For the ones we left behind

IMG_1457I want you to pray to God and ask Him to let you be my mommy.”  The child clinging to me in the hot African sun looked up at me with the brownest set of puppy dog eyes you could imagine.

“I am sure God has good plans for you and He loves you very much.” I responded as I choked back tears at the irony of the moment. We had traveled around the world to welcome a child into our family who at the moment was so scared of us she played on the other side of the playground while this one begged me to adopt him.

But he persisted. “NO!”

He turned my face to look at those big brown eyes. “Ask HIM.” 

I was taken aback by his determination.

“I will.” I said.

And I did. When our family of four went back to the house we had rented, crawled under the mosquito net and closed our eyes, I asked him, just to make sure He got it right. (Do you ever do that too?) Sometimes it’s good to just confirm He knows what He’s doing, especially when you’re doing something huge like adopting a kid!

Alas, God showed within the next few days that our little girl, Sharon was definitely the match he made in heaven (and through our adoption agency)  to be the third child in our family, and that he would take care of his child who was begging me to be his mommy.

A few weeks later, Sharon and our family hugged and waved goodbye to the brown eyed boy as he held on to the hand of one of the aunties and hid his face. We were engulfed with the task before us, to give just one orphan a family and a home, and the next few months in Uganda, I would have to walk by needy child after needy child while holding on to the hand of just the one that we could help.

And believe me, just the one was a huge task for the moment. Adopting a kid is, like I said, kind of a big deal and the next few years were an awesome time but also an adjustment period in our family. We would talk about her friends at the orphanage but as days, months, and years (3 now) passed, we talked about them less and less, until we mostly just reminded her and our other two children about the fact that the kids at the orphanage were still eating rice and beans for dinner when they turned their noses up at my cooking.

In America, we get busy. Raising three kids, managing a home, homeschooling, (aye) pretty much takes up my time. But every once in a while, we get the opportunity to help the ones we had to leave behind.

This fall, we are teaming up with our adoption agency, Carolina Adoption Services, to help fundraise so they can keep connecting kids like Sharon with families like us. 

Kids like the big brown eyed one we had to leave behind with families. 

I was there.

I held him.

There are so, so many like him, in America and all over the world.

Waiting.

Wondering.

“Will I ever have a family?”

I know, you are like, seriously, Amy? My family doesn’t feel led to adopt, don’t guilt trip us.

And I hear you. Believe me, I am not encouraging everyone to adopt.

I am encouraging everyone to consider how they could help and to hear some of the beautiful ways God sets the lonely in families through adoption. (Psalm 68:6) He uses adoption agencies like Carolina Adoption Services to make this a reality.

If you live locally, (Greensboro, NC) we would love for you to come support this endeavor on one special night. Details are in the link below!

https://www.carolinaadoption.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Get-Tickets-for-the-Blue-Jean-and-Pearls-Gala-October-28-2017.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EXTRAordinary GOD in the Ordinary

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:10 The Message

I thought about the verse we had just discussed in bible study as I got into my very messy minivan with my daughters. I looked around and thought, “Maybe cleaning this van would be a good place to start living out this verse!”

And yes, I ended up cleaning the minivan..and selling the minivan. But I knew God had called me to do more than just clean up perpetual messes of my young brood.

You see, I was in this season where I was trying to translate what living a MISSION DRIVEN, EXCITING, ADVENTURE- FILLED, VIBRANT FAITH for Christ looked like during the day to day normal life at home in my small town in North Carolina.


The last few years of our lives had been filled with these kind of “step out onto the deep waters and watch Jesus sustain you” adventures.

My husband went into ministry.

We adopted a little girl from Africa.

I’m a homeschool mom in North Carolina.

Which one of those seems like the most thrilling adventure to you? Probably not the last one, huh?

You see, I’m weirdly wired for the first two. My faith is fueled when I am on my knees before God in front of a mountain, waiting and expecting to see him show up in amazing ways to move it. I’d seen him move some incredible mountains in the last several years of my faith journey, but now the biggest mountain I needed to see move was the mound in front of my washing machine.

I had a disconnect that needing connecting.

I’d known him as MIRACLE WORKING, MOUNTAIN MOVING GOD in Africa, but where was he HERE?

HERE, in my ordinary life?

I didn’t “need” him as much HERE.  People didn’t need him as much HERE.

Maybe you can relate. Have you ever been on a “high” with God — like so desperate for him that you searched him out relentlessly everyday, and he showed up? Like you were on mission with him and you saw him do the MIRACULOUS?

Doesn’t that just ruin you for the ordinary?

See here’s thing — there’s no ordinary with God. 

