Our Life Really isn’t Ours for the Taking, but for the Giving (foster/adopt a child 1)

I have been debating on whether to write on this topic or not.  Due to privacy I am not really sure how much of this journey I will be able to openly share.  Realizing that my own struggles could very well be the struggles of someone else out there is the draw I have to write and share what God is doing in the life of our family and within my own heart.  The call to foster and/or adopt has been weighing on Mike and I for around six years now.  During this time I have picked up at least a dozen packets from various agencies I kept a lot of them for a while then finally pitched them.   I have questioned several people that have gone down the road of fostering/adopting and some who have adopted from other countries.  The cost of time and finances has been my largest road block.  The rest of the family has actually been open without hesitation the whole time.  It has been my own selfish struggle.

We now have the resource of an extra bedroom our kids have become older, more mature, and much easier as far as actual care.  In fact we are getting close to being “done” as far as parenting goes.  Though one is never really “done” when a parent.   A few years ago we actually were going to apply for a license to foster, but we couldn’t figure out how to even get the classes worked in with our busy schedule so I easily gave up.

Well the topic reared its head again.  The last few weeks everywhere I turned the topic of fostering children was coming up.  I literally was feeling like God was beating me over the head with it.  So much so a week ago Sunday I actually was arguing with God.  Yes, I love Jesus, I have surrendered my life to following Jesus, but unfortunately I am still just a sinner saved by grace.  I yelled at him “I keep asking you what I need to give up in my life and you are telling me to add another human being or beings?!?!?!”  “Lord I am so tired I don’t know how I can!!!”  Then we go to church that evening and our youth pastor’s sermon was on James 1:26-27 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  The entire sermon brought tremendous conviction and was an answer to my ridiculous prayer/temper tantrum from earlier that day.   God’s answer was this…”You take this step of faith, trust me, I will provide what you need, it will cost you, but that’s ok because I am here and have a plan”.   Every reason I have not to foster children in need is purely selfish.

Needless to say we have started the process to be licensed.  Nothing will happen over night.  There will be ups and downs.  It will be a journey, but it’s not about us.  It is not about me.  My life is not my own.  I had to laugh that one truly does have to pay to be nice in this world.  Today I took a state form to my physicians office to have filled out stating that I am physically capable of caring for children.  There was a charge to have the form filled out.  I will be honest in saying that this caused a minor irritation in me, but a reminder that it does cost to do what is right.   In this life we can give all that we have or we can be takers.  One day when I meet God face to face will he see a life that gave everything?

What Tools Define Your Life?

FullBlue

The topic of stethoscopes and “who” uses them has been extremely popular this past week.  It has been heartwarming to say the least to see my fellow nurses rise up and share story after story of how nursing is much more than a job and even more than a profession.  It has been very well stated over and over that a stethoscope is a very vital tool for a nurse as well as all health care workers when caring for patients.

This week my thoughts have been centered on what my own nursing career, patients and families I have served, and even what my own stethoscope has meant to me.  The stethoscope actually aids a medical professional to hear a persons heart beat.  The heart rate and rhythm determines so much about the health status of a human being.  The stethoscope also allows us to auscultate the lung sounds.  Are the lungs filled with fluid?  Are airways constricted?  The assessment of the breath sounds can help to determine if  a person is actually exchanging life sustaining oxygen sufficiently or insufficiently.  We can listen to the bowel sounds to help determine if a patient may need emergent surgery.  As we start to hear bowel sounds return after a major colon surgery we can determine that a patient may be able to slowly return to eating and drinking.  There is so much that can be determined by simply listening through this sound amplifying instrument.  It helps clue us in on areas of trouble.  A stethoscope requires truly listening for it to truly be a valuable tool.

Another valuable tool that defines my life as a follower of Jesus is the bible.  It is a tool that requires truly listening to be of any value.  God’s word auscultates where my heart truly is and what areas of my life are in trouble.  My spiritual breath is determined by how I am allowing or not allowing God’s word, grace and goodness to fill every last corner of my life.  When I am allowing him to fill me I breath out love and grace to everyone my life touches.  When I am not inhaling spiritually then I have nothing to give others around me.    The more I digest of his word the deeper my understanding, nourishment, and better my spiritual health.  With bible and a stethoscope in hand a nurse is way more than a nurse.  A nurse can be a great servant of God, a warrior of God’s making a difference one life at a time.

Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many!”

What can be Learned from Teaching Your Teen to Drive?

driving

We have embarked upon a new chapter in parenthood.  Teaching our oldest to drive has brought me to a whole new level in letting go and trusting God.  This picture is actually a little over exaggeration of my level of anxiety.  She is actually doing a fine job and taking driving seriously.  In fact this is the first time in fifteen years my child has fully hung on my every word.  The child has never listened to my advice and instruction more intently.  There has been a deepening of the mother/daughter relationship as trust, listening, and obedience has been “taking the wheel”.  Coming home from school the other day she exclaimed “Hey mom we watched a video in drivers ed. and they said the exact same thing you told me in the video!!!!”  As I learn to trust her she is learning to trust the wisdom of her momma as well!

As I hear instruction spew from my own mouth on how to be prepared at all times for obstacles, drive defensively, plan ahead, focus on the road ahead of you, be aware of your surroundings, etc…  I am being reminded of my own journey through life with Jesus.  As I teach driving safety I wonder if I am teaching and leading my children to the one who can lead them through this life?

There have been times of learning the hard way by suffering a consequence of my own choices that I thought “Well that is what God’s word and my parents told me would happen”.  The more I listen to God and His word the deeper my trust in His wisdom.  The more I trust Him the more He entrusts me with His purpose, plan, joy, peace, and blessing.

As a follower of Jesus my focus should stay on the path He has placed before me.  There are always obstacles pulling out in front to stop, slam, or throw a follower of Christ off course.  It is not an easy road, but if one is armed with the Word of God and prayer then we always have the best defensive driver on our side.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Show me thy ways oh Lord, teach my thy paths.”  Psalm 25:4

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

What is There To Look Forward To?

sun rise

What a crazy last couple of weeks.  Lots of illnesses, tragedies, accidents, evil acts, etc… so many life hurts moments for so many.  During a conversation with a loved one the statement “this world is going to hell” was made.  As well as “it just seems like there is not anything to look forward to”.  These two sentences have resonated with me all week.

There is a lot of truth in these words.  It is true that the world is going to hell and the only way to avoid eternal death and punishment is through Jesus.  “God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16  No matter how “good” we think we are we have all fallen short of God’s standard, perfect and sinless.  God knew that as soon as his creation became broken by sin.  He planned and offers the remedy to cover all our imperfections, Jesus.

Lack of sleep and continual bad news had me in quite a funk this week.  It is hard not to sin when physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  My attitude and words have not been what they should.  Why? Because I am human and I fall short.  As a Christian the only difference in me than the rest of the world is that I know I fall short and need saving.  I need God’s forgiveness of my sin through his Son.  By giving my life to Christ he dwells within me (the Holy Spirit) and there is conviction when I am focusing on myself and not on God and others.  By God’s grace I have eternal life to look forward to.  There may come a point where there is such devastation that there literally is nothing on this earth and in life to look forward to other than how magnificent heaven will be.  Other parts of the world and some in our own country can’t even look forward to getting another meal.  When we have given our life to Jesus we do indeed ALWAYS and FOREVER have something to look forward to.