New Beginnngs

There are times like tonight where I wonder where in the world to start with a story. A story so rich, so deep that my clumsy fingers and cloudy mind can’t begin to express it’s worth. And there are so many things about myself that don’t equip me in the least to tell this story. I am so flawed with friendships. I retreat. I get a bit walled up and narrow minded. I begin feeling like so many things are out of my control (duh, they are, it’s called life) and so I attempt to control what’s right in front of me rather than fixing my eyes upward and gaining perspective. Because, after all, the right perspective always ushers in more freedom and less control.  But this story isn’t about my weaknesses but God’s crazy goodness that ushers forth miracles where it all seems hopeless.....and I can’t type fast enough to tell you. I’ve thought about writing this and I’ve procrastinated out of fear...fear that bad news would be lurking....fear that I wouldn’t do the story if I needed an angle. I needed someone really, really good at writing who could just make you taste of this goodness that I’m about to tell you! So here goes...

I met a real funny girl years ago. But she wasn’t always funny. She was mostly intense back then and honestly, she scared me a bit. Her name was Christina and she was on fire for Jesus and “the nations”. Many people in our circle said they were, but she had something different about her, a little she didn’t know the rules.  She scared me because she was a lot like me...only a lot smaller and with really curly hair. My Brett knew Christina and also taught a worship class with who would be her future husband....Brett Gibson. All in all, lives intersected at different moments and then we went about our ministry ways, traveling, moving, what-not. Years later, they were married and landed back in Waco (ahem, Brett and I had never left (see the aforementioned website)...and we collide with the Gibson’s at Barnes and Noble, where all healthy couples spend their date nights, right? Well, that was before Waco got a Guitar Center. The bookstore collision had we couples talking about marriage, miscarriages, and forward.... In 2005 I asked Christina (Chris) to join me at Panera to discuss launching a more intentional version of our strip club outreach. I gathered many women with like minds but unique perspectives to discuss consistent relational evangelism and reaching this particular sect of marginalized women in Waco. I had just finished reading “Traveling Mercies” by Anne Lamott and when I brought up that book, orating a portion, I caught Chris’ face beaming. She knew the kind of grace I desired to extend. She got it. Unfiltered. Gritty. Jesus.

Double Fast Forward (because there were lots of babies and pregnancies concurrent with club ministry) and “Chris” is definitely on the front lines with Jesus Said Love. She embraced it all, every gritty part. Oh, and was working through seminary as well. Oh, and having babies too. Oh, and facing all sorts of scary illnesses. She would pull back, and then jump back in where she could but she wasn’t afraid of the embracing part....not in the least. In fact, she bear hugs adversity. She and Brett (her Brett) both. Sure they flop and flail but they just won’t let anything but grace get the final say. And I love that about them. I watched them open their lives and home to an ex-dancer, mom of three, pregnant with her fourth. I saw this ex-dancer choose adoption for her fourth daughter...and the Gibson’s responded, “yes”. I watched their hearts break as the mama backed out, ran, and really tried to make it on her own. And in spite of such heartbreak, such a let-down, I saw the Gibson’s hearts remain soft and spongy, which I am convinced is the hardest disposition to maintain in life.

Then at the end of May 2013, I got a call from Ali. She was what they call a “veteran” dancer, like Yoda to many. Years ago she was a bit stand-offish but after time, we gained trust with her and realized we had many desires in common. She loved her children, and not just her children....she loved mama’s and their babies too. Ali called to tell me that, much like Chris, she had taken in a pregnant mom whom she met dancing. Ali knew the mom didn’t have much of anything and was probably still using and wanted to make sure the unborn baby would be safe. But the baby boy came early and was care-flighted to Scott and White NICU in Temple. Ali was overly concerned and called Jesus Said Love to ask if we could meet with the birth mom and talk about the option of adoption. I was happy to do so and knew that we had a great connection with Generations Adoptions in Waco, but only wanted to meet with mama if she was cool with it.  I traveled barely 1/2  a mile to the Family Health Center in North Waco and met with the birth mom after her 2 week check up. Before we even walked across to the cafe she was already crying. Ali was there too, preaching to her about the benefits of adoption and the hard toll that stripping can take on your life and soul. Ali vouched for JSL and really, I just ended up being there as a listening ear and a human phone book for all the connections. Ali, a dancer whom we’d known for years, did all of the hard work in getting the birth mom to see how beautiful adoption would be for this baby boy.

Sitting at a table in World Cup Cafe, over iced coffee and salads silence ensued. Was mama angry, offended, was there gonna be a throw down in the cafe? I prayed, “please, Jesus, please, for this baby please.”  Then mama sniffed, looked straight at me and said, “well, who do we call? I know he needs this. And isn’t it my right to pick his family?” I assured her she had the right to talk with the agency about that and look through all the scrapbooks and profiles and she just stared at me and asked, “but, I mean, do YOU know someone who really will take him?”.  The Gibson’s came to mind, like, their whole family on this red blazing chariot through my brain. I had never been in this moment before....I wasn’t sure what to I pulled up Facebook? Yup, I did. I showed mama a potential family, the Gibson’s. I told them that they were both amazing ministers. She asked what church and when I said the word “Baptist” she grinned and looked at Ali like they knew something of Baptists that I didn’t. None-the-less, mama’s mind was made up. She asked me to call Generations and set up the appointment.

With God’s grace, the beautiful baby boy received a new family and a new name, Owen, meaning, “new beginning” and he needed one as bad as any baby could. He was born prematurely and with complications. They faced scary news daily but somehow stayed alive and loving and resolved to trust God will every bit of their mortality. Chris writes and you can read more  about Owen’s journey here.

So many of you have asked how you can help and here is your chance. New babies need so much. The formula he has to take is expensive and we would love to bless this JSL baby and the Gibson family with a LARGE, like, God is SOOOO GOOD LARGE Visa gift card!

Click here to donate.

or send checks payable to JSL to:


ATT: Gibson

P.O. Box 523

Waco, TX 76703
*Please do not put anything in the memo line.  Just payble to: JSL

Also, any cards of blessing or encouragement can be sent to the address above as well.

Thank you for supporting us in prayer and financial gifts for the Gibson’s. Continue to pray healing and wholeness over Owen, strength and continued joy over the Gibson’s. Psalm 10:17-18 The Message proclaims: “The victim’s faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips. Orphans get parents, the homeless get homes. The reign of terror is over, the rule of the gang lords is ended.”  Amen and Amen.