I didn’t know if my nausea was from the suffocating pollution present all around me in this filthy country or if it was from jet lag. I hadn’t slept in over three continents and who knows how many countries. The hours had long ago turned into days. I sat in one of the few chairs strewn about the family law division of the Kampala courthouse, hot and uncomfortable, with my stomach rolling inside me. Body odors wafted by with each passerby or with the slightest breeze from one of the open windows surrounding me, each scent accompanied by a wave of sickness that would shoot through my body.
Hold it together, I begged my insides. Within minutes our little group started to grow.
Jonathan and I were joined by our lawyer, Dorah. Then Dorah’s assistants. Next came Agnes, the lady that started the baby home and school that Simon had been attending and Ben, the man that oversaw the school. Then Simon’s teacher at the school showed up. They were all speaking around us in Luganda. No one was translating and everyone was laughing and smiling. Carefree. The dialogue was passing over me in circles as I sat with my head in my lap. Finally the family came ever so slowly into the waiting hall, their old bodies assisted by canes and sudden out-stretched hands. Loud calls of greeting met their entrance, but now I was on alert, with all my focus on finding Simon.
I saw him.
So tiny. So small. With big eyes aimed at the floor.
His school uniform swarmed his bony frame. The blue shorts went almost down to his ankles, held onto his waste by fraying elastic. His boots, new for this very occasion, threatened to come off his feet with every step he took.
He walked shyly and apprehensively behind his grandparents.
Love me, love me, love me, I begged him silently. Ok, at least like me, I compromised, already making concessions.
The awkwardness of meeting your child for the first time eclipses any other awkwardness you can imagine. It goes far beyond any blind date or foot-in-your-mouth situation. In those first fledgling moments, neither of you know quite what to do. You are strangers, yet the closest of family. My love for Simon had grown over the months and months of waiting for this trip. Looking at grainy pictures of him and learning about his background and story. But what about Simon? How much did he know about me, about us? Was he even happy about this day? Would he accept a hug from his new mom?
Simon’s eyes finally lifted from off the ground and searched around the room.
I stilled my rolling stomach and smiled at him. “Hi, Simon,” I said as I waved a very small wave.
He sort of cocked his head at me.
He said something in Luganda that made the room erupt in raucous laughter.
“What? What did he say?” I asked.
Agnes, always the boldest, answered, “He said, “my new parents are white?”
We entered the family-law courtroom well after our scheduled time. Schedules, in Africa, it seemed, were rather flexible. We hoped that this court proceeding would transfer guardianship of Simon to us. We would then finalize his adoption with another one of our lawyers once back in the U.S. Sigh. So many steps, so many lawyers.
Now in the courtroom, my mind could wander. The judge presiding over our case was busy with the lawyers, the grandparents, the many, many documents and seals scattered around the tables, busy with everyone but us. For once I was thankful I couldn’t understand a word around me. I leaned my face toward the open window nearest to me and tried for some fresh air, forgetting the air here was anything but fresh.
My mind wandered back to his surprise at us being white. In the span of only a sentence my heart had fallen into my unsteady stomach. My hopes dropped. Simon didn’t know the slightest bit about us. Clearly no one had shown him all those pictures we sent. He knew he was getting new parents… but did he know where he was going to live? That he was moving away from his village? From his grandparents? Had he heard of America?
He sat next to me, his hair shaved closely to his head. As I inspected him closer, I noticed his deep, dark chocolate skin was dotted with small marks of some kind all over it. Some of the marks were scabbed up, some looked a bit infected and others looked like bug bites that had been continuously scratched at. Mosquito bites? I wondered. I made a mental note to ask Dorah or Agnes.
His sheer small size kept arresting me. He was five? I could not believe it. He was no bigger than our 2 year-old daughter at home. The years of neglect and malnutrition showed themselves prominently all over his small, boney frame and in his yellow eyes.
