I can’t believe it’s been almost one year since the team traveled to Bogota. This weekend I have been missing the kids a lot. I bought a blue flowered picture frame and put in a photo of one of the girls who really softened my heart (although they all did in their own unique ways). I wonder how a year has changed the children- have they grown taller, smarter, and kinder? Have they been adopted, and did our week there make a difference and leave a lasting memory? It did for me! I realize that I am only a small piece of the lives I came to love, and that made me sad at first. I want to be the one to love daily and teach consistently.
God has been teaching me about seasons and His perfect timing. I go through periods where I will be super passionate about adoption ministry for months and then taper off. I feel bad about this- like I should be uber involved 24/7. I feel that God gives me these one and off times to both grow and renew myself as a Christ-follower, teacher, friend, and maybe even future mother. I question God’s timing: “Why now?”, and “Why not now?” are things He’s heard from me often. Yet, I will choose to give the emotions-good and bad, the fears, the heartache. I will choose to give and wait on Him for all desires.
The blessings are plenty, but they must be waited for. This weekend I received an email from a future adoptive parent asking me what memories I had of his future son from my trip. Although not much, I am blessed beyond measure to be able to offer these memories and hope that someday I will be the one asking! Our prayers for a family have been answered, despite the period of waiting!
This weekend, He humbled my heart about giving. Jesus said to “Give it all away”. So I will. My time, my money, my emotions, my desires, my fears, my life.
It’s the simple things that are the hardest.
Walking down the street without
looking both ways 50 times- before deciding you’d rather keep walking
not having a breakdown. today.
So you tell yourself you’re still a normal person with a few minor setbacks.
…Erase that place and live like it never happened
Never go there again…but you know it’s still there
That same spot that hasn’t changed in years but yet you have in so many ways,
Yet…you are stuck. On that day, that sound, that picture.
Everyone else changes around you. They ask,
“Why can’t you just do it? It’s so simple”
“It’s time to move on, don’t you think?”
“We all go through hard times” (PS That is my favorite of them all)
Sam Garnillo understands. For 15 years he’s lived a normal life from May to March until April comes and everything is perfect except for the reminder of his normal day at Columbine High School. Now in his 30’s, Sam still struggles to forget the events of April 20th when he stopped being a teenager and felt the pain of trauma first hand.
Dateline’s Lester Holt followed Sam across the country as he visited schools where the same violence took place. Hoping to reach out to others, Sam found healing of his own. The biggest impact on Sam was when he spoke with two teachers, one bitter and sad, and one hurting, but peaceful. She told Sam, “Just because you didn’t get shot, doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer.” Sam was speechless. No one had ever said that to him before. He had no physical wounds, nothing visible to show from his trauma. Sam was so speechless, all he could offer was a quiet, “Thank-you… for that”. While one woman lived in bitterness and sadness (“It’s not worth my time to think about; yet I still cried even when I tried to leave the country”), another took her pain and reached out to Sam.
Sam also met with a reflective father at Illinois Northern University. The father sat with Sam and made him feel like his experiences were valid. he shared the beautiful memories of his daughter and embraced Sam as two friends connected over a shared tragedy.
Although deeply broken by his trip, Sam was encouraged by the journey that he was healing from. he came to help others and others helped him. He started having dreams where he took back ownership of his life and the day that caused him and hundreds of others so much pain. He made friends who understood his emotional setbacks. After 15 years, this small step towards recovery was finally happening after he met with these people. Coincidence or God-given angels who just had a peace about them?
I get it.
This is an interesting feeling. It’s one of excitement and fear and exhaustion and strength. Strength to get that last assignment done, motivation to pack up and get ride of all the things I somehow collected over the last 4 years. Things I don’t need and things I can’t part with. I sat in the graduation meeting today and realized how quickly college went by. I sat in the same auditorium today as I did 4 years ago at freshman orientation. Suddenly I feel so much older, regretful, and sentimental. There were many weeks were I tried so hard to push through, failing and succeeding at different times. There were low points and high points, friendships and friend-byes. Am I sad to leave? Not really, but it still feels strange. m I really old enough to be a college graduate? Am I ready for working life? I used to think, “maybe someday I’ll be a teacher” and now the dream is actually coming true. I pass by various tables of free books and think one of two things: 1) free teaching materials? YES! and 2) I can put that on my bookshelf at home. MY bookshelf. I will have a career and a bed and a really big bookshelf that I don’t have to move every 9 months. I’ll have students to teach and travels to go see friends and dinner with my parents on the weekends. Will I miss college? Probably so. Will I miss the workload that I could never seem to keep up with? NO! Did I do this? YES! In one week and three days, I will be able to say…
I AM A COLLEGE GRADUATE!
