Monday, January 13, 2014

2014...the hardest year yet...

Wow! did 2013 REALLY go by THAT fast?? Yes, I believe it did.  It must be that I am getting older and all that stuff that "old" people used to say about time flying is becoming true! YIKES!

I have been contemplating this new year, and like most everyone else I have some things on my heart and mind that make up what I think 2014 will look like....

Well, I was trying to find a "life verse" for the new year...something really profound...something I had never noticed before...something new.  but as I prayed, God brought me back to the most basic verse that probably every christian knows and has quoted at some point or another.  It's Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  I didn't wonder  why He brought this to my heart.  I already know. 2014 is going to be hard.  it is going to be full of change, tears, what ifs, what might have been's....

You see, we have had the same two fosters for a week shy of a year.  We have been through some rough times, crazy times, wonderful times...growth, joy, sadness, disappointments, holiday memories, family court, therapy and lots and lots of love.  Lots of sticktoitness (if that's even a word).  Not giving up.  Trying to show these two what Jesus' never stopping love looks like. YES, I will love you when you punch me in the face! YES, I will love you if you spit on me! YES, I will love you when you break my things, tell me you hate me, scream at the top of your lungs, throw fits in public, and be completely thankless for my hard work.  YES, I will love you when you tell people all of the horrible things about me and none of the nice things, when you complain about the gift I give you that wasn't really what you wanted...I will still love you.  I will yell at you, and then apologize for yelling at you because I don't think that's what Jesus would want from me.  I will try my hardest and do my best to be the comfort that you need but don't think you need.  Even when I tell you for a year every night that I love you and you never say it back...I will still love you.  I will not be perfect for you, but I will love you, and I will not give up on you.

We have only been a foster family for a few years, but I can tell you that children do not stay in care forever.  So this year either they will go home to their mother, or we will adopt them.  It is hard to say right now which way it will go, So I wait on the Lord.  But either way, it will be difficult.  But the Lord has been working on my heart.  Reminding me that these children, along with my own are only lent to us.  His plan is so gloriously grander than my thoughts, and no matter what, He will take care of them. And us.

He will give patience when needed, mend the broken hearts,  give me the words to say when none of mine come out right, walk with us along this path and continue to carry us to our purpose.  He will use me, an ordinary person; us, an ordinary family, to do BIG things.  Like let two little children, who were given up on and kicked out, know that there is a God that loves them and people that love them.  And no matter where 2014 takes us, I can know with every ounce of my being Psalm 73:25-26.  "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My heart and my flesh may fail; but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

So this year I throw out MY goals....my "I want to eat right and read more books goals." Just give me Jesus.  This year I will wake up every morning and say "good morning, God.  Where are we going today? Who will we love without limits today? How will we be your hands and feet today?" 

Just give me Jesus.
Because I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today...


Today I took time to enjoy my kids. it doesn't always come naturally.  Some days I am running around like a frantic lunatic to get everything on my to-do list done.  Some days I am so irritable that if one of my kids so much as chews too loudly in my ear...

But not today.

Today we did not go anywhere.  We stayed home.  Actually I had three of my friends' kids over so I guess on paper i should have been a bit frantic. but I wasn't.  It was nice.  So what was different about today?

I didn't have a to-do list, for starters.
And I just felt thankful.

Me and Waylon played in the back yard and looked for tomatoes in the garden...I made cardboard creations with my kids (ones which they played with all day! go figure!) We had sherbert with sprinkles, and when the girls were done with their showers I brushed and blow dried their hair (which is not an every night thing).  We read our devotional and talked about how to show God's love at school tomorrow.

But the best part about today....

Tonight as I told Hailie (my foster daughter) how special she was and how much I loved her, she looked up at me, fighting back tears.  They were welling up in her eyes and I could tell that her walls were falling down but she just didn't know how to let them.  She said nothing to me, just hugged me real tight.  But I know she heard me.  It might take some more time, but one day I hope she trusts me enough to believe me.

Lord, don't ever let me get too busy that I forget the importance of encouragement.

