Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everyday is a winding road...

Everyday is a winding road...

A few nights ago I had a dream that people from our foster training class were lining up on a curvy road waiting in line for our home study.  Steve and I eagerly jumped in our spot among the winding road... And waited.  And that's all I remember from my dream.  We stood there just waiting with the others joyfully.

Then, I woke up and laughed as I told steve.  He replied, "well, yeah that's reality, Rach..."

"I guess."

"what do you mean, you guess?  That's exactly what we are doing.  We are jumping on a curvy unknown road with other people as a community of believers all going by this call God has led us to in His time."

He was right... 

As we pray and wait and pray some more and wait some more for this process to come to it's completion, I sometimes feel very alone.  Wondering and hoping for it to speed up and get here already.  Wondering if others sit and worry at night about the kids who are out there as we do.  Wondering why God is prolonging the process...

BUT --- The reality is we aren't alone, and compared to others we are zooming through this process.  We are surrounded by a body of believers who love us, believe in us, and are joining us in this calling.

All of my worry, frustration, impatience, and feelings of isolation are lies.  And Satan loves to feed them to me.  

I have to daily remind myself that this is in His timing... Right now, and once we get kids in our home and five years from now- it was always His timing.  It always will be His timing.  

Everyday I am faced with new feelings and thoughts about all this.  It takes daily prayer to keep my eyes fixed.  I know we are doing something right because we wouldn't be on Satan's radar if we weren't.  

So here is to dreaming, and knowing we are where we are supposed to be... God has this one even when I try to convince myself He doesn't.  

I am so grateful for my friends and family for loving us and continuing to pray..  We love you :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

need vs want

need vs want

The other day at church the pastor asked us to think about one thing we were dissatisfied about in our life that we wish we could change or something we wish we had.  

I hate to admit this but the first thing I thought of was having a new car..  I have had my car for 8 years, I bought is used --  it's now pretty worn, it only has 3 good seat belts (out of 5), lots of dents, been through both kids during their toddler years, close to 200,000 miles and it's just not big enough especially when we begin fostering.

I felt guilty for being discontent about my paid off vehicle when many people don't even have a vehicle, but then I felt like God said, "no Rachel, it's a practical need not a want... It's okay to want something you need.  Just wait."

This whole "need versus want" thing is a challenge for me... 

Because all I "need" is shelter and clothes and food... And everything else is a want... That list is a lot longer...

This is where the question of contentment and trust plays it's grand role in my life.  If I am to be content and faithful that God has brought us into this foster care journey, then I also am to be content and faithful for His hand of provision or not...

Meaning whether God decides somehow to bless us with a new awesome suv or van (yes I said "van" and I'm sad I'm actually giving into the reality I might drive one).. OR whether He let's us keep my old hoopty and makes a way- I am to be content with it... Hmm.

So do I need a new car or do I want it?


And I'll be content no matter the outcome.  

Still praying for the child who is out there waiting... Please pray with us :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

sweet cheeks & sugar baba

sweet cheeks & sugar baba

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our foster journey is, "but what about your kids?  How are they handling the thought of other kids living with you?  Aren't you scared they could get hurt? And this?  And that?"

I've said this before but I like to repeat it - your fears were our fears... 

But we are choosing to put trust that God is bigger than any of those fears.  That He has this under control, and we are to just be obedient.  He led us into this, He will see us through it.

We often call our kids sweet cheeks and sugar baba... Sweet cheeks is our four year old daughter and sugar baba is our six year old son... We have daily conversations about the kiddos that someday will join our home with them.

Sweet cheeks and Suga baba love to guess what the kids will look like, talk like, and how they can help decorate their room.  Each night we pray for the child that's out there.  Each night they come up with new questions and ideas and Sweet Cheeks loves to ask 50 times a day when they will be here.

I often wonder if that future child will know how much we prayed for them, wanted them, and have hoped for them.  

This journey isn't my journey... It is our journey - mine, Steve's, sugar baba's, and sweet cheeks'

This has taught my kids more compassion than anything else.  

