So we are into week two of caring for newborn baby Jase. He is sleeping and eating well. We are committed to him and his well-being. It is a full-time job!
Many of you have asked us about the process of becoming his care-takers and I wanted to encourage you to take the step of faith God is leading you to take in regards to caring for children in need. I wanted to sum up our journey with you.
We first attended an orientation at our county DFACS office. We felt God leading us to continue with the process so we completed all the paperwork, drug screenings, medical evaluations, etc. We then attended 25 hours of training. This takes commitment. We had other obligations that we had to miss in order to get all of the training done. Then we had several home study evaluation meetings. It was a long process but one we completed in 6 months.
Caring for traumatized children is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. I have had to be proactive and pushy at times to make sure the children were given the best chance possible. I have struggled with whether this is something our family has the ability to do or not. Caring for the children is hard work physically and emotionally.
People always ask how we do it without getting too attached to the children. We do get attached. But, it is not about us. It is about the children getting the best possible care. Our hearts are broken when the children leave but we pray that we did our very best to love and care for them in their greatest time of need.
So let me urge you to seek the Lord and begin the journey to become a foster parent if He leads you to do so. There are many children in need today.
At 4:00 this afternoon, we welcomed a baby boy into our home and hearts. He is four days old, 6 pounds, and perfect in every way.
Saturday evening, we received the call from DFACS requesting we care for a newborn in need of a home. Jonathan and I had been praying for the next child that God would give us to foster and we both felt it was His plan for us to accept.
Most of Sunday afternoon and evening was spent gathering supplies (thanks to all of you who contributed) and preparing the room for a newborn.
The baby was not given a name so we are going to call him Jase (we had to stick with the J theme). We have held him, fed him and stared at him all evening. So far, so good.
Pray for us as we love and bond with this precious baby. His future is unknown to us, but our Lord knows the plans He has for him. More importantly, pray that he will grow healthy and strong and live the abundant life that Jesus gives (John 10:10).
I sure wish I could post pictures but it is against the rules to do so.
I’ll update you later in the week.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired and that no matter what you do, it’s not enough? Do you feel that you’ll never measure up?
I chat with women regularly and have come to discover that a majority of them struggle with some type of anxiety or depression. And I think it stems from a constant feeling that we can’t meet everyone’s (or our own) expectations of us.
And it is even easier today than ever before to feel discouraged. It just takes a quick scroll though your smart phone to see that your kids weren’t dressed as cute and didn’t have the perfect, holiday themed snack for the school festivities.
In the old days (I’m talking ten years ago here), you would have to buy a crafty magazine and search for cute projects to do at home. Now, we are bombarded by these images through Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Here are some things I have done to lessen my anxiety.
- I only look at Pinterest when I need advice for cleaning, cooking or a decorating idea. There are too many cute things that I see and I will never have the time or skills to do most of them.
- I have bought into the truth that I am complete in Christ. My self-worth does not come from my actions or my achievements or how cute my kids look.
- I see a counselor on a monthly basis. Seriously. She is a good friend and she helps me navigate through my thoughts and points me toward the truth.
- I am in a small group where the focus is the word of God and we are authentic and open with each other. This helps me realize that most women struggle with exactly what I am dealing with.
- There are also periods when I take a social media break.
But today is a good day and I am going to like and favorite all of the pictures of your cute kids and creative projects. I am genuinely impressed and I enjoy seeing your posts.
13 You are the one
who put me together
inside my mother’s body,
14 and I praise you
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt. Psalm 139:13-14
Yesterday I got to do one of my favorite things in the world.
Years ago, a coworker and I began Kids for Christ (KFC) at Grayson ES. I was teaching second grade at the time and my older children were students at the school. We were delighted to have around 50 kids each week at our before-school program.
Two years ago, the folks at Good News Club contacted Graystone about being the sponsor church for the club at Grayson ES. We immediately agreed and decided to change the format of KFC at Grayson into a Good News Club. It has been an amazing experience and we are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing in this public school in our community.
