Lord, awaken us…

One reason that I am so thankful God is using our family in foster care is because of the awareness it has given us. Not even just of children or families in care but it naturally exposes you to other children and families that my middle class American life might not otherwise get exposure to. That’s embarrassing to admit as a Christian but it’s true. I’ve been on short term mission trips and I’ve done community services where you go, you give, and then you leave. I get to return to my safe, comfortable lifestyle and quickly forget about what I’ve seen. Not so with fostering. Our life is woven in the brokenness of other families day in and day out.

I can not un-see.

There are daily reminders on every corner of this lifestyle that is so vastly different from mine. A lifestyle that is utterly heart breaking to me and yet to some individuals, it’s just normal. Things I consider wrong, irresponsible, neglectful, harmful, is “normal”.

I know things now that explain so much.

Like that “bad kid” in elementary school legitimately was taught from the time he was a toddler to tell people to “shut up” or “F@$& off”. In his life the people around him considered this appropriate and acceptable, sometimes even funny.

Precious little girls who have never been valued. Ever. Never in their life have they seen women being respected and treasured. Why would she assume she should value and respect herself?

Children that grow up in filthy, neglectful, drug using, abusive homes do not typically grow up to one day realize, “This isn’t normal.” From what I have seen, typically, they grow up and repeat it. I know this because I have cared for the children of those children. And the cycle continues. Some might say “They should know better,… eventually.” How could they know??? No one has ever taught them. Additionally, most of these children’s brain development and maturity has been stunted. Their age may suggest “adult” but their brain still operates as a child. (Google trauma and brain development.) Maybe they age and “know better” but they still have the coping skills of say a 9 year old.

May the Lord flood us with compassion and mercy….

I’m heavily burndened this morning. Burdened for these parents and children. Burdened for the generation after generation….. I asked God this morning, “Lord, what does it take? Lord, intercede for these children and families!!” And what His Word reminds me over and over is how He wants to…… through His church.Through us! And I know that we have got to rise up. We can’t just close our eyes and act like “Not my kids, not my problem.” If we are Christ followers, if the love of God is in us, it is TOTALLY our problem. If the love of God is truly in us, that love will compel us to MAKE IT our problem. I think of that beautiful song by Hillsong, Hosanna, it sings “break my heart for what breaks Yours, everything I am for Your Kingdoms cause.” I have prayed that to God and let me tell you he has not failed to answer that. And my heart is in pieces right now,… kind of beautifully broken, as it is aligning with my Lords heart of mercy, love, compassion and grace.

I am praying that we would not shrink back. (Hebrews 10:39) I am praying that Christians all around would awaken to what God has called us to do. And I’m not saying it’s always foster care or adoption but it IS loving the helpless, the orphan, the widow, the abused, the hard to love and so on. There are so many ways God wants to use us!!! We have got to open our eyes to who is helpless. We have to quit casting our judgement on life styles and choices that we don’t even understand or know the depths of pain that caused it. We need to reach out and be willing to get messy with people. We need to sacrifice our pretty, comfortable, life of convenience and ease. And you better believe I am preaching to myself! 🙂

Pray for me. Pray for our family. I’m praying for all of you. 🙂 Pray we as Christians would wake up and be courageous enough to truly LOVE as God loves, “he who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all….” Romans 8:32

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Glitter is not my friend….

Today is going to be a lighter post. Hopefully something that will make you all laugh.

As most of you know I am a homeschool mom. Probably not what you have in mind though when you hear that title. And I could get into all the reasons why I’m not what you have in mind but tonight I just want to give you one.

I absolutely hate crafts.

Or at least I loathe the process so much that in my opinion the craft simply isn’t worth it to me. I promise I don’t want to be this way! I don’t know what it is about making stuff with my kids that gives me hives. I think it’s unrealistic expectations on my part, but whatever it is I literally feel like I should be shot with an elephant tranquilizer when glue and glitter enter the room. It’s just not my thing and most of the time I believe that it’s in everyone’s best interest if we avoid arts and crafts altogether. Most of the time. Every now and then I will feel the weight of not providing my children this artistic outlet and I’ll cave and kid myself into thinking “It’ll be better this time. You’ve grown so much, you can handle it!” Since I do believe in stretching myself for the sake of loving others, especially my children, today I did. I know, I’m pathetic. It’s crafts for goodness sake! I looked up some for Valentines Day and there are so many cute ones! Simple ones! “We can totally manage that!” I bought a few supplies and even put together a “sample” for the kids to refer to. My sample is awesome by the way.

