Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stories......



I am so thankful that God has called Megan to serve in Ethiopia for this season of her life. I think back to one particular sleepless night where I was wrestling with God about her being half way around the world and think of the selfishness I was sitting in that night. The selfishness and fear on my part during those days of questioning seem so unreal to me today. Why would I want Megan to miss out on what God was calling her to? I am humbled daily as I hear stories from my daughter- Stories of kids who need families, widows who have nothing, children who are hungry, and the joy that Megan brings to their day as she helps provide for their needs.


The other day a story that she shared really made me stop, ponder and pray. She shared of a young girl our oldest sons age. She had been living in conditions that I can't begin to fathom. Megan (and the others working with her) was there when she came in off of the streets. She was there to love on her, care for her and provide basic needs for her. Here is Megan's account of that day:


Today, as I was hanging out at the foster home, Kelikas and Goldy, two people on the BCI staff, came in the gates with a 13 year old girl. They said hello and then quickly sat the girl down with us and went into the other room to talk with Sanite, the foster home mother. We didn't really know what was going on, but it didn't take long for us to figure out that the little girl, Enat, didn't have anywhere else to go. When we left the foster home, we asked Goldy about Enat. She was sent to BCI by MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) this morning... She lived on the streets with her grandfather who was completely blind and mute. When you're a young girl, living on the streets is probably one of the worst possible scenarios, so MOWA asked BCI if the foster home could take her in. Of course they said yes, but they are in desperate need of sponsors for her. Enat literally came to the BCI office with absolutely nothing but the clothes on her back, so while we are in the process of getting her sponsors, I am going to try to collect some money to get Enat some food and clothing. If you are interested in helping Enat, please let my mom or I know. Looking forward to spending some time at the foster home tomorrow and getting to know Enat. Megan


(Thanks to those of you who have given- Enat will now have clothes of her own!)



Oh God I pray that we do not get so busy and comfortable in our daily lives that we forget the Enat's of the world. Break our hearts for what breaks yours. Move us out of our comfortable, selfish lives to care for those who need us to be You to them. Thank you for using Megan and Enat to remind me daily of those in our world who are in such need- Find us faithful caring for the least of these.


Friday, October 18, 2013

A brick utility building..........

David and I try hard to have as much one on one time with our kids as we can. With seven kids we have to be pretty creative with how to make this happen and tonight was one of those nights for me. I had the great joy of having some one on one time with Garrett. Garrett needed a  jacket and so the two of us headed out to do a little shopping.

We had only been in the car a few minutes when we passed by a brick utility building not far from our house. It is somewhere I pass by daily and I had never even noticed this small building. As we passed by Garrett says to me, "Mom, It is kind of hard for me to understand somethings." I questioned what he meant. He said, "You know like when I see a brick building  like that one that really is used for nothing (as he pointed at this utility building) or when I see a dog house or barn it makes me kind of sad. There are people living in nothing and then I see this. It kind of makes my heart feel bad."

I was quiet for a few minutes as I tried once again to hold back my tears. I wasn't really sure what to say but I gently said, "Garrett, I am so sorry that this makes you heart hurt. It actually should make everyones heart hurt. I know that you remember living in a grass hut and I am sure when you see those kinds of buildings that are for wires or animals it makes you feel sad that people live in less. Does that remind of your family?" He answered, "Yes, it makes me sad to think about how much is wasted here and how people don't even think about others in need. People here just always want more and more."

I wish that everyone I knew could spend some one one one time with Garrett- If so our world would be a different place! God, Help me to have a heart of compassion like his-


  

The closer I get........

There are times in my life that I am not sure exactly what to say and I am not even sure how I feel. In the past few weeks God has been doing some amazing, hard, confusing, life-changing things in my little world and so for several weeks I have been more quiet than normal. Thinking, praying, pondering, questioning, changing, growing, and ultimately learning again and again that this life is not my own.

God is doing so many things in my life and I am so thankful that He continues to stretch and grow me. I am thankful to be reminded that I will never (this side of heaven) arrive at where I need to be. This life will be a continual growing process as I continue to give more and more of myself to Him. The stretching and growing is not always a fun process. Two weeks ago as I wrestled with God about something I felt Him calling me to I simply argued with Him one morning. I had a long list of reasons that what He was/is calling me to just would not work in my life. I reminded Him of how full my plate is each day and how I have very little time for what He has placed in my path. As I was literally arguing with Him, I completely broke. I found myself in tears in the shower as I was reminded of how selfish I am with my list of what I want, need, feel, and really all I am willing to give when He wants more.

I was more broken in that moment than I have been in a long time. I spent a good portion of my day just spending time with Him. If you had questioned me that morning I would have told you that ALL of me was His yet again that day I was reminded that  this simply isn't the truth. The closer I get to Him the more I realize how much of my life I still try to hang on to. The security that only He can give I try to build in my own life by making my life risk-free. The peace that can only come from Him- I try to make life peaceful and without conflict. The joy that only He can give- I try to avoid situations where I have to chose joy. I so often care more about what someone will think rather than what He thinks. The list goes on and on. Bottom line I want to follow Him when His will matches up with mine and when things get blurry (or He is asking more than I want to give) I ask Him to rethink what He is calling me to. It breaks my heart that I continue to wrestle so often with trusting that He is who He says He is!

What is He calling you to? Are you willing? What kind of life are you building? Do you care more about people or possessions? Do you even have room for God to speak or do you have your life all figured out without Him (as you pretend that He has all of you)? I pray that you will find yourself where I was a few weeks ago- Broken by His goodness as He calls you to become something more for HIM!







Sunday, September 15, 2013

Help them to see.....

I am really unsure of how to start this blog so here goes........Honestly, I am surprised at the questions that have come our way in our community about Megan's time in Ethiopia. The questions are the same each time but often worded differently. These questions aren't coming from people who know us well or people who tend to read this blog. The question is something like this, "So did Megan really chose to go to Ethiopia for this school year or are you guys making your children serve in another country for a year when they get older?"

The first time someone questioned me on this I was somewhat taken off guard. I was very offended and I almost couldn't respond to their questioning. Thankfully God gave me the graceful words to answer the question. Little did I know that this would be the first of many conversations where others would question David or I on why our daughter is in Ethiopia serving.

As I have thought about this questioning and as we have talked about it I think I have come to some understanding of why these questions come. I think that people in our society can't imagine that a teenage girl would genuinely give up her life of luxury to go and serve the poor. They can't wrap their minds around the fact that someone like Megan would chose to leave from her family and care for children who are hurting, hungry, and alone half way around the world.  They don't expect someone at her age to truly be following Christ. The more I have thought about this the more I realize that people can't justify that someone much younger than they are would do this. Maybe on some level it makes them feel guilty? If someone is forced to go and serve then that is one thing but if she has chosen to follow God and serve Him that is hard for them to wrap their head around.

Just to be very clear Megan came to us last spring and shared that she felt that God wanted her to give Him this next year of her life to serve in Ethiopia. If you have been a reader of this blog you know that my heart look a long time to get on board with my 17 year old daughter being half way around the world. It was not what I would have chosen for her yet if God was calling her I would not stand in the way. Megan has chosen to give this year to serve Him in Ethiopia and as her mom I couldn't be more excited for her (I knew I would get there.....it just took a few sleepless nights in the spring).

