Thursday, November 14, 2013

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

    One of my most favorite parts of being a mother is reading aloud to my children.  It is something I have done since they were fresh from the womb and I have done it almost every day since.  We have read all kinds of books, from fiction to biographys.  Serious books.  Books of christian martyrs.  You name it we have read it or something like it.  Today we just started the old book In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon.  Upon reading the first chapter with them this morning I was startled by the timeliness of it.  If you haven't read it let me share a little with you.  I will try to be short;)  A tramp comes into the congregation of First Church and flips everyones world upside down with a question.  The question was  "What does it mean when you say you follow Jesus?".    Last night as I couldn't sleep..again...I had one thought in my mind.  The thought was can we hear Jesus.  If Jesus speaks to us, and the Bible says He does, can we hear Him over the noise of our lives?  Or does our wants, needs, thoughts, desires drown Him out?  We have our own agendas for our lives.  And being good Christians we include a box...marked Sunday or Wednesday.  Please don't think I am pointing fingers cause I am not!  To be terribly honest one of my own ongoing thoughts is how very much I loathe the carpet in my kitchen and the fact that I want desperately a new living room suit!  I am ashamed to confess to you that I have thought on these two things so very very much  that I don't think I have heard very much from Jesus lately.  Or maybe I have I just have tried to turn up the volume of other things so I wouldn't have to let go of my pursuit of my southern living dream.  Oh sure you can make any pursuit seem holy.  I mean after all I AM adopting and I NEED a nice comfortable home for my family.  Please hear me I am not saying having nice things is wrong.  Simply the focus of having them and letting that or what ever fills the blank for you, consume us.  Jesus has snapped me to attention this month with statistics that I have shared with you and others like every 2.2 seconds an orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home.  You read that right EVERY 2.2 SECONDS!  Every day.  What does it mean to follow Jesus?  We sing about it.  We talk, alot, about it.  To follow means to copy after, to imitate.  Does that hurt anyone else??  Do our lives copy, do we imitate the words of our Jesus?  Something to think about.  Something to consider as we get ready to observe our first Orphan Sunday this weekend.  What is Jesus saying to us?  How do we need to adjust our lives accordingly?  How will these adjustments change the world for Him?  Or how will they not if we don't?  Again I hope you hear my heart and don't misunderstand my words.  I am, as I shared, a sinner, too.  I will leave you with the words from the book.    The tramp is in the middle of his speech and shares he had sat outside on the steps of a church and could over hear the words coming from those inside "...but what I feel puzzled about is what is meant by following Jesus....Do you mean that you are suffering and denying yourselves and trying to save lost, suffering humanity just as I understand Jesus did?  What do you meam by it?"  What DO we mean?
Pressing On

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


     Did you know that every day 5,760 more children become orphans.  "That just can't be right", I know is what you're thinking, but it is!  Somebody should DO something.....right???  RIGHT!  Pray for those orphans who desire a family.  Ask God how you can you be used.  The numbers seem so overwhelming.  But as I read this quote this week "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.", I was reminded we all have certain talents and skills and gifts that God placed in each of us to be used for His glory.  Some adopt.  Some fund adoptions.  Some go.  We ALL can do something.  So much jockeys for our attention today, but how much is of eternal value?  It is really easy to get discouraged in the wait time of our adoption.  It can feel down right impossible.  When I am at my weariest I imagine Caleb, Grace-Ann and Jacob in a dirty jail cell.  Needing me.  Needing their daddy to come to them.  I am instantly reminded to press on.  May we not grow weary in well doing friends! 

Pressing On

Monday, November 11, 2013

2.1 billion

Good Monday morning all!!!

The countdown has begun to our get together on Sunday!  I hope you have all made plans to be there.  Our, speaker Gwen and later in the evening service her husband Scott promise to be encouraging and inspiring.  In November christians around the world place special emphasis on the plight of the orphaned and the blessing of family.  I want to give you one statistic to think on today, it is startling.  There are 2.1 billion people on this earth who proclaim to be christians...if only 8% of these 2.1 billion christians would care for just 1 child there would be no orphan statistics left.  Let that settle in.  Hope to bring you statistics like this all week to set our focus as we look forward to Sunday at 4! I pray our time together will be life changing in the most non cliche way possible.  In the way Jesus and His words transform our lives. Transformed mine.  Don't forget bring a friend and a chocolate dessert!

