This blog is a chance for us to tell our story and shine the light on the God who wrote it.

It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the millions of orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)

Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).


His Salvation Is On The Way

A dear friend and blog reader emailed these thoughts after reading the recent series that I posted concerning orphans in Eastern Europe...

"Feeling overwhelmed and hopeless and wanting to somehow be
optimistic that I could actually make a difference somewhere.

I, too, have been asking God to show me where I can serve Him. I have felt
that it would be somewhere in the area of orphans. I still don't know what
that all looks like. But I do know that God continues to show me things and
change my heart to be broken for things I never thought I would be broken
over. I just couldn't sleep last night."

I have struggled in recent months with these same feelings. I still have so many questions about why there is so much suffering here...
why I am given so much when others have so little...
and what influence could one insignificant life like mine actually have in the face of such a tremendous crisis?

When I first read my friend's response, I will be honest that I felt bad. "Oh no, she's really struggling! Perhaps I shouldn't have shared so many difficult images. I feel terrible she's losing sleep over this!"

But then I remembered that this is about obeying Jesus who guided me with these words-
" is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11)"

And I remember that I can trust Him with my friend.

And why am I so scared of brokenness anyway? For isn't it those who mourn who will be comforted by the very hand of God? And those who hunger and thirst for righteousness who will be filled by the Bread of Life himself? So, friend, do not mourn or hunger without hope!

Three months ago, I sat on the bathroom floor in Shanghai at 4 a.m. (thank you, jet lag) reading my Bible, expecting God to speak to me about our time in China and our sweet new daughter sleeping in the other room. Instead, He would not let me go as He revealed to me His heart for these orphans in Eastern Europe. I truly feel like these verses He led me to that day were His word, at least for me, about what He is doing to response to the prayers of His people and the cries of these precious children. I hope that these verses will help us remember that this is the God we serve, and restore our hope that He is working "behind the scenes" in ways that are beyond our understanding.

"My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations... The ransomed of the LORD will return...gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away... The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar- the LORD Almighty is his name."
(Isaiah 51:5,11,14-15)

"God, I trust you with my heart and with my friend's. And I trust you with these children whom I think of day and night. I do not pretend to understand your ways, but I do know that you have always been faithful to me. I will pray for miracles. I will stand on your promises. I will not run away from difficult things nor will I let myself become consumed by despair. Thank you that you have brought me such great joy as I have so timidly entered into painful places. May this... all of this... always be about you. I love you... Amen."


Grace for Messy Me

Some days around here are hard. Like almost every day this past month or so, for instance. Can I just say that? Some days my life looks really messy-- the floor hasn't been swept in so long you hear a crunching sound when you walk on it; I feel defeated by Mount Laundry in my garage; I'm impatient with the kids... and I find myself wondering if perhaps I could just steal away for a few days and lie on the beach with a few girlfriends.

This isn't every day. Some days are smooth and balanced and kids get along and the house is clean and we are growing and ministering as a family. (Ok, well maybe not all of that in one day!)

But the point is, that I've been feeling like I really cannot say this: that some days are just really hard. And that I'm struggling right now to be content and live with a heart of gratitude. Because a lot of my yucky stuff has come to the surface lately- all that need to control and this grumbling spirit in me.

But I promised myself when I started this blog that I was going to be honest and real.

And I wonder too if this isn't really the perfect season to be 'real'. Because here we are smack dab in the middle of Lent. This season that begins with Ash Wednesday where believers everywhere remember this- "from dust you came and to dust you will return" (Gen 3:19). And I really feel like God is graciously allowing me to see even more just how messy and broken I am.

"Whoever had the crazy idea that Lent was for the good who were forsaking some lush little luxury?

Lent’s for the messes, the mourners, the muddled — for the people right lost. Lent’s not about making anybody acceptable to a Savior — but about making everybody aware of why they need a Savior.

Wasn’t it Lewis who said that we are to be Little Christs?

If I’m following Him on His way to Golgatha, the place of the skull…. I finger the figurine of Christ carrying the cross.

Lent’s about little dyings.

How could so much of my flesh still be alive?"

Ann Voskamp

So this is what I am clinging to in this really messy season: That perhaps it is grace that I see my sin, my mess so clearly right now. Why grace? Because seeing my sin only makes it that much clearer that I need that Savior who died on a tree.

"When I feel like I’m drowning–

I’m at last ready to drown in the ocean of God’s unearned grace."

I don't like this feeling of drowning. It feels alot like... well, um... drowning! But I know this is a season. And God uses every season of the soul to draw me nearer to Himself... right where I want to be. I don't want to miss what He is doing. Because when Resurrection Sunday comes I will be amongst those who worship unashamedly... with all my heart and soul... "for he who has been forgiven much loves much."


Cry of the Orphan- Ways to Help!

This is the final post I will do in this series on children in orphanages or institutions in Eastern Europe.

So I wanted to share with you two ways for you to get involved in helping. The first is through the blog I have been sharing with you.

Second is a huge fundraiser another adoptive mother is doing on her blog to help a number of families who are in the process to adopt some of these children.

