Do your 2018 goals involve $$$$$$?

When you are pursuing your financial goals in 2018 and you are reading books, or going to conferences, developing your marketing mentality, or taking advice from Christian financial leaders, Be sure to ask yourself:

– Do they equate financial gain with God’s blessing?
– Is it assumed that God wants His people to be wealthy? Or that His blessing is NOT on those who are poor?
– Does this program assume the reader or attender has access to a certain level of education and been given ample employment opportunities?
– Do these spiritual nuggets of wisdom apply to the poor in other countries?
– Is the author/speaker always talking about making more and promotion and rarely mentions God’s will might include moving to a position or job making less?
– Does this advice apply to those living below the line of poverty? What about those with all sorts of criminal records?
– Do the principles ever address unjust systems (education, housing, law, prison, health, etc..) that financially benefit some but negatively impact minorities, disabled or the poor?
– Is there an assumption that as you make more money with their principles then the quality of your life will go up according to how much you make?
– Do they ever suggest you should set a maximum amount of income for your family/home?
– Do they ever talk about the issue with race and gender wage gaps or the inability for someone to live on minimum wage income?
– Do they equate God’s desire to bless you financially with the amount you give to your church?
– Do they place importance on being debt free over things like caring for those truly struggling financially, adoption of orphans and loving in big risky ways?
– Would they see wisdom in making decisions that aren’t financially wise but declare and support kingdom work in hard places?

Just a few thoughts and observations that I think are important to ask of common Christian financial systems as we pursue financial decisions that bring the Giver Glory and gives the weary world a reason to sit up and take notice of who our Provider is!

This is not to insult or put down any or all of the Christian Financial leadership personalities or approaches out there. It’s just to point out what I see as an imbalance in addressing these very money centric issues that impact those we are commanded to care about as well as the temptations in our own hearts as warned about in scripture.

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  • AshFebruary 5, 2018 - 4:53 pm

    Thank you for putting this into perspective. I am still in the process of understanding where Christianity lies in my life/beliefs and this is yet another thing that I simply did not consider! I appreciate you asking the hard questions that help me see things a little more clearly! xoxoReplyCancel

The other day I saw a preview to a movie that was about a young man’s struggle in being gay and the risk he felt like it would cost in order for him to be open about his reality.

I cried during it.

A few weeks ago I saw an interview on Ellen about a dad who regrets how he responded to his daughters sexuality which eventually led to her committing suicide and how he hoped in some small way to honor her life by his political protest of Roy Moore.

I cried during it.

I cried because my parents do not see or understand my husband’s worth and value and would prefer I married someone else because his on-going struggle and natural orientation is being attracted to other men. And if I’m truly honest that rejection has felt more painful and brought more tears than even losing Asher.

I cried because I knew how I felt when I “came out” publicly that we drink on occasion after hiding it for 10+ years from my parents and family friends because we knew it would break their hearts….and it did. I felt disowned. And this isn’t even CLOSE to having to tell your parents that you think you have a sexual orientation that you didn’t ask for and that they believe is a choice as well as an abomination to God.

I cried because we have sat across from a seminary professor of counseling who told us that if Dan would just love Jesus more than he loved himself that he could be done with that struggle today.

I cried for all the times pastors have taken my husband as a teen to an alter and told him to lay down this part of him and that if he really means it then he will walk away a new person.

I cried because I know the fear of wondering if he would lose his job as a bible teacher because a parent went to the head of the school and demanded that “that pervert not be allow to teach or be around kids at that school”.

I cried because many people who want those with gay orientations to reject those desires have not stopped to feel or understand what the cost truly might be for them, even in light of the joy Christ brings. I’ve often said if praying for a loved one to stop living a certain way doesn’t bring conflict within almost to the point that it makes it hard to even pray for… then I don’t think you are close enough to that person or have pressed in to really know someone with a different orientation than your own.

I cried because I can imagine the pain a teen who faces this loss might experience and then add to that the likelihood of them hating themselves and not understanding this hell they are living through to the point where many take their own lives. I hate that… but I get it.

I cried because if only the fear that surrounds this issue could only be met with love, acceptance of that person, and real honest conversations that don’t have their relationship on the table as a bargaining chip…. then I wonder what LGBTQ realities within Christian families could look like. I wonder if more narratives could look like ours. I wonder if the church could be richer and better because of the trust and honesty in all of our struggles.

We need relationships to not have a tipping point.

We need each other no matter our sexual orientation.

We need the Church to be a safe place for all to be honest and struggle in.

