What Would you do if you had a Million Dollars?

money

One of our daughters just asked me this question.  She then followed with would you buy a different house?  My first answer was no, I just want to have no debt.  We then discussed college expenses and saving then then conversation topic fizzled.

The conversation fizzled out, but the thought of this question continued to weigh on me.  A million dollars does not actually go far in our world today it could be a start.  My self evaluation question became, “If money were no object what would you do?”   Then cycling back to the house question my answer started to turn to a yes.

For years now God has put this burning compassion for children who have been rejected and beat down by this world on my heart.  For one year now we have been in the trenches of Foster Care.  The more of the true story and true pain I see this compassion just grows stronger.  This is definitely a mission field that leaves you feeling like your heart has been torn from you, stomped on then placed back into your body to keep powering through beat by beat.

So this is my vision as hard and crazy as it sounds.  As I sit here completely emotionally exhausted God will not stop calling on this broken heart of mine.  Yes, I would buy a new house.  I would buy a working farm or ranch.  I would want to buy it where there are amazing hiking places.  I would start a children’s home with the proper support staff.  I would hire people with the same compassion and broken heart for what breaks God’s heart.  It would be an amazing place with jobs for the children to be assigned to based on abilities and personalities.  Nothing builds self esteem like a job well done.  I would want to do therapy during hikes because who wants to just stare eye to eye with a therapist.  Something about God’s creation truly relaxes and can cause true communication and healing to happen.

Truthfully I am worn out from just having one child that is in care at a time.  Truthfully I do not have the resource within my own self nor financially to make this a reality.  This one question has started to develop into a dream that God’s timing and provision can accomplish if it is in His will and plan.   My heart aches for children who are “unwanted”, for children who push away the one’s that truly want to help, for the children who feel unworthy of love…  My heart is to give as many children new Hope and a new beginning through the love of Jesus Christ.  So if I had a million dollars or if money were no obstacle I would buy a new house.  A house of Hope!!!!

Lost Dog The Cold and Hungry

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This past Friday night around 1030 pm this beautiful dog came up to our back patio door  scratching and begging to come in.  Hesitant to let a strange dog in I had hoped it would run off back to its home, but she just kept on looking at me through the glass and laid down along our back step.  Our dogs were going crazy as well as two of our three kids were getting all gaga over this bundle of furry sweetness.   Our most dog crazy daughter was staying at a friend’s home for which I was so thankful.  The drama of the begging “can we keep her?” would have earned her an Oscar I am quite certain.  My first step to help this sweet creature was to take to Facebook.  We started with a picture of her scratching at the door and sent out the plea to hunt down the owner.  There were comments, likes, and shares of the post, but at first no sign of the owner.  Eventually I felt safe trying to let her in much to our yellow lab’s disgust.  She was not a fan.  It was getting late so my oldest just took her downstairs with her to keep the dogs separate.  Our oldest daughter was totally in love already.  In the meantime we got this much nicer photo of the sweet girl’s face.

Eventually we were able to sleep.  Early in the morning I had gotten a message that it potentially was the messenger’s neighbor’s dog.  Through back an forth messages and more photos we were both confident this dog indeed was her neighbor’s.  About eight hours of her showing up on our door step she was riding off into the sunrise with her rightful owner.  The power of social media was a grand thing that day.  That same sweet face looked at me from the truck’s passenger window as she rode off.  She seemed to say “Thanks for letting me crash here!!”

My posts to search for the owners continued to be shared far past the reunion of dog and master even with stating in the comments that she had made it home and making a “Nala’s home” separate post.  My husband suggested that I just delete them so that the post would stop, but part of me was just too curious.  My curiosity won out and the posts remain.  Part of me really wanted to see how many people would try to help a dog.  Part of me wanted to see what kind of judgmental comments there would be on the shared posts.

One of my posts had at least 227 shares and the other with the better picture had at least 98 shares.  Far from viral, but impressive to me.  There were comments from people I didn’t know that leaned toward judgmental that we should “let that poor dog in!”   In fact we did let the dog in.  With the hypocritical thinking of our society, I know exactly the kind of judgment I would have rendered had the dog attacked one of my children.  “What kind of idiot lets a strange dog into their house!!!”   “She got what she deserved, you don’t let a strange animal in your home!!”  “What kind of mother is she?”

As the story goes all was happy and a sweet ending.  My children are bugging me that much more for a third dog now.

One thing that amazes me about our society/community/world is the extent people will go to for an animal while there are human beings that are cold and hungry.  Also the extent that people judge each other.  Recently I watched a video about an adopted redhead.  The video showed a young redheaded little girl that “annoyed” her adoptive parents and the end of the video shows the dad taking her to a country road getting her out, throwing her doll, the girl chasing it as the dad drove off in the car.  The end of the video shows him looking in the rearview mirror and the red headed girl was actually a dog.