I know that Megan is exactly where she should be. It is a joy to talk with her and hear about the neat ways that God has already used her in these first 10 days. She has shared a few stories with our family about some of the home visits that she has gone on and I can tell she is right where she should be. She has been able to help meet some of the physical needs of children that she has visited and as a family it has been exciting to hear.

A few nights ago at bedtime our family was talking about some of the needs that Megan has already been able to meet. We then had devotions and our normal prayer time. As Garrett started to pray I started to weep. My sons and daughter have been the children that Megan is caring for. They know the pain of hunger that I have never felt. They remember how dark nights were when their family couldn't afford oil for their lamp. They know that when sickness comes that death follows because there is no medical care. When they pray for Megan as she is caring for the least of these in Ethiopia it is different than when I pray for her. It is real to them on a level that it will never be real to me.


Garrett prayed, "God, Help Megan to love all of the children there. Help her to give them food and clean water. Help her to have fun with them..........." and he continued ending with, "God, help them to not see Megan but help them to see You."

Our sweet Megan is not in Ethiopia because we have sent her. She is not there because she was required by us to go. She is there to be the hands and feet of our Jesus-To love on the ones that are so forgotten by our busy world. I pray that as people hear the stories of Megan that they will be challenged to be more like Jesus. As they question why any 17 year old girl would go that they would question their own heart.

My hope is that Megan would not only change the lives of those half way around the world but that she would change the hearts of those right here in our community. That as she chases after God in a way that others see they would be drawn closer to Him. That they would trust His plans for them.  I am praying that we all will step out of our comfort to follow Him and be willing to journey where ever He is calling us.

Megan,
I am so thankful that you are chasing after Him. I am so thankful that I am being changed in the process. I feel so blessed and humbled to be your mom. I pray that God would use you to do things more amazing than you could begin to imagine as you serve Him. I love that you are willing to trust Him even if that means hand washing your clothes.... :)  Praying that tomorrow as school starts there that you have an amazing day loving on those He has called you to love. I hope that just like Garrett prayed that they would see Jesus. I love you and miss you more than you know-  I would rather you be there in God's will rather than here with me out of His will. Hugs, kisses and lots of LOVE, Mom

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nicco to the rescue (AGAIN)........


The day is finally here. As I type this Megan is boarding a plane in DC and her next stop will be Ethiopia! Our family all woke up before 4am this morning and we were all out of the house by 4:30am. I think we deserve something big for getting all nine of us up and out at such a crazy hour but we will do anything for our Megan.
We arrived at the airport around 5am and were greeted by several of our friends. Megan and I quickly headed to the counter to get her tickets and check her luggage. She was very proud that each bag weighed right at 50 pounds as the porter placed them on the scale. Tell a 17 year old girl that she has 100 pounds for three months and I promise she will use up every ounce of it!
As if the emotions of the morning were not running high enough we had a major issue at check-in. The US Air clerk at the counter explained that Megan's ticket and her Passport names did not match and he could not issue her the ticket. At first we thought no big deal because Megan realized this a few weeks ago and had called Ethiopia airlines to have it changed. The gentleman then explained that he could not change the ticket that someone at Ethiopian Airlines would have to make the change in the reservation. He explained that we would need to contact them to have it changed. I started to dial right away only to get a recording that said to call back at a later time.
About the time I ended the first call the man realized the look of panic on our faces when David arrived from parking the car. The US air representative then went to get his supervisor to help with the situation. Long story short after numerous phone calls (and being hung up on by an Ethiopian  airline representative) we found out that the Ethiopian Airlines office in America opens at 9:00am for business. Megan's flight was scheduled for 7:30am and the agent told us that we needed to have something figured out by 6:30am in order for her to make the flight. He then offered for us to purchase a new ticket to Ethiopia with the correct spelling of her name....I am not kidding! Sure we have a few more thousand dollars to purchase another ticket because Henderson was spelled without the first N.
The supervisor returned and he explained that there was nothing that could be done. He said that he could talk to homeland security to see if they would allow her to fly to DC with a misspelled name and then hope that once in DC the matter could be resolved. At least at that point we knew the Ethiopian airline office would be open and we would have a better chance of being helped. Within a few minutes someone from security came over and agreed to let her fly to DC yet they were unsure of what would happen at that point. Megan was more stressed out than I was at this point. The thought of being in the DC airport with the wrong name on an international ticket did not sound good to her.
I then thought about our dear friend, Nicco. In Ethiopia it was afternoon and maybe he could get a hold of someone at the Ethiopian airlines office in Addis for us by phone. I called and he answered on the first ring which doesn't always happen. I quickly explained that Megan was having issues with her ticket and questioned if he could help us contact the airline there in Addis. He responded that he was three minutes away from the Hilton hotel where an Ethiopia airline office is located. Within five minutes Nicco was speaking with an agent (who happens to be his cousin) face to face in the Ethiopia airline office and was having the issue resolved.
I think the US Air clerk thought I was crazy when I said the issue would be resolved in five minutes. He waited a few minutes and refreshed his screen to see some activity. The activity was that Megan's ticket was completely canceled and he said, "Oh no. If they don't get it back up in a few minutes she will have no ticket to get to DC." At this point I knew we had only a few minutes and I continued to pray. He then said, "Unbelievable! It is here and ready." Within thirty seconds he handed the tickets to us. We had just a few precious moments to spare.
Megan was then able to quickly say goodbye to everyone and she headed to security at 6:28am...God is so good and we are so thankful for good friends like Nicco!

A quick update: As many of you know Megan hates to fly. She loves to travel the world but the flights stress her out. I have been praying that someone kind would be sitting beside her on the LONG flight to Addis. She just texted to let us know that an older lady who is traveling to Uganda for 2 months is sitting beside her. She said that she is a very kind lady who has been a missionary most of her life. God really has gone before her and I love to watch Him work! Excited for my girl as she is on her way to serve the least of these.

How Beautiful are the feet of those that bring good news! -Romans 10:15

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Deep Pain.....

I just left our newest son in his bed with his oldest sister. As I was tucking him in tonight tears started to  flow down his face right after prayer time. I quietly questioned why he was sad and he started to sob. He then muttered, "I am going to miss Megan." He was then weeping loudly.
The deep pain and loss that he has endured in his young life is more than I can imagine. He realizes that another loss is coming and he doesn't want to say goodbye again.
I quickly called for Megan and she crawled into his bed and started to rub his head and cry with him- She is still there. Please pray for our family- We are thrilled that Megan is going where God is leading her but it certainly is painful on so many levels. He catches every tear and we are so thankful that this goodbye is not forever.........Trusting Him with our aching hearts tonight.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Month From Today.......

A month from today Megan will be on her way for her first 3 months in Ethiopia. Reality is setting in that in a few short weeks she will be half way around the world and so she is soaking up every moment with friends and family! You can read below a letter from Megan and I am asking that you pray about how you can be a part of her upcoming journey. She has her finances covered for most of the first three months but then only has a commitment of $25 a month for the second half of the school year. We know that God will provide all that is needed as she follows close to Him and where He is leading her! Please contact me if you want to be a part..........Excited for what is ahead:



Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I graduated high school last month.  Now that the celebrations are done, I am ready to focus on what is next for me.  For the past 6 months I have felt God leading me to invest the next year of my life in serving children who are in desperate circumstances in Ethiopia.  I have investigated several options and believe that God has led me to serve as an intern with Blessing The Children. 