Sudden loud shouting in the courtroom brought me out of my thoughts. Simon’s jaja, so weak and old she could barely make the journey from their small village to the city, was giving the judge a piece of her mind. Her fists, which up until then I was skeptical she even had possession over, pounded the table in emphatic fashion. The judge, an old man with tradition written between the well-worn wrinkles on his brow, looked hesitant to raise his voice at a grandmother. But I guess the situation called for it. The shouting match went on and on.
I could not understand one word of the conversation, but I did know one thing for certain: I did not want Simon’s jaja to die right here in this courtroom. And from the looks of it, she was getting pretty close.
She held on long enough to complete her argument with the judge, and soon after, we were dismissed from court all together.
This. Was. It.
We had gotten through adoption court and could move on with the rest of the paperwork. After a few more minor appointments at the medical office and embassy Simon would officially be ours. But even though we were dismissed no one was leaving the courtroom. Dorah was headed our way, her lawyer’s face set.
My stomach rolled. My heart, already so low, dared to get ready to jump again. Dorah’s English was not masterful, but she told us everything we needed to know. “The judge is not satisfied. He wants to know more about the mother. He wants us to try harder to find the mother. He will not grant the adoption at this time.”
“But no one even knows if she is alive or not. No one has seen or heard from her in five years. She could be anywhere. She abandoned him. Left him.” My voice trailed off as it got smaller.
Dorah looked at me. I had a jet-lagged face, with purple circles punctuating a sort of sallow yellow-tint that my skin had taken on since landing in Uganda. My hair was long, my dark roots showing through my blond highlights, and this tropical humid climate had made it stringy. Compared to Dorah, with her smart suit and her hair fixed for court, I felt like a loser. A loser grasping at straws. A loser losing a son who was never really mine.
Dorah looked at me with a bit of softness and pity mixed together. “We will most likely not find her, but we must satisfy the judge. He cannot believe a mother would abandon her son like she did, so we must make him believe. Jaja got very upset that he did not believe her.”
Ah. The court scene was clicking into place for me now. Of course jaja would be upset. She had raised Simon since he was an infant, even though she was elderly and sick and without any means. And she was dying now, dying as sure as the rainy season would come in this week.
I looked at Simon. He had grabbed at my hand and was spinning my wedding ring around and around on my finger. “Let’s look for the mother then,” I said, my eyes never leaving our hands.
That night we returned to the area of Muyenga, Kampala where we staying at a guesthouse for the duration of our stay in Kampala. We asked the cab to drop us off down the road at the Italian supermarket so that we could walk a bit. It was February and election season was in full swing. Voting was to take place in less than two weeks and campaign posters were plastered on every fence, light post, restaurant, and wall available. My favorite was the one white guy running. He was a doctor who had moved to Uganda 40 years ago and done a lot for healthcare and AIDS research, including building a hospital in Muyenga. I wondered about the local opinion of him.
Simon rode on Jonathan’s shoulders on the walk back to the guesthouse as would become his custom while we were in Uganda. The red dirt road we followed reminded me of east Texas. The long-horned cattle along the roadside did as well. But we were not home. There were no cicadas singing in the air, no familiar stars in a big Texas sky. Instead smog clouds obscured the moon here and rap music from the nineties flew out from bars in the distant slums.
We entered our gated guesthouse commune and thankfully dinner was being served.
Sarah, who ran the guesthouse ran out to greet us. “So this is him!” she exclaimed when she saw Simon. “We are having lasagna tonight, but I know just the thing for this boy,” she said with a knowing look. She rambled something off in Luganda to Simon and he looked excited when she left.
As we entered to the main room, which also served as the dining room, the other guests staying there all stood up to welcome us back from court and to meet Simon. I was learning just how shy my new boy was, as he hid behind me during this exchange.