The world tells me to give up- too young, too broke, too insignificant, too afraid. But my God tells me to keep going- He’s adequate strength, perfect peace, and joy unspeakable.
Yesterday, my church celebrated what they call Orphan Sunday. Usually celebrated in November, the church invited 40 adoptive families to come and celebrate the goodness and triumphs God has shown them through adoption. There were testimonies, songs, and a sermon on encouraging those who are wavering to stop waiting and get involved. There was a full presence of God’s greatness in the church, and there were many opportunities shared on exactly “what we can do”.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like the world doesn’t want me in this “we” category. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at these people who seem to be tying me down, it’s just so human to give looks of “You are too young” or “That’s nice, But you probably just came up with that idea yesterday, right?” I spoke to the adoption advocate about what I can do if I wanted to work from the states, and she jokingly said, “Are you afraid to go?” I smiled, but it stung. I have a full-time career waiting for me post-graduation, and I feel God is putting me there, as well as preparing me for adoption work. Why do we think everyone who is pro-adoption should live overseas, have 30+ years, and be a psychologist?
I wish I could get others to understand that this dream is the most wonderful and difficult action God has placed on my life. I have been praying for 6 years that God would reveal if this is His will, and slowly, He is, but I can’t seem to get anyone else on board. I search for mentors, but I get a business card and end up leaving without the mentoring and learning relationship I crave so desperately.
I believe that in order to start saving lives, we need to get over the stereotypes. You don’t have to be a middle-aged couple to be involved (although it helps), and you don’t have to be a certain age for God to give you a heart of ministry. The church isn’t growing because we are too busy looking for the “perfect person” when the seekers are right in front of us.
Why give to Campaign 143? I chose the number 18, because it’s my lucky number. I’m not a superstitious person, but the day of my birth when selected has always brought positive results. BUT! Even though it was so easy to chose a number, it was more difficult to come up with a reason for donating because it just felt right. Still, I want to give others a solid reason for donating, not because it “feels good” or because it’s what Christians are supposed to do. So here’s my reasoning:
If you’ve read my blog before you’ve heard me mention the name “Daniel” several times. This kid touched my heart so greatly in just a few short days. Daniel is silly and playful, but kind and gentle. He’s proud of his sister, and full of life. I’ve come to the conclusion that every kid is a Daniel in their own special way. Some are shy, and some are sociable. Some are carefree, and some are serious, but they all have something unique about them. Each one of these children has been uniquely created by God with a unique story. There are families God is preparing the hearts of to love these children, and when you come to love someone, you desire the best for them. You long to see them grow and be loved not for what they do, but who they are. Christians, these are our children. Will you love them?
Okay, so that sounds like an infomercial but its not. It’s really important! Project Hope Ministries has once again started their 143 campaign. Project Hope holds this event every year to fund grants for adoptive families to take their child to their forever home. Maybe you think this is just a gimmick- but I have personally met these kids in Bogota, Colombia and they are so special! Each one of them has a unique wish for a family, and Project Hope helps to make that happen. Last year’s funds went to support 10 year old Ferley, who now has a future family waiting to complete the adoption process. This year, let’s pray for the four siblings Project Hope is supporting prayerfully, financially, and emotionally, as well as the other children at CRAN who God uses to bless hearts.
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I just finished reading “I Would Die for You” by the Higgins family- I recommend it to anyone because it is such a powerful read and an encouragement to me in this period of waiting to see what God will do next in my life. Reading this book came at such a perfect time: BJ Higgins lived such a full life for Christ in only 15 years. I’m 22 and I have been on one missions trip, and as I graduate I desperately want to know His plan for my life in regard to missions. I have sensed His call to simply wait and study (by reading various mission-related books) and this one gave me such a peace about how intimate a relationship with Christ is. I started a list (including I Would Die for You by Brent and Deanna Higgins) of my favorite Christian/Hero/Faith stories and I recommend ALL to you!
1) Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman
2) Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
3) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
4) Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
5) Gone in a Heartbeat by David and Marie Works
6) A Cry from the Streets by Jeannette Lukasse
7) Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson
8) Mistaken Identity by Don Van Ryn