person?"  I John 3:17 NLT

"Whoever Welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me."  Mark 9:37

Or how about this one:

"Then the King will say to those on the right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me.  I was in prison, and you visited me.'

`Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?'
'And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"

"Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, `Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons! For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

"Then they will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'
And he will answer, `I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'"  

Matthew 25:34-45

What are you doing -- or REFUSING to do -- for Jesus?


As the song says, What Now?

What will you do?  Will you pull a 'Moses' and argue with God?  Or will you stand up right now and choose to follow Him?

Tremendous blessings await the Abrahams of today.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"  Isaiah 6:8


I am in denial.

Serious denial.

How can my sweet life-raft be 10 years old?!  It seems like yesterday and life-times ago, all at once:

The moment my doctor said, "It's positive." 

The months of uncertainty and confusion and attempts at figuring out this "life" thing. 

The first few days of looking at this tiny person, not really knowing what to do or think. 

The moment a few days later, when that precious bundle yawned the cutest little newborn yawn...causing me to yawn. 

What a silly thing!  But it was that moment that I got it. 

This was MY baby. 

This little human was at that moment woven into the very fibers of my being. 

He completely changed me.  He is what prompted me to seek out God.


Through him, God pulled me out of my self-distructive behavior.

Through him, God first showed me what true love and joy looked like.

He was my life-raft; he led me to my Saviour.

When he was a baby, I always said he looked like an old man who knew all the secrets of heaven and earth.  I can still see that wisdom and Godliness in his eyes now as he grows into adulthood.


 What a heart he has! 

What a passion for God! 

What kindness and love! 

He has made me a better person.   He makes me want to be better still.

And he's only 10! 

Imagine what he will be like in 10 more years.... 

It makes my heart smile.

So, happy double-digits, baby.  What an amazing young man you are becoming.  I am honored to know you and have you as a part of my life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Love Day

I know it's a day late by our calendar's standards, but I firmly believe we should be going all out to show our loved ones how much they mean to us and sharing God's love with all people each and every day.  So, how are you going to show love today? 

Reach out and help someone... 

Give a hug...

Be kind and considerate...

Open your eyes and heart to the needs of someone...

Smile at a stranger...

And if you are going to do something special for someone you love, do it the right way:  randomly and regularly!!!

Don't leave the celebration of love for next Valentine's Day.  Go share God's love with someone today and tomorrow and every day!

(Now, tell me this song doesn't make you want to stand up and dance!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Open your hand

A few weeks ago I attended a women's conference.  It was a truly incredible weekend of encouragement for moms.  Each time I go, I leave with my passion renewed for mothering and teaching my children.  It is the perfect mid-school-year pick-me-up.  I went this year with the expectation of hearing some great talks from fellow moms on parenting with purpose, bringing beauty into our family's daily life, and the importance of good literature in shaping our children. 

And, as always, the conference delivered on all of those and more.  I came home with the desire to have a less chaotic home, to use the nice dishes for my family not just company, to read more good books to the boys, and to spend time alone with God daily.  (Just so you know, those are all a work-in-progress!  I have yet to successfully and fully implement any of them.  One day at a time, my friends.)  But the one talk that affected me the most was not from one of those seasoned moms.  It was from one of their daughters. 

She was a 15 year old amazing young woman who wanted to share her story with us.  She told us of the difficult year she had had, how she spent much of it fighting with her parents over a particular subject.  She wanted something, but they didn't think it was a good thing for her.  After months of arguing over this, her parents finally told her that she could make the decision on one condition...she had to be certain that this was what God wanted her to do.  She told us how she prayed and prayed about it, coming to the clear realization that God wanted her to let go of it.  She had been holding this in her hand so tightly for so long, and now God was asking her to open her hand.  She did, and quickly her relationship with her parents was mended.

The story brought to my mind the picture of a small child who has found a "treasure" and grasps it tightly.  As the mom tries to convince the child to open his hand so that she may see the object, he only squeezes tighter.  Mom doesn't know what it is.  It might be something she will let him keep, it might not.  But until he opens his hand for her to make sure it's ok for him, the struggle continues.   Anyone with a toddler has experienced this first hand, I am sure!

Isn't that how we are?  I find myself holding on to an idea, a desire for something, or a plan so tightly for so long.  I am certain this is what my Heavenly Father wants for me, so I squeeze my hand shut around it.  I obsess about it.  I protect it.  I advocate for it.  I will not let it go.

The point the young woman was trying to get across to us was that at some point we will have to trust that God is leading our children as well.  That we should give them room to seek Him and hear His voice.  It was a great message.  But I walked away from it with another message as well: 

Open your hand.       

You see, I had been holding on to something yet again.   Through-out my life as a Christian, I have had many opportunities to "give it to God", whatever the "it" of the moment may be.  I know in my mind that God loves me and takes care of me.  I know that His plan is always so much bigger and better than mine.  Yet, I regularly find my heart holding on to something.  And here I was again. 

Open your hand.

Those three words echoed in my mind and heart and soul for weeks.  They still do, in fact.  Because, at least for me, opening my hand is something God has to daily remind me to do....sometimes hourly.  Actually, if I am brutally honest, there are times when I have to open my hand so often, I feel like I am waving!!! 

So what are you holding on to? 

A plan?  A promise?  A hope?  A wish?  

Whatever it is, it cannot flourish while being smothered in your hand.  Let God take it and make it into so much more than you can ever imagine.  Release your will into His care. 

Open your hand.

In the wise words of the beloved Corrie ten Boom:
"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why bother?

There are so many orphans in the world.  There are so many children with special needs who have been abandoned.  There is no way I can make a dent in that number.  So why bother?  There will still be thousands upon thousands who will be doomed to life in an institution.  Why should I get emotionally involved in helping one?

Consider this story that I am sure you have heard before:

The Story of the Starfish....

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Make a difference in just one life and see the ripple effects.

If everyone donated just $10 to Danila, we could make a difference for that one.  What is $10 to you?  A few lattes?  A couple of kid's meals at the local fast-food restaurant? 

She's one who needs us.

I'm sure most of you have seen this as well.  Watch it, and think about sweet Danila and all the other precious children at
Reece's Rainbow. 

Help rescue one.

One more.

It matters.

Just one....

Don't wait until it's too late to say, "I could have saved one more..."