Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turning the volume down.

In my previous post, I mention a sermon by Eric Ludy. It's called "Depraved Indifference". Its main focus is having the heart of God towards the insignificant (unborn babies whether aborted or miscarried, children starving in Liberia, etc.).

At one point, he tells the story of some Jews during the holocaust and I was able to find a similar story online at this website:

After a speech, pro-life activist Penny Lea was approached by an old man. Weeping, he told her the following story:

"I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

I want to write and write and write, and say much about the condition of our churches today, but, at least for today, I won't.

Here's what I will say -

I don't have to sing louder to drown out the suffering of the world. Because I've allowed the world so near around me that those train tracks don't even run near my heart. I don't hear the cries because I'm too far removed. I hear some, a little, in my little fostered ones, but this is such a small amount compared to what is actually happening in the world around me - while I surf facebook and check my e-mail and post junk on craigslist.

SO, all that said, I'm turning the volume down. I want to hear. I want to seek out the hurting and broken, and sick and abused. And, for now, I will at least take a step in, what I believe is, the right direction.

For the month of January I am turning my computer off.

I've sinned with it, in that I could have done good with it, and I did not.
I could have sought out a cause to pray for, educated myself on ways to help, spent my evenings with God more than facebook, and with my neighbors more than craigslist and the 1000 blogs I have in my google reader.

I told my family the decision and apparently it wasn't quite clear so just to clarify - with my computer off, I will not be checking my e-mail or facebook. If you want to get hold of me, you'd best do it the good old fashioned way and either use pen and paper or my phone.

I have to be careful - as I've been burdened with this I've leaned towards condemnation and as I condemn myself, others may feel that I am condemning them as well.
I don't know about you. Oh, I've read your facebook posts and I've probably judged you, but I do know that I don't know you. None of you.
What I do know about myself is that children are dying. God has created life, and it is dying of starvation, sickness, disease, and I haven't given my life for His children. People think I won't be able to give up facebook and email for a full month (The plan is just for the month of January right now), and I find that sad and it makes me wonder about the life that I've lived in front of them.

Do they say I won't last because of their desire for facebook and email, or because of my attitude towards facebook and e-mail?

I don't know.

What I do know is that people are dying, and I watched youtube videos.
A 4 year old is digging through trash to find her next meal and I was flipping through my "friends" 92 photos of their family opening trash and junk and stuff.

Eric Ludy's term of "Depraved Indifference" is a legal term: To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

I don't know how to not be indifferent. I listen to Ludy speak the words over and over again and I want God to give me His heart for people but at the same time I know how I would act if it were my child digging through the trash, utterly alone in a foreign country. If I treated the knowledge of ALL the children doing so, and took it to my heart as if they were my own children - as God does - even trying to imagine it right now it feels as though I would lose my mind.

But God knows how far to take me.

I want to give my living. I want to love as He loves. I want to know that hours are filled with necessary, and not the foolish*cough*facebook*cough*.
I want cries to be what I hear, so that I can pray and know the urgency and feel the need - and not just imagine a need that is too much for my mind to conceive too far away.

This will be my last post till February.
If you're my friend, pray for me.
I have dreams and goals that are not of this world.
And not the faintest clue how to reach them except to trust Jesus to bring me where He'll have me.

And, as someone that wonders about who my readers are, I'm going to be praying for you too. Consider turning it all off. Turn the volume down so that you can chase after something eternal, rather than have eternal things simply be a Sunday hobby, or something simply "carried in your heart". Turn it off.
And if you can't - if you really really can't - you are a slave to it. And no man can serve two masters.
Choose this day whom you will serve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where is the line for Jesus?

I wrote to two leaders in the church tonight and let them know that I was leaving the church.

The decision comes after a month of trying to avoid the place, just not going, and then that was followed up by attending what turned out to be my final service where a youth minister/guest speaker quoted off the numbers of kids his youth groups have sprouted to, and then referred to Jesus healing the man at the pool of Bethesda as "some dude came up to him".

All I could think about was Eric Ludy's sermon that I've been listening to, over and over and over again (seriously, I think I've passed 20 listens now because he's speaking exactly where my heart beats) where he compared modern church today to Seinfeld. A bunch of people, loving each other in their own messes, all the while so focused inward on themselves and their lives that nothing ever changes. (paraphrase because despite many listenings I can't quite quote this sermon yet)

The decision was only difficult in the fact that I really have no where else to go. I'm doubtful that I will find a good church that actually preaches the Gospel and lives it out - and are willing to have only Christians in their membership, as opposed to having nice numbers.

This Pastor there is sincere in his hunger and attempts to grow the church spiritually, but, after spending so much time watching videos for the progressive Christmas celebration with $5 gifts, giving a round of applause to the church softball team who came on stage in their uniforms to be recognized for having won their tournament undefeated, and hearing about the turkey bowling at the youth "block party" (at which 50 kids were somehow "saved") I found myself... so utterly tired and defeated when it comes to church that I managed to avoid it for 3 weeks until this past Sunday where Jesus, my Saviour and Redeemer, was relegated down to "some dude".

I'm not offended, though perhaps I should be -  mostly I'm just sad. I want Acts. I want Jesus. I want to see what the Bible promises - and if I don't have it, I at least want to be surrounded by people that are willing to step on my toes in order to find it.

I want the God of the Bible, and not the watered down, desecrated god of our churches.
I want more.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas tree moment

The house was dark, except for the kitchen light and the lights gleaming off of the Christmas tree as I pulled Precious, who was far past her bedtime, out of her carseat. In the gleam of those Christmas lights though, suddenly my baby girl was riveted to the lights. They'd been on all day, but now, now she suddenly noticed them and as still as could be she just stred at the tree.

Standing there, in my dark house looking at her beautiful face glowing with lights as she stared so intently, I began to tell her about a baby. A baby so precious and special that was once born to a virgin girl. A baby with a purpose. A baby, that was actually God. I told her how because of that baby, we now have hope in this life, and in a life to come where one day we'll actually meet this baby named Jesus. Jesus - the one who gives us hope.

And something in that moment changed something inside of me. I wanted to return the gifts, and do Christmas over this year - but do it right this time.

My only problem is, I'm not sure what "doing it right" looks like.
I want to celebrate Jesus. The one who gave me hope.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When it doesn't sound.

I played my old piano this past weekend and almost immediately noticed that the A key doesn't sound very easily. It didn't even sound at all initially unless I hit it very hard.

Music and children seem to be the two most significant God inspired passions in my life. And it's within those two joyful endeavors that I learn the most about God, and see my own little walk in new ways.
This time was no different.

The piano isn't played as often, now that I'm not sitting there adoring it and spending something more than just the regular church hours playing it. Now, it just doesn't get the same use. So it's not necessarily in disrepair - it's not that bad, but things change over time.

Things do change over time.

Considering that, it made me wonder how I have changed. Usually this type of reflection takes place after Christmas and as you enter the new year.My love for music though, and my dismay at seeing a note not play correctly, bring this topic to my mind over and over again.

Because I care a lot about the sounds my life makes to Gods ears.

It's easy for me to get mentally swamped into raising these babies, writing my progress notes each week, staying up with their drs appts, visitation, what needs to be done next and when and how to begin adoption process. It's easy for me to sometimes pray, talk to God about the important things, and then move on.

But this week, I've spent some time in the quiet moments. Talking to God about the deeply personal, the emotional, where I feel weak and needy, and just telling Him I love Him.

It's the time that changes us from boss/employee to a real relationship.

I don't want to just work for Him and report in on progress and ask for help when the project is difficult.

I want a relationship. And I need to always keep Him as the main goal, rather than these children. The work is never it. God is it.

And while I've got my mission, my goal, and I know where I'm going, none of it compares to simply walking with God. So I don't want to have one area of my life that doesn't sound as good as the orphan area. Or my worship area sounding awesome, but my ability to bridle my tongue barely noticeable.

I don't think anyone noticed the music Sunday was missing a note.
But I did.
And while it's easy for me to miss the fact that my melody is not playing as well as it should -
God hears it.

I want a whole melody. I want to be a full, every note resounding in triumphant perfect tune.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Ephesians 5:17-20

Friday, December 09, 2011

Ads are removed

I have removed the ads so that the clicks that I have received will not be counted since they were gotten dishonestly. This blog will be honest, and as one of my sidebar buttons say - I will Blog With Integrity.

I apologize to my friends who so fully rallied to the cause. Thank you for your support.

