Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updates for you.

Yep, this is the book I keep mentioning! ;) 

Hello my friends! 
I just wanted to keep you posted on some updates for some of the projects we have been doing on here. Yesterday I posted about a new challenge that will be involving my whole family and I am thrilled about it.

Rest assured friends, I am still continuing our blog theme on missions, but now my kids will be joining us in our adventures on here from time to time!

Have you signed up to join us yet? There is an email sign-up to the right of my post. It's quick, easy, and free! ;)
 Please join us as we journey together to follow God’s call for each of us to live for Him daily. I promise you, I give simple steps to start living out God’s call to serve, by being His hands and feet whether here or abroad.

  I will also keep you posted with the changes and challenges the kids and I are taking on this year to live like Jesus asked us to as a family. We are taking a note from Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Seven” to take time each week to learn about a country, the people and children there.  

A few of the books the kids will be reading through as we study. :)

We will study their stories and struggles, and then will sit down and eat a meal that these children would eat in their country. (Yes that may mean, just plain rice and beans for our meal that night and so on.) We will use this as a time to be in prayer for these people from all over the world. We are excited for the Lord to open our eyes to His world view and heart for people.

Our Top Secret Free the Girls drive has been a blast so far. I have a facebook event page where I keep everyone posted. The men in our church are pretty confused by it so far, but it's been a blast for the ladies. :)

 I am especially encouraged by the response I have received via the blog-world. There are now people doing the Free the Girls drives in several other states! WOOT! I love it when women unite for a cause! I still encourage you to go for it and have a Free the Girls, drive at your work or church.

I will also continue blogging for Compassion this month. Please continue to pray for these beautiful children and for sponsors to step forward for them.

On a side note...
I have been called a bleeding heart multiple times. It was always said in an insulting manner, and sometimes I took it as such, but about 2 weeks ago in I wrote down a little "return" for this insult. A mental motto/reminder for myself when someone jabs at me again.

"I will be a bleeding heart for Jesus, after all His heart bled for me." 

I am taking a stand. I will continue to be called "crazy", but then so was my Jesus. It’s a compliment in the end. J

Let’s live love this week friends. Remember Love Does!

Much love and blessings to you all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Humble Pie and a List to Live By.

Don't they look so sweet and angelic here?

My friends, my children have humbled me. I mean it. I have found myself flat-out speechless, dumbfounded, and convicted by their sweet hearts and wise words. They have given me the hope and camaraderie I have desperately been seeking for. 

Since my trip to Africa I have not been able to process what to do with all of my "stuff".

When I returned home, I went on a tear going through our closets to give stuff away to the poor, but after a while I was back in the rush and bustle of ministry and life with three active and involved kids.

 When our schedule slowed down, moments would occur when I would once again look at all that I had and feel overwhelmed...where do I start? I really don't need this stuff. I wanted it, but I didn't need it. (Sadly I know I bought it because I had convinced myself that I needed it. Oh the tangled web I can weave.)

Now, back to my kids. I am looking at our new school year and praying, asking the Lord... No.  Let me be honest here, I was anxiously begging the Lord to show me how to teach my kids to live like missionaries. To love like Jesus loves.

How do I keep them from getting caught up in the consumer nature and craziness of our country? I don’t want them always "needing" more “stuff”. Isn’t “need” a funny word to us? We have stretched it and molded it to be mainly an excuse to buy what we “want”.

Finally the other day God put it to me quite simply.

 "Daughter, go and talk to them. Share your heart, your struggles, and then ask them about me."

So I did. I called my oldest children to the table and I began to share the struggles I have faced with wanting more stuff. (By the way, I think there is a reason the magazine is called “Better Homes and Gardens”. It’s because those homes are always better than mine, but I must digress.)

I shared my struggle with not wanting to give things away because I have a crazy sentimental attachment to it. They nodded their heads and my son gave me a skeptical look. His sharp young mind was whirring at a hundred miles per second trying to guess where this was headed. I then asked them,

"What did Jesus ask us to do in the Bible?”

