Would you take in a Child that Claims to be Homosexual? Foster/Adopt #6

This is a question that was asked of me this afternoon.  I have no clue of the perspective of onlookers , but from my own it felt like my words came with little hesitation.   The question was worded actually as “Would you take in a LGBT teen?”  My first response was no one over twelve as we want to keep the birth order as a priority, but ultimately yes to a child within our age range.  All I could think was that child needs love and a family as much as anyone.  Also what came to mind is that it is sin that throws a child into this crazy foster care system to begin with.  Whatever means the child has been sinned against the abuse, sexual, physical, mental, emotional, and/or neglect (many times all of the above) that child is going to be messed up and confused no matter what.  For me to judge and say no I will not love you and care for you defeats the purpose of the very ministry our family is being called to do.

My authority is God and His word.  His word tells me ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23)  I am a sinner.  My own sin is no better and no worse than anyone else’s.  It may look different than another person’s, but sin is sin in God’s eyes.  Jesus carried the weight of ALL sin of ALL mankind on the cross.  He paid the payment of ALL sin so that ALL can be forgiven.  When Jesus walked this earth who did he minister to?  He ministered to those that the “holier than thou”, “self righteous” religious leaders of the day called “sinners”.   It was those religious leaders that Jesus truly had the hardest time with because they did not realize their own need for Him. Jesus met each person that was willing to trust Him and receive Him right at their deepest need.  He met them where they were and provided physical healing, spiritual healing, emotional healing,   forgiveness, grace and mercy.  He never condoned the sin nor  said it was ok keep on doing what you have been. He loved them healed them and said “Go and sin no more.”   John 8:11 being just one example. Jesus met them at the core of their problem and healed them from the inside out.  That is the example God has given us to live by.   To meet others at their need and love them.  Then we can point to the one that can truly bring about change and healing for a person.

Another calling on my life has been nursing.  For over 21 years now I have cared for criminals, addicts, contagious disease baring, suicidal, abusive, ungrateful, all sexual lifestyles, psychotic, mentally disabled, physically disabled, bitter, helpless, weak, etc… My calling as a nurse is to provide care, healing based on human abilities, empathy, and to meet people in their time of need.  The calling has been that I take whoever God places in my care and that I do not have the right to pick and choose.

I guess when it comes to this next/additional calling in life I feel called to the same standards as Jesus’ example He gave us in the Word of God.   We will have questions to ask case workers and have the safety of our own girls to keep in mind of course.  The fact that a child may question their sexuality I do not feel is a compromise on God’s word by us taking them into our home.  Saying that any kind of sin is “ok” IS a compromise to God’s word.  Also not loving someone because I think their sin is worse than my own is a huge compromise to what God’s word teaches.

What I do know is that I am already praying for God to give us discernment, protect us from being sinned against, protect us from sinning, for our children to flee from temptations,  for God’s protection of them,  for us to trust God with all our hearts, and for us to love unconditionally.  We are being called to meet a child/children and their families at their time of need.  We are not called to judge them we are called to provide love, safety, forgiveness, and point them to the only one who can provide true healing…Jesus.

 

So I am Going to get a Little Political

Our country is hurting and first of all in deep need of prayer.  Personally I like to stay away from political debates and opinions, but I think no one can deny that our country is in trouble on so many levels.

My daughter’s high school team has two goalies.  My daughter being one of them.  Both are great goalies.  Both are on the JV and Varsity rosters.  This I think is awesome.  What I see happening is that both goalies are held up to a higher standard.  There is a friendly level of competition.  There is a higher level of accountability.   All these factors encourage harder work and a deeper level of commitment to the team.  On an even greater level hard work and commitment builds character and integrity.

This is what I have seen lacking in all governmental levels across the United States of America.  Even with two main political parties they both have fallen into a very selfish and lazy form.   When there is no competition or accountability bad things happen.   With no competition, pride arrogance and big ego develop.   With no accountability laziness ensues.  As one becomes more powerful and great in ones own mind the temptations become even greater.  When a bribe is laid before a politician the human nature of “self” can completely take over when there is no one looking and holding accountable.  The attitude of “entitlement”  has trickled down from the top.  All things run downhill and in the last several decades it has been nasty stuff sludging down the hill.

When a person believes that there is no one greater, “their the only game”,  and when there is a monopoly things get dangerous.   We all are replaceable and there is always someone that is more talented that will come along.

Humility, accountability, competition, commitment to the people, and integrity is lacking greatly in our country especially in the governments and those making the laws.

