Monday, July 12, 2010

Three Absolutely Essential Books

So I've been on a reading frenzy this summer. So far, I've read "When You Rise Up", "Adopted for Life", "Red Letters", "Fields of the Fatherless", "One Million Arrows", and most recently, "Radical." Ever since returning home from Ethiopia, I've been on an all out search for my purpose regarding adoption, orphans, widows, hunger, extreme poverty, mission work....I didn't know what to do with all of the emotions that I had about our time in Ethiopia and the knowledge that our adoption didn't even put a dent in the global orphan crisis. The more I read, the more overwhelming the statistics became. That, coupled with an overwhelming realization that Nick and I have been gifted five of God's precious children and we are now commissioned to raise them up in the admonition of the Lord and it was enough to send me on an emotional roller coaster.

Well, that roller coaster has turned into an amazing awareness of God's presence in my life and an eye opening understanding of His heart for the "least of these."

Nick and I struggled with our decision of what to do about school for our children. This past year, we home schooled Caleb for kindergarten and it was a great experience. However, when the girls came home in January and we started kindergarten with Hermela, things got a little crazy. It's challenging enough keeping little ones occupied during school time. Add in a language barrier, two needy three year olds and Colton (aka "the green monster") and we didn't know if we could handle it again for first grade.

Thankfully, I read "When You Rise Up", by R. C. Sproul. It just put everything into perspective for us. The last page of the book is what really hit home for me. The author challenged us by asking, "Why would you send your child to an institution where the name of the Lord is not ALLOWED to be spoken." I just thought, "wow, why would I." From that moment on, it was clear that home schooling is what God has for our family. It is just the best way that we can consistently and effectively raise them up for the Lord and build their character in such a way the they will be "world changers" and not be changed by the world. Our goal is to raise mighty "arrows" to go out and bring the love of Jesus to those around them and to the ends of the earth.

The author of "One Million Arrows", Julie Ferwerda writes:
Will the world change your children . . . or will your children change the world?

Time is short and lives are at stake. Right now, God is inviting your family to become part of a bigger story a vision that will engage your hearts to make a radical difference. One Million Arrows is an inspirational call to raise your kids to impact their culture, community, and world for Christ. If you want your kids to discover their purpose, if you want them to live with a passion for the Kingdom, if you want your family to go down in His-Story, accept the mission . . . and leave a mark for eternity.

So we are striving to instill in our children a longing to meet the needs of the orphans and the widows across the world.

The last book that I read, "Radical", is perhaps the best and it was so cool that I read all of these books in the order that I did. The first book I read clarified our schooling direction-which I think will help facilitate living our lives out in the context of the other books' calls to action. The next few book highligthed the AIDS epidemic in Africa particularly, as well as the orphan crisis and the need for orphan care. I already new that was where my passion was, but these books just made it clear that the need is HUGE and the need requires action NOW.

"Radical" is sort of the culmination of all of this information and really challenges us to all live according to God's plan, instead of in pursuit of the "American Dream." Here is brief overview:


It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...


In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

So, we're going to be doing "Radical" as a study with our small group and I'm really excited to start the "Radical" experiment. Part of the challenge is to read the whole bible over the next year.

So after reading over 1200 pages of man written words, I think its more than time to commit to reading God's written word.

I can't wait to see where God will lead us over this next year. He has been moving in AMAZING ways lately (more to come in a future posts) and answering big prayers.

Defending the Fatherless



  1. Another great post Jessica. You'll never be sorry with your decision on homeschooling your children. It's one of my biggest regrets in life. I'm looking forward to adding the new books to my summer read.

  2. Thanks, Jessica. I am looking forward to reading these books while we wait for what the Lord has for us next. Your blog is always inspiring!

  3. i just found your blog and can relate to your words. i have 2 of the books you suggested_ radical rocked me and my husband to our core and we began to truly pursue what we knew God was calling us to do with out lives. once we surrendered to following HIM and not our own pursuits, He began to illuminate the path for us to begin walking. we are now selling everything we own, my husband quit his job of 20 years and we are moving our family to south africa in september. we will be house parents to orphans, raising them in our family as our own and working with the ministries school. discipleship and village outreaches and feeding programs are other things God is showing us we need to begin there. we are so excited!
    keep seeking and He will show you what He is calling your family to do and you will experience so much peace! i will be praying for y'all and cannot wait to see what is in store for your family.


  4. I'M SO EXCITED! I came across your blog months before adopting our little girl from Ethiopia. She has now been with us for five weeks. It has been hard. Questions about home schooling have been in my mind. I home schooled my biological daughter for four years before I burnt out emotionally. I sent her to school at grade four. I've had regrets in many areas and I'm still struggling with what to do next in regards to her future. I've been wanting a "good read" so I'm thankful for your recommendations. Thanks for sharing.