Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Blog Series...

I am starting a new series called, "Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This..."

But I need your help! Write me a question or share a personal struggle you have had on your foster care and adoption journey. Anything from your in-laws not approving of your decision to adopt, to behavioral challenges you have with your children. I want a chance to tackle the hardest situations with the gospel. I want to encourage families who are in the midst of big trials as they navigate through foster care or adoption. I want to create a safe place for us to ask the hardest, most uncomfortable, and awkward questions. 

I will change all the names involved so this will be anonymous. Thanks in advance for sharing with us!

Email me at:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adoption & the Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 

From Everything to Nothing

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
  Philippians 2: 5-8

We have discussed what it means for Christ to be fully human, but lets take a moment to reflect on what it means to be fully God. 

Many of us day dream of what it would be like to be a millionaire, a famous movie star, a President, or a King. We are drawn to these positions and titles because they seem so full of power, respect, and prestiege. Even though we know deep-down all of these people who hold such positions in our culture are only human, we imagine them as more then human. We imagine all of our life problems being erased if only we had what these individuals had.

But each of these examples are weak, pale comparisons to God Almighty. The most powerful human has had about the same power as a dust mite when you compare them to God's power. God's power, majesty, and might are too much to fully wrap our minds around. God told Moses that a direct look at his face would have killed him. The heavenly beings that God created with a few breaths of words provoke fear and trembling. His awesome splendor is shouted throughout all creation.

And then there is Christ.

Christ is the second person of the Trinity. He always has been and always will be part of the one-triune God. Magnificent. Holy. Righteous. Fierce. Powerful. And yet, Christmas reminds us that Christ did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, he made himself nothing.


That is what humanity is compared to God. Nothing. We are clay pots who have rebelled against the creator and ruined his creation by pursuing our own evil desires. We are a world where kindergardeners get shot to death. We are a world that has genocide. We are a world that walks by the hungry, desolate orphan on the way to continue to enjoy our own excess. 

Christ was everything and had everything. For eternity (an infinite amount of time longer then the universe has existed) Christ benefited immensely from deep fellowship with God the father. The Trinity's love had been so deep, so rich that there was an abundance of joy, peace, and love. The love that flows so powerfully and richly between the Father and the Son was perfectly satisfying and fulfilling. 

This was Christ reality as God's son, but he made himself nothing. He made himself human. He entered into the deepest, darkest evil. He humbled himself and plunged into the suffering and sin of humanity, to the point of death on the cross.


So we could be made children of God. He became human so we could share in that rich, overflowing, abundant joy, peace, and love that the God-head has enjoyed for all eternity. God loved the nothingness of humanity so much that he was willing to give up everything to rescue us from our own evil and our own darkness. 

Prayer for the Orphan:

Pray for the orphan and those called to work with orphans world-wide to place their faith, trust, and love in Jesus Christ. Pray that there would be a revival among child welfare workers, social workers, orphanage workers, and anyone else involved in orphan 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Adoption & the Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 

Remembering the Winter 

 "Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.  How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
  Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved."    Psalm 80: 1-7

mas is a reminder that the king has come to save, restore, and heal. The birth of Christ is the birth of hope. It is the first light of dawn after a long dark night, or as CS Lewis writes, "When Aslan Bears his teeth winter meets its death. When he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again." Christmas is about the long, dark winter coming to an end.

    The Psalmist's cry in Psalm 80 is a pleading with the Lord for this long, dark winter to end. But there is a difference between reading these words as you are enjoying (and often taking for granted) the warmth of summer and hearing them when you are stuck in the dead of winter. Many of us experienced the dark, hopeless, anguish that flooded our lives prior to knowing Christ. Psalm 80 is a picture of the judgement from God that we experienced prior to knowing Christ. Had we not been so blind, we would have cried out these same words.

    To appreciate what Christ came to do we must reflect and remember the brokenness he restores, the judgement we will not have to bear, the tears we will no longer have to shed. Christmas is meaningless if we forget the hellish darkness Christ pierced light through.

Prayer for the Orphan:

 Pray for the hundreds of millions of orphans world-wide who are not receiving enough food to keep them from hunger. Pray the Lord would work through believers in the darkest places of this earth to generously care for these needs. 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adoption & the Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 

Evil and Darkenss

"Just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can be befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives. " - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The manger scene has become the snapshot picture of the Christmas story. The photos depicting  Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger are warm and comforting. What a magical evening Christmas must have been. Hosts of angels singing, shepherds worshiping, and a newly married couple holding the newborn promised Messiah in their arms. But this miraculous birth and the joyous celebration that surrounded the arrival of Christ came in the middle of a dark, cold night.

