Monday, December 21, 2009

A gift with meaning

Lookie what our friends delivered to our house yesterday! I've had a lot of meaningful gifts given to me in my life, and this one ranks right up there among the top! It's a tea platter with all our favorite things: homemade gingerbread muffins, tea bags, a CD, a candle, and a jar of "Russian Tea Mix" with an orphan ministry message on it!

Here's an up-close of the Russian Tea Mix, and on the lid you'll see a cute homemade "tag" that looks like a tea bag. And there's Kirill on the front. Kirill is the precious little boy I blogged about recently. Look at the message: "Remember to pray for Kirill and Russian orphans."

I cannot express in words how thrilled I was to receive such a meaningful gift. It was more than a gift. It was an encouraging reminder that there are sincere prayer warriors who are lifting up these children who so desperately need someone in their corner. And it was also a creative twist to being an advocate for orphans. If one person in every church or community would give similar gifts to their friends for birthdays and special occasions, just think of how many orphans would be prayed for and thought about throughout the year. This has given me HUGE encouragement and lots of little ideas that are spiraling off of it.

Kirill's tea bag is now hanging on our refrigerator as a daily reminder to pray for this little guy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trust and Silence

Some of our friends loaned us a wonderful book that we've been reading. It's called Lady on a Donkey, by Beth Prim Howell. I had never heard of this book, but it is a treasure. It's one that gets the beautiful chant from our children: "Read one more chapter, Mama. Please...just one more chapter!" It is the story of Lillian Trasher who was a missionary to Egypt and worked with hundreds of orphans. As we've been reading through it, I've felt the Holy Spirit impress many things on my heart. Lillian trusted God for everything...their daily food, their clothing, etc. They lived hand-to-mouth, which we tend to shun in American society...but for Lillian, it was a beautiful daily gift "from God's Hand to Lillian's mouth." This simple trust propels me forward in the same direction. I YEARN for that simple trust in my Heavenly Father, and that appears to be the road He's walking me down with many lessons in practicing this simple faith that is profound enough to move mountains. And the one lesson that stands out to me above all the others in this book is: SILENCE.

When there was no more food in the orphanage (every few days or so), Lillian would climb onto her donkey in search of food for all the children. Before her donkey set out on the journey, she would pray, "Which way do I go, Lord?" And then she'd sit in total silence waiting for (expecting!) His voice. She'd hear Him, and she'd head out in the direction He said. Sometimes to the north, sometimes to the south, sometimes to a new village, sometimes to a village she had visited before...but ALWAYS in the direction He told her. And every time she'd arrive at the intended village, they would always give her precisely what she needed for all the children in the orphanage. When we first began to read the book, we'd hold on in suspense as we hoped in our hearts that she'd find the food and supplies she needed. And, after watching God answer time after time, soon we began to KNOW in our hearts that she'd receive all she needed. Why? Because Lillian would always sit quietly on that donkey and wait in silence for God to tell her which direction to go that day. With that step in place, we grew to expect her to always receive what she needed.

This is an area where God has been growing me for months now...being quiet before Him. Up until now, the lessons have revolved around simply being quiet in faith that He's working on something that I'm tempted to stick my hands into to "help." Up until now, the "be still and quiet before God" lessons have centered around me just waiting while He works on something. But now, the lessons are beginning to challenge me toward Lillian's type of silence. She was silent in expectation of Him telling her which way to point her feet that day...silent as she waited for Him to tell her what she should do that very moment in her life. This is a radical trust. It's the from-moment-to-moment trust that most of us don't dare to dip our toes into. I had to wonder WHY we don't rely on God as fully as Lillian did, and I believe it's because 1) we are self-sufficient with our jobs, our income, our insurance, our many safety nets and rainy-day savings...we are so self-sufficient that we have no need to be God-dependent unless it's a "big thing" that we cannot handle ourselves...and 2) we don't like to wait in silence.

This led me to a very intriguing idea... What if I could somehow move into that standing-on-thin-air faith that Lillian had...the same faith that George Mueller had...the kind of faith that only comes when 100% of my hope is in God, with no other security but Him. What kinds of things would change in my life? What miracles and treasures am I missing out on because my hands are too full holding onto my earthly securities?

I'm not advocating that anyone gets rid of insurance and quits their job! I'm saying that for me in my life, God keeps leading me into deeper dependence on Him. And I find that I can only go so far into that mode because there's a roped-off section of my life where I prefer to have make sure my safety nets are in place "just in case." And what a radical idea it is to contemplate what life would be like if HE ALONE was my only hope...the sustainer of my every day existence. Definitely not for the faint of heart! But Lillian Trasher's and George Mueller's lives are so beautiful that it makes one wonder what we may be missing out on.


