Wednesday, June 27, 2018

They're Ultimately His~

One of the most profound quotes I have ever read as a Momma. Little did I know that when I saved this quote around a year and a half ago that God would use it today to speak Truth to this Momma's heart. I don't know about you but I tend to be a control freak kindna momma. I want to know where my children are, who their with, what their eating, when they'll be home,etc... I also want to spend as much time with them as possible. I'd choose less money anyday over missing out on memories with my children. That's priceless in my book! Through the years I have learned lessons along the way about surrendering my children to the Lord and knowing that ultimately they are His. I've said goodbye countless times to foster children that God placed in our home for a season. My heart aches when they leave and sometimes I literally just crawl up in a fetal position and pour my tears out to a big God that can handle my human emotions. Then He picks me back up and speaks Truth to my heart about what He has called me to do, strengthening me for the next children He will bring. A child that needs me to be willing to sacrifice having a broken heart for them to know about Jesus and make wonderful memories in their childhood. To really know they're loved and wanted despite their circumstances. I do not take this calling lightly but consider it an act of worship to my Savior.
Back to the quote above. This quote is something God has recently asked me to do in a full surrender way with one of my children. As much as we can love someone we cannot make them accept that love or want that love. I found that my efforts of trying to pursue my child's heart, and receiving rejection upon rejection were not only taking an emotional toll on me by a physical toll on my body as well. That's when God started pressing on my heart even more to give my child back to Him, this time in full surrender. Holding nothing back. At first I questioned God wondering if He was really asking me to do this. I am this child's mother. Shouldn't I keep pursuing them at all costs? The answer is no. God has been showing me that all my children are His anyways and even when this one child is choosing to reject our love He is still enough to not only meet my child's needs but mine as well. He is perfectly able to put the people in their path that they need to speak Truth to their heart. As my heart started to embrace this more I started to feel a burden I had been carrying lifted. You see I wasn't suppose to be carrying this burden in the first place. I'm so thankful God revealed His Truth to me about that. So with God's strength I surrendered my child to Him. Praying and waiting for the day Lord willing that my prodigal will come home. When that day comes I will be here with open arms.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

God doesn't waste our pain

I've yet to meet someone who is excited when suffering comes their way. It's quite the opposite feeling actually. It's very easy to resort inward and feel like you're all alone when you're hurting. It's like the whole world continues to move on and you're stuck right there in this pit you can't seem to get out of. Suffering shows its ugly face in so many different ways. Unfortunately we don't get to pick, although I'm not sure any of us are wanting to, but we do get to choose how we respond. 

Recently suffering knocked on our family's door. Something so unexpected we never seen it coming. As awful as physical suffering can be, mental suffering is no walk in the park. Rejected by someone you love so dearly cuts right through your heart like a sharp knife. So many emotions surface during our times of suffering. Sadness, anger, mourning, questioning, and so many more. Some days you feel like you can handle this and other days you can barely breathe. One thing I have learned through my thirty-eight years of life is that God does not waste our pain.

One of my dearest friends sent me a devotional during my time of suffering that encouraged me to look for God in my circumstances. When we're hurting it does not come natural to look for the positives but instead to focus on the negatives. Things out of our control. I chose to take my friend's advice and stopped and verbally said out loud the areas where I could see God at work in my suffering. There was actually quite a few areas. Of course I would never have originally signed up for rejection from someone I love to the point I would die for, but I am not responsible for their actions. I am however responsible for how I respond. Even in my suffering I can be obedient to God. I can look for Him working in my life and in my family's lives. As much as I wouldn't have chose this, being on this side of it, I wouldn't go back and change it. Some lessons are taught best during times of desperation where we relinquish all control and surrender at the feet of Jesus. 

Our pain is not over. Our loved one continues to reject us, but we have chosen to look for God in our pain. To obey even when our flesh doesn't feel like it. To continue to love even though rejection may knock on our door again. To choose intimacy with Christ over comfort and to never give up on looking forward to the day our loved one comes home.




Friday, October 6, 2017

Birthday party, Accusations, and Miracles from God!!!!!!!

If you would've told me a month ago that the events that went down in our house last night would happen, I would've told you that you were crazy. I write this blog not to boast but to encourage others that when we surrender our will to God's will, miracles really do happen.

Last evening we had the privilege of celebrating our foster daughter's 16th birthday. Knowing that this was a very special birthday & the teen years are hard enough, without adding being in foster care, God laid it on my heart to invite her momma. For some of you reading this & not knowing our story you may be thinking that's not a big deal. Let me back up a bit.