You can find out more about Blessing The Children by going to www.blessingthechildren.org  They have a long history and a great track record of effectively caring for the needs of children who are orphans or are in serious danger of becoming orphans.  They have been effective in stepping in to provide stability, education, hope and help. I will be working at the Adana Children Center in Debre Zeyit.  “Adana” is the Amharic word that simply means “RESCUE.”  It is what I want the next season of my life to be about.

My days in Ethiopia will consist of me working in a school each morning with over 150 children in the Debre Zeyit area. Each of these children are in a sponsorship program that provides education and basic needs for them to be able to either stay with their family or with a foster family. I will be very involved with the sponsorship portion of this ministry by helping to deliver food, basic needs and provide communication between sponsors and the children. 

As I go, I will need some strong support both through prayers and finances.  I am inviting you to join me on this journey. I will be sending updates for specific prayer requests while I am away and I still need to raise money in order for me to serve this next school year.  I was blessed during graduation that so many of you chose to give towards this upcoming trip. I received about 20% of what was needed for graduation and now it is time for me to raise the rest. 
Here is a breakdown of my financial needs:

One time costs:  $ 4,500.00  Airfare (to and from Ethiopia twice)
                             250.00       Shots (updates)
                             100.00       Visa and Passport Updates

Monthly expense  $575.00/month   Blessing the Children (housing and meals)

 Total      $10,025.00     Total needed 
         -     $2,100.00        Graduation gifts

                $7,925.00      Remaining Need

If you would like to be a part of the financial team or the prayer team please email me at Henderson.Megan96@yahoo.com . I am trusting that God will provide all that is needed for me to serve Him over the next nine months. I look forward to sending out frequent updates and I will be blogging and sharing photos along the journey. I am excited that He has called me and I look forward to having you and your family join me on this exciting journey.  

I would ask that you join me in praying for :

God to go before me and come behind me
God to protect me as I travel and serve
Finances to be covered
The team that I will work with to be unified
The children to feel God’s love as I care for them
Opportunities for me to boldly share Christ with those who do not know Him
Time with Tia, Garrett and Lemi’s birth families who live close by                                                               

I am excited about the days ahead and look forward to all that God is going to do as I step out on faith and follow Him.


Thanks for your love and support as I chase after Him,


Megan Henderson

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Knowing and biting my tongue..........

Tonight as we were driving home David questioned me about something and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. It was a very simple question but it started the process of me thinking about so much more and so here I sit in bed after midnight typing away.
This past week was the 25th anniversary of the first date that David and I ever went on. We have talked about these 25 years many times over the past few days and so I am sure that this is what sparked his question. His question was this, "What did you use to think, prior to us ever going out on a date when I would joke with you about getting married one day?" so this is where a little background comes in and where my thoughts have been this evening........

Long before David and I started dating I remember knowing that one day I would marry him. It is very strange because at the time I actually was focused on another guy yet in my heart, God was revealing that David and I would one day be married.  I felt so strongly about this that when I was just 13 years old I told my mom that David would one day be my husband. I remember my mom half way laughing and responding by saying, "You don't really even know what marriage is." Only now having teenagers of my own can I appreciate where she was coming from. I really didn't have a clue about the marriage part.

Very few times in my life have I felt that I knew exactly what God was going to do in my life or the life of my family but on these occasions it is painfully hard to know yet live out the process in His time not mine. This is where the question from tonight comes in. It was a struggle to be David's friend for several years as I watched him date girl after girl (some of which were my close friends) feeling that in my heart one day he would be mine. We spent many hours together as friends and he would question me about the girl he was dating or joke about a date that the two of us could get married. I remember longing to tell him that I felt God had revealed to me that he would someday be my husband, yet I knew I would sound like a completely ridiculous teenage girl with a huge crush and so I kept quiet. I remember David giving me advice on handling a guy situation in my life and hearing countless stories of other girls. I, day after day, waited for God to play out His perfect plan. I journaled (which is so fun to read now) and prayed without ceasing that God would bring about His perfect plan for my life and for David's life. I waited and I waited. Then I waited some more. God was bending my heart towards the man that would one day be my husband and that bending was hard. There were days that my heart, even as young as it was, longed to be loved. There were times that I could have settled for something less, someone less but I chose to wait and be silent.

Tonight I answered David's question by saying, "I just I knew that I knew that one day we would actually be planning our wedding day so even though it was hard I was really fine with it. I knew that God was working it out and I had faith in His plan for us." Now what I didn't say was that my heart felt crushed in a million pieces along the way but I really didn't think about that until later tonight. The days and nights that I longed to feel loved were hard as a young teenage girl. The wrestling with and at times wanting to fill my time with someone else so the waiting wouldn't be so hard. The drives home from school with David where I felt I knew a secret that I wanted to share with him yet I knew I couldn't without looking foolish. The days (yes days) he helped me grow up and made me receive flowers from this boy named Shane (hope he never reads this) who kept sending them to me when I argued with David that taking flowers meant that I was interested- David explained that if a guy is giving flowers it is rude to not receive them. The hours spent at my house and David's house with friends where I longed for God to reveal to me that this was indeed His plan for my life. This is where this question made me think tonight-

There are times that I know that God is calling me or someone I love to something and in my human flesh I want to know from Him exactly what the plan is- what every step will look like and how long it will take. I usually ask Him to make himself really clear. I often ask Him for signs along the way just as I did while in this waiting. Looking back now I wonder why in the world would David have been joking around about getting married one day when he was dating other girls? Honestly, I think this was God's way of assuring me of His plan for me- for us. I remember on numerous occasions joking about our wedding in David's car and hoping he didn't notice me smiling from ear to ear as we laughed together. Each of these occasions I felt that I knew a secret that he didn't know and I guess I really did!

After I answered David's question tonight I then had a question for him, "What would you have thought had I told you back then that I knew I was going to marry you?" He answered by saying, "I probably wasn't ready for that and so I am not sure if I would have reacted positively." I knew then that in my waiting on the Lord in this situation I had done the right thing. Now I think that I could have saved David (and several girls) some heartache had I stepped in and shared what I felt God was telling me but I am so thankful that I just patiently waited on Him. That His perfect plan was being worked out as I patiently and quietly (sometimes literally biting my tongue) waited.

I will never forget 25 years ago when David and I were alone on a mission trip in Michigan where he told me that I was special to him. Where he asked if he could kiss me and gently did......Yes, we hadn't even gone on a first date and even better we were on a youth church trip where none of this should have been taking place. After literally getting sick from the excitement (not in front of David and I did make it to the bathroom) I realized that God was revealing His perfect, long awaited plan. All I could do was be in awe of Father who cared so deeply for me and hold on to Him for the journey that was ahead.

A journey where time after time God has called me to something or revealed something to me where there was a long time of waiting. Whether it was through a job situation, a tubal pregnancy, heart failure, adoption, issues with children, friendships, marriage, planting a church, or the numerous other things He has grown and stretched me. Grown and stretched me to the point that there is very little of me left and that is such a good thing- Less of me and more of Him.

