Saturday, May 28, 2011

There is joy to be had and glory to be displayed

My friends, the Masers, are in the adoption process and this week they received their referral call about a 9 month old boy in Ethiopia.  I have been carrying their family picture around this week to show my friends (along with a picture of Caleb, the little 9 month old they want very much to bring home), asking my friends if they'll join me in helping them raise the funds still needed in order for them to say yes.  I've posted and reposted on facebook.  They have many other friends doing the same.  On Tuesday, they still needed $6, they are down to just less than a $1,000.  Praise God!  And thanks to all those who have already come alongside them.  They are at their "now or never" moment (see my previous post), and they want very much to say yes.  We are happy to do all we can to help.  God already knows how He is going to provide and I fully believe He funds what He favors so I want to make it really clear to ya'll that I never post these things out of desperation, but rather as opportunity to spread the glory of God's name and to increase the joy of His people.

You see, I know both ends of the fund-raising adventure.  I know the humbling and sanctifying and awe-inspiring side of being a receiver (as well as the agony and frustrations of it)...we didn't fund raise with our first two adoptions, but with Paul we did (anybody who knows Mike and I very well know we are "buy only what you can afford, pay cash, no debt but the smallest mortgage possible sort of folks" was big time out of our comfort zone to fund-raise and we are in no hurry to do it again, but we would if God called us to because through it He taught us so much and drew us closer to Himself).  We also know the joys of being givers...our family has found great delight especially in helping other Christian families to adopt for a myriad of reasons, but we also like to give to missions and Christ-centered disaster relief, etc. because God gives us life and breath to transform this world for the glory of His name and being cheerful givers in these areas is one of the ways we do that.

When I was a kid, I used to steal quarters from my sister so that I could buy gum for myself (yes, she knows and yes, I have long since repented).  I was interested in me, and didn't mind injuring someone else to advance my own desires.  Sound pretty common to man?  God graciously offered me (and you) these corrective words in Eph 4:28: "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."  Notice that the good work of our hands, our labor, is so "that [we] may have something to give him who has need."  God's word is gracious and we believe it?  Or do we listen to the world that tells us that our labor is about getting a bigger house or sportier car or whatever else we are interested in for ourselves?  Now I don't want to be wacky here...we are also instructed by God to provide for the needs of our own households (and some of you are struggling to do that very faithful there, dear friends!).  We're also told by God to enjoy the fruit of our labor.  So don't go feeling too badly if you enjoyed some ice cream with your kids and got your mortgage check in the mail on time!  But what I've learned is that there is a great joy in laboring to have something to give to others too and as we're enabled by the grace of God to do so,  I want everyone else in God's kingdom to know the joy that comes from cheerful giving.

SO, when I post an opportunity like I am today to come alongside someone, to give to them freely, I ONLY want you to do so if you can do so cheerfully and unto the Lord.  God owns it all...we do not need any reluctant or grumpy givers...we are not desperate!  God is our Father and He funds what He favors...I'm not one bit worried.  God's people are His instruments of mercy and He tells us that the world will know we are His by our love (which is really His love flowing through us...we can only give what we first received).  There is joy to be had...there is glory (the glory of our great God and King) to be displayed...if you desire and are able by the grace of God to help my friends say yes to Caleb, please hop over to their blog where you will find a Paypal donation button or you can email Melissa Maser at to get their address if you'd prefer to send a check.

Thank you,

Now or Never

"Nunc aut numquam", that is the Latin phrase we learned means "now or never."  On a seemingly small scale we face these "now or never" moments every day...we never get "this" moment back again and what we do with it leaves its mark.  But sometimes we face significant "now or never" moments. 

In class yesterday, I was thinking of my son Paul in particular...there was a time when we had his referral information in front of us, a time when he was still an orphan being cared for by the foster system of S. Korea, a "now or never" time of agreeing with God that He was grafting this little man into our family forever.  He's sick again this week (though you'd never know it in the day time...he is prone to fever-less pneumonia that rears its ugly side only at his 6 short years he's had it about 10 times, along with lots of other respiratory gunk that gives us snuggling opportunities).  As I sat in class, learning our new phrase (yes, I'm learning right along with my kiddos), I silently gave thanks to God for Paul, and for His grace in knitting our lives together.  The previous night he didn't cough his guts out alone...he had me with him, comforting him, snuggling, rubbing his head (it calms him) and reading him stories in the night as everyone else in the family slept...this little guy is a family member who knows the strong bonds of a mommy and daddy's love, not to mention two pretty wonderful sisters.  That "now or never" moment 6 years ago changed the course of our family's lives and his and we have no regrets.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Have you ever known someone that is gifted in encouragement?  Someone that you are seriously just blessed by every time you are around them?  God be praised, I've been blessed with the friendship of a handful of such encouragers in the course of my days (maybe because I'm the kind of person that is in constant need of encouragement???).  One such dear soul went to be with our Lord, and now gets to rejoice in His presence.  Recently, I gained possession of a book she owned titled 31 Days of Praise, by Ruth Myers. Each day that I pick it up I am reminded of her because the praise of our God regularly bubbled out of her, even in the face of great adversity and pain...she is sorely missed.  I want to share Day 5 from the book with you...may we all become overflowing fountains of His praise!

