Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Praise the Who?!

I just received a voice message from a lovely new friend. It was a bit over the top as she praised my ability as a woman, a mother, foster mother and person in general. She expressed what an extreme honor it was just to sit next to me at a training and that it was an almost "spiritual" experience for her! I was glad it was a message because I would have hated to seem ungrateful as a giggled my way through the message knowing what mistakes I've made just today that would catapult me right off of that pedestal she has me sitting on.

It's funny, as a foster mother I get all sorts of praise from people I've never met before. When they find out we foster babies, and not just babies, mostly drug exposed babies...well I'm suddenly right there next to Mother Theresa (no offense Mother Theresa). I'm a: saint, angel, blessing, strong woman, amazing, uniquely qualified mom. They way they talk it's a wonder I've not won Mother of the Year or the Nobel Peace Prize!

I am truly not deserving of such praise. Even those like Mother Theresa, as a recent example, or most Saints throughout history, are well aware of their wretchedness and their great need for Christ. I am aware of my many many faults. I spend too much time doing this or that. I yell sometimes. I ignore other times. I put off or push away. I get angry and frustrated. I let things go around the house even when I do have the time to take care of it. Any good that might be seen in me is ONLY by the grace of our Lord.

Man is not and can not be "good" in and of himself. We certainly do not want to pity ourselves or beat ourselves up for our fallen state. We don't want to give in to false humility and place prideful expectations on ourselves that we won't be able to meet. Neither do we want to try and live up to the opinions and expectations expressed in the multitude of parenting books, seminars, videos etc. that are out there. I've often gotten frustrated with myself because I couldn't live up some expectation I'd created for myself after reading some wonderful parenting book. It's usually a great book full of inspiring examples of how to do correctly all the things I'm currently doing wrong :) Now I'm not saying those books can't be useful tools, but the methods used in most of them were unique to that specific family and may or may not meet the needs of the children the Lord has placed in my care. In fact, they may add more stress and chaos if the Lord is not first sought to bring light to the situations we face in our homes.

When Mary the Mother of Jesus went to see Elizabeth and Elizabeth praised her she didn't shrink back and tell her to stop. Of course she was carrying the God of all creation in her womb, but she praised herself. She declared that yes, she was blessed among women, ALL women! Our calling to motherhood is a high calling and we should be seeking to do our best and train our children well. Our society, in my flawed opinion, makes it very hard to keep from being a "yo-yo mom" with all the new information and research out there to support new methods. In past generations there seemed to be more of a "standard practice", at least on the surface, that households across the nation knew to be acceptable. Of course there were lots of children who felt unloved or without purpose leading to the great rebellion of the 60's, but with this smorgasbord society we live in now, it's very challenging to know what the heck we're supposed to do.

Now when someone compliments me on the job I'm doing I can, and should, say Thank You, always acknowledging God's amazing grace which is responsible for anything I attempt that works out well. I should accept kind words and take them in for the edification of my soul. But those kind words should serve two purposes in our lives and hearts. It is important to have kind words to lift us up, but they should also ALWAYS bring us back to our knees in Praise to our Lord for His mercy and as a new opportunity to seek His direction for the specific child or children He has place in our homes. That posture of kneeling also encourages the humbling of our hearts and is a confession of our lowly state so we can continue to receive His grace and strength for the journey. If ever I receive praise, may it be with thanksgiving to the One who has enabled me to stand.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's NOT You :)

Just a quick note. I received a phone message today from someone who sounded a little sad on the machine. I was concerned when there was a second sad sounding message on my cell phone. I quickly called the person back and asked what was wrong. The answer? "Were you talking about me in your longsuffering blog?". Hopefully I'm remembering wrong, but I think I laughed out loud:) If you are reading this and I haven't talked to you in person about any kind of "challenge" then it's not you:) But I'd love your prayers that I might be diligent in seeking the Lord for help in keeping a quiet mouth and a heart open to Him.