 "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."  James 4:14

Monday, July 29, 2013

an open letter...

dear fitness motivation pictures on the web,

Honestly, your pictures of half naked, hot and sweaty women with big fake boobs and fake tans are not motivating for me.  They are just reminders of what I will never look like.  Give me motivation from strong women who love themselves...their best selves. the selves they have worked hard for.  Because that's what I am doing. Working hard to be the best, strongest me I can be.  I will always have small boobs that look like they have nursed two babies...because they have.  I will always have stretch marks and all of the other imperfections that God gave me.  Anyone can pay for a more perfect (whatever that means) body...anyone can buy boobs, lipo, tans, etc.  The real work starts when we start loving our bodies for what they are.  work to be the best YOU that you can be, naturally, the way God made you.  Love His creation!  YOU!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hope

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Back in Noah's day it must have gotten pretty bad.  I mean, God decided to flood the entire earth because of all of the sin and evil in the world.  Noah was faithful.  He trusted God no matter what.  He did what he knew was right despite all of the negativity he received from his community. 

How bad does it have to get before Jesus will come back for us?  Look at us.  We've had slavery, the holocast, over 50 million babies killed in abortions and the latest news of doctors delivering babies alive and beheading them!  We have grown men who believe God made them to love little boys, little girls being sold as sex slaves, porn addiction at an all time high, drugs and violence in schools, and governments who are taking God out of their practices.  How can we possibly be asking God to bless this?  the world is filled with broken hearts.

These thoughts come to me at a time when I am questioning the path that I am on and where God wants me to be.  My life is His and I want to glorify Him, but I am struggling with being content as a foster mom because it is soooo hard at times.  But today it came to me...

The world needs Jesus.  And it doesn't have to come in the form of a big to do.  It's got to be grass roots style.  It will start in the hearts of our children.  I have seen such growth in my foster kids in the three short months they have been with us.  How could I give up now?  The love of Jesus can move mountains, and it can move hearts. It can change the world...If we let it.

If God has you on a rough road, hang in there.  Look for opportunities to share His love with someone.  Jesus is coming no matter what...our gifts to Him will be those times we served Him.

I will leave you with Colossians 4:2

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013...and my thoughts on the new year

Well it's a new year and like everyone else I have some things I would like to do differently this year...Some "new years resolutions", and yes of course on that list is to eat better and exercise more.  But everyone puts that on their list right? Every year right?  Well this is my year for that...haha...i mean it!  I'm pushing 32 and I just can't eat chocolate cake like I used to!  But as I have approached the new year I really have had some things on my heart that I would like to change and I have to get them down on virtual paper (aka my blog) because if i don't see them I will most likely forget what my original intentions were!  SO scatterbrained!  (and yes, accepting that part of me is on that list too!)

I started this blog a few years ago when we lived on a farm in Richmond Kentucky.  Our house was probably over a hundred years old and was falling apart and we lived on 175 beautiful acres with not a neighbor in sight.  We moved out there to get away from the city.  It was so simple on the farm.  I did not frequent walmart.  We ate what was in the garden.  I made dinner from scratch and new clothes from old clothes.  We hung out under the pear tree and hiked around the property.  we burned our trash and hung our clothes on the line.  I loved it there.

When we moved off of the farm, things changed.  We became a foster family, we had another baby.  Life got busier.  I slipped slowly into the routine of consumerism...more than i would have liked to.  

fast forward to today.

I realize more and more that my kids are growing up too quickly, God has given us foster kids, and before we know it they will be grown.  This year I vow to never take for granted my family.  They mean everything to me.  I vow to play with them more and prioritize that over cleaning the house.  the house will always be messy no matter how much i clean...that's just life with little kids.

This is the year of simplicity for me.

I will not get too busy to spend time with God every day. (I had a cup of coffee with Jesus this morning...i want that every day)

I will REALLY enjoy my kids (even the teenagers!)

I will prioritize my life (which means more reading and less facebook)
 
I want to write more, spend time with the people I love, accept myself and love myself for who God made me to be....to not be so worried about what others think of me, to really pursue God's will for my life, to make homemade tea like i used to, and to really just enjoy the little things.  This may seem like a long list but it is all integrated in my scattered brain and it makes sense to me.

God has been working in my heart a lot lately and I truly believe that this year HE is going to do big things through me.  But only if I abide in HIM...and that I will <3 font="font">

"They delight in doing everything the Lord wants; day and night they think about His law.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail.  Their leaves never wither, and in all they do they prosper."  Psalm 1:2-3

Happy New Year! The best IS yet to come!!! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seasons and contentment

I have been in prayer a lot these past few days.  Praying that God will use me, to show me where He wants me, to reach those that He wants me to reach.  You see, sometimes, as a stay at home mom, I feel like my task at home is preventing me from reaching people out in the world.  I lose sight of the fact that my home is my first ministry.   I am a mom to a little girl and a baby boy, and a foster mom to many kids who come and go.  My prayer is always that God uses me in their lives...that seeds are planted here and then watered later on down the road.  But a lot of times I have a longing in my heart to do more...

