I am married to a man who believes in people. More importantly, he believes in a God who is crazy about his creation, who places passions and dreams in His people. I’ve never met a person more deeply convicted about God’s people, the church, and their need to wake up from the dead and walk fully alive in Christ.
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:16-17)
God has poured out his Spirit on people. We are here on this earth to accomplish the will and work and wonders of God so that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). He has creative plans to make himself known through us, his image-bearers. As the scripture says, he gives visions and dreams. God has dreams for us. What do we dream about?
Ben often asks the question, “What if the things you love collided with the plans of God? What frustrates you? What makes you angry? What causes deep pain? What brings you abundant joy? These are often the birthplace of a destiny.
Ben’s dreams, prayers, and tears have moved me and challenged me. We often think about these things and ask each other these questions. We discuss things like a healthy functioning government, abortion, revival in our city, the poor, theology, healthy spirituality in the church, strong marriages that last, discipling our children, just to name a few. We dream about these things together. We dream and we pray.
Eighteen years ago in the slums of Mexico God planted a dream in me.
Ben and I were newly married and we took a trip to Renosa Mexico to serve with a mission team. We were in an area where many people lived around garbage dumps—whole “cities” of slums. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Not far from there we visited an orphanage where nearly 100 precious dark skinned boys and girls ran and joyfully played with their new white missionary friends. They would hover around holding our hands. Many would look up at me with big white eyes and give out compliments and hugs in hopes that I might be their new mom. This, too, was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Both the love and the pain I felt that day changed my life, and a dream was birthed in me–a dream to care for orphans.
While at the orphanage I had crazy thoughts about moving to Mexico to be a mama, to not go back to the States at all, to adopt all of the children there. I cried for days on that trip as my heart broke for these innocent children, and it was there that Ben and I knew that God was calling us to help care for orphans, specifically through adoption.
Being newly married and involved in school and ministry, we returned home to the States. We knew it was what we needed to do at the time. But we also knew the Lord was calling us to adopt. He gave us a dream. Then He called us to wait. That was eighteen years ago.
Years have past and so much has happened in our lives since our trip to Renosa. A lot of “life” stuff. Some highs, some lows, and everything in between. We’ve had four amazing, full-of-adventure boys whom we homeschool. We’ve started and stopped jobs, moved, moved again, and moved again. We’ve cared for my mother and then lost her too soon. We’ve traveled with mission teams, planted a church and met really cool people along the way. We’ve painfully watched loved ones walk through divorce, and married those just beginning their new life together. We’ve also had the joy of watching people fall in love with Jesus and commit their lives to him.
Throughout the years, however, we have continued to carry this burden for orphans. It’s been a privilege to serve on other short-term mission trips, give towards child sponsorship and others in the adoption process, and care for people through my past work as a social worker. But I have never forgotten Renosa and 10 year old Biannca, who I knew would likely grow up there in poor conditions without a family. I can’t forget. And I know the Lord doesn’t forget.
In all of that time, we have know the Lord has called us to adopt. This longing to adopt comes not only from the heartbreak of my trip to Mexico but also knowing that I was lovingly adopted by my Father, God.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1:5).
He sacrificed His own son who bled and died, paying the highest price, so that He could adopt me! I am thankful beyond words for this. I was brought into His family.
We know that now it is time for us to pursue this call to adopt a child. Right in the midst of our busy lives, the Lord says “Now.” Do I have doubts? Do I fear the unknown? Do I question my ability to parent another child? I do. I don’t know everything that lies ahead but I also know there is God’s mercy in the unknown. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) God is sovereign and will carry us as we step into this unknown territory. As a Christian I’m learning (constantly learning) that my life is not my own and that I need to get over myself. My part in God’s story isn’t about me, but about something much bigger and that requires trust. He promises to never leave me. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut 31:8)
Through prayer and contemplation we have chosen to adopt internationally (We’ll be sharing more details in the future & ways you can join with us). Our whole family is excited to take this step. The kids have been praying with us and sharing their excitement and concerns. Adoption will be a brand new chapter in our faith story, one we want to share with you in hopes that your own dreams will find their courage. I’m also thankful to God for wrecking our world back in Renosa. Your dream, if it is a God-dream, is always worth the risk, always worth fighting for, always worth the cost of being wrecked.