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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

so many.

(this is quite a long one, buckle up)

It's funny to be passionate about something because the tendency to talk about it frequently without swallowing it whole is so easy to slip into. Christians know this well. We love Jesus, we have made Him the point with which our life revolves around and sometimes we can just talk, talk, talk about Him all day without being changed by Him - without being astounded by His love. A little bit we have to sort of live in this half reality or we'd probably just be on our knees in worship all day, sort of like in Heaven when we won't be able to be distracted by actual life.

Anyhow, I think things we're passionate about (in Christ or outside of Him) can get like this too. Something becomes our "thing" so much, that we lose sight of it - of why it's important. We lose the ability to let it stun us, knock us over with how much it means.

For a year and a half, we worked for a ministry that's sole point was providing a home so women had a place to receive support, rather than having abortions. I saw the beauty of girls making the hard decision to put someone else's needs above their own and I saw families welcome these babies with an unmeasurable love, not even slightly quantitatively different than their own biological children. Simply put, I could very easily consider being pro-life and pro-adoption "my thing".

First, I should make the distinction that I'm not talking in political terms - but biblical ones. I know that I know that I know that God cares for, loves, and values babies from the minute of conception. I also know deep in my core that James 1:27 is not messing around when it says that pure & undefiled religion is taking care of orphans and widows. Politics aside, the church is responsible for this. So - I'm passionate about these issues but I've let myself get distracted a bit, I've carried on and let the words abortion and orphan get much too neutral in my mouth and head.

So sometime last week, I was just hanging out with Nick and my heart was very literally prompted by the Holy Spirit to research. All of a sudden, I needed numbers. How many orphans? Where were they? In the US? What continents? How much did it cost? How long did it take? Nick and I have always known in the back of our heads and have always said very casually that eventually we would adopt one day. But this felt very different and I'll explain why. I thought about my three children - sleeping in their beds and imagined the way my heart would ache if I couldn't show them love for a whole day. What if they had to go to sleep without Nick or I kissing them or telling them we loved them or praying for their tender hearts? If they missed just that single activity, the Lord would sustain them and they'd go on to live another day but gosh... I'd feel bad. It would kind of wreck me to think about them falling asleep without feeling loved and protected, without them having God's word read to them, without some food in their bellies.

So there are three of them.
Three precious babies who are the biggest blessings ever.
Three hearts needing to hear.
And there are 44 million orphans worldwide.
Blessings, all of them.
Needing to hear.

So I think about holding my three babies, sometimes all at once like I do during Connolly cuddle sessions and squeezing them tight and trying to love them through my hands and praying for them as my arms surround them, my heart just breaking at how much I love them and how badly I want to show them how much Jesus loves them. And then I think about those 44 million. Who will hold them? Who is going to squeeze them and tell them about Jesus? Oh, He loves them so much! So much more than I do! And if He loves them so much more than the sparrows, will He not feed them? He will - but still, I have these two arms.

So - I sat on that for a few days. Then today, our courageous Pastor Mark spoke on Luke 1, where Mary visits Elizabeth while they are pregnant with James and John and used it as a great opportunity to address abortion. Through the entire sermon, I felt the Holy Spirit prodding me and telling me this too is an issue that I have let grow stagnant and neutral - knowing that I am against it, but not praying for those who potentially will or regretfully have, aborted their children. One in six women who abort their children claim to be evangelical Christians. The church is obviously not addressing this issue or offering the support to these women.

So I think about my kids.
My three kids.
All blessings.
And then I think about the potentially 250,000 babies that will be aborted by Christian women alone this year.

44 million orphans.
1.3 million aborted in the US alone, this year.
One body of Christ, what can we do?
One Connolly family, what can we do?

Here is where I'm starting.
Pastor Mark's sermon
New Beginnings
Leigh & Gray's adoption
All God's Children
A concise article on potentially abortive birth control

There are so many.
Where are you going to start?


indyhumes said...

Check out

Very powerful and convicting...

kellycowan said...