Mary and Joseph had journeyed over 90 miles from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for the census. They probably were staying with relatives and around family, but wherever she was staying, by the time she was ready to give birth, there was no room for her in the guest house. I am sure the anxiousness, pain, and fear that surrounds all mothers during their final stages of labor were very real for Mary. 

But in the midst of the exhaustion,  the fear, and the pain...light broke through. Christ entered the darkness and turned poverty into wealth and darkness into light. What did this mean for Israel? What did it mean for God's people? Would this king, born in a manger, now save them from their oppression? Would this promised Messiah now make them a great nation once again?

Whatever Israel had in mind when they imagined the purpose of the Messiah, God has something entirely different planned. Deliverance did not follow the birth of Christ, but death. Within a few years of Christ's birth, Herod ordered the death of infant boys attempting to destroy the life of this "promised" king of the Jews. The slaughter of toddlers is what followed the coming of the King. 

Truly, as Bonhoeffer says, "The Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong." What seems horrific and evil to us is just one part of a larger story. The bloodshed by Herod was horrific indeed. The birth of Christ sealed the fate for God's great enemy and his murderous anger would be fierce. But Christ's birth is a reminder that the greatest evil in this world is losing its power, the curse is reversing, death is being eliminated. 

Christmas reminds us that Christ's birth was the beginning of the final advances for the last battle. Blood would be shed. In the moment, it seems as though there is no light at all, but where you see great poverty and evil, you will see the light of Christ destroying his enemy. 

Prayer for Orphans:

Suffering the loss of parents as a child is a terrible loss. For many orphans, they have not only lost their parents and relatives, but they also have been exposed to great injustice and evil as a result. Pray for orphans who are vulnerable and at risk of hunger, abuse, and sex slavery. Pray for God to lead Christian's into the darkest parts of our world to bring light to those who are devastated by darkness. Pray for healing for those who have been abused and that the Lord would restore them. Pray for the Lord to burden our hearts for the injustice that orphans face everyday. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Adoption & the Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 

December 5th: God With Us

Matthew 1: 22-23 "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

"God with us." Is there a more powerful phrase? If three words could describe all that Jesus is, "God with us" would be the choice description. How do you explain to your child that God, creator of heaven and earth, came to earth as an infant? I remember being a child, trying to wrap my mind around God being a baby. Did he scream and cry when he was hungry? He never threw temper tantrums? At what point was his consciousness aware that he was fully God? Questions like these would fill my brain during the Christmas season and as my children grow older they are now beginning to ask similar inquisitive questions as they try to make sense of it all. 

It is hard to understand precisely because "God with us" is a miraculous mystery. The beautiful, complex holy Trinity was whispered in the ears and hearts of humanity the night that Christ was born: God has came to dwell with us! Christ's birth meant that the Trinity would move toward the dead, the decay, the curse and enter into our sin and suffering. The moment Christ came to dwell with us God's perfect union that he shared among the Father, Spirit, and Son were affected. Before time began, for all eternity: the Father, Spirit, and Son shared an abundant love with one another that overflowed with joy, peace,and light. 

That perfect fellowship changed when God the Son became human flesh. It was an action that would affect the person of Christ for all eternity future. Forever, Christ the Son would be fully human.  It was not just the death of Christ the Son that costed God the Father, but the birth of Christ came at great cost as well. God came to dwell with us because his love was so great that he chose to lavish that love upon us, even though it cost him greatly.

Prayer for the Orphan:

Pray today for the 130+ million orphans around the world today. Pray for local churches, worldwide to care for the orphans in their city. Pray especially for churches in impoverished nations, that they would be blessed for their efforts to care for those most vulnerable even though they themselves are struggling as well. Pray for the Lord to continue to strengthen and grow the orphan care movement in other parts of the world. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Adoption & the Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 

An Earthly Father for a Heavenly Son

*Read Matthew 1: 1-17

Matthew 1:18-23
"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

From the beginning of time, God planned to dwell among us. He would come to earth as the most vulnerable of humans and live a life that culminated in his death and resurrection. As Matthew begins to write his account of the Gospel story, he starts chapter one with the lineage of Christ. It is easy to glaze over these Old Testament names in Matthew 1 as though Christ's family tree were unimportant; however, as we read the genealogical account of Christ we realize that from the beginning of human history God had a plan and ordained for specific people to be a part of that plan.