A lot of times in foster care, not always though thankfully, we're looked at as the bad guys that are trying to take away the birth parent's children. The birth parent's usually seemed threatened by us even if we try to come across in a friendly manner. For months our foster kiddos birth momma has had a very negative attitude towards us to the point of trying to find something wrong with us at each weekly visit. More energy was spent on tearing us down then doing what needed to be done to get her children back home with her. The situation escalated to the point of accusations made from her accusing us of abusing her children. There was even a court date to discuss these accusations. Needless to say nothing came from it because the children are safe and no abuse has ever happened. My flesh was raging with anger. How dare someone accuse us of abuse when all we're trying to do is help them out by taking care of and loving on their children while they get the help they need. Then there's God...

At a meeting we were all at my flesh was all ready to put up a fight to protect myself and my family. What I didn't realize going into that meeting though that God was going to do a 360 on my heart and allow me to see this momma as a broken individual that needed Him. He even allowed me to compliment her. What? Compliment someone who has accused me of abusing her children. Dear friends, when God gets a hold of our hearts, miracles happen in such ways that we cannot even fathom in our earthly minds. Ever since that meeting God has been putting a desire in my heart to build a relationship with this momma. Fast forward now back to last evening...

We got permission to invite her to our foster daughter's birthday party. The excitement on our foster daughter's face when she saw her momma was worth it all. She screamed and ran and gave hugs. I could tell as the evening went on how thankful she was to have her momma there. Her little brother even got to be fed by her momma and they sat around our dining room table eating and talking together. For someone who has control issues, aka me, God really helped me to take a step back and relinguish control and just be present in a different role that evening. Opening our home to ministry to allow healing to begin in relationships.

Once again I write this to encourage you, not to be boastful. Wherever you are at in your walk with the Lord remember He is a God that still performs miracles. Don't give up! Surrendering your will to His, will prove to be one of the best decisions you will ever make.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Expectations!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a foster & adoptive momma's retreat at Beulah Beach in Vermilion, Ohio. To describe this weekend as amazing would be an understatement. In order to fully grasp the magnitude of the weekend, you had to be there.
 Some of my favorite times during the weekend were when around 100 of us momma's were in a room together singing praise & worship songs to Jesus with freedom to fully surrender ourselves, our agendas & not care if someone raised their hands, danced, sat in awe of their Creator or whatever else they chose to do. It was like we were before the throne of God in that very room. Probably one of the closest feelings to what Heaven will be like that I've ever experienced. Another one of my favorite things was walking by the water & breathing in God's beautiful Creation. The wind blowing a cool breeze, the sun shining down on us & the sound of the waves hitting against the rocks by the shore. Relaxing to say the least.
We were challenged throughout the weekend through different speakers. Our main speaker, Beth Guckenberger, shared something that really stood out to me & made a huge impact in my life. She said, "Expectations are premeditated assumptions." It's always a privilege to go away for a retreat & be challenged to be the woman, wife & momma God has called me to be, but sometimes it can be hard adjusting back into reality. Us momma's were on cloud 9 this weekend, but our families back home were having a normal weekend like any other. They didn't sit under the worship we did or hear the teachings we heard. We needed to be careful not to return home & expect things from our families that were unrealistic. Now I will say my hubby is amazing at giving me the freedom to go away, relax & do what I need to do to be the woman, wife & momma God has called me to be. He never makes me feel guilty while I am away & he runs our house like a well oiled ship in my absence. Our daughter, Sarah, could also run the house from top to bottom in my absence & does an outstanding job at it. She's going to be a wonderful wife & mother someday, Lord willing. But even with my crew being in full support of me going away they did not experience the same weekend I did & I needed to be careful not to come home & vomit(share what I learned) all over them all at once. I learned it in stages & I've learned it is best if I share it in stages to my people.
So going home I changed my mindset in the way I would normally think about things heading home from my time away. Instead of dwelling on if the house would be clean, if they started a new project or if they would understand how incredibly awesome my weekend was, I dwelt on going home & loving my people. Loving them right where they were & serving them with a grateful heart for the privilege of being their wife & momma. I told myself there's always the next day to clean things up, but for today love my people. I will say this was probably the easiest transition to getting back to reality from a trip away & it had so much to do with not having unrealistic expectations, but focusing on what's most important. People, not stuff.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Thoughts about slowing down & thankfulness!!!

