Real Love Bleeds (Proverbs 31 Ministries)

Did you know that there are approximately 100,000 children in foster care (right here in America) waiting (legally free-no parent’s attached) to be adopted?  Did you also know that there are over 300,000 churches in America?  This means that if just 1 family out of every 3 churches, softened their hearts to God’s call to ‘care for the orphan’ that America would have no orphaned children.  Wow.  Clearly God’s call to care for the orphans is perfect-He never intended for them to be left without a family.  This tells me that someone, somewhere is not listening, not moving when called…for whatever reason, closing their eyes-turning away from God’s beautiful will for their life.  Sadly they are not only denying a child the home God designed for them, they are missing out on the priceless gift of experiencing a life lived in God’s perfect will…more than likely exchanging the opportunity of a miracle-filled life, for one of earthly ‘comfort’ leaving both the life of the child and the planned family void of God’s beauty.
This thought continues to plague me daily. 

I wish that I could show you the heart that God molds as we welcome in ‘the least of these’ and trust in Gods provision each day.  I wish that you could see the beauty in the brokenness, the strength that is born in our weakness and the priceless gift of seeing God’s hand at work as He brings it all together for good.  If people could see this…if they could trust God’s will, there would be no orphans left.

I received this from Proverbs 31 Ministries this morning and had to share.  If you feel God move in your heart as you read please stop and pray-ask for Him to lead you and be willing to move your feet.
———————————————————————————————————
Proverbs 31 Ministries-
MARCH 27, 2015

Real Love Bleeds
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

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

Once while attending a conference I found myself browsing through the vendor section.

Most, if not all, of the vendors had products available where the proceeds would be invested directly into a ministry or mission project designed to change the lives of people near and far.

The idea that my purchase could in some way be a small contribution to Kingdom work propelled me to actively seek something that I wanted to wear, use or display in my home.

I paused in front of a table featuring art prints with various inspirational quotes and verses. It was like a sea of words.

I figured that somewhere on that table were words I would want to display in my home. Words that would inspire me and spur me on to be the person God wanted me to be.

I found those words. But they weren’t the warm and fuzzy words I was looking for. The kind that would make me want to smile when I walked by them in my home.

Instead I found words that cut deep and convicted me beyond my expectation. Words that inspired me … but solemnly. Words that did not yield a cozy experience, but certainly lit a fire within my heart and soul. The print said:

“Real love bleeds.”

I bought it.

Loving people can be hard work. It can be even harder when the love you give requires the very essence of who you are to flow through wounds inflicted by the ones your heart beats for.

When I read these three small words penned by this artist-turned-missionary, I stopped in my tracks because I knew I had been doing exactly the opposite in my life.

Instead of being willing to “bleed” for the ones I loved the most, I had slipped into full-on apathy.

Why? Because sometimes caring for and loving others doesn’t feel good.

Sometimes, it’s easier not to love.

Over time, and unbeknownst to me, I had become an expert at self-preservation and pain avoidance.

Anything that hurt, I didn’t touch — including the people I loved the most.

I grieved as I realized that the very love Jesus continually offered me — the same love that came at His own great personal discomfort and eventual agony — was unfortunately the kind of love I’d become unwilling to consistently offer.

Why? Because sometimes loving others hurts.

As I stood there and pulled out my wallet to purchase the simple yet beautiful print, I realized that great love comes at a great cost — as evidenced by the example of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for my sins, which we see in today’s key verse.

I remembered His illustration of love for me and recalled His command that I follow in His steps: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34, ESV).

Now, let me concede this. I am completely aware that everyone who causes us pain should not be an automatic recipient of our deepest level of sacrifice. However, I am acutely aware of my own need to assess my willingness to love like Christ loves me and to sacrifice for those to whom I am called.

What I know for certain is this: There are times when the love I have for others is not a matter of feeling, but rather a matter of my decision to be obedient to Him — and it won’t feel good.

The question is, when real love results in my personal discomfort or even a heart-wrenching level of pain, am I willing to love well anyway?

Father, thank You for Your love — a love that never fails and never gives up on me. You are the perfect example of a great love — a love that is offered full-strength even when love is not given in return. Help me to love like You. I want to honor You by doing my best to love others in the way You have loved me — even when it hurts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Freedom!

I woke today feeling like a free woman.  I know the battle is not yet over but the termination of parental rights was a HUGE step in the right direction for our little one.  NO MORE VISITS (which, when they happened, left Lulu very confused)- no more catering to ‘mom’.  NOW it’s about Lulu.

When I arrived home after the hearing yesterday, she ran and jumped into my arms with a huge smile and a “MOMMA!!!”  Let me tell you, it never sounded sweeter! 

I am continuing to pray that the tribe will do what is best for this little one and not appeal the verdict or our adoption but I am finding it hard to do anything more than praise God for His victory!  Even Lulu’s team (caseworker, attorney, GAL…) were all left speechless after the verdict, each saying that they had never seen a Judge ‘extend themselves that far on a case’.  Clearly God’s judgement was being delivered.  God bless that Judge for defending the fatherless and oppressed!

Thank you to all who interceded on her behalf!  Our prayers have been heard and the Lord has delivered greatly!!!

For this child, I prayed

For this child, I prayed

Victory!!!