One day, I hope to re-establish ads on the blog again, but when I do so I would ask my friends to please not click on them unless it actually interests you enough that you would click on it if you weren't on my blog.

Thank you dear readers.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A valid blog

I asked people to click on the advertisements to support this blog.

I clicked on a link in the program to see what it defined as "Invalid clicks" and it simply said that I, the publisher, was not allowed to ask you to click.


The point being that the advertisers don't want someone just clicking on their link and then closing it to make me money - but they want you to be interested in their service, to read what they're advertising. I understand that, and that's why in my initial request I stated that while you "didn't have to buy, or spend 20 minutes on their site, but I would appreciate it if you'd at least observe what they're selling so I'm not cheating my way to Precious. God will provide good ways to get her without me ripping off advertisers with false clicks".

I still mean that. I won't be mentioning the ads anymore (though if you see something inappropriate, I do want you to let me know) - I would simply ask that you only click the links you're actually interested in, and willing to look at. If you've seen the ad for Christian Colleges 20 times like I have, you probably aren't too interested in it anymore. (I haven't clicked on it myself because I did at least know that I am prohibited from clicking my own ads).

But the topic brings me to something excellent, and pure, and wonderful. Validity.

The amount of money necessary to adopt Precious has become a question in many peoples minds I'm sure. And, as of today, I've finally stood up and said simply that I wouldn't tell. As people offer their assistance, things of their own for me to sell and such, I've decided that God would receive more glory if no one else knows the exact size of the need. (If you're one of the few people who know,  please keep it to yourself!) If I told you it was $1000, your expectations and prayers might lean one way, if I told you it was $100,000 your expectations and prayers might lean another way.

I want your response and prayers to lean Gods way. In everything, not just this.

I want God to be glorified in this. Above, and beyond my expectations not just in money, or time, or state decisions still pending, but in all the interactions He opens the doors for me to have because of these children, and the ones to come.

I want their lives, their futures, to be oh so valid.
My blog, should be valid. My silly advertisements should be valid. My interactions should be valid.
My hopes and dreams should be valid. My prayers, all my prayers, should be valid.

My Precious, my future of embracing the weak and neglected little ones, I expect to be riddled with integrity, dignity, and uprightness.
I do not want even an idea of cheating, tricking, abusing a system, to taint something so beautiful and wonderful - especially because our dear friends love us so much that they'd be willing to cheat, trick or abuse for our sakes.

So, I ask my friends and readers to walk with integrity. I needed the reminder today, to help me be firm in this request.

Let your life, your actions, your walk be valid.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A click is not enough

I've asked people to click on the ads on my blog, because those clicks produce money which ultimately helps me not just adopt Precious, but begins the advancement of something long coming.

Doing more.

Doing more is simply about taking advancing steps, rather than continuing further in the same steps. This walk of mine is not a long road so much as it is a mountain to be climbed. Higher and higher. This is not just about one orphan, or two orphans living in my home. It's not about the fact that these are my 8th and 9th kiddos and my hope for the 10th and 11th along the way. It's about the fact that I've adjusted to what I'm doing and I love that God gets more glory when I do things I'm not accustomed to.

God, using the same creativity and wildness that created the most unusual of animals, to the most exquisite of flowers, looks deep into our lives and - if allowed - will create something that draws someones eyes to the oddity of it all, and most often to the impossibility of it all.

While you have been asked to click, I don't want anyone to simply click. A click costs nothing but a few seconds of time. God desires so much more. He wants you to pay a price, the simple, inconsequential cost of something as mundane as your life - Have you really seen your life lately? Farmville? Really? - and once that small fee is paid opening access and free will to the one that you claim is Lord of your life, you'll see just what your Lordship might actually produce with the small pittance you just gave over to Him.

I say it lightly and with a smile, because I know what I've given away and what I've held onto and sometimes, I can't even imagine why on earth I've still held on. Even the small tastes I've seen of the future make my mind and heart imagine things so big that they stun me with the unreality of it. No, that couldn't possibly be my little life I'm imagining.

So click I ask, for my sake. But for your own sake, give your life to Jesus. Place it in His hands and quit seeking the latest baseball scores, and the most interesting recipe. Stop trying to juggle your kids karate, soccer, music, cheer, dance, and chess schedules, and lead them into something with a slight twist.

Changing the world.

Unless of course you know a great way to change the world by mastering "Mary had a Little Lamb" on the violin; in which case by all means carry on. :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Adopting Precious.

So... as many of you know I'm planning to adopt my Precious. She's now 4 days shy of being 9 months old. Army crawls, but no actual crawling. She did, however, pull herself up last Saturday into a standing position for a bit.
She is beautiful, and I full intend to share pictures as soon as I'm legally able to do so. I'll also happily tell you her real name then too!

Meanwhile, I'm preparing. As we sit on day 56 out of 90 of our 90 days of waiting I've begun to work hard to get all my little ducks in a row. Part of that is preparing for life after foster! This blog, is officially my part time job now. I will work at it each evening, and do my utmost to write something interesting, or thought provoking, or even funny maybe (I've heard it's not impossible for me to be funny), and hopefully gain all of your attention.

I don't do this JUST for Precious, because my life is not about her.

It's about serving God.
As a Christian, I am His body, I am His arms, and hands, and feet.
I am called to live out His heart here in this world, and He most absolutely has a heart for these children.
Abused, neglected, born with addictions and handicaps due to drug use, or handicapped now due to severe abuse. Heart/emotional handicaps as they learn how to actually trust humans when they've proved so untrustworthy in the past, the inability to attach emotionally to someone else thanks to constantly being moved from one home and  "mommy" to another.

I'm asking folks to click on the advertising links you'll find on this blog (at the bottom of each post) because in doing so, you're giving money without ever sending a single penny. I'll never ask you, any of you for a penny, because I'm fond of the George Mueller method of simply telling someone what is going on and how to be involved and then simply trusting God for the financial ability to do what He's telling me to do.

God provides for His work.

And you can help by simply being faithful to this blog and giving any of my advertisements a look-see (no purchase necessary).

Primarily, my writing controls the content of the advertisements, so I hope to mostly see religious/christian/family safe items there. But if you EVER see anything inappropriate, please let me know immediately.

If you're reading this blog; if you're one of the many people that have favorited me, or subscribed via google reader, or simply a regular google searcher for "this-walk" or "flyawaynet" - thank you.
I am praying that God gives me words to write to you, as I commit to posting far more often than I have been as of late.
But I'm here now. Commited to doing my part to seeing this blog work for God. It's not about Precious. It's about all the Precious ones out there that need a home.
Consider opening your own home (instead of just clicking a link for me).

Thank you all!

Lord Jehovah is merciful and cherishing; he is patient and his grace is abundant. Psalms 145:8

My dear sweet beautiful readers

I will post in more clarity soon, but for now - just know this.
In further attempts to raise Precious' adoption funds, I've enabled advertising on this blog.
You're about to see me become a serious advertising cow here - PLEASE, take just a moment and click the advertisement links at the bottom of a post or in the bottom of your reader/rss feed. A click for me is a click for Precious!

**You don't have to buy, or spend 20 minutes on their site, but I would appreciate it if you'd at least observe what they're selling so I'm not cheating my way to Precious. God will provide good ways to get her without me ripping off advertisers with false clicks.**

All I want

I'm listening to Mariah Carey sing "All I want for Christmas is you" as I type this - I was searching youtube for a not-so-awful video of it (for a fun family-type song, she doesn't always dress and act in a fun family-type way in the videos).  Here it is! Enjoy!

Have you been asked the question yet? "What do you want for Christmas?"

I have. And my answer, much to the frustration of the asker, was simple.

I want Precious.

All that I have, of any value, I've sold, or am willing to sell and just haven't gotten around to it yet. If you buy me something valuable for Christmas - I'm terribly sorry if it offends you, but if it's nice enough I'll probably sell it. Everything I have, all of me, is all about getting her. She must be bought with a price.

But as I thought about the givers in my life, those people that want to wrap up something I'd enjoy and hand it to me... I began to wonder about something. There is great joy in giving. But, we tend to want to give what we want to give.
My sister-in-law Glenda was recently pestered by her boss to tell her what she wanted for her birthday. The answer -  a giftcard to Wal-Mart. What did she receive? A gift-card to Ross.
Why ask if you aren't going to give it?

Because the giver felt they knew what was best. They had something in mind as what was good enough, right enough, useful enough, that they understood what the receiver should actually have if one were to cut through all the niceties of what people actually say they want and what they really could use.

