Browsing Category

Life

Bible, Church, Culture, Family, Legacy, Life, Only One Life

The Beauty of a Life Surrendered

March 27, 2018

Editors note: This article was originally published at foreverymom.com

Billy Graham’s funeral earlier this month marks the celebration of a man whose impact is incalculable. This was a man who spoke to 215 million people, wrote dozens of books, founded the influential Lausanne Movement, counseled thirteen United States Presidents, and led the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in his lifetime. He no doubt should be recognized for the great man that he was. But as we reflect on his life, we would be remiss if we didn’t take the time to recognize his partner in all of his accomplishments: his loving wife of over 60 years, Ruth Bell Graham.

The cliché goes “behind every great man is a great woman.” In Billy Graham’s case, this is certainly true.

As the world knew Billy Graham for his packed crusades and gospel preaching, fewer knew of Ruth Bell Graham’s equally important role in crafting the Graham family legacy.

Ruth Bell Graham: A Legacy of Loyalty

Ruth was born in China to missionary parents Dr. Nelson and Virginia Bell. Growing up with missionary parents, Ruth developed her own love for foreign missionary work and felt a deep sense of calling to move to the largely unreached nation of Tibet.

Before pursuing her calling as a missionary, Ruth attended Wheaton College in Illinois. While there, her life and calling would forever be changed after meeting a young man with a passion for preaching. That man was her future husband, Billy Graham. When Ruth and Billy fell in love, Ruth had to decide what to do with her conflicting desires. She wanted to marry Billy, but he had no plans to become a foreign missionary.

Ruth ultimately set aside her fears and confusion, married Billy, and trusted God to work out their mutual calling. Neither of them had any idea that her heart for the world and his heart for preaching would end up serving them well in their future ministry together. Ruth chose to be loyal to her soul mate, and she worked alongside him in ministry for 43 years.

In those 43 years, Ruth may not have been the one on stage, on air, or on television – but her ministry and legacy is equally as important. Former president of Wheaton College Dr. Duane Litfin once remarked, “Strong, steady, and dauntless, Ruth Bell Graham was the glue that held the many of the parts of their lives together.” 

Because of her faithfulness to God, Ruth not only had a part in making Billy’s ministry possible, she was a spiritual encourager to her husband. Rev. Graham explained, “I have been asked the question, ‘Who do you go to for counsel, for spiritual guidance?’ My answer: my wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible.” God used Ruth to minister to America’s minister.

She also greatly invested in their children as she stayed home during much of Billy’s travels. Investing in her children would prove to make an impact that still lives on today as many of them have ended up working at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, starting their own ministries, speaking, writing, and serving the Lord in various ways. Her impact lives on in her children and grandchildren. What a legacy!

A different interpretation

While reflecting on this incredible woman and the faith legacy that she has left behind, I couldn’t help but wonder how our culture might view this fiercely loyal woman. I fear those who hold up the banner of “feminism” would be forced to deny any claim that Ruth Graham’s life is an example for other women.

Ruth, after all, largely set aside her dream of being a missionary in Tibet in order to get married and support her husband’s calling. She also stayed home and raised their many children while her husband’s career in ministry skyrocketed. These life choices are likely to be criticized by those who speak on behalf of women in the feminist movement.

A simple Google search of the word “feminism” shows the dictionary definition as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” This sounds like something nearly everyone should agree upon, right? Yet, when we see feminism played out in American culture, it often translates into a very narrowly defined set of life choices. In order to be “pro-woman”, the loudest culture voices would say a person must be pro-choice, pro-career outside of the home, and downplay the value of having and raising children. 

With that understanding of what it means to be feminist, those who claim it’s view would have to look at Ruth Graham’s life as a failure.

Eternal Perspective

Thankfully, we can recognize Ruth’s life for what it was: A life that created a lasting legacy; a life that truly outlived itself.

