Sunday, October 24, 2010
My nephew was at a restaurant with the entire cast from his high school. We are talking a LOT of kids! A man came over and asked the group of kids if anyone was a Jesus Freak (the term comes from a song). In the midst of immense peer pressure, my nephew stood up and said "yes". He was the only one. The guy turned out to be a Youth Pastor and went on to share the Gospel with all of the kids! How cool is that? I pray my kids will have the same courage.So, I'll ask my question again, "would you have said yes?"
Monday, March 22, 2010
I have agonized over this post for a long time. You see, in our society it is preached that you just come to Jesus and He will end all your suffering. Unfortunately, this does not line up with Scripture. Yes, Jesus heals and only He can fill the God-shaped hole we have in our souls, but if our lives were suddenly free from pain and we had all the money we needed and our kids were perfectly obedient...well, then we would have no need for God. Our dependence on God, our complete abandonment to Him is what He desires. Jesus walked the earth and modeled this. If ever there was someone who deserved to be free from pain, have lots of money and no suffering, it would be Jesus. He was God's only son. But, no, He came to this earth and suffered endlessly for all of us. Why should we think our lives would be above His? Why should we who are imperfect deserve more than the One who was perfect?
Jesus said in the Gospels to "consider the cost" of following Him. He does not promise us an easy life, but He does promise to carry us through life's ups and downs. He doesn't promise us treasure on earth, but He does promise us eternal treasures. In fact, we are warned that we will be persecuted and hated because we follow Christ. Do we gloss over verses like these or do we take Jesus seriously?
Three years ago, we were called to adopt. God made it abundantly clear that we were to go down this path. We had been foster parents for many years, so we were not completely ignorant to the trials we would face. It was a time to "consider the cost" - the cost to our family, the cost to our financial situation, the cost to our marriage. As most of you know, we went forward and brought home 2 precious kiddos from Liberia.
When you look at the heart of God, you will see He has a special place for the poor, widows and orphans. Most of us have seen pictures of starving, abandoned children. Our hearts may go out to them, we may even send money. Few people move to the next level and actually choose to change a child's life forever. The truth of the matter is that it is HARD. Your life will be turned upside down. You will deal with attachment issues, abandonment issues and birth mom issues. Your child/children will throw fits unlike any you have ever seen. They will do all sorts of things to distance themselves from the adoptive mom, because they are afraid to trust. Sometimes, I want to say to prospective adoptive couples, "Are you willing to do the hard things?" In essence, they need to consider the cost, for it shall be great.
The good news is that it is worth it! Just like our relationship with Christ is worth whatever we have to endure this side of Heaven, adoption is worth the cost. I get the privilege of seeing a life transformed right before my eyes. After yet another tantrum, I get to hold a precious child and lovingly reassure him/her that I will never leave no matter how naughty he/she might act. I get to emulate Jesus' love to my children - His unconditional, never giving up kind of love. I get to see signs of trust being built and a heart softened for the Lord.
Do we want comfort in this life or do we want Christ? Are we willing to live boldly for the One who will defend us from Hell? Are we willing to do the hard things to reap a closer relationship with our Maker? He was willing to do them for us!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Calling all adoptive moms, I need HELP! It seems that all of my parenting techniques do not work with one of my adopted kids. We went to Wal-mart this morning. All was well until we hit the checkout. I didn't comply with the request for candy. Everyone in the store witnessed one of the worst meltdowns I have yet to be a part of. A stern voice and threats didn't even phase him. I left Wal-mart half carrying him on the cart, half trying to restrain him as he was hitting me, kicking and pulling at my clothing. We get to the van and then he refuses to let the door shut. We had a power struggle for 10 minutes before I finally was able to get him to shut the door! Then, as I was driving to pick up another child from school, he unbuckled himself and tried to open the door again!!! I need practical, step-by-step advice on what to do.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Before Christmas, God made it clear to me that I was supposed to step out of my comfort zone and be used by Him to raise money to get the Gospel in the hands of the kids at Rapha school. All of the children at Rapha come from impoverished living conditions. They are children who really want to better themselves, but don't have the means to do so. Out of 300 children who regularly attend, only 50-some have sponsors. The school feeds all of the kids when they can - physically. Spiritually, they are constantly being fed through loving, Christian teachers and a discipler. The challenge is, the teachers have very limited resources. To own a book is a precious and rare thing.
