Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Think of a person who has had an impact on your life.

What do you picture about them?

For me, I see the Bible.

I don't have a great long-term memory; I tend to forget things about the past fairly easily.  

But I do hold on to a few very vivid images of my childhood.  

Namely of my father.  

I remember him sitting in his tan recliner in the living room, reading his tattered and note-filled Bible.  I remember him going to his room to pray for long periods of time each day.

My dad is not a loud person. 
He is not showy. 
He does not make himself the center of attention.  
He never does anything for the purpose of others seeing him.  
It is just who he is.  It is how he lives his life.

He does not compromise on his beliefs.  He holds firm in the face of opposition.  
God is everything to him.

He and I may not see eye to eye on many theological points.  That fact has caused some heated debates over the years.  But it has never reduced my respect for him.  If anything, it has sharpened my own beliefs as it has forced me to dig ever deeper so that I can "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks (me) to give the reason for the hope that (I) have. But do this with gentleness and respect..."  I Peter 3:15

I am so very grateful that I grew up in the atmosphere of devotion.  I am so blessed to have been given such a great example of always turning to God, always talking to Him and reading His Word in good times and bad.

I am so thankful to have this wonderful memory of a father who loves his Father.

My dad and I will likely never fully agree on many Biblical details.  But we will always share a respect for one another, a love of the Word, and a desire to know and understand God more fully.

Still to this day, I occasionally sneak a peak into his Bible.  I peruse the scribbled notes, highlighted passages, questions in the margin, and sticky-notes pasted as tabs all throughout.  I hope one day my own children will enjoy doing the same to my Bible.  

I pray that my boys grow up with the memory of me sitting quietly in my chair, a tattered Bible on my lap, my mind focused on my Saviour.  I pray that when asked to give a brief description of me, "Godly" is at the top of the list.

I am so grateful to have been given a legacy of loving God. 
I pray I am able to give that same legacy to the generations to come.

by Nichole Nordeman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy 

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy 

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy 

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me... 

Saturday, April 21, 2012


UPDATE:  The Bowser's ChipIn account started at $425.

It is currently at $1150!!! 

Click here to help it grow, so that they can get their daughter before its too late!  You will be directed to Holly's blog, where you will see a "ChipIn" button in the top right corner.  Every little bit helps!  I will continue to update the number here so we can watch it grow.


In yesterday's post, I shared links to a number of blogs from amazing families who are stepping out in faith to be used by God in various ways.  Each one of them inspires me.

Today, I want to share with you a family who is different than all those others.  You see the families that I have been "following" are strangers to me, or acquaintances at best.  This family is different.  They are near and dear to my heart.  I am honored to introduce you to the Bowser family.

Holly and I met years ago at college.  Carefree young ladies having a great time.  As often happens, we fell out of touch as our lives took us to different places.  The wonderful world of Facebook brought us back together.  But reconnecting did not take place right away.  You know how it goes.  Old friends you haven't talked to in years show up on Facebook.  You "friend" them, say hi, and don't actually speak to them again.  Am I right?

This is where our friendship was holding steady...in the "friend" world.  Until God began opening my eyes and heart to the children in need worldwide.  As I was finding organizations such as Reece's Rainbow and sharing what I was learning on my blog and through Facebook, Holly and her family were being prepared for the biggest journey of their lives: they were being led to adopt.  Holly noticed all of my posts regarding orphans and she contacted me.  Since then, our friendship has grown into one that I treasure.  She is one of those people who make you a better person.  

She encourages you when you are down.  
Celebrates with you when you are rejoicing.  
Prays with you in all circumstances. 

A true treasure.

And her family's story will bring you to tears.  You can read their full adoption journey here on her blog.  I encourage you to do so, as she can explain their journey so much better than I.  But for the sake of introduction, I will summarize.

Their journey began with Reece's Rainbow and a precious little girl.  They were in love with this precious life (and still are), however another family committed to her first.  Shortly thereafter, they received three referrals.  One of those precious children was their daughter.  So they started down the long path to bringing her home.  But, God was not done with their family just yet.  He had even bigger plans in store for them!

Through an orphan hosting program, they found their other daughter, a teenager who is dangerously close to aging out of the system.  Now they are desperately trying to get all the steps completed and funds raised so that they can bring home their two daughters from two different countries as soon as possible!  