I can't envision anyone in my family wanting to just wrap up five bucks and say hey, you want Precious - here is what we can do to help you get Precious. No. they want to buy stuff, or make stuff, or do stuff. Because it feels more like a gift. I understand this because that is exactly the sort of thing I would do myself.

And as I sat here thinking "I want Precious", the implications of it were...at least to me... rather intense.

I want her to be mine. Oh, she IS mine already. That is as established in my heart as if it were carved in diamond. But I want everything about her to be mine. I want to give her my name. I want her papers to say she is mine. I want to take the word "foster" out of  "foster daughter". I want to be able to stand before God and man and make a covanant before God to raise her. I want her to be fully, absolutely, completely, no strings or red tape attached, mine.

God wants me.

I want to give Him time reading my Bible, He wants me to be willing to just sit in His presence and listen for Him.
I want to give Him a hundred orphans saved, He wants me to spend time just talking to Him, walking with Him.
I want to give Him a perfect me - one that doesn't sin, or think rude thoughts, or give up when I want to be lazy. He wants a me that simply desires Him.

I look at Precious and I say "I want you" it has nothing to do with her growing, developing. All I think of is simply be mine - ob child, be fully mine!
I want her to grow but I simply want her to be mine. I will help her grow. I will hold her hands and show her how to stand, I will help her move her legs and learn walking motions. I will repeat words over and over and over again so that eventually her little beautiful lips will speak them to me. I will give her foods that change from milk to soft, to meat so that her body will grow and change, and strengthen.

All she must do is simply be mine.
She need not worry about anything else.
I will raise my child.

All I must do is simply be Gods.
I need not worry about anything else.
He will raise His children.

Isaiah 55

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Loving Buddies, loving God.

It's midnight.

I'm not the type to stay up late either. But I just can't sleep. Perhaps that last Oreo I ate while trying to stay awake during a training class from 6-10 this evening after work was just one Oreo too many. I'm awake.

And I'm thinking about my Buddy and my Precious.

Ever since the doctor said "tethered cord" over Buddy, something inside me seems to have gotten shaken up. I'm emotionally overwhelmed. I ache for him. I ache for his  parents who, in a semi-perfect world, should have been the ones sitting beside the huge MRI machine yesterday.

I ache because they probably don't even know.

I ache because, for once in my life, I am deeply troubled that the answer to "Is there a problem?" is yes.
I ache because, I just returned from a class that mentioned "trauma" in the form of early hospitalizations can  develop things in children that they'll have to overcome.

My gut is ripped in shreds though, at the thought of his tiny, fragile, thin little body enduring the pain of surgeries, catheters, needles. When I stop and imagine it, I can hardly breathe.

Foster child or not - HE IS MINE.
I am not his.

I've thought about the differences the last few days as I tried to understand why my body was physically reacting so strongly to his potential problems, and I put it together as this:
He IS mine, but I am not his.

He is mine. He is my child, my responsibility, my blessing, my chosen opportunity, he is my joy, my sweet sunshine as he grins at me. He is my heart, and as I hold him I'd swear he is my flesh. I would give him all I have and more. I desire so much for his future, his body, his mind, and most of all his soul.

I am not his. Even now, after a month, he cries for someone else. There is someone that holds his heart in a deep, impenetrable way. The time spent in her womb, knowing her voice, and eventually his blessed arrival and feeling her arms hold him. He likes me, yes. But when I left him alone with someone else tonight while I went to class, I knew he would not cry for me. I am not his.

And as I considered these things this week, I almost marvelled at the line that I can draw between those two definitions of who is whose, and who I am to God, and who God is to me.

I believe, firmly, that when God looks down on me He sees me as His. "She is mine".
But I wonder, from Gods infinite view of my life, if He sees that He is mine.

Does my heart cry out for other peoples validation, love, respect, honor, acceptance, more than it does for His? Have I spent time with Him, the birthing time, the quiet hours, days, years, where I just listen for His voice and learn to love it?
Do I cherish the feel of these tiny babies hands, arms, hair, more than I do the arms of my Father?
Am I still willing to lay everything, and everyone down, for the sake of His glory?

Precious, from day one has been of such infinite value to me. She is precious indeed, and dear to my heart. And as I picked up Buddy last night to put him to bed, I knew how precious he too had become to me.
It reminded me of a song that a woman used to sing in my old church: "Jesus is precious to me."

I'd say He is, but... raising two babies and working full time I've found my brain becoming too full. I don't want to read, or listen to things that require my brain power. I want to sit, in a silent house and just recover. But in that, I've wondered if I've slipped some. If I've allowed Him to be less precious to me.

Or perhaps I'm simply taking Him for granted.

Tonight was a good night, that restored to me some energy to pick up and fight again. And I want to reaffirm, or reestablish (whichever word works best) Gods position in my life.

I am His. He is mine.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Quick note - Buddy, my 6 month old Foster Grinner went to the Dr today for his 6 mo shots and checkup. The doctor is concerned he may have a tethered spine and has assigned him to have a sedated MRI. "Sedated" is a far more serious word than MRI when it comes to which one is most dangerous for him, but the results of the MRI are by far the most important ultimately.

Please pray that he goes through the sedation with no problems, adverse reactions, or side effects.
Please pray that the symptoms we're seeing are nothing serious and that his spinal cord is not tethered.

I don't have a date for the MRI, but if you follow me on facebook you'll certainly see the progress - and for those that don't, I'll try and make certain to update my blog as news comes.

This blog isn't for this, but it's definitely going to be used for it when the situation calls for it.
Thank you all for your prayers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Life and 90 days of waiting

October 10th, to Jan 10th is 90 days. 90 days is the required waiting period before my attorney (which I'll attain in December) will file the paperwork for me to adopt Precious.
I've been told these 90 days are very difficult, anxious ones.

I'm almost 30 days into it and I haven't even noticed really.

Meanwhile, "Buddy" a 5 mo old boy has arrived at the house and sometime this week a 22 month old boy should be arriving. I've scrambled to find 2 cribs (both acquired now), still looking for a chest of drawers and high chair at the very least.

It seems like from the moment I get home from work, to the moment I go to bed I'm changing diapers, taking out trash, doing laundry, trying to find room around the toys for my house to not just be one big toy section, and making bottles, and then washing bottles (8 to be exact) for the next days use.

I am tired.

I am still adjusting.

I am more excited than ever about the future of my foster home. When little soon-to-be arrives he will become my 10th placement. In 5 years time I will have hit the double digits (and that's with taking time off for a move and a few times just to recoup from losing a child or such).

I see so much of Gods love in how I feel for Precious - and yet, I'm forever told that our love is not even an spec compared to the greatness of His love for us. I can't even imagine someone feeling for me what I feel for her, much less God who seems so big and unmovable being the one to feel it.

God has a lot of children though, that need a home. They need loving, Christian homes that will teach these kids about the love of God and what He wants for them. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

Unspotted is hard, we excuse ourselves from shame concerning some spots because we seem to have decided that "some" is all that's possible, and that 'unspotted' is just a fanatical thing to worry about. After all, God loves and forgives right? He knows we're human.
We're wrong. We're not just human anymore. We're a new creature. A holy creature made righteous by the blood of the Lamb of God Himself. Unspotted is what He says. You can say "some" but "some" will get to you into Hell. You'll lose salvation for eternity for a few foolish pleasures on earth. Again, you can say it won't cost you - but God says it will.
You don't want to find out you lost the argument when it's time to reap the rewards of what we've chosen for ourselves over His rule.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

When is the last time you visited the fatherless or the widow? Yeah, I know. Me either. Except, I happen to have 2 fatherless children living in my house right now. It makes visiting them really easy. It makes serving God become a clear thing. As I do it to the least, I've done it to Him. In this way I've held Him while He cried. I've fed, clothed, comforted, spent my days loving Him through these little bits of stuff I call Precious, Buddy.

Please consider doing something radical. Something radical like well, refusing to allow sin in your life and immediately rooting it out and repenting when you see it. All of it.
Then when you've got yourself on the right path, open up your home.  Your life isn't your own any more. People need help. Widows need help. Visit, help around their house, and if you don't know any widows then just volunteer for meals on wheels or a nursing home and I bet you might find some. And if widows aren't your thing take a child into your home. You've got an eternity to enjoy the Heaven God has created for you - 100 years on earth to serve... it's not enough. 10 kids in 5 years... it's too little. There's too many needing help. My house is too small. My car is too small. I have to still navigate around 50 hours of work week.