I had my blank sheet of paper ready and a pen in hand, waiting.  There was only a moment’s pause before my 7 year old daughter started with a barrage of ideas flowing from her excited little lips. She waved her arms about and occasionally jumped up from her seat as a new thought would occur to her. 

My friends, it was a constant stream of thrilled chatter that filled the air and covered the front and back of my paper. Honestly, it was hard to keep up with them. Occasionally I had to ask my children to pause while mom finished writing. I then proudly reread the amazing list to them out loud.

I was humbled and in awe. I sat there quietly mulling over the list again. I whispered silent prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, for their pure earnest hearts.

Here is their beautiful and humbling list. I tried to stay true to their own words as they were speaking.

 “What does Jesus ask us to do in the Bible?”
  • Give stuff to people.
  •  Love People!
  •  Be nice.
  •  Love our enemies.
  • Only worship God! No other god’s before Him.
  • Pray for people
  • Tell people about Him, most of the time!
  • Celebrate Jesus and especially at Christmas we do, but really we should every day.
  • Help people! Even if they are on the other team and you are in a race. You should stop and help them!
  • Give food to people
  • Help the poor
  • Travel to tell people about Jesus in other places.
  • Follow the 10 commandments.
  • Don’t leave anyone behind. Go find them if they are lost.
  • Help people who are in trouble.
  • Listen to our Mom and Dad.
  • Be happy with what God gives us.
  • Give presents to others.
  • Send His message to people who don’t know Him.
  • Take care of what God gives us, like our home, animals, the earth, and our things.
  • He wants me to just be me. I don’t have to try to be someone else.
  • Keep my promises and don’t lie.
  • He always wants us to give, learn about Him, and worship Him every day!

At this point I was getting a bit teary eyed. (Note to self; I must thank our amazing Sunday School teachers at church!) I swallowed the tears back and finally asked them,

 "How can we start doing these things every day? How can we live this out?”

They sat there quietly thinking for a moment... Then once again my daughter excitedly hopped off the bench and said in her sweet sing song voice,

"Mom, let’s go through my toys and stuffed animals. I should give them away to other kids who don’t have them. Can we do it right now?"

I was in shock. Instead of the normal whine of my children

"Mom you are so meeeeaaaan! Why do I have to sort through my toys?" 

My daughter excitedly raced to the work. As we began to go through her toys, her younger sister joined in and within an hour they had 3 garbage bags full of toys to give away.

Let me tell you, these were some really nice toys too. Sadly, oh for the shame of it all friends, I had moments where I struggled with their choices. I struggled because I knew the cost or the identity of the gift giver for each item they were giving away, but then…

How could I destroy what God was clearly doing in their hearts? These precious girls even kept a few toys to the side to give to their friends because those were the toys their friends always wanted to play with when they were over. It was…


Absolutely beautiful.

I found hope that day.

I know now, I am not alone.

Like Jen Hatmaker writes in her book "Seven. An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess",

 "Jesus, for your kingdom to come, mine will have to go."

Please Lord let us not be caught up in this machine of constant consumerism again. Thank you for the freedom that comes from desiring you and your heart first!

What about you, my friends? Will you join us?
Please sign up and follow this blog with your email address. It’s absolutely free. We will just be fellow adventurers on a journey to follow Christ.

Would you like to join me in reading “Seven” by Jen Hatmaker? Please, leave me a comment or any questions that you may have about it. (Or join the women at (in)courage in the Bloom book club as they take us through the book including special interviews with the author!)

Now this is more accurate than our lovely photo at the beginning of this blog. (Please excuse the ketch-up on their faces.) Let's just be honest, our family is a goofy and fun loving bunch. ;)

Tomorrow, I will be posting updates for you on our journey with the “Free the Girls” drive. Also, I will fill you in on the next challenge that my children and I will undertake in our adventure to live the way Jesus asked us to. 
Please continue praying for the children at Compassion to find sponsors or consider becoming a blogger for Compassion.