Well, thanks to some very generous people(YOU), the kids at Rapha now have their very own Gospel Book! Enough money was raised to give books to ALL of the kids. The teachers and disipler have been going through them with the kids. The older 2 grades have even been challenged to completely understand what Jesus is inviting them to do. The children who best comprehend will be awarded a "sweet". In other words, they will get a piece of candy. Talk about motivation!!
These sweet children now have something to take back and share with their families. Please pray that all of them would find hope - the living hope of Jesus! Thanks again for being part of the Great Commission!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
It is finally starting to warm up a little bit here. The weather was such that we were able to take the scooters out for a spin around the block. Two skinned knees and a sore thumb were the result; nothing a few bandaids and a handful of kisses couldn't cure. Oh, how I wish bandaids and kisses could always fix lifes boo-boos!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
About 3 years ago, I lost my mind and bought Dale a ferret for Christmas. I was attempting to love sacrificially. Trust me, it was a sacrifice to allow this thing in my house. The agreement was that dear hubby would provide all care for said pet. In short, I would never have to touch it. What I wasn't prepared for was the great amount of love the kids would have for this ferret. They carry it around like a stuffed animal, putting it in a doll stroller for walks and even sharing their snacks with it. Actually, the rat(oops, I mean ferret) has turned out to be a really good pet - if you can get beyond the odor!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Two years ago I was packing a suitcase in preparation to head to Liberia. Only a little paperwork was left and soon I would be holding my son. The next 2 weeks proved to be volatile. I didn't know what was happening from one minute to the next. In the end, though, I had my son.
He entered the room with his eyes to the ground. Dale offered him his hand and he willingly took it. After that, he only wanted Dale. My son knew his father was "safe". Dale is gentle, attentive, fun and protective. He is an easy man to trust. I don't think my baby boy has ever once questioned his father's love. He has felt it with the first grasp of his hand.
Then, there is my relationship with my boy. You see, he was left by his birth-mother at an orphanage. She was doing the most loving thing she could for him, but his little mind cannot comprehend this. She dropped him off and made a promise - one she could not keep. She said she would be back for him. A year later, my baby boy was still in the orphanage...waiting. He believed his mother would keep her word, despite the jeers of the other kids. And then the long awaited day comes, his mother has arrived. Only, I was not the mother he was expecting.
Our first weeks together were quite trying. He did not want my love or really anything to do with me. I had been forewarned to expect this kind of behavior, so I was not surprised. I continued to love and hold despite his resistance. Slowly, he started to want to sit on my lap or have me carry him. As soon as he would feel himself starting to attach to me, though, he would throw a fit. Crossing the line of actually caring for me is scary. To do so would give me the power to hurt him like he has been hurt before. I could leave, just like his birth-mom did.
Last week I did a road trip with my sister. Just the 2 of us went to see our cousins in Alabama. I was gone a total of 6 days. My welcome home was full of hugs, stories, notes and messy kisses. The fanfare was nothing less than what royalty receives. Then...there was the next day. I can't even remember what caused the meltdown. It usually isn't much, but it escalated to the point where my boy slapped me as hard as he could across my face. I went to grab him to put him in his room until I could think of a fitting punishment, plus I needed time to cool down. As I picked him up, he started screaming,"Don't touch me!" In adoption lingo, this means "touch me".
I wrapped my arms around him tightly (my legs too:))He tried to break free from my clutches for a few minutes. And then it happened, he melted. Instead of fighting me, he started clinging to me with all that is in him. The tears started pouring down his cheeks and in a brokeness I cannot describe he said over and over, "Mommy, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, Mommy." In that moment, I knew he cared. He has reached the point where he loves me as much as any 5year old can, and it is scary to him. I now hold the power to hurt him by leaving. He has given me his heart - the most precious of gifts.
He sat on my lap for a very long time as I assured him that I loved him back. We had a few moments of silence and then I told him that I will never leave him. I said I will always come back to him. He grabbed me as tightly as he could and said, "I love you, too, Mommy!"