Monthly Archives: April 2012

My divine appointment

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Jesus answered my prayer today, immediately and quite tangibly. This afternoon, Grant and I decided to go to Chick-fil-A for supper, along with every other family/minivan in the area. Kids Night! It occurred to me to pray that I would connect with another foster parent at CFA, specifically one that lived in Warren County. It was a random thought, but I went ahead and prayed.

We got to CFA, and I quickly forgot about my prayer, as it was a madhouse. We ate, then Ezra went back to the play area. I saw a mom talking to Grant. My first thought was that Ezra had pushed her daughter. I overhead Grant say that we were almost finished with the foster process, and I instantly remembered my prayer.  Turns out that Ezra “randomly” went up to this woman and her daughter and told her that we were going to have foster kids come to live with us.  She pulled Grant aside and told him what Ezra had said. Grant introduced us, and we exchanged emails. I went ahead and shared my prayer with her, even though I thought she might think I was a weirdo. She didn’t! We ended up sitting together and talking about what had led us to the foster process. She and her husband have just begun the training and will be licensing through…you guessed it! Warren County! They recently moved to the area from Nashville (another fun connection, since we would love to move there!). I told her that we attended Apex. She asked if we knew Dan and Celia Emmons, and we totally do! Apex is not a small church. We discussed the idea that most people probably think it’s crazy to be getting involved with foster care when you have young children. We talked about how our daughters have had some (or a lot in Ezra’s case) outbursts of anger, since beginning the foster process. I felt like crying most of the conversation, just out of pure gratitude for the Lord’s purposeful provision.

When Jesus does stuff like this, it blows me away. It shouldn’t, but it does. I’m so thankful to serve a God who HEARS me when I pray. Love it.

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What a year!

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A year ago last night, I was awaiting the arrival of my precious Evangeline Jane. What a complete joy she has been. The first three months of her life were pretty horrible, though, as she would scream for 30 minutes straight after each feeding. Do you know how often babies eat in that first three months?!? I really wanted to stick with breastfeeding, so I was prepared to do whatever it took. The pediatrician recommended that I cut out all dairy, but that didn’t seem to help. I researched for hours online trying to figure out what else I could do. I ended up trying the Elimination Diet, which only allowed me to eat the least allergenic food from each food group. Still, no change.

I felt like a failure as a mother, as the ONE thing I was confident in for my second baby was knowing how to nurse. I didn’t want to leave my house, because she would cry and writhe in pain, and I had no idea how to console her. Then, on the morning of July 9th, Jesus brought me an article. Basically, Evie’s stomach pain issues were not related to what I was eating at all. Rather, my breastmilk oversupply was causing the same symptoms as colic or an allergy. I followed the suggestions in the article, and her pain was gone IMMEDIATELY. This also happened to be on the same day we were going to Kentucky to see Mamaw and Papaw, so I got to indulge in her cooking!!

Why am I sharing this? Well, I did not enjoy my daughter for 25% of this year. It was hard, and I cried a lot. The Lord has graciously filled in the rest of the year with blessing upon blessing with this precious baby. There are 4 years between Ezra and Evie. I lost two babies in the year before I got pregnant with Evie. During that time, I could not understand what the heck the Lord was doing. He obviously did not care about what was happening to me or our family. Well, as so often happens, it’s clear to see what the Lord was doing, after the fact. He allowed us to get pregnant with Evie on a very special day. That morning, we paid off our last debt, and that afternoon we were on the Dave Ramsey show screaming, “WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!” (Click the link to hear our call) How purposeful He is.

I am feeling a similar anticipation now, as we wait for our first foster placement. I would have never dreamt that this would be where the Lord would have us, just a short year from Evie’s birth. I’m so very thankful that He continues to direct our steps.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

What I know about my foster children

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Ezra has been CRAZY the past few days. Out.of.control. Over and over again, I have had the following thoughts: What are you thinking becoming a foster parent? You can’t even manage your own child. This will be too much for you to handle. You’re making a mistake. You suck as a mom.

At Bible study, we realized that there had been a lot of strain with our children over the past week, so we decided to fast together. I was hesitant to commit, as the Daniel Fast had been such a flop for me. But, I knew I could make it for one day. I probably prayed 5 times as much as normal, so I can definitely see why so many people practice this! At the end of the night, I had to go to the grocery. Everyone knows you don’t go to the grocery hungry!! I raced home from the store, and Grant had my supper ready. I wanted to stuff my face right that second but held off a few minutes more so I could sit down and thank God for the food. I thought about how I had felt throughout the day. I was definitely hungry, and a few times I had bad stomach pains. But, I knew I would be eating again. I just had to make it to 10pm. Plus, I had water and tea to drink, which curbed the hunger. I thought about all those around the world who don’t know from where/if their next meal is coming. I thought about how mindlessly I spend a dollar here and a dollar there. Then, my thoughts turned to those precious children who will come to live with us in the coming months. I don’t know the gender or age of the first child who will live with us. I don’t even know if there will be one or more. But, what I do know is that, most likely, the child who will become our foster child is being abused or neglected RIGHT NOW. That was almost too difficult to even think about.

There is no way around us following through with this foster process. Any excuse I can think of pales in comparison to the huge responsiblity I have to care for these children. I can’t “un-know” what is happening in our county, our state, our country. I’m thankful that Jesus was so gracious in showing me this truth tonight and confirming, yet again, that this is what He has called us to do.

