On Being Parentless

I am 34 years old. I left home at eighteen and never looked back. Yet still one of my greatest fears, one of the things that keeps me awake at night, is the thought of losing my parents. Their sheer presence on this planet offers me a strength and a confidence that I simply cannot fathom living without.

And when I think of one small helpless child out there who is going to sleep without a parent to care for their most basic needs or to assure them that everything is going to be alright KILLS me.

I remember when it first hit me. The fact that there is an orphan epidemic. The fact that I (single, unattached me) could do something to help. The fact that I was in no uncertain terms called to help. It was October 2009 and I was crowded into Gwinnett Center as Catalyst introduced the 143 Million Campaign.

Catalyst is recognizing our call to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). As believers, we feel led and committed to respond to this call in the year ahead. If you do not know, there are 143 million orphans around the world. This statistic has gripped the Catalyst community and left a desire to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.

Catalyst introduced a problem and they offered a myriad of ways I could get activated to help. Ever since I have been doing what I can and trying to figure out what exactly my role is in solving this heart-breaking problem.

Am I supposed to adopt?

Am I supposed to bring one child into my family and love them like they are my own?

Am I supposed to extend my time and resources to help organizations that are bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots?

Am I supposed to seek out the gaps in the faulty system and work to bridge them?

Am I supposed to go get my hands dirty working with orphans in a developing country?

Am I supposed to seek out ways to help the motherless and fatherless in my hometown?

As I seek answers to these questions, I am focused on learning more about the issues and opportunities surrounding orphan care. And trying to decipher where God has called me to step in and act. But I know this, He has called me to act.

If you are like me and interested in learning more about Orphan Care, check out the next Idea Camp, February 25th & 26th in Northwest Arkansas, which is focusing on Orphan Care and the Church.

The conference will facilitate fresh, honest and transformative conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners on topics including US & International care, community development, trafficking of orphans, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, HIV/AIDS, special needs, cross-cultural & religious dynamics to care, and many more.

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I LOVE your questions here, especially this one: Am I supposed to extend my time and resources to help organizations that are bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots?

    I absolutely believe this is one of the bet things we can do. It's humbling.

    Thank you for this post. I can't wait for the conversations to be had at the conference.
    My recent post On the Seasons

    • Thanks Amber for organizing this and encouraging me to blog about it. Hope to see you in February!

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  • jcatron

    Proud of you for pursuing this passion!

  • Jay

    I love that you're asking these questions, but really that you've put down the words that I strongly agree the church needs to be waking up to! In seeking answers and as you've surrounded yourself with wise counselors, I'm confident the answers will come! (though they probably already have and you're just wrestling with logistics…)
    My recent post Decreasing the Distance

    • I know of several churches who are passionately working to figure this one out…

  • I keep looking at everything related to Idea Camp and wishing, wishing I could get myself out there for this one. Wishing like crazy.

    But, instead, I answer your questions in my own heart and do, do, do.
    My recent post a reset

  • i love your big, passionate heart, my friend. love it.

  • I have started asking myself some of the same questions, Lindsey. Since I'm still single, I never thought adopting as a single parent would be an option but the last couple of years I've been wondering whether that's true or just an excuse. I heard about the Idea Camp conference a month or so and it sounds like it'll be worth attending but I'm pretty sure I can't afford it right now. Please share your thoughts when you get back!
    My recent post Expectancy

    • I will! And I am realizing how much there is that we can do beyond adoption.

  • stephanieinlex

    Hi Lindsey! Long time, bloggy friend!
    I'm with you on the fear thing.
    Also, orphans are on my heart on almost a daily basis, so I can relate. Looking forward to going back to Kenya this summer and serving orphans and women on this particular journey.
    Your willingness to make yourself available to God for however He'd have you serve in this capacity is fantastic, and it holds the rest of us accountable.
    I'm always impressed (and sometimes intimidated by thought leaders). But I know it's just a matter of joining that dialogue and becoming one.

    • Hope you had a great Christmas Stephanie. You definitely should think of yourself as a thought leader!

  • So with you on the fear!! Just lost my father a few months ago, so this concept that it is coming sooner then later is really hitting me. However, being in education I am constantly reminded about how lucky I am because many kids do not have anyone. And well some have parents but they are absent in the kids life.

    Love the questions and the fact that you are thinking about these kids, it only takes one person to make a big change in a kids life.

  • Laura

    Lindsey, I love that list of questions because it gets none of us off the hook. So many times it seems like we ask ourselves ONE of those on the list, and when we feel like that particular service is not the one we are called to, we move on so quickly. I love that the list of questions from Catalyst gives us lots of options to pray over.

    Thanks for using your voice and your heart for the
    little guys.

    My recent post Finally! A Good Reason NOT to Do the Laundry

  • What a great post! I, too, am not sure what I would do without my parents! Unlike you, though, I live less than a mile from them and see them all the time. My sister and I have informed them a number of times that they "aren't allowed to die"…I hope they listen 😉

    This post brought tears to my eyes (well, there's been a lot of crying here, so that isn't really a surprise) as yesterday marked seven months since my first foster children came to live with me. This is definitely different than the orphan issue you write about since they do have a parent…not one I would consider "great", but they are not orphans by definition. The experience being a foster mom has been amazing and I have learned a great deal from these two girls. However, the reality is that they are leaving "soon" and no one can tell me when or what that is going to look like. I have no control and it is REALLY hard, but the reality is that in my heart, I know that I have made a tremendous difference in these girls' lives, even if it is going to take a long time to pick up the pieces of my heart when they must leave.

    I'm not sure why I am sharing this with you, but there really are a "million" ways to help children who just need love, attention, support, encouragement, the knowledge that someone believes in them, etc. You have made a difference already and I pray that you will find direction 🙂

    I rarely comment here, but do read when I have a chance (being a mom definitely changes things!)
    Take care,
    Amanda
    My recent post What to Say

  • educlaytion

    I've just started reading your site and think a lot of your thoughts are great. Your heart comes through your words, and I'm guessing I wouldn't be disappointed if I ever met you. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more.