P.S. As I was getting ready to hit the "Publish" button, something jumped out at me... Lillian Trasher and George Mueller lived in different places and different time periods, but interestingly, they had almost identical types of faith. Their faith led to similar life experiences...full reliance on God for daily needs to feed, clothe and minister to ORPHANS. And here I live in yet another place and another time period, and God is leading me deeper into this same type of faith. He's given me the same calling of caring for orphans. Perhaps each person who truly follows His steps into orphan ministry MUST have radical faith. Perhaps to truly have life-changing ministry among orphans REQUIRES a faith so true that God Himself is our only hope. Perhaps the verse He led me to years ago (before I could ever understand its meaning) is the key to orphan ministry: Hosea 14:3 "Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made 'our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy." Perhaps my life has to be so fully completely radically dependent on God so that the orphans can readily find HIS mercy in hope fully reliant on Him so that when the orphan looks to me, he finds instead my Heavenly Father who meets every need. Oh, Lord, please let this sink into my heart and become part of me!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


My children blessed my heart greatly this week. A day after learning about a failed adoption of some sweet friends of ours, my daughter came to me in tears. She expressed, as only a child can, how unfair life is. She wanted to open up a place where children who are not adopted can grow up safely and happily without being transferred to a mental institution. Then in the next breath, she wanted to bring home every single child who needs a home (143 million!!). She wished she were older so that she could do some of these things. The uncomplicated and beautiful love of a child!

Why do we adults have to complicate things? Why can't we love like children? If someone needs a hug, they give it (even if the needer of the hug has a stinky diaper). If one of their brothers or sisters is thirsty, they don't think twice about pouring a cup of water for them (even if they couldn't quite manage the water pitcher). And when they see children who need a home, they ask me, "Mama, why don't people just adopt them?" Nothing like a child's honest question to make ya think! Why isn't it so clear-cut for adults? Perhaps because we've complicated our lives too much with things and events and plans and fears. I don't know, but I do know that the simplicity and depth of a child's love moved my heart.

So, we came up with a plan for some too-young-to-adopt-or-open-a-children's-home children to actively help orphans in profound ways. They went to Reece's Rainbow's website and wrote down the names of several of the children. They then transferred the names onto a prayer chart, with some children to be prayed for on Sundays, another group on Mondays, etc. Every day of the week they have a list of children to pray for, and they take this job very seriously.

Why is it that we adults can look at pictures of children who need homes and then shut down the computer without thinking twice about them? Whereas children see the faces and think of the LIFE behind the picture on the screen. They imagine how it feels to be alone in that crib at night. They worry that these precious orphans will be afraid during thunder storms (my youngest son still prays for his sister to not be afraid of thunder storms even though she has been home from the orphanage for 4 months...he just sympathized with her for so many months as he thought of her in that bed alone). Lord, please give us the eyes of children and let us enter into the suffering of these orphans!

PRAYING is the big thing. Any of us can pray, and it's a profound way to help these children. Really, who else is praying for them? What a mighty work we can do right in our own homes...lifting up these children to God! I was thrilled that my children had this idea. The Holy Spirit gave them a burden for other children, and then He was faithful to give them an outlet to lift that burden to Him, the Father of the fatherless. I want desperately for them to always go to Him for all their needs, and what an incredible blessing to see them go to Him on behalf of others too. Warms this Mama's heart!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I went to bed praying for a little boy named Kirill, and I woke up thinking about him. Then this morning when I decided to visit my own blog (sorry...I've been absent from blogging world lately), I had a comment from someone who is advocating on behalf of another little boy with a very similar name: Kiril. Interesting "coincidence." Anyway, please visit her blog and contribute just $1 to Kiril's adoption fund on Reece's Rainbow. Please spread the word. This little one is PRECIOUS!!

My heart has been especially heavy lately with so many children who are on their way to institutions if they are not adopted soon, and I found myself crying out to God. I don't understand, Lord! Oh how I wish I could somehow save them all! And yet this morning His still quiet voice reminded me that it is not my might or anyone else's might that saves them. In HIM ALONE do the orphans find mercy.

Yes, we play a role. We are His vessels. We simply MUST follow Him, listen to the exact directions He gives each of us and the obey in simple faith. But, when we have advocated and have worked so hard and have prayed fervently...what do we do then?? We REST in Him. We keep advocating and giving our time and resources and praying fervently...all the while resting in Him and trusting in HIM to fulfill His plans for each child. Psalm 33:4 "For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust." EVERYTHING! Even those things that don't seem fair to us (the children who are transfered)...even the things we don't understand (the family whose adoption dreams are crushed)...if we truly trust Him, then we know that everything He does is worthy of our trust. Everything.

Today we have the opportunity of helping Kiril and Kirill find their forever families. Kiril can be found at the blog link I gave above, and Kirill can be found on Reece's Rainbow's at-risk page. Have you seen him? He is so cute! Here's a link to his picture...he's the 3rd child on this page. And while you're on that page, please say a prayer for each child on that page. Kirill is very very close to being transfered to an institution, so please be in fervent prayer for his forever family to find him. These children may not have anyone else praying for them, so please pray on their behalf. We CAN do something...we can pray, give, advocate on their behalf, adopt. And the outcome we place in God's Hands, trusting Him even when we don't understand.