Monday, January 27, 2014

Speaking Love over Truth

I got a very interesting private message on Instagram last week. It was from someone that I don't know personally. And it was sent to a group of women, most of whom are very influential people. I was honored to be included in that group of women, so I was extra intrigued as to what the subject of the message would be.

I read it, and then I said out loud to my husband, "I just got schooled."  

The subject was pro-life advocacy. And the sender of the message was basically challenging those of us that she felt had a voice of influence on this topic as to why we had not been promoting the pro-life movement that week: a week that included Pro-Life Sunday, the March for Life, and the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. 

It felt a little bizarre for someone that I don't have a personal relationship with to be telling me that I should take a stance on such a controversial topic. Not because I'm afraid to take a stance. I am pro-life without apology. I can't really imagine an adoption advocate not being pro-life. But because there could be a million reasons {including that I may have just had a rough week... which I did} as to why I wouldn't have posted something on this subject matter, and without knowing me this girl just assumed that I didn't care enough about the issue. 

I thought about her message and this issue a lot, and these are the conclusions I have come to:

1. There are a lot of noble and important platforms to be addressed in this world, but not everyone is called to address every platform. 

I may have strong opinions about a lot of things: the right to life, universal healthcare, public education, providing infrastructure to third world countries... but currently God has called me to one public platform: infertility and adoption advocacy. That is where I have been called to speak up. That is where he has asked me to use my voice, my time, and my talents. It doesn't mean that I don't care enough about any of the other issues, I just care about them more privately. 

2. "Knowing" someone on social media is not the same as knowing them in real life. 

Don't get me wrong. I love social media. I love my friends that I have met through social media. Many of them have become my real life friends, but only through connection, interaction, exchanging phone numbers, and talking and meeting in REAL LIFE.  On Instagram you see a snippet of someone's life, and while I work very hard to be authentic and genuine on social media, it's still just a snippet of me. I would hope that you would not make strong conclusions about myself or my life based on what you see in my Instagram feed. 

3. {And most importantly} Social media is not the proper forum for affecting change on controversial social topics.  

I don't believe that me posting an Instagram message about protecting life is going to make a woman that was considering abortion change her mind. It's just not. That kind of change requires personal relationship. In my opinion, people are not going to stop being gay, cancel an abortion, or decide to vaccinate their children because of something that they see on an Instagram post. 

You are more likely to alienate people, cause defenses to go up, and just generally tick people off than to change their stance on a hot topic. 

You know how real change happens?  By having relationships. And the most life-changing relationship possible is the one that you can have with your Savior. 

So if we want to affect REAL, LASTING change on any topic, the best place to start is to encourage a relationship with Christ. And the best way to do that is to first of all have a good relationship with your Christ yourself. The more we know about Christ, the more we will want to be like Him. And the more Christ-like we become, the more loving and less judgmental we become. 

I do believe that there is one truth, one God, and one road to salvation. But I also believe that showing love is the best way to reveal truth. 

If you want to be a magnetic, influential person, show love.
Extend grace.
Have compassion.
Love the hurting.
Give to the needy.
Be authentic. 

Christ came into this world to love, He didn't come here to judge. He hung out with the misfits... the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the lepers... he showed them love and that changed their lives. You know who are the only people that Christ showed judgment on?  The religious leaders. The hypocrites. The ones who wore the scriptures on their heads, but didn't live them out. 

I DON'T want to be a person that is known for being pro-life, or anti-Obama, or pro-public education... I want to be a person that is known for showing love. I want to be passionate about showing others the unconditional love that Christ shows us everyday. I want people to see me and find grace. 

So if you don't see me taking a big stand on something that you would expect me to be passionate about, know that it is not due to lack of passion. It is due to a stronger desire to love. 

