Our Goal is to raise $500 for Allen and Lina… $108 to go!
Eric and Kelsey write: “We started talking about adoption many years ago before our first child was born. We had difficulty getting pregnant and talked about adoption many times during the three years before we were able to conceive. God used this time to start to prepare our hearts for the journey to come. Fast forward a few years and after having 4 children in 8 years we were not thinking about adopting, we were just trying to survive! At that time a precious family in our Sunday School class brought their daughter Meribeth home from Columbia, and then started working to bring Chrissie home from Serbia. We marveled at the way God worked in each of their adoptions and wondered if we would ever see God working in our lives that powerfully. Little did we know the adventure He had planned for us!
In the beginning of 2010 Chrissie was preparing for complex heart surgery. We started to pray for her as a family. Our daughter Ana is only 5 months older than Chrissie and she was really affected by the idea that a little girl just her age had to go through something so scary. We continued to pray and follow the Patterson’s blog all through Chrissie’s fight. You can read their blog here. During that time, Ana started asking a lot of questions about how Chrissie had become part of their family and we showed her the Reece’s Rainbow website and all of the children who were “waiting for their mommies and daddies”. During that visit to the RR website God started to put adoption on Kelsey’s heart in a big way. God used the Patterson family to lead us to the Reece’s Rainbow website, and open our hearts to the idea of adopting a special needs child internationally.
One of our main concerns (as with many families considering international adoption) was the money needed (why does adoption have to be so expensive anyhow?). As part of our home school group, each mother is assigned to assist with a particular area each week. One week in the fall of 2010 Kelsey was assigned to help with cleaning up the pre-school classroom. She was a little early getting there and started looking at the literature that the church pre-school makes available for parents and was drawn toward an article about adoption. As she read it she realized that it was an article about how to raise the funds for adoption! God orchestrated Kelsey’s service in that area at exactly the time that article would be available to reassure us about the fundraising possibilities. Can you say God Nod?
That same night at bible study we were talking about going into the “promised land” (the place God has prepared for us where we will receive all he has for us in a way that we just can’t even imagine) and how we sometimes get stuck wandering in the wilderness for 38 years just outside Canaan, like the Israelites did, because they were too afraid to go into the land God had promised them. They thought the cost of obeying God and going into Canaan would be too high. At that point in the video we had an overwhelming feeling that God was talking to us. We really can’t explain it except to say that we felt very strongly that he was challenging us to obey, even if the costs might be great.
At the end of 2010 Kelsey was planning an annual women’s event at our church. The morning of the event several things they had planned fell through and she arrived at church and discovered that the Mothers of Preschoolers group was set up to meet in the worship center where she needed to work. She decided that since she could not accomplish what she needed to, she would sit in on the meeting. The speaker that morning “just happened” to be Lorraine Patterson! So many little details had to fall into place for Kelsey to be there on that particular day, and have the opportunity to attend the meeting that it could not be anything but God.
We know that getting up in front of that group and sharing her story just a few months after Chrissie went home to Heaven must have been excruciating for Lorraine, but once again God used Chrissie’s life to His glory. God absolutely used Lorraine’s words that day to convict Kelsey’s heart toward adopting. Very soon after that we had another heart to heart discussion about adopting, and we committed to pray about it over the coming weeks. Just a few days later Eric confirmed that he was also hearing God’s calling to adopt and said “Let’s go for it!” After many evenings looking at the children available for adoption on the Reece’s Rainbow website, one little boy in Eastern Europe stole our hearts. “Allen” has a rare genetic condition called Kartagener’s Syndrome that affects his lungs causing him to have frequent infections and poor lung function which has negatively affected his growth and development. Kelsey got to meet our little man over the summer of 2012 and we are anxiously waiting for our travel dates to bring him home!
Below is our daily devotion on fasting. Go here to learn more about our devotion and Lenten journey.
Our Daily Lenten Devotion
Fasting Rule 8: Forget favorites.
Daily Scripture Reading: James 4
Weekly Memory Verse: Romans 10:8-11
There are so many different kinds of fasts. You can do a total fast (no food); a Daniel fast (fruits and vegetables only); an Orthodox fast (vegan, no alcohol, no oil); a partial fast, where you fast from only one meal, or perhaps you can fast from some other food or an activity that is not even food at all! While there is really no wrong way to fast, any of these fasts can be good and useful for our Christian faith; there is a wrong reason to fast.
The most common type of fasting for Lent in American Christianity is what I call Smorgasbord Fasting. Smorgasbord is what I remember my mom calling our meals as a child when she pulled everything out of the cupboards and fridge and gave us big plates and we got to pick and choose which (usually snacky) foods we wanted to eat. It was great fun! But when it comes to fasting, this smorgasbord approach has its disadvantages. When we are the ones deciding what to fast from, that puts the focus back on ourselves. And the whole point of fasting is to remove that focus on us and put it back on Christ!
But what many of us end up using Lent for, instead of reminding us of Jesus, is as an opportunistic way to reach our own goals. We turn it into a motivator to eat better, lose weight, exercise more, watch less TV, spend more time with our family, to be an overall healthier and better person. Not that those things are wrong to want! But, fasting for Lent is not the place for your own personal agenda – no matter how great. The purpose of fasting is none of those things, it is Jesus! And so, choosing our fast based on something we previously wanted to accomplish anyway, is a dangerous precedent. It puts the focus back on ourselves.
Now, I will readily admit – we have done the same thing. We are “using” Lent in our family as a good time to cut out sugar from our diets (again). It’s a hard thing, and we knew our resolve would be stronger during this time of the year. But we were very careful not to make that our only fasting practice during this season. So, we are also fasting from something that we would never, for health or for family reasons, fast from normally. The only reason we are giving it up is because it’s Lent – and we are very much looking forward to enjoying it again when Lent is over!
So, take a look at your fasting. Are you fasting from something you wanted to fast from anyway? Are there health, family, or other reasons why it is helpful for you to fast from that particular thing? Are you planning on continuing to “fast” from this (or limit it) after Lent is over? If any of your answers is yes, perhaps consider adding something to your fast just because taking it away will remind you of Jesus. And not for any other reason.
Daily Challenge: Be honest. Are you using fasting as just an extra motivator to do what you really want to do anyway?