The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

He Frees Us (A Captive review and giveaway)

I remember lying in bed the day I learned what divorce was, terrified that my parents’ marriage would end that way.

I remember being afraid of what people thought of me, always scared to do or say the wrong thing. I self-soothed by sucking my finger longer than most kids do (and my parents’ orthodontist bills proved it).

Those things happened in my elementary school years, but it didn’t stop there. My anxiety (and depression) resurfaced one year in college, and I knew I needed the help of medicine to pull me out of the pit.

“What-if Land” was my enemy. What if someone I love dies? What if I contract a terminal illness? What if this horrible thing or that terrible thing happens to me?

I was held captive by fear.

Though I’d been a Christ-follower since a young age, I still allowed fear to rule me.

It wasn’t until 2006, when my dad nearly died, that I really began to emerge from that captivity. God, in His great mercy, gave me the opportunity to face a huge fear…and to learn, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is MORE than enough to sustain me. He is SO MUCH BIGGER than any of my fears.

I had one choice: trust that God is always good and always does what is right…or don’t.

I chose to trust Him, and let me tell you friends, trusting God is the antidote to fear.

Praise God, HE FREES US from what holds us captive.


Back in 2005, Georgia resident Ashley Smith was captive to a life full of drugs and brokenness. She was widowed when her young husband was murdered, and she dulled her pain with drugs…causing her daughter to be taken away from her. She’d just moved into a new apartment when she was taken captive – quite literally – by an escaped convict.

Her experience is chronicled in the book Captive: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero. And the theatrical movie of the same title is set to release in theatres this Friday, September 18. Watch the trailer below.

This book and film caught my attention, not because of the fast-paced, heart-thumping aspects of it, but because of the redemption. This broken woman was brought to repentance by the most unlikely of circumstances. She was brought to the end of herself, and thankfully, found her Savior there.

What holds you captive, friends? What will it take to bring you to your knees in front of the God who loves and created you?

I’d love to get a copy of this book into one of your hands. Just go ahead and leave a comment below, and I’ll enter you into the contest. I’ll wait 7 days before drawing a winner.

Disclosure: They gave me a copy of the book to read. I read it. These are my opinions, not theirs. And they didn’t give me any money. :-)

And the winner is… (updated)

pirates code

Bernie W already won this dvd from another person’s blog, so I was able to choose another winner!

MELISSA, you are the new winner! Woo-hoo!


The winner of the Pirate’s Code giveaway is….


Thanks for playing, everyone! Don’t forget that you can still purchase the Pirate’s Code DVD online or at WalMart!

Pirate’s Code: DVD Review and Giveaway!

pirates code

In this follow-up to Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure, Mickey Matson is at it again, this time pitted agains the evil Admiral Ironsides and his gang of pirates who are intent on destroying civilization. Their new invention, the Tesla Coil, is a weapon of mass destruction that will send an electromagnetic pulse throughout the world, destroying every electronic device in existence. With the help of a secret organization, Mickey and his best friend Sully embark on a mission to stop the pirates from taking over a submarine and stealing the last part needed to complete their devastating weapon. If Admiral Ironsides succeeds in his plan, civilization will be sent back to the Stone Age. It’s a race against time, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Our friends will attest that we are very sensitive to the videos (and other entertainment) that our kids ingest. So, I’m so thankful to tell you that this is one film that I know my children can pop in the video player and watch without supervision…No pausing and fast-forwarding through scary or inappropriate parts. No muting for unwholesome speech.

I really appreciate the way the writers chose to use non-offensive speech, even in the bad guys’ lines. Sure, a real-life pirate probably wouldn’t say “dadgumit,” but that sort of speech was used in lieu of real cuss words or even what we call “kid cuss words” (idiot, moron, stupid, etc). It makes for a more playful tone throughout the film…but I really like the fact that the intensity level doesn’t have to be Captain Phillips to keep my kids’ attention.

There were hints of boy-girl attraction, but nothing over-the-top and certainly no romantic relationships or physical touch. Our kids don’t need every video to have a romantic relationship, and I appreciate that this one doesn’t focus on that.

For a kids’ film, I would definitely recommend this for pre-teens (probably ages 5-12). I’d put it on par with The Lost Medallion: action / adventure / fun with some good lessons about pride and teamwork. It’s not a Christian movie (as The Lost Medallion is), but it is good, clean entertainment.

The only downside for me relates to my inner grammar queen. I noticed as I was reading the back cover of the dvd case that they hadn’t passed their promotional materials through the eyes of a professional proofreader. In the first two sentences, I caught two grammatical errors (misuse of a semicolon and use of “they’re” instead of “their”). There was also one misspelling in the credits. I want the producers of this film to realize that if they want the secular world to take their well-done, family-friendly film seriously, they MUST proofread every single word and piece of punctuation. Those mistakes would have never made final production in a Hollywood film, and there is absolutely no reason for them to have made final production in a well-done film like this one (even without the major funding Hollywood films obviously have)!

Now, here’s what our kids thought of the film…

  • Jaden (age 6):
    I liked the violence.
    The only part I didn’t like was the guy getting his eyepatch off, because it looked gross.
  • Ava (age 7):
    I like that they are superheroes, and they love to save people.
    I don’t like when the eyepatch a little bit comes off, and I don’t like that they made them almost get killed when they do all the fighting after they get trained.
  • Caleb (age 9):
    I liked every part of the movie.
  • Grace (age 10):
    I liked the characters Sulley and Mickey. I like the SOP because of what they do.
    I didn’t like all the scenes with Admiral Ironsides, because it was too violent.