Many many blessings

Mean Green Cleaning Machine

Hopefully I'm not too mean as I bark orders...ahem...I mean encourage my daughters as we clean together:)

I was motivated by a friend's blog when she talked about how she makes her own laundry detergent. I also make my own and I've been inspired to try my hand at making other home cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items myself. So far I've made laundry detergent, body soap, skin cream and salve,dishwasher detergent, tooth paste (that one still makes me shudder!), glass cleaner, wood polish, stove top degreaser and multipurpose cleaner. Some have worked and some REALLY haven't.

I thought I was doing well with some of my cleaners but when I had the privilege of having someone come in and clean my house for a few weeks I found they were able, through their GREEN cleaning agents, to make my stove look brand new and my granite island sparkle. When I used my cleaning solutions things definitely looked clean but dull. I know! I feel like one of those cleaning commercials but feel it is my moral responsibility to share my discoveries.

Vinegar is not just for salad dressing anymore! I use vinegar for a multitude of cleaning projects. When I used only vinegar and water my tile floors and granite still looked dull, then I had an idea:) I added a little olive oil to the mix and found it sparkled without leaving a greasy film. Adding that little bit of olive oil gave my stove top that NEW STOVE look. And adding a little bit of a citrus essential oil (or lavender or...) helps keep the strong vinegar smell to a minimum. So this cleaner was perfect for all my appliances, tile and granite. (My cost: $.45 Store cost: $6.95)

Oil and Essential Oil: I found putting olive oil and some lemon essential oil in a atomizer (finer mist spray bottle) was just like lemon pledge for dusting. I just spray a little on a paper towel and go to work. It works wonders. (My cost: $.75 Store cost: $4.95)

Glass Cleaner: rubbing alcohol and water makes this a great glass cleaner. Again, I add essential oil (grapefruit maybe??) just because I like that smell:) (My cost $.15
Store cost: $2.95)

All Purpose Cleaner: A mixture of grapefruit seed extract (GSE), borax powder, baking soda, lemon essential oil and liquid castile soap in's amazing! It's a great spot cleaner on my light color carpet, bleaches the blueberry smoothie stains on my cupboards, makes the toilet shine and is perfect for disinfecting all the door knobs and light switches. The grapefruit seed extract was shown in studies to be even more effective than bleach in fighting germs/bacteria. (My cost: $.30 Store cost: 5.95)

Deodorant: I started with a spray version which wasn't powerful enough for full day coverage. Then I tried making a stick deodorant by making a basic salve recipe but adding a little more beeswax to help it hold its shape in the twist up deodorant container. This worked better but not as much in the hot summer months. Finally I added some baking soda for absorption and it works great, summer time too! It's not an antiperspirant, but it at the end of the day we don't stink. (My cost: $1.50, or about 50 cents if I clean and reuse deodorant containers, Store cost (a "green" brand) $4.50)

Dish washing detergent: I tried a few methods with borax and baking soda...too filmy. I tried my multi-purpose worked "ok" but left a residue in my dishwasher, if not on the dishes. I tried just vinegar and it just didn't work. So I've settled for, and been very pleased with, these dishwasher tablets by Method. They work very well. It only serves me to make my own if I can make something as good or better than those other cleaning/hygiene products.

Toothpaste is another one I've had to search for instead of making it myself. I just CAN'T handle the taste of baking soda no matter how much peppermint oil or xylitol I use to help the taste! (BUY THE STORE BRAND! But, if you can stand it, it's only about $.25 per batch as opposed to $4.95 for a "green" brand)

Soap has been easy to make with just a few ingredients and the ability to be gentle enough for cleaning my little sensitive skinned baby or my...uh...manly smelling husband at the end of the day. I learned through a video called Homestead Blessings-The Art of Soap Making which is now available on Netflix. Very simple and very inexpensive. (My Cost: $.50 per bar, Store cost for "homemade" soap $3-$5 per bar)

So what I've learned is:
1. It only saves money if your family will actually USE the homemade version.
2. Some things really are better from the store :)
3. It really is possible to make big contributions to your home
4. It definitely requires an initial investment...learning to buy in bulk makes a big difference.
5. It's fun and a great skill to pass on to my children for their future homes :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love, Joy, Peace, LONGSUFFERING...

