Monday, March 22, 2010

That's My King

I had a sweet conversation tonight with a dear friend who loves orphans and Jesus (doesn't get much better than that in my opinion!) about Africa.  After I hung up the phone I was just in awe of how God moves in our hearts and stirs us to love people we've never even laid eyes on.  She's getting ready to go to Africa for the first time and she said that she can't imagine what it will be like to actually see these people she feels so passionately about but has never met.  Is it possible to love them any more than she already does?  And that made me think about God's love...His nature...His very character.  Who HE IS at His He so beautifully weaves the love He has for us into our hearts and makes it spill out for other people. 

God's been doing so much in my heart and life over these past months and tonight I find myself just standing in awe of Him.  Only God can take fickle, selfish human hearts and turn them towards Him and the things and people He cares about.  So, tonight I just want to worship Him and soak up WHO He is. I wish I was as eloquent as Dr. S.M. Lockridge at describing my King, but I'm not so sit back, close your eyes and breathe in the truth of Who we love, serve and worship with our lives.  (And if you don't feel like listening you can read the words below).

The Bible says my King is the King of Righteousness....He's the King of the Ages.....He's the King of Heaven....He's the King of Glory....He's the King of kings, and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.

David said, "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings. He's enduringly strong....He's entirely sincere....He's eternally steadfast....He's immortally graceful....He's imperially powerful....He's impartially merciful.......

He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour...

He supplies strength for the weak....He's available for the tempted and the tried....He sympathizes and He saves....He strengthens and sustains....He guards and He guides....He heals the sick....He cleanses lepers....He forgives sinners....He discharges debtors....He delivers captives....He defends the feeble....He blesses the young....He serves the unfortunate....He regards the aged....He rewards the diligent....and He beautifies the meek...

His promise is sure....His light is matchless....His goodness is limitless....His mercy is everlasting....His love never changes....His word is enough....His grace is sufficient....His reign is righteous....and His yoke is easy, and his burden is light.  He's indescribable....

He's irresistible.
That's my King.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Plans & God's Purposes

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." - Proverbs 19:21

This time last week I thought I was going to be in Africa today picking up my son in Ethiopia.  Yet here I am sitting on my couch in Cincinnati.  Not in Africa.  I thought I was going to get to travel with our friends to experience the joy of getting our children together, but while I type this they are somewhere over the Atlantic on their way to Ethiopia.  And guess what?  I am right where I'm supposed to be and my friends Le and Lindsey are right where they're supposed to be too. 

The thing is...I can make my plans and think that I know how everything is going to go all I want, but God knows best.  He sees the big picture I don't.  It was just one little tiny piece of paperwork that didn't get into the right hands on time in Ethiopia that kept us from going to get Tariku on Sunday.  It was incredibly disappointing.  But God's timing has been amazing throughout this whole adoption process and so we trust Him.  Almost immediately after we got the news we weren't going to be traveling as anticipated, things began to happen.  

I got a call from a friend I haven't seen in ten years who said she wanted to send us a check (a sizeable one in my opinion) to take with us to spend on the needs of the people we encountered in Ethiopia.  She asked what else she could send and I said "Maybe some bubble gum for the boys at Kolfe, the teenage boy's orphanage we're visiting.  I'd really wanted to see if I could get them each a new t-shirt but there are 130 kids there."  Guess what was delivered to my front porch today?  Yep.  140 brand new t-shirts for the boys at Kolfe.  So, my friend Lindsey gets to throw those boys a pizza party this week and I get to give them all new shirts in a few more weeks. Pretty cool if you ask me.

I mentioned on FaceBook that I was going to be visiting Korah Leper Colony and that they needed medical supplies desperately.  Within 3 minutes of posting the need on FaceBook I had a message from Kids Against Hunger here in Cincinnati saying they had leftover medical supplies they couldn't get to Haiti and I was welcome to come fill up my suitcase.  So I went to fill my suitcase on Saturday at the facility and while I was there they asked if I wanted to take any food with me.  Um...YES!  So, they loaded me up with 440 nutritionally packed meals to take to Korah.