“To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,That the man of the earth may oppress no more.” God delivered!

As of 10:30AM our little Lulu has been fully justified! The Judge was amazing…Truth was pouring out of every mouth in that court today and he expanded greatly upon the gravity of the matter, continually reinforced his belief that Lulu should remain in our home (adding that to remove her would be ‘detrimental‘ to her well-being)!
THANK YOU, JESUS!!!
Our adoption home study was also just approved and we have already contacted our adoption attorney (no less than one hour after the verdict…This little one has waited long enough)!

The tribe does have plans to appeal as does the Grandma BUT one day at a time and today is nothing but victory!!!

Thank you for your prayers!!!

Justice to the fatherless…

Court could NOT have gone any better today. TRUTH was told and completely undeniable and the tribe has yet to intervene…Exactly what I have been praying for!
As I sat in the court room I had Psalm 10 open on my Bible app to verses 17-18…“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble
; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”

And God delivered today ‘…justice to the fatherless and the oppressed’!

A verdict is expected by tomorrow morning and I am continually praying for God’s perfect will to be done in our little one’s life. 

Thank you all for praying alongside us!  It is such a gift to know that strangers (yet brothers and sisters in Christ) are lifting her up-actively being a part of her story without even knowing her.
One sweet day you will know full-well the difference your prayers have made.  God bless you for interceding!!!

Court is in Session…

My prayers have been continual…the same plea worded a thousand different ways, each as heart-felt as the last. I know God hears. I know He is with our little one.

Before going to bed last night I decided to read some Psalms and this is the first one I opened with…

Psalm 5-
Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

🙂 I especially liked the ‘You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;’ and ‘ Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels;’ part!

Please remember Lulu today. Court begins at 9AM and should go till around 3 (then again tomorrow and possibly into Friday) before a decision has been made.
My greatest concern is the tribe and their actively trying to ‘intervene’. I pray that like the Egyptians in the Old Testament (right before they all died…teehehe), that they find themselves unprepared, unable to stand in court and unable to speak an utterance that would harm this little one in the end.

Thank you ALL for your prayers!!!

Stretch!

721 days of waiting with just 1 more to go…

It’s hard to believe that God has carried us through 721 days of uncertainty-most with smiles, enjoying the blessing of living out our simple life-others with teary mornings and cries to the Father (mainly from me!) but each day completely covered by God’s comforting hand.
Our little one’s termination trial starts at 8:30 Tuesday morning and I find myself somewhat paralyzed with anxiety…unable to sleep, focus, or keep my mind from going through the list of to dos and ‘what if’s.  However, my mother flies into town this evening to babysit the girls during the trial week and I am so thankful to know that she will be here to share in our joy, or comfort us in our weakness…One is never too old for a mother’s hug.  In fact I’ve come to learn that the older I get the more I treasure them.

Before the trial begins tomorrow I want to thank each of you whose hearts have continued to lift up our little one in prayer.  Thank you!!!  It is a wonderfully comforting thought to know that (no matter what the Judge determines) that it IS God’s (perfect) will. 

Perfect Timing

Counting Down to Court and Seeking Prayer

I’ve been silent for some time…not that there is nothing to write about, rather quite the opposite.  There is so very much, it just can’t yet be spoken.  However, I am writing tonight to ask (to beg) for prayer.  Our little one has a court hearing coming up on the 24th of this month (just 10 days and a few hours away) which will be a huge factor in determining her fate.
I had been thrilled for this hearing as it is supposed to be the first step to adoption.  However, it was recently revealed that her tribe (after nearly 2 years of complete silence and involvement) is suddenly interested in ‘intervening’.  What does that mean, you ask?  Good question.  It could mean that they just want a ‘voice in court’ but it could also mean that they want to take her from us (the only family she has ever known) to place her in a stranger’s home simply because they belong to her tribe.  Side note…we are also an Alaskan Native family (just not from her specific tribe).  😦

So once again I am fighting fear…I KNOW the enemy is trying his hardest to tear this family apart.  One last-ditch effort.  But I also KNOW that God is in control and am praying fervently for HIS perfect will to be done in this little one’s life.  I held her tonight and prayed over her, trying unsuccessfully to blink back my tears…begging God to protect her and treasuring her presence.  The verse “I will not leave you as orphans…” flashed through my mind as she rubbed my head and stroked my chin in return (I love her precious, little heart).

As her foster parents we have no voice.  NO say whatsoever as to what fate lie ahead for this little one-the child we have loved and raised since she was just 2 months old.  However, God hears.  He hears the groans of my heart each morning.  He has heard my prayer (like a broken record) every day for almost two years now and when I can do nothing but sob, he hears my heart’s cry loud and clear.
I’m tempted to say, “All we can do is pray” but truly prayer is the most powerful tool we as Christians have.  So thank GOD that we can pray! 
That said, I ask you to PLEASE PRAY WITH US.  Please intercede and lift this little one up in your own prayers, that God’s perfect will, will be done in her life, that TRUTH will be known in court on the week of her trial and that the tribe will see that she is already home.

I read the story of Gideon and his tiny army of 300 defeating the Midianite army of 120,000 to the girls this morning and couldn’t help but own it myself.  God you WILL be glorified!  When this little one bears our last name, all who know her story will know it was by your hand alone that she was kept safe!We Match...