*UPDATE* I wanted to clarify that the gal that sent me the message on IG almost immediately apologized for sending that message to people she didn't know and possibly sounding harsh or pushy. And I did not mean for this post to sound like an admonishment of her. We actually had a lovely discussion that was done in love and grace, and that I very much enjoyed. These were just the thoughts that I took away from the conversation that she sparked. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

A LITTLE Giveaway

I know I have lots of followers that have walked the road of infertility and/or are growing their families through adoption, so I'm hoping that you will all go check out the Choose Joy Conference. This is a one-day conference that I started last year to minister to those surviving infertility and adoption.

This year's conference is Saturday, May 3rd in Laguna Hills, CA. Too far for you???  Well then let me tell you about something else: RIGHT NOW we are giving away an all-expense paid trip to Choose Joy from anywhere in the Contiguous US!!!

So head over to the Choose Joy website, check out the conference and enter to win. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Meet the Derby-Wellers

I'm so excited to introduce you to the next family that will be the recipients of the funds raised through the next exchange {which starts tomorrow... YAY}.

Meet the Derby-Wellers.

Here's their story, in Jacqueline's words:

We came to domestic infant adoption after a year of careful prayer and intention around the question, "Is God calling us to be parents?" We found out in our first year of marriage that we would not be able to have children biologically, so we decided that instead of rushing into one thing or another we would go into Spiritual Direction to discern God's call. What we heard clearly was that God was calling us to become parents, and that God had equipped us well to adopt and help our child or children through the meaning making and grief and joy of adoption. 

That was almost four years ago now. We have been at this adoption thing for three. In the middle of it, I needed a hysterectomy, so our attorney suggested that we use Faithful Adoption Consultants to help us match, given that we lost about 8 months due to my infertility issues. After six months with them we matched last January 7th. 

Sadly, that match failed the day after the baby was born. Then exactly two months later we matched again. We got about three hours from home on our way to meet Baby #2 before we learned our next match had also failed. These two failed matches have meant that our adoption funds are now utterly depleted. Given that we liquidated our savings to do it the first time, we are starting from scratch.

But here is the good news: When you have absolutely nothing left on the table--but God--you have absolutely everything left on the table in God!

So, we are starting over but with hearts full of hope and still listening to that gentle call of God to open our lives and hearts and home to the child or children God intends for us to nurture, love, smoosh, and cuddle!

Since we lost $25k to the agency we worked with, we hope to raise that amount through fundraising. 

Would you like to help the Derby-Wellers and have fun doing it?  Then come back tomorrow and sign up for:

I am so excited to host another garland exchange.  The last garland exchange I did was by far the most popular of my three exchanges... clearly you guys like to make garlands. 

I am making one important change to my exchange system... you will now be paired up with one partner.  So the same person you send a garland to will be the same person you receive one from.  I am hoping that this will help to eliminate the problem of people not getting a package. 

Tell your friends.  Come check out all the details here tomorrow morning.  Think hearts and red and pink.  Help people.

It's all fun.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

One Little Word

Last year at New Year's I chose one little word to represent 2013.

The word I chose was PRIORITIZE. 

In 2013 I quit my business, reclaimed my life, and focused on my family... which included welcoming baby number three. 

I would say PRIORITIZE was just right. 

Today I am declaring a new word for 2014. My first instinct for the word was SERVE, but I really want my focus this year to be on the Lord and I worried that SERVE could be more about what I'm doing and not who I am serving. 

So my word for 2014 is GLORIFY.

I want to serve the Lord by glorifying his name. He has given me so much to be thankful for, and so many experiences that prove He is a Lord that is worthy to be praised, and I want to share all that with everyone I meet. 

As I prepare for Choose Joy, I want that day to bring peace and joy to the attendees, but more than that, I want it to bring God the glory for all He has done and will do. 

I want my children to know that everything we do should have purpose... to bring glory to the Lord.  

I want people to look at my life, to hear my stories, and to say wow, she serves an amazing God

GLORIFY. That's what 2014 is going to be about for me. What's your one little word? How will you define this year?