I can't imagine my life apart from God's leading, my amazing husband and our seven children. As God continues to reveal His will to me I pray that I would be faithful, obedient and resting in Him. I pray that I will have the same heart I did as a teenage girl to wait patiently for Him to move.

There are many things that I feel God is doing in my life, the life of my family, and several friends right now yet I wait patiently for God to play out His perfect plan. I want so much to jump in and control the situations, prevent heart aches, make families complete by adoption, change direction of actions, change hearts and desires, and the list goes on but for now I will pray and journal. For one day I will look back and see how He perfected His plan just like was lived out in the life of a teenage girl and boy who fell in love, got married and currently have 7 amazing kids!

What about you? What is He revealing to you? Are you settling for what you want?  Trying to fulfill your desires or are you willing to wait on His best for you?  I am not sure I will ever get good at this waiting thing but the more He reminds me of what He will do if I will just trust Him the more I am willing to fall at His feet and give all of me to Him. My life is not my own- To You I belong! Thankful for a reminder of His faithfulness again tonight-





Friday, June 14, 2013

Waiting.....

Last night David, Megan and I traveled all night and I had the middle of the night shift to drive. David was sleeping and Megan was singing her heart out as I quieted my soul. My life is busy and each day I carve out time to spend with God but last night I had literally hours to be still (not completely quiet because remember Megan was singing) and spend some time with God.

We have a question we ask in our family often and it is simply, "How is your heart?" Last night in the stillness I had time to search my heart with God. I had time to share with Him my heart- Yes, I know He knows my heart but it was such an amazing time of me pouring it all out to Him. He knows my desires, He sees my heart, He deeply cares about each need that concerns me. He sees how I always want things to work my way and at my pace.

 I quieted my soul and He revealed to me that so often I only half trust Him. I trust Him and I want to follow Him in all I do but sometimes I want to walk ahead of Him. It is usually on the path that He has set out for me but often I am several steps ahead of where He wants me to be in the process as if I can take control and do His plan in my own timing. I spend a good bit of time in confessing to Him for my lack of willingness to truly wait on Him.

I thought over the actives of my life and where I find myself in each of them. How I often miss out on greater blessings by jumping ahead whether it is in caring for one of our adopted children and wanting results, wanting an answer to a prayer that I have been praying, being involved in caring for the least of these, a relationship to be different, or desiring a need be met for one of my children. So often I know the path that He is calling me to but I struggle waiting for His perfect timing.

I never want to be found guilty of being behind or lazy when it comes to what He is calling me to. I often feel that when He is asking something of me or revealing something to me and I want to jump in and start the process. There are times that this is indeed what He wants me to do and then there are times that He is asking me to trust Him in my waiting for His timing. He wants my soul to wait for Him.

I have never been good at waiting! You would think that after completing two adoptions (one which felt like forever) that I would have developed a good bit of patience but that is just not the case. I struggle with this and it is a deep struggle. The mom in me is a fixer and so when I see something that needs to be tended to or something that I know God is doing I want to jump in and help it along. More times than not I am ahead of Him and find myself doing things in my own strength until I slow down enough to realize that ONLY when I wait on Him am I able to do His will completely. When I rush ahead things get messy.

I read this morning in Psalms 130:5-6 "I wait for The Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for The Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning."

I thought about the last repeated phrase- "More than the watchmen wait for the morning." I know that the watchmen would wait up high on towers all night protecting their city. Each night (much like I found myself as I drove last night) they couldn't wait for the sun to rise for the night to be over and be finished with the task at hand of watching over the city while it was dark. I thought about how there was nothing the watchmen could do to make morning come sooner no matter how hard they might try. How they longed for the moments to pass and for daybreak to come with the rising of the sun.

 I thought back to when my kids were little and how there was nothing longer than a night with a sick child. The hours seem to pass so slowly as I longed for morning. Those long sleepless nights would always be followed by a morning where I would call first thing and make a plan to get them to the doctor. There was not much I could do during the night other than hold tightly to them and pray for morning to come quickly.


I feel the same when God is asking me to wait. It is especially hard when I know that in my own strength I could make progress- not real progress but progress in my own strength. It gives me a false sense of strength and so often I find myself jumping in. I long to be at the place where my soul waits for The Lord more that the watchmen for the morning. I long to have my soul to wait for The Lord more than I longed for morning to break when I was a young mom within a sick child.

I feel that in the past few months God has called to me to several things and has been revealing several things to me and my flesh wants to jump right in and control the situations but instead I am choosing to have my soul wait for Him. It is a raging battle but a battle worth fighting so that I will be  in step with Him. Not one step ahead or one step behind. Each of these situations and callings are precious to Him and I don't want to get in the way of the blessing of having my soul wait, watch and jump in when He calls.

What about you? Maybe you struggle with not stepping when He calls you to action. Maybe fear keeps you from taking action when He is asking that of you. Maybe you are like me and find yourself trying to move ahead in things that He has called you to before He wants you to jump in. Do you trust Him and His timing in your relationships (or lack there of), your job, your finances, your ministry?

Praying we will have Souls that are willing and waiting to follow Him! Excited for the journey ahead-

Monday, June 10, 2013

Daughters.....

This weekend was full of fun at our house as we celebrated Megan's graduation. It was a busy weekend with not much time for me to process what was really taking place and I am sure that was just how it needed to be. Today however I had a few hours alone in the car and the reality of this past weekend became very real. As I was driving the song "Daughters" by John Mayer came on the radio. I found myself crying as I sang along:
Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too



I reflected on the good days where I was the mom I desired to be and looked back at those moments that I wish I could replay where I was not. I thought about the days of rocking my sweet first born and the days of teaching her to read. The moments where I held her as she cried because others had hurt her feelings or left her out. The hard days of her trying to be all grown up yet feeling like a little girl who just wanted to play. The moments where I was frustrated by her rolling her eyes or having to ask her for the millionth time to pick up after herself. The nights of butterfly kisses and being tucked in just right after we read devotions. The talks about growing up. Us crying together when she saw other friends walking down a path that she knew she did not want to walk. A semester of her being here at home with me as her teacher. The college visits where she was more stressed out than I was if that was even possible.  Each memory seemed to lead to another.


Then I thought of her today. She decided that for Lemi's birthday she wanted to spend a day alone with him. She planned a very special day that would be full of first for him. She decided that a day at Carowinds riding rides and playing at the water park would be a place that they could make some fun memories and so she made it happen. I am sure that today has been one of the best days of Lemi's life and Megan helped to create that fun for him.


This morning as I  watched her pack a backpack full of snacks, towels and tickets that she purchased I found myself in awe of what an amazing lady she has become. This surely didn't happen overnight yet to me as her mom it seems as if it did. I then thought about my Kaylee who is currently in Florida serving a large group of kids this week. I thought about the excitement and anticipation she has had the past few weeks to get to camp to serve and love on kids.

As I sang along to John Mayer today I thought about those words- Father, be good to your daughters. Daughter's will love like you do. I thought of the amazing father that my girls have and how he has taught them to love so well. How he has always made the time to be present in their lives and put their needs before his own. He has loved me in front of them in a way that they know what a man's love should look like. Today I reread the letter that David wrote to Megan on her sixteenth birthday (http://hendersonpartyofeight.blogspot.com/2012/01/fathers-love.html) and I realized that my girls were loving others because they were first loved and loved well.