We chose to sit at our own table that night, rather than join the others, even though all the meals at the house were family style. Simon seemed to appreciate that. And then Sarah arrived back with what she thought was just the thing for Simon. “Rice and beans” she announced with a big smile as she set a very large bowl down in the middle of our table. “It’s what we eat most nights,” she explained, motioning to herself and the kitchen staff. “It is probably more of what he is used to. Well, he is probably used to posho, but I bet he has had muchede at school.”
Simon looked ecstatic.
I began spooning a large portion onto his plate.
He ate it really quickly.
“You can have more if you want it,” I said to him. “Here,” and I spooned some more onto his plate.
He ate that really quickly as well.
Plate after plate disappeared into his stomach until he had eaten the entire bowl that Sarah had brought out. Jonathan and I exchanged glances. Would he burst? Would rice and beans come spilling out of him in the middle of the night?
We trudged up the tile stairs to the second floor of the Spanish-style guesthouse and the three of us entered into our room. By this time the sun had set and darkness had surrounded the city. When I flicked on the overhead light, Simon’s large brown eyes grew even larger in awe. He quickly reached up to the light switch to try it with a grin on his face. “Go on, try it,” I encouraged him. On, off. On, off. On, off. Over and over and over.
As I watched Simon play with the light switch my heart began doing flip-flops inside my chest. This small boy, no bigger than a two year had grabbed hold of me in a matter of hours. He was so hungry he could eat a family-size bowl of rice and beans in one sitting, lived such a remote life he had never interacted with electricity before. I suddenly wanted to give him the world. Everything.
I started with giving him a toothbrush. I led him into the bathroom where a whole new set of wonders awaited. Running water. A flushing toilet. More light switches. Soap. Toothpaste. All new to my little boy. I carefully applied the minty toothpaste to his toothbrush and mimed how to use it. He caught on right away and began happily brushing away.
Our night of firsts continued when we presented him with pajamas to change into for bed after he finished up his teeth. I tried to explain the difference between clothes for night and clothes for day, but the language barrier was too great and I ended up looking and sounding pretty silly. But he put them on, most likely because we were staring at him and waiting for him to.
Finally our long day was over. We could tuck Simon into his mosquito-netted bed, which was just on the other side of the small room from our own bed. It was Simon’s first night to ever sleep in a bed. I gave him a hug and kiss and tucked him in. He looked so peaceful.
We survived those first weeks in Uganda with Simon on broken English and rice. Small toy cars and playing with a ball in the yard of the guesthouse. Smiles. Funny dances to make each other laugh. And at long last, hugs. There were touchy moments as well, though. When we discovered that those scabs all over Simon’s body were the result of a recent bout with the chicken pox that had been left unattended and gotten infected, Simon decided that having parents wasn’t so great after all. He hated us cleaning out the wounds and applying the stingy medicated ointments we sloughed all over him. But food always won him back over.
While we were bonding with Simon, Dorah took out ads in all the Ugandan papers calling for Simon’s mother to come forward. Dorah’s team formed search parties to go and look in her village, to investigate where she might have gone after abandoning Simon so many years before. But the mother, she never came forward and no one knew where she was. I was sadly relieved. Simon was mine. I was his. When the judge finally granted us guardianship over him my heart had risen and taken hold firmly back into its rightful place in my chest.Read More
“Consider the lilies – is the only commandment I ever obeyed” – Emily Dickinson
I thank God often for His beauty. Many times daily, in fact, I am drawn to consider how beautiful, how majestic, his creation is. Not just in sunsets or flowers blooming, but in the smell of my morning coffee or the depth of an ink-navy night. Stillness, quietness, in the rawness of uncorrupted nature, that is where I can easily find God, his beauty complete, uninhibited, unstained, and on display.
And I thank Him for this. Of course. I am sure that you do too. His beauty naturally calls us to worship Him in thanksgiving and praise.
Tonight my sweet daughter prayed at dinner. She has an artist’s soul, an old soul, a free soul. She understands the essence of a matter. She knows nothing about limits or constrictions or shoulds, she’s too young for any of that. She only knows her truth and her passions. So tonight she prayed,and it was a long prayer as it always is with her. She thanks God for every member of our entire extended family and their pets, living and deceased. At the end she added, “and thank you God that mama is so pretty and beautiful.”
