|Another amazing photo from Alyssa Wagner Photography|
November 26th was a big day for us. It was the day our adoption was finalized! I cannot wait to share with you the pictures and events of that wonderful day, but that we will have to wait for another time. The point of this post is to share what God started stirring in my heart through reading Katie Davis’ book, Kisses from Katie (another post about Katie Davis found here).
Do you ever avoid or delay reading something because you know that you will be challenged, exhorted and required to change because of it? I often do this. I know that once read I will be responsible for what I have read; in the dark no more. That is what happened when I read Katie’s book.
|Photo credit, Amazima site.|
The biggest things that stood out me from the book were:
-Whatever God is asking you to do, do it. Obey with joy. He may not ask you to move to a different land or be the single mom of thirteen children, but He asks you to follow His loving lead daily and care for the poor and lonely. Read His Word and obey what it says.
-There are so many in great need. We, in America, are so very rich. We have so much we can give (through time, talent, treasure, etc).
-An overall conviction to give more, to be more generous and encourage others to give as well.
As I read Kisses from Katie, I wanted to do something. To make a difference, even if small, to impact the hurting and needy with Jesus’ love and care.
I thought, wrestled, and processed (thanks for listening Hubby and Jessica). I longed to give more on a consistent, intentional basis. By God’s grace, and our parents’ example, we tithe faithfully, but our giving (above and beyond tithes) has not been that regular. Often the amounts we set aside for giving are quickly redirected to other things, swallowed up by other budget items.
Enter Extension 26.
When I looked up the word extension I found, “the act of extending; the amount, degree, or range to which something extends or can extend; the application of traction to a fractured or dislocated limb to restore the normal position; an addition that increases the area, influence, operation, or contents of something.”
I need to be extended, to be stretched, in giving. To be restored to that designed position, in Christ, to be generous. To serve not be served. To reach with open hands and let Him use what we have to be a blessing. My flesh does not like this, but my flesh needs this- this stretching, this extending. Because as we extend ourselves, maybe that is where the restoration comes.
Throughout our adoption process God gave us many scriptures to guide and strengthen us. One of those was Isaiah 40:26, “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out
like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of
his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”
We felt like someone was missing from our family and God reminded us that He was able to bring that missing piece into our family. And as I mentioned before, November 26th was such a special day for us. All those years of waiting to adopt came to an official end as our adoption was final, once and for all. Our hearts are overwhelming with thanksgiving for what God had done for us.
Psalm 126:3 “When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”
Joy. Remember? Our One Word for 2014. Out of the thanksgiving we have to God for providing Baby #4, our Strong One, to us…and the joy that overflows in our hearts we want to give back.
The details of Extension 26:
We want to be more faithful in giving and be more generous; intentionally living out what the Word says. So each month we are giving $26 on the 26th of each month to a different ministry or project that supports the things that God does and we do.
Our criteria for the organizations/projects is that:
1. They love Jesus and make Him known.
2. They are trustworthy and good stewards of what they are given.
3. They champion (support or defend) a cause that is close to God’s heart and ours.
Of course something close to our heart is adoption. So much of the Extension 26 recipients will be orphan and adoption related.
What does this have to do with you?
We are asking you to prayerfully consider joining our family by being a part of Extension 26. All you have to do is give $26 on the 26th of each month (of course you can give more or less- however God leads you). You can choose your own organization/projects, but we will spotlight who we are giving to each month. We are NOT collecting any money from anyone, only providing encouragement and accountability to do so directly to other ministries/projects.
The rest of Psalm 126 says, “Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
Going out, carrying seed to sow and then returning, with joy, carrying sheaves. God has given us so much, and there is so much we hold onto, but maybe we are not supposed to hold onto it, but give it back as an offering of praise, a gift of joy (preaching so loud to myself right now).
Would you join us? We are putting this post out there so that we will be accountable to give regularly. There is such joy in giving. This world, our society, it lies to us…saying “Get more so you can be happy. Hold on to what you have so it will not taken. Pile up your possessions so you can be prestigious and comfortable.” But you know what? As I read Scripture and as I read Kisses from Katie, I felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable will all this stuff sitting around, piling up with a heavy weight- oh, the burden of “stuff management”! So much time, stress, and emotion is required to deal with our excess of stuff.
Now, don’t get me wrong I like gifts, a lot, and I like stuff, but oh how out of balance it has become in our country. Might this be the truth instead? “The more you give the more joy you experience. The more you let go the more you really gain. The more you bless the richer you are in spirit.” Like in Acts 20:35, ‘In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
With thanksgiving, for our salvation…and with joy for all that He has done, let’s give more faithfully and intentionally this year.
For December we gave to Amazima, the non-profit organization that Katie Davis started. Here are two specific ways that you can give to Amazima, through a donation or through their store. I love that this store has a Joy necklace, and that when you purchase it you are can delight that, “all profits from Amazima’s jewelry sales support the feeding of over
1200 children Monday through Friday, year-round in the same community
where the women [who make the jewelry] live. Your beautiful new piece of jewelry is employing
women, feeding the hungry and changing lives!” See this page for all 7 ways to give (they are not all monetary as our time and talents are great ways to give too).
Please prayerfully consider giving to Amazima this month!
Katie and family
1. What does the Bible say about giving? Take some time to find out.
2. If you haven’t read it, get a copy of Kisses from Katie and ask God what He would have you to as a response to it?
3. Join us in extending ourselves in 2014, through Extension 26, by simply and joyfully giving $26 on the 26th. Let us know if you are joining us in the Comments Section or by quietly slipping us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org