Matching Funds Donation Day

 

 

 

Cuddle Time

ANNOUNCEMENT:

An anonymous donor has decided to donate up to $1,000 on April 10th in matching funds. WOW! What a blessing and a surprise. GOD -YOU TRULY AMAZE ME!

It was a SPEECHLESS type of moment when the donor said I couldn’t refuse the offer. It was like God already knew my pride would tell the donor that it was too much money.  However the donor said, “I’m going to be obedient so I just need to know which day you think would be great to do a 24 hour campaign.” There was no wiggle room at all so I picked April 10th because it’s our anniversary date.

Clothed in Love will celebrate it’s 1 Year Anniversary on Thursday. YAY!

cupcake

God has a great sense of humor – he knows my “I want to be in control” tendencies, so Thursday also happens to be the day I fly out to South Africa to serve at Victory 4 All.

I can’t spend the day looking at the numbers, obsessing, all I can do is check it out when I land in South Africa the following day. PERFECT PLAN GOD!

Because I will have to trust that God is going to send the donations my way. I will have to trust that God will put it on the heart of the donor to respond. I have to keep my hands OPEN and trust that God is going to fully fund my trip to Uganda.

Like always God is asking me his favorite question to me – “Do you trust me?” And to that I have to say YES!

Would you please consider joining us on this adventure on Thursday?  You can make a donation at https://www.purecharity.com/clothed-in-love-serves-orphans 

THANK YOU!

 

 

Five More Children – YIKES!

FB Cover April 2014

MY PLAN:

Slowly add 10 children to our Clothed in Love family each year. By our 4th year, we would be at our goal of 40 sponsored children. The growth would be at a pace I could manage.

It would give me time to build a clientele. I could increase our product line. And I could continue to tweak my personal budget to cover the cost of the additional “just in case” something happens. (Notice how my fear starts to creep in my thoughts, and tries to limit my God Sized Dreaming)

The gnawing fear that a “NO SALE” month is inevitable and is always running in my mind. Like Israel, I wonder if God will provide the manna needed for the day. Trembling in fear, I express my concerns to God, and quickly think I need to pray about this a little longer.

When it comes to adding a new member to the Clothed in Love family, I get a little nervous because I am afraid I’m going to fail big time.

My fear is I will fail them by not being able to pay for their sponsorship. I’m afraid I will not keep my promise to support them until they turn 18 years old. My fear is I will be another disappointing adult in their life.

Yet God keeps on stretching me. He keeps me on my toes.  And keeps on asking the same question -

“Do you trust me?”

And with my knees knocking, I say “Yes, I trust you.”

Then trust that when I ask you to sponsor another child, I have already put  the funds into place to support the dream.

So I take another step of faith even as my knees are knocking.

A sigh of relief came over me. I didn’t have to fund it all, I just needed to be a good steward and walk out in faith.

I prayerfully seek his wisdom prior to making a commitment for another child. Similar to a woman having multiple births, I seem to sponsor children in groups now. Within two weeks we went from 10 children to 15 children. YIKES!

First I had a set of twins from Path of Hope in Tanzania. We are partnering with Lahash to sponsor Mwanaisha and Hussein. They were actually chosen by a student of mine. He loved the name “Path of Hope” and felt like we had to be hope to the children. I was so touched by his heart I knew I had to sponsor at least two children from Path of Hope. It truly was a divine appointment on a day when I was super stressed, and my student put everything into perspective for me.

I was sent to be HOPE to the children. 

And later on that week, when the request came from Emily Wierenga on Facebook to find sponsors for 13 children in Rwanda by Mother’s Day, I told Emily I was interested in learning more about the World Help program.

Little did I know, I would have triplets that day. As I combed through the profiles, I first smiled at Amin who is a little songbird who loves to sing praises to God. Her profile reminded me of my dear friend Joel, who is also a songbird. Then I saw the little boy named Elise, who has the same name of another dear friend, and tribe member, Elise. I knew both of those children were going to be a part of our family. And then my eyes locked on Oscar, who is a orphan and lives in an orphanage. My heart broke. I immediately wanted Oscar to know that he is loved by God.

And there it is – the real reason I keep taking steps of faith and saying yes to another child. I want each child we sponsor to know that GOD LOVES THEM TONS! I want them to know that God is not finished with them yet. God has a plan and a purpose for their life. And God sent them to me so I can remind them of that very fact.

