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Both Michael and Lauren grew up in the church and were raised by Christian parents. They became believers at an early age and today work in Christian contexts. Lauren is the daughter of Steve Green, founder of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and president of Hobby Lobby. Lauren works as the Corporate Ambassador at Hobby Lobby and travels the country speaking about faith, business ethics, and Bible engagement in America. Michael works at the Museum of the Bible bringing people together to explore the most influential book in the world. He is also a teaching pastor at the church where he met Lauren when she was seven years old.
ADOPTION & INFERTILITY
After enduring seven long years of trying to adopt internationally while also trying to have their own biological children, doctors confirmed their fears of infertility. When they were matched with a little girl from China, they were elated. Their daughter, Zion, was one and a half years old when they brought her home. Yet, seven weeks later during a routine examination, Lauren and Michael were blindsided when doctors told them that Zion had cancer. Not long after the routine exam, they found a tumor on her liver that ended up being cancerous. After months of hospital stays, surgery, and chemotherapy, Zion went into remission in January 2020. Everyone rejoiced, and Michael and Lauren went from living their worst nightmare to rejoicing as well. Wanting so badly for life to return to normal, they did their best to do just that. What they didn’t expect was what would hit them when the adrenaline of keeping their baby girl alive, wore off.
One day while Lauren was in a meeting her chest began to tighten and hours later, she couldn’t ignore the pain. She drove herself to the emergency room and was told she was experiencing a panic attack. Later, while on the phone with a family friend who is also a therapist, she realized she had not allowed herself to process the fear of losing her daughter. Lauren explains, “When we face painful circumstances, we’ve got to register that pain. Otherwise, it will run roughshod through our bodies and hearts, leaving destruction in its wake.”
Honestly, they didn’t think they should grieve because their daughter survived while countless others succumbed to cancer every day. But not allowing themselves to grieve was only making things worse. "The Bible never said we're going to have easy, perfect lives," says Lauren Green McAfee in a live interview. "We don't have to give our perfectly wrapped-up-with-a-bow selves to God. He knows, and He's with us in it.”
When Zion was two years old, they decided to pursue adoption for a second time, choosing a domestic open adoption. They were matched quickly and brought home a son named Ezra, as a newborn. After Ezra’s biological mom chose Lauren and Michael to be his parents, the legal proceedings were slowed due to COVID-19. During that time of waiting, a family member contested their adoption of Ezra. After the judge ruled, Lauren and Michael were given two hours to hand Ezra over to a biological family member. They weren’t allowed to have any contact with him. It was a devastating heartbreak. Again, they turned to God with their brokenness and He walked with them through the pain. Feeling called to adopt again, a year after losing Ezra, little baby Zara came into their lives. They finalized the adoption and now have two daughters: Zion and Zara.
One of the biggest misconceptions that Christians deal with is how to handle unmet expectations. We think if we serve God, go to church, make moral choices, and do the right things, our prayers will be answered and things will go the way we plan. Yet, God never promised that. When things happen that are beyond our control or the dreams we had for our lives die, many believers become disillusioned. Michael says, “What happens when we start placing expectations on how God will or should act based on our interpretation of Scripture and our unexamined assumptions of life itself? I call these ‘entitled expectations.'” He goes on to explain that these expectations make assumptions on how we think our life “should” go.
When we examine the life of Christ, we find something different. He experienced joy, peace, love, heartbreak, and pain during His time here on earth. Yet, God never left or forsook His Son. God knew in the end the outcome would benefit humanity more than eliminating the pain Jesus would have to bear on the cross. In like manner, God didn’t promise us that life would be without hardship. Rather, He promised to walk through that hardship with us.
Rosalie Stevenson loves to tell people why she named her thriving Texas-based realty company “Rose above Realty”.
“I just rose above a lot,” she explains. She tears up and continues, “I just had a picture-perfect life that, behind the scenes, I was just falling apart.”
A lot of Rosalie’s stress was from guilt. She’d convinced her husband Alan that they should purchase a large building in their town’s historic district. It turned out to be a financial nightmare.
“We eventually had to board it up, she says. “We couldn’t raise enough to fix it. People were breaking in, stealing the copper wire, stealing whatever they could out of the building.”
The building’s mortgage still had to be paid. Rosalie’s dental hygienist income covered that, until she developed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and had to retire. Now, the building became even more of an albatross. Soon, Rosalie fell into depression.
She confesses, “It came to a point where I couldn’t sleep at night. I started drinking. Just drinking wine every day.”
During these times, Rosalie often watched The 700 Club.
“I would turn on CBN 700 Club, and that would give me comfort,” Rosalie shares.
She was at her lowest when she received a call from a businessman looking to rent space in her building. Although she couldn’t help him, he told her he had a message for her.
She recounts what he said, “‘God is telling me to tell you right now whatever you are going through whatever you are going through, whatever you have been through, He wants you to know that He loves you, and that He understands.’”