It's been all of 12 hours (12 hours, 13 minutes and 32 seconds to be exact...feeling kind of "Monk"-ish) since I asked the Lord to help me in a challenging relationship. It's like going through withdrawals not to gripe and complain and find someone to sympathize with me. By staying quiet (slow to speak...I think that's in the Bible) I find I am much more inclined to ask God to get me through each moment.

When they translated the Bible into more modern versions they really messed up when they listed patience as one of the Fruits of the Spirit. Patience makes me think of short term endurance. Longer than a sprint but shorter than a marathon or even a spiritual 10k. Older versions translate that word as LONGSUFFERING! That is a much more accurate statement! And when you endeavor to "suffer long" you have to meditate upon Matthew 7:4-5 as well...the "plank" passage. It is so easy to fall (or willingly step) into self pity which is self-righteousness with a makeover. If we're not focusing on purifying ourselves through prayer, repentance and true humility how can we ever expect to be able to truly suffer long in our own strength? We might become stubborn and force ourselves to least to say the right words, but the fruit will be withered and of no eternal value. But when we ask the Lord to hold the mirror so He can direct us in removing our own plank He will also be faithful to place a bandage of grace (I know, it wasn't listed in the Armor of the Lord list) on our injured eye which improves our vision so we can effectively pray for that friend or loved one or situation that is such a challenge.

It's still hard and I just know there will be some "faking it 'til I make it" as many a successful recovering addict has had to do. And being such a verbal person too! Ugh! But, may the Lord find me teachable and may I be a willing student of His grace and mercy. :) (12 hours 41 minutes and 57 second...only an eternity of trusting my Lord to go:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just A Moment

I just had one of those moments. You know, THOSE moments when God gives you the tiniest glimpse into the souls of your children. You see, for a fleeting moment, the amazing gifts, potential and character they possess. It's a little peek that is not clouded by all the training and second guessing we do as parents. We see, as God sees, for that moment their real selves. Perhaps even the selves they have no idea exists inside of them. The selves with propensity to love, create, touch the heart of Christ. That self which is selfless and open to the purposes of God's heart specific to each of them. And then it's gone and fades so fast we wonder if we really did have that moment at all.

I am always so blessed when I get to behold that moment. When I get the chance to almost see the inner workings of my child's mind. But somehow the inspiration I receive at that moment to work with them and inspire them to be their best selves...that moment slips through my fingers and I return to the training and tripping and sometimes blind/generic encouragement as I try to direct them towards Christ. Their transformation ceases and they return to their normal quirky selves:)

Oh Lord may I remember those moments. They must be given for a reason, if only to help me reset my thinking. If only to give me a glimpse of what You see so that I may humble myself enough to get out of Your way when they hear your call. Thank You Lord for those moments, and may I return each moment to You. Amen

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Popcorn Trees

When I was little someone told me that heaven was the best thing you could imagine but even better. Well, as a little girl the best thing I could imagine was popcorn trees. Keep in mind, this was before microwaves and the most technologically advanced way of making popcorn was the, often faulty yet always magical, jiffy pop. For me that finish line I was running toward meant I'd be eternally blessed with the presence of my Lord and unlimited popcorn.

I also remember being at Mount Hermon's Ponderosa Lodge when it was new and fresh. A man there was also talking about when Jesus came back we'd meet Him in the air and Jesus would be on a white horse. I pictured a majestic Pegasus swooping down to meet me as my own heavenly horse brought me up to ride at the side of my Lord as we headed into battle against the enemy of man's soul.

