Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Things He Uses

About two years ago, my family started the process of adoption through the foster care system here in Kansas.  The process started with classes, interviews and a ton of paperwork.  When we finished all the fore-mentioned items we were told that we would adopt quickly because of the age we were desiring, well that is not the way it went.
One of the things asked in interviews and paperwork was whether or not we would adopt a child with special needs, we said we didn't think we could handle that but were willing to adopt possible ADHD or ADD children.  Two months later we find out our son is on the Autism Spectrum and "special needs".  God has a funny way of changing your mind.  We now were thankful for the delay in our adoption so we could focus on our son. During this time my father-in-law was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and not long to live, also my father was diagnosed with Picks disease, its basically like Alzheimer's but more aggressive. Needless to say I was a little overwhelmed.  During the next few months I quit working all my part-time jobs, three of them to be exact while staying home with Gage, to focus on Gage and myself.  Over the next six months or so this is exactly what I did.
In February of 2010 we got a call to take a little boy that was in an adoptive home in which the adoptive parents had decided they did not want him anymore.  We said yes!! We had 6 weeks to get ready. The next week we got a call and now the other family had decided they wanted the boy out of their home in less than two weeks, we were so excited but all I can say is "wow". Less than 24 hours before "brother"  was to be in our home the adoptive family changed their mind and wanted to keep him, because he had a relationship with them the state decided it was best to keep him there. To say our hearts were broken would be an understatement. If you have ever had a miscarriage, which we have, that is the same type of feeling, but with a little less closure. With this circumstance heavy on my heart I started to question God's purpose and my marriage was stressed as my husband and I dealt with the loss separately.
The choices we both made continued to have a negative effect on us as a team, don't get me wrong we still loved each other and were committed to the marriage, but we were not trying to resolve our feelings/issues together. In the summer of 2010 we each took our own vacation, not necessarily because we wanted to, but because we each had an "once in a life time" opportunity that we didn't say no to.  It really was good for us, it made us realize what we missed about the other, where we both really were on our commitment level, and what each of us needed to change in order to keep our marriage strong.  After our trips we were both willing to do whatever it took to accomplish what God wanted for us as individuals, our marriage, and our family.
In the fall we were asked to go to an event where there would be children up for adoption and we could interact with them to see if we connected with any of them.  At this event where two children, a brother and sister whom we had met previously at a camp where we volunteer, and a friend whom didn't know we knew them sent us a link to their adoption page, we knew this was of God.  We connected with these two, our children connected with them, the whole time these two did not know we were planning on adopting them.  We had the plan, everyone on our adoption team was so excited for the kids and for us. We were told they had never had an adoption they were more excited about. Then we started going through their files, I couldn't handle it, the things you read in those files shouldn't be done to anyone let alone children. You see God decided to use this process to bring healing in my life from events that had happened in my childhood. We ended the process before the children were told. We had to, it was what was best for my family and ultimately for them as well.  Does that mean that there wasn't hurt and disappointment? Absolutely not! It just means I am trusting God with what HE decides to use to bring me closer to him.  I still struggle at times but continue to do the necessary things to live the life he has called me to.

Romans 5:1-6 (NIV)

 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Truth is . . .

I was reminded recently of how my son's disorder could easily get him in social trouble.  You see my son has no problem telling the truth, actually he tells the truth to a fault.  He doesn't understand social cues and common courtesy. If you ask him what he thinks about your picture of the mountains, he will tell you that it isn't very good.  If you asked him if your clothes make you look fat he would tell you that your fat makes you look fat (good thing he's not old enough to date let alone be married). If you ask him who is his favorite he will tell you Daddy, and his least favorite is Sissy, but just be thankful "because you are one of his favorites"!  The thing is I know with him that he is not trying to be mean, even though the truth can still hurt.
I was having a conversation with my brother and we were solving everyone else's problems by saying "if they only did this they would. . ." then the conversation turned, I said "so what is something that 'if I only' that you would change about me?" I totally opened up a can of worms!!! But it was good, he asked me the same and we could be totally honest without fear.
As I reflected on this conversation and the issues with my son I realized how much I really try to lie to myself.  The bible says “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  But there are a lot of  times that I do not want to hear the truth, because I think a more common phrase "The truth hurts" seems to be more fitting.  I don't know about you but I will ask for someones opinion, but really what I want is for confirmation either that I look good, or my choices are right, or whatever the case.  Sometimes if someone asks me for my opinion I answer with "my honest opinion?".  What, so otherwise I'm going to lie to them? Hmmm
I'm learning the truth really can set you free, and it does sometimes hurt, but the truth is people who are not afraid to tell you the truth, the truth in love, are the people who are really looking out for your best. Sometimes someone does know better than you or they know a better way to do things. Don't be afraid to listen or to try something new. Check out the video link, it made me think about what I think I know and what I really don't.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad LIE

This is a devotional I wrote for a friends ministry. It is one I keep coming back to on a weekly basis. Enjoy!

My Confidence comes from others!

This is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad lie.

And we all believe it to some extent or another, whether you know it or not!

Do you feel like you need to be beautiful to be accepted? Do you feel like you are too big to be liked/loved?  Do you worry about what clothes you have or don't have? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see? Do you base your worth on your performance?   Whose standard are you using?

1 Samuel 16:7b
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

It is not just young women who struggle with this all women struggle with insecurities, the key is whether we allow them to become us. What we believe about ourselves is a direct reflection of what we think about God.

God created you in his own image (Gen 1:27).
He knew you in your mothers womb (Psalm 139:14-16).
God has a purpose just for you that he longs for you to fulfill (Eph 2:10)
If you look at the verse Eph 2:10 in the NIV it says we are God's handiwork. . . the word handiwork comes from the greek word poiema meaning MASTERPIECE, did you catch that you are Gods masterpiece! Think of what is considered a masterpiece to the world, masterpieces are valued, prized, shown off & protected, and that ladies is what God thinks of you.
Take a moment look up the above verses read them aloud and personalize them.

If you are focused on God, your Creator, then you will not be concerned with the way everyone else does things, you will only be concerned with the way God does things.

Whose approval do you really want? That of changing man or that of a consistant God?