We need love to triumph over fear.

If the pain that I have experienced has led me to where I can cry during a movie preview, or a interview on Ellen, or struggle in how to pray for my LGBTQ friends….. then I trust that it’s been far worth the tears it’s brought!

Today I am more empathetic, more bold and more dependent upon the love of God because of having experienced it!

So I will thank God for allowing me to enter into another’s suffering and to use my voice to stand up for those who are despairing and disheartened and who feel rejected by their loved ones. 

Knowing that our weaknesses make perfect HIS strength.

Knowing He is the one that gives me and so many others the grace day by day to live above bitterness and hate, and resting in His approval alone.

Knowing that there is coming a day where all things will be made right and every tear wiped away. 

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The days between Christmas and New years can be delightfully restful but they can also be a week that feels like you don’t know what day it is, who you are or what you’re supposed to be doing!! This year was like that for me…. it was such a strange feeling week. BUT if you’re like Abel and me and tend to wander aimlessly about with your shirt up when you’re missing routine…  😉

Here are SEVEN things you can do in this in between time after Christmas and before The New Year!!

  1.  Start a photo folder/account at Walmart/Costco/Shutterfly/wherever… Go ahead a print a few from Christmas (I pack them in my holiday bins to be displayed next year) and upload all your photos this coming year to it…even if you don’t print them they will still be safe on their server and ready to print!! #printyourphotospeople
  2. Get a notebook and either follow along with Lara Casey ( @laracasey)  goals for cultivating with matters or if you want something you can do in an afternoon take a notebook and just write out 1. What DID work for you and your family/business in 2017 and 2. What did NOT work in 2017.  Those two things alone have been SO helpful in going into the next year better prepared!!
  3. Dump out your makeup bag. Wash that thing!! Take a makeup remover cloth/wipe and go over all your makeup. Sharpen the pencils. Wash your brushes. If it’s almost gone or you rarely ever wear it Toss it out and feel NO guilt buying a new one or getting more room in your bag. *you can do the same thing with your bathroom cabinet too. If you don’t love it…toss it.
  4. If you have a calendar you’re using this coming year go ahead and write things in December 2018 that you think of this month that you wish you had done or that you know you need a head start reminder for. Or to remind yourself of a tradition you started this year or one you want to start next year. Set yourself up for a better advent season next year!
  5. Pull up those recipes you found online and tried and loved this holiday season. Get some real recipe cards and write them out. This preserves them for next year and every recipe is better when it’s in a loved ones handwriting!! I tried my hand at making Gumbo for Christmas Day and ya’ll… I think it’s something that just takes a certain amount of magic that I don’t possess. Is there a secret to it?? So, I think I’ll skip that next year and try another recipe that might turn into our every year tradition.
  6. A lot of friends choose a word for the year… if you’re ANYTHING like me I can’t focus on one word for the whole year to save my life. I lose focus and grow bored. But I LOVE what my friend Lore does where she focuses on a concept each month. She keeps it really simple and doable but really intentional as well. Check it out. I will be doing this in 2018 cause this mama can’t parent 6 kids and keep up a big ol’ goal planner…. but I can handle a notecard with some intentionality scrawled all over it!
  7. I’m weird and even try to have a color(s) I focus on for that year… it helps to keep my wardrobe, jewelry, home decor, and stuff simplified and coordinated!  You’d be surprised how when you have a color focus how much you don’t talk yourself into buying at the store! And the things that you do buy will generally go well with lots of your wardrobe and the decor of your home. These are my focus colors for this year.