As people of faith, our perspective should be shaped by what the Bible teaches, not what our culture claims. And while we must give complete ownership to God for the success of Billy and Ruth Graham’s influence, we can recognize that He chose to work through Ruth and her partnership with Billy to accomplish great Kingdom impact.   

As we rightly reflect on Billy Graham’s incredible impact in our world, I am deeply grateful for the faithful witness of Ruth Bell Graham who loyally served alongside Billy to accomplish God’s calling for their family. She may not be recognized by feminists today, but in God’s kingdom – she was a faithful servant. 

In my forthcoming book Only One Life, I’ve written about Ruth Bell Graham and many other women like her who choose to daily surrender their lives to God. Through seemingly small offerings of faithfulness, God has used women to bring about great change in the world. 

How will you shape your choices today to shape an eternal legacy?

 

-LM

Adoption, Bible, Family, Life, Theology, Uncategorized

Sorrowful But Always Rejoicing

December 11, 2017

The past few months have been some of the darkest I’ve experienced in years.  l had expected the fall of 2017 to be full of joy and celebration as Museum of the Bible opened, a project I’ve been invested in for nearly 8 years. But along with the great joy from this season, it’s been full of pain. And it’s hit on many levels.

The past two months have brought personal medical issues (infertility), a family member’s death, broken trust in close relationships, personal attacks, and many close friends experiencing their own tragedies, all the while as l am trying to keep up with my full time job, a PhD work load on nights and weekends, and co-writing my first book with my mother. It’s a season that’s brought back panic attacks, heartache, doubt, and insecurity. It’s also a season l feel God’s presence more than l have in a long time. It’s driven me to His Word, and to prayer.

In the midst of this season, one night l was supposed to go to an award ceremony in the evening to receive an award along with dozens of other recipients. l actually hadn’t told anyone about the award except my mom and husband. The day of the award ceremony turned out to be one of the more difficult days because of events that transpired. Those difficult events caused me to feel unable to get to a place where l could get out and go to this award banquet.

My husband Michael was out of town, but a few friends knew what was going on. As I got home from work, my sister (in-law) and a close friend from my community group showed up at my door with listening ears, my favorite snacks, flowers and a candle. (My sisters live on opposite coasts, and had told these friends what my favorite things were.) They spent hours with me, just listening to me and loving on me.

That same week, l was in church during the worship time when my best friend came over to just wrap her arms around me tight and l just began to cry. No words were necessary. She knew she couldn’t make it better, but she could be present.

So, you get the idea: it has been a season with varying levels of suffering. I’ve been broken, and it’s been difficult.

This is not a post for sympathy, or a “poor me” attitude. No, this is a “me too” because l know I’m not the only one who has felt weary.

Through it all, l rest in the words “it is well.”

In the midst of the storm, l am acutely aware of where my hope lies. Can you believe that our hope is not in our circumstances or even in this life? What a gift. Our hope lies beyond the grave, and in Christ. The author of Hebrews says that it was “for the JOY that was set before him (Christ) endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2, italics mine)

Our hope lies beyond the grave, and in Christ. Click To Tweet

How could Christ have possibly had any measure of joy before him in enduring the horrible death on the cross? It’s because His hope was in what was beyond the cross. And for those of us in Him, our hope is the same. Someday every tear will be gone and every broken thing redeemed for those of us that know God through His Son. That is my hope.

Yes, l am human, and l will grieve, cry, vent and take time to heal. But the hope from Christ makes the season sweet. l love the way it’s brought me closer to Him. l love that it’s been a process of stripping away the things l places my identity in so that all l have left is Christ. l love that it’s made me grateful for the many small joys l see every day. And l love that its allowed me (okay, forced me) to experienced grace from my husband, sisters, closest friends and my church community group.

l love that this suffering created a process of stripping away the things l places my identity in… Click To Tweet

A season like this gives me greater appreciation for the words of Horatio Spafford who wrote these lyrics after losing his four daughters in a shipwreck:

 

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul”

 

Indeed, because of the cross, it is well with my soul. 

