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Monday, December 28, 2009

Did you know?!







I am going to do my best not to get on a "soapbox" in this post. All of these things are SO near to my heart and during this CHRISTmas season have become more and more to the forefront of my mind.
When I tell you that watching Josie Love Christmas morning brought joy to my heart...it is an UNDERSTATEMENT. With my other children, most of their "firsts" were in the first two years of their lives. Watching her is DIFFERENT. She is having so many FIRST moments and she's old enough to REALLY "get it!" She laughed from the pit of her tummy, and smiled, and smiled, and smiled, as she went from sibling to sibling and gazed at the shiny new toys that lay in front of them. My eyes welled with tears the whole time just seeing the joy on her face and the peace in her little squinted eyes. Multiple times, I looked at her little face and thought "for almost FOUR YEARS she has not had anyone to call mommy or daddy." The thought of it makes my heart ACHE. She has been ill most of her life, with her diagnosis unknown, and her medical care limited. The thought of other children JUST LIKE HER being overlooked by believers DAILY makes my heart feel as though it is breaking in half. Please hear me say that I would have been fearful to walk this road that my sweet Saviour has me on. AND I wouldn't have knowingly chosen it. (because I KNOW myself) BUT now that I am on the other side and this sweet little angel is MINE, I want you to hear me say that YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

For Christmas, Mike bought me the book "TOO SMALL TO IGNORE....why the least of these matter most" by Wess Stafford. AS IF I NEED MY FIRE FUELED ANYMORE...this book just gets my engine revved up! Here are a few things that I have learned from it.

Did you know:
that research indicates that the vast majority of people who become Christians, do so while still children, usually before the age of 14?
that there are 2,000 Bible passages that declare our Father's love for the impoverished and their children and that urge us ,YOU AND ME, to defend their cause?
If a person hasn't accepted Christ as a youth, studies tell us that the probability he or she will EVER know Jesus is only 23%?
the earth can produce enough food for every man, woman, and child to have 2,270 calories per day-MORE THAN ANY OF US REALLY NEED? (so while God has done His part in creating a world capable of providing what we need, we have NOT done our part in the stewardship of it)

The magnitude of the poverty problem is SO BIG that as believers we do nothing for one reason: we do not know what to do. When we do turn our attention in the direction of orphans satan attacks and makes it seem IMPOSSIBLE to help in any way. WHICH leads me back to my first few questions.....the reason it SEEMS impossible is because there is an invisible battle going on. A spiritual war that rages over EACH and EVERY child. Satan is going to do everything possible to keep children from being brought into a Christian home and showed the love of Christ. If satan can keep the blinders on our eyes, and the children in our world overlooked until they are older, then the percentages of that child EVER knowing Christ play in "the deceivers'" favor.

No matter what the setting children seem to be the most overlooked. When hunger and famine strikes a nation, adults become weak and hungry, but it is the children who starve to death. When disease strikes, adults become very ill, but the first to die are the children. The most vulnerable people in our world have become the most disposable. Children in our world are so vulnerable to poverty that malnutrition causes 55% of the child deaths in our world. Our selfishness and greed cause them to pay the greatest price but they suffer silently.

In reality, children have THE MOST to offer. Ask any Mom or Dad who tucks a little one in at night. Children do not have much to offer materially, but they generously give all they have to those they love and believe in: hugs at bedtime, full-body squeezes, sloppy kisses, little fingers folded inside of our larger ones, sparkling marble shaped eyes that speak "mischief", little whispers of "i love you mommy". These things are priceless and MORE than enough. Few gifts on earth are as wondrous as the love of my little ones.

PLEASE help me spread the word. There are children who need us to pray, care, love, feed, or adopt them all over this world! Please do your part! Little Josie's are EVERWHERE longing for love and waiting for the body of Christ to show it to them. Every person on earth needs a little "Josie Love" in their life to show how the most vulnerable, nothing to offer, sick, and droopy eyed little person can bring your heart JOY, JOY, JOY. Just ask my oldest 5 children....they will tell you that their hearts have been forever changed by her sweet little giggle.

32 comments:

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

AMEN!

Praying this with you Suzanne - wake up church it is time to serve and obey God and love the little children of the world!

Blessings and Happy New Year!
Jill

RACHEL said...

I don't know what I loved more... you're incredible post with stats that I just have to pass on, or the heart-melting pics of Josie Love smooching her little baby with all of the love in her heart!

Ali said...

...or ask my friend Ali. She can't stop herself from falling in love with her! love you and walking it with you sister

Kat said...

I am crying right now. I've spent last night and today reading "A Hole in Our Gospel". We are currently waiting for twins (beautiful blessings six and seven) from Ethiopia, but we're searching for if God wants more. Thank you for this beautiful post. It's not a soapbox, but a fire God lit that shows the passion He put on your heart.

