Tuesday, March 29, 2011

God's Will vs. Free Will

I have been battling with what God's will is and if his will happens here on earth.  In regards to our adoption journey and seeing kids returned to unhealthy and or potentially abusive homes it is hard to believe that these things are God's will.  On Sunday at church our pastor said something that made everything make sense.  He was talking about the Lord's Prayer and how the phrase "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" means that God's will does NOT happen all the time.  God tells us to pray for it to happen.  This makes everything make sense because it explains why bad things happen that we don't understand.  When Eve and Adam ate the fruit in the garden they chose free will over God's will.  In heaven it will be God's will.  In heaven we won't have all of these questions because God's will will reign.  But for now we live in a world of free will.  In this world bad things will happen and it will be very very sad.  But we can pray.  Prayer changes free will, prayer brings on God's will.  So every day I will pray and pray some more.  I will hope that our foster son won't fall into free will's hands.  But if he does, I won't be mad at God.  I know it's not His will.  He loves him even more than I do and He will go with him and protect him. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Weekend

Have a great weekend everyone!! 

I will not be near a computer this weekend so I will be back on Monday with more to share :) 

Take some time this weekend to seek out your own cozy place to talk to and listen to God.  :)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where does my hope come from?

I lift my eyes up
To the heavens
Where does my hope come from?
My hope comes from You
Maker of heaven
Creator of the earth.

Oh how I need you Lord
You are my only hope
You're my only prayer

And I will wait for you
To come and rescue me
Come and fill me up.

I lift my eyes up
Up to the heavens
Where does my help come from?

Today is our foster son's first visit with his birthmom since being placed with us.  I remember this feeling from when we had our last foster child.  It's a sad, sort of empty feeling.  I miss him.  It's also a reminder that he is not our's.  He's God's.  I don't know if this story of his is going to have a happy ending or not but I know God has him here for now.  I will be honest that I am struggling to keep an open hand, to trust God to do what is best for him.  Today is hard, tomorrow will be better.  The song I copied above will continue to flow through my mind over the next 81 days, reminding me where my hope comes from.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Mom's Variation of 1 Corinthians 13

Today at MOPS our mentor mom shared this story.  I hope it inspires you moms out there that love is the most important characteristic of a good mom. 

"If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper-- not a homemaker.  If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorating, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness-- not godliness.  If I talk to my children about what is right and what is wrong, but have not love, I am like a ringing doorbell or pots and pans banging in the kitchen.  And though I know what stages they will go through, and understand their growing pains, and can answer all their questions about life, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give up the fulfillment of a career to make my children's lives better, and stay up all night sewing costumes or baking cookies on short notice, but grumble about lack of sleep, I have not love and accomplish nothing.

Love leaves the dust  in search of a child's laugh.

Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, and then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection.  Now I glory in God's perfection of my child's heart.

As for home-baked bread, it will be consumed and forgotten; as for spotless floors, they will soon gather dust and heel marks.  And as for children-- well, right now toys, friends and food are all important to them.   But when they grow up, it will have been how they were loved that will determine how they love others.

As a mother, there is much I must teach my child about faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Looking Forward

Over the weekend, here in the States, we had our time change.  Spring forward, all clocks had to get moved up one hour.  I am one of those annoying people who for the next two days says comments about if it was the previous time I would be doing this or that.  It's hard to adjust to the new time because your body and your mind are still stuck in the last time zone. 

It's so easy to get stuck in the past.  Memories are strong and can control how we think about things.  I think it is healthy to remember the past but unhealthy to allow our past to negatively influence our present.  People love New Years Day because it feels like a fresh start.  But we can have a fresh start any day of the year.  It just takes a conscious decision to leave the negative behind and focus on the future. 

Isaiah 43:19 says, "Behold I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive {and} know it {and} will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

God wants to do a NEW thing in our life today!  Let's stop looking back and look forward to what He has in store for us!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I am feeling low on inspiration today so I am just going to leave you with one of my favorite verses. 

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

I love that last line.  He rejoices over us with singing! All of us!  Take a moment today and find your cozy place where you can draw close to God.  Thank Him for rejoicing over you the way a proud parent rejoices over their child.  He loves me.  He loves all of us.  Such a great thing to remember.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can You Keep A Secret?

Lately I have been noticing a common theme in my reading and studying.  It is not about what people see you do, it is about what God sees you do, and the heart he sees you do it with.  That probably confused you more.  Here is a verse that explains what I am talking about:

Matthew 23:5-7 "Everything [the Pharisees] do is done for men to see:  they make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them "Rabbi."

God cares that we do good things.  He cares that we help others, that we support missionary work, that we work in the daycares at church, that we feed the homeless, that we tithe regularly, that we volunteer at church and in non-profits.  He loves that we do these things.  But...you knew there was a 'but' coming.  But, the most important thing is that we do these things with a pure heart.  If you are "serving" to gain people's admiration, you are not serving God, you are serving yourself.  It's always, always, important to check your heart to see why you are doing what you are doing.  God will not honor selfish service. 

The best way to figure out if you have a pure heart in your actions is to ask yourself, "If nobody in the world knew I was doing this service and I never recieved a compliment, would I still do it?"  If your answer is yes, than you are serving God.   Some of the most fun ways to serve God are in secret.  Providing anonymous funding for a high school student to go to youth camp, or dropping off a bag of groceries at a friends house who you know is struggling financially.  These serving secrets are between you and God and he LOVES them!   Watch your relationship with Him grow like crazy when you start serving in secret. 