I need more of me to give.

Not to earn my way to Heaven with works - because that doesn't work. But because the more He does, the more I love Him. The more I love Him the more I can hardly stand the idea that a child is hurt, neglected; that a widow old and feeble - so beautiful and lovely, and with stories vibrant and a history that I would love to hear - is sitting hurt, neglected, with no one showing her that her value only increased as she became old and feeble.
It also hurts more to see spots. Sinful spots. Ignored by the church in general because teaching a Christ that says NO spots is not popular anymore. It's not "Relevant" to todays culture.
Meanwhile, we tell the spotted that they too can enjoy Heaven and holy and righteous benefits. The church lies. (Some of it - not all teach that way)
It hurts.
It aches.
It makes me wonder what I can do.
And then I see the diaper bin needs to be emptied, the babies bottles need to be washed so they'll be ready for tomorrow, the folded laundry needs to be put quietly into their drawers without waking them, those precious faces need to be prayed over.

And then.
I'm done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I believe.

It's late so I'm not going to put all the links in... if you want to look up the scriptures I highly recommend this website Bible.com. I had an issue come up today where someone told me they believe the Bible, but don't believe in sin, Jesus dying for our sins, Heaven, or Hell. She assured me that age had wisened her to the fact that the Bible is not a book to be taken literally. I'm thankful I have not gotten that "wise" yet.
Since many do not know their beliefs, I just thought I would pour some out quickly. This a copy/paste of my Facebook status update.

If you tell me you believe the Bible, I assume that while we might not agree 100% on every detail, ultimately, if we discuss our beliefs I assume it will at least sound like we read the same book. Today, I found out otherwise. So let me just say - I believe the Bible, exactly as the Bible says it. I believe in Heaven (Revelation 21:10-26). I believe in Hell (Luke 16:19-31). I believe in Sin (1 John 3:4-8). I believe sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). I believe our sins were put upon Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:24 and 2 Corinthians 5:19-21) and His death paid the necessary cost of our sins (Romans 5:8-10). I believe 3 days later He rose from the dead (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 27:64, Matthew 28:1-6), ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:6-11), and will return to us again one day to separate His people from those that deny Him (Revelation 21:27). I believe, that by believing in these things (Acts 16:30 & 31), and giving my life to Him for His purposes rather than my own foolish ones *something I'm still working on* (Romans 12:1), that I will one day live with God (John 14:1-3), eternally (John 3:16, John 3:36), just as He promised (Titus 1:2, 1st John 2:25). I believe these things because the Bible says these things and the Bible is trustworthy (2 Timothy 3:14-17), and anything else I will not follow (Joshua 24:15)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spirit to Spirit

I haven't researched it. Didn't go digging through the scriptures to find verses to back up what I'm about to describe, or google phrases to see if others have talked about what I'm about to talk about. If anyone has that kind of information, you're welcome to get it to me. I'll certainly read/listen to it.

But I've experienced something that...just took time before I found the right words to describe it. Spirit to Spirit. I can't imagine forgetting this feeling, but I'm sure as life goes on I might. I might forget the intensity, the strangeness, the completeness of it. I hope this post will remind me one day.

Every night I say the same words to Precious:
"The LORD bless you, and keep you, the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you peace. May He uphold you with the right hand of His righteousness and lead you in His everlasting love."
I also pray over her, but that small blessing is a staple. It was about 2 months ago though that the blessing was changed to add "and be gracious to you". It seemed important, and I constantly felt as though I were missing something by not saying it. I know it's a spin off from the blessing in the Bible but not quite accurate - I wasn't worried about quoting those verses so much as I was interested in just pulling out what I wanted her to hear each night, and what I wanted to speak over her each and every day.

Two Sundays ago I was in church and something was happening between God and I. The strangest part is that I can hardly tell you exactly "what" was happening, I can only describe it.
The pastor said something... he got up and in between songs in the song service he said something along the lines of "I feel God wants me to tell you that He longs to be gracious to you."
And it just broke me. I wouldn't have been able to tell you why, but instantly, tears were pouring and my body was clenched as though in pain. I broke.
The worship service began again and during it Precious and I made our way to the front to worship there and pray/praise but I could hardly do either one. Intense emotions that I can't even describe had me crying and groaning with an awful guttural sound. I've done it before and try to make sure I'm alone... public places are not the.... most wonderful place for that to happen.
Finally worship was over so I returned to my seat trying to regain my balance when a woman I've seen but don't really know showed up in front of me and handed me a slip of paper that I mentioned previously - 2 Chronicles 20:14-21, 22-30.
Again, just as before with the pastors words I broke. It took forever to read the scriptures as tears poured down my face, sobs shook my shoulders as I tried to be quiet (the rest of the church was watching a video from the mens' recent trip to Haiti).
Yet none of it, not a single tear, or groan, or emotion was hardly anything that I could explain.

I wouldn't have been able to tell you that day why those verses were so important. I wasn't even trying to figure it out at the time. I simply read, and it spoke to Something deep within me and that Something understood what my mind did not.

The only way I've been able to understand it is as this:
The Spirit, spoke to my Spirit.
My body, my tears, my groans were simply the vessel holding the Spirit that was at work and stirring that day.

It was a very intense experience.

I'm not...some great spiritual person. I wish I were, but I know me. I'm just a Christian. (A real one, not one of the fakes or Sunday church-goer - I believe there's more fakes out there than the real thing.) I do stupid things. Say stupid things. Don't do enough things. Do the wrong things. Don't live as though I love my Bible as much as I should. Don't pray as much as I wish I did. I say I love God and often don't live it out because I'm putting myself first.
I'm as regularly stupid and foolish as any other true Christian shouldn't be.
I'm not trying to drag myself down - I'm just being honest.

But God did something in me that day.
He didn't change me - I was impacted yes, but I didn't walk away profoundly different.
He just used me.

So I just wanted to remember this. I want to remember a time in my life when I was foolish and not good enough, but I loved God - and God used me. God spoke into something in me that I wouldn't have realized was a true entity before. But God, in the Holy Spirit, is living inside of me.

All the books in the world wouldn't have convinced me of that as well as that experience did. I never want to forget.
Spirit to Spirit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On the day...

Court should have been fast.. maybe 30 minutes, plus some waiting time for our case to get called. I skipped breakfast and was planning on grabbing some strawberry french toast at IHOP on the way home.

Instead, we went before the judge and argued until it was decided that it would take too long for our judge to try. So he sent us to "Presiding court" which means we go downstairs, wait for our case to be called and we'll get whatever judge happens to be available from the large pool of judges.

So we waited.
And waited.
At about 11:30 they told us to come back at 1:30 to get a set judge/location.
Everyone else went back to work but since I'm further away I walked the streets of San Antonio. Saw the riverwalk, wandered into San Fernando cathedral - a beautiful building with historical meaning, but still (once the tour group left) a peaceful place to pray and sit quietly before God.
Went back at 1:30 and we were assigned a room and a judge (I was told that if I couldn't have the judge we originally had, he was the next best thing).
2:00pm we finally got going. They'd scheduled 1.5 to 2 hours for us.
We finished at 6:30pm.

We won. God won. I just sat there. Singing praise songs in my mind. Sometimes shaking my head at stupid witness statements, and trying not to get too frustrated with one really obnoxious attorney.
There were 4 attorneys there. Each representing different clients. Each arguing with very different styles. I've got a lot of respect for 3 of them (Especially the attorney for the baby - Thank you Ms Christine!). That 4th obnoxious one will never win me over I think.

I came home, held Precious and told her how important this day was to her. She blew spit bubbles and kicked her feet. She is 7 months old today. She is one step closer to safe.

God did the impossible today.
If I weren't me, I wouldn't even have ruled in our favor.
I'm still amazed that the judge did. (Thank you Judge Sakai)
God is worth trusting.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

On the eve.

Tomorrow is the day we go to court for Precious. 9am Monday central time.

I was up during the night with her, because she's been sick, fever and stuffy nose primarily.
I laid down for a nap this afternoon and I remember waking up several times to people in my living room still singing along to worship songs.
And while they sang praises... - 2 Chronicles 20:22

I had purposed to sing praises this afternoon and others came over and joined (most unsuspectingly when they walked in the door and discovered they'd walked into an impromptu worship time) but at some point, just a few songs in I ran out of words and praise. I just want this child delivered. Delivered safely away from an enemy that lies at her door seeking to hurt her.