 

-LM

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Adoption, Bible, Family, Life, Theology, Uncategorized

Hope in the Midst of Infertility

November 21, 2017

Remember when you dreamed of what your life might be like at a certain age? Then once you reach that age, you are surprised by how different things turned out? I’m sure anyone over the age of five has experienced this on some level. I know I certainly had different expectations on where I might today–just months away from turning 30.

This month marks two years of my husband’s and my journey with infertility. It also marks five years of unsuccessfully pursuing adoption. This may not be where I expected to be, but maybe I should have.

At least one in six couples will experience some form of infertility. (1) Of those cases, one third of infertility will be attributed to the female, one third will be attributed to the male, and one third will be attributed to both or will be unexplained. Regardless of who or what the cause of infertility is attributed to, it invariably impacts both.

When we realized that having kids wasn’t going to come easy for us, we wanted to be open with others about our experience. I find great comfort knowing that people are praying with us and support us in our journey. As I’ve shared about our experience, I am incredibly humbled when others are willing to trust us with their own stories. That is what motivates me to share with you. Some of the most powerful words I’ve found are “Me, too.”

No two people will wrestle through infertility in the same way. Though everyone’s experience is different, there are some things that I’ve found in common with my experience and infertility, and that of others I’ve talked to. Here are the two common threads I’ve seen.

1. Shame
Historically, shame has been associated with guilt, and while it often can include guilt, the shame I’m speaking of is not so much the feeling/knowledge we experience when we have done something wrong and our conscience is confirming that, but more that sense of shame that comes from feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment.
Shame, in that sense, can cause a person to feel that you are somehow wrong or defective, even in instances when a person hasn’t done anything to necessitate that feeling.
This kind of shame is a lie that can keep us from being vulnerable. Yet vulnerability opens the door for healing.
To move beyond shame, I have to believe something truer. The thing is, the Bible teaches me that my value is not in my ability to have children. My value is unchanging, regardless of my earthly accomplishments or lack thereof. God loves me completely and unconditionally. Believing that truth helps me to move past feelings of shame and into vulnerable transparency that invites my community to walk alongside me and strengthen me in the difficult days.

Vulnerability opens the door for healing. Click To Tweet

2. Grief.
The pain of childlessness is a peculiar pain, described by one couple as “the grief which has no focus for its tears and no object for its love.” (Dickson 1997)
In dealing with infertility, grieving must take place. Grieving the loss of expectations. The loss of a perceived ideal timeline. The loss of a “normal” pregnancy experience. Grieving the loss of . . . fill in the blank. It is a gradual loss of what might have been. A hope deferred that makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12)
Grieving the loss of expectation is normal and healthy. It has been important for me to recognize what my expectations are, and to find comfort knowing that it is okay to be sad about that loss of what could have been. It is also a comfort to know that in the midst of grief, God is with us as our comforter: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, ESV).
God invites us to come to him with our hurts. Michael and I don’t have to fake happiness out of fear of seeming “unspiritual” for not trusting God enough. Scripture tells us there are seasons–times for weeping and for mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:4). We don’t have to be afraid to go to God with our tears, anger, and grief. He offers arms wide open with comfort and healing.

One of the hardest moments of our journey thus far was when the doctor told us what our chances are for getting pregnant. I wanted the numbers to be different. I wished it wasn’t true. I wanted to wake up from my dream. But it wasn’t a dream. This was our reality.

Shortly after we received this difficult news, I had a friend tell me that when she is troubled, she lives out the situation to the worst-case scenario in her mind. Once she got to that worst case, she realized that even in that place, she would be okay because of her relationship with Jesus. That was powerful and freeing for me.

