Friday, July 05, 2013


From the time of my entrance into this world until the present air I inhale, I have been a people watcher. I love to go to the mall and sit on a bench and just take it all in. To see a new mother in deep conversation with her newborn or to watch teenage boys and girls as they nonchalantly pass by one another or to observe the seasoned love of a couple that is in the twilight of their life is entertaining and enchanting. It is these moments where I realize how small I am; for everyone has a story. Each story is unique and precious to the person experiencing it. It is these moments where I ponder how often I have been the object of a people watcher and how exactly did I present myself.

There are numerous occupations that one can choose that subjects them to constant observation - professional athlete, news broadcaster, performer of any art, politician. I often find myself talking to them through the television when there is an outward expression of protest because of this subjection. "You asked for this when you chose your occupation! Why do you complain? You wanted the fame and fortune." I think we have all found ourselves thinking these thoughts even if we did not vocalize them to an inaudible object. Though these characters are plastered across media in various fashions - sometimes without their blessing - they are really just a fragment of the people that you "watch" in your life.

Though you might not participate in the extracurricular activity of people watching, you do perform the task. You are keenly aware of the behaviors of your in-laws. Your heart is attune to the antics of your spouse and children. Your mind is processing coworkers’ motives and performance. Your spirit struggles with the matter of judgment you subconsciously place on those who are of great importance in your life. When you are in a crowd, you want to point out the situations or people who are not like you or are perplexing in your perspective. Likewise, people are watching you in the same way. Ooo, that just struck a sense of paranoia for you. When we are judged, one of our first instincts is to defend ourselves and attempt to give our backstory. The people making accusations of our behavior do not know our intentions or from where we are coming. They do not know what has happened in prior encounters of similar circumstances or who in our past has left us more complicated.

This same defense should be considered as we people watch. In Mark 5:24-34, we find a large crowd following a celebrity in which they all had similar interest. He was this new teacher that had come to challenge the uppity people of the church, so the lesser man was a fan and wanted to know this new guy. It was rumored he could heal the lame and sick, so to watch him might me you could get a glimpse of a uncommon occurrence. I can imagine it would be similar to any situation in present day where a celebrity entered an area and everyone is trying to be near him, to get an autograph, to catch his eye, to touch him. During times like this, people tend to begin to view each other in a derogatory manner - shoving and pushing and snide remarks were most likely being exchanged. In the midst of this crowd was a woman who was like all of others, yet because of an illness she was marked. Judgment had been placed upon her. Yet she made her own observation of the celebrity. He was not just any rock star. She was not simply hoping he could remedy her status so she could be in the midst of the crowd again. He was the answer to over a decade of torture she had experienced both in physical lack of comfort and emotional and mental anguish that coincided with her outcast status. She knew by simply making contact with His elements - His clothing, not even His actual body - she would be changed and freed from her imprisonment.

He knew she was different. He knew why. Verse 29-30 states, "Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'who touched my clothes?'" He knew who had done so. Yet he wanted the people to watch her. He wanted the people to take their attention off of Him and place it on the one they snubbed their noses. They were to watch the faith of the unlikely one and to ponder how their perception of Him might differ. She might see Him for more than just a passing star. She might see Him for who He truly was. IMMEDIATELY, their lives were changed forever.

So next time you are participating in your own version of people watching, remember there is an entirely different lifestory being written right before your eyes. The moment you are witnessing could change your life and/or their life immediately and forever.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

An Idea

There are ideas that run through my head constantly of activities and adventures that would be exciting for our family, or just myself to experience. Then there are the ideas that are not just a fleeting moment. They permeate my being and resurface consistently as if they will not be satisfied until I make the idea a reality. You and I both know those types of creative thoughts that are almost what you would call a dream that you one day hope to item on your bucket list, so to speak. But the item, the idea, of which I am referring has a different kind of grasp upon me. It doesn't just flit about in my head from time to time as something that gets me giddy, like paying off a loan, or traveling to Ireland. It robs me of sleep. It robs me of productivity at times. It is in my conversations, my choices, my motives for my actions.