I thought about the years ahead for both of them and how much too soon they will fall in love. (It really as amazed me that I see other girls seek the love and attention of boys my girls are content to wait.) As a mom I know that four guys have some pretty big shoes to fill when it comes to stepping in and loving my girls well. David has set the bar high and for that I am so thankful. This is only because he was loved first- With a father's love.

I know that God willing my girls long to be mothers one day and I know that just as this song says, "Girls become lovers that turn into mothers."  I pray that God's love has poured from my life into the lives of my girls. I long for the day that I get to watch them pour this great love into their own children. I am in awe that God has used me to raise two amazing girls and I know that they are who they are because of His great love for them. He filled in the gaps in my weaknesses, He has protected them from harm, and He loves them more than I do.

It is a bitter-sweet feeling to watch my girls at this stage of the journey. I know that Megan is stepping from one season of life into another and Kaylee is right behind her. A season where some of the biggest decisions of her life will be made- She will decide on a career, she will find a very best friend who will become her husband, and she will trust the Lord as she steps into places that He has set out for her. I am thrilled to watch it all unfold but there is a longing in my heart to have one more night where my five year old and four year old giggly girls give me butterfly kisses as I tuck them in just right.........Trusting Him with them again tonight and praying for the men and children that will be added to our family in the years ahead. Thankful that he saw fit for me to mother these amazing young ladies.

Happy early Father's Day David- Thanks for being an amazing example of Christ love to our girls!





Sunday, June 2, 2013

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered............

Time after time I am amazed by God's goodness. It looks like after years of Him caring for me I would not be surprised  by His deep and personal love for me. The past few weeks in a very real way I have learned again what it is like for God to know me, love me and provide for me in a deep and personal way. I have hesitated writing this blog but I was reminded today looking at a photo of two precious orphans who this week have a home, that when we share God's story lived out in us God can use it to change the hearts and lives of others and so I will share how God has loved me so personally the past few days.

The past few years have been a huge change for our family adding three children in less than two and a half years. When a family goes from a family to six to a family of nine many sacrifices are made. Thankfully we have all willingly made the adjustments and sacrifices for our family to grow and God has blessed us on this journey. Just when we got use to adding two children God pressed in on us to add another and in our family we knew that this addition would mean more sacrifice for each of us. Emotionally, physically, and financially we knew as a family when Lemi came home life would adjust once again. We were all eight willing and the sacrifices looked different for each of us.

This is not a woe is me and I would never want it to sound that way but financially having a family of nine on a pastor's salary doesn't really make sense or add up. I knew that when our family grew to nine I was going to have to once again figure out where we could make some changes financially for our family. There were several  areas we knew we needed to cut back.

One day while in the car I remember very clearly knowing that a sacrifice that I needed to make was the money that I spent on having my hair cut. I remember a small wrestling with God because when Tia and Garrett came home I made a choice to find someone who could cut my hair cheaper than my favorite guy (still miss you JD).   This day in the car I remember feeling that God was asking me to sacrifice having my hair done at all. I reminded God that day that my hair is a real mess if it is not taken care of well. I reminded Him that when He made me He gave me a TON of hair. I also reminded Him that I had already found someone cheaper and I was spreading the appointments way out. I know it seems somewhat weird but in my car that day I told God that I would trust Him and that when Lemi came home I would give up hair cuts and color.  I knew that this is what He was asking me to sacrifice.

Several weeks ago I got a note from a distant friend online that I had been entered into a Mother's Day contest at Valeria spa where I could raise money for a charity of my choice and if I raised the most money the spa would match the giving up to $2500. I knew right away that Garrett's Heart would be my charity and I went to work trying to raise some funding to help our extended family and friends on the island. Long story short in just a few days more than $4500 was raised. I won the contest and over $7,000 was donated to Garrett's heart. I was once again blown away by God's goodness to provide for those we love so much in Ethiopia.

Along with the $2500 given by the spa to the winning charity, the spa was also giving $500 a month in spa services to the Mother's Day winner for eight months in a row. I literally found myself weeping that for eight months not only had God provided as many hair cuts as I want but free shampoo, conditioner, manicures, pedicures, and anything else that is available at a spa. I went last week for the first haircut that I have had in months and sat crying as she was cutting my hair. I shared with the hairdresser my story. The story of a God that loves me beyond anything that I can actually comprehend. A God that sees the sacrifice of a mom and provides so much more than she deserves. A God that created my heart and knew that I was more than willing to sacrifice whatever He was asking of me to provide a home for our son. Did God owe me anything for my sacrifice? Absolutely not! Does He love me with a love more abundant than I can understand? Yes! I am still amazed that the smallest details of my life He cares about. He provided more than I could have ever dreamed or even imagined.

What is He asking you to sacrifice? Don't miss out on what He has ahead for you by holding on to what you think is important- Our God can do more than you can comprehend when you follow Him.

 "What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." Matthew 10

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three Years Ago.......

Three years ago today our paperwork in Ethiopia was finally ready! After climbing what seemed to be a million mountains Nicco called to say that everything was finally ready to be submitted to court. We had no idea on that day what would be ahead. The days of great joy, deep sadness, the six week stay in Ethiopia, the countless hours on the soccer field, the loads of laundry, the giggles, family game nights, new friendships, the six wells drilled,  the always empty pantry, and the additional friend who would soon be our son were still ahead of us and we had no clue. Today I am again humbled that He chose us to walk this path. We may not always walk it perfectly but we are trusting Him each step of the way! Thankful that we are shaping our boys to be kings and our sweet girl to be a queen wrapped in His Majesty! (It may take a few minutes for the video to load)


video

I am so thankful for the priceless pictures of all three of my children together long before we knew them. God knew and He knew what a blessing those small glimpses would be to our family. Praising Him today for His goodness! Praying that other families will step up and love the least of these- Precious kings and queens longing for a family.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mother's Day.....

Mother's Day the past few years has been bitter-sweet to me. I am so thankful that God has chosen me to be the mom to the 7 amazing kids that He has entrusted to me but I know that in my rejoicing there is great sorrow for two moms in the world. Two moms that I love dearly and pray for many times a day. My children's birth moms. (Werke- Tia and Garrett's birth mom on the left and Busha- Lemi's birth mom on the right)
Some of you may not know but the Saturday before Mother's Day is Birth Mother's Day. Each year I wish I was close enough to celebrate with the precious ladies that gave life to three of my children but that just hasn't been the case. This year God has opened up a door for me to honor these ladies and I would love your help.
I found out last week that I had been chosen to be in a Mother's Day contest along with 19 other moms to raise money for a charity of my choice. Of course my choice is Garrett's Heart to help my children's birth families! A local spa here in the Charlotte area will match up to $2500.00 for the winner of the contest. Here is where you come in.......would you be willing to donate to Garrett's Heart prior to May 11th in order for this matching gift of $2500.00 to become a reality? Would you be willing to donate in honor of your mom or in memory of your mom this Mother's day?
A few weeks ago two more wells were drilled and working for the Zay people and now it is time to begin some new projects on the island such as irrigation and health care. It completely amazes me how God has opened so many doors for money to be raised for the needs of the island where my kids were born. I remember like it was yesterday walking down the dusty path on the island and climbing into that old, blue boat. I remember praying, "God, there is so much work to do here. I have no idea how I can help these precious and desperate people but with your help I will." Never in a million years would I have guessed that our kids elementary school would have raised thousands of dollars, yards sales would take place, things sold on E-bay, my kids friends selling cookies door to door, our hair guy doing a day where proceeds were given, people I don't know giving, young kids emptying their piggy banks, and now maybe a spa matching up to $2500.00. Our God is so good and SO creative!
If you would like to give please go to https://www.facebook.com/ValeriaSalon and find my name (I am #11) and Garrett's Heart. You can make the pledge there by commenting the amount and if you want to give in honor or memory of your mom I would LOVE for you to include that! The check needs to made out to UCF with Garrett's Heart in the memo line. You can then either give me the check or mail it to me at 7944 Woodmere Drive Harrisburg, NC 28075. If you do this in honor of your mom I would love to send her a note from our family!
I would love to think that this Birth Mother's Day I am doing something HUGE to give back to the ladies who have given me three of the greatest blessings of my life- Will you pray for these ladies with me today?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Flying........


