Friday, July 22, 2011

Make a joyful noise

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his;

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

Psalm 100:1-5

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Now I lay me down to sleep
In my home that’s really sweet
Had three large meals and a snack
There wasn’t a hint of any lack
Comfortable shoes and clothes that fit
My heart’s desires my money can get
Friends and family know my name
So many opportunities it’s just insane
Doctors and dentists, heat and air
A hope and a future.. No despair
Little chance I’ll die before I wake
But if I do, my soul God will take.
But the homeless orphan goes to sleep
His unbathed body on a filthy street
Sold himself today to get a meal
From a slimy stranger with a dollar bill
No life,no skills, no future, no hope
No family, no friends, no heat, no coat
No shelter, no job, no doctor, no care
No money, no support, no help anywhere
Despair and neglect a fight to survive
A shell of a child more dead than alive
And if this orphan dies before he wakes
Will he know God his soul to take?

Dave Wood
International Director

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God's Will

I’ve thought many times about God’s will and what that might entail for my life and the lives of those around me. Yesterday, my in laws left to live in Haiti. They felt that the Lord was calling them to be the representatives for our church and the Alabama Baptist on a more permanent basis in Haiti. They will be assisting with the Children’s Hope orphanage and running the Alabama House where mission teams will stay when they come to do disaster relief. I think about them and wondered who would be going if they had not submitted to the Lord’s will in their life. I look at Tanya and Andy Birchfield who started the Children’s Hope (orphan) ministry in our church (First Baptist Montgomery). Due to their submission to the Lord’s will there are many orphans who now have a hope and a future. Within Lifeline, I think of the many families that I work with on daily bases who have accepted that the Lord’s will for their family is to make an addition! I want to challenge each of us to think and focus on what the Lord is calling us to do today. It may or may not involve orphans. Yet, I can tell you that God’s will does involve things that will bring Him glory! It is so important that we stay focused on His will so He will receive the glory He deserves! Recently, I was listening to one of my favorite speakers, Francis Chan. He was discussing a passage I had skimmed over many times.

Colossians 1:1. It says “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother”.

It clearly says that Paul was an apostle by the WILL of God. I immediately think about how difficult it probably was for Paul to sit his desires aside and continuously do the Lord’s will in his life. Francis Chan brought up a good point that sometimes we are almost scared to do God’s will. It may cause us to do something difficult. In my own life, I tend to enjoy being comfortable and easy going. Many times, full submission to the Lord’s will requires us to do complicated task that require we get out of our comfort zone. Today, I pray that we all would examine our hearts and humbly search for what God is calling us to do! It may be as simple as calling someone to apologize, going to visit someone that you don’t really have the time to visit, or as big as starting a new ministry in your church.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Truth of Adoption

I was recently invited to lead an adoption workshop at a national conference for workers and volunteers of crisis pregnancy centers. Since this was a large conference, I was admittedly nervous and secretly hoping that my little workshop would be just that – a “little” workshop. Despite my trepidations, I earnestly sought the Lord’s favor for the workshop and prayed specifically that He would place the right people there. Understanding that adoption is often misunderstood, I weighed the possible responses to the topic at hand but chose not to shy away from the truth of this option for women facing unplanned pregnancies.

Fifteen minutes before the workshop, I stood shaking in my sandals, eyeing the door. As the Lord would have it, there was standing room only when the doors finally closed. After making my introductions, my nerves never settled, but the crowd did. They listened intently as I spoke about adoption as a real option for women and one that can end cycles of early pregnancy within families. As anticipated, there were opinions galore in that classroom (one thing I have learned as an adoption educator is there is a lot of work still to do!) Amidst the protests of some people, an attractive, middle-aged lady spoke out against the crowd. Her testimony went something like this:

Sitting through this presentation is bittersweet for me. I aborted my son thirty years ago. But hearing this information today, I wonder if I would have made the same decision then had my counselor shared this with me.

I let out a sigh of relief. There really wasn’t any need for me to add or take away from what she had said. The power of the truth of God’s word is just that - powerful.

Regardless of the initials we have (or don’t have) behind our names, we are all responsible for the truth we’ve been given. And the truth is, God created each of us in His wonderful image. We are “fearfully and wonderfully” made and intended to live lives for His glory. I believe His desire for every woman who walks through the door of our agency, a crisis pregnancy center or abortion clinic is that they would know Him and the abundant life He has promised through Christ. For women who have not experienced open doors and who have been told that their futures are limited because of their circumstances, cultures, or pasts, there is the option of adoption that promises hope and change for them and the lives of their children.

