Thursday, March 24, 2011

God is everything that is good...

God is everything that is good, and right, and true.
He is Love, and is all that love is.
He is holy.
He is wholeness.
His heart is deliverance and restoration.
He is committed to the unchangeable character of his purposes.
These attributes stand alone. Even if there were no evidence around us of these things, this is who God is.

And among other things I’m sure, this is what He says to His Beloved, to our achy places, our unknowns, our concerns, and our questions:
I am your Maker-Creator. I set you in motion, and have plans for you that you cannot even begin to ask for or imagine, according to the purposes in my heart.
When it seems in your circumstance that you cannot find the evidence of this reality, let your belief and trust rise up in the face of who I am.
Let my character be what you hold all things up to, “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
And hope does not put you to shame (it does not disappoint),
Because my love has been poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to you.”
I have sealed you with a guarantee and a guide into your inheritance!
“You who have fled for refuge have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before you. You have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on your behalf…”
“For I who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ have shone in your hearts to give the light of the knowledge of my glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”

In his face, there is no other reality.
He is the only reality for you.
In his eyes, there is assurance.
There is hope.
In him, there is the tangible promise that I am committed to your good and my glory, and that I will absolutely go to whatever lengths necessary to see this through for you and in you.
In my Son, is your identity. For you have exchanged your life for his. As you surrender to this, I show you who you really are in him.
In Christ, is your new reality. For you have exchanged the false reality for a new one, for riches beyond measure. You are now a part of that reality, that family, that Kingdom.
Seek Me and seek my Kingdom above all, and all else will be added; still yourselves in the midst of your circumstance and give room for yourselves to know me there and to acknowledge my presence… this is where perspective and alignment come and give way to the discovery of what I am doing and will do.
I love you.
I am for you.
Press into me, and believe me for this.
I am here.
And I am intricately involved…

Father, I pray that we would be still. Stir up our belief and trust in you, that our communion with you, would give way to the alignment that You are taking us from grace to grace, glory to glory… that we may know You and walk with You into the good gifts and the promises that You have. And that this assurance, this reality would draw others into You.
May we give thanks in all things. God, we love You back…

Kara Leigh Prichard
Birthmother Counselor

Thursday, March 17, 2011

He Knows His Plans…

As an adolescent I was drawn to mission work. I dreamed and prayed for an opportunity to go overseas on a mission trip. My heart always longed for Russia, but God closed that door for me, and gave me something greater. In the summer of 1998 I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I traveled to Ukraine, to a little city 50 miles from Chernobyl called Chernihiv. I had the opportunity to live in an orphanage for an entire month. God revealed to me His love and mercy and His desire for us to care for the orphans. These precious children were looking for love and acceptance; they too had dreams. They dreamed to have a family that would take care of them and love them. It seems to us, those who have been loved and cared for by a family, as an unfamiliar dream, but this was their only dream and desire. These children would light up with just the mention of Jesus; they knew that He created them and loved them and has a plan for them. The very mention of His name brought hope to those little faces. This very experience created a passion within me to become involved in an orphan care ministry. As I moved on in life I wondered if and when God would ever give me the desire of my heart. As a staff member with Lifeline I now have been given the desire of my heart. I have the privilege to see God at work through our orphan care ministry all over the world, and see the light of Jesus in these precious children and the families who love and care for them. I know one day I will return to Ukraine and see those precious children again. This verse was given to me while in Ukraine in the summer of 1998. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11) This is one of the key verses Lifeline uses. When I heard this I knew God had me exactly where He wanted me. I encourage you to seek God with all your heart for your dreams and desires, so you too can have the desires God wants for you.

Serving Him Gladly,

Joanna L. Turner
Birth Mother Counselor

Friday, March 11, 2011

You Can't Miss Out

I’m so thankful for Dave Wood’s recent entry. I’m thankful for hearing the big picture about our country- though sad- and yet, also hearing about hope because the Lord is working in His people (as He will continue to do until the end) - but especially in the area of loving orphans. He is such a kind, gentle and strong Father.