I’ve played forward in my mind the possible scenario: What if we never have children? Even so: I have Jesus. I don’t need Jesus+children in order to find joy. With Jesus, no matter what, my life is full. I don’t need Jesus+children in order to find joy. With Jesus, no matter what, my life is full. Click To Tweet

-LM

 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20354317
Culture, Life, Millennials, Theology, Uncategorized

Why I Appreciate Wonder Woman’s “Weaknesses”

July 31, 2017

For the first time, I watched a live-action superhero movie, and the main character was a woman.

Wonder Woman, which was released June 2, has seen major box office success. The film has surpassed Deadpool in its earnings, making it the second highest grossing comic book superhero movie ever without Batman, Iron Man or Spider Man. Wonder Woman has also become the highest grossing film to be directed by a woman, surpassing Mama Mia. And last week it surpassed the final Harry Potter installment to become Warner Bro.’s third biggest release of all time. Impressive.

This film comes at a time in our culture when we were ready for it. The voices of feminism have been adding to the cacophony of talking points and noise for decades. Having made even more “progress” in more modern times, I am surprised it took this long to see a great film with a female superhero.

In my reflections about this movie, I incorporated some of what I’ve been reading lately from Evangelical Feminism by Wayne Grudem. There is a lot of debate around the topic of women and feminism in our culture, but there is still a lot of room for Christian women to speak into the topic, providing a positive perspective on the value of women through the lens of what scripture teaches.

The Bible teaches that men and women are created equal and yet different. Through these differences, men and women compliment each other and lead through these differences. Yet in those differences I’ve often felt that culture pins stereotype qualities on women, and those qualities are seen as weaknesses.

Male superhero characters like Superman are depicted as strong and willing to make the difficult sacrifice. They are calculated, not allowing emotion to get in the way, like we see from Tony Stark. Batman is focused on the journey ahead and willing to charge through a brick wall alone to make changes to Gotham.

Diana is different. First, despite the name of the movie being “Wonder Woman” she is not called that once in the film. She is Diana.

As a super hero, she brought with her some of the characteristics that are typically unique to women, but in a positive light. She was nurturing, and yet she was incredibly strong. She was not afraid to realize her emotions – feeling the pain and anguish of the ravages of war. And she was not afraid to bring others along with her in her journey, valuing the relationships.

“We’ll do this together!” -Diana

These characteristics, which can sometimes be viewed as “weaknesses” by our culture, were used in a way that brought great strength to Diana. These characteristics were a part of what motivated her toward making a difference. Diana was willing to be a team player, giving recognition to the others that were in the battle with her, because she was not concerned about her own recognition but was confident in her convictions.


“I am willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Who will, if I don’t?” –Diana

Diana recognized with ability comes responsibility. This is a valuable lesson that we can all use. Even if we aren’t a “super hero”, we have all been given different roles, opportunities, and responsibilities. The way we function in those roles will affect the lives of others. How are we going to steward our opportunities to lead? We each have the opportunity to impact eternity when we keep our focus on things that last: people’s souls and God’s Word.

Women have a unique ability to make an impact that will last for generations. I am talking about leaving a legacy with our families, friends, and the relationships we build. Women are often relational, ready to step in and connect – ready to care. This allows great power to connect on a heart level, and live out the gospel in word and deed.  Whether in motherhood, the boardroom, or any other role, shape the legacy that you want to leave behind.

Wonder Woman’s character realized her power, and used it for good. Let’s do the same with our abilities today – even the ones that might be seen as “weaknesses” by our culture.

Wonder Woman’s character realized her power, and used it for good. Let’s do the same. -@laurenamcafee… Click To Tweet
Hobby Lobby, Life, Teaching, Uncategorized

Making a Difference in Women’s Lives

March 8, 2017
In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share this article that was posted on the Hobby Lobby Newsroom! I love that Freedom Yarn is loving and serving women so well.
This article was originally posted on newsroom.hobbylobby.com

Hope, love, and dignity. These are a few of the values that Hobby Lobby customers support when they purchase Freedom Yarn. The eight unique Freedom Yarn colors found in stores are beautiful products with a life-changing purpose. The packaging label explains their mission: “Bring freedom, hope and sustainable income to the marginalized, including those rescued from or at great risk of human trafficking.”