The faith of a child is precious yet fragile at times. They are hit so hard when tragedy strikes because they're still under the impression that life is fair and people are always good. Sometimes we fail to take the time to embrace their little hearts (yes teens have little hearts too) and help them along to a better understanding of the unfortunate evils of the world and, most importantly, the amazing limitless grace of Christ. Sometimes we show them that grace by simply holding their little limp "faith" in our hands and saying nothing. At those moments I find they have so much to teach me, though I'm often too busy talking and trying to "solve" the dilemma to be aware of what I could be learning. They just take the Lord at His word. Can you imagine? If you became a Christian as a child you may have fleeting memories of that innocent faith. If the Bible said it, it was true. If Jesus said "when two or more are gathered in My Name..." then of course it would be done according to His word. They are fragile little beings, but sometimes their faith is vastly stronger than the adults who are supposed to be teaching them.

A friend from our California Church family ended his life this past Tuesday. It was shocking!!!! Because he was mentally ill he was given an Orthodox funeral. Now, in the Orthodox Church Easter didn't end Easter Sunday. We continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord up through the celebration of Pentecost singing "Christ is Risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tomb bestowing life". Because this young man's life ended during this season of celebration he received a "Paschal" funeral. The choir sang, nearly FOUR THOUSAND times, "Christ is risen from the dead..." Each person was reminded over and over again of Christ's sacrifice, even...maybe especially... for those hurt so badly by this fallen world, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well (there was no mental illness in the garden). Each time the declaration of our risen Lord is sung I am reminded of His great mercy and grace. I am reminded of His tender heart toward His little lost and hurting sheep. My dear friend's granddaughter came over to her and said "Don't you cry for [him] grandma, he's in heaven with all the cats and dogs and people." Even when this precious little 4 year old saw him in the coffin (yes, death is a part of life) she remarked "That's not even him! He's not even there anymore". While the grown-ups were busy asking the "why"s this little girl was confident in her Lord and His mercy toward us. May we all have ears to hear!

I may not have faith the size of a mustard seed, let alone a popcorn kernel, but I do know the race is worth running and God's mercy is real. And my Lord may not be riding a Pegasus when I go to meet Him in the air, but He will be and was and is the conqueror of the enemy truly trampling down death but His death and upon those in the tomb, in bondage, in slavery to sin, graciously bestowing life. May we be renewed by the power of His blood. Amen!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Most Dangerous House on the Block

We have a lovely new friend who lives down the street with her 5 year old son. Our sons always ask to play with each other and are beyond excited when we finally manage to arrange our schedules for a play date. But when you put two five year old adhd, accident prone, impulse control-challenged BOYS together a whole new world of adventure opens up to you. In this ONE day I heard screaming in the front yard because the dogs were jumping on the neighbor boy while he refused to remove himself from the situation, loud complaints because my 5 year old sprayed him with the hose (which, of course, my 5 year old claimed was warranted since the neighbor boy TOUCHED him with wet hands), cries for help as he was "trapped" on the other side of the gate at the stairs, shouts of "there's blood, there's blood" because he punctured his hand on a random piece of glass on the back porch. I ran in terror as I was informed the two five year olds were heading, unaccompanied, to his house two doors down along a street where people regularly drive 65 mph! Then after one final attempt of FORCING this play date to happen I hear crying at the front door and open it only to behold this same neighbor child holding his head and stomach complaining that Micah had hit him (which, again, was warranted because...blah blah blah-plus lots of loud protests as he marched himself down the hall). I was done. I sent my 5 year old to bed and attempted to walk the neighbor boy home by chasing after him with the only shoe of his I could find while he cried "MAMA MAMA MAMA!" all the way home. I felt like the worst mom and host in the world!

As I walked quickly behind the neighbor boy, planning how I'd rescue him from a speeding car if needed, the two moms beheld each other with sheepish looks assuming the fault lay on our own sons. I comforted her by telling her that they are simply insane little humans that we have to try and keep alive until they're 18. She asked if I ever swore at my children, admitting that sometimes it just got that challenging. I thought with a little sliver of pride how thankful I was that I do not swear at my children, but that sliver turned to dust when I had to admit I'd lectured them to the point of a pre-coma like state. I'd ranted and guilt tripped them until they cried just to make sure they realized...whatever it was I was trying to get them to realize. Yes, I've been unfair at times in my parenting too.

