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 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.