Happy Serve Day Thursday, SHINE girls! Remember, Thursdays are the days that we intentionally serve someone. It can be anything! A cup of coffee, a sweet encouraging word, a helping hand...anything. Just be intentional today with an act of service toward someone in your path. You will be blessed and so will they!
Let me just say how PROUD I am of all of you! I have been receiving emails, phone calls and texts by many of you saying that you have the Memory Verse memorized! Yay for you! You make me smile so BIG!
See, it was easy, right? Trust me...if I can do it, anyone can! :)
This whole month has been filled with stories of how our precious SHINE sisters are serving those around them. Haven't you been inspired? I think this has been my favorite month of SHINE since we began in January. :)
Today, my friend Mandy is sharing her SHINE serving story. I have known Mandy for a long time...since middle school! You know, like 10 years ago. ;)) **insert a hearty laugh**
Mandy has always been such a sweet and godly girl. I am so inspired by her journey. It is laced with God's handiwork. It truly is.
Be blessed by Mandy's story, sweet SHINE.
by:Mandy (Nobles) McKnight
I have tried to write my own blog for years now, but can never find the time to do it. And when I do find the time, I can't find the words. So, this is NOT my thang! But I was so excited when Jill asked me to share how my family is serving, because I've been praying for opportunities to share our story. Yay, God!!
Let me start from the beginning.......
On 02/02/02 (cool, right??), I married the man of my dreams....Eric McKnight.
We had many conversations about kids, even before we were married, & Eric always said he wanted 4. I thought he was a little crazy, but I was so excited to be marrying a man that thought big!
From July 2004- November 2008, I gave birth to 3 of the most precious children on the planet. Jacob, Owen, & then the princess, Maggie
We were on our way to our perfect little family of 4 kids. During these same years, we were also chasing the "American dream". We bought a big house, way more than we will ever need. We had many conversations about becoming debt free, so we could buy another house in the mountains, or take more vacations, or just live more comfortably. Basically, we were trying to create our own peace & joy.
We used to actually pray for these things, because of verses like Psalms 37:4 'Take Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.'
But then someone a whole lot smarter than I am told me to look at this verse in a different way. Did it mean that God would give me the things that I had been desiring? Or could it mean that if I delight in Him, that He will CHANGE the desires of my heart. He will GIVE me the desires that my heart should be desiring.
And that's just what He did.
Back to my little family of 4 kids...... When I was pregnant with our 3rd, Miss Maggie, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that this would be my last pregnancy. It didn't make sense at the time, because we knew we weren't done growing our family. Our desire to have a lot of kids was still there. Soon after Maggie was born, JAMES 1:27 came crashing into my world.
'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.'
You mean pure religion in the eyes of the Father isn't making sure I read my Bible every morning before the kids get up? You mean, it's not making sure I'm in church every Sunday? You mean it's not giving my tithe every month?
Now, don't get me wrong. These things are extremely important to our heavenly Father & Him drawing us closer to Him. But when He chose to write down what pure religion looks like, He spoke of things such as taking care of orphans & widows. Wow! Eric & I had to ask ourselves what that meant for us as followers of Christ.
Over the next several months, lots of questions kept popping into my mind. When we would sit down for dinner, I'd be thinking,'Could we push up one more chair to the table?'
When I'd kiss my kids goodnight, I'd think, 'Do I have enough time to kiss one more kid goodnight?'
Did I have room for one more carseat in our van?
Did I have room to fit one more twin bed in one of our many bedrooms?
The answer was always, 'Yes.' Yes, Lord! Yes!
I started talking to Eric about adoption. I had such a strong feeling that the Lord was calling us to this. He wasn't so sure. He wanted another biological child. I knew the Lord would need to change his heart, & that it wouldn't come from me. It only took a few short months, before Eric was the one saying, "Fill out the paperwork! This is where the Lord is leading our family."
We couldn't get past this idea....What if it were me? What if I was the one with no family? What if it was Jacob, Owen, or Maggie? What if they were the ones sitting in an orphanage, being fed once or twice a day, going to bed hungry. What if my little angels didn't have someone to comfort them when they were hurt or sad or cold or lonely? What would I want someone to do for them? I would want someone to take them home & show them the love of Jesus Christ.
God has changed our focus, our hearts. We now know that our calling is to take care of the least of these.
Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
It's been a long road of paperwork & fundraising, but we now know who that 4th child of ours will be.
Right now, she lives in an orphanage on the other side of the world in Shaanxi, China. She is 16 months old, born with some physical special needs, but she is so perfect in our eyes. Her greatest need is that she needs a family. And guess what? She has one!
Let me introduce you to Anna Faith McKnight......
Sometime around February, Eric & I, along with our 8-year old, Jacob, will spend 2 weeks in China getting to know our little princess & bringing her home. We are already so in love with this little girl. She is our daughter.
We know one day the Lord may want to grow our family again. And we will be ready to say, "YES!" As many times as He asks.
We have never felt more peace. Eric would tell you the same thing. When you align your heart with the Lord's heart, amazing things will happen. I no longer want to buy a second home. I no longer think about taking expensive vacations. Now, I spend my time thinking about ways to save money, so we can adopt again someday, or become foster parents one day, or whatever the Lord asks of us. We will be ready.
One of my dearest friends, Angela Valenzuela, reminded me of something very profound this week. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father always starts with Him doing something first, & then us reacting to it.
John 3:16 tells us that 'God so loved the world, that He GAVE his son....' God GAVE first. So, now we GIVE... of our lives, our time, our finances, our gifts, our abilities.
God LOVED first, therefore, we are able to LOVE.
And God ADOPTED us into His family. I am so overwhelmed when I think of how He has ADOPTED me as His daughter. I am an heir to the throne right along side Jesus Christ. That is huge!
Because God ADOPTED me, I choose to ADOPT one of His precious little ones, His little Anna Faith.
The church is called to take care of the orphans & the widows. If we don't, who will??
This verse has kept me going throughout our adoption process.....
Proverbs 24:12 "Once our eyes are open, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts & keeps our souls, knows that we know, & holds us responsible to act."
If you're interested in specifics about adoption agencies, foster care, or sponsoring a child feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are some of my favorite topics of conversation!
Adopted by the Most High,
P.S. Check out this youtube video that completely rocked my world. Prepare to be changed....