Kristi J said...

ok, this post was so DARN good that I HAVE to link to it tonight...I mean, it can't be said any better than that :) Way to go momma :) kj

bjstout said...

My sweet Suzanne. what a blessing that little girl is. She touches all of us. When we had that conversation years ago at breakfast table in a little town of Roenoke AL. I had a peace about the mission that our Jesus was putting you and my Mike on, Never dreaming it was this big or this encompassing, Jesus always could out do our meager dreams but knowing whatever came you could do it and do it with gusto. YOu have never waivered in your purpose, maybe overwhelmed on occasion as how deeply Jesus can move you, but never waivering. I love you both so much and I am blessed to be in this family with you such a big part of it. Please never stop "telling your story". Jesus is counting on it.

Jim and April said...

thanks so much for this post!

Kat said...

I hope you don't mind. Your blog moved us (my husband and I both) to such an extent that I shared it on our blog. God used you yesterday...thank you.

Oatsvall Team said...

Preach On girl ... walking right beside ya adopting, feeding, and praying ... Let's see if we can get some more CRAZY LOVE people to hop on our train !!!!

Jenn in GA said...

oh woman, my heart beats with the truth of this. i cried after watching the post gwen put on her blog about domestic adoption out of foster care...that seems more plausible to me than going overseas, and older kids would fit our family better. but this is all my thinking; haven't asked God about it. need Bob and Michael's hearts to be moved before we can move forward. also need an income--can't do anything without passing a home study! God is BIG, and i want my family's faith to GROW this coming year. how he chooses to do it is His business. i just don't want us to step away from growth because of FEAR.

Mrs. McGoo said...

Amen! Keep sharing the WORD! Thank you for this post!

Abbie said...

AMEN SISTA!!! thanks SO much for the wonderful post! I love you all and deperately long for the orphans of this world to be orphans no longer...

thanks for helping put us in that direction!

LOVE,
Abbie

Tracy said...

Yes and AMEN! Trying through His strength to not be frustrated with this comfortable, cushy jesus, with a total little "j", claiming world we are living in! It gets harder by the second!!! So thankful to be in this battle together!

Shana said...

Thank you so much for sharing and God bless you and your family :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posting! We are just beginning our adoption process and your words are inspiring!

Alli
www.stumpfamily4.blogspot.com

The Fab 4 said...

Unfathomable statistics. Thank you for your heart and life of ACTION, Suzanne. Move us, change us, force us to show love, Lord.

The Funkhouser Family said...

You are so right. I have to say We just started an Ethiopian adoption and we have been doing a lot of studying on spiritual warfare. My husband is a police chief and has been in law enfordement for over 20 years and not more than a couple hours of us sending in our application to our agency he lost a 16 month old baby doing CPR onhim for an hour. It was so sad and it seems like Satan doesn't stop . Thanks for your post. You can check out our blog we just started at www.campfunk.blogspot.com
Many blessings your way!Beautiful pics-she is precious!

Julie Hoagland said...

Yes! ...agree with it! Waiting to travel to China to pick up our second SN child, a son, 7 years old who we will call Noah. The body of Christ....the church, MUST WAKE UP! We are not wealthy people, but have managed two adoptions in 2.5 years on just one income. It can be done if you are willing to give up some things. Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing and hearing about the fruit of your faithfulness as more people's hearts are changed the way our's have been by witnessing the journey your family has been on.

I love those pictures of Josie because THAT is some of the fruit.... a little girl who will grow up one day to become a mommy who loves her babies and LOVES the Lord because you all are showing her a Christ like love.
Love you guys... Julie J

Carrie S said...

You have put into words what I feel and yearn to say all the time. Adoption is the most beautiful blessing God has placed on my family and I yearn to adopt more and do more, but as you said those devilsh barriers get in the way.
Prayers for you and your precious family.

emily said...

Love you on your soapbox- stay there sister!!

Jim and April said...

Hey! Just wanted to let you know we have our new official adoption blog up and running! Feel free to subscribe and follow along with us on our journey of bringing home our first child from Uganda, Africa! http://www.starkeyadoption.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Suzanne - Your heart is precious. The truth of God's Word and His commands for us are never a soapbox, but just that - the TRUTH. The world does not understand and may condemn, but you speak the truth. Well done, good and faithful servant. I have read Crazy Love and The Hole in Our Gospel and will be getting the book you mentioned! God is doing some major renovations in the heart I thought was His already! We can change the world, one heart at a time, one child at a time, one family at a time. I love checking out the pics! Josie just exudes love! =)

Love,
Tracey

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Oh, Suzanne, I hear your heart and mine resonates. I never would have thought I could manage the needs of a child with spina bifida and use a catheter on her four times a day.