Pressing On,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Something New

Morning all!

Hope you are working it all for Jesus this Thursday morning!  The great news is we are sliding downhill right into our weekend!  I am really excited to share with you some special news.  I want to invite you to our next Chicks and Chocolate, Sunday, November 17 at 4 o'clock!  I have struggled to word this email all morning.  Now sure some of it has been the fact that three children kept begging for breakfast and the phone rang and a fire had to be made cause I was freezing but the other part is that this is so close to my heart that I can't get my emotions together to put words down for you.  On November 17 Grove Level will kick off its very first Orphan Sunday.  I am overwhelmed with excitement as the fruition of so many prayers and emails and research come together.  To kick off this ministry we have invited a very special family to come share their journey with us.  Scott and Gwen Oatsvall have six children, two biological, two from China and two from Uganda.  I became familiar with their family and their ministry when I first sensed God's calling on Terry and I to adopt.  I would lay awake and read all I could get my hands on about orphans and countries and families and all that God says in His word.  I stumbled upon their blog one night and it has been a constant sense of encouragement as we have pressed on through this long difficult journey.    Their family takes very seriously God's word and living out their faith.  God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things are the words Scott uses to describe their story in his book "And 1..." and I can't wait for you to hear it in person.  Gwen will share with us at our Chicks and Chocolate and Scott will speak in our Sunday night service.  I hope you will make every effort to be apart of these two special events, you will not be disappointed! I pray that your heart will be stirred as mine always is.  Please be careful not to dismiss this due to you thinking your aren't called to adopt because there are so many ways you can become involved in orphan care not to mention hearing a story of God doing some really awesome things in a family's life and getting glory for His amazing love.  We were once orphans until He pursued us!  Isn't that just so wonderful.

Also in the coming weeks we will be unveiling our GLBC Orphan Care ministry t-shirt.  The best thing about this t-shirt is all the profits go to the Queens for the King ministry. 

Please spread the news about all the special happenings we have coming up.  Invite friends and family!  Pray over these events with me.  Show up at 4 on November 17 with your special chocolate goody and then hang around for the evening service.  Lets continue to push back the darkness and shine God's light on those who live as though they have no hope.  Be apart of something bigger than ourselves!  Love you and shoot me an email to let me know you are in!  Hopefully below (if I did it right) there is a picture of the Oatsvall family and you can check out their blog at

Pressing On,
Carrie Smith

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Borrowing from another blog...

Hey girls this was so good and so spot on that I wanted to share.  I don't know if any of you ever struggle with comparing yourself to others and their work but I know I sure do.  This if from the blog that I have mentioned several times before in my emails. by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters.  I am so grateful for the work of the Holy Spirit and the way he constantly pricks my heart and stirs my mind at just the right moment.

In our frenetic society we are already so busy with homework, jobs, and families, that the five good works in 1 Timothy 5:9-10 may feel overwhelming.
But we must remember that Paul was talking about what these widows had accomplished throughout their lifetime, not all at once. Giving themselves wholeheartedly to good works no doubt looked different at various times in their lives.

For moms of small children, you are applying this verse every day, all day. As my husband often says “no one has a harder job than a mom with young kids.” This statement felt true to me when I had little ones, and now that I am watching my daughters mother their children, it rings more true than ever.
You may not be the first to show up in a crisis or do the most hospitality, but you are washing little feet all day as you humbly serve your family. I pray you know God’s pleasure in your faithful service. It is pleasing to him, and even though no one else may see, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4).
I also know women who are eager to do good works, but despair because of limitations such as sickness, aging, a disability or a crisis. If you feel, “put on the shelf” as Charles Spurgeon vividly described it, then take his advice and pray for others. For there is “no greater kindness” you can do for someone. You may not be able to serve others in physically demanding ways, but you can still bring honor to the Savior through good works.

We all have different capacities and gifts, and so we must resist the temptation to compare. This is not a competition. Every woman who sincerely serves the Savior gives glory to God. It all comes down to one question: Do I strive for a reputation of good works in order to reflect the Savior’s Good Work?
And remember this: When all is said and done, after we have spent and been spent doing good works, we must, as one wise man once said, make a heap of all our good works and all our bad works and flee them both to Christ.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can You Do Me A Favor???

Hey gang hope your summer is going great. 

