Do you Want a Women’s March With a Guaranteed Impact?

raindrops on roses

As I watch all forms of media explode over the women’s march I keep hearing many different reasons for marching.  There doesn’t seem to be one specific right that all women are standing united on. Nor have any women’s rights in America been taken away. It is an assumption of  what might happen that has been  fed by mainstream media.  It is not my place to judge each motivation behind the march only God can see into individuals hearts.  This blog is not being written to agree or disagree with this movement.  I will say there have been some things I have seen with this march that have completely embarrassed me as a women and for my young girls.

I can’t seem to stop thinking about women, the brokenness of this world, what the true needs are,  where true change needs to happen, and the rights we do have as human beings.   As my mind is racing and praying about this issue a true world changing vision of a march has flooded my mind.

Do you want to make a lasting impact?  Do you want to do something truly inspirational? Do you TRULY want to help women?

1.First you could provide encouragement to all the women in your life.  Build them up.  Tell them they are beautiful, special, smart, and strong.

2.If you have any young girls in your life be a part of building their self esteem.  Help them realize that they can work hard and succeed.  They can choose the career they want as long as they work hard.  Nothing is free and we all have to work hard.  When the young girl in your life fails encourage her to pick herself up and try again.  Failure makes us stronger and helps us learn from our mistakes.  By speaking hope into a young girl’s life you may very well prevent the next young mother who chooses her drug addiction over her children.  You may prevent the next domestic violence victim. Help elevate a young girls self esteem and teach her how a woman should be treated.  She can then avoid or escape abusive relationships because she knows she deserves better.

3. Be a mentor and support system to a single mother.  March down to local shelters and build up mothers who have lost everything. Women that just need opportunities to provide for their family.  Provide childcare, education, provide jobs, do laundry, what ever the need is SEE IT and take care of it.

4. March down to children’s homes and DCFS offices and learn what you can do to help in the world of foster care.  You could be the one caring adult to completely alter the course of an abandoned little girl for the good.

5. March to the nursing homes and hold hands with women who have lived long and hard.  Hold the hand of a widowed women.

6. Help women who have been widowed or abandoned of all ages.  Mow their lawns, make home repairs, and again provide child care to help her rest.

7. March to a children’s hospital and friend a mother whose child is dying of cancer or kept on life sustaining machines while waiting for a heart transplant.  Be there for a woman who has lost a child.

8. March to the magazines and medias that make women a sex object.  Who make false images of what beauty is.  The medias telling us we have to be a size zero with big breasts, have round butts, and big puffy lips to be truly beautiful.

9. Provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on to the woman who desperately desires to have a child and hasn’t gotten pregnant.

10.Stop judging each other.  Women are the worst at cutting other women down.   The march might be keeping our mouth closed if we are going to gossip or cut down another.

11.If you don’t want to be a sex object then be careful what you wear, where you go, and what you do.  Respect yourself and you will get much more respect.

We are women of all colors, shapes and sizes.  Women with all kinds of talents. God created women with a specific purpose and plan.  We are amazing nurturers.  We have specific qualities that God gave us with a perfect purpose and plan.   March to a bible and read about very significant women God has used to fulfill his plan you will be amazed.

We are beautiful and valuable.  Lets encourage each other and march where it matters most.  March to the places we can make a lasting difference.  Rights of humanity don’t rest on a president’s shoulders.  Rights of humanity depend on human beings making a difference one life at a time.

 

 

A Whole New Kind of Grief

060

One never knows what a new year will bring.  This year has brought a whole new level of heart broken.  This picture is with puffy sad eyes of a turn of events breaking this momma’s heart.  Praise God for a sweet sensitive family pet that knew exactly what I needed in the moment. Sunday morning during our pastors sermon I had a short little prayer “God is it time to move forward with adoption…should I ask Mike about it again?”   The answer to my prayer was practically immediate and not what I ever dreamt or thought.  To protect privacy I can not write about the behaviors of our child that ensued immediately after our church service while we were still at church.  It was more of the tough stuff we have been enduring the last nine months with great intensity.  The afternoon improved and Mike and I once again were given apologies.  Once again we forgave without hesitation and then it seemed that what had become our “new normal” family life resumed for the rest of the day.  That night our child made a very dangerous, pre meditated and planned choice.  It was a choice that greatly endangered our entire family.  The realization was overwhelming that God was protecting us in a mighty way that night.

