Monday, August 23, 2010

I have been sitting here staring at my computer screen for ten minutes trying to come up with adequate words to describe to you my dear friend Renee. But there just simply aren’t any words good enough. She emulates the heart of Christ more than anyone I have ever met. It is always a blessing to be in her presence and to call her my friend.

Renee lives with purpose. She is intentional about loving people with the love of Christ. She stops for one person and loves that person as if they were Christ Himself in her living room. She spends her days nurturing children who we all swear will surely die back to health, preparing awful smelling high calorie milk, and mopping vomit up off the floor and herself. And she doesn’t complain. Because she knows she is doing it for Jesus. My childhood hero was Mother Teresa. My today hero is Renee, because she might as well be Mother Teresa, just without the outfit and all the publicity. Renee is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.

Nabakoza and Betty who I blogged about earlier are both in her care and because of that, and my trust in an incredible Savior, I have every reason to believe that they will not only survive, but thrive. Renee is daily doing the impossible, because she follows Jesus into situations that only He can get her out of. My children and I just love watching people come alive under her care.

Renee runs Serving His Children, a non profit ministry that predominantly rehabilitates severely malnourished children while also teaching the children’s mothers or family members to care for them. They visit these mothers both during and after the child’s stay at the SHC house. Most of these children are so sick because they live in remote villages where healthcare is inadequate, that is, if it is even available.. Because of this, Serving His Children does a lot of medical and HIV treatment in these villages.

All of this work requires a lot of traveling, as the villages are usually several hours away from Renee’s house. It requires a dependable vehicle that can handle the insanely bumpy dirt roads of Uganda that often turn into a swamp when it rains. My point: Renee needs a car. And good one. The kind we are looking for costs between 10 and 12 thousand dollars that Serving His Children currently just doesn’t have. All the resources that they do have are spent on food and medicine for these precious children that Renee cares for and their communities.

If I could, I would buy Renee a car tomorrow. But I am asking for your help. I cannot think of any organization I would rather give to, or any individual I would rather support. You can donate and learn more at or or you can click that little button right there on the sidebar and donate here noting Renee’s car.

I can’t wait to see God move here…

Also, Nabakoza is improving TREMNDOUSLY. It is nothing short of a miracle, and no doubt due to Renee and Shana’s devoted, round the clock care and a God who more awesome than I can fathom. I am so blessed to call these incredible ladies two of my best friends!

Monday, August 2, 2010

teenagers and a lesson from Jacob.

I come to you humbly asking for prayer. Especially for my three oldest daughters, and for wisdom for me! All mommas know it: teenagers are hard. Three teenage girls are harder. Three teenage girls from different tribes and cultures and pasts trying to live together in one bedroom are harder still.

In an effort to be real, I want to tell you. Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. Adoption is also HARD and painful. Adoption of older children is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the GOSPEL in my living room. And some times, it just stinks.

As a parent, it stinks to not know when your daughter took her first steps or what her first word was or what she looked like in Kindergarten. It stinks not to know where she slept and whose shoulder she cried on and what the scar on her eyebrow is from. It stinks to know that for ten years of her precious life you were NOT the shoulder she cried on or the Mommy she hugged.

As a child, it stinks to remember your biological parents’ death, not matter how much you love your new Mom. It stinks to have your mom be a different color than you because, inevitably, people are going to ask why. It stinks that your Mom wasn’t there for all the times you had no dinner and all the times you were sick and all the times you needed help with your homework. It stinks when you have to make up your birthday. It skinks when you can’t understand the concept of being a family forever because your first family wasn’t forever.

And every single day, it is worth it. Because ADOPTION IS GOD’S HEART. He sets the lonely in families. Adoption is the reason that I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day, it is not what I am doing to “help these poor kids out.” I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. I adopt because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for HIS sake will find it.

Some days, my friends, it is not easy. Today, it is not easy. The HURT in my daughters’ hearts is big and real and as their mother, I want to fix it and know that I CAN’T. So I lay it at the feet of my Father and rejoice to know that if we are children, then we are heirs - of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings - in order that we may also share in His glory. And I call out to the Holy Spirit knowing that He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for us.

A sweet friend pointed me yesterday to Genesis Chapter 33. Esau and Jacob are meeting for the first time in a long time. As Jacob approaches Esau, with his many children following close behind, Esau asks, “ And who are these with you?”

Jacob’s reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”

We get all the questions. “Why do you do it?” “Why so many?” “How in the world…” “Why these specific girls?” “Why the number 14?” “Do you think its ok to adopt as a single Mother? Don’t they need a father too?” “Do you think they will have issues since you are not the same race?” We also get the compliments. “I don’t know how you do it!” “Good job!” “You must be so responsible!” “Your girls must be so well behaved.” We get crazy stares and huge smiles and every look in between.

Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is hard. Adoption is the Gospel of Christ and the promise of God’s love and redemption lived out in our lives. So I ask for your prayers. Prayers for understanding and peace and trust and the power of God that is more than all I can ask or imagine. And to the questions and the comments and the compliments, this is my reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”