I wanted to tell you guys about two of my friends who, in my opinion, are living out the gospel in unique but beautiful ways.
"Friend" is not a strong enough word to describe who Barbara is to me...and not only to me but to my husband and my kids as well. She and her husband Larry left their home and community in New Jersey to move to Florida to plant LifeBridge Church with us. They were determined to not spend their "golden years" just rocking on a front porch, playing golf, or traveling in an RV. They value Kingdom work above and beyond how many folks spend their retirement, recreating and relaxing. I have never met two people who work harder, sacrifice more, and serve more wholeheartedly that the Hoffmans. We are blessed to call them our family.
Barbara has started a blog, because even though she doesn't feel they are called to adopt (yet! haha), she doesn't want to miss an opportunity to speak up on behalf of orphans and stand in the gap for families, like ours, who are adopting. Go stop by her blog and say hello, and be encouraged by her example of loving orphans, not matter what your stage of life. (Oh, and if I were you, I'd go ahead and become a follower. This is a godly women, full of wisdom, and I for one don't want to miss any of her posts.)
Whitney and I met a year or so ago. She and her husband Scott live not too far from us, in Tampa. They have a one-year-old, Javen, and are in the process of adopting two baby boys from Rwanda. So awesome! But what always amazes me about this couple is their constant desire to give up more of themselves on behalf of orphans. They have been a big brother/sister mentoring couple for years. And Whitney explained to me not long ago, I know we are suppose to adopt, and we know there is a wait involved in that process. But we just don't feel like we should spend that waiting time just sitting around! So...while working through their adoption paperwork...they got approved to be foster parents. They are using this time, while they wait for their boys from Africa, to love on babies here in this country who need a home. The currently have a baby boy with them. I encourage you to go read her latest post, and hear the honesty in dealing with the challenges they have invited into their lives. And then to see her sweet response as she allows scripture to change her heart... Awesome.
So many people say, I'm not called to adopt, but then wonder how they can be a part of demonstrating the gospel through loving orphans. One of the reasons I named this blog & designed my t-shirts the way I did, "Love with abandon...love an orphan.", is because I didn't want to make it only about adoption. Sure, it is a beautiful way to demonstrate the gospel to orphans, and it is certainly what God has called the Walsers to do...but it is not the only way. Loving orphans can take many shapes and forms, and there is always a way for each of us, personally, to be involved.
These two ladies motivate me. They make me want to ask: What else, Lord? What more can I do for You, my King? How else can I "spend" myself on behalf of the least? Like them, I want to think outside the box, never limiting what God can do through "clay pots" like Barbara, like Whitney, like me. Though simply the vessels, we all have the potential to be the very means by which God reveals Himself to the world. Amazing.
"For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." ~2 Corinthians 4:5-7