The conversation encouraged Rosalie to get closer to Christ. She studied the Bible, stopped drinking, and started feeling better. She also continued to watch The 700 Club. She specifically remembers something she saw that helped change her mind set on money.
“There was a story of a lady and her husband,” Rosalie explains. “She was going through hard times, and she started giving and how she just really gave with a joyful heart and how her life began to change.”
Rosalie says that she wanted a transformation like that in her own life, so she started giving to CBN.
“And so I thought to myself, not just the giving part, but just, ‘I want my life to change’, so I went on to my app, and just said, ‘I can give.’” I set up just a small amount because I knew that we're supposed to give, and I have given. But a part of me said, ‘Okay, I'm gonna – I-I'm just gonna test.’”
Around the same time, she was compelled to finish some real estate classes she’d previously started. She got licensed and her new career took off.
She exclaims, “The phone just started ringing, people started calling. I mean I was closing deals.”
Soon, “Rose above Realty” was born. Rosalie’s income quickly skyrocketed, and the whole family joined the business. They were doing so well that now they could afford the commercial building payments, but wanted to get out from underneath it.
She says, “I'd still pray, ‘Lord, just remove it from me.’”
The Stevensons continued giving and eventually sold the commercial building, after sitting empty for 9 years.
“God sent me a buyer for it,” Rosalie says. “It's just like the Holy Spirit went through me, said, ‘I-I told you.’”
She believes that things changed in her life because she decided to trust God with her giving.
“I can’t wait to give,” she proclaims. “When you tithe and you trust God, it’s just a peace of mind. I don’t worry about money.”
Rosalie has advice for anyone who wants to rise above any financial obstacles in their lives.
“When you think you don’t have it, try, give it,” she suggests. Rosalie concludes, “God will provide. And it just starts with that mustard seed of faith. God will come through.”
Soon after her daughter was born, Lupita noticed that her eyes were crossed. So, she took her to the doctor. “He told me that my Juanita was visually impaired. He encouraged us to watch her carefully,” recalled Lupita.
Lupita told her son, Jonathan, to keep an eye on Juanita so she would not get hurt. “It worries me that my little sister will get badly hurt if I don't watch her. I sometimes think that I am my sister’s eyes when I look after her," Jonathan said.
“I like to run. Sometimes I fall because I can't see well,” said 4-year-old, Juanita. "Sometimes my eyes hurt. It hurts here,” she added covering both eyes with her hands.
“She seems very fragile because of her crossed eyes,” added Jonathan.
The family was also concerned that her crossed eyes would damage her self-confidence. “It hurts me that people make fun of her,” said Jonathan, his eyes welling. “There are people who stare at her and that upsets me a lot.”
“I teach my children to share and not make fun of people, to respect the smallest and the largest,” declared Lupita.
As a single mother of three, Lupita works selling vegetables every day at a nearby town. But there has not been enough to save for surgery. “I make about 5-dollars a day. The surgery will cost seventeen hundred and 50 dollars!”
Operation Blessing first met the family when we installed a rainwater harvesting system in their community. We then paid for Juanita to receive surgery to repair the muscles in her eyes.
“I asked God for a miracle that my daughter would get surgery and thank God the miracle arrived!” said the grateful mom. Now, Juanita can see clearly and play without fear of injury.
“Finally my sister can live a normal life! We’re all so relieved!” declared Jonathan.
“Operation Blessing has really made a difference in our lives. I can’t thank you enough!” said Lupita. “Thank you!” added the cheerful little girl.
The annual tradition continues on the campus of CBN as The Founders Inn rings in the Christmas season with their annual Grand Illumination.
CBN’s impact around the world
Daily prayers for people across the country
CBN’s prayer team prayed with over 1.2 million callers in 2022 alone, while also praying with people through email, social media channels, live chat on the website, and written correspondence.
Highlighting testimonies of God’s faithfulness
Vida Dura or “Hard Life” stories are sourced throughout Latin America and produced in Spanish to reach a region with testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turn to God for change. CBN has a prayer center in Latin America to support people through prayer and faith resources.
Serving in the wake of natural disasters
CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground quickly in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, providing much-needed food, relief supplies, and medical aid. After large-scale natural disasters, Operation Blessing strives to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave, tending to the needs long after the news cameras leave.
Ukraine and Poland
For 30 years, CBN has been serving the people of Ukraine
Through CBN’s Orphan’s Promise and Operation Blessing, we were able to quickly provide valuable resources soon after the conflict began, and we continue to support Ukrainian refugees.
Projected 135 million* watched a CBN program in 2022
CBN partners are reaching children around the world with the Gospel of Jesus through Superbook, a Bible-based animation series. In 2022 alone, children in 139 countries watched at least one episode of Superbook.
Bible Reading for the Day
Read or listen to today's Old and New Testament Bible readings. Each day is portioned to give the entire Bible to you in a year. Start anytime. Scroll forward or backward if you miss any days or want to get ahead.