     I magnify You, O Lord; I exalt Your name, for You are great and highly to be praised.  I praise You for the glorious splendor of Your majesty and the power of Your awe-inspiring acts.  Your power is unlimited...absolute...beyond imagining.  You are able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or dream of.  "There is nothing too hard for You."  Who is like You, "majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?"
     O Lord Most High, You rule over the heavens and the earth, for You made all things by Your great power, and You keep them existing and working by Your mighty Word.  You are exalted high above every star and galaxy in the entire cosmos...yet You are also "the God of all mankind," the great, personally present, personally involved God who loves, rescues, and takes care of all who trust You.  You exercise Your gracious authority over all nations -- and over each individual in all the world.  There is none like You, the true God, the living God, the everlasting King.
     I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details  With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted.  You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny.  And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others looking on.  Thank You that I can move into the future non-defensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age...and through all eternity.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The wonder of Life

Life is amazing!  God knits us together in our mother's wombs and it boggles my mind to think about it...I mean really, how does He do it?  A fertilized egg to hands and feet and hair and chubby cheeks and bones and skin and heart beats... I love the wonder of it all.  And this week we got to welcome a new precious girl into our extended family when my niece Leah gave birth to Cunera Grace Marl...without question the incredible workmanship of our loving and gracious Creator!  Just look at her and join us in praising God:

 Don't you just want to kiss those little chubby cheeks?
Okay, kissing the forehead will do...good job Mama.

Of course we all took turns holding her and loving on her.  Here are a few more pictures of me and my peeps doing just that:
 My beloved hubby, best friend, lover, true companion, and much more...I'm sure glad God made him!
 yep, I got a turn too, a pretty long one actually:
We are still oohing and awing over here...we're so, so, so happy she is on the outside where we can begin to enjoy her on a regular basis.  And we think the number nine may prove significant at some point in her life because she was born on the 9th, in room 9, with 9 people in the room at her birth, weighing in at 9 pounds even in the 9th hour of the is that for a little fun trivia?

And sticking with the theme of life, we joined many others in downtown Portland to be a voice for life today as the blood of innumerable little ones continue to cry out to God.  Yes, not every little one He knits together gets to see daylight and be loved on and oohed and awed over.  The lies that fill our land in the name of women's rights and the blood shed occurring daily against the image bearers of our God yet in their wombs ought to move us to action and prayer.  Yet we think "why bother if I'm not the one doing it","why lift a finger if it isn't affecting me"... oh, may God have mercy and may He grant us repentance!  I thank the Lord for the Pregnancy Resource Centers and all those who do pray and act, sharing the truth in love, reaching out with compassion to those who are being pressured from without and within to kill their babies, sharing the gospel and advocating for the lives of those God has knit together to bear His image in this world.  Today was a good day of gathering with such folks!

I am so proud of the Under His Wings team!  Eight kids ranging in age from 6-10 raised $5,256.67 this year for the PRC.  I pray that God will continue to grow their hearts to do battle in their generation against abortion and for life, for the glory of His name. And I pray more people will come to see this as a national problem because our land is covered with blood that cries out to God and He hears...what will YOU do this year to make a difference?
 Here they are being presented a certificate for being the number one fund-raising team in their age bracket...Lars Larson, a well-known radio talk show host was here to hand out the awards this year!
 And Larry Gadbaugh, the PRC CEO, was kind enough to pose with them too...thanks Larry!
A fine looking army if you ask me!  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celebrating Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I get to celebrate the joy of mothering three beautiful people because their first mothers chose to carry them in their wombs, labored to give them birth, and for various reasons arranged for them to be adopted.  There are many women who do not choose life for their unborn children...we continue to give thanks to God for all of our children's first moms! 

It delights me to the depths of my soul to see my kids joining up with five of their friends to form a Steps for Life team this year.  My kiddos have taken to heart the opportunity do to this walk-a-thon from their earliest days...God has given them all tender hearts to help "babies in the name of Jesus."  Last year they linked up with three of their friends to form a team, and this year their team grew by two more.  Doesn't that just make you want to dance or sing or raise a celebratory glass?  I don't "make" my kids do this...they are eager!  And they bless me to my core! 

So 8 kids, ages 6-10, plan to walk THIS COMING SATURDAY in the Steps for Life as the team titled Under His Wings. Their goal is to raise at least $5,000 and as of tonight's tally they are just about $500 shy of that goal.  If God places it on your heart to sponsor any or all of them, here are links to all their fund raising pages where you can find easy instructions on how to make a donation, and information on the work of the Pregnancy Resource Centers.  If you can't support them with money, will you join us in praying for the event?

Thank you so much,
one joyful Mama