An idea of this caliber is not of me. We both know that. It is a leading of the Holy Spirit. When the Lord impresses upon your heart "an idea," it is not something that He wishes for you to simply think about. There is action and responding that the Almighty is expecting. What is even more compelling is when you find that this idea that has been within your soul since childhood is shared by someone with whom you are closest. Coincidental? No, rather Divine Interventional. God has a plan for each of us before we gasp for that first breath of life. This plan is not just to exist on this earth for a set amount of time and then one day be united with Him again. There are purposeful interactions and relationships He places in our pathway with a great desire to see us glorify Him with these encounters. The people that are in your life are largely of your choosing - you choose your peer group, you choose your job (therefore, coworkers), you choose your mate (therefore, inlaws). However, the way in which you develop your relationships and utilize your interaction with these people is crucial. Your time with them is limited in the greater picture, so God yearns for you to do everything you can to point these people to Him. Even if they already have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, you are to spur them on to a better relationship and cautiously monitor as to whether they are growing and you are growing in His Word.

When I expressed my idea with the closest person in my life, one with whom I chose to spend my earthly forever, I was moved by my Heavenly Father. For this person with whom I spend the majority of my days, with whom I share many responsibilities, with whom I share many similar relationships, with whom I share Spiritual growth and accountability...this person shared my idea! God placed upon both of our hearts the same "idea". God placed upon our hearts the same calling! God placed upon our hearts the same desire. Oh if that doesn't make your heart smile, I don't know what can. You see, to hear from the Lord is a moving experience in and of itself. To know that the Lord over all wants to speak to you personally brings me to my knees. Yet to know that He not only has a job for me to do, He is going to provide me someone to go about accomplishing this task with me is even more humbling.

Over 25 years ago, God impressed upon me that I will grow a family providing refuge for those who struggle to find it for themselves. I knew that one day this would become more concrete for me as I developed my career and family in adulthood. For a decade now I have committed myself to love my students - ALL OF THEM - as if they were my own and it can be easily justified that this is what the Lord was meaning by my mothering being extended to those of all walks of life. I am a fairly decent teacher and an even better counselor who loves to be real with my students demonstrating God's grace and love to them. I praise God daily that He has equipped me with these abilities. Yet this is not the extent of the calling of which I received.

Over 15 years ago, I met my husband. During our courtship, during the very time we were seeking to understand each other and decipher as to whether we were compatible, I discovered the whisper that I was hearing was also being heard by him! Talk about a time of truly crawling up in God's lap and begging clarity! I didn't want to say He is the one because of this shared desire, but truthfully, God had confirmed that to me long before this conversation. So after 12 years of marriage, Jeremy Powell and I are now committed to fulfilling this calling upon our hearts that was placed upon us individually before we even met. And now we wish to share it with you so that you will join us in prayer and fundraising as we seek to accomplish this calling.

After being blessed with two beautiful princesses who have each already joined not only our earthly family, but also our spiritual eternal family, we are moving forward with the very clear calling of our Lord to add to our family through adoption. We have known this time would come, it is just a matter of when. We are currently in the very beginning phase of this process simply trying to save and raise money to accomplish this calling. We have kept this to ourselves for long enough and it is now time to ask you to join us in the very important task of expanding our family so that one more can be exposed to God's love in and through our home. We are in agreement for international adoption and are excited about the opportunity that this will bring. However, we are paralyzed by the great expense this will present. I still do not understand why it is so expensive to take a child away from the financial burden of a government facility and place that child in my home under my financial responsibility. I mean really, I am doing that government a favor by giving them one less mouth to feed. Nevertheless, it is costly.

So I am sharing this with you to pray with us as we seek to shorten the days until we can bring this little one home. Pray with us as we are already praying for the mother that is carrying this child and having to decide to surrender custody. Pray that she is safe and able to provide herself with proper nutrients so that our child is healthy. Pray for the orphanage that will house our child prior to our blessed union. Pray for the facilities to provide warmth and shelter and proper nutrients. Pray for the caregivers to be loving and patient and competent. Pray for our girls as they are preparing to add another person to our home. Pray for us as we take into account one more to feed, one more to involve in extracurricular activities, one more to pay for college. Pray for God to reveal to us proper fundraising ideas. Pray for Jeremy's health to remain more than excellent as we progress through this very challenging experience. Pray for our adoption agency as they guide us and advise us.

I have developed a few fundraisers that I will be posting in the next few days, so if you will check back on the blog in a few days you can seek ways to help us. If you simply want to help by an encouraging word or a financial donation for our little one, than you can send us a note to:

Jeremy & Jodi Powell
P.O. Box 221
Hayden, AL 35079

Thank you in advance for praying for us and our "idea". We are excited about the little one that God is going to place in our hearts and I will share with you a secret. I have already seen this baby's face! I can't wait to meet them face-to-face! Isn't that neat! God is good!