Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

  • Convicted with a capital “C”!

    Date: 2014.03.05 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Thoughts to ponder, Videos

    I have been convicted.  Yes, you heard that right….CONVICTED!  Heck, I’ll even spell it for you.  C.O.N.V.I.C.T.E.D!!!!

    CONVICT  (verb) (v., adj. kuh n-vikt) –  1. to prove or declare guilty   2. to impress with a sense of guilt

    Over and over again God has been showing me signs that He is not through with me yet.  He’s definitely saying there’s more that I can do.  I admit that I argue with Him.  I have told Him, “Are you kidding me? Do you see how busy my days are?  Do you know how much money we have spent over those two years we were adopting?”  But God quietly whispers, “You aren’t listening Lisa.” and I proceed to stomp my foot like a two-year-old.  (And no I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not actually hearing those words…He’s just been sending me signs.)

    Signs like the Francis Chan balance beam video.  Have you seen this video?  He talks about us, as Christians, how we start out good, but then life gets hard and we just drop to our knees and hang on to the beam for dear life. We live tidy little lives and then it’s our last day, we slide off the beam, end in our finish stance, throw our arms in the air, a big smile on our face, and expect God to judge our performance.  How is He supposed to judge that?   (Francis Chan – Balance Beam Video )

    We live comfortable lives.  We forget about all those that are doing without.   Those that God has commanded us to care for and we expect Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

    It’s not enough to just show up on Sunday, tithe your 10%, and live a “good” life.  It’s not enough to try not to sin and do a little good every once in a while. It’s not enough to just raise children who will walk in the way. He is asking us to get uncomfortable.  Really uncomfortable.  He is asking us to make it hurt, and not just a little.  He is asking us to really dig deep and trust in Him enough to let go of all that makes us comfortable.

    The next sign I had was another video by Francis Chan.  His fearless video.  This video talks about how everyone told him he was crazy to live on $36,000 a year and give everything else away.  People tried to tell him he needed more.  He needed to protect his children and save for their futures. But Mr. Chan says, “People are crazy to not trust God for everything.”  Mr. Chan talks about how going to Africa changed him.  He says that he could no longer live extravagantly while others were doing without clean water and the most basic necessities.  What Mr. Chan has been able to give away is truly amazing!   ( Francis Chan – Fearless Video )

    I’m still living a very comfortable life. My cars are older but they run and they are paid for.  I even own a bus.  Albeit a 1998 bus with rust and 100,000 miles but the fact is I own a bus.  I live in a very nice home.  I live on three acres and have more than I could ever possibly need.  I eat out.  I can buy all the food I want.  I pack up sacks of stuff to take to Good-Will and still my house is overflowing.

    So it’s safe to say, I am not doing enough.  I have not given up enough.  I am blessed beyond measure and yes, we do give but I think C.S. Lewis says it best.   ”I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

    I don’t know what to do about it but I do know God is working on my heart.  Every time we order pizza, I wonder if I should be doing it.  It’s not a guilty feeling as much as it is a “you can do more with that money” feeling.  I don’t want to get to heaven and have regret.  I don’t want God to show me the “how your life could have been” recap and have my heart be filled with regrets.  I don’t know if you are like me but I have lived safely in the “I am saved, God paid for my sins” way.  I don’t have to worry about my sins.  I am told to go forward and sin no more when those sins become known to me, but once they are confessed to God, they are wiped clean.  That is pretty amazing.

    But then what?  I’m made as white as snow and get my free pass to heaven and all is ok?  Do we really think that God isn’t asking more of us? Do we really think there won’t be some accountability?  I used to think just that.  I mean the verse says no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow.  But then I really started to think about it.  It says God is the judge.  There will be accountability.  I’ve started to picture it like a movie that God will show me when I enter His gates.  A movie of what I could have really done had I given up the comfortable.

    I believe we have gotten so used to the comfortable that we do everything we can to not see the hurt that is going on.  We don’t read blogs or watch movies or listen to stories that will bring us down.  We have lost sight of caring for our neighbors and truly loving one another.  I recently read this verse….

    All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.  From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to anyone who had need.   Acts 34:32-35

    Sure, I would sell land if my child needed surgery, but would I do that for a stranger?  Would I do that for someone else’s child?  I don’t want to be the person that holds on so tight to my possessions that I lose sight of what God is calling me to do.  I want to be open to His plan.  I do feel he is leading us to do more in the way of adopting.  I’m trying to wrap my head around what we can handle, but I know it is more.

    I took the time to write down what is really stopping me from adopting?  First, coming up with more money.  Really?  He has already provided for seven adoptions.  Seven!  And I’m going to question His ability to help us afford more?