I assured my neighbor that we do have two very busy, slightly emotional and very dominant boys that will continue to try and be friends even if one ends up in a cast by the time we're done with it all :) By the time I got home and had explained to my husband what had happened everything in the heart of my 5 year old was fine. At dinner I asked if he and the neighbor boy were friends and without hesitation he emphatically exclaimed "of course we are!". Isn't that just boys? They come, they fight, they draw blood and in the end it's all in a day's work like Wile Coyote and the Sheep Dog Ralf in Loony Toons...nothing personal. They clock in, beat each other to a pulp and clock out. All the while us poor moms slowly develop that "mom of boys" twitch that only other moms of boys can detect. If my 5 year old ever grows up and becomes a professional athlete and does the "Hi Mom!" shout out on national television I'll consider it just pay for those twitches, even if it is his dad that throws the ball with him in the back yard hour after hour :) May God bless (AND PROTECT) our little boys!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farther Up and Further In

Several people have spoken with me in just the last few days about the end times. Every time there is a series of natural disasters believers tend to get a bit antsy and wonder if the end is truly near. We're suddenly motivated to read our Bibles again and pray. We promise we're going to start that Bible study book that's laying around...hmm...where did I put that book?

It's very similar to seeing one self in a picture and realizing "wow, I need to start working out and eating better." For a few days, weeks or even a month or two we're inspired to eat right and exercise. We're committed to changing permanently, and this time we'll stick to the program forever. But we don't see that picture every day and eventually there's a party and we'll just have one piece of cake. The urgency fades over time and suddenly...well Saturday is the only day I really have to sleep in so I'll exercise tomorrow. Finally we're back to our blissful ignorance (or at least feigned ignorance) and go back to life as usual.

Why is it that only big events challenge us to make life changing choices. A heart attack is a much more powerful motivator than that picture. The illness or death of a loved one, or becoming ill oneself has a way of helping us to focus on what is really important and discarding the meaningless.

As we walk with Christ it is easy to see the big obstacles as challenges that must be overcome through prayer and the seeking of our Lord, but what we often fail to realize is that those seemingly quiet bland moments are just as challenging or possibly more so. If I am faced with the illness of my child it takes little effort for me to remember to pray and seek the Lord constantly. Once my child is made well, that's when the real challenge begins. I must constantly remind myself to seek the Lord for even the small things. It is sometimes like pulling teeth to do a quiet time I just don't feel I have time for, though I made the time during the illness.

Being a Christian is an uphill battle. CS Lewis describes heaven in The Last Battle as being even more real than our reality. The further up and further in the Pevensie children traveled in the New Narnia the more clear and real it became. As we work out our salvation on this side of heaven we must constantly remind ourselves that we must also press on and climb farther up and further in. Farther up, strengthening our faith. And further in, relying more and more on the Lord (more of Him less of me).

Yes, the Lord is coming back. During WWII my grandparents were certain He would be returning soon, at least in their lifetime. Yet here we still are. It could be at any moment "in the blink of an eye", but we have to be careful to be preparing ourselves constantly for His return. We want to be those virgins who have their oil lamps trimmed and stand waiting for their Bridegroom to come for them. Let us be aware then of our great need to struggle through the uneventful boring moments. Let us not forget our great need for the Lord simply because there have been no earthquakes or tsunamis for a while. Let us be aware of the subtle seismic activities going on in our own hearts each moment we put God aside. And may we be ready for His return, whenever that may be. May we be ready to face this ever changing world with the confidence that Christ in us is our hope! May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Will the Real Mom's Please Shut Up!

When my daughters were little I was terrified to use words like "stupid" or phrases like "shut up" because I had trained them not to say those words and they in turn became the word police. In fact when they'd go to bed and my husband and I had a discussion and one of those words would come up we'd both pause midsentence half expecting one of the girls to wake from a dead sleep and call us on it:)

The reason I use such "strong" language is because I am learning I am a Momma who needs to follow that advise. I talk way too much and pray too little. Some days it seems there is no time for to think let alone pray. Yet there always seems to be time for a lecture or two. When I lecture I watch as my child's eyes glaze over and even I grow tired of my many "wise" examples and my arm gets tired as I beat that poor dead horse yet again.

