a valiant woman {celebrating women in may}

celebrating women doing their God-given thing

{for the month of may, i'm highlighting a few women who are gaining confidence in who God has created them to be and displaying it so through different means. for some, it was born out of cause. for others, it was there since birth. and some, it's the season of life they are in. and they are sharing their stories here this month! join me in celebrating them and that's not all...they want to celebrate you! a giveaway on each blogpost through the month of may! make sure you leave a comment the day or the day following the post, for that's what enters you in the drawing. winners will be announced on the following post} 

i can think of no one so valiant as my sponsored child's mom.

i invite you to celebrate her with me today.

she made the decision with the knowledge and little resources she had and fled.

she left behind saddam and his sister and ran, for her life depended on it.

their father wanted her dead. he could care less for the kids.

she knew the kids would be safer in their village rather than running the risk of not being able to care for them on the run.

it was in this time while mom was away that a neighbor noticed saddam and his sister alone in their concrete square.

the neighbor told a compassion international worker about the kids.

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saddam and his sister were made available for sponsorship and not knowing the back story, our hearts gravitated towards this little boy's picture, the age of our oldest. all while oceans apart.

but it was while ben and i sat in her humble abode that she shared the rest of her story.

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she got word that their father had died and it was safe to come home.

she returned and found that her kids were well taken care of while she was away.

they had their momma back. they were no longer orphaned.

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we both know that saddam had to grow up much quicker while his momma was away and his dad neglectful. fear left their home when they learned that man had died. he was no longer a threat to the family.

both momma's hearts, hers and mine, are grateful that compassion stepped in to educate, provide, love, and nurture all in Jesus' Name.

but nothing can take the place of mom.

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as she shared her story, her back was up against a stack of green bananas in the corner of the one room home.

her livelihood.

from sun up to sundown, just like all loving mommas, she does everything she can to provide for her children.

and saddam knows that at the age of ten. he told me so. and i could see it on his face when he looked at his momma.

it was a beautiful moment when i got to physically come alongside her and hand her some resources to make life better. that's what community looks like - coming alongside to support and care. whether down a red dirt rocky path or a paved street with a name.

she and i, we don't always have the answers.

at times, we feel like we make more mistakes than deemed normal in a day and we fight guilt on two different sides of the world.

we battle the same enemy who seeks to destroy our self-worth and batter our identity.

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but as i sat beside her, on a day i will never forget, i was in the presence of a valiant woman.

a woman who would risk anything for the sake of her calling.

that's the valiant life i want to live - willing to risk anything for the sake of my calling.

she is my inspiration.

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as we honor her today, let's take the risks necessary to fulfill our callings. 

 if you sponsor a child, leave a comment of the child's name and the country where they live. as you look at the comments, pray for the valiant women who care for them. be it a teacher, church worker, doctor, or neighbor.

i am overjoyed to send one of you a gift from saddam's mom - the most valiant woman i know.

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{a comment enters you into the drawing. leave a comment the day of the post or the following day to be eligible. winner announced on the next post.}

dalton, epic, and adoption

dalton's home {update}

from tim: Thank you both so much for all that you two did to help Kristin and I get a home for our friends in Uganda. I'm excited to let you know that I've mailed in the checks for the full amount of the house. From here, it's a bit of a process. They are saying the family will be moved in by March 2015. In the meantime they have to find land, hire a contractor, and then start the construction. I wish they could have it all finished in a month, but the wait will be worth it! Thanks again for being part of this. It's amazing that God allows us to be part of doing things like this for other people.

To quote the Apostle Paul, thank you for taking hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19, "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."

A total of $4269 has come in! On behalf of Dalton and his family, thank you!
read about dalton's home here.

epic's new home {update}

this week, epic announced that $1.4 million has come in for the NEXT initiative - a campaign to raise the resources needed to move into our new space at 731 market street with a 10 year lease. the most amazing thing is that 202 units participated. our family of 5 makes up one unit. this initiative had maximum participation! that's huge for a church that just turned three years old! the people of epic are leaning in with big faith to see what God has in store for us and our city. there are so many more stories yet to be told...

move in date is this fall!

read about epic's new home here.

adoption update

ugh.

silence.

God knows my heart and my thoughts on this because He hears from me often. and when i just want to sit and wonder what in the world is going on, He lets me know He's near.

i'm writing this update from a chair with the pacific ocean all around me and the island of hawaii and lanai right before me. back in january when my pastor husband was asked to officiate a wedding in maui, all i could think about was God's gift of this trip just before we traveled to get our daughter. "oh, God, this will be our 'babymoon.' You're so thoughtful!"

the sun will set here in minutes and will travel to wake up k in her home country in just a few hours.

and we know nothing new. we've heard nothing. it's silent. we're waiting.

but in the waiting, life is happening. we pray for her health, and her caregivers and her heart.

we join the milner family to help build dalton a home in uganda.

we give and celebrate with epic church as we can't wait to welcome more san franciscans to our faith community this fall.

in the waiting, i will give praise.

in the waiting, i ask you to continue to pray with us.

we don't know how this adoption story will unfold.

we are right in the thick of it, but we will not lose hope.

the previous adoption update here.

our adoption denial story here.

aloha.

2014

happy new year, friends!

i'm so grateful for the stories we've shared in 2013 and am excited for what God has in store this year.

as i ask God, 'what would You have me write?', i am listing some of my favorite posts from the past year.

posts that i vividly recall writing in the late evenings with the lamp on and the kids in bed and those 'ah-ha' moments when i my hands could not type as fast as I wanted of them.