Today God showed me something...He showed me that I need to trust where He has me...

The kids and I were on our way home from walmart this afternoon, the last stop to a very long and busy day.  In a shaded area of the parking lot sat a family of three.  A mother, a father and a little boy who looked to be about four or five.  The man held a sign that read "hungry and homeless".   Emily asked what they were doing so I told her what their sign said.  Then God laid it on my heart to be compassionate towards them and to provide for them.  I remembered James 2:15 which reads "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them 'Depart in peace be warmed and filled' but do not give them anything, what does that profit?...Faith without works is dead".  I felt it heavy on my heart that I needed to show Emily what faith in action looked liked.  

We live not a mile from walmart so I looked back at her in the back seat and said "how about we go home and make them some peanut butter sandwiches?"  she got excited and replied "ya mom that's a great idea!"  I told her I thought that would make Jesus happy.  So we hurried home and packed a little sack lunch with sandwiches and chips, candy for the little boy and a brand new pack of crayons along with a new notebook that we had laying around.  Oh and a little flyer from our church with the service times on it.  We drove back to the same spot where they were and lo and behold they were not there anymore.  We looked around the parking lot for them but could not find them anywhere.  I explained to Emily why  now we needed to pray for them. And we did pray for them, around the dinner table.

If God laid it on my heart to provide for that family, knowing that they would not be there when we went back, then why did want me to do that?  He wanted me to do that to show my daughter what Jesus' love in action looked like.  He wanted me to show her what it looks like to live when you love Jesus.  And He did it to remind me that my ministry, my main ministry anyway, is at home, teaching my children.

I love how God has a way of showing himself to me.  And today I am content in knowing that I don't have to be out there saving the world to put a smile on his face.  I am in this season of life.  This season is sweet.   My kids are young and I know that in the blink of an eye they will be grown.  And in this season I am planting seeds, seeds that when watered and tended will produce a plentiful harvest.  I have nothing but gratitude for my God who loves me and guides me to his sweet contentment, and pure JOY <3 p="p">

Monday, June 11, 2012

a little lesson in gardening...

Sunday was a lovely afternoon to tackle the out of control rose bush in my side yard.  It was huge! A huge mangled mess of branches and thorns.  Nothing beautiful about it.  Nothing like my Nana's rosebushes that I remember from my childhood.  Now SHE knew how to keep her rosebushes beautiful! She planted them in the spot where they would get the perfect amount of sun, watered them with care, and pruned them every year so that the blooms would come back every year even more lovely than the last.
As I pruned back the twisted branches I thought of the scripture I had been reading the night before... John 15:2.."...Every branch that bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."  When i clipped a branch, it didn't just fall to the ground.  It had to be tugged and pulled to break free from the mess of dead branches. The thorns dug into my hands causing scratches, and some had to be cut in several places in order to be separated.  It was  a lot of work, and after I had finished, it was not a beautiful rosebush....not yet...it looked like a stick bush.  Nothing more than a bunch of green thorny sticks growing out of the ground.
     How often I pray to be a fruit bearing christian!! But not often enough do I remember the pruning process.  So often I try to figure out God's plan before it's time, and when I can't figure it out I decide that I am just not able to be used by Him.  I have too much "Junk".  I am not gentle spirited enough, not wise enough, not respectful enough of a wife, or patient enough of a mom.  "I am just useless" I will think to myself.  Why is it that I feel the need to see all of God's plan to feel that He is using me?
    So I remember the rose bush.  It was ghastly looking in the beginning, but with Loving care, I, the gardener cut away those gnarly branches, and shaped it into the stick bush so that in due time it will produce it's fruit.  This time next year it will have many beautiful roses and the year after that it will have even more...and so on it goes...
    I may look like a stick bush (so to speak) at this point in my life, but budding season is coming.  I may look like a beautiful rosebush at this point in my life, but pruning season is coming.  Either way, the christian life is not  a life of just beautiful rosebushes (because those are only plastic).  Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is uncomfortable, sometimes it is ugly.....but when I allow God to work on me, when I allow him to prune where needed, when I trust Him as master gardener in my life, I can expect the outcome to be nothing less than beautiful.