I may be wrong about who this spiritually fit Momma is, but I believe it was Susannah Wesley who would, at some point in the morning, toss her apron over her head signaling to her children that she was unavailable for a few moments as she communed with her Creator. In the Orthodox Church there are parents who have been made Saints because of the godly children they reared! I desire to be one of those, but get so focused on making my children understand my wisdom rather than the wisdom of our Lord.

1 Justifications 2:14 says ~ "Listen my fellow parents who rightfully rebuke your children when it suits you, be quick to get angry, quick to react and slow to listen because they're probably just trying to get away with something anyway. Even if you're wrong, saith the Pride, they probably did something they got away with in the past and all discipline evens out in the end."

In chapter 3 it goes on to say: "Children must obey parents for this is right. A parent can exasperate a child if the child has already done 2 things to exasperate the parent."

Now the BIBLE says something different Jame 1:19 says: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...

And in Ephesians 6:4 it says: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Now the fact that it says "fathers" does not mean us Momma's are exempt:)

I think often of Icons. They are written in such a way as to preach God's message to us without a word. Their mouths are small to remind us to speak only when necessary. Their eyes and ears are larger than normal to remind us to listen to the Lord and to others to look for His return. If we can rearrange our thinking and listen much much more, what miracles might we be able to witness in the lives of our children that we might otherwise miss? What insight might the Lord grant us because we will have the ears to hear Him instead of ourselves? How powerful would our words be to our children if we use them sparingly? What paths might they walk if we lead the way in humility? O that the Lord grant that some day I might know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Giving My Boys Dolls

In this world where homosexuality, bisexuality, no-sexual identity is pushed as the norm from most media, including children's programs, why would a Christian mom hoping to instill Biblical values into the hearts and minds of her sons buy them dolls? (wow, now that's a long sentence!) My two youngest sons have been begging for dolls for the last 8 months. So why am I not screaming NO! and thrusting some sort of army guy or another "manly" type toy in their hands?

My three daughters have played with dolls since they were very small. It was very off and on because they were extremely active and loved playing outside. My youngest seemed to have the most vivid imagination when it came to dolls and families and would even turn her math manipulatives into groups of families with a red mommy trapezoid, yellow daddy hexagon and lots of little green triangle children. It really didn't matter what the item was she could probably turn it into a parent, child of whole family in a matter of minutes...even acorns that fell like bombs from the oak tree outside our house. We have endeavored to instill a love of family and the value of mommyhood into our daughters. We have worked hard to make sure that choosing to be a wife and mother is a high calling and a valuable, legitimate and even holy vocation. It has been difficult in a world that is constantly throwing fashion and all sorts of vain gods in their paths. It has been challenging to raise them in a society that berates stay at home wives and mothers. We have not suggested they limit themselves and avoid going to college or seeking a career of some sort if that is where the Lord is leading, but that if He is leading them "just" to be moms...well there is no such thing as being "just" a mom!

But what about our sons? How can we encourage them to be men of God in this ungodly generation? The worlds tells them it's all about video games, that girls really ARE better than boys. They are constantly emasculated. Any strong manly man on TV turns out to be some sort of wacko or is extremely stupid. The men portrayed on TV and in movies don't know their own minds, are awful and made to look like idiots in front of their children (and by their children)or are shown to be incapable of caring for their own children. I want my boys to be men! Many men! I want them to be strong and to know their own minds. I want them to value themselves enough to value others above themselves. I want them to be protectors of their homes and trainers of their children.

While the world pushes the extreme in one direction, many times those attempting to counteract that influence swing that same pendulum in the opposite but equally extreme direction. This opposite extreme often, most likely subconsciously, produces young men who lean towards authoritarian rather than authoritative. They tend to be hard workers but lack the gentleness required for raising children and being a co-martyr with their wives. The cycle continues generation after generation often due to fear rather than prayer, introspection and the seeking of our Lord.

