This World Wants to Prey on My Children

IMG_2196

Back in May we traveled to Florida.  Leaving at 1 am with 4 children in a rental minivan we set off on our adventure.  We made great time until  we were close to our destination. All the holiday travelers with the same idea seemed to converge onto the same interstate.  Once we arrived the goal was to unload, go get groceries for the week, get some take out Chic-Fil-A,  take a night walk on the beach, then get some rest.  The grocery store was a mad house as others had the same goals in mind.  Once we reached the check out and started putting items on the counter the older gentleman checker started conversing with me.  Our sixteen year old daughter had come along to help.  What started as pleasantries about where we are from quickly soured for me.  The checker turned my answers about our local floods to political.  Bashing our standing President and then telling me who to vote for in the next election.  The response I chose was simply to remain silent at that point.  My look I am sure said “really dude?”.    At that point he turned to my daughter and said “ahh you are the one I need to talk to”.   He had hoped she was 18 and able to vote. Even after he found out her true age he still continued to push his opinions on her as her mother stood right there.  Paying customers from another state simply trapped having to have this stranger’s opinion forced on our tired ears.  We both remained silent in our own political and faith beliefs.  At one point when he told her what party to vote for when she is 18 I did simply say “Well she does have two very conservative parents.”  That was all and the conversation went back to pleasantries.  The Holy Spirit definitely gives my heart a lot of discernment in what words truly matter and when silence is much more golden!

It was interesting as a mom to have to sit back and watch “the world” prey on my child forcing opinions without truth.   It was politics on the surface, but so much of what is happening is actually a spiritual battle within our country and around the world.  It always has been a spiritual battle more than physical.

Later that week just the 16 year old and I were on the beach one afternoon.  I had gone down to the water for a while to cool off.  As I came back to our chairs I found two young girls sitting with my 16 year old.  As they introduced themselves to me and spoke of their intentions my heart went from worry to hope.  These brave young college girls were sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ right there on the beach.  They didn’t force, they asked questions, shared personal testimony and had scripture to back up all that they said.  They shared  Jesus as a choice that we have in our life to make him Lord.  God gave us free will. It was a blessing to share what Jesus has done in my life and to pray for them before they left us.  As they left I had a renewed hope that for all the false messages God will bring true messages along for my children.

Today in our Life group my one student and I ended up going into the other middle school class with it being just us.  The lesson was on 1 Timothy the first chapter.  Paul was urging young Timothy to stay in Ephesus to combat against all the false teaching happening with the TRUE Gospel.  My friend and co teacher shared that she loves teaching middle school girls because that is the age when all the false teachings start to bombard us.  She wants to help the girls go into this battle armed with the truth.  We explained to the girls middle school through college they will be bombarded with a lot of teachings and opinions that are false.

As a Jesus following mom who made plenty of her own mistakes in those young years, it is so hard to sit back and watch the world try to devour her own kids.  As one child already has turned against the faith it has been painful to see and hear the false messages come from her.  Our relationship with Jesus has to be just that, a relationship.  It can not be forced and must be chosen.  This momma’s prayer for her children is that they will love Jesus with all their heart and want to share that love with others.

This world is tough and grows more brutal by the day.  Our children our constantly preyed upon with so much falseness.  Lies that only brings destruction when we fall victim to them  My advice to other Christian parents is that I have none really.  Not of my own.  Prayer, scripture and completely submitting my children to the Lord are my weapons.    “God they are yours and you love them even more than I do.” “Whatever it takes to keep them in your loving arms or to draw them back to your loving arms is what I ask.”  That is a tough prayer.  Otherwise I watch and listen hoping that the truth will protect them.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

For my young friends on the beach.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

Washington is Battling Over a Wall Meanwhile I too have a Wall Battle

It seems that God uses things that irritate me to teach me the best lessons.  Our son we are adopting has a habit of constantly touching the walls in our home.  A good habit we are trying to get instilled is good hand washing.  We have far to go with the hand washing.  Needless to say the walls are down right gross. As I see him placing his hands on the walls I remind him that he has two strong legs to stand on. There is not a need for  touching the wall.   He insists that he is in his “pre teen” years so he definitely is old enough to walk without touching everything.  There are some sensory reasons behind the wall touching I am quite sure.  Being aware of trauma needs is important.  Alas it is a bad habit that needs a conscious effort on his part and our teaching to overcome.

Today I was going around each wall with a magic eraser sponge yet again.  Feeling slightly irritated as I have to do this quite often.  Recently our home was ravaged by a stomach virus and I feel even more paranoid with hygiene and cleanliness.  God started flooding thoughts over my mind as I scrubbed.   Here go the wall lessons for Anita today.