With prayer and consultation through the proper channels of foster care workers it became very evident that the next layer of healing would not be in our home for this young one.  God had answered my prayer with a big NO regarding adoption.  Not what I expected.  The message that followed was “you did exactly what I needed you to do and now it is time for the next step in the plan I have”.

This Sunday morning I sang the special music at our church.  It was a song that I had heard weeks prior that grabbed my attention in a powerful way.  As I listened to the words I thought “oh my this is my prayer that I have been praying through our journey!”  “These are the images of Jesus put to words in a song that have been sustaining me moment to moment.”  The song is “Abide With Me” by Matt Maher.  As my life journey continues my relationship with Jesus is deepening, but nothing has required a further growth and complete reliance on Him as our foster parent journey.   One of the images has been the image of Jesus on the cross carrying the burden of all the sin of all mankind.  As we have carried the weight of the EFFECT that sin has had on just one young life the understanding of the magnitude of Jesus’ love has blown my mind.  The burden has been so heavy and I have not been able to even carry one person that has been so sinned against without Jesus’ love.  The next image has been Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He prayed alone, abandoned by His sleepy disciples.  He prayed with great anguish knowing the magnitude of the weight he was about to endure.  His anguish was over the burden of sin and separation from God the Father more so than the physical torture.  Now with this week’s events there is a deeper level of Jesus’ pain that is becoming more clear.  Not only was he giving the ultimate sacrifice for those who would choose His healing.  He was fully obedient to carry the weight of those who would completely deny and reject Him.  This was something I knew, but haven’t had the depth of understanding as I now have.  To pour every ounce of love, energy, and sacrificial giving into a person who may not ever choose healing has been very eye opening.

God goes to extreme measures to reach each and every human being.  He will place people in the paths of others so that everyone has the opportunity to know the truth.  The workers are so very few.  (Matthew 9:35-38) As a follower of Jesus I feel so gracious and honored to get to be used by Him.  To understand that there is so much work to heal this broken world and that God would use someone so inadequate as me to touch the life of another humbles my soul.  God continues to provide a peace that nothing has been in vain.  That His purposes are eternal and we may not know on this side of heaven what work He has done through us.  If we went back in time to the day we got our license to foster the answer would still be “yes” to our first call.

We do need some time for “self care”, healing, and to pour love into our daughters.  We are not going to quit and still feel the call to open our home to children who have been hurt by this sinful broken world.  There are so many lessons that are priceless.  I will always love this child that is still learning how to receive true love.  Any child that has been in my care will always be one of my children.  This young life will remain in my prayers.  My hope is that one day I will be reunited with this young one in heaven.  I pray he will choose goodness, love,  and healing that only comes from Jesus.

Here are the words to the song “Abide With Me”.

I have a home, eternal home

but for now I walk this broken world

you walked it first, you know our pain

But you show hope can rise again up from the grave

Abide with me, abide with me

don’t let me fall, and don’t let go

walk with me and never leave

ever close, God abide with me

There in the night, Gethsemane

before the cross, before the nails

overwhelmed, alone you prayed

you met us in our suffering and bore our shame

Abide with me, abide with me

don’t let me fall, and don’t let go

walk with me, and never leave

ever close God abide with me

Love that will not ever let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

You never let us go

And up ahead , eternity

we’ll weep no more, and sing for joy, abide with me

 

“Mercy does not Need Reasons”

For weeks now I have wanted to blog about what I see as far as true love and support from a foster parent’s perspective.  Our situation has been purely a calling of God on our life as a family and as individual followers of Jesus Christ.   It has been very eye opening to see who and where true love and concern has come from.