But, by God's grace, I am now her mama, and the thought of her being left behind, just because she had spina bifida breaks my heart. And, the thought that there are many more......

Shout until the whole world hears!
Robbie

Anonymous said...

Suz, you stay on that soapbox.... You inspire us all to be better in everything we do. The Lord is using you every day and with every word you type you are reaching someone. I love keeping up with your family via your blog and Josie Love is precious. She is a very lucky little girl to have you as a mom and as a teacher in how to walk with Christ..

Love
Vielallar

Cathi Geisler said...

hi, I follow yours and Katie's blogs and just wanted to say it is so encouraging and incredible to see what God is doing in your lives! I love that you've made Josie a part of your family; it's what God did for us! bless you guys.

Sandy said...

I can only imagine how happy you were on Christmas! Constantly praying for all of you! you're such a blessing to so many!

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Dear Suzanne,
I just have to add an "amen" to your post. We brought home a 9 year old son from Guatemala on Christmas Eve. Our Christmas morning was like no other. To watch a little boy, who once looked through garbage for food, sit at our breakfast table and laugh with his family till his belly was full . . . well, it doesn't get much better than that. To have him run downstairs on Christmas morning to see gifts under a tree with his name on it, given to him from his own mom and dad. . . absolutely precious.

Christmas night my bio. 9 year old daughter came to me in tears. I thought, "Oh, no, she's disappointed because we had a 'smaller' Christmas because of our adoption expenses or perhaps she felt her new brother got all the attention." But she explained that she was crying because she had her radio on and "What I Really Want for Christmas" by Steven Curtis Chapman had come on. She thought of her new brother and how all he wanted was a family. She said, "Mom, we can do more. We have room in our home to be a family for more orphans." I must say that was one of the best gifts I've ever gotten--that my bio children have the same passion to care for orphans.

It's so wonderful to hear that your oldest 5 share your heart in caring for orphans. And you are so right when you say that helping them is like engaging in a war against the enemy for their lives. Thanks for enlisting an army to fight with you.

God Bless,
Kathie

Guard Wife said...

Thank you so much for your post. The photos of your daughter with her dolly made me smile (and cry!). We have a little girl (6) who is waiting for us in Ethiopia. Her 3rd court date is 1/12. We sent a dolly over for her with friends who picked up their boys near Christmas. She will receive it when she moves to the transition care center once we pass court. I could imagine her with her doll when I looked at your photos.

And, the words you wrote could not be more true. I will be re-reading this post often.

Melinda
www.5forHope.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouragement - it is HUGE for us as we have just embarked on the adoption process from Uganda!! Pray for us

K said...

I 100% agree with what you are saying: Jesus called us to LOVE the sick, poor, hurting...and we simply go on with our lives as if millions aren't suffering each day.

I hope this doesn't come off wrong...but what if we actually gave until it hurt? I don't know, but I am inferring from your other posts, that it seems like you give a lot of gifts at Christmas. I also see that you got your precious little girl a toy electric car (and that the boys already have one). Please don't take this as a criticism, but I just wanted to ask: What if we skipped these purchases (fun though they are!) and sacrificed what we have been raised to view as a normal, American life? What if we sold our TVs, all the stuff that is unnecessary in our lives and homes, and lived each day with an openness to what GOD would have us do with HIS money (that we steward), His body (that we steward), His food (that we steward), His time (that we steward), etc.? What if every time we went to a store, we prayed. We prayed for the orphans like your daughter, and their families. What if we stopped ourselves from these little habits, and instead gave until we were uncomfortable? Until we let ourselves feel a little "suffering" like the rest of the world? I guess I am so glad to read that you are passionate about this, but we need to put these thoughts into action. And often, that action HURTS -- but it is so GOOD! I just wish all this money we spent on things would go toward helping other families adopt, toward helping families learn a business trade to build a living off of, toward providing vaccines for preventable diseases... I'm just posing a question that I hope will burn in our minds, hearts, and prayers, like your post. I hope it doesn't sound critical -- I really just mean to bring it up.

Thanks for bringing this up and reading my response to it. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

RACHEL said...

Suzanne, I am posting this comment to one of your older posts, hoping that you’re the only one who will see it! (my parents & other family aren’t ready for this, and to be honest, we may not be either!!!) My husband and I are in process to adopt from Uganda and are “loosely” considering the possibility of changing our immigration approval from “no special needs” to HIV. I imagine your life is insanely and beautifully packed, but if you are able, I would love to ask you some questions either through email or phone. God bless you and your beautiful family.
rachelgoode1@gmail.com
205-222-0726
www.heirswithchrist.com

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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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