Archive for the ‘As Our Own’ Category

Village Moms

They say it takes a village to raise a child. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot since our beloved Mrs. Mary Helen passed away this year. I believe with every fiber of my being that I have the world’s greatest mom. Melissa and I didn’t have any reason to go looking for extra women to mother us, but God surrounded our little family with a handful of Jesus-loving women who were like colorful sprinkles on the incredible homemade iced sugar cookies that our mom made.

I’m thinking of Johnnie Haines, who was my mom’s best friend and running buddy for as long as I can remember. We spent more time playing at her house than anywhere else, except for church. Maybe. She’s always  kept us laughing with her wit and sass and she’s taught me a thing or two about raising a son. God bless her for not knocking my head off when I reveled in tattling on her boys.

I’m thinking of Kathy Kolkhorst, whose daughter was my very first friend in kindergarten. She displays Jesus in her joy and she never stops serving others. She was always an outspoken lover of Christ and she helped influence me to follow Him. (She gave me my first Psalty tape!) God bless Mrs. Kolkhorst for all the carpooling and for leading our Brownie troop for years.

Then there’s our dear Mrs. Mary Helen. What a precious saint of God. That woman would bring sacks of groceries, boxes of baked treasures from Three Brothers Bakery, and huge Ziplock bags of homemade cookies to our house when Mom was out of town speaking. Normally she would only be gone one night, but Mrs. Mary Helen wanted to spoil us. And that she did. Her kindness and love were warm and comfy like a perfectly worn-in blanket. She was beautiful on the outside with her pretty white hair and her sweet smile and oh- so-stunning on the inside with her generous spirit.

Women like Aunt Johnnie, Mrs. Kolkhorst, and Mrs. Mary Helen made up our village. Melissa and I were shaped, in part, by the small and large deposits they made in our lives.

I think Village Moms have two important roles – to hold up the arms of other women as they do the work God has given them, and to collectively teach Village Children about the love of Jesus. (As Lindsee said so well, Village Moms don’t have to be called “Mom” to be a mother.)  I can hardly put into words how my Village Relationships have blessed me.  Experiencing life in community with church members in our neighborhood has been rich. This year I’ve learned how to support other moms and how to let myself be supported. It’s a beautiful thing!

I love that several times a week, my kids get to see how my girlfriends love and serve Jesus. Yesterday some of us Village Moms had a semi-spontaneous prayer session (not because we were that spiritual but because we were that needy for Jesus). Three little preschool girls ran circles around us while we prayed and one precious 9-month-old foster daughter sat, bounced, and rolled right in the middle of us. Some of our praying was done with eyes open and there were no few distractions, but my heart was so full.  I know one day Jackson and Annabeth will talk about how Mrs. Crista, Mrs. Lisa, Mrs. Debra and so many other godly friends lived out their faith in front of them.

It is good to be a mother. It is good to bless children, whether they’re yours or they’re in your village. It is good for children to be surrounded, protected, loved and taught by a community of God-fearing women.

There is a Village in India where young girls are being rescued from a future of certain enslavement and exploitation in brothels. As Our Own, a Christ-centered adoptive care ministry, is working tirelessly to provide rescue and lifelong after-care for these precious children. These girls don’t age out of a program and get launched out on their own – they are daughters for life. The girls are living, breathing evidence of God’s power to redeem. Their destiny is changed from one of destruction and misery to a life of love, security, education, and hope in Christ.

In honor of the Village Moms who loved me, carpooled me, coached me, cooked for me, prayed for me, bought Girl Scout cookies from me, gave thousands of hugs, listened to prayer requests on behalf of my pets, taught me in VBS, and celebrated birthdays with me, I am making a Mother’s Day donation to As Our Own. In honor of the Village Moms who are now walking beside me as I mother my children, I am giving sacrificially to see my beautiful little sisters in India thrive and flourish.

Siestas, will you be a Village Mom for our girls in India? They may never see our faces, but they will know our love and concern. It takes a significant amount of financial resources to provide the level of adoptive care that As Our Own gives. Will you make a donation in honor of your mom or of a Village Mom who made a difference in your life? Doing so will make a dramatic difference in the lives of these young girls who are so loved by God.

Happy Mother’s Day, Siestas. Thank you so much for your support.