The only non-judgmental truly supportive concern and understanding has come from our church family our actual church and fellow believers that attend other churches.   Jesus’ church of believers.  It has been people that have had a true encounter with Jesus Christ themselves and have had God’s calling on their own lives that provide the unconditional support our family so desperately needs.

This blog is not to point fingers or to provide direct quotes of questions we have been asked.  In general there is a lack of understanding as to why we keep on with all the sacrifices of time, finances, home, emotions,  and actual abuse against us for someone who may never “get it”?   Why do we keep on with all the inconveniences and scrutiny of “the system”?

This morning while working on the middle school girls Life group lesson God has helped bring this observation to a deeper level of understanding.  The story of the “Good Samaritan” one that I have read in Luke 10:25-37 many times throughout my life provides the best answers to the questions we are asked.

God’s call on the life of those who choose to believe and follow Him is this…  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;  and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

How can a human being whose nature is all about self survival, preservation, pleasure and promotion give completely unconditionally  to a stranger and possibly “the enemy”?    It is all by the power of God’s love.   It is coming to the understanding of how much God loves me even though I personally don’t deserve it.  God has shown me an indescribable amount of mercy and it is only through Him I can show this kind of mercy to others.  God has different plans for His people to show love to neighbors.  His plan for our family for this season is exactly what we are doing right now.

This morning I was having a morning where I was fighting with my own human nature and feeling very tired of the “behaviors”.   God’s word cut right to my core yet again.

I love a quote in the Wiersbe Bible Commentary I just read.  ” The Samaritan identified with the needs of the stranger and had compassion on him.  There was no logical reason why he should rearrange his plans and spend his money just to help an “enemy” in need, but mercy does not need reasons.”

I’m tired, I’m far from perfect, but God keeps speaking to my heart.  He keeps telling me to press on, not to give up, and  to give what ever it takes.

 

 

Beaten Down…More Lessons as a Foster Parent

As we continue along this journey our family continues to learn more about ourselves and how to love the broken daily.  There are days that feel like Satan has literally whipped the tar out of us.   Mostly speaking for myself having felt beaten spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. Lately the battle has been intense.  The struggles are a strong indicator that we are exactly where God wants us to be.  Satan leaves us alone when what we are doing has no significant impact on the eternity of someone else.  When we are making an impact he throws his best shots at us.

One thing I am learning of myself is that I go from happy to extremely angry in 0.0002 seconds when the safety of others is compromised.  Threats of physical harm, hatred, and disrespect of life really ticks me off. It is sin that I despise.  The sins of hatred that exist in this world and I despise what it stirs within my own self.  How do we remain empathetic and therapeutic with a young little human being who has known nothing but chaos, hatred and abuse?  God continues to reveal more and more the effects of trauma, lack of parenting, and lack of nurturing on a human life to us. Reading all sorts of books still has no comparison to living it.  There is no cut and dry, no black and white, no easy answers.

There is so much I can’t share.  There are multiple conversations about life daily our child and I have.  This morning’s conversation I think it is safe to share.  One thing I have learned is that a traumatized child will turn to material objects as their comfort.  They can control them and break them.  They can keep them and those objects don’t pose a threat to them.  Human beings have failed them.  TV, video and computer games has been the nurture for this child.

I was talking to one of our dogs this morning in my high pitched, make the doggie hyper and happy voice.  Telling the dog how beautiful she is and how much I love her.  Our child piped at me “She is ugly!!  She isn’t happy!!”  My reply was “Well you can have your own opinion, but I think she is beautiful!”  The returning comment was “You think she is ugly!!”  Once again I reply “I think she is beautiful!”  “She is a living creature and all living things are beautiful because God created them.  Everything God has made is beautiful!”  Our little one asked “So do you think the TV is beautiful?”  My response was “No the TV is man made and really to me it is junk!”  He then asks “What about phones?”  My response again “They are junk and really not important either they are a tool to connect with other human beings.”  “What matters most are living beings created by God not things that were made by man.”  He then asked “what about flowers?”  I state “Yes they are living and we have to savor them and enjoy their beauty fast because they don’t live real long.”  Next was “Do you think the laundry basket is beautiful as he pointed to it?”  My reply “Was no not really it is just a tool to help the human beings I have in my life to care for.”