I arrived at the school as the club members (77 children) were having their snacks. I looked around and saw very dedicated adult volunteers engaging in meaningful conversation with the children. I enjoyed the prayer time and music and then I got to teach the children about how God rescues us today, just like he did the people of Israel thousands of years ago.
This is the Good News. Through Jesus we are rescued from our sin and separation from God.
I asked the children who they knew that needed to hear the Good News of Christ. Their responses were precious and heartfelt.
- my dad
- my neighbor
- my friend in my class
- my whole family
Then we prayed and invited the kids that needed someone to talk to meet us at the back of the class. We had about 15 kids join us in the back and I got to talk with 3 of them. Here is what happened.
- This first grade child, with tears in his eyes, shared that he had a Lego problem and was always losing them and was very sad about it. I prayed with him and asked the Lord to help him with his memory but also to remember not to place too much important on material things.
- A fifth grade boy wanted to ask God to forgive him for making fun of a classmate that day. We prayed and claimed 1 John 1:9 that when we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive us.
- The highlight of the afternoon is when an 8-year-old boy told me that he was ready to receive Christ into his life. We talked about what that meant and he repeated a simple prayer with me. And just for fun, he told me his birthday is February 7th, which happens to be mine! Isn’t God amazing?
Leaving the school, I thanked God for the opportunity to teach the children and praised Him for His presence at the school. What a privilege it is to share His Good News!
Ever had a play-date gone bad?
Most of us moms like to connect with each other and we all have grandiose visions of being able to have meaningful adult conversation while our children play. Can it happen? Sure. Does it always? No.
Yesterday, Jessie and I planned to meet friends at the park to ride bikes and play. She was super excited. Within the first 10 minutes though, it was obvious she was not going to play nicely. So we spent time in the bathroom for some discipline and she had a few “talking tos” but it still wasn’t happening.
My friend and I got a few words in and I was glad to get to catch up, but was so frustrated by my child’s behavior. We packed up after about 45 minutes and in the car I shared with my 4 year old how her behavior was unacceptable.
About 45 minutes later, she came to me and said sorry. I asked her what for and she said , “for making bad choices.”
Hmm. Those were the very words that were taught in her lesson on Sunday at church. The woman that washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and perfume had made many, many bad choices but Jesus forgave her.
I am thankful that we have a church that backs up what we are teaching at home and that encourages my children to follow Jesus.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7
Another aspect to facing a new year is what I like to call “rebooting”. There are many things that I got slack on by the end of 2012 and it is time to get back in gear. Here is my top 5.
- The calendar. I spent an hour the other night getting all of our dates into my calendar. It actually syncs to my phone, too (how cool is that?) so now I can know for sure what each week looks like. My memory is not what it used to be.
- The pantry. It is high-time to eat healthier and get rid of the junk.
- The phones. My kids are supposed to leave their phones in the kitchen at night in order for them to get uninterrupted sleep. I just had to remind them of it and they are not complaining.
- The money. I need to get back on track and not overspend. I ask myself the question, “Is this something we need or something we want?” This really helps cut out unnecessary purchases.
- The devotional life. I need to carve out time each day for my bible reading. I recommitted Sunday to taking my spiritual growth more seriously.
There are many other areas of my life to tackle but I like to keep the lists short so I do not get overwhelmed.
Jonathan is teaching Sunday on getting the family back in order. Looking forward to learning from his message.
There is something about a New Year that gets me in the mood to purge. Maybe the fact that I couldn’t close my dresser drawers also pushed me to do so.
As I cleaned out my dresser yesterday, I began thinking about how healthy it is to get rid of unnecessary things that clog up my life. I also started to think there are many things we all need to purge in order to have a healthier, more efficient and happier 2013. Here’s my list:
- Get rid of any clothes you have not worn in a year. Try not attach sentimental value to clothing. If you haven’t worn it in a year you will never wear it. Donate it to someone who would love to have it. No one needs 100 t-shirts.
- Eliminate all the excuses and commit to knowing God. Start a bible reading plan (youversion.com) and join a small group. Make church involvement a priority.