I don't want to take away from all the awesome ways people serve in a visible way, because with a pure heart those people are honoring God in amazing ways!  But I challenge you to this week think of a way you can serve someone in secret.  I can guarantee if you do it once, you will want to do it again and again!

Can you keep a secret?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Seeking Peace

Sometimes in life we have to make decisions that are confusing.  I know I'm not the only one that has looked at two perfectly viable options and questioned which one was God's will.  It doesn't have to be something life changing, it could be something as simple as which house should I buy/rent?   We are in that predicament right now.  Does God care which house we move into?  I think he does.  A house isn't just a house, its a neighborhood and relationships to be formed.  I think in God's plans he guides us towards the people that he wants us to encourage or be encouraged by.  Every decision requires a weighing of pros and cons and a heart searching for God's will.

I don't remember who it was who told me this (probably my very wise mom) but in the past when I had tough decisions to make I was told to FOLLOW THE PEACE.  When something is God's will it is will be surrounded in peace.  When you don't have a peace about something it is probably that you are trying to twist something to be what you want it to be instead of what God wants it to be.  God gives peace.  He doesn't give confusion and frustration.  Where you find peace you will find God. 

Psalm 34:14b says, "Seek peace and Pursue it."   Peace is God's will for us in searching out what He wants for our lives!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just Talkin'

A couple mornings ago I went in to check on my daughter to see if she was awake.  As I got closer I could hear her talking.  When I opened the door I heard her say "Amen."  I went in and sat on her bed and asked her if she was praying to God.  She said, "Mom, him and I were just talkin'."  The way she said that stuck with me the rest of the day.  I think sometimes prayer can feel like such a formal thing.  You know, bow the head and close the eyes and deeply focus on what you want to say.  But sometimes prayer should be "just talkin."  Just sharing what is on our minds, sharing our thoughts, desires and dreams.  Just building a deeper friendship and/or relationship with Jesus. 

I am so glad my daughter knows she can talk to Jesus like that.  When's the last time you and Jesus spent some time "just talkin?"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Master Plan

In my life the verse that has come up the most often is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future."  It has come up so often that I have to believe that it's a message God really wants me to hear.

In light of what is going on with our fost-adoption process, I have been mulling over what God's plans are for my life.  He has a Master Plan for each person.  Plans are important, without them nothing would get done and life would be very messy.  When I was a teacher I did lesson plans.  I knew what I was going to teach and every step of what we would get through.  Sometimes things didn't got the way I hoped and there were disruptions to the plan but eventually I would get through with the lessons and the plans would be completed. 

I think God has a Master Plan for our lives.  He says in the verse above that he has plans for us.  He declares it!  His plans are for good and not for harm, to give us hope and a great future.  Sometimes I think the sin in our world and our lives can disrupt the plans that He has.  It can cause bumps and tumbles and delays.  But in the end, his plans are always accomplished if we seek Him, love Him, and walk in the paths that He puts before us. 

As long as I hold tight in my heart the fact that His plans are GOOD, then I can fight through the obstacles life throws at me, to see the light of the reward that will greet me in the end. 

We have decided to go ahead and continue to foster the 16 month old I wrote about yesterday until the next court hearing in June.  We have to trust that God brought him into our life for a reason and his Master Plans are good for him and for us. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday and More

Hi friends,
Well, I grew up in the Nazarene Church and participating in Lent was a big part of my faith growing up.  I always looked forward to the challenge of giving something up to help me keep my focus more on my Lord. 

This year I have decided to participate again but in a different way.  My goal is to blog every single day for 40 days about what God is teaching me.  It's going to take some sacrafice (time, mostly) to do this but I am at a point in my walk with God that I need to re-focus.  I need to get my eyes back on Him so that I can grasp what He is doing in my life.

We have had a very rough week.  Let me back up.  About three weeks ago we got THE CALL that we had been waiting for.  We had been matched with a child that was potentially available for adoption.  It was a 15 month old boy.  We went in for Full Disclosure to learn everything about the case and came out with a two visits planned for that weekend.  A hearing was set for March 8th which was hopefully (for us) going to terminate the birthmom's services so that the termination of rights hearing would be set.  We continued on having two more extended weekend visits with him coming to stay with us.  It was amazing.  This little boy was all we had dreamed of, such a sweetheart and actually looked like he could have been biological siblings with our daughter.  We had so much hope, so much faith, so many people praying for us. 

Let me back up a little farther... last year we had a foster adopt son, about the same age, that we had for four months and then was reunifed with his birthfamily.  It was devestating but we had hope that God still had a child planned for our family.

And that brings me to yesterday.  We got the worse news we could have recieved.  The court ordered a continuation of services to the birthmom for another 3 months and set a plan for reunification.  We have to say goodbye and the little guy will be leaving us tomorrow most likely.  It has been a devestation beyond anything I have experienced.  Even though it was a short time we fell in love with the little guy.  We don't know why God is doing what He is doing but we are trying, trying so hard to find peace and hope that there is another child out there for us. 

If you have a scripture verse or quote that you think would encourage us in this time, please post it in the comment section below.  I usually come here to encourage others but I could really use the encouragement myself right now. 

See you tomorrow.