I remember looking outside, it was a cool rainy day here, and wondering what God was doing. Was today really the day that God did a mighty work for her so that tomorrow when we go up we'll simply reap the spoils of Gods deliverance of Precious?

He's done a lot for me this past week. He's promised a lot, spoken a lot, and been more than enough sufficiency.
I trust Him.
I am overwhelemed.
I trust Him.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Doing funny things update -

Life is intense. I wish I knew how to write down what's happened in the last weeks but I don't.
The highlights are this:

I still have my job. I am 50% happy about this, and 50% curious where God would have put me if I had chosen to go ahead and leave.
I knew beyond a doubt God wanted me to quit - at some point during the quitting, when I was no longer attached to my job, or afraid of becoming unemployed, I knew I didn't have to quit. I could. I almost did. But I un-resigned. I don't know how long I'll be here though. Everything in life feels... like it should be held loosely.

Every day I wish I had  bigger home to take in more kids. There isn't enough of me and my house to meet the need. Hours that I spend with free time in my house are pleasant, and relaxing, but also leave me burdened - I should be busy with a house full of children.
It must not be Gods time yet, because if it were, surely it would be so.
I scroll through the faces and names on the TARE website.
I go to court and talk to the birthmom of Precious.
So much hurt, so much pain. I want to reach them.

I went to church, and during the worship service, inbetween words of the songs, I found myself groaning again. It's a very embarrassing thing I try to never do in public because, much like the barking like a dog phenomenon I'm sure no one will understand. I don't even understand. But I groan. I don't know why. But it's intense and I wish I knew more about it.

When I returned to my seat a stranger at church walked up and handed me a paper with a scripture reference. 2 Chronicles 20:14-21 then separately written and underlined was 22-30.

It's hard to imagine I'm fighting, when I don't even know what or why.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I did a funny thing today...

I quit my job.

I know. I'm not laughing either. I've got to figure out another punch line to this story.

There were 2 major reasons to do it, and 1 reason that made me want to do it, and then over the last few days I'd been thinking about it more and more and more and more and then Sunday night BAM, God couldn't have made it much clearer. Well, He could have, and I'd sure have appreciated the writing on the wall - but, it was still clear enough.

I, being the logical, sane person that I am, diligently said "I will pray about this for a week, and talk to Godly people about it." And right up until this morning when I finally said "Yes", I've been struggling with the feeling that I'm in disobedience. He said DO IT, and He didn't mean later, He meant now. Like, right now right now.

I'm still there... I just turned in two week notice. I'm pretty sure my bosses have never before seen a resignation letter that begins "God told me to quit my job" and ends with quoting Jeremiah 17:5-8.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to do my best to do whatever it is God wants me to do. I'm trusting. Sometimes my throat gets a little tight while I'm trusting, but I'm trusting. I've realized today that I just put everything on the altar. My bills, my home, my stuff, my Precious. And I'm wondering at the end of this what stuff I'll get to  pick back up and walk off the mountain with. All of it may need to be burned away. Some of it may just need to be refined. Or perhaps, the whole point to walking to the mountain and putting it on the altar was just so God could see that I'd do it.

I wonder if Abrahams throat was tight too.

I write this mostly for myself, these are days that I think I'm going to want to remember later on in life. But for someone else reading this - I'm keeping this off facebook for the time being. I want to journal this, but I also need to leave the folks at the bottom of the mountain and go up alone.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Where life goes

The last month has just been interesting, so I wanted to write it down somewhat so that when I come back I might have a way to remember this. This blog may be changing as I find myself in need of a way to journal - but I have no desire to begin yet another nitch in my life that I"ll want to keep track of.

Life is quiet.

The tv isn't on.. nearly ever. I turn it on once a week to find out how the America's Got Talent folks are doing - but even then I spend the show with it on mute until someone good comes on. There's too much else that I don't want to see. I'm beginning to be more and more surprised at the filth that's on tv - most especially in the form of commercials. I don't want to see it, and seeing it is starting to upset me so my interest in shows has simply faded. I used to watch NCIS, Criminal Minds, some of the Hells Kitchen type shows that came on with whats-his-name... Gordon Ramsey, and other shows... sometimes just because something was on whether it interested me or not I'd watch it. It's not worth it to me now.

I'm reading the Bible.

If you'd have asked me before, I'd have told you I didn't have much time to read the Bible.

It's amazing how much time I have now that the tv isn't on.

My house is cleaner too.

I'm doing a far better job of getting to bed on time - except for that one night...
I'm memorizing the 1st book of John. I'm to 1 John 2:5 so far but I've been at it about 2 weeks now. The 2nd chapter has a lot more verses (29 I think?) than chapter 1 did (only 10). I'd type it now, but well, this isn't a journal and other people do read it so I'll spare you. It's a good book to read though. Really. I've enjoyed memorizing it because the words begin to mean something different as you say them over and over and over and over again.

I'm trying to walk, even as Christ walked... it's taking some slow changes. I don't want to pull a change where I sell all my worldly goods and then buy them back in 2 months because I realized I didn't really mean to go that far. If I do go that far, I want to do it for certain. I'm being careful. Right now I'm just considering getting rid of my books. I don't have a lot anymore, but...what little I have isn't harmful, but also isn't necessarily necessary. I'm trying to decide how much beyond "just the Bible" do I really need.

I am well.

The baby, Precious, is wonderful.

I'm praying for her biological mother - "Lord, I pray that your perfect will would be done in her life, here on earth, just as it would be done in Heaven, and I pray no weapon of the enemy would be able to stand against it." I rebuke and pray chains of certain demons would be broken, but for privacy's sake I won't name them.

God is answering my prayer.
If the Lord wills, this child will never come up for adoption. And while I would gladly adopt her in a heartbeat - it would bring me profound joy - I can think of no greater glory to be given my home than the fact that every foster child of mine was able to return home to restored parents. I was praying about it one time, and asking God if He would manifest Himself so powerfully in this work I'm doing and the phrase came to me, and it seemed God was referring to me as a "Giver of children". It took me some thinking to understand it but once I did, I was...well..  moving on...

My worship is changing. I don't always cry now. I easily go to the front to worship there (rather than remain in my pew) and I don't worry about people wondering what I'm doing now. I take Precious with me and we worship together. I can think of few greater gifts that I can personally give her than to hold her and worship God and speak in tongues and be touched by the Holy Spirit. I want her in my arms when that happens. Last Wednesday night I was almost jumping with her, and the next thing I knew I was shouting "Alleluia" over and over again (it was one of the words of the song - but I was shouting it instead of singing). I... I'm sure I physically could have stopped myself if I had wanted to, but not an idea of embarrassment, or what would people think, or if I would be interrupting the service came to my mind. I was just shouting my head off. If they know me at all, they know that was no barking revival.

This week, my brother and I went to Dairy Queen for lunch so that we could help each other with the verses we're trying to memorize (He's memorizing Ephesians). The manager saw my Bible and began speaking to us at length, I invited him to join us for lunch and he sat with us, talking a great deal about his beliefs and how "hungry he is for the word of God" - his words - and we discovered, while he told us how much he agreed with our Bible, that he is a Muslim. He is hungry. He does not believe all the Islamic beliefs. But neither does he believe the Bible in its fullness. We're going back next week. His name is Tony, he is 38 with a wife and no children. He tried but was not able to have children. For some reason, I think if he gets saved, God is going to open the womb of his wife. It is only a feeling though.

So many doors are opening to people, that I don't feel... adept... enough at the scriptures to handle all the issues. I'm studying the Bible more now. Memorizing as I can. Listening to many a sermon. But I am not spending enough time in private prayer. I need to change that.

The song our church sang Wednesday night -

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finish it.

I was in a home today, a home I had never visited before, so I was looking around curiously just to see what there was to the house to see. One thing that should have stood out, though I walked right past it until someone pointed it out to me, was the staircase had  been partially rebuilt. Previously, coming down the stairs you would come down to a certain point, then take a sharp left turn ending  you in a small space facing a bathroom and the master bedroom. The owners decided this was...unfortunate... and the husband tore out the bottom curve of the staircase and created a new ending to have it come down into the living area.

I was fascinated by it (mostly because I assume it takes courage to tear out a part of your staircase since failure means that no one can reach their bedrooms anymore) but it was also quite obviously not finished yet. I complimented the carpenter wanna-be on his craftsmanship and said how nice I thought it looked and what a good job he'd done and he said something that stuck with me:

 "Now I just need to become a good finisher."

I thought about that all evening long. Because it means so much more than just finishing a staircase.