- Evaluate your marriage. It is the most important relationship (besides Jesus) and you need to make sure there is nothing or no one that is interfering with it. I hear of way too many affairs each year. God wants you to remain faithful to your spouse emotionally and physically. Delete any FB friends that would interfere with your marriage. Don’t even allow yourself to form a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. Be on guard!
- Delete friends. Do you have toxic people in your life? You know what I mean. People who are always creating drama or leading you back into your old ways before you knew Christ? You have two options here. You can sever the relationship with these folks completely or you can learn how to manage it to where you are not affected by their behavior. Either way, it is one of the keys to a healthy emotional life. Sometimes it takes a few visits with a Christian counselor to help you figure out how to do this. Take that step if you need to.
- Forgive yourself. You are not perfect and never will be. Move on from past mistakes and failures and learn to see yourself how God does. You are dearly loved, forgiven, adopted and chosen by Him.
- Quit watching the news. Ok, I know some of you out there are thinking I am a complete moron right now but I am serious. I have an iPhone app that I read each day that gives me the latest news that I should keep up with. But I have found that when I watch too much news, whether local or national, I get all worried and fearful. My eyes should be fixed on eternal things and not earthly…and I have found that most of the news on TV gives me information that I can not control or fix anyway, so I don’t need to spend my time thinking about it.
- Stop stressing and find a hobby. Five years ago, I took up tennis. I have enjoyed the friendships and the competition that have come from playing.
I think I could go on and on but this is enough for today. I am thinking through the list and deciding just what I need to purge this year. I am already feeling lighter!
7 But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. 8 Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ 9 and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. 10 All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, 11 so that somehow I also may be raised to life. Philippians 3:7-11
This afternoon we said good-bye to our two foster children who are now reunited with their mother. It is a bittersweet time for us. We are happy for the boys and their mom and pray that they will enjoy their time together. We are sad because we know that in all likely hood we will never see them again.
The house seems very quiet.
As I sit and reflect on our time with the boys, I am OVERWHELMED by the outpouring of love, prayers and “help” we received from so many of you. They boys probably loved church more than anything we did with them. Every morning when we dressed, they would ask where we were going. When I would respond with school, they would say, “How about church?”. We truly appreciate those of you that loved on them in the classes at church. You have imprinted on their hearts that church is a place of love, kindness and happiness.
I gave their mom a New Testament Bible, and a storybook bible for the boys. Maybe the reason that they lived at our house for these 9 weeks was in order for all of them to find Jesus.
I will blog more about all of this another day, but for now I will enjoy some down-time. Love to you all.
I hate to admit it but I am a control freak. I like things to happen how I think they should. I will be persistent (and relentless at times), to see that something is accomplished.
So if you want something to get done, I am the person to ask to do it.
The problem that I run into, though, is that often the people or situations around me are not in my control. I will try even harder to orchestrate my plan and use my best persuasion techniques, but I still am up against a brick wall.
Over and over, God has used these times to remind me that only He is in control.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
We have two little boys living with us that require lots of love and attention. We do not know their future. It is out of my control. The Lord knew the very day that they would enter into our lives and he knows the day they will return home. When I truly surrender to His loving plan, I can rest in the promise that He knows what is best.
So what are you trying to control? Take it from me, turn it over to the Lord.
3 The Lord gives perfect peace
to those whose faith is firm.
4 So always trust the Lord
because he is forever
our mighty rock.
There are many things that we want less of in our lives. Less stress, less debt, less “drama” and less pain. In my bible study this morning, I read about God’s people and their time wandering through the wilderness. They complained. They rebelled. They grew weary. But God was trying to teach them something.
2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. Deuteronomy 8
So the trials and hardships that we experience are for a reason. God wants to do a great work in us and sometimes it is the low time in our lives that results in our greatest treasures.
With this in mind, I feel like the Lord is wanting me to choose “less”. He is saying,
- Spend less time complaining about your problems.
- Worry less about what people think about you.
- Hoard less of your resources but choose to be a blessing to others.
- Blame less things on people and see that I can work anything for my good.
- Waste less time focusing on your past failures… you are forgiven!
- Concentrate less on meeting your own needs and let Me provide for you.
Realizing each day how much I need Him….and feeling so blessed to know He is always there.
8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31