This is where you come in.  Here is a family who is stepping out boldly in faith to rescue not one, but two precious girls from a hopeless life.  How brave and wonderful and amazing!  If only we could all step out in that way!

Unfortunately, not all of us are able.  I am fairly certain, however, that all of us are able to help those that can.  You are able to give $10, $25, $50 or more to help Holly and Jeremy go get their daughters.  Really.  You are.  You can sacrifice a couple lattes.  You can eat sandwiches one day for lunch instead of that fast food meal you were planning.  You can forgo the new gadget that you don't really need right now.  You can contribute to the ransom paid for these lives.

You can.

The question is, will you?

Will you be a part of this amazing journey?  Will you help rescue these girls?  Will you see beyond your comfortable life and let your heart break for the sake of these treasures?

Or will you be content to forget what you have seen and continue to spend your money on the temporal things? 

Where is your heart?  

Where is your treasure?

Holly and Jeremy have two treasures half a world away.  They have all they need at home to care for them, love them, show them Jesus, give them amazing lives.  They just need help getting the girls home.

On April 1st, they began their fundraising effort.  They have donated items for a give-away.  You can visit Holly's blog here to see the items and read a quick blurb of their story.  Please take a few minutes to do so.

Read through their story.  There are so many heart-felt posts that will bring you to tears.  Adoption is not an easy road.  It is not a quick process.  It is long and difficult and expensive.  But when we step out in faith to follow God's leading, we can be sure that He will provide. 

Will you be a part of that provision?

Over the last two weeks I have seen their ChipIn account rise only slightly.  I want to see it skyrocketing!  I know we can do it.  It really doesn't take much from each person.  It just takes many people stepping up to help the Bowsers step out in faith.

Go donate.  Then share this blog with others.  Post a link to Holly's blog.  Spread the word. 

Let's bring these girls home.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Duggar-bashing and Kid-hating

This morning I read yet another article slamming the Duggar family.   Now before I continue, I must confess that I used to feel the same way.  I felt they were entirely too fake.  I mean no mom of more than one child could really be that calm and peaceful, right?  It's not normal to truly enjoy children that much...especially that many children!  She has to be on something!  

But my heart has changed over the past two years.  

It was two years ago that God began to break my heart.  He showed me the millions of precious children around the world who are in need of love and family.  MILLIONS!

So that you can have some facts at a glance, here are some from the Show Hope website.

What is the need?
* Over 130 million children have lost one or both parents.1
* Every 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan, without a mother or father.2
* At least 16.2 million children worldwide have lost both parents.3
* Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.4
* Conflict has orphaned or separated 1 million children from their families in the 1990s.5

Where are they?
* 43.4 million orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa, 87.6 million orphans live in Asia, and 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.6
* 1.5 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe alone.7
* At any given point there are over 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system.8
* In some countries, children are abandoned at alarming rates, due to poverty, restrictive population control policies, disabilities or perceived disabilities, and cultural traditions that value boys more than girls.9

I don't know about you, but facts such as these seem so sterilized to me.  The numbers are alarming, but still, they are just cold, hard facts.  They might slightly surprise you, but don't necessarily break your heart.  They're just numbers.  As God was leading me to learn more about the "plight of the orphan," He led me to the personal stories.  The stories of families who are out there walking the road, helping the children, struggling to bring home one or more of the children, and/or helping others to do so.  Stories of families who gave up their "American Dream" to go to third-world countries to help these precious little ones.  Stories of families who use what they have to help in any way they can.  Stories of families who are stepping out of the imposed expectations of "marriage, two kids, a dog and a white picket fence" to help the "least of these."

Incredible stories of faith and struggle, love and tears, appalling circumstances and Divine deliverance.

Stories of faith, like the Fulp family.

Stories of amazing love, like the Salem family.

Stories of perseverance, like the Davis family.

Stories just beginning, like the Bonnet family.

Stories finally coming to fruition, like the Abell family.

Stories of advocacy, like the Rice family.

It is these stories that have so touched my heart and changed my soul.  And how could I watch the short video I shared in my post entitled Sweet Babies, and not be moved?  How could I read all the amazing personal stories and not be changed?