I am praying for you today friends! Remember don’t limit God this week; He has BIG plans for each of us. Take time to praise Him and thank Him for the big and the small. He is truly amazing.

God Bless you greatly!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Compassion Kick-off and a Call Out for Prayer.

Greetings Friends!
 This month is Blog Month for Compassion. Would you please consider sharing this post with others? Facebook it! Tweet it! Send it through email! Let's see more children find hope this month by people praying for them and some even making the choice to sponsor them.

A few weeks ago, I shared with you about God placing a call on my heart to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I truly believe their work is at the very core of what God is calling us to do. 

 If you have read the Bible, you know that God calls us again and again to care for the least of these. (Matthew 25:34-40) His heart hurts for the orphaned and the homeless. Doesn't God ask us to love others like we would want to be loved? 

In an interview, Katie Davis, author of, “Kisses From Katie”  shared,

“As someone who calls themselves a Christian,  I mean, it’s very apparent that you are to love the Lord with all your heart and then you’re to love your neighbor as yourself. Myself doesn’t want to be starving … and so I don’t want other people in the world to be starving.”

She goes on to point out that these were not requests, but commands from Jesus. Friends crack open your Bible and check them out for yourself. 

Matthew 22:36-40
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied:
 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 
This is the first and greatest commandment. 
And the second is like it:
 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Are you thinking, "Oh crud!? Those are commandments? I am sure that does not mean I actually have to do them..." 
Perhaps you are about to click away from this blog, thinking to yourself,
 "Oh my, we have another bleeding heart here. Bla bla bla, I have heard it all before lady and seen the infomercial. Time to turn the channel."

Honestly I understand... We are all over exposed and have become desensitized to this message, but please keep reading. I am with you. I have been there my friends, please keep reading. 

Today we need to stop treating these as optional requests from God.  Friends, these are His commands and they flow out of the core of God’s very heart. 

These are real people. 
These are suffering children. 
They are our hurting neighbors. 

God commands us to treat them as we would want to be treated.

So that leads to my request for today.

I have learned incredible lessons from my sponsored child. The joys we have known through our experience in this relationship have been amazing. I even wrote about this very topic 2 weeks ago in my post titled, "Love Does! When God Strikes in the Middle of a Boring Lecture Hall..."

That is where my journey in Compassion's child sponsorship program began. When God used a simple college lecture to tear my heart in two with the news of the sex slave trade in Thailand. Through her letters and beautiful drawings, I met a wonderful little girl named Tairinee, from Thailand. 

Eventually, Tairinee grew up and moved on, but now we have dear, sweet  Genesis. Genesis has opened my ignorant eyes time and time again over these last couple of years. Imagine, one little girl teaching our kids, myself, and my husband priceless lessons we would not have learned otherwise. 

We signed up to show God’s love to Genesis, but honestly Genesis has taught us about God's love for people and the importance of prayer. 

Friends let’s do something for these little ones. I know some of you already sponsor a child and some of you just feel flat broke right now, but here is your opportunity to do something so simple. 

 Would you please consider going to the Compassion Sponsor page. Take a moment and look over each child, their names, their different countries, and their ages. 

Then take a minute to Pray over them.  

Ask the Lord to provide for them spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Pray for their family’s health and for adequate jobs for their parents. 

Pray for their protection from harm.

Pray for blessings upon them and their family.  

Finally, please Pray for someone to sponsor them.

Could you do one more thing?

Could you ask the Lord in what ways He would like you to help the poor? Whether it’s through Compassion International or in your own town, ask Him and then follow through with what He lays on your heart.

Please visit and pray for these children. It will only take a moment of your time and time is something we can all give a little of.

If you have sponsored a child, could you take a moment and share how God has provided the means financially for this commitment?
Has it been rough financially to do this?

May God Bless you greatly friends! J

Again consider sharing this. Maybe you could be the catalyst for another child finding their sponsor by posting this blog on Facebook or Tweeting about it. Let’s see if we can help Compassion reach it's goal for over 3,000 children to be sponsored this month!

holy experience