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Foster Care, Adoption & the Body of Christ

During my time at Lifeline, I have watched both adoptive and foster parents live out the ministry they feel they have been called to. These roles are no-joke-non-stop-hard-work; and I am not even talking about the process to become adoptive or foster parents! Once a foster family is licensed and receives a placement, or an adoptive family arrives home with their child, the hard work is only beginning. Work that is rewarding? Yes. Work that is worth it? Yes. But work that is difficult and draining? Absolutely. Two things that I have seen, time after time, make a world of difference for each of these families, are really quite simple concepts: encouragement and support.

I know in our minds, we instantly jump to financial support. Of course financial support is huge and always welcome, but it is not the only form of valuable support that can be offered. Examine what you have available to you – what God has given you to use for His glory – your time, your resources, your gifts, your talents, and your interests. How can you serve others by using those things (and thereby serve Him)? I am reminded of a beautiful, familiar story from Luke 21 – “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”

Our Lord does not ask that we give out of our abundance, but out of our poverty – when we do not see how we can afford to give, when we feel we have nothing of value to give. He does not want our extra, our afterthought, or our leftovers. He wants that which costs us something; that which we feel the absence of when we gift it to Him; that which we have to depend on Him to meet our needs after it has been given. Part of the beauty of giving is giving beyond our capacity and learning to trust Him. He desires to build our faith. He seeks not only our gift, but our faith, trust, and obedience behind it – and He calls that beautiful. That is true worship through giving. And not simply giving monetarily, but giving sacrificially of ourselves – whatever that may look like. Our God does not measure the value of our offering the way we do. It is all about His glory – and it is possible for Him to receive more glory through a smaller amount or an untraditional gift when that amount/gift is given from a pure heart.

My point in all of this is that a huge, constant need Lifeline has is support and encouragement for our foster and adoptive families. We are all equipped in different and specific ways to provide these things. If you enjoy children, you could be used as a baby-sitter to give parents a much-needed night off. If you have a gift card leftover from Christmas that you have not used, you could give that to a family who now has more mouths to feed than they did before. If you enjoy sending cards, you could send a note of encouragement to one of our families. If you paint, draw, sew, sing, or dance, you could hold art classes for children who are in foster care or have been adopted. You could give away your car seat, prepare a meal, provide hand-me-down clothes, offer music lessons, tutor a child, etc. The possibilities are endless.

I am asking for your help as you read this. Our families cannot do what they have been called to do alone. That is the very reason for the body of Christ. We aid each other in accomplishing the work He has called each of us to complete. Maybe you have spoken with the Lord, examined your heart, and you are not called (at least at present) to foster or to adopt. My request today is that you consider other ways to serve and give to the children and families with whom Lifeline works. There is no such thing as a small, insignificant offering in God’s eyes. He has gifted you that you may use that gift. So do not delay in putting it to good use!

Allison Fuqua
Social Worker

Monday, July 11, 2011


“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not TOO STRONG, but TOO WEAK. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an arrogant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” –C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I have this insatiable need for adventure and a sometimes equally portioned amount of fear. For example, cruising the ocean, or even swimming in the ocean for that matter thrills me and terrifies me. I have wanted desperately to experience many things in my life, not one of them being a cruise, ever. In fact, I vividly remember a few months before graduating college, walking with my Mom through the Riverwalk Mall in New Orleans, LA and as we passed through the food court, we could not help but be drawn to the room sized windows where a massive ship floated (I will never understand just how that works.) waiting to transport hundreds of people into the great abyss. We looked at each other and nearly at the same time said, “I never want to do anything like that.”

As it turns out, and as is often the case with those who speak in absolutes, not too long after that day in the mall, I began planning our sail date. My parents had gifted me a vacation for my undergraduate graduation and a cruise appeared to be the wisest use of my vacation funds. I decided that I would ask my two favorite people in the world, neither having been on a cruise, neither having ever wanted to go on a cruise, my mom and my Aunt Jen. Surprisingly, they decided to join me for a holiday at the sea and the memory of that week spent at sea will be one of the most colorful and beautiful ones I will remember. This is what God reminded during that week.