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Someone asked me recently what it has cost us in speaking up for, standing up with, and moving closer to marginalized communities, hard places, and systems broken by injustice and challenging the Church to run towards them with eyes wide open instead of away (which too often in our fearful nature and American mindsets we tend to want to do).
It’s cost us our relationship with my parents.
It’s cost my kids relationship with their grandparents.
It’s cost us holidays and relationships with relatives.
It’s cost us loss of many friendships (ministry ones, best friend ones, and more)
It’s cost us opportunity within ministry.
It’s cost us our reputation in some places.
It’s cost us supporters.
It’s cost us followers.
It’s cost us tears and heartache because things said to us are painful to hear even if they aren’t true.
It’s cost us our joy at times because this path is hard and lonely.
It’s cost us our confidence in what we thought we always knew to be true.
But I still hold to the fact that what we have been given, what we have learned, what we have gained, what we have experienced and walked through is so worth these temporary (though very real and painful) losses.
We have gained…
-Deeper relationships with other members of our family and healing with broken/distant relationships in the past.
-The freedom to go when God led us to leave everything familiar and to trust Him.
-Incredible friendships that are becoming like family because they are in the trenches too and we need each other in ways we didn’t need others before.
– The understanding of what those who face rejection and abandonment might feel like and the empathy to grieve with them.
– The friendships of those in marginalized and minority communities who say “welcome to the club, it’s been hard for us for a long time now. You keep on keeping on!”
– The opportunity and invitation to listen to and promote voices who we never would have opened our ears to before.
– The opportunity to relate to those facing poverty and to join them in their struggle and anger over broken and unjust systems.
– The understanding that ministry often is best done out from under the spotlight and usually looks like coming along side of others in everyday moments of struggle and endurance.
– The power to do things without worrying about what others might think.
– The knowledge that God is unchanging and unwavering in His love and saving power towards us. That while the human elements of the Church may let Him down, and screw things up, and miss the mark…. He still loves her and died to see her reconciled to Himself.
– An increased longing for ALL things to be made right and everything sad to become untrue!
So… dear believer. You might get called a SJW. You might get labeled a liberal. You might get accused of minimizing the gospel. You might get dubbed the one bringing division. You might not be understood. You will feel lonely and betrayed. You will pay a cost.
But speak up and stand up and move closer. Many have come before us and have paved an even rougher path and it’s cost them far greater. 
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We survived our first 3 hour IEP meeting the other day. Whew! I can’t say enough about the kindness and knowledge that Jack’s team has shown to us.

We were all sitting in a conference room of a school where we have poured our heart and tears into the past year, and they shared with us that this school doesn’t have what our son desperately needs. In fact no school in south St. Pete has what our son needed. A lump in my throat swelled and I knew I would have a big cry over this later. Right now, my face couldn’t lose the ear to ear smile it had on it for the sheer fact that we were listening to teachers and experts talk about Jack in a way that was understanding and holistic and they could finish the end of our sentences about him.

So the planning began. Would the change happen after Thanksgiving break or Christmas break? Christmas, because I know how hard he’s been working on those Christmas songs for the music teacher. Oh, the new school won’t hold his spot that long… okay, I guess Thanksgiving it is. Oh, so Friday is his last day here? Long sigh…. How in the world is my son going to understand that he has to leave the school, teachers and classmates he loves yet his differences can’t thrive within? I probably will have my big cry alongside of his.

We can get the rest of your kids there too? They can ride the bus if needed and they would have a monitor on the bus to help Jack if he needed it ever. It’s an incredible school with lots of programs and community involvement.

Where is it again? Really far north?
No…. it’s only 38th St. N.
That might as well be a different city? We rarely go up there.
We can get there in about 10-15 minutes.
But it feels like another world. It looks nothing like the community down here.
Well, let’s just discuss Jack right now. You don’t have to make any big changes for the others right now.


Dan and I have sat together and expressed our feelings about many scenarios, each having areas of conflict with our own passion and purpose.

I looked up the school and it’s everything I’d ever hope in a community school. diverse. title one. tons of community involvement. strong PTA and other empowering organizations. And a great ASD department.

Everything in my heart wants that for all my kiddos. But I also want that for Shaniah, Madison, Demaria, Jude, Anthony, Maria, Kamadi, Zanariya, Naomi and Aryiana and all my kids schoolmates. I want that for our kids teachers who are there because they are passionate about teaching in schools that so many have abandoned, and for good cause. But someone has to stay. And right now…. our school needs someone to stand up and say “not on my watch”. It needs someone to knock on doors, and get businesses on board, and it needs someone to go to the churches and say “can you show up with your time and money and an extra dose of Joy?”

We could say, oh, we can still advocate for our community school while our kids go 6 miles north to a lovely school that has worked hard to get to where they are. But I know myself, and I know my time and my passion will follow where my children are.

Right now…. the plan is for Jack to change schools and for the other 3 to stay where they are. The school schedules are such that the timing still can work for drop off and pick up.

We still haven’t told him. We will tomorrow evening. So please be praying for us and him. We plan on having his teacher over for dinner and hopefully that will help him see that their relationship can continue. Jack is going with us on Friday to visit the school and we are hopeful he will get excited when he meets his future fans!


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Never in a thousand years would I imagine I would be the mom waking up and getting 4 kids ready to go to public school…. a Title I transformation zone public school at that. I used to think public schooling moms didn’t want to be around their kids. I used to pity families who sent their kids away to a building all day. I didn’t understand how a mom could do that. I feared what adults and kids could do to my babies. I wanted the very best learning for my kids to best prepare them for this world they are growing up in.

