Our church service this morning was so inspiring! There are so many great things going on at SHCC and I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this church family. Terry's message was about running the good race for God. Joe and Daniel did an awesome skit that really opened my mind to receive God's word. Something that really hit me today was when Terry said being a Christian is a marathon, not a sprint! I LOVE that saying. I so often think that in order to really worship God, you have to be an every day committed follower. You can't just attend on special events or holidays or be a part of a church without being involved in a ministry (or two, or three, or ten!!!) and expect to grow closer to God and be equipped to spread the Good News! There is a phrase that has been used, "pew sitters", to describe the people who come for one hour on Sunday to do their time. I can't imagine being that kind of Christian, but I also feel challenged ot encourage others to not be that way. I am by no means the perfect Christian and there are people who probably call me a hypocrit (which Terry also talked about today), but God knows my heart and His forgiveness is really the only thing that matters.
When I decided to propose Bright Beginnings to the Elders, I wasn't sure how it would be received, but from day 1 i have had so much support and encouragement. I have seen God's hand in all that we have done and continue to do for the families of Lebanon. I wish each and every person in this world could focus on the path that God has set before him. He has given all of us talents and given us everything we need to be a successful follower of His. Being committed to Him sometimes has a worldly price, people aren't always going to understand you or like you, but it's not about being popular or rich. I am so blessed to work at Bright Beginnings, where our faith is shared not only with the kids and families, but with eachother. My coworkers are also my sisters in Christ and it is so nice to be able to be a part of something that is making an eternal difference.
I have been thinking about commitment, too, when I think about adoption. I have some very close friends that are adoptive parents, some who are waiting, and I am quite certain, some who will eventually join this "club"! When God calls us to adopt, we have to be committed to His plan. We have to commit financially, emotionally, and parentally (not sure that is a word, but you know what I mean!). We are facing some challenges with our kids lately, especially Ryleigh. I want to show her and my other daughters what it means to stay in the race, even when it is hard. We made the commitment to being a family and we have to remember that when we are getting on eachother's nerves, fighting, or feeling hurt. It is hard to add two older children to your family, but just because it is difficult, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Jesus endured horrible things in His life on earth. He was perfect, but he didn't have love and support from everyone! Can you imagine how silly it is for us to expect everyone to like us, when we are so imperfect? I want to remember that about all four of my daughters and try to show them that we cannot be perfect, but we can strive to be like Jesus by being more forgiving, more loving, and more passionate about the Bible. God has given me my children and I want to parent them the way He wants me to. I am so thankful that He is with me yesterday, today, and always!
I have been praying special prayers for the families who are waiting for their referrals, in particular, The Jays and The Belotes, who are waiting for their baby girls from Ethiopia. They are so close to seeing the faces of their chosen children and while the excitement has been building for a long time, I know that this is probably the hardest part, when you are so close, yet it seems so far. I thank God for their commitment to this wait and for the love they have for the child they haven't even met yet! It truly takes patience and unexplainable love to adopt a child. Just like God adopts us as His children with His love and patience.
We had a special prayer for Stacy today, for her mission trip to Kazahkstan, and the work they will be doing to build a playground. It is that kind of commitment that changes the world! I am so proud to have the chance to know somebody who gives so much to others in the name of the Lord. Is is easy to do this? NO! But there are people who sacrifice for God and it's so awesome to see someone following God's plan for them. God gave Stacy and many others the heart for orphans. I pray for the people of Kaz to see Jesus in each of the 11 people who are making this trip. Thank God for their commitment!
We had a Girls Night Out in honor of Brenda on Friday night. She will be moving to North Carolina one week from today. It was so much fun to be with a great group of women. Laughing and talking does wonders! Of course, there were tears, too, because I am going to miss Brenda so much! She has laid the foundation for the daycare at Bright Beginnings in a way that nobody else could have! I thank her for her commitment to the kids and families, and most of all to God. Her little KayAnna is like the mascot of our school! She was just a teeny little baby, who was always so happy to be up there working on getting the rooms ready! And Aleigha was in our first Peaceful Pals class and has blossomed this year as a Faithful Friend. It won't be the same without them! I am happy to have Facebook to keep in touch with them! And they will be back in 7 years! (when Isabella is 20!!!! Yikes!)
I just wanted to share these thoughts on a lazy Sunday afternoon as I was reflecting on a wonderful morning of Praise and Worship at SHCC! God Bless!