Yes, my fear is real and if I believe in all the lies whispered in my ears, I would still only have one child I sponsored. Yet, I am proud to be a mama to 15 children who live in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Honduras, Kenya, China and South Africa.

I know God is not done with our story, and it will continue to grow. But I am trusting that God is leaving a spiritual legacy with every child we sponsor and we are helping his children to experience the abundance of God’s love.

I am linking up over at God Sized Dreams. Go check out other stories shared there.

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Baby Watoto Global Team

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EXCITING NEWS!

I have been selected to be a part of the Baby Watoto Global Team in July.  When I received the email, I cried like a baby – tears of joy. Even a week later, I am still in shock that God said – YES!

You see, God Sized Dreaming takes a lot of courage to keep walking forward. It means when you hit a road block you have to say – HANG IN THERE and KEEP GOING!

When I selected the word SERVE as my one word this year, I was secretly hoping I could serve orphans this year.  I knew God was aware of my desire to love on babies and make a difference in the lives of orphans.

Yet I was still nervous that I wouldn’t be chosen. God had already hand picked me to co-lead a trip to South Africa. I thought the mere fact that I was chosen for that trip that a NO answer was heading my direction. Sad how I automatically believe that God can only bless me once a year.

Hmmmmm – that doesn’t match scriptures at all. But it does match my fears of thinking I’m not worthy to be spoiled like that. Crazy talk I know but I like to keep it real with you.

So when I received the email that I was accepted another – WOW moment occurred. I would get to serve children twice this year. AMAZING RIGHT!

Now comes the hard part for me – FUNDRAISING. I need to raise $3,500 for the trip by birthday May 23rd.

YIKES! What a cool birthday present though.

I am shaking like a kid jumping off the high dive for the first time. I know God is on the sideline cheering me on. I know that God has divine appointments for me in Uganda. I believe I will serve on the Baby Watoto Global Team.

I just need to work like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God. Please join me in prayer. And if you have the funds to donate that would be awesome too.

I also need help spreading the word about the fundraiser. If you can pass on the link via Facebook or Twitter that would be GREAT! I am praying that we can raise funds above the need so we can donate even more money to help orphaned and abandoned babies in Uganda.

Click here to head to my Pure Charity fundraising page.

Thanks for being a part of this journey.

Oh Prodigal Daughter

Come Home

Oh Prodigal Daughter,

If I could give you any words of encouragement today it would be two words:

COME HOME!

Our Heaven Father is always staring at the road waiting for your return. He never stops thinking of you or praying for you.  He sends his armies out to protect you. He provides for you even when you don’t know where it is coming from.

HE LOVES YOU! COME HOME!

God wants to share in your day to day life. He will continue to be with you through those dark moments.  You are his child and he loves you. He will never leave you or forsake you.

HE LOVES YOU ALWAYS! COME HOME!

Those tears you are crying, yes the ones that come at night when no one else is looking. God collects every last one of them and puts then in a jar in heaven. He is crying with you. He is there for you. Can’t you hear him whispering to you?

YOU ARE MY DAUGHTHER. I LOVE YOU!

I am writing to the Prodigal Daughter because I am Prodigal Daughter too. I walked away from my spiritual family and God. I gave it all up to be a part of the world.  I was mad at God. I thought what the world had to offer was better.

I was WRONG.

The loneliness and heartache was too much to bear. My heart became hard and I turned away from who God designed me to be. I was alone because I left my spiritual family.  Yet God kept whispering to me –

COME HOME

My prayer for you is that Ephesians 3:16-20 will be a lifeline to you today.

Ephesians 3:16-20

New Living Translation (NLT)

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think

I pray you will learn how deep, how wide, how long, and how marvelous God’s love is for you.  I pray you will come home. And if you need someone to encourage you as you walk down the path, just email me.

I know how hard it is to return home, but I also know what a blessing it is to be in God’s presence EVERYDAY.  I know what the world promises and I no longer believe the lie that God will never forgive me, love me or seek to have a relationship with me. The truth is God forgave me the day Jesus died for me on the cross. God loves me so much that continued to pursue me even in my rebellion. God seeks to have a daily relationship with me (minute by minute).

Oh Prodigal Daughter, I would not trade my salvation for anything the world has to offer because God’s love is MARVELOUS.