And I honestly, don’t know how we got here except that He gave me 6 kids with various needs all really close together and put a vision in our hearts for marginalized communities and a desire to take risks when it comes to loving our neighbors and community.

All I know is that over the course of a few weeks everything changed…. especially what our mornings look like 5 days a week.

I still wrestle with fears, and if we are potentially messing up our kids by having them in tough situations at times. I know I’d be less angsty and frustrated if I felt more in control of what happened in my kids lives during the day. I never thought that I would be investing my timeby going to school board meetings, meeting with reporters, drawing close to teachers to hear their stories, figuring out ways to get to know and empower parents.

I also never dreamed about the level of gospel conversations we’d be having with our children and the character we would be cultivating and the love we would see forming in their hearts for a community that they are fast becoming a part of. I never dreamed about the Kingdom work being done by believers in classes, the determination of trained educators who see the value in kids so many have left behind, and the relationships I’d cherish because we are in this struggle together.

In the past few years my understanding of faith and how to live faithfully has undergone a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, yet we have found that Christ is Faithful! He is in the margins! He draws near to the hurting and the oppressed! He gives joy even in the fight for justice and the one who gives it meaning! He is the one who goes before us and behind us and He is doing powerful work in the walls of Title I schools everywhere! So our prayer has become one of faithfulness…..may we always be faithful to follow Him into hard and risky places.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

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Believing family, church members, christian leaders, close friends….

Sometimes it feels like you are withdrawing your relationship with certain believers in your life in hopes that they will change their tune, or not talk so much about controversial issues, or you are truly concerned for their walk with the Lord due to differences you are seeing emerge on social media and in real life decision making.

Too many of us have felt the tension of being forced into what feels like a choice having to be made that we don’t want to have to make… because we don’t think we should have to.

Please don’t make us choose between continuing a relationship with you and being pro-life as you know it OR standing up for a holistic approach to reducing abortions and advocating for women’s healthcare, better mental healthcare, medicaid, housing laws, gun control and radical sacrifice through adoption, fostering and standing in the gap for single parents.

Please don’t make us choose between continuing a relationship with you and your desire for purity and commitment to a specific hermeneutic of scripture OR being honest, raw and public about issues of sexuality and gender, struggles and failures, as we wrestle through what Scripture says and means about it all. As well as insisting on protective respectful treatment of all and striving to love our LGBTQ neighbor/brother-sister well even if one clings to an orthodox view of sexuality or not.

Please don’t make us choose between continuing a relationship with you and the freedoms you celebrate and the country you take such pride in OR insisting that freedom for all means economic justice, immigration expansion, education equality, disability inclusion, government provision and sacrificial stewardship of privilege in order that those in the margins can not only live but thrive here.

Please don’t make us choose between continuing a relationship with you and your respect for authority and separation of issues of race and the gospel OR being unapologetically vocal about the pursuit of justice we long for in our cities and often see missing in our churches. Often involving questioning authority, demanding systemic reform, contending that certain lives must matter that have not, and believing those marching in the streets or kneeling on the field in protest have something to say that we as believers can ignore no longer.

Don’t make us choose, because we WILL choose the latter. Hopefully not without a fight for you, but we can’t fight the battles at hand AND you….not for long.

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I heard about this and as someone who is involved in a ministry that discussions sexuality/gender issues… I thought this was worthy of some thought to see if there were any benefits to this decision by the Boy Scouts of America. Here are some of the reasons I discovered that it might just be a good move for everyone!!

1. It’s pro-girl. This allows girls to achieve prestigious recognitions that were only offered to boys (such as Eagle Scout award) as well as to pursue some of the more outdoors/rugged pursuits that the BSA are known for. Also a third of BSA adult volunteers are women and this only expands their leadership capabilities within the organization.

2. It’s pro-family. This inclusion allows families who have both boys and girls to do more things together as a family vs. having two separate scouting companies/activities to balance. This is especially helpful for minority family cultures that are more focused on all inclusive family activities.

3. It allows for whats best for your kid. The inclusion of girls allows for families to choose if they want their kids in all boys dens, all girl dens or co-ed dens. Which I think allows parents the freedom to choose what their kid would thrive best in. This would prove true for communities of friends and such who wanted to scout together.

4. It’s keeping a good thing and making it bigger and better. It makes a company bigger than their name…. Think YMCA and the good it’s doing for families today that were once only geared towards young men.