I had every intention of sending out an email about Father's Day and detail all the wonderful things I love about Terry Eugene Smith.  And while he IS wonderful and I AM grateful I am now sending out an email to beg you to please lift our adoption to the Father.  I am asking you to pray for us at 11:11 of every day.  A.M. and P.M.!  A long time ago I heard a man ask for prayer for the Jews to come to Christ at 11:11 of every day.  I don't remember the reason only that it has been over 20 years ago that I heard it and it has STUCK still to this day. At 11:11, if I notice the time, I think to myself "pray for the Jews".  My kids even know the story and will announce "11:11 pray for the Jews".  Ok I am stealing the prayers meant for the Jews but are you really praying for the Jews and can't you, if you are praying, add us to the prayer?  Any who....I covet your prayers in these specific areas
1) Pray that God will be with our child/ children's safety.  May they know we are coming.  That they would be protected from predators, human trafficking, enslavement, and sex trade.

2)  That God would be in the midst of the family connected to this child/ children.  That they would know God is real and loves them because a family so moved by God's love and His rescuing redeeming power wants to show love to an orphan on the other side of the world.....And I'm crying now.  I cry every.single.time.I.think.this.thought.

3)  Pray for Ethiopia.  The orphanages.  The precious people.  The government.

4)  Pray....and this is bold....Pray God would get us to them.  ASAP.  That our papers (dossier) would get in the right hands....quickly.  The governments offices there shut down from around July/August to October!!!!!  Meaning our paperwork will be sitting there!!!!  Our children too!  This part grieves me so.  Seemingly dead time is hard to swallow!  If you have ever missed someone so much and longed to be with them again this is how we feel.  Special moments come and we all feel as if someone is missing.  The kids every birthday or occasion say maybe this is the last time we do this without them mom.

5)  Pray that we will make the most of the waiting.  That we will be excellent students of His word.  That all 5 of us would grow where we need to grow and change what needs to be changed.  That God would deepen our love for each other as we prepare to make room for more.  OH HOW PRECIOUS!!!

6) And finally please ask God to open your heart.  How does He want to use you in the cause for the orphan.  Over and over in His word, Old Testament to New, He instructs His people to care for the orphan, the widow and the sojourner.  Is He asking you to open up your heart, your extra bedroom, your extra bed?  Is He asking you to give to another family who is called to adopt like He moved so graciously on others for us?

We covet your prayers.  I beg you to pray.  I pray that God would cause you to notice 11:11 like never before.  Pray big for us. Pray we would hear news, see their faces.  Hold them.  Pray that as a lost world searches for real Christianity that our little, loud, crazy, imperfect family would show Christ.  Thank you in advance, and as the psalmist says "I pray and then watch for you to move"  I love you all.  Happy Fathers Day.  Hug your dad and tell him all the things he did right.  And tell your Heavenly Father how you love Him and all the things He has done on your behalf.

Pressing On,
Carrie Smith

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Summit 9 blogger giveaway

I am writing this post as part of the Summit 9 Blogger Giveaway to answer the question of

"Why I want to attend the Summit 9?"

In no particular order of importance....

1)  Dennis Rainey is our hero and best friend.....(only he doesn't know it yet!)

2)  Being in the same room with people who all have  a heart for adoption and for orphan care would be... well, a little taste of heaven.  This means no weird looks or questions like "Why do you want to adopt when you already have three children of your own?"  Once your eyes have been opened to the orphan crisis it is so hard to go about your day normally ever again.  A new normal day begins with opening your eyes and praying for your child(ren) that are not with you and your night ends with desperate supplications for those who are in such agonizing situations that they are faced with being unable to take care of their own children and the pain that accompanies the joy of adoption.  Wrestling, wrestling, wrestling.  Only those who have been on this journey understand all these emotions and tears. I long to be in a room full of people ahead of me, beside me, or behind me on this same road.

3)  When God called us to adopt we became aware of such great need.  We felt overwhelmed with numbers and statistics.  We began to read every book and blog that we could set our eyes to.  This led us to see that every church needs to be involved and mobilized, taking part in what is so important to our Heavenly Father.  But we feel ill-equipped on the Hows.  We know this conference is the answer to the Hows.  For such a time as this has God raised up a people who will take His word seriously and bring Him glory and make Him known.  We want to be apart of that.

Pressing On