Children that have not been valued and loved unconditionally struggle with being able to value other people.  Children who have not been nurtured in love struggle with loving others.  Their hope has been placed completely in failing and fleeting material things.  This is a rocky journey and I fall some days.  This mom gets tired.  Some days I feel like our family is just in survival mode.  Then God will give us sparks of hope.  God will renew the spirit within me the more I lean on Him and trust Him.   Some days I feel like I am just hanging onto Him by a fingernail with a dark hole beneath me.  Then I  realize that underneath the unknown, the unseen, God’s other hand is right there to catch me and protect us.  God is good and we will continue to learn and press on.

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.”

 

The Truth Truly Sets us Free

I have witnessed truth freeing moments my whole life!  I know what the truth has done for my own heart and life.  The weight of the burdens of this world are unbearably heavy.  We carry the weight of sins made against us leaving scars, grudges, unforgiveness, emotional pain, mental pain, and sometimes physical.  We carry the burden of regret from our own selfish, self-seeking sin.  Our own sins bring along with them shame, guilt, emotional anguish, mental anguish, and often physical consequences.  The weight that weighs the world down causes the world to want to drag everyone and everything down.  Misery loves company.

In a world that is so full of lies it is hard to know what is true.  Even amongst those that should be speaking the truth and setting truthful examples.  Within my own life the only true TRUTH and FREEDOM has been found within the pages of God’s word.  Everyday God speaks more truth into my heart making the lies of the world more and more clear.

The moments that I have seen God’s light of truth lift burdens off of others and my own life are what I live for and long for these days.   What I am learning is that speaking truth is the only way.  It is very hard and meets resistance, challenge, and sometimes rejection.  In the end it is worth it as truth and love chips away at the scars left by a deceitful world.

John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Why do Bad Things Happen?

A few weeks ago during lunch break at work one of my co-workers asked the infamous question we all ponder at some point in our life.  Why does God not strike a person down immediately when they do something incredibly evil?  The example of a person harming a child especially in a nasty perverse way was given.  Why does God not swoop in, save the child, and put and end to the evil doer?  My response was just the three letter word “sin”.  It is hard to summarize the entire Bible and God’s plan in just a few sentences.  It is hard to explain and to understand when we think with the concept of time.  Twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week, three hundred and sixty five days in a year.  We are so bent on instant gratification.  We want our definition of justice served immediately.   God is very clear in His word that at one point in time we will all face His judgement.  It is coming in His time.

Another word that I failed to mention was “freewill”.  God gave us the opportunity to chose Him.  When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden He provided them with every tree and full run of the garden with the exception of not eating from just one tree.  He did this because He wanted His creation to love Him back.  By not eating of the tree they acted out of trust and love.  A desire to respect God’s request.  It is an obedience that does not come from oppression, threat, or slavery that God desires from us.  An obedience that comes from love.  Once Adam and Eve made the choice with their own freewill to eat of that tree the curse of sin fell on creation.   Mankind from that moment on has had a sinful human nature.  The nature to act in evil, selfish, and prideful ways.

If you study the Bible from cover to cover you will see how instead of just wiping out creation He has given chance after chance for people to come to Him.  Ultimately He came to this earth to become a human, to live a perfect sinless life, and to be the ultimate sacrifice and covering for our sins.  We are all lost to the evil ways of our hearts with the only hope of healing and being saved (literally from our own selves) is through Jesus Christ.   The evil that is in each person’s heart is pretty darn scary.

