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Ordinary People Serving an Extraordinary God April 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — blessedarethosethatmourn @ 1:26 am

I’m a pretty typical person. Ordinary, really. I’m averagely intelligent and a good listener, but, as for skills, you know, the kind that make people clap, I’ve never had any of those. I don’t make fancy meals, I can’t set a gorgeous table, I’m a mediocre singer, I have art skills that are just slightly better than my 5 year olds, and I’m about as athletic as a fish on land. There have been many days that I’ve wished for a talent…to be that concert pianist or the person that can stop a crowd with my powerful words.

I guess that is one of the reasons that I’ve always loved the verse in I Corinthians that says “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I have always loved the stories of Moses, who stuttered, and, yet, God used his words to set the Israelites free. I love that barren Abraham became the father of a great nation. I love that God used Rahab, the prostitute, to save His people, and common fishermen to become his closest friends and disciples. Our God sees differently than we do. He values things that are unseen and uses ordinary things to do great things, so that there is no doubt who has done the work.

Over the last 7 years my heart has become deeply entrenched in the needs of foster children, with hurting children in my community. Foster care has become part of my identity, and, although we have fostered 10 children and adopted 2 precious girls, my heart aches to do more. Unfortunately, our 3 bedroom home and 7 passenger van requires that our 4, sometimes 5, children be all that we can handle at this time, but that doesn’t take away that longing for more. So, this year I have worked on using my timid voice more as an advocate. I have had several opportunities to speak or write to bring awareness for the need for more foster and adoptive families, and I am a cheerleader for our small church to become a BIG part of what God does for the children of our community, particularly in regards to raising money for the Walk for the Waiting.

Last year, Grace Church, our small 150 member church, set a goal of raising $4000 for the Walk for the Waiting, but my expectation was to come no where close to that goal. I was astounded as I saw money flood in, and we surpassed that goal. I was in awe of how God used a small group of people to do such a big thing! This year, I set our goal at $5,000, and this morning, with just 5 days left until our walk, we crossed the $2,000 mark. I thought that that was a lot for our small group, and I was excited to see so much money going towards organizations that were working together to end the waiting of thousands of foster kids in our community. I didn’t think we’d come close to the lofty goal that we set, but I was happy with every dollar raised for the Walk.

Natalie and her best friend Natalie at last year's Walk. We all wore a zero, because our goal is "No More Waiting!!"

Natalie and her best friend Natalie at last year’s Walk. We all wore a zero, because our goal is “No More Waiting!!”

    And, yet, once again God has decided to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. At 4:29 PM I got an update from the WFTW saying that our goal had been reached. I KNEW it was a mistake. I looked again, and we had received a $10,000 donation from Cornerstone Pharmacy, a locally owned Christian pharmacy. Precious friends of ours own this pharmacy, and, though it is a profitable business, I have always seen their work as part ministry. Their Pharmacists and employees both befriend and care for the needs of their patients in a way that mimics Christ. It is a place where people enjoy being, because you can truly feel the love that exists there. Cornerstone is a business that sees the needs of the people they work with  far above and beyond the profit that they bring in, and they care deeply for the Foster children of Arkansas.

     I was able to call our friends and thank them for the gift, and they said that they wanted to give $1,000 for every child that has lived in our home. I feel inadequate for such a precious gift. I feel like I do not deserve to be the conduit through which this money reaches these precious waiting kids, but God delights in using the ordinary to do His extraordinary work. He loves to do the things we see as impossible, so that we see that all things are possible with Him. He loves to overwhelm us when we are pursuing the things that He loves. God is good.

Arkansas friends, you just have to check out Cornerstone! http://www.cornerstonepharmacy.com

Arkansas friends, you just have to check out Cornerstone! http://www.cornerstonepharmacy.com

Thank you, Cornerstone Pharmacy, for being the hands and feet of Christ to little ones in Arkansas. Thank you for your love for the least of these, and thank you for choosing me to be the conduit of God’s extraordinary work!

If you want a part of this great fun, sign up to walk with me on Saturday or donate to my team! We’ve reached our goal, but the Walk still has about $100,000 to raise to meet its goal. http://www.walkforthewaiting.org/theHurlburts

 

Walk for the Waiting April 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — blessedarethosethatmourn @ 3:28 pm
Gabriel, age 12

Gabriel, age 12

Gabriel turned 12 this week. He is funny; he is exacting in nature; he is confident. Gabe is a gentle big brother, he loves to snuggle his parents, and he is obsessed with Pokemon. He is in that wonderful phhase that is in between: in between childhood and adolescence. He is navigating that awkward stage, the stage that most of us look back on with terror, with Joshua and my help. We protect him and guide him, and we sometimes allow him to fail, so that he can learn to stand back up. Most days he is full of confidence, but some days he is a bucket of big emotions. He’s grown incredibly fast this year: about a half an inch a month! It has been difficult keeping him in jeans. He even has a few whiskers on his chin, and a slight, somewhat hideous, mustache on his face, and he is so proud of it! It’s a time when kids need there parents more than ever. A time when fathers and mothers begin to the steps of letting go, but, also, a time when they are needed in new and bigger ways than ever before.

I cannot imagine what my sweet son would be like without a solid family to fall back on during this time of transition. Yes, his body is getting bigger. He is almost as tall as I am now, but inside he is just days past the smallness of childhood. He needs to be tucked in every night. He needs to be listened to by someone who will loves him wholly. He needs a cheering section and a place that shelters him from the increasingly cruel world that he experiences. He needs someone to tell him he is beautiful, that shines a light on his strengths, and gently helps him work on his weaknesses. He NEEDS his family.

Right now there are 587 children waiting for a family in Arkansas. Many of them are in that time of transition, that time of in between

Samuel, 12, is a waiting child in Arkansas. To find out more about him go to  www.theprojectzero.org

Samuel, 12, is a waiting child in Arkansas. To find out more about him go to http://www.theprojectzero.org

. Yet, there are very few of us that would adopt a 12 year old boy. We see that as a “hard” age, when it’s “too late” to help, when they are too past “cute” to stir our hearts. As I write these words, my heart hurts and my eyes well with tears.

These boys and girls deserve everything in the world. They are still innocent and often helpless. They need parents just as much, and some days more than littles. They KNOW their loss, loss that would destroy you and I, in an aching way. They wonder if they will ever be chosen, if they are beyond hope, and yet, they hope. They dream.

Perhaps, you are a family that is capable of taking in another child, adopting a child. Let me encourage you to open your heart to an older kid. Middle schoolers are actually my favorites. They don’t need you to be “cool”, they just want to know if you like them. What a precious time to bring a child into your home. Maybe, though, this isn’t you. You can’t adopt. Can you give? I am raising money for the third annual Walk for the Waiting, and this money goes to support agencies seeking to find families for waiting children. Every dollar counts. You can make a difference in a child’s life today by donating at: http://www.walkforthewaiting.org/theHurlburts