Oh, and now I have time to receive and deliver packages from 3 sponsors who want me to meet and give their sponsored Kolfe boys goodies.  Seriously??  LOVE that I get to do that for them.  And take pictures.  And get to know these boys and tell them they are loved, prayed for and cared for by someone halfway around the world.

From Day 1 we have known that God is taking care of Tariku in the time that we are apart.  What we didn't know was that God was also going to take care of quite a few of His other children simply by allowing us to travel a month later than we had anticipated.  Wow.  I'm blown away by how God has provided for so many people in such a short period of time.  But, that's just like our God.  His love is BIG and His ways are so far above mine I couldn't comprehend them if I tried. 

This journey of learning to trust is just that - a process of surrendering again and again.  It's a constant setting aside of our own wants and desires and admitting "Okay, God.  You know better."  Sometimes those words have a hard time rolling off our tongues, don't they? :)  But let them.  Because He does know better.  Always. The bellies that are going to be full for the first time in who knows how long because of the 440 meals we'll be able to deliver, the boys who will be wearing fresh, new t-shirts, the people of Korah who will finally know what pain relief is...they will attest to the fact that God does know better - ALWAYS.  



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time to Lavish Some Love

Take a minute and try to estimate how many pizzas you have eaten in your life.  On second thought, don't think about may depress you.  :)  Can you imagine a life where you never had eaten pizza - ever?  What if a bottle of soda was a luxury you simply couldn't afford? 

There is an amazing group of teenage boys who live together in Ethiopia at a place called Kolfe Orphanage.  The picture below is of one of the young men's feet.  I'm thinking that the boy who wears these shoes day in and day out probably doesn't ever get the luxury of enjoying a pizza and soda.  I'm thinking he probably has bigger things to think about.

But he shouldn't have to always be thinking about bigger things.  He should be able to enjoy a pizza and soda like many other teenage boys on the planet do.  Quite a few of the Kolfe boys have sponsors here in the States thanks to Children's HopeChest (but there are still many more in need of sponsors if you're interested!!).  Most of the boys at Kolfe Orphange in Ethiopia are typically given practical things from their sponsors, which is GOOD and makes a lot of sense!! In fact, I know that the boy belonging to the shoes above just received a new pair of gym shoes from his sponsor. The reality that most of these young men face is that they need practical stuff. They need toothbrushes and toothpaste, paper, pens and pencils for school. Most of the gifts these boys get are useful, practical things for which they're very grateful.

But...I think they deserve something fun too...something not practical at all. What does every teenage boy like?? Yep. Pizza. And the truth is many of the 130 boys at Kolfe haven't ever had pizza. Some haven't ever had soda. I get to go to Kolfe next week with my husband and my friends Le and Lindsey.  We thought it would be fun to throw all 130 teenage boys a pizza party with soda! LOVE IT!!

I can already picture the smiles on their faces and I know it will be even better than I picture it being.  I love the thought of these boys laughing while they scarf down pizza and guzzle Coke...

We aren't sure exactly how much it's going to cost, but we estimate around $600-$700. These are teenage boys we're talking about...not two year olds. :) So, here's your opportunity to contribute to one of the greatest pizza parties of all time. We promise...if we've over estimated the amount needed, we'll spend your money on some of that practical stuff for the boys. :)

If there's one thing I know about God it's that He loves to give good gifts to His children. He LAVISHES love on us. Now's our chance to lavish some love on the Kolfe boys in the form of pizza and soda. I think God will be smiling big when He sees the smiles on His kid's faces next week. So, what can you do to help? Here's one suggestion...give up any pizza you might have otherwise eaten this month and donate the money you would have spent to the Kolfe boys. If you have kids, what a great way to get them involved in sacrificing for other kids around the world. I promise to blog pictures of the pizza party when I get back so you can share them with your families. Anyway, if you feel moved to help us meet our goal of $600-$700 please click here to make your tax deductible gift to Children's HopeChest as soon as you possibly can, being sure to note "ET- Kolfe Pizza Party" in the notes section. We'd love to have the money in place by this weekend if possible!

Thanks for your prayers for these 130 young men who so desperately need to experience the love of God.  We are asking that God would use something as seemingly silly as a pizza party to make that love tangible next weekend. Thanks, everyone.  You rock. :)