Our pastor in a recent sermon stated that there are three types of people.   There are people that think and act on a hellish level.  The example he gave was these terrorist groups that will behead a person just because they believe differently.  To go with my friend’s question a person that would steal the innocence of a child for their own sick, perverse, selfish gratification is evil it is a hellish mindset.  Then there is the human way of thinking and acting.  If you are good to me I will be good to you.  If you do me wrong I am going to do wrong right back to you.   The final way of thinking and acting is on a heavenly level.  To only do good even when severely wronged.   That means praying for our enemies and actually giving of ourselves even when the person receiving our gift has done evil to us or others.

The only possible way to truly act on the heavenly level is through the strength and power of God.  It is impossible for us on our own.

I fully believe that God calls us to Him first to be His friend then next to spread His love to a dark and fallen world.   Once a believer, allowing Him to change us into a heavenly thinking and acting person allows us to have the opportunity to protect the innocent.  To care for children, orphans, and widows.  Those who physically and mentally can not care for or protect themselves.  To protect others from those who think and act on the hellish level.

There is a lot of injustice in this world, but there is no greater injustice than that which Jesus faced in His death on the cross.  He was absolutely pure with no fault and faced the most gruesome death.  All for us.  The heavenly level came down and gave it all for those who do not deserve anything, but judgment and death. I am one who deserves nothing but death.  I do not deserve this gift of grace and love.  My God also did not stay dead.  He overcame evil and death by rising again and is alive.

An example of how soon our sin starts (which is immediately actually).  I know that even as a two year old I was a little sinner.  I ran into a pad of freshly poured concrete my dad had just finished.  I hid from my mother in clothes racks when shopping.  I climbed on our kitchen cabinets to steal candy and accidently turned the stove on.  This sinful little act ended up starting a pan of grease to catch fire and I, little two year old Anita, burnt our kitchen.  I bit people at the babysitters.  My mom finally had to bite me back to get me to realize that what I was doing was hurting other people.

Bad things happen because of evil.  God has given us the remedy to this evil in our hearts, Jesus.  Not everyone will choose to follow Him.  Not everyone is willing to turn to a heavenly way of thinking.  It is not easy to think heavenly.  God is giving us the opportunity to make this world a little better, to shine His light and love.  Ultimately God will bring judgement.  He will conquer evil once and for all.  He wants people to choose to be on His winning team.  He tells us in this world we will have trouble.  It is an evil fallen world.  God’s ways are eternal and we only understand the concept of time.  In His time He will make all things new and there will be no more of the injustices and sorrows.

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.””

 

False Advertisement…You Call that a Clearance Price?

wolf sheep

Just returned home from a quick trip to my last resort store (Wal-mart).  I have been repotting plants from my father’s funeral and needed just one more big pot.  With summer winding down I have been checking all over Alton for clearance sales on flower pots and have actually found a couple deals, but still needed one last big pot.  As I perused through the clearance isles I was surprised at how the red tags were not actually deals at all. That got me to thinking about all the false advertisement that bombards us everyday.  Having fallen victim to many so called deals in my life by clever salesmen, flashy signs, misleading coupons, etc… I have grown very cynical and cautious toward the “deals” all around.

There are not only false advertisements to win our money and business there is actually a huge battle going on for our very souls.  Satan throws false advertisement, false teachers, and false promises at us daily to sway us away from God.  To destroy us, to steal our joy, and to steal our eternity.  He will use people in power, TV evangelists, teachers, the media, pretty much any means he can to deliver his false messages to us.  You see anything that directs us to live for ourselves and to look out for self is a false teaching.  He will even take scripture out of context to try to say “it is biblical”.  The Holy Spirit alarms tend to go off within my soul anytime the teaching is about self.  You see throughout the bible God teaches us to love Him with all of our hearts. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37)  To seek God first then everything we need is provided for us by Him. (Matthew 6:33) The main focus of Jesus’ teachings were to serve others and put others first.  He gave us the ultimate example of giving everything we are and have for the sake of others.  (Luke 10:27, Matthew 20:28)

So just a quick little blurb today about guarding against falseness.  Satan wanted to become God and any teaching that is trying to sway you to be your own God is a path to destruction!  There is only one God and we are definitely not Him.

Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”