Remembering and Rejoicing - because of her thoughtfulness.

Almost four years ago, the Lord grabbed our family by the scruffs of our necks and
forced us to take a long, hard look at the way we spend our time.
He also exposed us to the intense need for orphan care by continually (almost weekly) bringing us in contact with families who fostered and/or adopted and needed encouragement and support as they walked through the transition and difficulties that accompany orphan care.
His calling was clear: STEP UP and SERVE, Eastmans!

Two months later He sat me across from an exhausted and overwhelmed friend who needed encouragement, understanding, and support to endure the trials of caring for the three foster children she and her husband had adopted. Her tears were sincere. Her tears were profound.
The Spirit's conviction was clear: Serve THIS family!

We obeyed.
And we were blessed.
We spent three years taking care of their children, and in that time, our friendship grew deep roots.
So it was no surprise when their family became our first, our loudest, and our most enthusiastic cheerleaders when we said, "Yes!" to becoming a foster family.
They prayed for us, encouraged us, asked hard questions, supported us financially, and listened.
They had walked miles in the foster/adoption world before we ever took our first step, and then joyfully took our hands and said, "You CAN do this! And we will be right beside you every step of the way."
And they have been faithful to that promise.

Because my friend has a gigantic heart and is constantly thinking of others and looking for ways to bring them joy, I was not surprised when she went out of her way to choose, package, and mail me an early birthday present because she will be galloping through the streets of her childhood on my actual birthday.
(Her passion for orphan care permeates everything she does - including gift selections.
I LOVE the necklace she chose for me!)

Learn to do right; seek justice. 
Defend the oppressed. 
Take up the cause of the fatherless; 
plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17

Thank you, Julie, for years of faithful friendship.
You encourage me, you make me laugh, you challenge my thinking, and you model what true sacrifice really looks like. And best of all, you are 100% authentically YOU. Never do you pretend to be perfect, never do you pretend to have all of the answers, never do you try to be anything you are not.
You are just JULIE.
And JULIE is exactly who the world wants and needs! ❤
I love you, friend!

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