It's so easy to start and not finish something. You start cleaning the garage, and you don't finish. You start a diet, and you don't finish. You start a book, and you don't finish it.

But there are so many important things that we start. Things that the world, foolishly allows anyone of a certain age to begin regardless of their maturity/capabilities, such as marriage, families, dreams.

The first one my mind went to was a burden that I feel that someone should finish their marriage. Counselors, friends, loved ones, all want to tell people easy ways out of things. If you're not happy, obviously God wants you to be happy so leave whatever is making you unhappy. We ignore urgings from those who comforted us with words that say "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Divorce is unbiblical, yet we refuse to submit to God in anything that goes against our immediate relief struggle. It is such an ugly scar upon America that never should have been permitted in our churches.

The second one that almost immediately came to my mind is that we should finish our children. I am a foster parent, and I had a child in my home that I felt I could not finish. I told the agency he was beyond me, and I listed at least 5 logical reasons why I couldn't continue with him. Rational, logical reasons that no one could/would contend with. And it haunts me. How I wish there had been someone in my life to hold me up, to encourage me in my faith and say NO. You can finish, and you will finish, or you will die trying. I am ashamed that I did not hold myself up to that standard. I'm sick, that exactly what I told his CASA worker would happen in his life, happened exactly as I said it would. Because he was failed. By so many people along the way that did not finish what they began.

I've seen miracles in this fostering business. I've prayed for mothers even as I said "It's impossible" only to have God work miraculously and change lives. I've got one incredible success story out of 8 kiddos that have come through this home. And God may be working a 2nd amazing miracle for the child in my home right now. God still does miracles.

I don't say to die trying because God wants you to be miserable - but I think of all the war heroes that had a mountain they were supposed to conquer and they would conquer it. The battles of our culture today are not flesh and blood, not real life mountains with enemies shooting down on us, but spiritual ones that require us to go through...press on..spend hours in our own "garden" praying for strength because our strength isn't enough to make it.

So when you begin your children, precious little snot-nosed tykes, and those little munchkins turn into weird looking teenagers that don't listen to music you approve of, dress, talk, or act as a respectable and honorable young man/woman should; do not raise your hands and say it's out of your hands. Finish them.

And as I was sitting here writing this, one last thing came to mind -Finish your faith.
The Bible declares God to be the author of our faith and that is true, but while we twiddle our thumbs, watch Big Brother and ponder who is going to win the Amazing Race, we expect God to somehow "Finish us" and we completely ignore the verses all around it.
Run the race, and let Him finish you.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Post 3 - Gods Love - The love of God is greater far...

In the deepest recesses of my absolute being something inside me cries out simply this: "Dear God, please let her be mine."

I'm living, right now, every moment as a gift and am jealously guarding them not wanting to lose time, precious time, numbered time, with Precious. I've loved children before. Loved and returned them back to their original owners. One time before I looked at one child as different, the bond was different, stronger than it had been with some of the other kids I'd fostered. But the time came and I let her go.

I didn't get into foster parenting to adopt. But every once in awhile, someone comes along to change that.

Before I ever met Precious in NICU, before I donned the yellow surgical gown and washed my hands, there was something deep inside me that was anxious to get to her. There was something that said she was mine and that I was not where I should be when I finally received news she was being placed with me and that I could visit her at 8pm when the visiting hours re-opened. On my very first visit, driving to the hospital, I looked down at my speedometer and discovered that I was going 85 miles per hour. I wouldn't have been able to tell you why except that she was in a scary, foreign world to me called NICU and that I needed to be there.

I stayed late that night, holding, looking, feeling the scary symptoms of things I'm not allowed to name.
She came into my home, and I rocked her, and held her, and she was mine.

I loved her before I knew her, and I wouldn't even be able to tell you how that was even possible.

But a couple of weeks ago I finally loved her enough. I began to love her the way she deserves to be loved by me.

I've prayed for every child in my home, and I have prayed for Precious.

But I've also prayed for every childs parents and I have not prayed for the parents of Precious. And finally, a couple of weeks ago, with anguish of heart I prayed that prayer. I prayed it earnestly. Sincerely. I prayed for Gods perfect will in their lives, that the enemy attacking their lives would be bound and the chains holding so tightly onto the parents would be broken.

Even now, it hurts to even type those words. I want to cry.

But there was something in praying it, and finally being able to mean it, that released me. It released in me the joy of knowing that I am doing every single thing I possibly can for this intensely precious and wonderful little being that God so .... wonderfully, graciously... amazingly.. put into my home.

Precious is my here and now, but God is my eternity. I will love God more than I love her. I will obey Him, and serve Him with all of my being even when it contradicts what my heart that loves her wants to do. I will desire Him more than I so deeply desire her. And after releasing MY desires for her and placing them in Gods hands and praying HIS desires for the situation I discovered that I am loving her with GODS love, rather than just my own. A concept I've heard another preacher (Matt Chandler) talk about before but never quite grasped.

So tonight as I held her and softly patted her back, I whispered in her ear over and over again "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you." and part of my intelligent mind said "Maybe I should be saying "Jesus loves you" so that she'll grow up hearing those words as well?"

And I realized... with a bit of amazement... that I'd told her just that.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Post 2: Gods Love - Restrained to rest.

I hate being restrained.

I'm not a freak out claustrophobic type person at all, but if you pin my arms my whole body goes into stress mode. So I need to keep in mind while I'm writing this that I'm not talking about physical restraints.
But tonight, in church, Precious was determinedly fighting sleep. She'd lay her head on my chest then shift to look to the left, look to the right, pick her head up and look at me, lay it down again then start the whole process over again.

This carried on until I did something that I hate to do - probably more because of my own feelings of how much I'd hate it - I restrained her head. It wasn't hard, I simply placed my hand on the back of her head and when she tried to pick it up and look the other way she wasn't able to.

She struggled for maybe 10 seconds. Then she laid her head down and fell asleep.

And I began to wonder, in what ways has God restrained me so that I would rest? What options has He shoved out of my reach, oppressed me financially, or overloaded me with OT at work so that I couldn't have more things to do, fiddle with, distract myself with, instead of just resting in Him.

I was talking with my bother today about how I see Gods love in how I feel about Precious, and then to make her unhappy for a few seconds, seconds that she didn't understand were for her benefit, for her gain, for her health... I began to wonder how much of my life, my problems, and my burdens were for a blessed benefit that I'll never have the intelligence to look back and understand.

Oh how He loves us.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I passed.

I've been strongly convicted by the sermons from Paul Washer. Strongly convicted.
So I listened to a sermon called "Examine yourselves" slightly nervously as he told me right from the beginning of the message that he was going to go through 1st John and give us a "Are you saved" test based on 1st John.

And even though I know I'm saved, I couldn't stop myself from thinking, man.. I hope I pass.

Is this man of God going to point out something from the scriptures that condemns me? Is the Word of God itself going to tell me something I thought I was doing and wasn't? Is it going to shine a bright light on some nasty sin in my heart I didn't realize was there?

So we went verse by verse through 1st John.

And, while he mentioned some things that challenged me to dig deeper and grow stronger in my own knowledge of the Word of God and in my willingness to look foolish for the Gospel message, I reached the end of the message with great joy.

I passed the test.

It seems silly to say it, or possibly arrogant even (and I certainly don't mean it to sound that way) but it did give strength, confidence that while I'm not perfect, and have loads of growing to do - I'm saved. The scriptures, the words of God Himself confirm this in my heart and I'm....almost surprised.

I suffer from a severe case of "not good enough". If you hand me a measuring bar I'll break my neck trying to measure up. If I reach it easily, I assume you didn't make the stick right. And yet here I was taking a test of the heart. My stick wasn't going to be man-made necessarily (though Paul Washer is human and could fail if he'd misapplied the scriptures) but it was going to be a bar of which it is said: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.(Hebrews 4:12)

I. Fail. So. Much.

I'm so ... profoundly inadequate. I see it. I know it.

Yet when I listened to 1st John describe the heart of one saved, I was not discouraged.
When I heard Paul Washer speak about the heart of one saved, I was not frustrated.
When I read 1st John for myself tonight to make sure Paul Washer was right, I was amazed.

I began the sermon expecting to find condemnation, and didn't find it. And the first thing I read when I read the book for myself tonight was that this book was not written to condemn the sinner.