If you have a general understanding of the Old Testament, then a light reading of Matthew 1 will include familiar names. But where do all these names lead as we read the opening of Matthew? They lead to a young man named Joseph. 

Considering the religious cultural climate of the day the miracle is not only that Mary conceived a child while a virgin, but that her betrothed did not stone her when he found out she was pregnant. Israelites more religious then Joseph were known for stoning their betrothed for being unfaithful, but Joseph had in mind to divorce her quietly. He was a man who knew and loved the law, but also had the integrity not to expose her to public disgrace.

God had included an earthly father in his plans to unfold the story of our Savior. This earthly father would not share Christ's bloodline, but would chose to become the father of Christ because an angel of the Lord appeared to him. The angel that appeared to Joseph gave him the responsibility that all fathers have for their children, to name him. And with that responsibility bestowed on Joseph, the heavenly son Jesus the Christ was given an earthly father: Joseph the carpenter. 

Consider the fact that God cared to provide an earthly father for the perfect Christ. Consider that our God who wrote a redemptive human history decided to include a physical family for Christ to be raised in. Christmas is not just about the family that we celebrate together during this holiday season, but is meant to remind us of the reality that family has always been and always will be part of God's story.

Prayers for the Orphan:

Pray for the fatherless and particularly for single mothers who are attempting to raise their children without dads. Pray that the church would wrap their arms around these mothers and provide multiple spiritual fathers and that the church would be a safe place for single mothers to find Christ and authentic community. Pray for the Lord to provide earthly fathers for the fatherless. Pray that the Lord would make known that he is the ultimate Father to the fatherless to each child going to bed tonight without a dad. Pray that the Fatherless would know this truth in a deeper and richer way then anyone else. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Adoption & The Advent: Devotional Reflections and Prayers for the Orphan

Adoption & the Advent

The advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on God's adoptive love for a broken world. Join me in preparing for Christmas by meditating daily on the coming of Christ and praying for the fatherless. 


Romans 13:11-14
"And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh"

Anticipation. If I could use one word to describe "Christmas" for children, anticipation would be the word. On December 26th each year, my children start counting down the days until the next Christmas. As soon as the Halloween decorations roll out, Christmas is all that consumes my children's minds and conversations. Why? Because it is the most magical time of their year: family movie nights, getting to drink hot chocolate out of snowmen mugs, decorating the house, Christmas music, caroling, special foods, and of course...presents! The anticipation of Christmas morning is just as special for my children as the Christmas day itself.

That is the picture I have in my mind when I read this passage from Romans. Scripture often paints a picture  of creation sitting at the edge of its seat, paused,waiting in anticipation. As you begin to read through the Christmas story in Mark or Luke, each verse builds in anticipation to the birth of Jesus Christ. If you pay enough attention, you can almost see the gospel writers holding their breath as they build to the climatic event of Mary giving birth to Christ and laying him in a manger.

And with the birth of Christ, the hour comes for us to wake from our slumber. Those who slumber have no anticipation of the coming salvation. The miracle of Christmas means that God has come to dwell with us. Our salvation is here. The light of dawn is now breaking through darkest of night. It is time to wake up!

What I love about this passage in Romans is that even though our salvation is secured in our faith in Jesus Christ, Paul writes of our eternal reality. He wants the Christian reader  to remember what they are being saved to: an eternal, perfect fellowship with the Lord God. In the birth of Christ, God joined an earthly family so that we could be brought into his eternal family.

The first Christmas morning was meant to awaken those who sleep to the anticipation of our salvation. A salvation that grows nearer each day. We are called to live our life in a way that reflects that anticipation. We are not to go about our business like the rest of the world, as though our salvation is far off. We are to be waiting, ready, busy doing the Lord's work, holding our breath with the rest of creation as we eagerly wait for this salvation. 

Prayers for the Orphan:

Take some time today to repent for the ways you gratify the desires of your flesh. Ask the Lord to search your heart and show you the ways in which you live with no anticipation of your salvation in Christ. Ask the Lord to also convict the hearts of those in your church family and to continue to call your community to clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that this would influence how you and your community care for the orphan. Pray that the Lord would give you an urgency to act for those who are stuck in darkness and that you would live in a way that represents the light of our salvation breaking into the world's darkness. Pray for the Lord to call believers world-wide to take action in caring for the fatherless.