COME HOME! We are waiting…

Linking up to Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart

One More

photo-56

Last week I talked about my leap of faith of sponsoring Daniel, Solomon, Beniyam, and Sintayew. What started out as a quest for one, turned into three, and finally ended up with four children sponsored. The plan was to help one but God sent me 3 more.

Excited to share the good news with everyone I put together a blog post to make the announcement. Similar to birth announcement or an adoption day announcement I wanted to celebrate the new additions to our Clothed in Love family.

When I went back to the website to get a photo of our 4 boys, I discovered that Dagmawi was still available. Whoever had his profile picture had released it. Dagmawi was the last boy who needed a sponsor at Greenlight International Church.

The words, God would never leave you behind came back to me. Without hesitation this time,  I added another child to our monthly sponsorship budget. I had made the decision that I could help ONE MORE. My step of faith meant I would trust God to provide for the sponsorship even on the lean months when our business is slow.

Once again, I said YES to the adventure and took another leap of faith. I committed to sponsoring Dagmawi who is 7 years old. Meet our newest family member:

Dagmawi Photo

Isn’t he cute!

To sponsor him means I have to lean even more into God and rely less on my strength. Pretty sure that is why God challenged me to sponsor ONE MORE. He wants me to get out of my comfort zone so I can grow. He wants me to be financially wise, but he also wants me to learn to trust that He is my Provider.

Now, when I decided to commit to Dagmawi, it was a few days before the Winter Wonderland Sale. I told my friend Kristin, from the Riches of His Love, to be praying because I had just sponsored another child. I told her I would announce his arrival after the sale and no matter how much we make I would cover the cost of his sponsorship.

I made a decision to say YES, ANYWAY even if it meant I would need to make a financial sacrifice.

What happens next is breath taking. My God Sized Dream Tribe rally around me and poured out a tremendous amount of love and support. They tweeted about the sale. They shared links. And they showed up at the sale and bought jewelry. They held giveaways. They were the best PR firm a girl could ask for. And the really cool part is, I never did ask them to do any of that. I just asked them to pray that it would go well.

It was like God was throwing me a surprise party. All throughout the day, I kept getting little SURPRISE messages from him. Showered in LOVE LETTERS handwritten by God to me. He was sending me holy kisses and cheering me on. He was so proud of my step of faith that we raised enough funds to cover all of our sponsorship for a month, even enough for Dagmawi too.

PRAISE THE LORD! He gave enough manna for the day. He provided all that I needed. When I read the number I was in awe of the God we serve. I sent out a message to my team with the praise report. And I started to cry because I was filled with so much joy.

Children need to know God’s love for them. God sent me back to Greenlight International Church to sponsor Dagmawi because He wanted Dagmawi to know that He sees him and loves him. Yet God used that step of faith to show me that he sees me and loves me. He sent me lots of love letters to celebrate my step of faith. And because of my obedience, He would cover the tab for next month. HOW COOL IS THAT!

For the Skeptical Sally’s out there, I know it may seem like God’s favor was a luck of the draw however the truth of the matter is, God is a beautiful conductor who fine tunes my life. Each time I take a step of faith God is there with outstretched arms ready to catch me. He is there cheering me on with a huge smile on his face. He delights in seeing me saying YES anyway.

What is that ONE MORE thing you can do with your God Sized Dream today? God is there ready to take you on an adventure.

I’m linking up at the God Sized Dream today. Go check out some of the other dreams and their YES anyway adventures.

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Our Four Boys

4 Boys

Wish I could say there is a timeline on when we will sponsor another child.

A strategic plan per se.

But there is no such plan just a goal to sponsor at least 40 children and partner with at least 7 organizations.

Those numbers came to me during my quiet time and have been my road map. My beacon of light to guide me towards my God-sized Dream.

I never really know when another child is going to become part of the Clothed in Love family.

Our paths just cross.

God sets up a divine appointment. Similar to a treasure hunt, God places the faces of those children along the journey to see what I will do.

I can see Him just smiling ear to ear as he watches me discover the new child I was destined to meet.

Once my eyes lock on a child in a photo, I just know I’m going to sponsor that child. Without hesitation (most of the time), I commit to being a child sponsor.

When Beth, posted on Facebook that she was trying to get the last 13 children from Greenlight International Church sponsored through Children’s Hope Chest, I replied that I was interested in sponsoring a boy.

I explained to her that I liked to rotate between a boy and a girl to keep it even.  Beth sent over the link and I went to check out the children.