    Second, I’m really, really busy, but part of why I am so busy is because I refuse to hire help to do the housework.  I would much rather be with my kids, but I don’t want anyone else to clean my house?  It sounds so prideful and it is.  Do I really want to stand in front of God and say, “I would have taken in more girls, but I had to clean?  Really?  Or better yet leave the house only half-way presentable.  It’s clean enough.  It’s just not sparkling.  Should not having an impeccable house stop me from taking a child out of an orphanage and giving them the love of family?

    God has always chosen to speak to me through my children.  He did it when we adopted Hope.  Zach and Cassie were so adamant and open to taking her in no matter what the outcome.  God did it when we adopted Maisey. Cassie had just learned sign and she was so certain we were to adopt Maisey.  And then again with Ben, Hope wanted to adopt a little boy with a heart defect.  Ben knew that Eli was his didi. Ben prayed daily for Eli.    All the girls fell in love with Jasmine.  And now it is Jasmine’s turn.

    This is the video we secretly took while she talked one night.  She does this almost every night.  My response has always been, “I’ll pray about it Jasmine.”   Now she says, “I’m praying about it.  Are you mama?”

    What can I possibly say to this?  Every day she tells me how happy she is here.  So very, very, very happy she says.  She tells me she just wants to make more little girls happy and I am convicted.  Convicted because I know in my heart I can do more.  I can.  I have so much love to give.  We have a huge house.  We have more than enough.  We have so many people to love them.

    I continue to pray.  He has been faithful in so much these past three years.  I am absolutely blown away by all that He has done.  I am truly blessed by all that I have gotten to be a part of.

    What am I going to do, you ask?  I’m not sure yet.  But for now I wake up to the subtle hints of pictures of bunk beds, and this picture saying family and the number 18, and I pray even more.

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  • November 3rd – Orphan Sunday

    Date: 2013.11.03 | Category: Adoption, Videos

    The Blessings of Family

    Does your church look like the hands and feet of Christ?

    Please take a moment to read this and consider how you proceed the next time you hear someone is adopting.

    Recently, I have been added to a couple different adoption groups who have been discussing the issue of fundraising for adoptions.  I see all these posts from people who say God is leading them…

    which makes me believe they are Christians…

    which automatically makes me wonder about their church.

    I truly believe that God will provide. I honestly do. I have seen amazing things happen with our own adoptions. I have been completely blown away by God’s provisions. If you are called, then God will provide, BUT what if the church is supposed to be part of that provision?  Yes, I know we have to spend money on outreach, missions, saving souls, etc.  but what better way to bring a soul to Christ then to show them the love of Christ?  Because of this, I believe churches should be passing the plate to collect fees for adoptions over and over again.  We should all be happy to help a child find a family because God commands us.  He COMMANDS us!  He doesn’t mention it in passing.  Churches should be the backbone of the fostering and adoption movement.

    James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless.  What does your religion look like?

    We should be the hands and feet of God.  If everyone gave a little, instead of holding on so tightly to the blessings, that God has given in the first place, then much could be accomplished.  That is not to say that families shouldn’t be spending their own money, but if they need help the church should be a safe place that they can go to for help.

    Your church is small you say?  Hold a garage sale.  Everyone has stuff they don’t need anymore.  Have a chili supper.  Help them with free babysitting so they can work a part-time job.  Hold a can drive.  Collect change. Make and sell t-shirts.  Do something.  Anything!  Be creative! We did not need financial assistance from our church but our church was great with encouragement, prayers, and meals.  Knowing others are there to help goes a long way in not feeling alone.

    Too many people are adopting you say.  You can’t help them all.  Oh, to have such a problem!  For God to be calling so many in your church that you feel overwhelmed, what a problem to have.  What a blessing.  Maybe instead of saying “Oh, there is another family wanting money to bring home an orphan.”  Change it to “I have helped another child find a family.”  What if at the end of your life you could proudly say “I helped bring 50 children home.”  What a testament to what your life stood for – to help the poor, the orphan, the widow.  What better way to be a good and faithful servant?

    One of my favorite passages from the Bible is Acts 4:32-35  All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

    How does your church look compared to this?

    To be the hands and feet of Christ is not a burden it is a blessing.  Open your heart and your eyes to the need.  Help a family in need with both spiritual and monetary support.

    1 John 3:17  But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

     

     

     

  • The Reason Why

    Date: 2013.04.05 | Category: Adoption, Cassie, Thoughts to ponder, Videos

    Disclaimer:  Everything I am writing about in regard to orphanages and what children go through – I have read about in another mother’s blog or in a book or had personal experience from.  Granted people could exaggerate or make things up altogether but these blogs have many, many followers.  You would think someone would call their bluff if they were out and out lying.  The truth of the matter is, there are just so many people saying exactly the same thing over and over and over again.   I tend to believe most of it.  Plus, I’ve seen the effects of an orphanage on a child firsthand.  It’s not pretty! It will tear your heart out and change every perspective you’ve ever had about what is and isn’t important.