5. It provides safety for vulnerable kids. This set up provides some protection for kids struggling with sexual identity without having to do anything drastic or permanent in order to fit in or be included. 70% of kids gender struggles resolve as they grow into adulthood. So loving those families who don’t fit into the gender norm for a time is something I think is very needed.

6. There are many countries with co-educational scout movements that have been very successful. As well as national organizations like 4H and YMCA.

7. This also gives families with daughters more choice in the type of political and social leaning they want in their family experiences (Girl Scouts more progressive in their approach and message, Boy Scouts will tend to be and have been in the past more conservative in their voice and activities)

8. Girl scouts started because girls weren’t allowed in the Boy Scouts back in the early 1900’s. We are a different culture now and I think it’s a positive move for a current reality of equal even in our differences.

9. Girls are currently part of four scouting programs already: Venturing and Sea Scouting, which is oriented toward outdoor activities; Exploring, a career-oriented mentoring program; and STEM, which focuses on science and math.

10. Among Cub Scout parents, 85 percent said the curriculum is “relevant” for both boys and girls, and 68 percent said they’d want to enroll their own daughters. When parents of non-scouts were asked, without invoking the Cub Scout brand, if they’d register their kids of either gender in an identical program, 90 percent said yes.

11. The BSA believes they teach and provide the best in character and leadership training and they want it available to the most scouts possible… boys or girls. Over half of all astronauts were involved in Scouting and 16.3% of West Point cadets are Eagle Scouts. Of the current Congress, 191 members were involved in Scouting, 18 current U.S. governors participated in Scouting, and many of them are Eagle Scouts.

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This week my friends and I engaged in a robust conversation on Facebook regarding THIS post.   (See also, THIS post, THIS post, and THIS post and THIS post I feel also apply, even though some aren’t directly talking about OCC) These posts focus on the western mindset and at times harmful consequences of the mass distribution of Christmas shoeboxes that we fill and ship this time of year.

These posts will challenge your everyday assumptions and they will expose the reality that we unintentionally miss at times when it comes to missions and our approach to it, especially this time of year.  I love what one author says about opening our minds and thoughts to new ideas from those who are on the ground and have given input… “it’s not something we should repent of but learn from!”  So if you haven’t read them… dive in. Try to keep an open mind, and know that nobody is saying you’re only making this about you or that your church is wrong for collecting shoeboxes. It’s just saying… hey, there’s more to this than meets the eye and we need to talk about it and change our actions if we desire to be truly intentional, holistic and helpful to our missionaries overseas.  These posts also don’t set out to discount any positive experiences one might have had with the shoeboxes. 

I decided to list a few ways that one might still have just as much fun and yet have more intentionality as well as an ongoing relationship that can blossom into a deeper and more effective impact on missions. This isn’t exhaustive… but it’s five I came up with fairly quickly after listening to those who are serving in countries where these ideas might be more helpful long term as well as helping them have a Christ centered Christmas season.

  1. Find a family or a team on the ground in another country instead of going through a big company. (If you need contacts, see your church or I can point you in some good directions) Talk to them about what would help/what you could send/what they’re lacking to help people there. You can even use regular shoeboxes to fill, wrap and ship!! Then get a picture of them to hang on your fridge or feature in such a way that your family is reminded of them often. (And that way you can think of ways to bless them during other holidays or tough times as well)
  2. Pool your churches would be shoebox money (often that pile of boxes represents a TON of money!) and send a family in your church with lots of needed items to spend Christmas or for a time afterwards with a missionary family overseas who would love having friends/family with them during or after the holidays.
  3. Pick a smaller organization doing local work that resonates with your heart (I.e. I personally love the org @shearlove who professionally trains women who have been victims of the sex industry how to be a hairdresser/makeup artist). Contact them and see what specific needs they have and if they have any wish lists for more fun gift ideas.
  4. Have your church partner with a local overseas church and see what you can send and what monetary needs they have in order to have a Christ centered Christmas season with their congregation and community! Skype with them during the Christmas Eve service!
  5. See what countries your local refugees/asylum seekers represent and where they are living (ideally some will be attending your church already) and find ways to celebrate Christmas in ways that introduce American traditions but also infuse and immerse their own countries traditions. Maybe bring several families a Christmas tree and decorations at the beginning of the season so to bring joy the whole month! (Sometimes having a joyful hope cultivating environment is more important than an abundance of things during seasons of need or loneliness)



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The other day a friend posted a question in a support group for mom’s with a child who has Down syndrome… “What are some hurtful things people have said regarding your child with Down syndrome?” Here were some of the over 500 responses:

“He must not have a bad case of it, you must really work with him”

“She must only have a touch of it, she’s so pretty.”