I was so taken aback. At first I wanted to correct her, tell her that we don’t thank God for being pretty. I wanted to tell her that it was too conceited, vain, narcissistic, etc.. to focus on our beauty. But I didn’t. I paused and just let it go for the moment. We ate. I thought. I kept thinking. Was it so wrong for her to express her thankfulness that she thought of me as pretty, as beautiful? To her, I am her most loved. I could be the ugliest woman on the planet, objectively speaking, and to her I would still be beautiful, because I am hers. Her mama. Her safe place, her cuddle spot, her lap to curl into, her warmth, protector, feeder, bather, entertainer, her everything.
And more than that, God made me, just as He made her. As I am His creation, He might like hearing some praise on how beautiful I turned out every once in while. And out of the mouth of a small child it must sound extra sweet. I have a hard enough time even thinking that I am pretty or beautiful most of the time, let alone thanking God for it. Somewhere, somehow I started thinking that it was wrong to think of myself as too pretty. I didn’t want to be focused on beauty or looks in a looks-dominated culture. But that’s not modesty at all. That is just not believing God when He tells me what I really am.
So God, thank you that I am beautiful. That you thought to make me lovely and alluring and sensual and beautiful. That you thought to create all humans that way. Just as you clothed the lilies in majesty, you have given us crowns of red and deep chocolate and amber and golden blonde atop our heads. You have covered us in skin as soft as silk and bestowed upon us jewel-colored eyes to see out of.
Thank you that my children are beautiful. In the flush of their cheeks, in their laughs, in their spirits, simply in their stunning faces, which I could stare into forever and get lost. Thank you for beauty.
For some reason the topic of school choice has come up thematically over the last couple of months in my life. I find myself explaining and/or defending our reason for having our kids in the public school around the block from us. My spiel goes something like, “it is such a great little school, blue ribbon and E-rated,” as if education was the only component to our decision. The truth is, I don’t know if our all or some our kids will always be in public school or not. But I do know this: I have never felt so tied into a neighborhood or community since Asher started kindergarten. We play on the same soccer teams and swim on the same swim teams as the kids in our neighborhood and at school. I see and chat with the same parents at pick-up as Jonathan sees at cub-scouts. We play outside and my kids run across the street to play with the kids in the culd-e-sac – the same ones they see at school. And Jonathan and I stand around and make deeper and deeper relationships with the people right here in our immediate sphere of influence.
Can that all happen with our kids in a private school or with me home-schooling? Yes and yet I’m not sure. The number of touch points would definitely go down. We might see a family at an athletic practice, but that’s it. The kid’s friends would naturally change, and so would my relationship focus – after all, I only have time to invest in so many. With changing friends, sports leagues might even change.
This is something I think about often as we weigh the pros and cons of public vs. private school. I love the relationships that I have formed with parents that live in our neighborhood. I love these moms! I would miss them greatly if we left to go someplace else. They have been supportive when sometimes others have not been. They are the people that hang out with me on the playground after school in 100 degree heat, our little mom gang, pushing our kids to get out that last bit of energy before we take them home. We huddle together in the shade and guzzle the ice water we brought for our kids. They are the friends I didn’t set out to make, but made anyway, during my margin time, my unscheduled time, my no agenda time.
Talking about religion and church with my mom gang is easy. After all, we talk about everything. I guess there is something about being stuck together under one shade tree that brings out the honest in women! I love their authenticity. I love the lack of pretense. I love that one of them has even said that their family wants to come to church with us.
Relationships are the real reason we have our kids in public school. Its not our kid’s jobs, at 7, to evangelize the cafeteria or playground. It is their privilege, however, even at the age of 7, to show the love that Christ has instilled in them to their classmates and teachers. It is their privilege to show grace and forgiveness to a classmate that has wronged them; it is their privilege to be a little piece of salt and a ray of light in their space. Who knows what space that will be in the future, but right now it is in public school.
