Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: The Hole in our Gospel

Every once in a great while I run across a book so relevant, inspiring and convicting that I want every one I know to read it. The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns is one of those books.

This is a book I highlighted, pondered, and read out loud to whoever would listen. In it, Mr. Stearns, president of World Vision, shares his own story of being pulled from his "American dream" life to work among the world's poorest.

Reading Mr. Stearn's testimony is reason enough to pick up this book. He writes from a place I could completely relate to. He did not condemn me or the church, but he did issue the challenge to do more. He challenged Christians throughout the book to "embody the gospel so that others can see, hear, and feel God's love in tangible ways", and to present the whole gospel to the world instead of just "going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins."

Throughout the book Mr. Stearns discusses the issue of poverty and the American churches lack of response to it. He shares stories of people who were able to rise above poverty and ways we can help more people do the same. He encourages the reader to take the time, talents and treasure God has given, search out God's purpose for themselves and act to change the world.
The message in this book is an important one. I hope many people read it, and more importantly, I hope many people are moved to action as a result.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adventures in Motherhood

I attempted a trip to the grocery store, before dinner with four kids the other day. It felt like a courageous act, but we needed bananas, among other things.

It was a relatively smooth experience until it was time to leave.

As we were checking out our groceries, a clap of thunder resounded through the grocery store, followed by the sound of stampeding cattle (aka pounding rain). We paid for our groceries, rounded the corner and saw an avalanche of rain bombarding the parking lot.

What to do?

Do I try to entertain four tired and hungry kids in a grocery store entry way until the rain slows down or do we make a run for it?

I opted for the run. With the baby in the seat at the front and one child clinging to each side of the cart we attempted to venture out into the downpour.

That is when I learned an important lesson. You cannot fit through a single doorway with kids on each side of the grocery cart without ramming your kids into the door frame. It made quite a spectacle for the store patrons without children who opted to wait for the rain to stop. (It was one of those "what kind of mom must they think I am" moments!)

We eventually made it outside, with one child crying (the one who got rammed), one child laughing (the one in the seat) and two children who were not sure what to think. We got soaked, but we were on an adventure (at least that is what I kept shouting as we ran to our van).

Which brings up the second lesson of the day, one I am continually learning as a mom. Attitude is important and if I am going to enjoy my days as a mom I need to be able to turn an inconvenient run through the rain into an adventure.

If only whining kids were as easy to see as an adventure, I'd be set!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Yesterday, I read this quote from Susie Larson's The Uncommon Woman :

Just what are we to do about our fears? Is it possible to take them all on at once? I don't think so. God can, if He so chooses, to supernaturally deliver us in a moment's time, and sometimes He does. But just as often, He tells us to put one foot in front of the other and follow His lead; and in doing so, He shows us our moment-by-moment need for Him. That way we learn how to trust; we learn how to battle.

Today I saw this:

I have been feeling a few fears lately. Specifically, adoption related fears.

A friend recently asked me, "Do you ever stress out about going to 5 kids?"

To which I replied, "Not really, it hasn't seemed too overwhelming."

Until after we had that conversation. Today it feels very overwhelming.

Our social worker is coming by for a routine visit today. Over the past two weeks, Kory and I have decided to fill out the medical condition checklist from our agency. Once our social worker signs it, we will fax it in.

The checklist says that we are open to getting a child with cerebral palsy or physical development delays. It also means we could be matched with a child much sooner than we originally anticipated.

Kory has been open to special needs from the start. He is a physical therapist who works with kids with special needs; it is one of his passions. I have been a little slower, but have sensed God leading in that direction from the beginning and feel peaceful about taking this step.

But then the fears come.

I'm thankful for the reminders from Susie and Francis: put one foot in front of the other and follow His lead and don't cling to the balance beam (aka live the "safest life possible") or you will miss out on God's call for your life.

I understand the fear will come and go throughout this process. My prayer is that it won't paralyze me and I can keep taking steps of faith (even if they are baby steps), trusting my Saviour knows the way.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Resource from Hearts at Home

Motherhood is a valid profession.

It is that belief that inspired Jill Savage and a group of women to plan the first Hearts at Home conference 16 years ago. Today these conferences are a place where moms can go to find the encouragement and education they need to do this mothering thing right!

The problem is, not everyone can attend a Hearts at Home conference, so Hearts at Home University was created!

Hearts at Home University is a new resource designed to encourage and equip you in your journey as a parent! These live web casts, affordably priced at $15 each, allow you to tap into continuing education as a mom on a regular basis right from the comfort of your own computer.

The topics that will be covered over the Spring and Summer Semester include:

“Is There Really Sex after Kids” with Jill Savage
“She’s Gonna Blow” with Julie Barnhill
“Redefining Romance” with Mark and Jill Savage
“Keeping Your Ducks in a Relative Row” with Karen Ehman

For information on dates and times, or to register go here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Quick Follow-Up

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post. They were very encouraging.

A couple of you mentioned one important thing we can do to help that I had neglected to mention: PRAY!

I wonder what it will be like on the other side of heaven to see the effects our prayers had. If we could get a glimpse of those effects on earth would it affect how we pray? I think it would.

Galatians 6:9 comes to mind (it has become one of my favorites):

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Don't give up friends, keep doing good, and we will reap a harvest that will be exciting to see!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Something More

Sometimes it is hard to know how your words are perceived.

For example, how will you perceive the post just before this one? Does it seem a little self-righteous? That wasn't my intent, but it is hard to know how things will come across.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the hurt that takes place all over the world. The poverty, the starvation, the orphans... There is a lot of hurt.

I recently watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire. I cried for hours after that movie, thinking of children in India and other countries living in poverty without parents. Kids living in garbage dumps. Children taken advantage of by evil people. There is so much injustice in the world.

And I live in a comfortable house, completely removed from their reality. Their reality is a movie to me, or a photograph.

And I keep thinking that I want to do something. So I write checks, but it doesn't seem like enough. We are adopting, but it doesn't seem like enough.

I don't know if anything will ever seem like enough, but maybe if we all do something, it will start to seem like enough.

I don't really have any answers, just a lot of questions and a desire to do something more.

I'm just not sure what that is...

Something to Think About

Many people have read the following verses in Matthew's gospel:

"For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

They also will answer, "Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"

He [Jesus] will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Matthew 25:41 - 45

They are convicting words.

I recently ran across this paraphrase of those same verses:

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviours that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved." (paraphrased by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision)

What am I tangibly doing for Jesus? How am I serving "the least of these?" Am I sharing Jesus with others through on my actions?

Or, am I choosing to live the good, safe, comfortable life?

It is something to think about. But please, don't stop there.