“Was it a bad egg then?”

“Don’t worry; he’ll out grow it.”

“At least he will die in your life time so you won’t worry about him after you are gone.”

“How downs is he?”

“the down syndrome doesn’t really seem to be affecting him”

If you pray enough…. (Also, have faith enough, anoint with oil, have the church pray over her, baptize her, repent, read the Bible in the greek/hebrew, pray for a miracle…..) God may heal her.

“Sometimes God gives a few special people a large cross to bear in life”

“God will change your baby’s DNA if you believe!”

“Did you drink (do drugs, vaccinate, smoke, partying, ate the wrong things…) while you were pregnant?”

“It’s because you had sex…. with someone of another race, outside of marriage, while you were having your period, someone you didn’t know you were related to”

“Have you always wanted to adopt a baby with problems?”

“There are surgeries and therapies out there that can help make her look not so Down Syndromey”

“You can cure down syndrome by breastfeeding and giving him vitamins.”

Needless to say…. we still have a lot of work to do in educating people in our day when it comes to not only Down syndrome but about disability in general. These mama’s I know tend to respond in grace and a desire to see change in our society happen. But also, sometimes it makes you want to go off on the question asker or disown family because it HURTS! And rarely once educated do people come back and ask for forgiveness for their insensitivity and selfish perspectives.

So…. next time a friend receives a diagnosis or delivers/adopts a child with Down syndrome (or any syndrome for that matter) Sit with them as they process…. but be the first to say “I’m going to let you process this, and while this might not be what you expected… I’m here, and I love this baby, and I think Congratulations are in order!!!

Don’t EVER say “I’m sorry.” They will get plenty of that from others.

We want to be the ones who know now what everyone with a child with an extra 21st chromosome will eventually discover… that there is NOTHING to be sorry about!

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  • Martha DoaneOctober 9, 2017 - 2:16 pm

    The most hurtful comments were:”why didn’t you abort?”, and then when we adopted,”what a burden for your other kids”
    I can say with complete honesty that our daughter with DS and adopted son with DS have helped foster a marvelous compassion in our older kids. The love-bond between ALL the siblings is greater (per their comments).ReplyCancel

  • EmilyOctober 9, 2017 - 11:11 pm

    Those are some pretty terrible comments! I think DS kids are so so so cute!! In fact, if I ever was to adopt I would PURPOSELY adopt a DS kid, they really have the sweetest spirits!ReplyCancel

When your eyes start to be open to the injustices facing marginalized communities…. it feels like taking an overseas mission trip that is at the same time the most amazing life-giving and heart breaking experience.  And then you come back home and you can’t decide if you’re awful for kissing the ground you live on or awful for wrestling with hatred towards the comfort and ease with which you live.  You just know this… you’re not the same person you were before you left.

You are broken yet you are more complete.

You are angry yet you are more joy filled.

You are resentful yet you are grateful.

You are bold about what you do know yet painfully aware of all you don’t.

You are drained yet you are energized.

You are grateful to be among family yet you no longer feel at home anywhere.

You are so glad to have your comfort yet it feels hollow.

You left a part of your heart with them yet wonder if you will ever see them again.

You went to impact their lives yet they drastically changed yours.

Usually when I’ve taken these overseas trip they happen once a year or every other year with weeks and months of processing that follows. When it’s dealing with communities of the poor, hurting, oppressed, abused, minorities, immigrants, sexual minorities, mental illnesses, and calloused hearts all this can happen within a few hours or a days time, and happen repeatedly.

I feel like I re-live this including the whole spectrum of emotions over and over on a daily basis.  I long for a day where I don’t feel like I’m leaving the comforts of home just to walk along side of the marginalized. I long for a day where we don’t have to ask for those who are more wealthy than I to support the efforts of justice that everyone should be pursuing yet often times we feel alone in, because a day is coming where every need will be met by One!  I long for the day when the Kingdom of God reveals to all the upside down economics of the Savior and I can rejoice when the last shall indeed be first and that they will say that the hope of the Gospel was the good news they clung to on earth because their day to day didn’t represent the good news so many of us mistakenly think it is.

I’m weary and worn….. but I’m changing and growing like never before.

It’s worth it.

They are worth it.

He is worth it.

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