I have worked over these past 8 years with women, mostly single, as they consider future plans for themselves and their child(ren). I want them to know what I have had to be reminded of way too often:

1) I will not miss out on God’s perfect, good, and pleasing will. At the same time, I have responsibility. I’m commanded to seek the Lord and His kingdom first (Matt. 6:33) and then “all these things” will be given us. I’m commanded to love Him with ALL my heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matt. 22:37-40). I’m told if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me (James 4:7-8) and to not be double minded (have my mind/heart in the Lord AND….). (We cannot serve two masters -Matthew 6:24) I’m told that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart (because my delight is in Him). I’m told if I don’t conform to the world, but am transformed and renew my mind, I will KNOW His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Rom. 12:2). He is a good Father and knows how to give good gifts to His children- and knows what gifts are best (Matt. 7:11) When I really take the time to do less and sit in His presence, to tell Him what’s on my heart, to read truth and dwell on it, to tell Him how awesome He is (and He is regardless of what’s happening in my life), to express thanks to Him, and to pray for the saints & those who don’t know Him, I am most at peace. I see Him move. I feel content. He fulfills these promises to draw near to me, to give me the desire of my heart. I am called to trust in truth even when it doesn’t look good around me or I’m hurting. Faith does not disappoint. I’d love for the women we work with to know this in the depth of their hearts and (as I need to) sit and walk in it.

2) Been reading through a book Captivating. It’s for women, though all could learn from it. It shares how women reflect a part of the Lord in that He wants to be pursued by us (not that He needs us, mind you), but He is a relational God and delights in relating with us (for some strange but great reason). One of the bottom lines for why women do some of the things they do to seek attention is to know “am I lovely?” Wow. What a question. As those made in His image, I’d say we all reflect the beauty and loveliness of God in some way. However, in Him, through the blood, through how He’s made us- we are lovely. The more we grow in Him, the more we reflect Him and are lovelier. We can’t be prideful about it as He is the ultimate lovely One, and we are just poor reflections of Him. But, the truth is, no one, no thing, no anything besides Him truly makes us lovely. Oh, that our women would know that they can truly be lovely –especially before our perfect Father, Brother, Friend, Lover who delights in His children.

And when we rest in these truths (and get rid of the sin that so easily entangles, keeping our eyes on Him), we are better for ourselves- AND- those around us- spouses, family, friends, children, orphans, saints, unbelievers. We follow His command to love our “neighbor” as ourselves. We can be confident in Him and His perfect plan and then love more completely and wholly because we trust, we sit in truth; we know He’s working it out for our (moral) good. He’s got us.

Gina Linden
Birthmother Counselor

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thoughts from a Mother in Waiting

My wife recently posted on her blog her thoughts about our child who we are anxiously waiting to meet. I believe that these thoughts resonate with many of the parents who are eagerly awaiting the day that they will hold their child in their arms.

I am really thinking about the baby we will adopt tonight....well, all the time and just writing about a sample of my thoughts tonight in our quiet home while my boys breathe deep, slow sleeping breaths. I wonder...

Will it be a boy or a girl?
Will it be more than one?
How old will he/she/they be?
When will we see him for the first time?
What will his given name be?
What will we name him?
What will his story be?
Will he be crying at night in the orphanage?
Does he have siblings?
What is his birth mama thinking and feeling?
Has he been conceived?
Where will he be born?
What will be the day that I hold him for the first time?
Will my eyes ever dry in thinking and praying for this precious child?
What will the 24+ hour flight to and from Uganda be like?
What will we do while we're in Uganda?
What will my boys think about a foreign country?
What will it feel like to have baby home at last?
What will his/her birthday be?
What will we do for their birthday party?
Will I ever stop staring at my children...all of them?
Will this overwhelming sense of gratitude for being on this journey ever cease...I hope not.

I don't have any answers for my questions, hopes, dreams....I imagine many different scenarios, faces, paths. And for those I am deeply thankful. The greatest gift of all right now...

"My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:15-16)

And my response...

"How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:17)

He knows. He cares.

Post by Daniel Taylor
Georgia State Director of Lifeline Children’s Services

Original Blog by: Sarah Taylor
Former Lifeline employee and wife of Daniel

*Daniel, Sarah, and their two sons are currently in process to adopt a child from Uganda.