John and Brenda Flower became aware of the desperate needs of local villages through their visits to India. Because of the caste system, women are forced into trafficking with no way to escape.

With their business backgrounds, John and Brenda looked for a way to serve these local communities. The idea for Freedom Yarn came when they realized they could recycle fabric and teach the women to make yarn from the material.

Freedom Yarn is unique, made from strips of fabric instead of a more traditional wool, cotton or acrylic fiber. Manufacturing Freedom Yarn provides a long-term solution for women who are coming out of trafficking and enslavement. This new means of income means younger women can avoid being trafficked.

Mariya Doss is the buyer that orders Freedom Yarn for Hobby Lobby. “We are grateful we can offer this unique product to our customers,” said Mariya. “This handmade product used by knitters and crafters is making a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable women and girls.”

“Seeing the women’s hope and joy makes all the hard work totally worth it,” said Brenda Flower. “Purchasing Freedom Yarn helps ensure these women’s freedom is not short lived but will be sustained for years to come!”

It is an honor for Hobby Lobby to partner with Freedom Yarn in making a lasting difference in the lives of women.

Read more about Freedom Yarn at www.ThatTheyRemainFree.com

Bible, Church, Life

Interview with Marked Podcast

January 16, 2017

I joined Mary Margaret on her podcast Marked! We talk about the Bible, community, and mentorship. You can check it out here:

MARKED Lauren Green McAfee

We have an opportunity in trials to show who Christ is in our lives. @marymargaretc #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet My weakness is actually going to show Christ’s strength all the more. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet We can trust that God will use whatever we have to offer in the way that He intends for it. @LaurenAMcAfee… Click To Tweet My foundation had to be firmly planted in Scripture. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet We can constantly learn more from God’s Word. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet
Hobby Lobby, Life, Uncategorized, Work

New city, new job…

December 13, 2016

BYP-56.jpg

I am so excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Corporate Ambassador for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. I am passionate about this company, its values, and its purpose. What an honor to serve the company where my working days first began.

It feels like just yesterday I was starting my first job at Hobby Lobby. It was unpaid, but as an eleven-year-old, I didn’t mind. I began the day after Christmas, and I was awake before sunrise. The Hobby Lobby stores were going to open in a few hours, and I had a job to do: assist the Hobby Lobby gift bag buyer in counting the Christmas gift bags that were left after the holiday.

My dad was the gift bag buyer, and because he needed to visit a few stores to get counts on the bags that were left after Christmas, it became a tradition that my siblings and I would join him to help his work go faster.

I remember getting to the stores before they were opened, and seeing the manager welcome us all in from the cold – my dad, and his four little assistants bouncing behind him, eager to be a part of his work. It felt so special- helping my dad, and working alongside family members while being a part of something bigger than us. That’s when my love for working at Hobby Lobby began.

13495457_10208901500121972_8330186584191372937_o

Throwback to when I was five years old – a few years before I started working with dad. 😉

So, after about a year living in New York City, I said goodbye to the Big Apple and moved back to Oklahoma City where the Hobby Lobby Corporate office is located. Michael and I loved our time living in Manhattan. I am convinced that the hardest time to move out of NYC is right around the holidays when the city comes to life with all of its magical decorations. What made this transition easier was knowing that it was God leading this change.

As I step into this new role, I can’t help but look back and remember those early days working with my dad in the stores. I never could have dreamed that so many years later, I would have the opportunity to serve as Corporate Ambassador, sharing with others the purpose and values of the company that I hold so dear.

New York, you will be missed. But here’s to another exciting adventure.

byp-118

-LM

P.S. Check out Michael’s latest blog post on the top 4 things he learned while living in NYC.