This weekend I’ll be hanging out at the beach. I will be at a Texas beach, which I know barely qualifies as a beach, but I’ll still get to bury all my kids in the sand, help dig a giant hole, build sand castles, and even venture into the water praying the whole time I don’t get stung by a jellyfish. Visiting the beach on this weekend has become a tradition over the past few years, one that I’ve always looked forward to. We go with friends, rent condos right on the ocean, and enjoy family-style meals all weekend together. Its a nice time to get away shortly after school has started and relax and breathe before the craziness of the fall really kicks into gear.
If I’m honest with you though, I’d rather not be on the beach this year. I’d rather be swimming. See, if I’m honest with you, I have to admit that I’ve been on the “beach” for a while now. I’ve been sitting back, observing, resting, healing, grieving, crying, thinking. Life, of course, has continued on without me. That has been a huge relief. God has let me know that even though he wants me in the water, he doesn’t need me there. He’s got it under control. I am not essential. What huge burdens have been lifted off my shoulders to know that.
My beach time has been rough. Its been lonely and I’ve felt exposed and vulnerable. I’m much more comfortable doing rather than being. But as a wise man named David Daniels once said, “we are human beings, not human doings.” I have tried my best to simply sit and wait on God during my time on the beach.
The result has been true restoration. Deserts into garden, ashes into beauty. I knew that six months ago we were called to do something hard. I never imagined it would turn into what it did. Despite that, I know I went through what I did for a reason. We have now found a place to worship at that I am excited to go to on Sunday mornings. A place of joy. I cry almost every Sunday out of gratefulness and thankfulness. I never knew community could feel so good. I never knew church could feel so good.
And now after a season of grief and depression I am edging my toe back into the water. Last night I got to meet with adoption-minded people from across the city to plan out this year’s A Future and A Hope conference. Mark your calenders now for February 9th at Grace Covenant. I am extremely excited about this year’s conference.
As I’m (literally) at the beach this weekend, a large gathering of women will be climbing Pike’s Peak in Colorado as part of the Freedom Climb Conference. The conference focuses on bringing attention to all oppressed, enslaved and trafficked children and women across the globe. Last year, the first freedom climb took place when 48 women gathered and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to draw awareness to these injustices. So, while I love a good lie on the beach with a book, this weekend I would much rather have my hiking boots on and be in the mountains of Colorado. And that is a big first step for me.
As I feel myself gaining motivation and courage once again, I move forward in this altered state. God has forever re-molded me, refined me, re-shaped me, during this time. The beach burned me. I have scars. They are healed, but they are there, a reminder of a journey taken. I am looking forward to seeing how this new self operates. I’m getting back in the water. I might wear a floatie for a while, but I’m getting in.
*Note: I’m participating in Rachel Held Evans “Week of Mutuality” this week. She’s explaining the case for egalitarianism all week. I urge you to follow along on her blog – it looks like some exciting posts coming up. And who knows, you might be an egalitarian and not know it either! If you’re unfamiliar with the definitions of all the terms, she did a great job explaining them all here. You can follow this important discussion on her blog, here.
By every account I am one of the privileged few. No one would ever look at me or listen to me talk about my life, past or present, and think for a second that I was in any way oppressed.
Like most of you all, I grew up in the richest country in the world.
I never lacked food, clothing, a home, heat in the winter, or air conditioning in the hot Texas summers.
I graduated from arguably the best high school in Texas, a high school ranked consistently in the top 50 schools nationally. We had the best of everything there – the best teachers, coaches, computers, resources, alumni, sponsors. Every resource was at my disposal. Had I been interested in resources at that point in my life, that would have been useful. Unfortunately, all I cared about in high school was getting good grades with minimal effort, hanging out with my friends and boyfriend, and looking cute while doing the above two things. All that to say, I had some good educational opportunities.
