24 September 2013

September Adoption

church 100Adoption Funds. Helping the church financially support couples as they bring home children into their forever families through adoption.

MEETING THE NEEDS // Adoption Funds

win win win 100
We see Adoption Funds as a "Win-Win-Win" solution: the local church is actively involved on behalf of orphans, the financial roadblock for families is removed, the orphan child is adopted into a permanent Christian family...all with minimal administrative burden for the church.

Using the adoption matching grant and interest-free loan processes already established by Lifesong, churches can easily navigate through the details of adoption funding....all with no cost to the church.

Church Fund Children

ALWAYS WITH YOU // Adoption Fund Story

Cameron and Sarah experienced the love of their church family through their adoption journey. His Kids Our Homes Adoption Fund, at North County Christ the King Church have blessed this family and others as children are brought into forever families. Listen in on their journey...

mouse copySee how your church can benefit from establishing an Adoption Fund by visiting our website.

Read More

Bringing Churches Around Adoptive Families - Dave and Carrie, directors of His Kids - Our Homes (Lynden, WA) share how they have experienced the blessing of having a Lifesong Adoption Fund.  Watch Video

"God Worked to Bring Them Home" - Scott and Kathy bring two more children into their home through adoption with the help from TAMBA adoption fund. Read more

God's Revealing Love - Sam and Maria share how God continued to reveal His love for them and their 7 children, through their local church, North County Christ the King. Watch Video

Adoption Fund Testimonials - Hear what Adoption Fund partners have to say about their experience with Lifesong Adoption Funds.  Watch Video

06 September 2013

I Am Not A Pinterest Mom

Awhile back, I wrote on the Facebook wall of a friend from another era. Just a "Hey, how are you doing?" kind of hello. He asked me if I had beaten Pinterest yet. I wanted to kick him in the teeth.
Best Coffee Mug.. Ever.
Truth: I love Pinterest. It combines the two things I love most in this world after God, my family, and adoption: images and information. I am almost entirely visual. I cannot handle being told anything verbally unless I have a pen and paper. Pinterest beautifully weaves together my learning style and passion for knowledge into a blanket of lovely. If you scroll through my Pinterest you will notice that every single pin is my style of aesthetically pleasing. There are two notable exceptions: home school information (which pains me that no one has made a pretty graphic for all of it) and things I post for Marko. I have a problem.

I try every recipe I post.
I sew every clever project I pin.
I plan out every housing project I would do if only my pockets were deeper.
I create home school curriculum.
I honestly spend more time just scrolling through my own pins and admiring all the pretty images than anything else.
Except maybe the "Kiddo" tab.

And the Kiddo tab is my undoing. I consistently find pictures and stories that bring me to tears - happy or sad. It's ridiculous. But also found on the Kids tab are parenting articles. I'll admit (with extreme prejudice) that sometimes I find a blog that I find humorous or informative, but mostly it just makes me feel like a failure. My son is 13 months old and nowhere close to sleeping through the night - or in his own bed. We don't have a washer/dryer so we can't do cloth diapers (don't get me started, I fully understand how uneconomical and un-ecological disposables are). I tell him "No" more often than I would like. I get frustrated with him when all he wants is my attention because I want to get something done. I am upset because we live in a way that means I work part-time and I don't get to be a stay-at-home mom. I never actually got around to teaching Rory sign language. We didn't do any cute month-by-month pictures. And he ate peanut butter and strawberries before he turned one.

Lord help me.

I consistently forget to get my son breakfast before 11am. Sometimes he doesn't go to bed until 10:30 because I don't feel like making it a battle.When Rory throws a tantrum, I often forget to calmly explain to him the what and why and just throw a tantrum back. A "well balanced lunch" is regularly frozen blackberries with bread dipped in peanut butter and jam. I use sarcasm (in case you weren't aware) and realized yesterday that I have been actively trying to teach my one-year-old to throw things (plushy footballs, but still). I swear, I have little-to-no sense of time, I let Rory play with any tool that has no sharp edge, and enjoying watching Criminal Minds while he plays with his toys next to me.

I am winning no parenting awards.


Last week while hanging with my wonderful girlfriend, Becca, we were discussing what it meant to let God "love on you" and we came to the decision that it was a balance of accepting who God has made you to be and really living into that. The analogy I decided on was yoga (you're surprised, I know). In yoga, there is no perfect pose because the goal of each pose is actually to go beyond physical limits; putting your forehead to your shins is not the objective, the objective is to go through your shins into the earth - but that's impossible. You are constantly accepting where you are while striving to go further in yoga. And that's what it is like to let God love on you.

And that's what it's like to be a parent.