If you’d like to see this video, you can order it online…Even better, I’d love to give one of you a chance to win a free copy of this dvd! Comment below, and tell me why you want to win. While you’re at it, if you’re a parent, tell me which movies your kids love to watch! I will choose a winner on June 25 at 9am.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

He First Loved Us


Waaaaay back in January of 2001, I went to Romania on a short-term missions trip with a team from my alma mater, Cornerstone University. We spent our time loving on babies and young children who had been abandoned at a particular hospital in Bucharest. By the end of our time there, I so badly wanted to sneak a few of those sweet babes home with me.

Of course, customs would frown on finding a baby in my carry-on.

And I was only 18. A freshman in college.

I didn’t get to sneak a baby home with me. And I have not yet returned to Romania.

But God knew that that trip would plant a seed deep in my heart.

Sometimes it takes a long time for God’s purposes in us to blossom and bloom. It’s been 14 years since that missions trip. For someone in her early 30’s, 14 years is a long time. And yet, God’s perfect timing comes to pass.

For 14 years, the idea of God’s grace and love for the orphaned, the abandoned, the unloved has wound its way around and around inside my heart.

The idea that God is a Father to the fatherless. And we as His children are the ones to show His love to them.

A few years back, Luke and I listened to the audio book The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, and it inspired us to stop being overwhelmed by the vastness of the sin problem in the world and just do something. We can’t rescue all of the children. But we can do something. So we started sponsoring kiddos through Baptist Haiti Mission, one at a time until each of our four kids had a Haitian “brother” or “sister” his or her age to sponsor / encourage / pray for / send gifts to.

That was a great small step for us.

Then God dropped Dana into our church family. She was a former missionary to South Africa who had a nursing degree and had adopted a little African girl. Here in the States, she fell in love with one of her mom’s medically fragile foster children and adopted her as well. And she began her own journey as a foster mom to medically fragile kiddos.


Her ministry in the foster care realm has totally changed the culture of our church family in regards to orphan care. In these last 9 years or so, foster care and adoption has become much less intimidating and more accessible. It’s much less overwhelming to think about foster care / adoption when some of your closest friends walk that path and you experience it up close and personal.

Since 2009, 5 of Dana’s foster kiddos have been adopted into families in our church (not including her own daughter, of course).


Still, I didn’t see it coming, the crazy plans that God has for us.

In the fall, during our studies of Moses in BSF, I felt a stirring in my heart. I really felt that I needed to be ready for whatever it was that God was calling me to. If I took a walk in the desert and came upon a burning bush, I wanted to be ready to go wherever God called, and do whatever task He had for me.

Then came the waiting.

I was ready and willing to do what God has for us…now what?

Honestly? I hate waiting. It’s uncomfortable. I would much rather know exactly what’s coming and be able to plan for it…than to just wait and trust that God’s purposes and timing will come to pass.

Then in November, a teeny baby boy was born, and at 2 days old he went home to live with Dana as her newest foster son.

Over the course of the months since then, our entire family has fallen head-over-heels in love with him. We didn’t all find ourselves in the same place emotionally at the same time. We didn’t even necessarily agree on the path God wanted us to take. There was a lot of seeking wise counsel and praying fervently.

But oh, to have walked through the waiting and the uncertainty and the struggles, to a place of great beauty…It is so God.

I wish I could show you all a picture / video of him. He is so delightful. You would surely love him, too.

So in February, we began the process to become licensed foster parents – classes, paperwork, home study, etc, etc.

We are so overjoyed to tell you that as of yesterday, we are officially licensed. And as of today, we are officially the foster parents of that darling Baby Boy.

We thought we were done after 4 kids. I thought I’d be forever finished with diapers and potty training. No more waking in the night or early mornings.


Today I got up at 5:30am with him.

But it’s ok. Because at this moment, I’m fully aware that the only reason we can do this is that while we were still His enemies, Christ loved us. The ONLY reason I can love a child that is sometimes inconvenient and fussy and poopy and quirky in ways that only his genetics can explain is that Jesus loved me first.

When I was covered in sin, Jesus loved me. So even when it’s inconvenient or hard, we will show that love to Baby Boy.

And I am so blissfully happy.

He Gives Good Gifts

It was November 14, 2009 – Grace’s fifth birthday. She had friends over for a birthday party that day when I received the call.

Luke’s sister Emily had been having very bad headaches that week. She waited for them to pass, but on Saturday morning she awoke and went to the bathroom multiple times in a row. When her husband asked her how many times she was going to go to the bathroom, she replied,” I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet.” He took her straight to the hospital.

There they discovered an arteriovenus malformation (AVM) – a malformation of blood vessels in her brain – that had ruptured. The AVM was something that had been there since birth, but she had never known.

Until it hemorrhaged.

So on December 3, 2009, at the age of 25, my dear friend and sister-in-law underwent an 18+-hour-long brain surgery. There were no promises about the outcome, only the knowledge that God had knit her together in her mother’s womb, and He always does what is right. We spent those 18 hours praying, begging God for Emily’s return to health.

He answered.

There are many details I’m leaving out, and the recovery process was long. (Read more about Emily’s story here.)

But I’m so incredibly thankful. God has not only blessed us with the gift of Emily’s life, but of the lives of her two precious sons, our nephews. If she had died that day in the hospital, not only would we all be missing Emily, but we would have never known these two precious boys (the second whom we’ll meet very soon)!

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:9-11

Thank you to all of our friends and family who prayed Emily through her AVM ordeal. God heard our cries, and we are still so very thankful!


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