He begins the book "These things we write to you that your joy may be full."
He ends the book " These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."
I've listened to him (Paul Washer) preach so much about how my mind will lie to me, and my heart is deceitful above all things. Those words created a wonder in me about my salvation, it made me ... I suppose as his sermon was titled "Examine Myself". My heart tells me I'm saved, my mind tells me I'm saved - but those things lie. But the Word of God will not lie.
I passed.

I hope you pass too.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Post 1. - Gods Love.

I honestly don't know if I can pull 50 out of my hat. I said I could do 50 because Gods love seems like something you should be able to write 50 posts about, but when I said to myself "What would the first one look like" It looked like this:

I felt a challenge to see if I could actually do it so if it flops it flops. But the 1st post finally came to me the other morning and so I'm writing 1 post.

I came home from a long day of work, that was immediately followed by a CPR/First Aid class that is a requirement to maintain my foster license. I trudged into my home where my sister-in-law would be waiting with my Precious, and discovered their whole family there having a devotional time together. I laid on the floor to listen in and consider drowsing.

In the time, I discovered that they'd gone downstairs to one of our neighbors (my brothers family lives right next door to me on the 2nd floor of a quad plex- a bldg with 2 houses upstairs, 2 houses downstairs). The downstairs neighbor direction below them, "J", is a single mom with 2 toddlers. She seems completely stressed out and while I've offered to help many times, she's never taken me up on it.

But on this particular day, my brother and his wife went downstairs and told her that God had laid her on their hearts and they wanted to help. What can they do? She didn't know but she began crying just because it touched her that God cared enough to send someone to her like this. (As a piece of back story, her children are named after two prophets, and she is a regular church-goer and active worker in her church.)

After some conversation my brother and his wife left her and wandered back to their home. And I wondered... What came of this? My fear is that nothing came of it. J will sit in her home with her two children and never say "I could use some help Tuesday night". But she will, temporarily, enjoy a bright, pretty moment where she feels Gods love. And her situation will not change.

As I threw my two cents into their devotional time about how we're like that with God - He says He loves us and we go OH HAPPY DAY and we think we're saved but we never take Him up on His offer to change our situation. He wants to effect our lives, carry our burdens, change our hearts; He wants to lead us into things our minds can't even imagine, but we stop at "He loves me" and then wander away.

I've been told twice, by very earnest people, that they were in love with me. I've had 3 separate people talk about how they wanted marriage with me. (The disparity in those numbers is not lost on me either.) But none of them said to me that they loved me and then went away. Quite the opposite actually. These people became the most profoundly difficult people to shake. Gifts, letters, e-mails, showing up on my doorstep, my workplace; once words like "I love you" had been spoken there immediately followed an active pursuit. Their lives, their day to day routines changed. My life changed as well because there was no simple "He loves me!" and I was able to walk away and carry on the way I was. They all wanted something from me. And they wanted to give me something in return. Probably the worst thing I could have done in those moments is walk away and go AWESOME! He loves me. See you later!

The morning after the devotional I was thinking about how God wanted to give me something beyond "I love you". And all I could think of was "Ask, and it shall be given you, Seek and you shall find, Knock and the door shall be opened."

My brother and his wife said Gods "I love you" to J, but for her to take advantage of it she needed to ask for something. They offered physical help, and she needed to say "here's where I need it". She had to ask. She likely won't.

But Gods promises are true and His love is profound. He'll say "I love you" but it's up to me then to begin asking, seeking, knocking. To take advantage of His love. To use it. To find Him in all the ways He's just waiting for me to find Him.

We say I love you quite often and nothing comes from it. God says I love you quote often and nothing comes from it. But He wants me to enter into that love and not just look at it and smile.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's that supposed to mean?

There's something about a number of followers that leave you suddenly talking to a crowd, rather than doing what I used to do - write for myself. And often, when you talk to a crowd, you're not quite as deep-gut, soul-wrenching honest as you would be normally.

I've tried before to close my eyes and pretend you guys don't exist, but every time I do that I see a story or video and think "Hey, my blog readers might really like to see/hear that!". But here I am trying again to pretend you're just a friend, sitting next to me at lunch listening to me talk --- and not a bunch of random strangers.

God's been dealing a lot lately with me about my heart. At some point I realized I was angry. And I'm not an angry person. I've acted angry to get a kids attention once or twice, but rarely do I actually get angry angry. Yet, I realized I've been angry for a little while.

So I was talking with God about it and He did something I hate. He made no sense at all.
Let me tell you, exactly what He said.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Ok, sure, um... that's great God but I'm not angry at You I'm pretty sure, maybe I am, I don't know but... regardless, what's that supposed to mean?
"I have loved you with an everlasting love."

He said it over and over and over again. And then, when I thought He was done, He said it over, and over and over again.
He said it till something in me just ripped into shreds and there I was driving down busy, rush hour Loop 410 with no visibility whatsoever from these two tear ducts I call eyes.

I'm still learning and growing, though it's awfully slow sometimes it seems; but God is trying to tell me something and I want to hear it. If you asked me I could write 50 blog posts about how great His love is for me. I'd tell you I knew it, I grasped it, but there's something He's telling me that I'm just not getting.

But I think He just challenged me to do what I just said I could do and write 50 blog posts about how great His love is for me.
I figured He, of all people, would have been able to tell I was just evangelistically speaking. 50 is a lot....I don't even know where to begin. humnph, maybe that was His point all along.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Repentance and change...

I press towards the mark....

When's the last time you felt you were "pressing" towards the mark?

Honestly, doesn't it feel as though you just float along in life, doing what you've got to do; clean house, go to work, drive the car, change the oil, fix the meal, yell at the kids, go to bed. On Sundays, and maybe Wednesdays we add church into the mix and then go home and do the exact same thing over again and call ourselves Christians.

I've been deeply convicted by a sermon last week that pretty much was everything I want a sermon to be. A man, standing up and saying - GOD LOVES YOU too much to leave you just the way you are and the way you are isn't good enough. He said I was just like the world. He said that if I act just like the world then I'm not a Christian.

And I listened.

I hope you will too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What to be.

In Genesis, Hagar, Abram and Sarai's servant becomes pregnant with Abrams baby. Sarai becomes angry with her and bitter that Hagar was able to conceive when Sarai had not (despite the Lords promise that she would). Sarai begins treating Hagar very badly and so Hagar runs away. An angel of God comes to her and says "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where did you come from and where are you going?"

The part that intrigued me, is that for some reason the angel put a title on Sarai. He could have easily just said "Hagar, where did you come from and where are you going?" But instead he added "Sarai's maid".

Hagar was running away from being Sarais' maid.

I just found it interesting. And I wondered, what title would an angel put on me?
Would he say Jeanette, foster mom?
Or perhaps, Jeanette, San Antonian.
Jeanette, friend to insert name of person I'm having a very hard time being friendly to right now.

I wish it were so easy to see yourself how God sees you. Because I think sometimes, I see things in my life as optional, whereas God may see them as a part of my very identity before Him.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The silence between two breaths

I've always had a problem with the scripture that promises me that if I have faith as a grain of mustard seed that I can move mountains. The whole point of it being a mustard seed as an example is because those are some of the smallest seeds known to man. I've held them, looked at them and checked them out to see how big my faith needed to be and I always ended up going "HA, no way my faith is that small."

But something interesting happened when a baby came into my  home. Her nickname for the public is "Precious" and she is, currently, an almost 4 month old foster child. She was born under conditions that make her extra prone to things like SIDS, motor and muscle development delays, and a host of diseases. She, thankfully, is a picture of health right now with only a few small quirks that mark her rocky beginning of life. I have high hopes for her future, her health, her mind, her relationship with God. I have faith that God will take care of her, regardless of what decisions judges might make that I agree or disagree with.

I have faith as a grain of mustard seed for it.

And yet, every single morning, before I brush my teeth, eat my cereal, or feed the cat, I go directly from my bed to her doorway and I listen. I listen for the sound of the next breath. I listen with a heart that hates listening for it, and that races just because you are listening for it. I listen, the way perfectly healthy people wait for their TB test to be read. You know there's nothing wrong, you  know the entire act of listening is foolish, but you listen anyway. And on those few  mornings when her nose is less croupy than normal, it takes too long and I go to her bed to see what I can't hear.

For 2 months now, every morning she - by Gods infinite grace and power - breathes on. And as this trend has continued, I began to wonder about that mustard seed. And I began to wonder what happens if there is a boulder of doubt on top of that mustard seed. I know well enough how life can change on a dime. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I'm a foster parent, so I know that on any given day the phone could ring and long-lost Aunt So-n-so could be at CPS waiting for her Precious to be moved into her home. Things change.