I have the perfect example laid out for me in scripture. A Father who loves me unconditionally, who calls me back when I have wandered, whose heart breaks when my own is broken, who forgives me all of my many many transgressions. And I will never compare. Not to the Pinterest Moms, and certainly not to God. But one of those is worth striving towards and one of them isn't. Some perspective is in order here. Who cares if I potty train my son in three days as long as he is unconditionally loved?
At this point, all I can do is pray for wisdom, strength, and have another cup of coffee. Because being a mom is never going to get easier - just different. And there will be one million voices telling me I'm doing it wrong, but there will always be at least one telling me even though I will always do it wrong, it's still worth trying.

05 September 2013

But What Are You For?

There are about one million versions of this quote.
You need to stand for something
But I'm not too cool to admit I've always liked it.

I have mixed feelings about "Christian music." Partly because a lot of it sounds the same and it can be boring. Partly because something about God being a great artist and us being made in his image so music is all technically "worship music" - that is kind of a lengthy conversation in itself. But I have had a flat out downhearted attitude lately and have been in need of some worship - even if some (most) of it is boring. And just when I thought to myself, "this is not helping," I head this one on the radio and - well...

Don't just roll your eyes at me, sometimes punk rocker Malia has a weak moment of Casting Crowns adoration. This is one of those times. And I am not sorry.

"We cut people down in your name, when the sword was never ours to swing."

Ouch. It makes me think of Peter. You know, cutting off people's ears in defense of Jesus (John 18) and then being scolded. Sometimes we put forth all this effort to defend our faith, when, if we had really been living it out, it wouldn't have needed defending in the first place. What we stood for would have done all that work for us, but we chose to strike out at what we were against instead.

There was this one time I went to a Christian music festival and there was a company who were selling t-shirts with your premium Christian values on them, you know: gays are bad, abortions are bad, sluts are bad, porn is bad, etc (Christian consumerism at its best, folks). It spent all weekend pissing me off. And, I'll be honest, I wasn't quite as polite or refined then... or now. I can't for the life of me remember what the shirt said, but I do remember it was about abortion. I do remember it pointed a very demeaning finger at anyone who had ever had one. And I had friends, plural, who had them.

I should be clear about the fact that I believe life starts at conception. Yah, I'm one of those. My belief plays into it, but also just being a mama. However, I also believe I have no idea what is like to be 14 and pregnant. I have no idea what it's like to live in a home where my family might disown me. I have no idea what it's like to have no support surrounding me while thinking I maybe can't do this. I have no idea what it's like to be raped and carry a child from that experience. I have no idea. And, most importantly, I don't get to judge you. I get to tell you that there are other options and I think you'd be a wonderful mother. I get to hold your hand and love you, no matter what.

Anyway, there was a group of girls on the campground shuttle, all of them wearing the "God hates when you kill his babies" shirt while discussing the great sin of abortion and I decided it would be prudent to turn around and join the conversation.
I should have prefaced this story with: this is what not to do.
Our conversation went about like this:
Me: "How can you wear that judgmental bullshit?"
Girl 1: "Do you support abortion?"
Me: "I think anyone who has been through that process has had enough to deal with without being damned by a t-shirt most likely made in a sweatshop."
Girl 2: "You don't know anything, people who have abortions go to hell!"
Girls: "Yah."
Me: "You're idiots."
Girl 1: "I bet you had an abortion. You're going to burn in hell for eternity."
Me: *punches girl 1 in the nose*

I know what you're thinking, "Way to tell that girl what for!" But I was just as guilty as those girls. I didn't let what I stood for speak for itself, I was led by what I was against.

Here's the thing, the world has gotten a fat dose of what we (Christians) are against. From the Crusades to bad t-shirts to the Westboro Baptist Church - the world is like "We got it, Christianity, you are against things. Passionately against them." We have drawn so many lines in the sand, we are starting to look like a bad piece of modern art.

But what are we for???

"Oh how we love our religious yokes, not for what they communicate about God, but what they say about us. This is the kind of people we are. We say "no" when everyone else says "yes." We don't do that. We don't watch that. We don't vote that way. We don't go there. We don't include them. But God's idea of a fast is less about what we're against and more about what we are for.

Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6-7"
Jen Hatmaker, 7 (and the Bible)

As you've seen, I am guilty. My finger might be pointed in the other direction, but that doesn't make me any more right. While I should be setting an example for my fellow Christians, I am too busy informing them that they aren't being loving, caring, forgiving, etc. enough. But what if I took all that time to just be loving, caring, forgiving? What if I made it less about what is wrong with Christianity and more about what I can do right? What am I for?

What are any of us for?