    Have you ever wondered why so many people are moved to adopt over and over again?  Why they come home, talk about it, and pray that others will hear their message?  Did you ever think  “Why in the world would someone do what they are doing, spend the time and money that they do, just to bring a child home?”  The truth is it is estimated that the average adoption will cost $28,000 and take close to three years* (Ours took a year.).   (*Please watch the video below!)  Why would anyone do that?  Why would anyone sign up to do that and especially why would they do that more than once?

    (If you want to know more, STUCK will be playing in Des Moines on April 22nd at 7 p.m.)

    I’ve watched Cassie come home upset because people question why in the world would her parents adopt four children at a time.   I’ve listened to her explain what her answers were and why she said what she said.  Last night I told her, the truth is, she has three options.

    One, she can not answer at all.  Just let it drop, because she will never be able to truly make someone understand why we are doing this if they don’t understand what an orphanage is like. If they’ve never read the stories about “dying rooms” or children that are 14 that weigh 24 pounds.  If they haven’t heard that children freeze to death, or are chained to the walls, or are sent to mental institutions when they hit the age of 6.   It’s beyond their comprehension if they don’t know that a disability will label you as cursed for life.  In many places your last name means orphan and you will not be allowed an education, you barely have enough food to survive, you don’t have even the barest of necessities.  They will never understand if their only idea of an orphanage is from watching the movie Annie.

    When we got Ben (3 1/2) and Maisey (2), they wouldn’t play with any of the toys we brought them.  Why?  Because their first thought was for food.  They didn’t care about a book, or a blanket, or a toy that made noise.  Their cherished possession was a spoon. Who cares about toys when you are starving?   Ben walked funny because he was confined to a play pen or a high chair through most of the day.    They were afraid of a bath.  We later learned it’s because some orphanages give one bath a week or they hose them down with cold water.  There are no bubble baths and cute terry cloth robes.  Ben needs major dental work because six of his teeth are in such terrible decay.  There can be 40 kids sharing two toothbrushes.  Ben and Maisey couldn’t even hold a spoon and feed themselves.  Why?  Because when they are fed they are all fed out of the same bowl with the same spoon because the nanny doesn’t have time to give each child their own bowl and clean up after them.   It’s an assembly line.  There is no good night kiss and being tucked in to a nice cozy bed.  Many times the mattress is a piece of plywood with a blanket because it cuts down on the lice problem.

    Two, she can try to explain all about our family and all the people we have just waiting to love these four new children.  She can explain that our family has chosen this to be their mission and children are where our passion lies. She can explain her dad’s job, his expertise in caring for sick babies, his love for children, and how he’s home during the week.  She can explain how much I love children and how my dream as a little girl was to have 12.  But if they don’t understand that children need rescued and it’s not about having “quality time” or “more one on one time”, they still won’t understand.

    Oh, but if they could see what we, as a family, have seen this past year.  If they could see how a child blossoms and grows with the love of a family.  If they could see what we’ve seen, the physical, emotional and spiritual growth.  It’s about giving them love, food, an education, some more love, and hope for a future that doesn’t include sex trafficking or living on the street.  It’s about saving a life. If they could see what we have seen, they’d more than understand.

    Three, she can tell them to jump in a lake. (Probably not the nicest or the best option!)  The reality is it’s none of their business.  They have no right to judge.  They have no right to question whether it is or is not the right thing.  They don’t know anything about our family or where our hearts lie.   We’ve been through home studies.  You read that right – studie”S“.  When you adopt from China, you have initial home studies, and a follow-up home study when you come home, one at 6 months, one at a year, one at two years, and the last one at five years.  There are safe guards in place.  Plus, I’ve pretty much made our lives public by putting it all out there in picture and blog.  I’m not trying to hide anything.  I’m trying to prove you can do more than you think you can.  You can love more than you think possible.  You can show the love of God through taking a child in.  You can change their lives and their eternity.   All of this is a pretty amazing, mind-blowing, heart changing, life altering, thing.

    Maybe that is all she needs to say “God brought us to these four children and our family feels overwhelming blessed to be able to bring them home!”  Because that is the truth!  We are blessed.  We may be tired.  The house may never be perfectly clean.  Our mid-life crisis car may now be a 15 passenger van.  But the overall running theme in our home is love and that God has blessed us in immeasurable ways.  What a gift to us.  What a gift to them.

     

     

     

     

  • Obedience, Sainthood and Eternity

    Date: 2013.03.27 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder, Videos

    My devotional this week said, “Surrendered people obey God’s Word, even when it doesn’t make sense.”. “Give yourselves to God … surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” (Romans 6:13b TEV)

    Obedience means obeying even when you are afraid.

    Obedience means following God’s lead even when you can’t see the path in front of you.

