March 4, 2012

Same Name, Different Blog

I have loved being here, but it is time for a move.  Come on over for a visit at our new place.

PS- If by some chance, you are subscribed to this blog- switch the address from .blogspot.com to .wordpress.com.

February 1, 2012

Better is One Day

Some of you may recognize this post, as I wrote it two years ago...


The idea of the Lord's "dwelling place" is quite nice, isn't it? I'm sure many of you have heard and sung the contemporary worship song "Better is One Day"...


"How lovely is Your dwelling place,
oh Lord Almighty
My soul longs and even faints for You.


One thing I ask and I would seek,
to see Your beauty
To find You in the place Your glory dwells."






Though the song pulls lines from different psalms of David, the idea is consistent- there is beauty and glory to be found in the dwelling place of the Lord. No wonder we claim it would be better to spend a day there than a thousand elsewhere- it sounds like a delightful place to be.


The church is again and again called by Scripture to keep our minds fixed on the eternity we will spend in the presence of the beautifully glorious Lord Almighty, and so songs like this one and the psalms of David are helpful in directing our hearts towards that end.

But what about God's dwelling place here on earth? What does the Word have to say about the place God chooses to dwell here in the earthly, temporal realm?


A father of the fatherless and judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:5
It seems there is a long list of verses that agree with this one- that God consistently chooses His dwelling place to be with those who are weak and afflicted. Jesus, Himself, is clear about this in Matthew 25-
"Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?"

And the King will answer and say to them "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me
."
Here, Jesus does not simply claim to dwell with the hungry, thirsty, strange, naked, sick, and imprisoned- He claims to BE them. By reading this passage, God's chosen dwelling place on this earth is made very clear- the adjectives used to describe it, however, are not as lovely-sounding. I'm not sure my heart and flesh would so easily long for such a place, and I really don't know that I would choose to spend a day in any of those circumstances. Certainly not when my current dwelling place allows me to be satiated, familiar, clothed, healthy, and free.

But what if those places are really where the beauty and glory of the Lord is to be found? What if God actually does choose the weak things of the world as His dwelling place? What would it mean for little guys like this one...


He has been labeled by the world as worthless- so much so that they have placed him in a brick holding room, where he is never permitted to leave. He has AIDS and an intellectual disability, and is passed small amounts of food through the hole from which this picture was taken. I bet he is indeed hungry and thirsty, feeling naked and like a stranger, is very sick and certainly imprisoned. So what if our responsibility to him is actually the same as our responsibility to Him? What if we actually have to stand before Jesus one day and explain why we left Him sitting in His lonely (and not so lovely) dwelling place? Will we ever get to enjoy the Lord in His heavenly dwelling place if we choose not to join Him in His earthly dwelling place of suffering?

In order that we might not be the ones to whom Jesus says 
"Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels," (Matt 25:41) may He give us grace to pray as David did and to continue to sing this song, but perhaps, with a new understanding of that which we are asking. May our eyes be opened, and then fixed, to the beauty and glory of God that is so uniquely displayed in orphans with intellectual disabilities.

*I wrote this for the Special Hope Network blog, which you can find at www.specialhopenetwork.com. It is updated weekly, and explains a lot more about what God has called us to do. Check out the website if you have not yet!

December 14, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago I slept in bed next to an empty crib.  His clothes were folded and stored neatly; toys organized in bins- the life I planned for him all tucked away on shelves and in drawers- waiting for the day when he would come home.  One year ago, I didn't know when that would be, but hoped and prayed so very hard it would be soon.

I thought of him in the crib where he was, at the orphanage across town, and wept.  Who kissed him goodnight?  Who sat with him when he couldn't sleep?  Whose was the face he saw when he woke up in the morning?  Answers I didn't have, and didn't really want to know.

~

December 15, 2010 was a normal morning for me, running work errands around town- until I got a call.  Up until this point, my social worker had never called me.  I had always been the one to call her to check how things were progressing- and up until this point, she never had anything decisive to report.  I hadn't yet even gotten a real "YES" about taking home this little boy.

She said everything so matter of factly, "Your papers have been signed, you can come get them."

"And so, after I get the papers, I can go get HIM?"

"Yes, you can."

"Like, today?  I can go to the orphanage, pick him up, and take him home to stay with me?

"Yes, I said that already."

I hung up the phone and started to cry.  They said yes.  They said now.  As of that day, I would be his mother.  He would be my son.  Forever changed, just like that.

