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I did something on Sunday that I have always wanted to do…I adopted a child. (This makes me laugh a little because I once pulled a prank on my group of girls at FBCE and told them that I adopted a little boy named Marcus from Puerto Rico…..and they thought I had lost my mind.)

I didn’t really adopt a child, but I chose to sponsor a little girl named Sylvia who lives in Buloba, Uganda through an organization called African Renewal Ministries, which Cornerstone supports.  She is such a beautiful little girl, and I wish that I could put her picture on here to show you just how beautiful she is.

I have always wanted to do this, but I never really had the money.  Its not like I have the money now, but I am realizing that where God calls, He provides.  I know this is something God has wanted me to do for a long time, but I used the excuse of not having a stable life (or job) to make myself feel better for being disobedient.  I am really bad about making excuses to disguise my lack of faith.  But, I couldn’t make excuses anymore.

Actually, I think God is working a change in my heart.  This week, I have had such a spirit of giving.  My heart has been broken for specific people in my life, and I have found myself trying to think of ways to bless the lives of other people around me.  Maybe God is calling my bluff with this whole “giving more presence” thing during this season of advent, and He is waiting to see if I will really follow through with what I have said.  I’ve always wanted to have the means to be a “giving person,” but I’m realizing that being a “gving person” doesn’t require the means, but the heart behind it.  It’s a lot for me to think about right now, because its like I’m having this cultural shift in my own life.

Lord, help me to be obedient in what You are asking of me.  Don’t let me wait to do what is right.

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In less that an hour I will be embarking of the adventure of taking 26 girls and leaders to the Revolve Tour in Atlanta.  Last year, I had the amazing opportunity of going to Revolve in Dallas with some of the greatest girls in the world.  I can’t believe that it has already been a year, and now I am doing this all over again, but completely different.  This year, I won’t be “Pirate Amy” (which honestly, may be a good thing :)).  But, I know it will make me miss those girls even more than I already do.

Please pray for us as we drive through one of the craziest cities in America.  Pray that God will do something in the lives of these girls this weekend.  Pray that we will have fun.  Pray that I come back still sane.  Pray that God will teach me…I always need to learn from Him.

So, during the Christmas season, I can tend to be a hum bug.  I don’t want to be, but it always seems to happen that way.  Honestly, I love Christmas.  It was always my favorite holiday as a child, but over the past few years, it has become a painful reminder of what is missing in my life.  Like Thanksgiving, it has become a holiday to “get through.”

The way I have gotten through the Christmas season in the past was to stay busy and focus on other people.  But, this year there is something different in the air.  There is something brewing inside of me that is kind of exciting, and I honestly can’t believe that I didn’t think of it before.

We are going through this new kind of Advent celbration at Cornerstone.  In the past, Advent has just been a few minutes on Sunday morning where we light a candle and talk about peace, love, joy and hope, but this is something excitingly different.  This advent season, Cornerstone is really challenging people to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.  After all, Christmas is the celebration of the coming of Christ into the world, the coming of Immanuel–“God with us!!”  So, we are focusing on spending less, giving more, worshipping fully, and loving all.

Now, I know that Christmas is about Jesus, but with all of the preoccupation and sadness that has surrounded the past eight Christmases for me, I seem to have forgotten that Christmas is a time to worship Immanuel.  When the shepherds and wise men came to see Jesus, they didn’t just look at him and sing an song; no, they fell on their knees and worshipped Him.  I can’t even remember the last Christmas where I fell on my knees and worshipped the One who bore my sins and healed my brokenness so that I could have a relationship with Him.

So, this is my challenge for myself this Christmas season.  I want to worship Christ and make Him the center of everything that I do.  I don’t want to focus so much on what I can get my family for Christmas, but to truly be with my family.  I want this Christmas to be filled with good memories that will last a lifetime, not because of what I get, but because of what I give.  I want to share the love of Christ more.  I want to focus more on loving people than being loved (or even unloved).  I want to be a light in the darkness.  What better time than at Christmas?