Believe me I am huge animal lover and I certainly don’t want to see any of God’s creatures mistreated.  My point is that I post about foster care and hurting children all the time and these posts essentially are ignored.   My question is what would be the help or judgmental comments had the living being knocking on our back door been a child?   What would you do if a cold and hungry human being came to you for help?   What are we all doing to help the cold and hungry in this world?  This has just been such a strong burden on my heart after seeing the response I had for this dog.

1 John 17-18 ” If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Matthew 25:35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Love Brings You Home Our Foster/Adoption Journey Continues

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About a year ago my mom and I were shopping at Hobby Lobby to find some items for a few projects.  Our foster care licensure process was nearing completion and one project was to add finishing touches to our spare bedroom.   A year ago before our journey began when I walked past this picture and read it the tears immediately started to flow.  This one little sentence seemed to sum up our call to foster children in need in the most perfect way.

That day I did not buy it as I had no clue who would fill the room and I was trying to just keep the décor simple and as gender neutral as I could.

When I wrote A Whole New Kind of Grief in January I had no clue why and what God had planned next.  Grieving someone’s potential to such depth was new to me.  As I write now I have had so much more of God’s plan revealed to me.  As I write now I am in greater awe of His amazing attention to detail on every life.  As I write now I am even more deeply humbled and thankful to be a part of His great plan.

Two weeks to the day of God giving such a definitive answer of “NO”  to my prayer “Do we take the next step toward adoption?” I got a message from a friend’s husband about a need.

You see with our first child we could have no other placements probably never had we adopted.  I had resolved to this was the one and only child God had planned for us to help, but as usual I was so very wrong.   God gave us two weeks to digest all that had happened and then I get a message from a friend’s husband to call his wife about a need.  We were not yet on the market as a foster family.  Our bed capacity still was showing zero as I hadn’t even gotten to fully communicate with our license worker.  As I listened to my friend tell me the story of the need I could feel my heart swelling with love and compassion once again. When asked do you know of a family that can help, all I could think was “all I know of is us”. God had opened our room up and it was specifically for this very need in this very perfect time that it was needed.   Separately speaking to Mike and the girls I watched as each of their hearts did the same as mine.  They all turned into a puddle of compassion.  There are not strong enough words to express how proud I am of their willingness to love and follow God’s call in this ministry.

It has been amazing as we have been able to open our hearts and home to another.  There has been a community of people to help this one life and that is exactly how it should be for a child in need.   It indeed does take a village.  Another amazing turn in the story is that our family gets to remain a strong support in the life of our first child.  Of course I can not share too many details, but God provides the most amazing paths when our hearts are open.

This brings me back to the picture above.  A few weeks ago I found myself at Hobby Lobby again.  When offered to get some new décor for the room our newest family addition only requested a chalk board.  While shopping along I again see this picture that I saw a year ago.  This time I bought it!   Our sweet new member of our family was more than happy to have it hung in the room.

There has been nothing in this life that has brought me to a deeper understanding of God’s love for us than this calling to love this hurt world through foster care.  Our broken lives take us to so many unexpected places, but God’s plan through Jesus is to bring us all home.   Jesus is the only source of true love and our home is our eternal home with him.  As a child I always thought of “God’s Will” to be what job, career, who I would marry, if I would have children, etc…  God’s Will is to completely open my heart to Him.  There is no way I can love unconditionally the way that I have on my own.  It has purely been opening all of my soul allowing God to completely love through me.   Of course my own human nature has gotten in the way from time to time, but He continues to teach me how to rely on Him fully.   God’s will for my life is to love others in such a way that they feel truly loved and  “home”.  Whatever amount of time, capacity, platform, or tool God gives it is all just a way for God to work through me.   My life is to be a channel of God’s love to direct others to Him.  He is our true source of love and our true home.  God’s wish is for all of mankind to come back to Him.  He is such an amazing God that He gives us a choice.  He cares so much about the details of every life that He will provide opportunity after opportunity even in a life of tremendous pain to see His love.  It may be a complete stranger offering a word of encouragement.  We get to see God in small doses throughout our life and it is up to us to accept Him.  As a follower and totally sold out to Jesus I get to be a part of God’s plan to reveal His love to our hurting and broken world.

Home doesn’t always mean to live in the same house.  Home is knowing that you have at least one other person that loves you unconditionally with their whole heart.  Home is knowing you have someone cheering you on in life.  Ultimately home is knowing that there is a God in heaven that loves you in a way that no other can love you.  Ultimately home is knowing that God planned you, wants you, has a purpose for you, and wants to spend all of eternity with you.

John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 3:16 “For God so Loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”