  1. I notice the dirty hand prints most in the bright day light.  How true in our own life that if we let Jesus shine His light on our own hearts He sure reveals a lot of dirt.
  2. How much of a habit do I have in leaning on God?  Do I turn to Him in prayer?  Do I go to His word for all answers?  Am I leaning on my own strength instead of Him?
  3. Do I rely on old habits to calm anxieties.  Do I hang on to worry?  Do I let go of false security and fully trust God?
  4. It takes a magic eraser to clean the walls in our home.  It takes the blood of Jesus to clean our hearts.  There is nothing magic to the remedy for our sin.  It is the pure love, grace, mercy, and power of Jesus taking my sin to the cross, dying, and rising again that cleanses me.
  5. All people that I love have habits I can’t stand.  God has shown me unconditional love and forgiveness.  Truly loving them completely is to love their imperfections as well.  I get to clean the walls for my family.
  6. Thank you God I have a home with walls and a family to make them dirty.
  7.  I have qualities that are annoying to others and thank God they love me anyway.
  8. Thank you Jesus that you saved me even though I do not deserve it.  Maybe I should make my boy clean the walls.  Sometimes Grace is better and I will do it for now.
  9. I probably don’t even want to know how many times God has protected me from consequences and has shown me Grace.
  10. Dirty walls teach me patience and to prioritize.  People or things first?  Clean when you aren’t needing to focus on people.

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Walls will one day crumble, but the love God gives us to give to others will last for all of eternity!!

When the “World” Lives in Your Home

It has been a while since I have had time to write a blog.  Partly because I have lacked the energy.  Partly because of lessons I am learning could breach confidentiality to blog about. To become more educated on the life and behaviors of a traumatized child I have been doing much more reading than writing.  Lastly the ups and downs are so frequent I really have not been able to fully wrap my mind let alone my writing around the emotion constantly surrounding our family daily.

The challenges have been tremendous, the test has been hard, there are daily sacrifices of all of our own needs and wants for this hurting human being.  There has been nothing in my life that has painted a more personal picture of exactly what Jesus did for me on the cross than foster care.  Each member of our family has been told “I hate you!” one minute then “I love you!” the next.  We all have been hit, kicked, spit at, and then hugged and kissed.    The complaints, demands, lack of gratitude, and harsh words are exhausting to hear even when you know it is out of pure fear and pain from the past. There really can be no comparison to Jesus and His perfect gift of love given to human kind.  Foster care has brought a much deeper understanding and appreciation for my Lord and Savior.  The perfect sinless Savior fully human and fully God took all sin of all human kind upon Himself as if it were His.  He knew what He faced in full as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.   The humiliation, unfairness, and separation from God the Father.  The feelings of fear, loneliness, pain, regret, guilt and shame never felt before would all be upon Him as He took on our sin.  Not to mention the most gruesome physical beating and tortuous death a person can experience.   Why would He do this for us?  Because the Glory of God and heaven is worth it.

Each of us Lucas’ has excepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord and that is our assurance that we will be in heaven one day.  Foster care has been a result of the relationship we have with Jesus.  Why are we doing this?  Because the Glory of God and heaven is worth it.  If one life is led to Jesus because of this small struggle we are enduring then it is worth it all.

Recently I was told  by someone that they didn’t think I knew what I was really getting into by getting into foster care.   My reply was I knew exactly what it was going to be and cost inviting the world into our home.  That is why it took me nearly 7 years to surrender to this calling.   It took me a lot more than one night in a garden to pray “Not my will, but thine be done.”  It took a lot of fighting with my own sinful nature and selfishness.

We have also been told that we don’t know what we are doing.   Truthfully every life is unique and each person’s trauma is different so who really knows besides God what each individual needs?   What I do know is that we don’t know what we are doing, but we are no longer sitting around in our safe little world.  We are doing!!!  It is not about us it is all about God and His Glory.  The fact that we are doing something for a hurting world with God equipping us more than qualifies us.

The deeper appreciation and relationship with our Savior has been a blessing.  The blessing of God’s Word guiding us, and our pastor and youth pastor’s sermons each week are a blessing.  The prayers of fellow believers have been a tremendous blessing. It is amazing how all the books I am reading are indeed helpful, but what has offered me the most help has been the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Just reminded of this verse by a fellow believer and friend.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 

Some Prayers are Answered Imediately! God is Very Real and no one will EVER Convince me Otherwise!!!

021

This last week has been incredibly busy.  I’ve thought about listing the hours I worked, activities, meetings, etc… I have had, but some details are unnecessary and a bit boring.  What I will explain is that I am very tired and pretty well feel like I am losing my mind with all that I need to remember.  Sunday morning I found out I needed to get my daughter’s passport to church to have copies made for an upcoming mission trip.  Sunday afternoon I hurriedly obtained it from the safe place it has been kept for the last six months and was quite sure I had placed it in my purse.  The plan was to have it copied while I was in with the rest of the choir preparing for our patriotic musical.  Well the person that was going to copy it and myself both forgot.  That evening after the musical we had the church youth group over to our house and the next morning I got up for work at 4:20 am as usual.  Upon arriving to work I found out I had arrived an hour earlier than I was actually scheduled.  The fact that I unknowingly sacrificed an hour longer sleep should demonstrate my state of mind and the fact that I am losing it completely.