 

Family, Hobby Lobby, Life, Museum of the Bible, Uncategorized, Work

Latest interviews

October 29, 2016

Hey! If you would like to see my latest interviews, you can find them here!

IF:GATHERING

I sat down with Jamie Ivey while at If Gathering, and we discussed Museum of the Bible. The interview can be found here:

ifgathering

“Our hope and our mission for the museum is that we will invite ALL people to engage with the Bible.” @LaurenAMcAfee… Click To Tweet

 

SONDER PODCAST

I had a chance to discuss Hobby Lobby and religious liberty with my good friend Kirsten Haglund on her podcast Sonder. Our discussion is in Episode 4, found here:

image-1

CALLED2BUSINESS 

When I spoke in Greenville, NC for a Called2Business luncheon, we filmed a quick segment on faith in business, and leaving a legacy. You can watch the short interview here:

img_3748

Our family has tried to be intentional about the values we hold as a business, and a family. -@laurenamcafee… Click To Tweet

-LM

Bible, Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

“Busy” is not synonymous with “Successful” – Managing life well

June 24, 2016

BYP-109 copy

Have you noticed that when people are asked “How are you?” their response, more and more, is “Busy!”? I’ll admit, this is often my go-to response. It is the natural reply that rolls off of my tongue during friendly small-talk conversation. When I began to realize that this had become my typical reply, and dug a little deeper to try to understand why, I discovered that one of the reasons I want to say “Busy!” is because I want to make it sound like I am doing a lot of important things. It is an easy way of giving a #humblebrag. So I’ve decided that I want something better to say.

This is not to say that “busy” isn’t a truthful response, but I don’t want it to be my standard. Honestly, I don’t always even feel busy. I do have a full schedule, but it mostly involves things that I am passionate about and that fuel and energize me. Besides investing in my marriage, relationships, and spiritual journey, I get to work full time for Museum of the Bible, wear my “Hobby Lobby/Green family member” hat at times, live on the road 60% of the time, and try to keep up with my inbox, blog, and social media activities. And for some crazy reason, I just enrolled in two graduate level seminary courses!

Maybe my go-to response will be #blessed or “better than I deserve!”—but those seem trite and too #Christiancheesy. While I continue figure out what to say when asked “How are you?”, here are a few ways that I keep my schedule under control to avoid mental and spiritual burnout.

BYP-99 copy

1. Knowing myself and my limits.

A few weeks ago, I forgot this one. I had some work events that were higher stress than normal, and I didn’t give myself room to decompress afterward. I went from hosting a three-day retreat for women that are speakers and leaders, right into a three-week travel schedule to seven different cities/events, and ending back in OKC just in time for a full weekend of college graduation festivities for my brother-in-law. When I landed in OKC to change clothes and go right into graduation party mode, I was not in a good place—and Michael and I were having conflict. It wasn’t pretty. And it affected half of the celebration weekend. (Sorry to those of you that were around me!)

I needed to let myself have time to recover and rest. I need to make sure I have space in my schedule to allow for recovery when I see that things might be hectic for an extended time. We were not created to work for rest, but to work from rest. And if there are seasons when it isn’t possible to create that space due to situations that don’t allow a Sabbath kind of rest, I need to be sure I lean on God to give me the strength to make it through that time with grace. This leads to my second point.

IMG_9122

2. Not sacrificing my time with God.

I need to keep my spiritual walk a priority. When the schedule begins to fill up, and knocks other things off my schedule, I have to fight to keep this a priority. I need time with my Bible and time in prayer. It should be unthinkable that I can’t find time in my schedule for the Creator of all things.

God sustains me during the busy seasons better than any other gimmick or tip I could write about. I experience a significant difference when I am spending quality time with God than when I am setting aside that relationship as a lesser priority. God, and the truths from the Bible, is my greatest strength and sustainer. Yet for some reason, I still allow myself to forget and sacrifice that time for lesser things.

