Friday, October 28, 2011

to have faith like a child: (His love doesn't have boundary)

to have faith like a child: (His love doesn't have boundary)

While renting a movie from redbox this evening, my four year old daughter, Greenlee, saw two women kissing each other and was immediately shocked - which led to one of our many light bulb conversations...

She asked me, "why are those girls doing that?  Are they bad people?"

My response, "No, honey they aren't bad at all.  God made each of us and He loves us all.  He also gave us the ability to make our own choices on things and feelings.  Some people love different than others and it doesn't make them bad.  Each person has the right to make their own choices."

She paused for a moment (I could tell she was thinking hard) and then said, "Well, that's good that God loves us all.  When I grow up I'm going to marry a boy, but maybe one of my friends will marry a girl, and I'll love them like Jesus loves us all."

...

And that's all that needed to be said at that moment.

You see, when I was little homosexuality was thought of as an "extreme" sin - we didn't really talk about it other than it was very "bad" "gross" and not something we should ever be around.  

In church, we were told to put up boundaries against that.  Kids in school who acted "gay" were called derogatory names, and you didn't want to be seen with them because then you would have been thought to be gay too (like it was a contagious disease or something).

Most "Christians" that I knew when I was younger explained homosexuality as perverted people.  And many MANY times I had heard the connection that "gay" people were all going to hell and were child molesters, or pedafiles and in no way could "they" be Christians...

The message was always connected back to hate and back to sin.  

----

As a young adult, (and late teen) I just didn't feel like those messages were biblical in any way.  In fact, the few people I knew that were open to share that they loved differently were many of my greatest friends since early childhood.  I found it very hard to believe that somehow God would choose to hate them or not love them because of their choice.

I also quickly realized that so much of what I had been told was from a place of judgment - not a place of grace.

How could the God that I love create us as His children and then choose to just stop loving us when we make a decision that may or may not be biblical?

It was over the course of these few years that i really started questioning my faith.  If being a follower of Christ meant judging those unlike me, I really didn't want to be any part of that.   Was it really our "duty" as Christians to point out others sin?  To create walls of separation?  

Someone during that time told me "hate the sin, not the sinner"

I get what they were trying to say, but seriously why not say that to everyone since we are all sinners in some way?

It wasn't too much later that I became a teen mom who had a child outside of wedlock.  Would God hate me too?

Well, of course not.  I'm still His child.  No different than the next person.

He created us all to be very different and gave us the free-will to choose what path we each take.  He also did NOT create us to be the judge of anyone.  He calls us to LOVE one another and to live for those who may or may not know Him - not to cause division between us.

--

Point being, what kind of "Christian" do you want to be?  

The legalistic kind?  

The judgmental kind?

The closed-off unapproachable kind?

OR the one who loves what He loves:  His children?

We were all made for a greater purpose, and by grace we can each make our own decisions and those decisions and their "judgment" comes from only Him.  

Some of my greatest friends believe different than me, love different than me, look different than me, and think different than me... And each of them are still children of the Most High.

Being a true Christian means accepting that we all are broken, we are all undeserving, but because of the love and grace that our Lord abundantly offers we get to be accepted as His kiddo.  And He does not make "junk"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

being a kid for three months.





It is really hard sitting where I am sitting. 

I guess I should first preface this with what I always preface these posts with --- the amazing girl who lives with us is not in foster care, so we have the opportunity to actually share a few things about her (not that we want to disrespect her privacy, lol, but what I am trying to say is that if she was in foster care we would not be able to share anything about her).  Fortunately, our sweet M is part of our forever family now.

So, back to my actual blog....

It is very hard when you take in an amazing teenager, when you are able to give them a place to feel safe and secure, and let them finally be a kid, full well knowing her life is about to be forever changed.  See, our sweet amazing seventeen year old, will not have the chance to be a kid for long as she is having a baby in just three short months.  I have no doubt that she will be a wonderful mama.  I was only a year older than her when I had Jacob. 

I somehow feel now that I have a glimpse of what my own mother must have felt.  The pain of seeing such a young woman have to grow up so incredibly fast.  The worry of how hard her life will probably be, and all the things she will probably struggle with or may never achieve because of the added responsibility a baby adds to the mix....Having to watch your child just get by, and letting them do it on their own because that is the only way they will learn. 

(deep sigh)

Now take those emotions, and think about a seventeen year old that has never had the chance to truly be a child - never had the chance to play or shop or do "normal" things that most of her peers have done.  Now, think about finally being able to give her that chance and let her get excited for things and feel like a kid.  Then, think about having to completely turn that off in just a few short weeks when she has to grow up way too fast and become a mom.

She is not complaining.  She acts fearless, but I know deep down that she has to be scared shitless.  Wouldn't you be?  I know I was.  I still am sometimes, :).  I also am a closet curser.  It is true.  :)

The reality is these are the types of situations that are completely heart-breaking.  I love her so much.  I know she will be okay.  I just hate feeling like you can't solve something for your kids.

When I worked at TASC, I hated seeing my students struggle or hurt, but now being in the "mama" role it is truly a different game.  It is more than just the sympathetic emotion that you have for a kid, it is like watching a part of yourself head down a road that is all too familiar. 

She is such an amazing girl, and I am honored to get to be a part of her life.  I know she can do anything she sets her mind to, but it is so so hard watching and waiting and knowing that her childhood is almost over, and it had really just begun.