I hope you will take the time to read each of these great opportunities to be a part of what the Lord is doing as He moves mountains on behalf of his little ones. Most of all, I hope that you will take the time to pray for these children. Will you join with me in crying to the God of justice and love and mercy on behalf of these precious children? And could we be so bold to ask the Lord how we can be used by Him to carry His love to lost and hurting children? For His Glory...

Cry of the Orphan- Part Three

Well, if you've stuck with me this far, you certainly deserve today's post! I hope you will enjoy reading these stories of redemption and rescue. Many of them will link to their family's blogs so you can learn more and rejoice in what God is doing!

One last post tomorrow where you can learn of two opportunities to be a part of reaching out to these children.

Click here for today's link.

Cry of the Orphan- Part 2

Thank you to those of you who took the time to read Adeye's blog yesterday and learn of the stories of these precious children of God. I am going to spend the next two days offering you a link to continue the story. Adeye did this in three posts and then followed it up with a wonderful post on how you can help. You can easily go to her blog and find it all there, but I am going to offer the links here for the next few days as well.

Today is another tough day-- you will see what happens to the children when they are transferred to the adult mental institution. But hang in there! Tomorrow is SO much better!! God's Redemption and Rescue are coming and your joy in seeing it will be all the more complete if you read today's link and know the whole story.

You can find the story here.

Cry of the Orphan- Part One

The reason why yesterday's post was so hard for me to write was because I knew what would need to follow. God has burdened my heart tremendously for the plight of orphans both here in America and around the world. But in the past year, I have especially felt the urgency to learn about and then share the dire situation facing many orphans in Eastern Europe. Partly because so many of us do not know about this. And also because one little country in Eastern Europe holds a very special place in my heart. I hope to share more about that later. But for now, I want to share the first of several blog posts written by an adoptive mother of two daughters from Eastern Europe.

The truth is, many will not read this all the way through. Some will wonder if it is even true. I know it is not easy to read, and you may leave feeling discouraged or helpless. But please... please keep reading. God is moving on behalf of these orphans and He is using ordinary people like you and me to bring His rescue and redemption to these precious children. And, no, you do not need to adopt to be able to do something!! So please read and don't close your ears to the cry of these children... and keep reading in coming days so you can learn more about what you can do to respond.

Click here to read.

Finding My Voice

There is something that has been on my mind for a long time. Something that I have wanted to write about here, but honestly just haven’t known where to begin. I have written this post a million times in my head, knowing that it is one small step of obedience for me.

Ever since Scott and I began to follow God’s call to care for orphans back in 2007, I have felt strongly that, outside of adoption, the primary way that God wanted to use me was to be a voice for the voiceless.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed."
Prov 31:8 NLV

By his grace, I have had a few opportunities to do that through the Orphan Care Ministry at our church. Yet, I’ve always known there is more.

And for a little over a year now, God has been preparing me for this in two ways. First, I am more aware now than ever before of the plight of orphans in some truly horrendous situations—these are the “least” of the “least of these”. (And therefore, in the eyes of God, they are extremely precious.) So the reality is now I know. I have spent a good deal of my free time over the past year learning not only about the realities that orphans face in several countries around the world but also about the doors that are wide open for God’s people to bring hope and a chance for life into some very, very dark places. And now, I feel like God is saying- “Your eyes have been opened. Now you know. What will you do with what you know?”

"The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears..."
Isaiah 50:4-5

Which brings me to the second way that God has been preparing me for what lies ahead. To put it quite simply, He has broken my heart. Now, in His defense, this is exactly what I asked for. Scott and I have prayed a lot over the past few years: “Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours.” (And of course, He has allowed us to only see a glimpse of the things that move Him, because He knows what we can handle.)

But I will be honest and say that I had no idea how much this would hurt. This gaping wound I carry around now- this empty, hurting place in my heart longing for rescue and redemption for every single child who has no family. When I see their pictures on a screen now, they don’t just flash by like this far-off problem that I can do nothing about. Every one stirs my heart. I grieve for every one of these children. Every one I see, I wonder for just a second, “Could this be my child?” Because for just a second, I am hit with the reality that they are as dear to the heart of Christ as Isaac, Zoe, Ben and Mei are to mine. Even moreso, for He loves more purely than I. He says to me with each child I see, “Haley, this is my Isaac. This is my Mei... If you love the things I love, I want you to know that I love these children. More than you could ever imagine. Think about what you would do to save Zoe if she was wasting away in an orphanage on the other side of the world. Is there anything you would NOT do to save her? Could anyone hold you back from getting to her?”

So this is where I am today. And I know the next step is for me to speak up. To begin to tell the stories of certain waiting children that God has brought to my attention. To help others who are bringing to light the horrendous situation for many special needs orphans in Eastern Europe. And to help the Body of Christ to see that indeed, these children are our responsibility, and with the power of God carrying us forward in love, we can make an eternal impact in the lives of these precious ones.

Will you pray for me? Pray that I will be faithful to the opportunities the Lord has set before me to speak on behalf of His precious children. I will share much of this here on our blog as well. As always, in all things, my desire is Christ- to know Him, worship Him and reveal Him through my life. My desire is that His gospel would go forth into the darkest places on earth, (and oh how I long that He would use me in some small way to this end.)

" justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm."
Isaiah 51:4c-5