Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: Meet Megan

Happy Tuesday!

It's that time of the week and today's testimony comes from my new friend, Megan.  I say "new" because I just met her this year when we did a Ruth Bible study together.  Then I when I started going to a small group at a new church/my now church... Megan walked in the door!  It was so nice to see a familiar face!  Megan is alo the one behind Ornaments for Adoption that I've talked a lot about on this little blog... I'm excited for what Megan has written today...

Meet Megan!

 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)

These verses have been favorites of mine for many years now. I first heard of these verses in a children's program when my mom was the children's choir director. They had some lines and sang a song about 1 John 3:16 on how to live out our salvation (found in John 3:16). When Lee and I got married, our pastor wanted us to pick a verse to claim for our marriage. We picked 1 John 3:18. I wanted love to be more than a word to us. I wanted it to be a verb. An action we chose to carry out daily. 

As you can tell, I had never really paid much attention to verse 17. The one in the middle. Until one day I was reading these verses and verse 17 jumped out at me. It was like God said to me, you have material possessions-you know of needs in the world-do something about it! God began to break my heart for the needs of people around me and around the world-particular for the needs of the orphan. I'd never given orphans a lot of thought. I'd never given adoption a lot of thought either. This changed almost over night. I began reading blog post after blog post and article after article on the great need of the orphans in our world. 

I began donating money, buying fundraising items, sharing ways to donate and help, sharing articles, and I even tried to open a shop of my own to sell items to raise money for orphans. I quickly learned that not everyone is as passionate about this cause as I am. It kind of bothered me. Why didn't anyone else want to help? Didn't they know about 1 John 3:17? I felt defeated for a while. This was around the time I began expanding my blog because I felt God asking me to use my blog for Him. I questioned God. What did He want from me? I wasn't being very successful. 

One day, an idea came to me. I could sell ornaments for a family that is adopting. This idea could work because it wouldn't require me to take on a second job trying to sell handmade items year round (seeing as how I already have the very stressful job of being a teacher). It also could work because people could always use new ornaments. Plus they make great gifts. Thus, Ornaments for Adoption was born. Last year was my first year and $500 was raised for a local family in the process of a private domestic adoption. By God's grace, this year has been an even bigger success and I look forward to what He has in store for the future. 

I also recently began volunteering with a local organization that advocates for children in foster care. It's called Mercy for America's Children and they are doing AMAZING things! Just last night, Lee and I were able to help out at a Christmas party for Wake County's foster children. If I could have brought some of those children home with us to celebrate Christmas, I would have. 

I don't tell you all of this to brag on myself. I am just as selfish as the next person. I like to save and hoard money to feel secure. I say this to give God the glory. God has worked in my selfish heart and given me a passion and love for the orphaned. God has turned me from a saver to a giver. If there's extra money to be had, I want to give it away. If I find a worthy cause or a family adopting, I want to help them. I spend most of my free time in October and November making ornaments because I know it will be a small help to a family with the financial burden of adopting. Finances should never be an excuse to not adopt. God's love abides in me and I see a need that I can play a part in helping.

Through all of this, God is showing me what a beautiful picture adoption is of His Gospel. Did you know that when a child is adopted, they are issued a new birth certificate, social security card, etc. and their previous records are DESTROYED?!? In the same way, when you repent and turn to Jesus, your slate is wiped clean. You are justified. You are declared 'not guilty' before God. You are a new creation.

I also recently had another adoption/Gospel revelation. Most of the time, people are going to love their biological children. It's the natural thing to do. They're a part of you. What's unnatural is choosing to love children that are not your flesh and blood. It's unnatural to make the choice to take a child who is broken and has issues into your home and treat them as one of your own, loving them despite their flaws. That is what God does with us. We are broken. We have issues, We are flawed. Like a stubborn child, many of us turn away from God or disobey Him. BUT HE CHOOSES TO LOVE US ANYWAY! 

12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13

As closing thoughts, I want to point out a few things from these verses. Notice, hi-lighted in yellow, our state before Christ-separated, alienated, strangers, no hope, and without God. We were not a part of God's family. As it's hi-lighted in green, the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15 was not for us. We were not citizens of God's family. We were orphans. As you can see in bold print, God did not leave us this way. Because of Christ Jesus, we have been brought into the family. Galatians 3:7 and 3:14 as well as Romans 9:8 all tell us that we who believe are the children of Abraham and by extension the children of God.

Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians are all wonderful books to read and learn more behind the theology of adoption. Also, if you're interested in reading more about adoption and orphan care, I created a list of resources on my blog. 

If you are a Christian, you have been adopted. You have been given a gift you don't deserve (also known as grace). Because we've been given grace, we should give grace to others. This grace includes what we do with our material possessions. Grace cannot be repaid. One of the pastors at my church recently said that grace is taking what's abundant to me and making it available to you. This is 1 John 3:17 in action.


Megan currently lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where she works as a 4th grade teacher. She is originally a small town girl from Alabama. She enjoys reading, traveling (though she doesn't do it enough), crafting, blogging, and spending time with her husband, family, and friends. She blogs over at Make It Count about various topics from books to her faith to crafts to random thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing testimony meg! I didn't know that you loved 1 John 3:16-18. I love that chapter and choose to claim it as my own. I mean everything in that chapter spoke to me when I was down and it still speaks me. Crazy that we both like that chapter.

    Also I find it soo cool that you and erin were so close. That is awesome.