All my love,

Amanda

 

 

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You Don’t Have To Be Called “Mom” To Be A Mother

The fall of 2003 brought a lot of changes to my little world. I had just graduated from high school that previous May and instead of immediately scampering off to college, I decided to stay in Houston to attend a community college for one year. Although I felt slightly left behind since most of my friends scattered, two things kept me sane that following year, my best friend who also stayed put, and Bible study.

My mom had previously attended a Beth Moore Bible study and although I’d heard of her, and knew her name, I really had no idea the impact she’d later have on my life. That fall semester my mom asked if I wanted to attend Bible study with her, and knowing I had nothing to lose, I agreed to it. So we made our way that September evening to Houston’s First Baptist Church and for the next ten weeks sat through the teachings and tapings of “Living Beyond Yourself”, which also happened to be the very first Bible study I’d ever finished in my life. Mind you, I grew up in the church, but I devoured this study day in and day out. As I spent time alone studying God’s Word, I can honestly say that semester changed the course of my life. I wanted Jesus for myself.

No words could ever convey how grateful I am to my parents for raising me in a church going, godly home. In fact, I learned what a true servant was by watching my mom serve the church joyfully week in and week out, and I don’t see her quitting any time soon. However, it wasn’t until college that I realized while my own mother taught me to love and serve the church, this firecracker of a lady named Beth Moore taught me to how to love Jesus and how to love and study His word. The fact that she had poured out her heart and soul and taken time to mother women across the globe through her Bible studies was not lost on me. I claimed her as my spiritual mother and throughout college introduced her to my sorority sisters a time or two. I was extremely grateful for the gift she was.

Through Beth’s teachings, writings and Bible studies, I know she has not only mothered me, but I know for a fact that is how many of you, our dear siestas, feel about our Siesta Mama. How blessed are we?

Fast forward almost ten years later, in my wildest dreams I would have never guessed the Lord would place me directly under her leadership. I can honestly say that who she is as a Bible study teacher is exactly who she is as a boss, mentor, friend, and God-loving spiritual mother. No pretention, no games, just pure authenticity. I’ve been planted among 11 other spiritual mothers here at LPM and my love tank is over-flowing. I sincerely pray I never take their incredible wisdom for granted.

To put it into simple terms, I feel beyond spoiled.

I have yet to experience motherhood, and although my desire is to one day be a wife and mother, while I’m waiting, the only way I can adequately say thank you to my own mother (who I’m becoming just like) and to Beth as a spiritual mother is to pour myself out to the younger girls I’ve been given the privilege to love and serve. Those with mothers and those without. What I’ve learned is that you don’t need little mouths calling you “mom” to be a mother. You can leave a legacy of mothering with or without birthing your own children.

A little over a year ago I sat at the funeral of a young mother who left behind a 16-year-old daughter and it was at that moment that I realized how much I loved and needed my own mother. What in the world would I do without her?

As Mother’s Day is fast approaching, I am acutely aware that my situation is rare, especially as I think about the little girls in India who’ve been born to mothers enslaved in the brothels. Little girls, their daughters—some as young as seven or eight years old—are being forced into the sex trade. But the cycle of enslavement doesn’t have to continue. These mothers strive to protect their children from this generational fate, and As Our Own offers a way for these brave women to give their children the life they themselves are denied. In Jesus name, As Our Own is an answer to their desperate prayers of rescue. Let’s support them and be a part of the solution and their story.

Siestas, you may not know what an impact you made in the lives of these precious girls last Mother’s Day, but rest assured it was eternal and in fact, you haven’t stopped giving. After our sweet Amanda posted last year, As Our Own heard from hundreds of you from over 45 different states and four different countries and collectively you all helped raise over $27,000. That is amazing!

Maybe you’re like me and you’re in a season of waiting, take this opportunity as one from the Lord and honor and bless a little girl across the world who needs a mother like you to love and provide for her from afar.

To mother is to sacrifice in more ways than one.

To give these girls a spiritual inheritance is to sacrifice financially for them.

Would you consider joining me in honoring your mother, daughter, sister, aunt, spiritual mother or maybe another mother figure of your own by giving to As Our Own? You may never see the fruit of your sacrifice, but the Lord will honor it, and there is no doubt the girls you’re giving value to will know the impact of your sacrifice.

Instead of stressing about the perfect gift, just follow this link to donate to As Our Own and then follow the instructions to download a card that explains the donation you made in her name. I promise, along with a hug, it would mean the world to her.

