Love

“Love is what we have to give, and love comes from places that are vulnerable and soft and tender enough to feel—to break.”

“Only those who are vulnerable enough to be broken get to be the ones who really love.  It can be that when you feel broken, it’s proof that you’ve given.  Is there anything greater than living heartbroken, wiped open and given? “ Ann Voskamp

 

Personally, I daily need reminders from great writers like Ann.  I need reminders that go against the grain of society’s values.  I need reminders of who Jesus spent time with:  the broken, the hurting, the ones nobody wanted.  Most likely following Jesus will be swimming upstream against the popular culture.  Most likely following Jesus will have a cost involved.  Somehow I need reminded that my value comes not from what the world values: look good, be good at things, outdo your neighbor, have a sweet house.  It is loving.  Just plain, simple, pure loving.  Especially loving those that don’t measure up in the world’s eyes.

“Sometime we want to possess lovely things because we don’t know what love is.”  Ann Voskamp

Why is it that we think something lovely will make everything better?  We think that a certain renovation to our home, a certain outfit, a certain new comforter, a new painting, a new phone, these will complete us.  But, then the newness wears off and we are left wanting the next new thing.  I walk into a store and see all of these cool things, but somehow remember it will wear off.  This quote from Ann Voskamp put it so absolutely amazingly:

“When you know love is about self-giving, then maybe the loveliest things are not about self-having.”

Giveness in love, means inevitable brokenness, which leads to our need of Jesus, which is the very best gift. I am sorry, but this is completely counter cultural.  Every single day we are bombarded with the messages of having more, doing more, more, more, more.  I have a new hobby:  getting rid of things.  It is absolutely freeing!  Try it!  🙂

And a profound question she poses in her book, The Way of Abundance,

“What do you want your one life to really be about?”  What you really want is what you most love, and what you love is what you’ll have for all eternity. “

When we began the process of adoption, we were often met with questions of the financial cost.  In refinancing our home to help pay for the first big fee, we felt complete peace.  Peace that did not have a price.  I know that many would have been so supportive had we decided instead of adopting to upgrade our home.  That would have been a wise investment;  in the world’s eyes.  Four boys now have a forever home.  Some days I don’t know how we made it through all the hard steps, but somehow He helped us make it through.  He will help us make it through each hard part of this journey.

“God does not call you to a convenient life; He calls you to an important life.  And a life of importance isn’t found in a life of convenience.” Ann Voskamp

Please know that the call of Jesus on your life is a radical one.  It will not feel comfortable.  It will not be easy or convenient, but it will be full of absolute purpose: purposes that line up with the very life of Jesus himself.  Read the gospels.  Read the words in red and read the words in green,  the things Jesus did.

Isaiah 58

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”

 

The foster child, the homeless, the refugee, the abused, the beaten down, the broken and busted in this world……they are Jesus.  Will you feed them?  Will you help them?  Or will your one life be about your storing up beautiful things?  Will your one life be about you, you and only your own.

The work we do is only for our love for Jesus in action, writes mother Teresa.  If we pray the work, if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus..that’s what make us content.”   Ann further comments, “That is what makes us content—the contented, deep joy is always in the touching of Christ—in whatever skin He comes to us in.”

“Living the broken way of abundance is not about what you love, it’s about who you love.  And Jesus is always who we love.”  Ann Voskamp

 

If God has put something on your heart, begin to pray and ask him how He wants  you to help.  Here is one statistic to pray about and perhaps He is calling you to help?

In Michigan, there are 13,000 children who need loving foster homes while the state works to reunite them safely with their parents or find adoptive homes.

Blessings in Christ,

Michelle

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Summer is here

I am taking a moment to share a little update with all of you amazing people that have been on this journey with us!  

The school year has come to a close and now we enter a calmer season in our lives.  We have a ton of appointments these next few weeks and have lots of home projects, cleaning and organizing to get done this summer.  In addition, I have been called for jury duty for July and August. I am not particularly thrilled about that, but thankful that they delayed it for me from last fall so that Ron can be home.  We are also looking forward to a trip up north and some other fun things we have planned.  The boys are starting to have memories of fun things we did last summer and are excited about these events happening again!

The boys have adjusted well overall and we are giving thanks for the Lord’s provision in every way.  Each of them will have appointments at the U of M to do a psychological evaluation of the past trauma they have endured.  Sometimes others see them managing so well, that they forget all that has happened to them in their short little lives. Children can be very resilient, but we are praying we can find some good support to help them in their hidden pain.  It is how Christ is healing the broken and binding up their wounds.

I am now in counseling and will be for a while.  My therapist shared with me that I am the container for the whole family’s “junk.” Some days I must recognize I am carrying someone else’s junk and release that to the Lord.  Please know that so many of you have been so supportive to us these past 5 years in a myriad of ways and we so appreciate it and give thanks to the Lord for it. We have really had to pull back and focus on our main priorities right now.  

  1. Our personal walks with the Lord
  2. Our marriage (we walk each night and are going on a monthly date!)
  3. Our children

Some forget about how many children we have which means we have a lot of needs to meet and daily tasks to care for.  This is also why I have pretty much removed myself from facebook. It was certainly contributing to my depression as well as being a time waster, not that I spent a lot of time there, but the time I did took away much needed emotional space and quiet. I have found great peace in this decision.  And lately I have started to feel times and moments where I “feel like myself” again.

Some of you may know that the Lord has lead us to a church that is multicultural with more diversity.  It is very important for our adopted sons to have mirrors in their lives. They actually at one point thought any black person they saw was from Haiti.  The church we are attending has a black lead pastor and we have found Vineyard a great blessing for us. Josh and Abi continue to attend Knox, but occasionally join us.  

My dad broke his hip back in February and had surgery and is now home and doing well.

Lastly, I would like to share an opportunity with you.  So many of you have been so generous with us in our fundraising efforts and I would like to share about a young couple who have been called to adopt as well that could use financial and prayer support. Travis and Natalie Keller have recently taken in a young boy through foster care and also are adopting one or two children from South Africa.  If you pray and feel lead to join in this call for them, please follow the you caring link at the end of this post. This will also take you to their blog, where you can read their story.

In my reading about adoption I have seen that a big and common reason many Christians choose not to adopt even after they have felt God nudge at their heart to do that is the finances.

I will say from personal experience trying to write for grants and fundraise is a job in itself.  Natalie and Travis both already work full time and anything you donate helps them be able to bring home their child or children.  The stress of paperwork and all the preparation is so trying that it was always such a blessing to receive a gift to reassure us of God’s call and His amazing provision and was so much simpler than applying for a ton of grants!

Might you help them in this call? “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” James 1:27

https://www.youcaring.com/travisandnataliekeller-865354

Please pray for them and please pray for us.

Love, Michelle

2 Corinthians 8:1-9 The Message (MSG)

The Offering

1-4 Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.