    Obedience means not debating, questioning, reasoning with, or making excuses for why you can’t do something.

    It takes a lot of faith to proceed even when it doesn’t make sense.  It took me years to get to this point.   Years to truly listen to the word of God, but when you see God’s miracles in your life over and over again.  When you see how perfect His plan is, you start to let go of what you thought was right for your life and trust in His plan for your life.

    There is nothing amazing about us and being able to do what we are doing.  It has become somewhat of a joke to us because the number one thing that people say to us is “You are saints.”  First off, I will say if you are a Christian, you too are a saint.  In the Bible, believers were referred to as saints on many different occasions.   So in reality, I am a saint, but not for the reasons you would say.  I am a saint because Christ died for my sins and by believing in Him I become a member of God’s adopted family – a person holy for that reason only.  I am a person who fails and sins and is so much less than on most days.

    Our proceeding with these adoptions is because of obedience only.  It is because we have seen the hand of God on so many different occasions that we choose to listen and proceed when He lays something on our hearts.  I have often said, “But I can’t.  Lord, this doesn’t make sense.  How in the world are we going to do that?”   But God’s calling is right there. Your heart is heavy with what you know to be the truth.  You just know it’s the right thing to do even if it doesn’t make sense.  Then things start to line up, things that others said could never happen – happen, and God says once again, “Listen my child.  I will provide a way.  I will bring you through whatever I bring you to. This is my plan. Trust in me.”

    People say things to us like, “What about your retirement?  Don’t you want to travel? Won’t you be tired?  How in the world are you going to do this? You’ll never be able to….”  Believe me I get it.  I have said some of those things to myself.  Five kids under four at my age seems a little daunting at times.  But then I think about their lives.  Am I willing to trade a trip to Hawaii for giving Min or Lainey or Evie or Eli a home?  Am I willing to let Ben or Evie or Eli die, alone, in a cold orphanage?  Am I willing to not listen to the calling of God?  Am I willing to say to Min “Child, a life on the street is okay for you? Prostitution?  Early death?  No love of a family? Well, that’s okay cause I’m going to Hawaii.”  I am NOT willing to make those trades.  I am willing to trade my sleep for bringing them the love of family.  I am willing to trade new clothes, a fancy car, and any imaginable vacation out there to let them know God’s love and what being adopted into God’s family means.

    I have been sitting on this post for a while now.  No one wants to listen to me preach again about adoption or at least that was what I was thinking but then I saw this video posted on Facebook and I understood.  I needed a better illustration of what I was trying to say.  I spent my life, in the 40 plus years before we even saw an orphanage, living for this one small moment in my life….retirement.  The magical illusion of when everything will be great.  Your children are grown.  It’s just you and your husband traveling the world.  Living happily ever after, but if you believe Christ died for you, then your life on earth is but a small portion of eternity.

    We did not proceed with our adoptions because of some great reward.  If we weren’t doing it for love, then it would be worthless.  We would be doing it for all the wrong reasons and then it would be like straw or stubble to God.  God knows what is in your heart.  God knows what you are giving and why.  You can’t earn God’s love.  You can’t buy your way into heaven.

    James 4:17  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

    But there are so many verses telling you to care for the orphan and the widow, the poor and the needy, to take care of those that need your help.  If you can help, and you choose not to then it is not just wrong, it is sin.   It goes against everything the Bible is commanding.  EVERYTHING!  Don’t fool yourself into thinking what the world is saying is the right way.  You will not be happy because you took a trip.  You will not be happy because you saved all this money so you could retire and golf or knit or sew or see the world.  That is not what your life should be about. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong to travel or golf, but your life should include following God’s lead and opening your eyes to the hurt in the world.  Too many children are slaves.  Too many children are being sold in the sex trafficking market.  Too many children are dying alone in a cold, lonely orphanage. Too many children spend their lives never knowing the love of a family.  Too many children are going to bed hungry or drinking dirty water.  Don’t kid yourself that it’s ok and someone else will save them.  These kids are waiting for you to show them the love of God.  Ask God and He will show you a need.  Ask God to use you for His plan.  Ask God to make your life count.  Don’t just exist.  Don’t just follow the world’s lead.  Stand out!  Do something!  Be the hands and feet of Christ.  It is possible – one need at a time, one person at a time, one life at a time.

  • Maisey Dancing!

    Date: 2013.01.01 | Category: Maisey, Videos

    Posting it so Mema can see Maisey doing her moves. Not my favorite song, but I love to watch her dance. 🙂 I remember being a little sad when we were going to adopt her because she was deaf and wouldn’t be able to dance and sing with the girls. Our girls are constantly in movement and our house often resembles a musical.  I should have known better than to worry at all.   She loves to dance and sing.  She is the most animated little girl.  Being profoundly hard of hearing makes her extra observant – which helps with those complicated dance moves.

     

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