Sunday, August 9, 2009

IT'S NOT EASY

We love the ministry so much.
We love living everyday with the sense of purpose that it gives us.
We love giving our lives to something that is so much bigger than we are.

We absolutely love student ministry.
There is nothing else we would rather be doing.
Nothing else we would rather give our lives to.

There are so many things we love about what we do.
But there are some things about it that are never easy.
Things that are hard. Real hard.

This morning we told our students at First Orlando that we're leaving.
That God is calling us to serve somewhere else.

There is nothing easy about leaving a group of students that we love and believe in and church family that has loved and supported us since the day we arrived.

There is nothing easy about saying goodbye to a staff that we love like family and to an amazing Pastor who also happens to be one of the greatest men we've ever met.

This decision was not made quickly.
Nothing about it was easy.
But after months and months of praying, we believe with all of our hearts that this is the direction the Lord is leading our family.

Keith has accepted the position as the Student Pastor at
First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas.

Please pray for our family this week as we make this transition.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'M NOT GOING TO COUNT

That is what I told Keith when we were put on the waitlist.
"I'm not going to drive myself crazy and count."

But it's impossible.
You can't not count.

When we started the adoption process, the average wait time for a referral was 4-6 months. Now it's longer.

Tomorrow we start our 6th month on the list.

For the first time I think it's hit me that we're getting close.
Real close.

And we are ready.
Just the other day, Alex and I were discussing something that happened with a friend and I said, "well, just like J, you're an only child, and...", when he quickly interrupted me and said, "Mom, I'm not an only child anymore. I have a little brother."

No words.
Just a smile. And maybe a tear.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

EYES WIDE OPEN

Every year, we are challenged by our Pastor to pray for a word.
A word specifically for each one of us.
A word that we can claim as our 'word of the year'.

My word for the year, well, isn't just one word.
I told God that Pastor David said to pray for A word, but God gave me three.

EYES WIDE OPEN.

Those are my words for 2009.
"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
{Proverbs 24:12}
Eyes Wide Open.

Although I didn't fully understand what that was going to look like and how it was going to play out this year, I did know that the Lord was calling me to live my life, my everyday life, with my eyes wide open.

Open to those around me.
Open to those who are in need.
Open to those who are hurting.

It is amazing the things you see around you when you simply pay attention.
Things that, when I am focused on me, I just don't see.

Men and women sleeping under bridges.
A man digging through the trash to find his next meal.

It is not unusual here in Orlando to see men and women on the street corners holding cardboard signs saying they are hungry and asking or begging for help.

When Alex and I pass by, it always sparks conversation.
He is usually asking me why I am not giving them money.
Why we are not helping.

Besides the fact that it is difficult to give money when you're driving, I very rarely have cash with me. Maybe a few coins in the console, but that's it.
"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."
{Ezekiel 16:49}
I have all kinds of excuses, but my excuses keep me from aiding the poor and needy.

Well, Alex and I decided that we needed to do something.
We needed to stop giving reasons why we cannot help and figure out a way we can.

We know the corners they stand on.
On somedays, we will pass three or four people, standing on street corners, just from our house to the church.

They have immediate needs.
They need food. They need money. They need help.

Yes, they may ultimately need Jesus, but sometimes we need to be Jesus for others to see Jesus.
(Jesus is speaking) "...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
{Matthew 25:35-36, 40}
We aren't told to only give if we know why they are homeless, or why they are begging for money, or what they are going to do with it.
We are just told to do something.
To give them food, or clothes.
To love them more than we love ourselves.

But what can we do in the few seconds we have at a stoplight?
Can we really make a difference?

This was our solution. Our way of helping.
Something small to show others that people do care.
Our practical way of sharing the love of Jesus.

We bundled up 2 different flavors of Nature Valley granola bars (they won't melt in the heat), 2 one dollar bills, and a Gospel track.

We're ready.
No more excuses.
No more avoiding eye contact so they won't knock on our window.

We made up about 20 bundles and Keith and I keep them in our cars. We are ready!

They can't knock on our windows now, because we've already rolled them down to give them a gift we've prepared just for them.

As we hand them their gift, we tell them that Jesus loves them and we do to, and as we drive away, we pray for them.
We pray God will protect them, continue to meet their needs, speak to them, and that they will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I will never understand it. It seems so backwards.
The more we give and the more we seek to bless others, the more we are blessed.

Thank you, Jesus, for setting the example for us of what it looks like
to give, to serve, to love.