As I type these first few words tears are pouring down my face. This blog will be real and really full of raw emotion for me as a mom. For the past week and a half I have been wrestling with God. It feels like the same wrestling as when we waited to bring our twins home but the wrestling this time seems deeper in my heart and sometimes much uglier and selfish on my part.

If you have been a reader of this blog for very long you may recall in January when I wrote a blog about the Passion Conference and what God was doing in my heart. If you haven't read it you may want to just to see how amazing God was to prepare this mom's heart. Our oldest daughter, Megan, told David and I a week and a half ago (after enrolling at Wingate University to major in Elem. Education in the fall) that God was really tugging at her heart to give this next year to Him and serve Him in Ethiopia.

I should not be surprised that after at least 7 trips to Mexico, a summer in Ethiopia, the adoption of three siblings and numerous mission trips closer to home that she feels led to spend time serving others. My mom heart aches to think of my Megan being half way around the world from me for an extended period of time. I then feel guilty that I do not trust God enough for Him to take her half way around the world to use her. A wrestling that will not stop! A few nights ago I spend the entire night (and I mean the entire night with not one minute of sleep) in prayer and tears. David woke up a few times and just held me and prayed for me as I wept. Some of the night I found myself crying tears of joy that my daughter has such a relationship with her Heavenly Father that at 17 she knows what He is calling her to do. Other tears of deep grief to think that next Christmas she would not be sitting around the table enjoying celebrating Jesus birth with our family (the thought of her empty chair sends me almost over the edge). I then would cry out to God to change my heart and give her completely to Him.

I want to take you back to Good Friday night a few weeks ago in our basement. I think this may have been the tipping point for Megan to know what God wanted her to do this next year. Each year we watch The Passion of Christ with the older kids on Good Friday but this was the first year that our entire family watched together. There were many tears shed by the kids during the movie and they each had many questions. When the movie ended our precious Tia started to weep. Not just a small cry but a deep and loud wailing. David held her close and questioned what was wrong. She then said, "But what about my Daddy? He didn't know Jesus." There was a piercing quiet in our basement for a few seconds followed by sobbing. Our entire family were weeping. I gently said, "Tia, we do not know but maybe your dad did know Jesus." As quick as I spoke those words Garrett and Lemi spoke up through their own tears and said, "No Mom, No one has told the people on the  island about Jesus. Nobody there knows about Jesus." More tears and a commitment by us to continue to change that. (Praise God that is happening and we received some great news yesterday about some work there but that is another blog in and of itself) We prayed as a family and we all were changed that night. Not a change like new years resolution that quickly fades but it was a life altering night for our family.

Like I said earlier I should not have been surprised when Megan came to us and shared how she felt that she was being called to go and serve for this next year. As David and I talked with her she knew she had many questions to answer and she kept saying, "I know you guys are going to have a million questions and so do I and I have no answers. I just know He is calling me to go." We prayed together and told her we would support her in any way needed for her to be where He wants her to be. David and I continue to just look at each other and remind each other daily that when we exposed our children to serving others we raise world changers. This was one of those nights that confirms that we are raising world changers!

We were so thankful that when we contacted Wingate University they were so kind and she can deffer her enrollment so her acceptance letter and scholarships will just roll to next year. We have prayed as we have researched places for her to serve in Ethiopia. She knows she wants to work with Ethiopian children and she feels led to teach eventually so that has helped narrow the search. She has found one place to serve that is south of Addis and almost half way between Addis and Zway (where our kids are from). It looks like it would be and amazing place for her. It is a ministry that helps keep children either in their home by sponsorship or in a foster home instead of an orphanage setting and provides a good education at a local school. This would give her opportunities to not only be in the classrooms at the school but out in the community during home visits. We are praying that if this is where God would have her then the doors would continue to be wide open. If this is not the place that He would close this door and open another one. There are many ministries that she thinks she would like to be a part of and so we will see where she can be best used by Him.

Now back to my mom heart that aches..........I had my plan for Megan. She would graduate high school a year early, she would go to college and enjoy the fun aspects of college life. She would stay up all night studying for exams, she would go out and have fun on the weekends (and hopefully come home some weekends), she would have late night talks with her roommate, gain the famous freshman fifteen, she would fall in love with the man of her dreams, she would walk around campus in her cute Toms with a sporty backpack with her Mac book in tow. In four short years she would finish college and move on to be a classroom teacher here in the Cabarrus County school system. Instead my precious girl will be graduating a year early, she will fly to Ethiopia to give of herself. Instead of late nights chatting with a room mate she will be up early serving with other missionaries. She will be holding fifteen pound children that should weigh three times that much while she eats very little, she will fall more in love with Jesus than some other man, Her cute Toms will be very dusty from the dry dirt in Ethiopia as she walks from house to house to care for the poorest or poor in our world. Her backpack will be full of bubbles, nail polish and kids activities instead of text books, Her Mac book will be used not for education but for the only communication with us that she will have.

There is a deep ache in my heart but also a deep rejoicing that my girl will be right where God wants her to be. She continues to say to me, "Mom, I know you don't want me to go." I keep reminding her (and myself if I am honest) just as my dad use to say to me, "I would rather you be far away from me serving in His will rather than close to me and not be in His will."

Is this easy? Absolutely not! When I think of holidays next year without her I sob. When I think that for months on end our children will not have a real relationship with her I literally get sick at my stomach. When I think about those lonely days that are ahead of her where she wonders why she decided to move to the middle of Africa my heart drops and I shake in fear for her. When I think of all of the what if's satan takes over and so I start quoting scripture- My God is bigger than the what if's!

I am holding on to the fact that I know that God loves my Megan more than I do. She was not my creation, she is His. I will always be her mom but my job of giving her wings is quickly coming to an end. It is time to trust her and trust Him as I let her fly.

If you feel led to help be a part of Megan's next year please feel free to contact us- She will need to raise up a strong prayer team (for her and for her mom!) and finances but as always we know God will have it all covered...........