LOVE THIS. you're inspiring me to respond via my own blog. you are a partner with me in this passion and i'm thankful to have you by my side. i'm starting with INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION - working with girls (orphans!!!) in the sex trade and human traffiking worldwide, who have been stolen from their own families or else given up as orphans early on. also continuing to pray about our own adoption one day. and continuing to love on our own "orpan" in our life who we love on from across the state. she's now 13 and still in a group home. it's STUNNING how many orphans are out there. jessi let's put our heads together. i'm waking up in a lot of ways right now too. jesus is up to something.

Andrea said...

I worked as a social worker in the foster care system, prior to being a SAHM. I worked to place kids as close to their biological families as possible...tremendously difficult (1) because not every need can be met in every residential facility (i.e. sex offenders or fire setting) and (2) there just are not enough foster homes (not a facility, but an actual home). Homes for teens and special needs children are needed the most nationwide. I cannot tell you the # of kids who turn 18 and are signed out of a system that they have been raised in :( I could go on and on, I suppose. My husband and I were also houseparents at a Christian group home in DC...oh the stories of the "Christian" basis of it. An. Absolute. Mess! There are great places in this country like it though---Eagle Ranch in Atlanta and our friend is opening Chestnut Mountain Ranch in WV. The goal is 100% reunification with the biological family :) We plan to foster in a few years, but would also like to adopt from Uganda and China. I have to get Macy weaned, before I can think of moving forward with anything right now...I see the challenge of 3 under 3 ;) What a blessing! I just need to be more prepared...praying :)

Leigh said...

I just sat here and cried my eyes out. Thank you Jessi for writing this. It was beautiful. These children, all 40 something million of them should have parents, they should have the chance to know the love that sweet Elias, Glory and Benjamin feel every day. The only thing that eases the pain in my heart is to know that I am not the only one caring the burden and that in a few month 2 less children will be orphans and God willing before I see my Savior face to face there will be more children that will no longer wear the label of orphan and instead wear the last name of Ladd.

Not sure if you ran across this stat but did you know if 7% of Christians adopted then the orphan crisis would be over for the moment. 7% is all it takes. Staggering.

and you should for sure check out - Erin knows her from UG when they worked there so she told me about her a almost a year ago and every time Katie has the chance to post I am left in tears, she has some serious faith in her Jesus, she radiates Him.

I love you. Our children will know their Auntie Jessi, that is a promise.

Candice {The Beautiful Mess} said...

dang girl. well said. couldn't agree more, my friend.

mares-e-dotes said...

Thank you Jess.

ktabs said...

Funny how God works. I read Katie's blog several months back- just found the link from someone else's blog and spent the day in tears, reading through many of her posts. I was stupid and forgot to save the link, but the seed was planted. It was all I could do to NOT think about her stories, and the children of Uganda, and the other orphans without anyone to love on them. About a month or two ago, I thought about her blog again and had decided it was time to support some kids. I couldn't find her blog for the life of me. I literally went through TONS of blogs looking for hers. The last 2 weeks, I've been praying that God would just drop it in my lap so that I could start my support. And, yesterday he did. Here. Amazing. I'm so thankful for your blog, so that I could be prompted to action again, and also find what I was looking for!

Anonymous said...

Love this blog Jesse. We're praying about adoption and I still would LOVE to sit down and talk about this. I just wrote a blog related to this too. I am so excited to see what God is doing in so many people's hearts right now. Excited to see God opening the eyes of so many of his people. Excited about God.

Dave and Rachel said...

Last night when I had to get up with my Sam at 1:00 am...ok I hadn't fallen asleep yet, but the point was I was not sleeping. Anyway, He was calling for me Mama and i scooped him up and rescued him and rock and sang to him and cuddled his skinny little bottom and all I could think about was all the little babies that are crying out for someone in an orphanage tonight with no one to come and get them. I had images from Reece's rainbow babies flowing through my head, wondering if one of them is mine and my heart was breaking. What if one of the children God intends for us is already born and I am sitting here in all this comfort and he/she is all alone. Oh, it is devastating to think about this. I ask God almost daily to provide and show us how and who and when to adopt. Thanks for posting this. We have to rally the Christian community...we have to!!!!

jill said...

jessi -

not only do i echo all of the mama and future mamas' cries above, but truly - i know and believe God is doing something intense in all of our hearts to adopt. truly. i, too, sit awake while nursing in the middle of the night thinking of orphans! i am beginning to think that it is a conviction of MOST OR ALL christian mamas.

to God be the glory.