How cute is that? Nailed it!

Anyway, they finished that project in like 47 seconds. Come on, cant we drag this out 20 minutes and call it a day? So I pull out project number 2. Making a heart wreath with tissue paper. I specifically picked this one because I knew it would take some time. Some may call this cruel, I call it wising up. But it did back fire because when Ryann’s looking quite forlorn a quarter of the way in (“Mommy, will I finish this before I graduate?”) and Caleb has tissue paper and glue stuck to his fingers, the pencil and the table, my insides are like “Are you kidding me?!?” Picture Anger on Inside Out. Meanwhile baby E is crying at my legs for the first time EVER, and I’m thinking “Of course the honeymoon phase would end on the one craft day of the year!” We finally started making some progress with our puffy wreaths and everyone was pleased in the end.

But two crafts is simply not enough for my children. I mean, they’ve gone several months with out a craft, it was time to binge on glue and glitter and paper everywhere. At this point I’m just like “Do whatever you want, I’m out.”

So after 10 Valentine Cards, 2 wreaths, 1 puffy picture frame, and baby E licking glitter off his hands from the floor, I can say I survived and managed to keep all my negative feelings inside. Mostly. 😬 It did help for me to join the fun and make this really cheesy card for Jason.

Was it worth it? I think so. One things for sure, it was worth it to them and so that makes it worth it. 😃 I do hope when they’re 31 they will reminisce about the times mommy did crafts, even though she didn’t love them and stunk at them, because she “loved us so much”. Ultimately, I think if and when I do this again I should probably wait till the evening when baby is asleep and it’s appropriate to have a glass of wine. I’m just being honest.

Book: On a Wing and a Prayer

Right now the girls and I are reading about the missionary, Nate Saint, as part of their homeschool curriculum this year. We just finished reading a book on Cameron Townsend the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators. If you’re wondering, I order their books through My Fathers World and have been so pleased the last two years with their materials.

Reading about these early missionaries has been so refreshing for my faith. Their courage, strength, faithfulness and perseverance is astounding. Honestly it puts my modern day American mindset to shame. But I am grateful for these stories for both me and my children. We are learning so much about what it means to really give your life to Christ no matter the cost.

In a recent chapter we read about Nate reconstructing airplane wings in his small adobe home in Tuxtla, Mexico. He becomes very ill and is confined to his bed, alone, with no way to contact anyone for aid. The answer to his prayers for help come through a complete stranger. Phil Baer, a missionary, had only heard about some American man building airplane wings in his home and out of curiosity went to see it for himself. He found a very sick Nate and a very dirty home. He immediately takes responsibility for Nate, nursing him back to health and hand washing all his dirty laundry. This astounded me. It’s so simple and yet so amazingly selfless. They are strangers to each other! But they share the same mission, the Great Commission. We are even told Phil had a wife and new baby that he spent weeks away from while he helped Nate. And I suspect his wife wasn’t griping and complaining for him to return home. Sure, she probably longed for him to be back with them but I’m fairly confident she was just as willing to sacrifice for the sake of Christ and spreading the gospel. It’s so incredible! The people we are reading about are so sacrificial. They are willing to give up things that we hold so tightly to. Things like family, homes, jobs, comforts, conveniences, safety! Why? Because they BELIEVE Gods Word. They don’t just quote Philippians 3:8 they live it out, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” And so others can gain Christ as well. They don’t just come into relationship with Christ and keep Him to themselves, they HAVE to share this amazing Good News with the unreached. They have counted the cost and come to the conclusion that knowing Jesus and making Him famous to the ends of the earth is worth whatever.it.takes.

And I find myself asking the question….. Have we come to that same conclusion?