Megan's thirteenth Birthday trip- 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our family is so thankful that Tia and Garrett's older sister and Lemi's older brother have clean drinking water! Thanks to all of you who have given to Garrett's Heart to make this a reality. When I first saw this photo tears of joy filled my eyes. I love the smile on the face of the boy on the far left. Sweet, simple joy due to having clean water- In our society we very rarely get excited about anything yet he is so thrilled to have clean water. Take a few minutes to ponder that! Praising God for His faithfulness to do so much more than we could have ever imagined when we said yes to adopt. Thankful to be on this journey!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

His Story......

I am always amazed at how God's story plays out in the life of our family.

For Christmas this year my mom had our family blog printed into book form. For the past several weeks at bedtime I have been reading our blog to the kids. For some of them they remember living the pages of this book very well. Several of our kids have had no idea what our family thought, felt, or struggle with while we were waiting for our forever family to be complete.

It is always with tear filled eyes (as Garrett rolls his eyes yet is so interested) that I read the words that I had written during the long and painful wait to make our forever family complete. I can barely speak as I read the notes at the end of each blog that I had written to Tia and Garrett each day during the wait to bring them home. Each night I see Tia and Garrett light up with joy as they listen to the love and desire we had to bring them home.

A few weeks ago when we finished reading Garrett questioned me about this book, "Mom, Can other people buy this book at the book store?" I explained to him that this was a special book for our family and that it wasn't a book that anyone else could purchase at the book store. He got very quiet and then he said, "You know I think it should be at the book store. Mom, if other people could read about our story I think more kids would be adopted. I can help you write the book so we can sell it at the book store." I told Garrett that I would love for him to write a book with me but that writing a book takes a lot of time and for now we are just keeping a blog of all that God is doing in our life. I also told him to start praying that God would allow us the time and resources to write a book if that is how God wanted to use our adoption story. Before I tucked Garrett in he prayed the sweetest prayer that God would help others to get to read about our story so that other orphaned kids could have a home.

For many months I had felt the need to share our story but this conversation with Garrett prompted my heart and I had a very hard time going to sleep that night. I hear over and over from others that I need to write our story in book form (Yes, Laura I know you will be the first to buy one) yet I am not a writer. Most of the time the keys are wet from tears as I try to type my emotions of the story that God is having us live out. I went to sleep praying that God would give me wisdom on leading Garrett to share our story. 

Honestly, I should not be surprised but God's timing still always amazes me. The very next morning I had a message from Daniel who is with the Abba Fund. The message said,

"Dave & Mendy, Just touching base to make sure my emails got through to you and didn't end up in a junk email folder (see below).
Willie Mangum, the creator and producer of the show, has a team interviewing people in Charlotte in the coming week and was hoping to connect with y'all if you're open to the idea. Let me know and I'll make an introduction, or steer him in a different direction ...
Blessings,
Daniel

Daniel LaBry
Jan 28 (2 days ago)

to Dave, Mendy, Eugene, Dwain
Dave and Mendy,
I hope all is well -- love seeing all the adventures of the family on Facebook. And Dave, love the sermon series you've been doing -- God must have really filled you up during that sabbatical time
I wanted to touch base with y'all to see if you would be open to talking to a friend of ABBA Fund's, Willie Mangum, who is working on a pilot TV program for Inspiration Network (more explanation below). He is right in the Charlotte area and asked us to help find an adoptive family with an inspiring story. When I shared a little about y'alls adoption journey, the missional impact y'all helped spark for the Zay people, the adoption culture that has developed in y'alls church, and the 1+1+1=0 initiative that was birthed for North Carolina... not to mention your history with ABBA Fund -- well, let's just say Willie asked that we bump his getting to meet y'all to the top of the list."

As I read these words again tears poured down my face. I think I read this four or five times in amazement. In God's perfect timing we didn't receive this note on the first attempt of Daniel sending it to us but the day after my conversation with Garrett. We of course said that we would love to share God's story being lived out in our family. I could not wait for Garrett to get off of the school bus that afternoon so that I could read this email to him.

Fast forward to today, here in our home. We all got up earlier than usual this morning as the crew had to get here early to set up.  All nine of us had our hair and make-up done (The boys LOVED that part as they teased each other about the bright red lipstick) as our home was transformed with lights, cameras and sound equipment. It was neat to experience such a thing in our home.


We all nine had a personal interview time and I was first. As I sat in the chair with the camera inches from my face tears began to fall. We hadn't even started and I had to ask for a box of tissue. I was once again overwhelmed with God's faithfulness to us when we say yes to Him. I thought back to the journey that He has had our family on and to the night where Garrett and I knelt in his floor and asked God to help us share His story being lived out in life of our family.

A small side note- It was very strange to be sitting inches from a camera, someone fixing your hair and having someone that you watched (and voted for) on American Idol (Chris Sligh) snapping pictures of  me. I would think that I should have been taking pictures of him........

Today we took another step on this journey. A step that we couldn't begin to imagine but one that we know He had us take. The step of making our story a little more public in hopes that lives will be changed. Our prayer is that by sharing our story many other families will step onto the journey of adding the fatherless to their home- We are praying that more Forever Families will be established!

Humbled that He has called us and looking forward to the ever changing journey up ahead-




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tonight-

Tonight is one of those nights where I have been reminded that in God's perfect plan life would look very different for our family. The tears that were shed tonight by one of my boys in a perfect world would not have fallen from his eyes. I don't think the pain that my son feels in his heart was what God intended when He formed a perfect world, however this is where we find ourselves.
Our smiling Lemi had a hard time at bedtime tonight. Garrett was already asleep due to a headache and so as I tucked Lemi in I had some one on one time with him. As we talked I noticed tears forming in the corners of his eyes. I gently questioned if he was ok. He shook his head no and tears started to fall down his cheeks. He then shared with me how much he misses his family in Ethiopia. My heart broke for him. There are no words to comfort my son and so I wrapped my arms around him and cried with him.
How my heart breaks that at such a young age he has had to endure so much. The loss of family, culture and security all by the time he was 4 or 5 years old. The years of watching other children be "chosen" by a family while he waited feeling as if he wasn't wanted.
Tonight there is an ache in my heart but it is joined with thanksgiving that our son is here- He is loved, cared for, accepted and will never be alone. Praying for healing in his precious heart that only God can give- Loving the best I know how and praising God that He chose me to be Lemi's adoptive mom!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You never know.....

Sunday night as I sat watching the Super Bowl, I was reminded that God can do some pretty amazing things with our life if we allow him. I was somewhat distracted as I watched the game by my thoughts. I had read numerous articles last week about players in the Super Bowl, the coaches being brothers, and the sex industry that comes along with such an event. My thoughts were on these things more than they were on the real game as the lights in the stadium went out.

I found myself glancing over at my boys from time to time and thinking about what they would become someday. It may not be that God wants them to become NFL players but He has something big lined up for them. Every once in a while Tia or one of the other four adopted children who were watching the game with us would come into the room and I would think the same.

Years ago, Leigh Anne Tuohy had no idea when she saw a needy teenage boy that someday she would be be standing on a football field celebrating the fact that her son had won the Super Bowl. Instead she saw a broken teenager that needed love, guidance and to have his physical needs met. She took a risk when others said she shouldn't to give him love, discipline and care.