So, if you have fears about doing something like this - remember - God is bigger.... Always

Sweet Cheeks & Sugar Baba are proof :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A single spark

A single spark...

When I was a kid we often went camping, and one of my most favorite things to do while camping was set outside of the fire pit and watch the flames dance and sparks fly.

It intrigued me.  I was mesmerized by the colors and crackling and the concept of how one single spark had started it all.

As an adult I  often wish I still had that same sense of wonder and awe about things... Laying in bed for the majority of the past two days sick really put me into a nostalgic funk of sorts which led me to reminiscing my childhood fascination of fire.

And as I laid there remembering, God set off another light bulb to me.  

A single spark can light a wildfire that can stretch on for miles and across states.  That spark lights other sparks and the light and glow can continue on and on.  It takes one spark continuously lighting the next for the pattern to continue.

Not too much of a prophetic light bulb?  But to me, it was just that...

Someone recently asked me, "so you are jumping on the adoption trend bandwagon, too?"

Adoption trend... At first I was kind of offended... I think my response went something like, "if by trend, you mean following a calling to help rebuild families, then sure..."

But as that question has circled my mind the metaphor of sparks keeps replaying itself.

I think I am one of those sparks.  And maybe it was other sparks (families who have gone before me) that made me realize that I could be a light for a child who needs it through fostering.  Families willing to teach us and support us and empower us through His call.

The need for foster families is continuous because many foster families adopt kids through foster care and then close.  And that is great but the need remains for the other kids that come into care.  So the need for us to continue advocating the sparks continue...  

I don't truly know what the purpose for this post is, but I felt a tug to write it.  Hopefully it resonates with someone who reads it.  Kind of amazing the different thoughts that God has been stirring lately.

A single spark can light a dark room.  His light in us can move mountains and change lives.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My words aren't enough...

My words aren't enough...

A few nights ago, I sat with a friend and realized my words were just not enough to ease her challenges... Words seem very inadequate at times.  And as time goes on I feel more and more that way.

I am learning that my lack of language isn't always a bad thing.  Sometimes when words are hopelessly insufficient being silent can be a beautiful gift.

Our inadequacies can create a total dependence on Him... But that type of dependence does not come easy.  A certain level of brokenness and heart ache is always partnered with that type of challenge.

Tonight I watched a dear friend be cut to the core with sad broken unknowns. And my words just were not enough.

But I know this:

"My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

My words will never be enough, but His grace always is.  I suppose this is just another light bulb moment that God is preparing me for with other unknown hurts on the horizon with kids that will join our home.

I love a God that is bigger than any challenge or problem.  A God who completes the good work He starts and brings peace to the weary.  A God who has great plans in store for each of us.

So when our words aren't enough sit silently... We weren't made for having all the answers, we were made to have the One true answer.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The beginning of the end...

A beginning to an end..

Today I stood in my shower and just prayed for a very very long time.  As each drop hit my feet I prayed for motivation, to not be so weary, to be able to trust in His timing... But each moment the water hit me heavier and heavier.

Then, because I took so long in the shower I scrambled to get ready quickly and went on with my day - feeling the same level of uncertain weight.  

What are my burdens?  I should be so happy and uplifted.

I am... And I am not.

I have so many blessings, but each day of waiting in our foster care journey has felt like an eternity.  I know in a logical sense it will be here before I know it and then I will probably be praying for a reprieve once it is here :) but for right now I hate the waiting it takes to get all our ducks in a row.

I fully understand it.  I fully appreciate it.  I fully struggle with it just the same.

But hours later God did what He had to do and what I prayed and prayed He would do... He sent me a sign.

And this is where I get to state the obvious blog title - it was a beginning to an end.  I can't go into great detail about what happened today, but if you know our story of why we got into this adventure and the people God placed in our lives a few years ago that made us realize we needed to do this then this is the part of the story that was miraculous.