True pleasure, infinite joy, contentment; these cannot be found outside of the One who created us. We will not be totally, absolutely, completely satisfied until we experience and learn to long daily for deeper waters. All my life, I have seen fish in what I thought were large enough aquariums. After my adventure at sea, I understand very clearly what we miss when we remain foolishly content in our spiritual aquariums. Just like those beautiful animals, we were never meant for makeshift oceans, we were meant for the sea. Ecclesiastes reminds us that He has set eternity in our hearts. How is that we are so easily contented by the world while eternity is set in our hearts?

A.W. Tozer once said, “My cowardly heart fears to give up its toys.” So many times God has called me to deeper waters and my cowardly heart has been tempted by fear to settle for things , “toys”, that in my finite wisdom I believe will satisfy or bring me joy…or a least a little relief.

What does this look like for you? Do you trust that God has a plan, a deeper plan than you could know to ask him for or imagine on your own (Ephesians 3)? I love Paul’s timing, that as he writes this incredible passage in Ephesians 3, he is imprisoned. Do you believe that God longs to offer infinite joy to your family-- that He is sovereign over every small decision just as He is sovereign over a long wait in the wilderness or a woman’s womb, that He is sovereign over the seemingly mundane routine of your life just as He is sovereign over a loved one’s broken or hardened heart? Only His plan can redeem your past, give peace and rest in your present circumstances, and absolutely and completely fill your future with His kind of Joy and His kind of pleasure.

Do not settle for the toys of this world, for makeshift oceans. Take God up on His offer of a Holiday at Sea. Dive in and drink deeply. Trust Him and allow Him to shape the weak desires of your heart to His desires-- desires which are far more than we could ever dream up on our own.

Lauren Strickland

South Alabama Case Worker

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today I waited. Most Fourth of July weekends have been spent traveling, with friends & family, at the beach, on the lake, not all the same, but always with the ones I love. This one was different. Thank you Father, you had something great in store to show me.

A bacterial infection has made for an interesting 3 day weekend- not one full of continuous activity, bar-b-cue- and sunscreen, but time to think, time to understand what it means to be sick, to be in need, to be alone.

My roommates were gone visiting their families & I whisked my mom to the airport for a fun trip to Las Vegas to visit her oldest brother and her best friend from high school...all this to say I was by myself & not at my strongest.

After a couple days of “getting by”, I took the advice of a sweet friend and visited the doctor. I am so thankful for the walk-in medical clinics who are open on Sundays!

I walked into the cool, inviting, cleanly facility, filled out my paperwork and was called back to see the doctor fairly quickly. But it was in that room, I waited...with a fever, chills, aches, and a mind that was sure to think on adoption & children as I had been reading Russell D. Moore’s Adopted for Life in the waiting room.

It was on that cold waiting table that I sat, with the stark, white paper underneath me, I had no strength, no one there. I heard voices giving hope for someone to come in and help me, but no one. Again, I would hear doors opening and closing, but no doctor or nurse to be seen. The door remained closed, and I felt more alone sitting on that table, waiting for the doctor than I have felt in a very long time. Minutes seemed to pass like hours. This must be just VERY small taste, I thought. A taste of what it’s like to be alone, as an orphan. Weak, helpless, in need, waiting for someone. And to think, I only waited an hour...

A child whose heart is despondent cries out for love and longs for healing. I am reminded HE, our great Father, is Healer, and God uses us to carry out His glorious plan to care for these children whom He knits together in the mother’s womb and loves dearly.

I think of the 500,000 children in U.S. Foster Care, and their hearts’ cries. I look into the eyes of just ONE of the 143,000,0000 orphans in an orphanage with no one to hold her or tell her she is loved & beautiful- and I break. So what will I do?

This question resounds in my mind with frequency I can’t ignore. I pray, I seek, and I read God’s Word, which lights my path.

“God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12.

I would not trade my somewhat “uneventful” Fourth of July weekend for another experience. While I am so thankful I am able to celebrate the freedom we have on this day, I will also be remembering how so many children are sitting there on “that cold, sterile table” in chains-waiting. They wait for someone to literally open the door, walk through it, and take their little hand, providing the only “medicine” that can truly heal the heart-Love-that the Father pours out LAVISHLY on us through Jesus Christ. It’s this great love which gives us the grace to do the same in the lives of these precious children who are His.

What is God asking of me?

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

Krisha Yanko
Development and Marketing Coordinator