But as I thought about faith vs my doubts, I thought about Hebrews 11:1.
Faith, is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.
And I wondered if the same could be said of doubt.
Doubt is the substance of things dreaded. The evidence of things not seen.

I googled ideas on doubt and faith, and one of the first things I read was "Faith and doubt cannot co-exist!" And I thought back to the man that said "Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief". Immediately I shrugged off google (dear old friend of mine - I do still love you) and went back to thinking and praying about it. The question still plagued me - "Which one is stronger?"

Overall, I know faith is stronger than doubt. But my question wanted to know "which one is stronger in me". And then it hit me, it doesn't matter how big my doubt is, faith - regardless of the size of it's nemesis doubt - will always be the strongest. My mustard seed can move mountains. And in the quietness, listening to Precious as she sleeps right now, I knew that my weak faith, can move my strong doubt. 

And I was more than a little awed as I considered how strong my weak faith is. I liked the idea. To know that I didn't have to be tough, and always strong, but that in my weaknesses I can see the holes where His strength shines through in my life in places where I might not have been able to see it before.

It's not a free-for-all give up trying revelation though. My faith needs to grow, my doubts need to shrink. It's just nice for a control freak like me to know that my little mustard seed isn't overwhelmed by my boulders.

Now if only my faith were strong enough to find all the lost pacifiers...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Restored! - Book Review

So, just before someone handed me a 2 month old baby girl, I was also handed a book to review on my blog. The baby is nearly 4 months old now. As you can see, sometimes priorities get shifted.

The book is "Restored! God's Salvage Plan for Broken Lives" by Dan Schaeffer. This book was provided to me by Discovery House Publishers (the same folks that put out "Our Daily Bread") The book is chronicles the 3 main characters in the story, Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz, and it also hits on one of my favorite people in the book, Elimelech. It discusses being who God wants you to be even when the troubling times hit by showing how each of the characters responded (or should have responded) in their situations. It speaks of grief, hurt, fear and bitterness and shows people of good character and how they struggled through their own options. One of the statements on the back of the book says "As he guides you through the book of Ruth, the blurred vision of pain begins to clear and God's perspective of your distressing situation is revealed with purpose far beyond anything could imagine." I really liked that line - especially after having read the book.

And read the book I did.

It just took longer than usual, and after finishing it, it took longer than usual for me to get the review up.

I want the first thing I say to be this:

1. I liked the book.

I don't like reading non-fiction, but I always get something good out of it when I do. It's like eating your least favorite vegetable but instantly feeling healthier because of it. It makes it easier to want to eat it. And this book left me feeling the same way, like I was much better off for having read it.

2. I hated the book.

It made me angry all the way through, how he continually acted as though Ruth were Ms Wonderful and Naomi was Mrs Olden Bitter. It didn't matter that he was using scriptures to back it up - yeah, she was bitter - but I think there was a bit more to her than that. He painted Naomi better at the end of the book which made up for some of the frustration, but like I said, since it took me so long to read the book I was frustrated for awhile before I finally got to the better part.

3. I loved, absolutely loved, this one line:
"The truth is, unless you live extraordinarily behind the scenes, you will never act extraordinarily when you are finally and unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight."
Loved that quote.

4. I needed to read it.
When I first got it, and started reading, I was reading a lot into it. It seemed like it was going to be about a girl who sacrificed and  left what was familiar to her to follow God which meant moving to a new city. And for me, the girl who left home and moved to San Antonio, I felt for sure I was going to connect with Ruth. But what I found was that Ruth's character resonated only somewhat with me, and I felt more connected to another character in the story - Elimelech. He's the one that I really "got". And I really appreciated what the author had to say about him and how Lem attempted to provide when it seemed God wasn't providing. I don't want to say too much about him because the book is worth reading just to learn from Elimelech's issues.

As clearly as Elimelech's issues were written about, I saw myself just as clearly and had to repent of those traits in my own life. I like it when a book leads me to repent.

I hope you'll try this book, just to give it a shot and see if you find yourself in it somewhere. Maybe you'll get lucky and find yourself connecting more with Ruth, or just maybe you'll find one of the other characters that seem to read just like your life and you never connected the actions with the reasons behind them.

Despite how long it took me to read it, it's only 135 pages + a study guide with some questions if you'd like to read the book as a group. You can pick it up many places I'm sure, but the main place I'd easily link you to is Amazon. So click here if you'd like to get your own copy, or if you know me, I'll be happy to lend you mine.

*Book provided by Discovery House Publishers for free - this is not a paid endorsement and I am not obligated to give a positive review.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Changing lives...

It's 3am in the morning. I've just finished feeding foster baby #8.
Even having heard the crazy numbers of how some foster families have had 100 kids go through their home, it's still mind-blowing to me that I'm on number  8. And still more to come.

And as I've tucked, and wiped, and held little "Precious" and struggled with the stress that always is single parenting I've suddenly fallen quiet as I find myself deep in thought.

I've prayed sometimes that God would end the struggle. God, make life easier somehow. I'm tired of always struggling. It's been great, it's been a joy it's been beautiful and wonderful but hey God, it's a lot of work this whole "life" thing that you've called me to.

And I couldn't help but wonder if He was willing to do it. But it would cost me the great, the joy, the beautiful and wonderful. And as I carried insanely heavy car seats, worried about ECI visits (Early Childhood Intervention -a program that provides therapy for delayed children), and paid over-the-top prices just for diapers for Precious to poop in, I realized I never wanted to give this up. That I only wanted more.

And as I looked at other peoples well-put-together lives, I realized that I didn't want that. Yes, it appears to be struggle free, but I didn't want it. I want the outlandish life. The life that has messy floors, and diapers sitting in the corner of my kitchen floor (because the kitchen sink is our own little bathtub area). I want others to live young, single lives and wonder at my choice to live as a young single mother to other peoples children. I want others to wonder why on earth I'm considering taking in an 18 month old while I'm just now adjusted to a 2 month old.

I want to look harried, sleepless, tired, and as though I don't have the same amount of time for hygiene as I used to if it means that I successfully gave my life away to something so much greater than leisure time and hobbies and never having to watch Teletubbies. I want to live a life full of struggle if the reward for that struggle is that I held these children, I loved these children, I got to tell these children about peace and joy, and a man named Jesus.

I want my life to reach beyond me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life is best written one page at a time

Someone recently asked me if I'd be interested in doing something, and quite honestly, the only reason I answered in the negative was fear. It's hard to make changes, to not know where the road will lead, or what risks are involved. It's hard to give up what you know, for what's unknown.

It's all I've been able to think about since that discussion and today, I remembered a piece of advice I've been giving over and over again to a friend at work that just recently joined our little team (department). You see, most of the time when you open up a claim to begin processing it, it's maybe 60-80 pages long. But every once in awhile, you open up one that's around 200 pages. It doesn't just have regular attorney invoices, but it also has refunds and other claims that have already been filed, penalties and interest, utility bills to go through, and other oddball stuff that usually leaves you with a claim that doesn't balance for the 1st 3 hours.

 So, my friend Steph, has come across several of the more difficult ones and I continually tell her "One page at a time - don't think about the claim, just do it." I've watched a lot of people, myself included, see how rough a claim is going to be from the beginning and immediately something inside just shuts down. Something says "This is hard." And I boldly suggested to her that her claim wasn't hard, it just wasn't easy. And that there is a difference.
For example:
Losing 20 pounds in a month is hard.
Losing 5 pounds in a month is not easy.
Losing 1 pound in a month is easy.

Rather than think about the whole of the claim, I try and simply take it one page at a time. It still takes longer than an "easy" claim, but it's not impossible. So today, as I struggled with a "not easy" claim of my own I couldn't stop thinking about whether I'm looking at the offer with the same eyes that see 200 pages and shies away.

I don't want to live a life of fear of changing my happy little world. And believe me, my world is OH so happy. Because at the end of every successful claim my company is richer, and if I live my life the same way too, perhaps my life would be richer for all the difficult tasks I've taken on. I also don't want to change my life just to prove I'm not afraid.

Right now, I'm picturing the offer as a whole, where it leads, and whether I like the potential outcomes or am afraid of the potential outcomes. But I can't help but wonder if I shouldn't just take it one day, one page, at a time. Let the story be written as it's written.

If any of you wonderful friends have great advice on how to make decisions (besides the #1 "Oh God, what on earth should I do?) I'd love to hear it.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could