We randomly heard from two very special people today that we hadn't talked to in over a year.  These special two were what led us to this calling in the first place and now we are able to see how they have grown and it has encouraged us in such a way that God has blatantly made it obvious He has us right where He wants us.

It has come full circle.

So, because I can't give details I felt it only fitting to say it is the beginning of the end of being able to openly discuss certain things that could normally be discussed due to confidentiality.  

Our foster care journey has made it's perfect circle.  And now we feel even more than ever that extra energy we so needed to finish this certification process strong.

Tomorrow is our very last training. We are almost there.  Thank you for praying.  God is moving.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

you you and you

you, you, and you...

A few days ago I heard something and it got me thinking, "when you can look at the worst parts of yourself and come to grips that it's okay to not be perfect, than you have real victory."

There are many parts of me that I am ready to claim imperfect, OBVIOUSLY but I have narrowed it down to these wondrous three- we can call them you, you, and you...

You #1 -  This you is otherwise known as "victim Rachel" -

the 18 year old girl who grew up without dad, who got pregnant and married too young, divorced too young, and then had to deal with myself finally as a 21 year old girl with two children and a lifetime of hurt... Victim Rachel liked to blame people.  She liked to remind herself of all of her hurts and didn't mind openly sharing why others should see her hurts and take pity on her.  Victim Rachel liked making excuses, and didn't have much confidence.  

Victim Rachel found victory for her losses through the counsel of amazing people, and learned how to manage loss.  Grieve loss.  Be empowered by loss.  Depend on Him for loss.  Use loss to help others.  

Victim Rachel became Victorious Rachel.  But even still on a cloudy day the little tiny seed of victim Rachel tries to still find hold at times.  And that is why victim Rachel stays in this list.

I claim victim Rachel as a complete imperfection, and in that I break free from those definitions of loss.

You #2 - Identity Rachel. 

Identity Rachel is the you that easily throws herself into her work... What does my work want me to be?  How does my job make me - me?  Identity Rachel has to continuously remind myself of the reason I do what I do - which is not for the man, but it is for The Man!!!  

This you often rollercoasters through the work/life balance... In fact Identity Rachel thrives in the juggling act and can do it unbelievably well while fooling all those around her with how weary she really is... Right up until her health begins to be affected sometimes with lack of sleep sometimes with poor nutrition sometimes with nights of extreme lack of all motivation.

Identity Rachel learned a big lesson this past year when she left a job that was too much of her identity leaving her to realize she was fulfilling her identity in the wrong place... Work became an idol.  Identity Rachel became an idol.  

Identity Rachel finds victory in knowing who I truly answer to.  In trusting it's not about the place I work but the calling.  Identity Rachel finds victory in amazing friends and an amazing husband who embraces her and keeps her accountable to balance.  Identity Rachel is imperfect but victorious.

You #3 - Control Rachel

Control Rachel is the you that started when I was just a wee child :-)

Control Rachel stemmed from feeling like my world was ripped away as a child, therefore I had to have something I was in control of.  And anytime crisis arose Control Rachel thrived.

Control Rachel likes to know she is in charge of things:  where money is spent, how we spend it, where we eat dinner, how my time is spent, deadlines... Anything I could control made me feel safe.

Control Rachel really flared up during my divorce when I was amidst extreme crisis.  My need to know everything and anything and the where's and why's and who's became a cluster.

Control Rachel found a LOT of victory in counseling when I was younger.  However, still control rachel pops out from time to time to remind me how dependent I need to be on the Lord and not myself.  And Control Rachel loves to make me worry and have anxiety over the things I can't control.

Control Rachel has learned to take the back seat most times now.  She has found victory in being able to embrace the unknown, and allow Him to work.  Control Rachel is imperfect but victorious in the Lord.

What are your you you and yous?

If I am to live transparently I need to be real honest by myself.  When we can identify the parts of our flesh that trip us up, that cause us to stumble- then we can be more equipped to embrace He who is in us.  Just a thought - thanks for letting me be transparent.   

Tackle those yous!  
Live victoriously!