I got a brand-spankin’ new car when I turned 16. So did most of my friends. I drove it scott-free, both insurance and gas paid for by my parents since I had to put so much time into school and sports. Okay, I think I maybe paid for some of the gas in the summer when I would baby-sit more often, but it was definitely sporadic at best.
Not sounding too oppressive yet, huh?
Kids get asked that “what do you want to be when you grow up” question all time. Right now my kids are stuck between firefighting, donut-making, being a super-spy (the obvious choice), studying rocks (BORING!!), and dentistry. It always amuses me when they choose something new. Just the other day when Simon was reallyreallyreallyreally tired of school and ready for summer vacation in a bad way, he announced he was forsaking the rest of his educational endeavors because he was just going to be a dad when he grew up. So could he stay home from school and go swimming instead…
Uh, yeah, NO.
Well, if you would have asked me when I was around seven, eight, or nine what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you something along the lines of, “I want to go to Yale and then law school and become a lawyer and eventually be on the Supreme Court.” I mean, that was my ten and twenty year and fifty year plan. I was a planner.
I was smart and driven and a born leader. More importantly, I was encouraged to develop these qualities, by my parents and my teachers and my coaches. Not only did I have the talent to accomplish anything I set my mind to, I had the support of those around me.
I became serious about God. I went to bible studies. And youth groups. And some more bible studies. And youth retreats.
I did all my quiet times. In a row. I never missed. I memorized chunks and chapters of scriptures. I got super holy.
Because I genuinely loved God and treasured my faith, I wanted to please Him.
I relied on those in power above me to tell me, show me, direct me, on how to be the best me for God I could be. What is so wrong about what happened is that as inoffensive as it all was meant to be, as well-meaning as everyone might have been, the destruction was the same as if it was purposeful.
The old me was indeed gone. But not just the old me of sin and flesh. The old me of leadership and strength and opinion. Toned down. Acceptable. Allowable. Allowed to operate in certain arenas but not others.
My ambitions and dreams needed to change. My job as a Christian woman would be to support my family, care for them. My satisfaction would come from this, and if it didn’t, I was doing, BEING, something wrong.
I was young and naive. I thirsted for mentorship, longed for an older woman in the faith to guide me, invest in me. Didn’t we all. Don’t we all still?
And that was their message for me.
If the church is the body of Christ and we are its parts, women, it seems, can be feet and hands and hearts and eyes, noses and fingers and ears and lungs, anything, it seems, but mouths and brains.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the uneasiness and tension I was feeling as a young woman in the church was because I was traversing in a traditional cultural environment and going to a complementarian church, but at heart, I was indeed an egalitarian. I didn’t know it because no one bothered to teach any of these terms. Or actually teach on any of the passages that contain women leaders in them.
No, no, complementarianism was known to me simply as “biblical.”
I wouldn’t know that another “biblical” way of marriage, of womanhood, existed until YEARS later.
And this truth would finally set my spirit free.
Free to choose, not feel required to stay home with our children. Free to lead ministry. Free to speak out against injustice both within the church and around the world.
Free to question.
Free to grow into and embrace and love the person that God uniquely made me to be. To accept the mission and the call that He uniquely gave to me.
That is one of the biggest dangers of complementarianism to me. Or any system that assigns roles based on anything except the gifts and talents of the individual. The danger of those people missing the joy of fully inhabiting the place, the person that God fully has for them. Missing their calling. Shrinking from their true callings because of outside pressures to be something God has not made them to be. That is the tragedy for me.
I hope I have learned this lesson of being unique, being strong or being weak, of satisfaction only in the Lord, not in the roles the world tries to assign, well enough to teach my kids. To pass on. So my kids can avoid my pit-falls. After all, we need more super-spy, rock-collecting, donut-making, dentists in this world.Read More
I’m going to take a break from our series on failure to brag on some major successes. I’m kinda feeling like a Debbie downer on the blogosphere with all this talk of how to fail, and although I love the Debbie downer skit, I don’t want anyone to associate me with feline AIDS.