Children are a blessing.  

We all hear this.  We all say this.  But do we really, truly believe this and live this?  Sure, we can argue with the people who advocate for zero population growth about the value of children.  Sure, we can get all kinds of worked up over child abuse atrocities.  Sure, we can have a lengthy debate about why the murder of unborn babies is a horrendous tragedy.  Sure, we complain about those parents who are always complaining about their children.  Sure, we can admire those who open their homes to an orphan or two.

But at the same time, we find families like the Duggars absurd.  We find reasons to hate them and pick apart their lifestyle.  We don't understand why they would possibly want that many children.  I mean, one or two or even three children is ok.  If you have four or five, you are pushing the limits of rational thought.  Six or more and you are just plain crazy. 

And the funny thing is, it doesn't seem to matter if the number is six or sixteen.  Large families are viewed as ridiculous and weird.  An article I read just this morning criticizing the newest season of "19 and Counting" uses words such as "creepy" and "freakshow" and refers to Michelle Duggar as "the broodmare".  Another article I found (penned by Margaret Sanger) starts off with this statement, "THE MOST serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families. The most immoral practice of the day is breeding too many children."  In it she implies that having more than three children puts your children and society at risk for a number of issues.

In many articles that have come out recently, we see this mentality.  Children are viewed as inconvenient burdens.  They take up all our time, money and sanity.  We have better things to do than raise kids, right?  It just isn't worth it.

Unfortunately, even Christians have this mindset.  Tell the truth.  If you saw a family with six kids walk into your church, what's the first thought that would go through your mind?  Probably not "What a beautiful family!"  Or what if the family had twelve kids?  Your thoughts would probably be closer to "Don't they know what causes that?!"  (As if they accidentally had a dozen children...)  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this phrase, whether it be at church or the grocery store, "My! You sure do have your hands full!"  And I only have three!

Recently, Michelle Duggar experienced a miscarriage.  That, alone, breaks my heart.  The loss of a child is heartbreaking, regardless of the circumstances around it.  What breaks my heart even more are the reactions of so many.  I heard the same sentiment from numerous sources: this family should be happy with the children they have...it is absurd that they would be mourning the loss of this baby.  "Sure, losing a baby is hard, but they brought it on themselves" seems to be the average opinion.  As if they deserved to lose the baby because of their desire to have as many kids as God will give them.  Do you see the absurdity of that?

As Christians, we should view others in the same way Jesus did.  Jesus did not look down on children.  In fact, He welcomed them.  Mark 10:13-14 is my favorite version of this story.

"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'" 

The disciples felt that Jesus had more important things to do.  Children were not important.  They were not valuable.  The disciples were merely trying to prioritize all the requests, and children weren't even on the list!  But what was Jesus' response?  He was indignant. INDIGNANT!

Dictionary.com defines indignant as "feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base."




That is how Jesus felt about restricting the children.  He didn't view them as burdens.  He didn't view them as a waste of his time and energy.  The mere implication that He would view them that way was offensive to Him.

Do you get it?  Do you really get it?

As Christians, we should not look down on large families.  We should not criticize those who truly do welcome the little children, whether those children be biological or adopted, "perfectly healthy" or have special needs, whether it be six children or sixteen.

Children are a blessing. 

And that should be more than just a platitude.  It should be our firm belief.  And as such, it should change the way we react to large families and children in general. 

I'm not telling you that your family needs more children.  That is between you, your spouse and God.  I am telling you that if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then you need to love and welcome the little children, as He did.  Encourage, rather than criticize, those who are welcoming children into their homes.

In my attempt to find opinions on both sides of the matter, I came across this article which so eloquently and accurately assesses the situation.

"Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns 20 motorcycles, but disgusted that some religious families choose to have 10 children?
Let’s not finesse the response. We all know why. A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings who are innocent. A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who 'tie you down.'”

We know that we are supposed to be in the world, but not of it.  And I'm sure that many of us feel that we are doing a good job of that.  But take a minute and ask yourself, when it comes to children, am I "of the world"?

We should be setting the example of love.  We should be a shining light for the world to see.  We need to realize that this Babylon has seeped its way into our psyche and made us look and act just like the world around us when it comes to children.  And we need to change that.

Children are a blessing.