Even in the everyday, he wants to do the extraordinary. 

Here’s where my ordinary collided with his extraordinary; back home. A year and a half after our adoption was final and we had been settled in as a family of five, I still didn’t have it together (and will never completely). In fact, life was very challenging.
I was on my daily escape (aka the gym with childcare). I used the gyms’ two hour childcare daily allotment to the max, squeezing everything out of it that I could for my daily dose of mom sanity: a worship music zumba workout to pump me up full of encouraging songs while I got exercise, then downstairs for a mini spa trip to the sauna, and weekly a few other moms and I would have bible study together while the kids were still in childcare.

One Wednesday we were leaving after bible study, I looked at my sweet little angels in the back seat with my happy, post-workout mommy smile, and I heard God tell me it was time…I had new work to be doing. My eyes fell down to my messy mini van floor and I thought, surely I heard him wrong because what person is qualified to write encouragement to others who cannot keep their space more organized than this?!

…Plus, Lord, if you haven’t already realized, I have my hands full – beautifully full – so full that every time I walk into this place someone POINTS IT OUT verbally. “My, you have your hands full, don’t you?”

However, he kept speaking this verse to me.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

So finally, one Sunday afternoon, I told him that I would listen. That I would be obedient and write the message that I needed, knowing that I couldn’t be the only one waiting to hear it.

I had one very huge condition that I laid out to the Lord as a promise to him.

“I don’t want to neglect the mission of wifehood and motherhood on this new journey of writing my heart out.”

So basically, that’s where REFOCUSED STARTED. I wanted to get quiet and hear how to use my God given gift of encouraging and building his kingdom without neglect the small kingdom in my own home.

If we fix our eyes on JESUS, he will flow through us as we intentionally cultivate the holy passions and dreams he is stirring in us, while still faithfully pouring into those closest to us. 

It will take us holding his hand the entire journey, not letting go for a single step to run ahead of him for fame, money, or pride.

So if you have a dream, goal, or passion you want to pursue that you believe is God driven, REFOCUSED will help you.

If you just want to do MARRIED LIFE according to his word, REFOCUSED will help you.

If you want to know you are pouring intentionally and eternally into your CHILDREN, REFOCUSED will give you tools to do it.

My goal is always that you will be encouraging on this journey with Jesus!  Join us New Year’s Eve as we fix our eyes on Jesus for the year ahead. ❤

You can purchase the study God wrote on my heart below, I pray it blesses you!

Amy

Here is a link for a more in depth view of it: A Peak inside Refocused Bible Study

Married with Children
$15.99
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Married Edition
$12.99
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Single Mom Edition
$12.99
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Single Woman Edition
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Reckless in Your Love

 

“In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”‭‭ John‬ ‭12:25 ‭MSG

  

It’s been the Christian fad verse for the past few years- the topic so many top sellers have been based around, – if you love Jesus, loose your life. And by loose it, do something 

Radical.  

Like sell all your possessions and go be a missionary in s third world country.

or

Feed the homeless.

or

Adopt a kid from Africa. (Ahem).

But after you do one of these things, how does it look when you are

Still here? 

God didn’t swoop you up into heaven saying, great work, now you’re done.

But that mission is over, and now it’s just

life as usual. 

How does living this “life of abandon,” reckless in your love  overflowing from the Jesus well within you translate into

Wednesday in North Carolina?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a few years now, since I’ve been burdened with the weight of the hungry orphans I’ve held in my arms. They are there, I am here. What am I to do Lord?

The answer he has given me is to shine bright in my home for Jesus, and reach out together, arms linked with my husband and children, loving on the world, one person at a time.

 Decide your life, today, wherever you are, is where you are supposed to be reckless in your love. 

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

 

Jesus did it for us, and it’s that simple.  The way we loose our life like Jesus is calling us to here, is to love others with his life laid down kind of love.  We make it complicated, and sometimes it can be.  Adoption is complicated.  But every circumstance is an opportunity to give up what you dreamed your life would look like today, for the sake of loving the ones Jesus has called you to love.  The people closest to you.  Or sometimes one person halfway around the world.  The secret is his love and guidance, winning out over your selfish desires and dreams.

It’s a day by day, minute by minute process to loose your life, over and over to gain real eternal life.  As we do this, heaven comes down and we experience more and more of the eternal life here.

We are living for something greater, for a kingdom that is forever, for a legacy that will not fade.  

Walk with Life Himself and love recklessly right where you are today.

This post coincides with the Alive! Book of John Journey, which can be found below:

https://refocusedbiblestudy.com/2016/02/27/alivebook-of-john-journey-for-march/