My little guys finished up their school year today. Asher had an amazing year in first grade and Simon finished kindergarten strongly. I couldn’t be prouder of either of them. Or both of them. Or all of them, Adeline included. She had great year in preschool as well. Don’t want to leave her out. All that coloring and painting is hard work!
Both the boys have come so far since August.
Heck, in August, Simon wasn’t even in kindergarten!
Confession: I wanted to wait until I thought he was “ready.” I looked at him, so small and vulnerable in my eyes, and I didn’t want him to struggle, or to fail, or to be overly challenged before he was ready, because life in general was so challenging for him in my eyes. I wanted to protect, protect, protect.
But you know what I learned throughout the year? What Simon taught me?
He may not have been “kindergarten ready” in the classic sense, but he was more ready than I gave him credit for.
He would never have gotten over all his shyness, or learned how good he was at math, or art, or rhyming if I had waited until we could check all the boxes off on those dumb kinder readiness tests.
And he would have never learned that he is not that small and vulnerable child that I was treating him like, but a strong and capable little boy. That was the big take home.
School was a big change for Simon.
Although he was technically enrolled in a school in Uganda, he was one of about 40 students in his class that met in a very small room. His school only had paper and pencils. They had no books or teaching materials, no desks, nothing to actually assist his teacher in teaching her students. Consequently, Simon had a very negative idea of what school was.
Simon’s school in Uganda:
But, in reality, that is what many of the schools are like that the world’s poorest children attend. Crowded, under-resourced, and under-funded. Can you imagine trying to learn about animals without actually having pictures of animals to look at in books? Or trying to learn to read without books? Or trying to learn about much of anything without books?
There is an amazing organization called Libraries of Love whose mission is to create libraries in schools in Uganda. It was started by my friend Melissa’s aunt, right here in Austin. (Melissa is a fellow Ugandan adoptive mama). Books. Libraries. They sound like such a small thing, but they can really make a difference. Next time you are taking a haul to Goodwill or Half-Priced Books, consider donating them to Libraries of Love instead.
I am so grateful for the teachers that have poured their hearts and energy into my kids over the past year. I am grateful for all the advantages that my kids enjoy and all the resources at their fingertips. And most of all, I am proud of how they have all persevered throughout the year. I can’t believe I will have a SECOND grader and a FIRST grader next year!!! Good thing we have Adeline to pull up the rear
(pics of Simon, Asher, and Adeline with their teachers this year. I think I might have the cutest kids ever).Read More
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves , but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2Cor5:14-15nasb
” ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God , you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ ” Acts 4:20 nasb
Peter has always been my favorite bible dude. Gotta love that guy’s unbridled passion. I always picture him drawing his sword brashly or standing up to those stuffy Sadducees with his unmatched and spirit-filled sermons. Nothing – not men in authority, threats, jail, pain – nothing could make Peter stop speaking about the truth of the gospel.
And Paul knew the key to Peter’s passionate pursuit of the ministry of the gospel.
It was the controlling, compelling love of Christ.
Nothing, nothing, nothing else will ever produce a healthy, lasting ministry than lay people and volunteers that have hearts motivated by this controlling, compelling love.
However, people can not have this motivation if they are not intimately acquainted with the cross.
If you don’t know what you lost and gained, then you can not find this love.
If you don’t come to terms with how much sin has cost you, and how much Christ on the cross has gained for you, then the overpowering grace of God can not move you to action.
Guilt might move you to serve. Wanting to serve, wanting to please, wanting to look good, those all might motivate you. But they won’t sustain you through the seventh inning stretch.
3. Orphan care ministries fail when churches are filled with people unacquainted with the compelling love of Christ and attempt to accomplish ministry with anything but people motivated by grace.
Tomorrow will be the concluding installment of this series in which I will discuss the journey of Israel in the OT.