The passport was now long forgotten until this evening when my daughters and I went shopping at Target.  My youngest had a gift card burning a hole in her pocket and the oldest needed a pouch to carry her passport for her upcoming trip.  With the thought of the passport retrieved from the depths of my memory I now started to look for it in my purse not having remembered seeing it over the last two days.  We got to the car and I emptied my purse.  Each daughter looked through my purse.   No passport found.  The entire car ride home I started retracing my steps in my mind trying to think if I laid it down somewhere stupid instead of putting it in my purse or if it had fallen out of my purse.  I had only been to church, work, and home until our Target trip.

As we continued home my chest had become tight and I was now nauseous thinking that all the anticipation, prayers,  preparation and cost of this life changing trip for my oldest daughter was all pending on locating the now lost passport.

As we neared our home I silently prayed very hard pleading with God to help me find this passport.  Come to find out my youngest daughter was in the back seat doing the same as she could tell her mom was growing close to losing it!  I had promised my oldest that she could start practicing driving the car down our private lane when we come and go.  She drove down our lane when we left and it was now with the very last ounce of patience that was left in me I kept my word to let her drive down our lane back to the house.

It was through keeping my promise God answered my prayer.  Her passport apparently had fallen out of my purse at some time while driving over the last few days and had slid between the passenger seat and door.  As I walked over to the passenger side of the car there it was.  I think I actually heard a heavenly choir sing as I bent down and scooped up that precious passport!

God hears our prayers.  He is faithful.  He cares about every detail of our lives.  He is very real and every bit of my sustainer, redeemer, best friend, Lord, Savior, and my Heavenly FATHER!!!    His presence is so evident to me everyday!!!

We Just Don’t Know

Not many of my own words tonight.  Just searching the word of God for comfort and thought I would share the verses that are bringing me peace.  I have no clue what the future holds, but what I do know is who holds the future.  My Heavenly Father holds the future, He holds me when I let Him, and hears the prayers of those who love Him.  That is really all that I am one hundred percent sure of.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:8-11

“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

““Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Remember Answered Prayers

childs-praying-hands
The amount of answered prayers continues to grow in this teensy life of mine. God actually sustains me moment to moment most days by His answers. One thing I am learning is to never forget those answers. By continuously remembering when God has provided protection, strength, and healing in so many ways I am humbled. As I have been studying through the Old Testament there is so much to learn about answered prayers and forgotten answers to prayers. The Israelite people are a huge example of forgetting where God has brought them. Time and time again God heard their cries and brought them out of slavery and turmoil only for them to forget where they started and who had gotten them out of the depths of despair. In my own life I have learned that God is always faithful to hear my cries. He doesn’t always answer in the way I have orchestrated in my mind. He always answers better than I can ever imagine. His answers always come with tremendous growth in my own faith. The true test as a believer is remembering where God has brought us. Will we allow Him to change us and grow us with His answers? Will we remember where we started and how far He has brought us? Will we see the miracle of His perfect timing and see His beauty even in our darkest times? When times are good will we give ourselves the credit or give all the glory to God? As I study I have found that King Solomon is another huge example of forgetfulness. Both 2nd Chronicles and 1st Kings record the account of God coming to Solomon in a dream and Solomon asking for wisdom to rule God’s people.

2 Chronicles 1:7-12 “That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

God was faithful to Solomon in His promises. The news and fame of his wisdom carried so far and greatly that even the Queen of Sheba had to check this out for herself. Solomon had a great start, but a not so great finish. He had a weakness for the ladies, hundreds of ladies actually. How the guy kept up with all that girl drama is a mystery to me. Amongst the hundreds of ladies were ladies from all types of backgrounds and countries. God had warned of the dangers with marrying those of different faith. Many of these women came from homes and lands that worshipped idols and not God. His weakness for the ladies led to weakness to be swayed into their idolatry and alas to forget how and why he had the very position of king in the first place. God had given everything to him, life, power, wisdom, material goods, and fame. He forgot where he came from. God is faithful to us and in his promises. It is in our weakness and pride that we fail Him.

As I reflect on the greatest answers to prayer it has been the prayers for protection, for God to help me love others as Jesus does, for God to help me to forgive others as Jesus, for God to lead others to Him, and for whatever I do to bring Him glory, not me. These are the prayers that I have seen His greatest miracles. My continuous prayer is to always remember. To remember that God gave me life and that everything I am and have is and was God’s in the first place.