God didn’t save my baby

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When I was pregnant with my second baby, I knew from the beginning that something could be wrong. My doctor had doubts about the baby surviving, but the Lord kept reminding me that He was the ultimate physician…why would I fear? The only thing I knew to pray was, “Jesus, save my baby.” I prayed it over and over those few months. I prayed desperately before every ultrasound that the Lord might show growth or some tiny sign of hope. On the way to house church, I was reading the story of Lazarus, the portion we were reviewing that night. The Lord jarred my heart, and it almost knocked the air out of me. It seemed as if He were saying that I just needed to hold on a little bit longer…wait until the doctors said there was no chance of survival. Then, the Lord would swoop in and heal my baby, and everyone would know it was HIM who saved. In that story, the Lord waited three whole days, before going back to see about Lazarus. That way, the people would not be mistaken that it was certainly Him who was responsible for saving Lazarus. I knew what the next ultrasound would show. I was prepared for the miracle that was about to happen. But, guess what? The ultrasound showed exactly what it had shown the previous times. No growth. No hope. I was devastated and couldn’t understand why He had not come through for me. I realized (not then, but later!) that I thought I knew best how God could show His glory! Wouldn’t it be so much greater if the Lord would have come in at the last second and healed my baby? Wouldn’t more people have better understood who He is by that act? Apparently, the Lord didn’t think so.

I found myself thinking that way again over the past month. As I’ve mentioned previously, we are putting money into our “radical” fund that we will eventually give to an individual or organization, most likely to support orphan care or human trafficking. Now that we’re being licensed to foster/adopt, we’re able to put less money in that account. Buying diapers, new outfits for a boy and girl in sizes 0-4T, a crib, car seats, booster seat, etc. has really started to add up. Of course, I know this is what the Lord wants for us right now, but I was really hoping that He would show up and provide these things. That way, we could give a lot more to the “radical” fund. Isn’t the amount of money we give most important, anyway? (sarcasm) Again, I realized that I thought I knew best How God could work in my life.

Yesterday, we had our first-ever garage sale with these clothes. Long story short, I ended up selling ALL the clothes (2 6 ft tables of high stacks) to 3 people, who were from Mexico. They told me that they were taking those clothes back and passing them out at their church. I was able to speak Spanish and felt like the Lord had sent them. I had prayed that the Lord would be able to use this in some way, and I do think this was it. Now, my first thought was, and probably what you all are thinking, is that this is definitely a scam. These people are going to buy my clothes and then resell them. Well, I’m going to stick with the first thing and be thankful that I could take part in something like that.

So, in the past few days, we were able to sell a lot of excess that we had taking up space, buy a really nice van (thanks, Lord!!), and buy and set up a crib. We also had our 3rd homestudy visit, and it went really well. We expect to have our first placement next month!

My pride is the root of this notion that I know more than God, that I know better how He should display His glory. Thank God that His thoughts are not my thoughts. If it were left up to me, I’d be in BAD shape. I’m thankful for this truth.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares 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.

Jesus smacked me upside the head

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I really wanted to prepare my mind and heart well for Easter this year. We started the Daniel Fast…you all know how that turned out. I had full intention to savor each day of Lent and ready myself for Holy week. It’s now days before Easter, and…I certainly have a lot of excuses. None that matter.

So, I’ve accepted that I let endless issues get in the way of my Easter reflection for this year. The Lord has graciously reminded me of a few things this week, though.

When did Easter become so ridiculously commercialized? Christmas seems to have been like that forever, but Easter? Frilly dresses, tons of different candy options, Easter baskets, toys to fill those baskets. Jesus died on the cross, then rose again. Let’s celebrate that with an egg hunt! What? That makes no sense.

Both Christmas and Easter have become difficult for me, as I feel the Lord has been directing our family away from “normal” traditions. Even though I’m confident in what the Lord would have us do pertaining to this, I still hate to have to explain it or even share it, as I know many think we’re weirdos. A few years ago, the Lord burdened me heavily for how we celebrated Christmas in our family. Over and over again, I felt Him saying to stop giving gifts, as part of our Christmas activities. No matter how hard I tried to ignore it or dismiss it, He wouldn’t leave me alone. This is definitely not a popular idea, and I know a lot of people think we’re nuts. I feel Him pressing me again about Easter, in the same way.

Disclaimer: I am in no way saying that people who participate in egg hunts or exchange gifts during Christmas are heathens. I’m simply sharing what the Lord has purposed for our family. Jesus convicts my heart in a much different way than He does yours. Would I be lying if I said I did not judge anyone who lives differently than I? For sure. But, I daily remind myself to keep my eyes fixed on HIM, not myself, not anyone else. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. This is a (forced) constant refrain in my head. In almost any situation involving me getting irritated or pissed off, this simple phrase puts me in my place.

We haven’t been to a weekend church service in quite a long time. I really wanted to go last week, but we woke up late, the girls were whiny, blah blah blah. I was praying that afternoon, complaining to the Lord that I just wanted to be in church for some good worship and application from the message…to be fed and served. The Lord very quickly pierced my heart and shot back, “Who was the last person you served?” Ouch. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. So, begrudgingly, I prayed that the Lord would provide someone that I could serve. Later that evening, I got an email about a house church member needing babysitting for a cutie born one day after Evie. I almost deleted the email, thinking that would be way too much trouble. We have a lot going on, you know? Then, I remembered..hello?!?!? I had just prayed for this. And, hello again?!?! We’re soon-to-be foster parents. We could have 4 kids next month! I’m a real moron sometimes.

I’m so very thankful that the Lord loves me, despite me. He loves me the same, even though I couldn’t stick it out for Lent and basically forgot about Easter until today. So, right this minute, I’m going to soak in everything that the next few days represent. His agonizing death for my past, present, and future sin. His triumphant resurrection that gives me victory over death.

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

Watch this and think about what awesome HOPE you have in the One who paid your debt and gives you a free gift of grace and LIFE! It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming!