Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish all of you kind friends who have been following my blog a very Merry Christmas!!  I pray that you will make memories that last a lifetime, eat good food that has you reaching for stretchy pants, and celebrate Jesus' birthday in a way that brings glory to Him and warmth to your heart!

May God bless you and your family on this amazing Christmas holiday!!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Home For The Holidays

Tonight on CBS at 8:00pm is a show called "A Home for the Holidays."  This show is about foster adoption and shows some true, inspiring stories as well some musical acts.  I look forward to this show every year.  As most of you know, we adopted our daughter a few years ago through the foster system.  We had an amazing experience and God really blessed us.  Our daughter was drug exposed and neglected but God still had a plan for her life.  We got her when she was 6 months old and have been in love with her ever since.  I know many people who say that they have considered adoption but then always shy away for one reason or another.  Fear is the main reason I've found.  Of course there is fear involved in taking the chance to love and lose a child but is it any different when you give birth to a baby?  You still have the fear of losing them as well, just to different circumstances.  But every child is God's and lives in God's perfect will.  I encourage every one to consider adopting!  These children need us and we need them.  Many blessing to everyone this holiday season as you spend time with your loved ones.  But take a second to think of a child who is living in your area and is waiting for a mom or dad.  Pray for them. 

James 1:27 says that looking after orphans is what our Father in heaven considers pure and faultless. 

Dear Jesus, there are so many children in this world that are waiting for a mom and dad, for a forever family.  Please stir the hearts of your followers to provide homes for these amazing kids.  Please be with the children and provide them with all of their needs this Christmas.  Lord, thank you for adopting me into your kingdom. Show me how to use my heart for adoption for Your glory!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grateful in the Midst

It is on these cold, rainy, winter days when our minds starts to wander to the things we wish we could be doing if the sun was only shining.  Yet, when the sun is shining, it is rare that we actually do those spontaneous activities that we dreamt about.  We need to make an effort to see the good in every situation that God places us in.  Sometimes it may feel like we are the most lonely person, or least successful, or even the one God forgot about, but it is not true.  There is always someone out there who has it worse than we do.  God didn't put us on this earth to feel sorry for ourselves but to live each and every day to the fullest, with Him by our side.  He has given us so much to be grateful for and it is only right that we thank Him with our hearts and our minds and our attitudes each and every day.  In Psalm 31: 23-24 David tells us how we are to live when he says, "Oh, love the Lord, all you his saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.  Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord."    "Walk in wisdom, redeeming the time." Colosians 4:5  "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colosians 3:17

This day, whether it is cold and bitter outside or warm and bright, take a moment to thank God for placing your right where you are.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Who is God to you today?

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1
"God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble." Psalm 46:1
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, you save me from violence.  I will call upon  the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies." 2 Samuel 22:2-4

The way that we see God reflects very strongly on the way we live our Christian lives.  The adjectives used by David and Samuel in the above verses portray a God without limitations.  God is described as light, salvation, strength, a refuge, a hero, a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, trustworthy, a stronghold, the Savior, and worthy to be praised.  Usually when you give someone a compliment it is after that person has done something to instigate it.  For example, a person you know gives you an encouragement card and you then thank them for being a good friend.  They are considered a friend because of their actions towards you.  When David exclaimed that the Lord is "a present help in time of trouble," it meant that, in some way, God had been there for him when he really needed him.  Each of those praises and compliments that David and Samuel exclaimed were earned by a loving God that they each knew and experienced personally.  Sometimes God may allow you to go through certain experiences that may seem incredibly hard at the time, but through them He is hoping to reveal more of Himself to you.  By experiencing Him in these situations, you become better equiped and ready to call on Him when the next difficult situation rolls around.  You will begin to lean on Him instead of trying to get through it in your own strength.  God desires for us to rely on Him and get our strength, encouragement and motivation from the love that He pours into our lives.  It is important to take time to ponder who God is to you.  In what ways have you seen Him work in your life, and in what ways has he provided for you?  Through each tough circumstance you go through, consider how your view of God changes.  A few years back my mom's sister passed away and I saw my mom's view of God change.  Over those months when my aunt was in chemotherapy, the Lord became a stronghold to my mom.  He brought peace to her heart in a way no one else could do.  God gave my mom the strength to be selfless and encouraging when she was with my aunt in the hospital, and then He comforted her when she wept and mourned in His arms for the loss of her beloved sister.  Does my mom wish she didn't have to go through that hard time? Of course, but she is incredibly thankful for the Lord's support and she now has a new perspective on who God is because of what he did for her.  God reveals himself to us through how he cares for us in the midst of our crazy lives.  Today he may be God..the comforter and tomorrow he may be God the ...challenger.  Who is God to you today??

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Full Life

I have been sick the past 11 days.  It has not been fun.  I don't get sick too often, it's probably been a few years since I have had a cold knock me out like this one did.  I'm feeling better today so that is good.  In my foggy-headed state, I haven't had much interest in reading my bible or praying (beyond healing prayers), so my blog has taken a backseat this week.  Sorry.

Yesterday I laid on the couch and watched the movie "Eat, Pray, Love."  I knew going into it that I had some reservations.  I am really not interested in that buddha loving, meditation, earth-loving stuff.  But I am into travel.  I LOVE to travel!  And this movie took me on a visual journey through Italy, India, and Bali.   Seeing the world makes me stand in awe of God, of all that He has created and how incredibly creative He is!  Our God is so big.  It's easy to forget when you spend all your time in your small home or community.  The woman in the movie took a journey to these three countries for one year.  She came away with a feeling of fullness when it came to her life.  The movie makes it's own insinuations but I argue to say that being with people, meeting their needs, and sharing in life is what brought her fulfillment. 

God knows best what we need for a full life. John 10:10 says, "I  have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  He is our fullness... He fills us with his Holy Spirit and enables us to live out his will for our life!  The key to a full life is a life filled with Christ.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa or Jesus?

As a parent I have noticed quite the division between Christians regarding Jesus or Santa at Christmastime.  I kind of understand both sides, and it is definitely a family's personal choice.  But I guess my thought is why does it have to be an either/or argument.  Why can't we enjoy Santa and celebrate Jesus at Christmas.  To me, Santa Claus is a fun fantasy.  Yes, I know it is based on the legend of good ole St. Nick.  But in our day and time, it is just a really fun story that has been passed on for years.  I think it is important for kids to engage in fantasy.  It encourages their imagination and strengthens their innocence.  And most importantly, because it is FUN!  We are doing the whole Elf on the Shelf thing again this year and my daughter wakes up everyday with delight trying to find her elf, Baxter.  I think deep down she knows that the elf is just a toy but her innocent faith allows her to enjoy the tradition. 

Don't get me wrong here, I have no desire to make Christmas all about greed and presents and selfishness either.  I want my children to understand the true Christmas Story and celebrate Jesus' birthday too!  We blend it all together.  Hailey's favorite decoration is her Little People Nativity, she sings both christian and secular carols, and we read both christian and secular Christmas books.

I don't know many Christian adults whose faith was hurt by believing in Santa as a child, do you?  :)   The point is that you have to do what you feel is right for your family.  For us Santa is okay.  For others it may not be.  However you do it, hope you are having an awesome Christmas season!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Open Hand Parenting

If there is one thing I have learned this year, it is that God wants me to parent with an open hand.  Some of you know this and some of you don't but this year we took in a foster son that we were hoping to adopt.  We have been working through our County the past year and a half to get certified to foster adopt and back in May we were put on the matching list.  We got our foster son AJ in July.  He was a high risk case in that there was about a 50% chance of him being reunified with his birthfamily.  We took the chance while maintaining an open hand to God with AJ in our palm.  I believed that God placed AJ in our care for a reason and I needed to hold him up to God to either be kept with us or to move on.  I decided to trust God for his care rather than holding on to him so tightly and not letting God have control.  We had AJ for four months before he was reunified.  I'd be lying if I said it was easy to let him go but it definitely was easier than it would have been if I'd held on too tight.  God has a plan for AJ's life and it was not to be in our forever family.  But that doesn't change God's goodness or faithfulness. 

There are many people I know who say that they could never do foster adoption because the risk is so scary that the child could be removed from their home after they have bonded.  But isn't the risk just as real with naturally born children?  A child could get sick and die of a disease and be gone but I don't think any parent would wish they had not had the child even though they couldn't keep him forever.  You are just thankful for the time you had with them, cherish every memory, and pray for them always. 

We have to hold our children with open hands to God.  They are His after all.  He has entrusted them into our care for a specific amount of time, whether that be 4 months or 40 years.  We are to care for them and love them with all the strength that we have but when God says it is time, we have to trust them into His care.  In the Bible, Abraham is one of the best examples of holding a child with an open hand.  He had waited all those years for the son that God promised and then when he was finally able to rejoice in seeing God fulfill the prophecy, God asks him to go up to the mountain to sacrafice his son.  In the end, God didn't actually require Abraham to do this but he was just testing his faith to see if he would follow God at all costs.  He passed the test.(Hebrews 11:11, 17)

Let's keep our children in open hands to God, taking care of their needs but always trusting God with their futures.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Mom, He died?"

A few weeks ago I was in my bathroom putting my makeup on when my four year old daughter came into the room.  She said to me, "Mom, He died? Why did He have to die?"  I was a little confused at first and asked her, "Who died sweetie?"  She said, "Jesus."   For whatever reason, that morning it hit her.  He died.  She was sad, really sad, and there were tears in her eyes as she looked to me with one of the most important questions swimming in her mind.  "Why did Jesus have to die?" 

Wow.  I was taken aback.  When was the last time it really hit me that He died for me?  When was the last time that I felt the weight of the sacrafice that He made for my salvation.  I honestly don't think about it enough.  My daughter has proclaimed love for Jesus since she was three but it wasn't until that morning when the two of us sat on the floor of my bathroom and talked that she finally understood WHY we love Jesus.  We love Him because He first loved us.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:6-8

Jesus was not born to live on that night in Bethlehem, he had a greater purpose... He was born to die.  For you.  For me.  For every person alive then and now.  He died for us.  He gave his life so that we might be saved from a life without Him. 

My four year old is only beginning to understand the depth of her question, but I am so thankful for her reminder. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Home is where the hurt is

I've been thinking about it lately.   How come we give the best of ourselves to strangers and the least of ourselves to our family?  We get so comfortable with our spouse and our kids that our defenses come down and our "true" selves come out.  We yell at each other, we whine and complain, we gossip, and we are more selfish.  But to that lady at Target who rings up our order we give a warm smile and cheerful "how are you today?" 

I'm not saying we should be rude to the Target lady and nice to our family.  There should just be more of a balance.  We should be offering up our kindness and love and compassion to the one's in our home as well as the one's we encounter outside our home. 

Philipians 4:8 gives a good guideline on how we should act towards our family.  It says "  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things."

Imagine a home filled with truth, nobility, justness, purity, love, goodness and praise!  It is definitely worth trying to attain to for the benefit of ourselves and our family.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Sorry I was so slack on the blog last week!  With the holidays here, I am finding my days much more busy than usual.  Last week brought some church Christmas parties and some much enjoyed family time.  It seems like in life I am either busy or bored.  There are very rare moments that I am neither.  So then it is important to be intentional with my time.  Finding my cozy place each day to spend time with God becomes imperative to keep my focus on Him.  This past weekend my time with Him was limited to prayers said in my heart as I hurried from one place to the next.  But today I was able to take more time.  I woke up this morning with a heavy heart full of desires, needs, and doubts that I needed to hand over to my Heavenly Father.  So I packed my daughter up into the car and we took a drive down to San Diego.  It's about an hour away and it's a beautiful drive.  I put some soft Christmas music on and found my cozy place right there in my car as I poured out my heart to God.  We have a lot going on right now, a lot of things that are up in the air and could mean change.  Now, especially, I feel like God needs to be at the forefront of my mind.  My desires can so easily get in the way.  I feel so refreshed now, full of faith that God will work out all the details.  The main thing I got from the time is willingness.  I feel like God wants me to be willing.  Willing to go, willing to stay, willing to trust Him, willing to let go of my fears.  Willing. 

Is there something that you can think of that God wants you to be Willing to do?  It doesn't mean it is or isn't going to happen, just a willingness for it to be if it's God's will.  Find your cozy place and pray about this question. 

Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Step of Faith

It is amazing how much our entire lives rest in the balance of our experiences in our first few years of life.  The amount that we are held as a child, the way our parents treated us, and the memories that were made became buried deep in our subconscious to be brought to the surface at the slightest incident.  As human beings, we are very fragile.  Many of us, over years of hurt and neglect, build up walls to protect ourselves from the world, but it never completely works.  We may shut out a few bad people, but in the long run we also shut out the good onees who want to encourage and love us as well.  It is hard to open up and be vulnerable with others because we have been hurt so much in the past.  To take the step to trust in someone as fallible as we know ourselves to be is incredibly difficult.  But it is a risk we need to take.

As as Christian, we cannot expect to experience a close, intimate fellowship with God unless we experience close, intimate fellowship with the people in our lives.  When Jesus Christ went to the cross to die for our sins He took the ultimate step of vulnerability in His relationship with us.  He essentially said, "I love you  and I am willing to do whatever it takes to show you how much."  He risked our rejection in His desire to be close to us.  But aren't you so incredibly glad that He did?!  He chose the joy of being intimate with those of us who choose to love and accept Him, at the cost of the humiliation that He received on the cross.  He calls us to be like Him, even in this. 

We need to step out, risk rejection, and conquer the fear of what others might think of us and be vulnerable and honest with one another.  The joy of the relationships we will have that are pure and godly are worth all of the effort.  Let's face it, when Christ was on earth, his whole ministry and life revolved around relationships.  And that is our's are to be as well.  Maybe you can think of someone right now that you have been meaning to talk to or ask out for coffee... do it!  That person most likely may be needing a good friend right now as much as you.