So why the doll? I have chosen to purchase American Girl Bitty Twin dolls. I was able to choose two boy dolls and they look so much like my boys:) My sons will most likely be dads some day. I encourage the rough and tumble play, digging, climbing, building (but no ropes...haven't had good luck with those so far :) ) just doing "boy" things. They are different than girls. They are hunters and super heroes and cowboys. They dive off of furniture and land on their faces over and over again just because they can. When they do hurt themselves they are often more upset that their play was interrupted than that there is blood gushing from their foreheads or that they lost a finger somewhere! But there needs to be the gentle side tended to as well. They need to be taught to be compassionate. They need to be trained in the fine art of diaper changing and the training of children as valuable little people. No doubt they will be Ninja dad's with their babies strapped to their backs or soldiers protecting their children from the enemy. I'm confident they will leave the babies in the fox hole as they face their attackers. I want my boys to grow up to be men that will help their wives and joyfully take their children places to help them grow, learn and explore. They want to carry their babies in slings because they see me and their own daddy doing that with the babies we care for. Praise the Lord for that eagerness. Of course, they'll probably be camouflage slings...but that seed to care for and protect their "children" will be planted. Yes, I will be selective with why type of doll they play with, but heaven forbid I keep these boys from developing their daddy muscles. I have an opportunity to invest in the lives of my future daughter-in-laws and grand children through the interest they have in their dolls:) Only God knows:)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


If you ever have an opportunity to attend an adoption I highly recommend it! If you ever have the opportunity to adopt...I highly recommend that as well. I have adopted three children so far and each time I'm reminded of and humbled by God's willingness to adopt us as His sons and daughters.

Adoption is a truly wonderful thing even with all the many challenges that can come with it. As adoptive parents we get to experience a piece of God's grace many do not get to experience. We get a little insight into what He may experience as He adopts each one of us into His family. Some children being adopted are cute and cuddly and it's easy to step right into the "forever parent" shoes. Some children are more of a challenge or require lots of extra attention and direction. Stepping into those forever parent shoes might have to be a little more deliberate. Some children can be quite abrasive and go into the whole thing kicking and screaming wishing by some great miracle they could be back with their birth family and they have no trouble letting you know how much they DON'T want you and that you will never measure up. In those instances the forever parent shoes may have to be duct taped into place to keep them from falling off as we're kicked in the shins repetedly:) They come to us with physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual challenges that were not of our doing. Yet, we love them as our own. We're in it for the long haul. We accept them as they are where they are whether sweet and cuddly or prickly all over (they may be as much for our salvation as we are for theirs). We provide for them and pledge to keep those forever parent shoes on no matter what (even when they try to pull them off with their own hands)!

When God accepts us into His family some of us are cute and cuddly, some abrasive and some downright awful. At first we may be so thankful for His rescue and cling to Him like we'll never let go. But, inevitably, we do let go. Sometimes we stay close and sometimes we stray or long for that "birth family" of sin. We step over to that "greener grass" convincing ourselves that somehow we can do it without our adoptive Father. Each time we stray God welcomes us back. He accepts our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual deficiences and offers healing and a forever home. He never gives up on us and never turns us out. He never introduces us as some sort of subspecies or evil step child. He pledged with His blood to be our Father for all eternity.

A friend of mine adopted a young lady who had lots and lots of hurts in her life. Each of the daughters (bio & adopted) received a beautiful teacup with roses on it. She told them that they were precious roses and roses grow well in her guarden. One day this adopted daughter threw her teacup on the floor and smashed it to bits. Days later the daughter was sorry and my friend presented her with another teacup. This precious daughter took the cup but told her adoptive mother that she couldn't guarantee she wouldn't break this one at some point. This amazing woman looked at her daughter and opened a drawer filled with rose teacups and replied "I told you, roses grow well in my garden."

We are the roses in God's garden, we are the thorns fashioned into His crown and we are the ones He has chosen to adopt and call His own.

Praise God for His Mercy