My heart is broken tonight.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

the 100th post... [food for thought]

I noticed as I opened up my blog, that there were 99 posts written so far this year... So, it only seemed appropriate to celebrate this 100th one.  So, yay!  Ok, enough celebrating :) now back to the original intent of this post... food for thought

I have been pretty open with you all about my struggles with food... and not with food in general, I mean food as an idol.  I love it.  a LOT.  I eat when I am happy.  I eat when I am sad.  I eat when I celebrate.  I eat when I am stressed.  I love food.  I love cooking.  I love creating.  I love eating.

I always find myself in this situation of "wanting to take a stand"  "make a stand" "lay down this idol" "break this stronghold" and I do well for a while... and then I fail, and I get discouraged, and I fad diet, and I kill myself at the gym, and then some sort of crisis always happens in my life and I get off of it for a while.  Then, of course a week of being off turns into three months of being off, which turns into another 10lbs. I need to lose, which goes back to vicious cycle of self-loathing, hating my body, pretending I don't care about my health, pretending that settling with my body is okay with me, and then wanting to do it all over again.... It sucks.

I have learned about myself that I cannot diet anymore.  I just can't.  Or maybe a better word is "won't"...

I want to be healthy.  I want this stronghold to break.  I want to trust God with the same faith I give Him with other things and follow-through with this, but I struggle daily.  The truth is I want --- I want --- I want...

I sound like a nagging child whining about things.  The bigger truth is, I need... I need my God to deliver me from this.  I need my God to fight this one for me.  I need to stay patient.  I need to commit to the long-haul.

I don't know what else to say on the topic other than - on a daily basis people often remind me of how blessed I am.  I am so entirely blessed, but I fight a daily battle with myself, and satan is getting way more victory than he should from me.  People often say how encouraged they are by me, and the truth is I am encouraged so much each day by what the Lord is doing in my life and the people and opportunities He brings to my life, but one thing slows me down and gets in the way every single day... and it is me... It is my brokenness, my idolization of food, my self-image...  I struggle and sometimes staying busy is what helps me to not deal with that one part of me that I can't seem to surrender.

Today I found out that there was one more opening in a bible study that I have been hearing about called Savor....

It is a cooking study that teaches us recipes, but also teaches us how to savor on Him.  It is not a diet or anything.  It provides daily scripture that is setup to help us thirst and crave Him more than anything else.  Most women are not doing it for a health thing.  But I am, and not weight loss health.  I am doing it for heart health.

I want to crave Him before anything else.  I don't have all the answers.  I just know that each day I have to keep laying this at His feet.  I have to keep trusting.  I have to not let it consume my thoughts because then it goes from an idol of thinking of food, of filling your day telling yourself not to think of food.  I cannot do it alone.  I have to rely on Him..

Tonight we made an apple cake... I had two pieces.  I will try again tomorrow :) and the next day and the next day and I will surrender this thing.  I will learn what true savoring of my Savior really is.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. (1 Samuel 1:27 NIV)




When Steve and I first started the foster care journey in opening our home, this was the verse that God kept filling us with. He still fills us with.



This verse always makes me think of people praying for their little babies. But not in our case.



I see a lot of my friends cling to this verse in their adoption journeys, but we clung to it in our foster journey. Because we pray for the children God will lead to us whether they are ours for a day or for a lifetime.



It's not a coincidence that in all the crazy delays in getting open as a home we were able to open our house to a young lady to prevent her from going into care. His timing ehh?



This whole time we have prayed to be open to help kids in care (which we believe God will eventually still open our home to do) but for now His plan was to use us to prevent a child from going into foster care.



If we had already been open, we wouldn't have been able to help her. So, she is not a foster child. She chose us, and we chose her. And "legal guardian" doesn't sound too cool.



She is our seventeen year old child that we have been praying for. She isn't ours, but she is ours. We may only have her for a few months but God has granted our request in sending her to us.



I have prayed for her. I have longed for her. I have spent many nights crying out to the Lord on her behalf. I have spent nights worrying for her. I have prayed on His timing.



So my sweet 17 year old girl, here is to you.



You have our hearts.  You have our love.  We have waited for you.  We have prayed for you.  We have loved you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bye Bye Toyota, Hello Blessings

Bye bye Toyota.  Hello blessings.

A couple days ago I was pulling out of my garage in my new SUV, that was parked next to my old Toyota camry.

Everyday I park next to my old car that's not being used, but haven't had the heart to part with it.  When we got our new car, steve and I had decided to keep my old car in case we got a foster kiddo who needed it.

The girl who is staying with us now, doesn't drive and actually has a car waiting for her when she starts to.  

I started feeling really convicted as I pulled out of our driveway the other day, "this car is just sitting here as an extra and there are many people who don't even have one vehicle."

Then, it occurred to me... The girl I mentor from saving grace has been saving up for a car.  And this girl has been such an amazing example to me of God's strength and love and will.  For a 22 year old, she exudes wisdom way beyond her years, and way beyond my years, lol.

So I called my husband... "honey, what do you think about giving Sweet M the car?"

 I expected he would probably have some kind of hesitation not because he isn't compassionate lol, but because we could sell it for a couple thousand if we wanted to.

Without any hesitation, "I love that idea... I've been thinking the same thing."

So, this weekend we are getting the old girl ready.  This car has been with me through both kids, through a marriage, a divorce, college, my first big jobs, my first house, my amazing marriage to steve, and much much more.

Now it's time to let someone have life in it.  

God has been so good to us, I can't help but feel compelled to be a good steward of His blessings.  

Bye bye Toyota.  Hello blessings :)