To this point, the friends of Martin Luther said he spent three hours in prayer every day. I don’t know what Luther’s schedule was like, but I have to assume it was pretty busy, with the-whole-starting-of-the-Protestant-Reformation-thing he did. He made time to pray, and it served him well.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

3. Creating a system that works for managing everything.

Whether its starting the day with reviewing my to-do list, or spending the first 15 minute at the office to say hello to co-workers, has led me to figure out my routines and processes and to use them. Since people have different personality types and temperaments, creating a system for managing things will be different for each person. This is something I learned when I got married, but saw even more clearly as I started working alongside my hubby. I saw that what worked for me as a system of keeping up with friends, work, spiritual life, etc. did not work for Michael. We have very different personality types and skill sets, so our life management strategies differ.

Here is one small practical example: Michael is an external processor, and he also tends to process his thoughts quickly. So for emails, he reads a complex email and can respond fairly quickly with a thoughtful reply. For me, I am an internal processor, and I need time to gather my thoughts. So I have a system that works for me where I read an email, and if I need to process it, I mark it a certain way and come back to it a little later to reply.

Another example is how we prioritize our Bible reading. I’ve found that the best way to keep consistent in reading my Bible is to do it at night. This has become a part of my routine, and I read my Bible and journal my prayers at night before I go to bed. This is not a system that works for Michael, and it won’t be the system that works for a lot of people as I discovered in an informal Twitter poll I took last week. I asked, “When do you read your Bible?” Out of 270 respondents, the results showed that 54% said “Random times,” 28% said “Morning,” 15% said “Night,” and 3% said “Weekends.”

We are all different, and it’s a wonderful thing. Find what works for you, and put your process to work.

IMG_0092

4. Lastly, I give myself grace!

I won’t always balance the schedule and life perfectly, and in those times I am thankful for a God full of grace.

»»««

For a helpful book that provides perspective on how to manage the culture of busyness with a biblical worldview, I recommend Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.

›LM

Adoption, Life

Adoption

January 31, 2016

In Africa in 2013

This month marks three years since Michael and I began the adoption process. As you may be able to tell from the lack of an Instagram feed filled with photos of a sweet little boy, we still have not completed our adoption.

It is a strange journey, adoption is. No two experiences are the same. The process is full of unknown. It may happen in a few weeks, or it may take a few years. I also have friends who have started the process and never actually complete an adoption because of so many road blocks that came up during the journey. But for those that do complete the adoption process, once a family brings a child into the home, the adventure is just beginning.

At a time when I needed a little encouragement with our adoption experience, I had the opportunity to hear from a few different families who have all gone through adoption. Hearing the stories from families that have walked through the long and difficult process of adoption was encouraging because in each instance, I could see God’s perfect timing in every situation.

So, to those of you pursuing an adoption or maybe even those that have completed an adoption and feel weary from the unique struggles that come with it, take heart: God is for you.

For the family that has just started the process and feel overwhelmed by the mass amounts of paperwork, approvals, interviews, meetings, expenses and unknowns- be encouraged, God is in the details and takes care of His children.

For the family that has been waiting for a child for months and months or years and years, don’t lose hope. God knows your child and will bring your family together at the right time.

For the family that may be praying about whether or not to pursue adoption, it is a hard but rewarding journey. Adopting is not for everyone. Although, I do believe that as part of the church, everyone should play a role in caring for the fatherless (James 1:27). While it is scary to consider providing a forever home to a child that has experienced trauma through whatever the circumstances were that brought them to adoption, every child deserves to be in a forever family and be loved. We need families that say “yes” to the calling of adoption.

A quick update on our adoption: The African country that we are adopting through has decided to reform their international adoption policies. While they reform the policies, they are not approving families for adoption. Our adoption is on “hold” for now while we wait to see if the country opens back up in the coming year. This is not where I expected to be three years into the process, but anyone that has gone through the adoption process knows that it never is quite what you expect.

-LM

 

Additional reading: Here are some reasons why you should consider adoption.