Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Parenting on Mission

I have had a couple of questions recently from people about adoption and adopted kids. I am by no means an expert on this subject and I approach the subject very carefully because there are a lot of different views and experiences out there.  I am speaking from my experience, so if you don't agree that's O.K.

Adoption is a blessing to the family that has adopted and to the child that is adopted. God has adopted His children as sons and daughters through Jesus, and that would include me!!! 
 Praise God for adoption. 

That being said, all adoptions on this side of heaven come out of brokenness.  There was a break in the relationship from the birth parents, weather it be from death or abandonment or a decision; for some reason the child can not be with his or her birth parents and for that reason alone there is brokenness.

Ephesians 1:5-6English Standard Version (ESV)

he predestined us[a] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

God refers to us as His children all over the Bible. 
 I  learn a lot from each of my kids, birth and bio, and the relationships we share  and how this can reflect  and teach me what it means to be a child of God.  

The birth of my bio kids teaches me of how loved we are before we can even hold our head up, and how completely dependent we are on our Father for EVERYTHING and how He  created us and loves us like CRAZY  
even before we were formed in our mother's womb.

Psalm 139:13-14English Standard Version (ESV)

For you formed my inward parts;

    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]

Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
When I think about my relationship with God, I have a lot of the same tendencies that look more like my relationship with my adopted kids. 

 When I think of the adoption process and how we sought these kids and we pursued their adoption into our family with intention and effort and perseverance;  this process reminds me of how God pursued me and did all the work and paid the price to bring me into His family.  I could do nothing to earn it or make it happen, just as adopted children can not do anything to make a family seek them and pursue them.  

 I am NOT saying I am the savior of any of my kids AT ALL!!! 

We ALL need a savior, and there is nobody on earth that can be saved apart from Jesus.

 I watch my adopted kids often times struggle with trust in close relationships. 

 They have been hurt and abandon in their lives and it is a constant battle for them to believe that they are loved and wanted and treasured by a family.  They have been hurt and they just expect this hurt will happen to them again, so they put up walls that make it challenging for those close to them.

We go through spells when it is harder than others for my adopted kids to believe that they are truly loved EVERY SINGLE day, not just on days when they feel worthy or are behaving well.  
They have a tendency to think their value and position are conditional.

In comparison, I think of how I have to remind myself EVERY SINGLE DAY of the Gospel, and how GOD'S LOVE IS NEVER FAILING. 
 I  have to make an effort to remind myself and live in the TRUTH of how truly loved I am,
 who's child I am, 
 when I don't feel lovable or act lovable.

 My tendency is to default into acting like I have to earn it or like God is going to change His mind about bringing me into His family. 
 He isn't....He loves me the same every single day.  
His love does not change based on my feelings or actions.

Here is a  small example of what I am saying: adopted kids with trust issues that have been hurt will often ask, 
"Are we having dinner tonight?" 
 This makes me crazy, because dinner is provided every single night, and it is implying that dinner may not be provided all of a sudden.
 It is a lack of trust, and they are sincerely wondering if they will actually get dinner again. 

By comparison bio kids will ask, "What is for dinner?"  
they just expect it and trust that dinner will be provided like it always has been. 

 There is a big difference in these questions and the interaction in these relationships.

  This is how it reminds me of my relationship with God....I will often ask in my heart,
"Will God really continue to provide?  Will He really come through EVERY SINGLE DAY, or will he abandon and reject me one day when He has had enough of me?"  

 God has NEVER let me down.  He has never abandon me and YET I act as if  he can not be trusted.  It is understandable for children who have been abandon in their lives to have major trust issues with flawed people, and we are all flawed.

 So what is my excuse when I have trust issues with a God that has never left me or forsaken me, and never will?  
I am implying that because I have been let down or disappointed by people that God will do the same.  

This is what I need to keep in mind when I am parenting these kids through the struggle of trust.  I need to remember how patient God is with me, and how he continually pursues my heart and loves me and cares for me and is generous and kind, even when I struggle and put up walls and try to push away from Him.  When my kids do this, it is frustrating because it can come out in many different and difficult behaviors, but I need to remember to have a Christ like approach and be patient and kind and generous and continue to pursue their hearts even in the midst, or ESPECIALLY in the midst of the struggle.
I don't always do this well, but I know this is the WAY to love and parent the very best.

I have let my bio and adopted kids down about 100 times a day.  I am not saying I do this parenting of any kid perfect or even well, but I know that me and all my kids have a perfect heavenly Father that we can all look to and turn to for the perfect, generous, kind, and FAITHFUL love and we can all learn and grow from that.  I stand a little taller than my kids (well, most of them) and I can point straight to the PERFECT LOVE OF GOD AND  WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM HIM.

***I feel it is important to share these things because maybe it could help someone else, and I want to encourage others, but I'm also very aware that these kids are precious gifts that God  has graciously blessed our family with, and we must protect them.  So I purposely don't give too much detail because it's not important and I  also waited for a time to post this when things are going smooth, so it didn't turn into a gripe or vent session.

 The smooth road may last an hour or a day or forever, but for right now, 
things are smooth sailing and we are feeling VICTORY in Jesus.***

*Trust me when I say, I am NOT comparing our love as parents to God's love....we fail every single day, BIG TIME... and God will NEVER fail.
 But God teaches me a lot through this mission of parenting.*

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Is Next, God?