It's how He works, don't you think?  Eternities altered in a moment- though planned and purposed from before time began.  Tonight I sit in bed and am so humbled and thankful for the past year.  So many challenges.  So many joys.  So much life.

Here's to one year and a thousand more, my beloved boy.  May He be glorified in each and every one of them.


October 16, 2011

Celebrating Friends

I want to introduce you to my sweet friend, Sophie and her daughter, Natasha. I have a tender spot in my heart for this family for lots of reasons...first and foremost, Sophie and I are walking on similar paths. She is only 22 years old, living as a single woman here in Zambia, and has been called to be a mother of a beautiful former-orphan. As I am sure you have guessed, we have become FAST friends. Secondly, Natasha lived in the same orphanage as Joab- and though we are not sure if they remember each other, it is still so sweet to watch them play together. Thirdly, I so admire Sophie and the way she has fought for this little girl. Her persistence (it took over a year and a half to get everything in order before Natasha could come home) so mirrors that of our Father, and I love the way she is showing that part of God to the world.

 I had the absolute privilege of hosting a shower for these lovely ladies today, and it was such fun! Most of you know that I love to cook, especially for a party, even more so if it is to celebrate a dear friend. Here are some pictures from the day...



















I love this last one of Jo and Tash- I think their favorite part was the "after party."

October 2, 2011

God is His Father

When I first met Donald Musebo at an orphanage near our house, I didn't think much else except that he was super cute! His big, beautiful eyes were deep, but he hardly ever locked them with mine long enough to search them out. To him, I'm sure I was just another adult among the slew that walked in and out of his life all day.

The director of the orphanage had asked Special Hope to visit this little guy because it was believed that he had Autism*, and so we gave a brief synopsis to his caretakers that first day and scheduled a full assessment for later. It was in between these two meetings that God began to stir in my heart.

Verse after verse, I couldn't escape it...
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless. Psalm 146:9

Donald had been fatherless for over 2 years when I met him, and it showed. In the way he ignored, in the way he stared blankly, in the way he didn't care. He was fatherless and felt it.

During my time spent in the word and in prayer, God made it clear. HE was the Father of the fatherless. HE was Donald's Father.

And I was to be his mother. I was to step in for the mother who birthed him**, and mend the wear and tear those lonely years had left.

To celebrate this restoration, and to mark this new life being birthed- God whispered a name. Joab. Hebrew for "God is his father." A promise written over his life- that no matter what, he would never be left alone. That even in those lonely years, God was still there, purposing and planning every step.

Watching him grow and change over the last 9 and a half months (!) has been my utmost privilege. I love that I get to be the one to remind him of that promise, even with every call of his name. My son, His son...Joab.

Then...
























Now...


















*More on this later this week.
**Read this post about Donald's mother.

September 20, 2011

Ta Da!

Joab's quilt is finished! Such a fun project, and I'm excited with how it turned out. These pictures, however, could definitely be better, as none of the colors are quite right. Oh well- I hope you enjoy nonetheless...










































I actually chose the fabrics for the quilt based on this quilt that is already hanging above Jo's bed. It was given to him by his sweet Cuz-Aunt Mary at our baby shower in May. I love the colors in it, and even more the hundred wishes it lists for Joab. I often use them as inspiration when I pray for Jo before he goes to sleep...



























My three favorites are "Compassion," I hope one day that Joab is able to show the same compassion the Lord has shown him; "Perseverance," the Lord has chosen a seemingly hard road for Jo, and I pray that He will also give him the perseverance needed to walk it; and "Cheerfulness," Even more than just walking the path before him, I hope God gives him grace to do it with a cheerful heart.

Thanks so much to my Mom, who taught me everything I know about sewing; Sarah, who let me borrow her machine (and just for being a good friend here in Lusaka); and to Holly and Eric for their helpful input along the way!

September 19, 2011

Fun Day!

Well, our first day of Mulungushi Homeschool went quite well! Got Joab's visual schedule made and put into action...

























And this afternoon, as part of our "outside play," we broke out the sprinkler! Jo was a little skeptical at first, but then (as you can tell in the second pic) HE LOVED IT!


















































I also got started on all the measuring and cutting for the quilt- I got the design from an old Martha mag (don't care what you say, she will always be my go-to gal), it's super cute and I cannot wait to show you the finished product!