When my eyes quickly locked with three boys, I knew I was in trouble. How could I choose between the three of them?

Then I asked “God why can’t I sponsor all three of them? Can I actually afford it?” I sat down and started to write all of my expenses and decided that I could afford all three boys.

At first I was looking at the link via my iPad so I decided to move over to my desktop. Because of that small change one of the boys file would not release even though I closed out of the program.

I started to pray that I didn’t lose the chance to invest in that child’s life.  I had decided that I would go ahead and sponsor the two boys. I would try for the third boy the following day.  Just in case the boy I was holding out for was taken, I needed to come up with an alternative child to sponsor.

I did a search for the boys available and only two boys were left. And then I heard the Holy Spirit say, “You’ve always wanted four boys”.

Since I knew I was going to wait to see if the first boy my eyes locked on would be released the next day, I decided I would wait before I made a final decision.

The next morning before church, I visited the website and I was jumping for joy because the one I had been waiting for, his file had been released. He was still available. I quickly filled out the sponsorship papers. I also noticed that one of the other boys had been sponsored as well.

Yet the other child was still available. To invest in another child would mean I would need to make a couple of sacrifices on the months we do not raise enough funds through the Etsy shop. It required me walking out in faith.

I wasn’t sure if I could swing it so I decided to hold off and to continue to pray about it. I wanted to blame it on being in the moment and justify why I couldn’t add one more child. But I knew I was just deceiving myself.

Funny thing about God, if He wants you to do something, He will use many signs to grab your attention.  He is not going to sit back quietly.

As I listened to the sermon Sunday morning, it was like God was speaking loudly just to me. Our pastor was talking about stocks and bonds and shares in a company. Then he said investing in God’s Kingdom has the greatest return on your dividends.

Then the thought came to mind, “God would never leave that one child without a sponsor. He would do everything in His power to make sure that child knows that he is loved. ”

Children can be cruel. I didn’t want anyone to tease him and say no one wanted to sponsor him. I couldn’t leave that child without a sponsor.  Right in the middle of service, I pulled out my iPad and sponsored the fourth child.

In my mind they became the Four Brothers that day. They became forever etched in my heart.

I am so very proud to announce our new children Solomon, Beniyam, Sintayew, and Daniel. 

I’m linking up at God-sized Dreamers today. You should go check out their post.

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A Mama’s Heart

Snow Day

The dream I often do not talk about is my dream to be a mama. I have a mama’s heart at the very essence of who I am. When I see a child laugh or playing my face lights up. I have such a heart for children. I want them to know they are loved and special. Children are precious.

But my dream of becoming a mama has yet to come true. Although my world is filled touching the lives of children I do not have children of my own.

The biological clock that once was just ticking away now sounds like a gong in my mind. In my thirties, I thought Mr. Wonderful was just around the corner. Then I decided I was content with companionship. I put my dream on the shelf and just concentrated on being an awesome aunt and educator.

However as I continue to discover who God called me to be and to dream God Sized Dreams I tried to hide started to surface again.  When you enter your forties your fears of your dream not coming true start to whisper things like:

You are never going to be a mother. You are too old. You should give up on that dream and accept the fact that you will always pour into other peoples children.

As those words seep into my heart, it causes it to break once again for the millionth time.

I have a dream just like Hannah. My barrenness is real and hard to understand on most days. This isn’t the life I dreamed of when I was a child.

My dream was to be a mama of a large family. My dream was to hear someone call me “Mama”. My dream was to leave a spiritual legacy of generations who follow after Jesus.

Yet as every day passes a little of my hope was begins to fade away. I give myself a pep talk and say I should be content with being single. And for the most part I am.

But we serve a God who hears our heart’s cries. He does not seek for us to remain stagnant but wants us to grow in our faith. He wants us to believe that he can and will do more than we could ever hope or imagine.

So as I walked with my best friend on a snowy day, I uttered my heart’s cry out loud. I began to pray.

Lord you have given me a Mama’s heart for a reason. You know my desire to have four boys and a large extended family. You know my dream of being a foster parent and a place for children to call home and go to during the holidays. You know my heart to pour into the lives of children. Please help me to be patient as you place everything into place. Lord I will not lose HOPE and will hang on to my mustard seed of faith that I will be a mama one day.

I’m still dreaming…what is your hidden dream?

Go check out other stories at the God Sized Dream Link Up

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