I do not know Leigh Anne Tuohy and I will probably never meet her but as I watched the interaction of her and Michael Oher after the game I was filled with emotion. I know the deep love of an adoptive mom and how desperately hard the steps were for her to walk with her son from his teenage years to the present. How many times she wondered if she had made the wrong choice for her family, how many tears she had shed for him, and how many days she rejoiced as she watched him progress. I am sure there were moments where she longed for him to truly feel loved and for him to be able to give love back. There were maybe sleepless nights as she prayed for God to do what only He could do in healing the hurt that life had brought to him.





Why do I know these things? I know because I have adopted kids. Kids who didn't choose to need a family other than their biological one. Kids who always will look back and in some ways wonder why it had to be this way. Children who do not know how to receive love because they haven't really experienced true, unconditional love. Then comes the joy when you see them grow into what God has formed them to be. The moments where they begin to get it-

In the case of Michael Oher he has a huge platform to show what can be if others are willing to step up and invest even when others say you shouldn't.  I am sure as a young teenage boy he couldn't even begin to dream of what his life would be today. He couldn't imagine even finishing high school much less winning the Super Bowl. He couldn't imagine it until the Tuohy family took a risk and loved him.

I love what Mrs. Tuohy said, "Families do not have to match. You do not have to look like someone else to love them. There are wonderful kids all over this country and the world who want a forever family. We believe there are no unwanted kids, just unfound families."

Now I have no idea what the 7 adopted kids that I watched the Super Bowl with will become one day but I do know one thing- They will know that they are loved, cared for and accepted. When they know these things they will be able to be whatever He has created them to be..........

I am challenging you to take a risk with a child- You (and they)  will be so glad that you did! Are you an unfound family?

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Lindsay......

Tonight I have one of my favorite girls in the world who is going to write a guest blog- My precious 9 year old Lindsay is going to blog about what it was like to travel to Ethiopia and adopt 3 children her age.........
A few years ago my parents were talking to my family about adopting a child or two. I was exited because I would have a sister my age to play with but also at the same time I was a little sad. One reason is because I would have to share my mom and dad. I was excited to get to go to Ethiopia with my mom, dad, brother and sisters when it was time to bring Tia and Garrett home.
When we got to Ethiopia it was a little weird. I saw kids on the streets and I saw people washing other peoples shoes..One of the things that I liked most was when we got to see orphans. There was one girl that I didn't want to let go of. She was a little tiny baby. I loved that I could hold her but at the same time I was sad that she didn't have a mom that could hold her all day long.     
Ethiopia is very different from were I live. For one thing every morning at about 4:00 am we would hear music playing. We also saw many children living on the street. Every night we brought some dinner across the street to some boys who washed shoes to get money for food. I don't think that they had a home and it made me so sad to see kids my age not have a family.
When we came back home on an airplane Tia and Garrett were scared. I helped them by playing with them. This was only my second plane ride ever so I knew what it was like to be a little scared. My first plane ride was to Ethiopia.
When we got home Tia and Garrett were amazed by our house. They kept on turning the lights on and off. Also the turned the water on and off. They were so happy to have a bed that was just for them after having to share or not having a bed. I can't believe that they use to sleep on the dirt every night.
I was so glad to have them home and sharing my mom and dad hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. We even have now adopted Lemi because all of the kids in our family really wanted to adopt him. I am now glad that we have a big family with nine people. Lindsay

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Passion Mom........

For the past few years David and I have had the opportunity to be a small part of the Passion movement. We have the role of being door holders and leading a group of people to help the thousands (60,000 this year) of college students to find their seats in the Georgia Dome. It is always such a blessing to play our part which is to hold the door so that these students can receive all that God has for them for the few days that we are together.

This year I found myself oddly in a new role. I was doing what I had done the previous few years but this year my focus was different- This year our oldest daughter, Megan, was one of those 60,000 students who had gathered to worship and be challenged to be all that God had created them to be. I found myself in the role of being a Passion mom. In the years past I have been in awe of this generation who give sacrificially and worship passionately and this year I was so excited for our Megan as a senior in high school to experience these few days.

The days leading up to Passion I found myself praying for God to do some amazing things in Megan's heart and life while she was experiencing Passion. Megan has a huge heart and she seeks to follow God with all that she is and so I prayed that God would continue to reveal His plan for her life as she spent these days with other students.

During these few days I am always busy running around making sure that the door holders on my team have all that they need and/or help with any issues that arise. I spend much of my time praying as I walk miles a day around the Dome. On the second day, I stepped in for a few minutes of worship and I was amazed once again by the sight of 60,000 students worshiping our creator. It is really as close to heaven as I think it gets here on earth. With tears pouring down my face I worshiped Him and as I worshiped I felt Him tugging at my mom heart.

I felt Him say, "Mendy, are you really willing to let her (Megan) follow me?"
For the past two years Passion has focused on slavery. There are 27 million slaves in our world today. We heard story after story of lives who are in complete bondage without hope unless the church steps up to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What if God calls Megan to go and rescue those who are caught up in this bondage? Am I as her mom ok with that?

Success in our country is so marked out that if I were honest I will tell you what I had done just a few moments earlier. I had just send David a text that said, "Just think our son-in-law (or 2) could be worshiping in this very room with us now." You see I want Megan's life to unfold how I think it should unfold. I have always known what success would look like for her. She will go to college, fall in love with an amazing man (who loves God and can provide well for her), they will marry after graduation, Megan will be a teacher, they will purchase a home, they will be involved in the local church, they will have our grandchildren...........and the successes go on and on.

God caught my attention and very clearly made me think about what success to Him looks like. I am ashamed to say that His idea of success seemed so far away from mine. Success to Him would be Megan fulfilling the role that He has designed for her to play not doing what is expected from our society. Could it look like my success? Maybe, but the success I want for her is a comfortable life and I should know by now that God doesn't always want us to be comfortable. He wants us to be obedient and full of faith in Him as we willingly lay down our lives to follow Him.

For a few minutes I had to wrestle with the fact that God might call Megan into a very dangerous place of rescuing those who need to be set free, He could call her to love on those who are fatherless in another country, He could call her to translate His word into another language, or He could call her to be a second grade teacher right here in Harrisburg, North Carolina. I have no idea what His plans are for her life but in my heart I had to wrestle with myself until I could put my selfish desires down and trust Him with Megan's life- Where ever that may lead.

My own heart.......

As I listed to the challenge to end slavery my heart was breaking because we have 3 children that very likely could have ended up being slaves. I couldn't imaging my sweet Tizita being sold into the sex slave market yet my mind went back to the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia both in August and October of this past year.  We witnessed hundreds of very young girls boarding airplanes to travel to what they thought was freedom yet what they were going to find was slavery. I remembering saying over and over to David in the airport, "David, we must do something. We can't let these girls go." Yet we had no way to communicate with them. I cried as I watched these helpless girls who had nothing but the clothes on their back and a plane ticket- They were walking into slavery.
 Each trip after boarding our plane my mind went back to my little world and I quickly erased the sights of those who were being sold into slavery.. God rocked my world this week  and brought those sights back up. Today I will call an organization from Passion and share what we have seen. Whatever it takes I will not allow the enemy to have his way. I am willing not only to allow God to use our Megan but I am a willing mom of seven to do my part to END IT! Will you join me?
www.enditmovement.com