We have been consistently and sometimes urgently been praying about something for over 5 years. 
When I say consistently I mean daily.  It's one of those things that's never far from our minds.

 We have learned to give it over to God and have resigned to just asking Him to lead us and show us what He has for us in this area.  Trust me, when I say, early on, we were not resigned to anything.  We would pray, but our prayers consisted of giving God ideas and options.  He was patient with us, but didn't do any of the things we laid out for Him to do our way, but what He did do, is teach us to trust Him.

We have learned to submit our will  to His, and to honestly given it over to the Lord.  
It didn't happen all at has seriously taken 5 years to get to the point that we are our hearts and on this road.

This week, we should have some answers.  We have been on the same road for 5 years and now  we are coming to a bend in the road.  
Knowing that we are nearing the corner, we have decided to set aside some extra time this week and really focus on praying for whatever is next.  
We have prayed that we will follow His lead and that we will recognize God's voice and direction so we don't go off road.  
We have been "off-road" before and it's just unnecessary roughness.

This week during my time with the Lord on this issue, I have asked for a sneak peak as to what is around this bend for us.  
I have asked for this glimpse into the future before, and He hasn't given it to me, but I figured since we are down to the wire, it wouldn't hurt to ask some more.

He still has not told me, but what He has shown me so clearly this week,  is the road that we have already been on. 
 He keeps showing me the ground we've covered vs. showing me what's ahead.

 It plays like little movie clips in my mind, and the theme is clearly how God has been completely faithful in the last 5 years of praying and seeking the Lord on this issue.

He has not only been faithful; He has been generous.

He has provided abundantly.  He has met every single need and beyond,
He has grown us as a family and as individuals. 
 He has given a bit more wisdom and understanding. 
 We have learned to trust Him more.

Here's the thing that stands out to me as I think about how God has been so faithful in every area of our lives, but especially in this area that we have petitioned  before Him for 5 solid years;

 He has not only been faithful and provided along the way, 
He has been generous 

He has been generous to us in His provision, right in the midst of what looks like a hopeless situation.  He has also been generous to us through others and their generosity toward us.  He has even been so extravagant in His provision that He has allowed us to be generous to others and share everything that He has provided.

So even as we are coming to the corner and we don't know what's around the bend, I know He has brought us to this point and no matter what is around the bend I never want to forget what I have learned along the way, what He has done, and that my God can be completely trusted.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When I had Cellie, I was given a fresh reminder of how much God loves me and what it means to be a child of God.

It hit me as I had just delivered Cellie, and
 I loved her fiercely,
  I would have jumped in front of a train for her, from that first moment.

 I knew without a doubt that I would do anything for her and she was mine forever.
  I would do the very best I could to love her well and take care of her every need.

This is how God feels about His children, but
 an ETERNITY longer,
 and PERFECTLY accomplished.

It blows my mind

Cellie did nothing to earn my love. She was simply "born". 
 Actually, what she "earned" was a big fat spanking.  She caused sickness and heartburn and "discomfort" for 9 solid months and THEN she topped it off with the grand finale of birth.

But all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of 
LOVE and JOY!!!

I realized again how I did nothing nothing nothing to deserve or earn the love of God and YET....he LOVES me and calls me His child and He died on a cross for me, so I can be with Him for ETERNITY!  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Celebrating Cellie Joy and Easter 2015

Today our little Cellie Joy is 3 weeks old. 
 The time has FLOWN and been full of JOY!!! 
  Lashae, and Maubry and Shawnie got to come and spend almost 2 weeks with us, celebrating our Cellie Joy and celebrating our risen Savior for Easter.

When Moo and Maubry aren't fighting they are the best of friends.  

 My oldest and youngest.... they are twinsies.  It's funny but they look the most alike.  

  Shawnie and her auntie baby.  :)

Grumpa's job was to rock Shawnie to sleep every night.  They are good rocking buddies.  

 Feeling like one blessed Mama and Nay Nay to have all these together for Easter.

  Easter was especially sweet for me this year. 
I am humbled and overwhelmed by all the blessings God has given to me.

He saved me, which would have been enough, but then He just keeps pouring out His love and blessing on me.

It always amazed me that when God adds to our family, He always GROWS the Love for each one even more.
  In my earthly thinking...I imagine having to spread the love and time a little thinner to include more, but it works the opposite, the more we love the more love we have to give.  Since God is the author of LOVE, it doesn't work like we works according to HIS KINGDOM.
  It grows, it does not spread and MULTIPLIES and GROWS.
Crazy as that seems, it's true. 
 I was thinking even my time would be less for each one, but what happens is a new baby brings everyone together and there's even more time, because we shave off a lot of the extra stuff and are much more intentional about our time and how it is spent.

Psalm 103:17-19English Standard Version (ESV)

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

We spent Good Friday night having dinner and  communion with family and friends.  
Kole led us in a teaching and then communion; it was such a sweet time.

On Sunday our church had  3 incredible worship services and then a huge egg hunt for the kids.

Hauling in the goods from the egg hunt.

We finished the day by having a great dinner at my parents' house with more family and friends.
 It was a wonderful day!!!