 I don't need to tell you how busy & chaotic life can be. You already know it because you're living it as well. Of course some days are busier than others, but all in all we live in a too fast paced society that needs to slow down. Much of that is to our own choosing but somethings just happen because of the day & age we live in. I think we need to be more deliberate about scheduling times with a friend to chat over coffee or tea, to relax & read a good book, to take a walk & breathe in the goodness of God's beautiful Creation.
 I have found the older I get I like to move slower in the mornings. Not just physically, haha, but mentally. I purposely moved furniture around this past weekend(with the help of Noah) so I could have a table & chairs on my front porch to enjoy my coffee on & do my devotions after dropping the kids off to school. I realize that not all mornings can or will go that way but the ones that do I thoroughly enjoy and am thankful for.
 I've also realized the older I get to take the time to find something to be thankful for no matter how hard or wonderful my day went. Somethings might even sound silly that we're thankful for, but I still think it's important to think on thankfulness instead of everything that didn't go the way we would've liked that day. For example during James' surgery I was thankful for the cute coffee stand at Akron Children's hospital. I could enjoy a white chocolate mocha as I waited to hear about James. During my foster kiddos visit with their family I sometimes walk around the thrift store next door & am thankful for cheap little treasures to brighten our home. Even more important than things are people. Awhile back I was emotionally in a hard situation about one of my kiddos. I made one phone call to my parents & they came to serve us & love on us. That is defiently something to be thankful for. This past Sunday Pastor Sam preached a sermon on the fear of the Lord. Wow, is an understatement. He was an open vessel for God to speak through. In all my years of life I had never heard the fear of the Lord explained in such a way that spoke such Truth to my heart. I am thankful that God's Word is still alive & shaping & molding our hearts regardless of our age.
So what will you choose to do this week to slow down? I'm heading to the library later to pick out another great book from Francine Rivers. Who will you schedule to have coffee or tea with just to chat & catch up? I really need to do this too. What will you find to be thankful for today, tomorrow & each day after that? Today I am thankful for you dear reader. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what God has laid on my heart to share.

Monday, August 7, 2017

College & Diapers...And Everything In Between!!!

It's always interesting to see where we end up from where we start. Plans we have for our lives. Some of those plans coming into fruition, while other plans are put aside & forgotten. At this stage in my life I don't think I ever planned to have two kiddos heading to college & changing diapers still on another little kiddo in our home all in the same time period. I love how we can have our whole lives planned out and then...There's God!!! I remember the ache in my heart for the two kiddos we have living with us now when I heard they needed a home. Both were ages we were not considering(teenager & infant) at the time because of our current family dynamics. What in the world were we thinking starting all over again with bottles & diapers all along helping our oldest two apply to colleges, visit campuses and finish their high school years out well. To be honest there are still days I wonder what have I gotten myself into, but then... There's God!!! He gently prods my heart and reminds me about eternity. About how His ways & plans are so much better than anything I could ever think up for myself or my family. He reminds me "I get" to do this mom thing... What a blessing it is & what a roller coaster it is as well between 2 starting college(one moving out, one commuting), 2 playing football, 1 starting a new school(high school in that), 1 learning to walk, 1 having surgery next week, several appointments on top of appointments, 2 visiting bio families(which stirs up all kinds of emotions) & getting to celebrate 20 years of marriage this fall with my high school sweetheart & best friend! So maybe life has taken me on some different paths than I would've originally planned for myself or my family. But that's ok, because... There's God!!! I pray I always have an open & willing heart to put my agenda aside & let Him lead.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trusting & Praising...Even in the Hard!

Sitting here in a small, dark hospital room while my beautiful blonde is getting an iv infusion for her chronic migraines. Yesterday we came through these same hospital doors as well, not only for her but also for my handsome fifteen year old son who recently found out he has a large tumor on his thyroid. After seeing a specialist and getting a biopsy done we were sent home to wait for the results. The Dr seemed optimistic regardless of how the biopsy turns out. For that I am thankful.
 It's kind of interesting how I am feeling about all this. I'm not a babbling mess & I actually feel like we're going to be just fine through all this. I credit that to my Heavenly Father. I believe that each thing we go through in life can also be a life lesson for us and help prepare us for things we may go through later in our life. I think if I would've never been faced with health challenges with my kids before this would've rocked my world more than it is. But with the challenges our family has already faced, I believe they've helped to prepare us for where we are today & how we approach this new journey we're being asked to walk down. Don't get me wrong. I'm still a very concerned momma & would do anything to protect my babies, but I have a deep feeling inside me that God's got this & we're going to be alright. My babies ultimately belong to Him & I just get the awesome privilege of being their momma.
My heart & desire through all this is that others would see Jesus in us. In how we talk, act, handle our new journey, etc... That doesn't mean that we have to have it all together or that we can't shed a tear. Jesus relied on His Heavenly Father and even sweated blood through His prayers. I want us to be real & realize we have no control over this but our Savior does. Trusting more & worrying less. Going before the throne room of God more & our minds racing in a thousand directions less. I've learned in life that sometimes the sweetest moments we have with the Lord can sometimes be when we're asked to go through some of the hardest times. Believe me, I'm not asking for hard times. But let's be honest. Hard times are going to come & for our family, hard times are here. So in the hard I want to thank Him. In the hard I want to praise Him. In the hard I want others to see Jesus in us & if they don't know Him my prayer is they'll want Him too.