Your gift is making an eternal difference and impact. Thank you so, so much!

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Now I Know

Before I became a mother, it was easy to pick out a Mother’s Day gift for my mom. I had the privilege of ignorance. But on February 17, 2006, that ignorance flew out the window of Baylor Grapevine Hospital when a baby boy was placed in my arms. Now I knew.

Having heard on my birthday every year about the 14 stitches my mother suffered during childbirth and how many months she felt that pain, I now felt it.

Having heard my mother say that having a child is like carrying your heart outside your body and letting it walk around, I now carried it. I now saw it take first steps.

I had never loved my mother more. Now I knew. The magnitude of what my mother had done for me all my life started to sink in.

So how exactly am I supposed to say thank you to my mother now that I know?

For countless meals fixed or fetched, for hairdos perfected before school and messed up before the bus got us all the way there, for refereeing more sibling battles than one can count, for pretending and being silly, for enduring back to school shopping with two daughters year in and year out, for carpooling, for taking us on vacations to places we wanted to go, for protecting us from harm, for comforting us when kids were mean, for correcting us when we were mean, for listening to kids’ music in the car, for teaching our VBS classes, for volunteering at the school, for confidentially counseling our friends, for cheering us on from the bleachers even when our team couldn’t win a game, for enduring our adolescent mood swings, for playing basketball in the driveway, for teaching us about Jesus Christ, and for doing all these things with love and a smile on her face. HOW? How do I thank my mother for raising me? And for doing it without letting on how hard it was?

Mom, truly, I thank you. Now that I know, I don’t know how you did it. But I’m grateful. And I hope I can raise your grandchildren in such a way that they remember me with a smile on my face. Even if I put all my money in my purse and spent a year doing nothing but shop for the perfect Mother’s Day gift to accurately reflect your worth to me as a mother, it would elude me. Nothing in a store could ever measure up to your value.

I may have a little gift in my hand for you on Mother’s Day, but I also want to give a gift that means something more. I want to show you your value to me by showing a little girl in India how much value she has to Christ. She is living in a very dark, unsafe brothel and her own mother is a slave to many men. Her mother is unable to care for her because she is not free to stop working. Her mother could sell her young daughter to the brothel and escape a living hell. But her mother wants freedom, protection and life for her child. Her mother is saying, “Help me by helping my daughter.”

 

With a financial gift made in your honor, God is providing a means of rescue for this little girl through As Our Own. The little girl’s mother will entrust her to their care. When she visits her daughter she will see her thriving and healthy and she will know that she has given her child a priceless gift. The child will be raised by loving women who will nurture her like their own daughter. She will go to school and be educated, which will change the path of her future. She will be introduced to Jesus Christ, who loves her and gave Himself for her. For the rest of her life, a family of believers will devote themselves to her well being.

Rescuing children from horrific exploitation and eventual death from AIDS does not come without a cost. For those of you reading this, the cost is financial. For a team of believers on the ground in India, the cost is spiritual and physical. Today I am looking for people who will partner with us by giving sacrificially to As Our Own. Let’s equip them to do the work God has called them to do. They are anointed for this work. They are even training pastors to take up this cause so that the church in India will become a mighty advocate for these children. The momentum is building and I ask you to please be a part of what God is doing.

Honestly, it is easier not to know about these things. I could have written details in this post that would have made you sick for the rest of the week. What happens in that red-light district haunts me daily. But I will not turn away because it’s easier. I will consider what is happening, how I can help, and I will take five minutes to go to their new Web site and actually do it. The beauty is that right now you and I can impact a child’s future and honor our moms (or a special mother figure in our lives) at the same time. Who is with me?

Donate in honor of Mother’s Day: AsOurOwn.org/ThanksMom

About As Our Own

The extreme poverty in India places girls at great risk for exploitation, enslavement, and neglect. Girls are regularly abused and degraded, forced into lives of bonded labor, either in organized begging or the sex trade.

These girls will face a dark, horrific future—unless someone intervenes.

God has opened the door for As Our Own to rescue girls before they are exploited, giving us the privilege to care for each one as our own—for life. We are building strong communities through our Lighthouse church network and training strong leaders and pastors at our Hope College, all to break these cycles for girls in future generations.

Your gifts make a lasting difference for these girls. Thank you!

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