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saddam's story

why we love a child who lives far from us and at the same believing God has special plans for his life.

finding your sweet spot

you were created for something beautiful and sweet! are you living it? discover your sweet spot!

dear newlywed…a long overdue note

a letter to myself some thirteen years ago. a letter about marriage and life with my husband.

learning of our daughter

a post that documents our first learning of our daughter in india. we're believing this is the year we will become her forever family.

i think of you as i write each post. i'm glad you meet me here. i'm asking God to speak creativity and His Words as this year begins...

i'd love for you to subscribe as i write you each wednesday and saturday. you can subscribe by entering your email address to the right and i'll send you an email those two days. see you back here on saturday.

let's enjoy the beginning of the new year today...

everyday {3 things about it}

think about your everyday.

manageable.

for the most part, you control what takes place in your day.

safe.

for the majority of us, we don't fear for our lives moment by moment of our day.

convenient.

if you're american, most of life's necessities are at the fingertip and within reach.

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as i walk the streets of a certain segment of kampala, uganda,

i smell, see, and touch an everyday that is quite different from my everyday.

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manageable is balancing the days' food on the head.

manageable is strapping the hard-earned produce and delivering it for the day's wages.

manageable is hopefully providing one meal for the family.

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safe is the end of night and the break of dawn.

safe is hearing the abusive father is not returning home because he is dead.

safe is the delicious carbonation from a soda bottle. it's not recycled or dirty. it's a treasured treat.

safe is the fence around the school.

safe is the metal detectors at the church.

safe is the look the kids get from people they know and trust.

safe is food on a plate. not on the ground or in the sewage.

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convenient is walking a mile to school.

convenient is two meals a day at school. for those with the privilege of going.

convenient is hanging clothes to dry on the front porch.

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convenient is hauling water from a well or having the money to have yellow jugs of water delivered.

convenient is soap and buckets and time to do laundry.

convenient brings a smile to her face.

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in my everyday. in your everyday.

we have manageable, safe, and convenient. 

and we could leave it at that and ignore the millions of other lives who have quite different everydays.

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or we can learn to walk where they walk. to at least open ourselves up to their everydays.

to make their days more manageable.

to bring safety to their everyday.

to make convenient, food, medical attention, education and dignity for someone.

 to release them from poverty in Jesus' Name.

in your everyday activity, sponsor a child today.

your everyday.

their everyday.

will be all the better.

for now and eternity.

click on the compassion box to the right and choose a child who needs you.

 and if you do sponsor a child today, i'd love to know their name, their age,
 and where they live.
if you come to this blog often and sponsor a child, i'd love you to share 
this info as well.

our sponsored child is saddam. he lives in uganda. he's ten!
 he wants to be a police officer or pastor when he grows up!

dance

risk it.

take that chance.

dance a little.

walk across the room.

be vulnerable.

peel yourself off that middle school wall and do the Macarena with everyone else. 

yes, i'm talking to myself. my much younger self.

and no, you're not eavesdropping. i'm sure we'd have been friends back then.

well maybe not, after you hear all i'd wish i had known back then.

it's tuesday and i stand watching as half a dozen girls in my class pile into one of their mom's station wagons.

after school. on the elementary campus.

all happy as cute little larks.

they giggle with glee because they have been friends since birth.

this is so second nature to them - they carpool to dance class together.

i climb into an econoline van with my two younger sisters and some of the neighborhood boys who we take home.

why can't i be in the station wagon with the little larks?

i lull myself to sleep with dreams of dance class and ballerina swirls and light pink slippers.

but my firstborn self told my dreamy self to snap out of it.

i can't dance.

besides, we don't have the money to cover long-term dance lessons.

they dance because they can afford it. 

i'm not like them.

i think i'm getting better with this as middle school opens its doors to new freedoms and responsibilities.

still being picked up in the econoline van, this time would be different.

this time i make it to the middle school dance and am in the same building with all the other girls.

but this time i am still paralyzed with fear. i'm clinging to the wall. okay. not clinging, just glued.

the dj plays the macarena and everyone rushes to the dance floor. not everyone. not me.

i chose to look like an idiot on the wall, rather than an idiot in the crowd!

the days pass me by. the scared, younger me buys into the lie that i'm not like others therefore i can't interact with them.

that i have nothing to offer them, so i'll stay on my side of the cafeteria. my side of the locker room.

if i make a difference, it won't affect them. how could it? 

my younger self would have never imagined that i'd reconnect with the dance girls again over facebook and we'd share stories of motherhood, heartache, faith.

my younger self would have imagined that i'd never take a dance class. and that being a good thing!

but my younger self would have been happy to know that some years later, i'd risk it. i'd walk across the room.

in essence, i would dance.

i would step outside my comfort zone and try hard things.

i would travel overseas. i would smuggle Bibles into a foreign country.

i would seek to adopt a little girl from india.

alongside my husband, we'd start a church in a downtown urban setting and see it thrive.

i would look into the eyes of my three biological children and into the eyes of my sponsored child and say,

risk it.

take that chance.

dance a little.

walk across the room.

be vulnerable.

peel yourself off that middle school wall do the Macarena with everyone else. 

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you have a voice right now.

take what you would have loved to know as a child and speak those very truths

in a letter

to a sponsored child.

write your child today.

sponsor a child today. they need to hear they can do it. they can overcome.

they can make a difference regardless what they can afford.

they can dance!