Life long politicians should not have happened.  Government positions are  suppose to be a service to “the people” not the power trip that they have become!    Ultimately God is in control and on His throne no matter who is the leader of our country.   We need to turn back to God and to turn back to truly serving Him and others instead of self.

 

What is Good?

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The longer we wait for our Foster license the more little projects I am finding.  When a woman is pregnant it’s called nesting.  I have no idea what to call it when waiting for the completely unknown.  It’s a whole new kind of nesting.  Each item in this room has been carefully thought out and  inexpensive monetarily speaking.  A lot of time and love has been put into it.  Each item can also be reused or repurposed elsewhere in our home if need be so nothing is lost or wasted.

This little chair has been my latest labor of love.  This chair was literally getting ready to be thrown in a fire and my husband spotted it and saved it.  I’m sure he is now getting an eye for “what  Anita would love to paint and restore”.   I sat looking at this simple little chair this morning after putting a sealing coat on it and thought. “I like it.  It looks good, well at least to me.”   My thoughts then turned to God as he created this amazing earth and all the galaxies.  After each day of creation “He saw that it was good.”

God planned each and every person, plant and animal before He even spoke it all into existence.  My thoughts then turned to how my heavenly Father looks at me.  He planned me before sin entered in.  He knew all the good He could do with my life and my existence.  He had a purpose in creating little me.  He has this much love, thought, and planning for every human being.   Others may not look at what God has created and think it’s any good or like it.  Every human being is not likable and pleasing to all other human beings, but to God…  We were all created for something beautiful.  Of course sin entered and that beauty becomes distant and separated by our sinful nature that opposes all that God created us for.  We search to find our own purpose, meaning, and salvation to no avail.  On our own separate from our Creator we are destined to be used up and thrown into the fire.   God provided a Savior, Jesus, to snatch us from the grasp of that fire.   He looks on us with love and sees His original purpose, plan, and beauty.   As we submit to being saved and give up trying it all on our own we begin to change.  Beauty and restoration happens and God looks upon us and sees that Jesus has covered our entire being.  God can once again look at a human being that is covered by Jesus and say “it is good”.

I am so thankful for God’s love.  As I am so far from perfect He continues to teach me how to love, forgive, and live.

Genesis 1:31a  “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone,  the new is here.”

Life is More than a Vending Machine

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The other day my youngest daughter and I had dashed out of the house without eating any breakfast.  Our place of destination that morning happened to have a vending machine full of junk food that could provide a very short lived satisfaction to hunger pains (with no nutritional value I must add).   My daughter asked if I had change so she could get a snack until we can get some “real food”.  With those big blue eyes softening my heart I of course  caved and told her to go ahead and get some change from my wallet for  a snack.  Her first try to obtain a snack of her choice the tasty treat became entangled in the spiral mechanics of the machine and would not drop below to her reach.    Upon her second try for another choice the snack once again became stuck between the spiral grasp and the glass door of the machine.   After the second try  the only thing being fed was the machine with mom’s change instead of her belly so she decided to call it quits and just count her/our losses.

 

This encounter reminded me so much of the world we live in.  Some give and give yet never seem to get ahead or become successful according to the standards of our world.  There are some who may give a little and get what someone else paid for and lost.  There are some who may just shake life and make demands and the demands are granted without any work or effort.    Sometimes worldly systems work  sufficiently and one can get what they have worked/paid for.  Life can really seem unfair and meaningless.

Life of one who has a relationship with Jesus provides so much more than the give and take of this world we live in.  The things that are so fleeting and superficial, beauty, money, power, fame, attention, etc… start to become just that, superficial, as one’s relationship deepens with Jesus.   A quote caught my attention in Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary of the New Testament.  “God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.”    It seems all anyone wants to hear is what God will give give give.  Our lives are so much more than what we can get.  The world is so focused on “self” and what God and others can do for “me me me”.    God’s plan for us is to perfect us.  Not in a way the world sees perfection.  It is a perfection of faith and love.  The more He perfects our faith the more of His light and love can flow through us.   The stronger our faith the more God can work through us to love others perfectly.  The stronger our faith the less we let ourselves get in God’s way.  Sometimes deepening our faith means we have to go through a lot of pain, suffering, sorrow, and mistakes in this life.  When it comes down to it I would much rather be perfected than to have everything perfect.  When I look back on what may seem a complete mess in my own life I can see God’s perfect plan and how it evolved and refined my faith.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will. “

Foster/Adopt #5

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It’s funny that this is now my 5th blog on this subject and we are actually still just waiting for our license.   We live in a broke and back logged state so there is no surprise in the waiting.  Our room sits ready, clean, and a bit sterile until personalities fill it with life and color.  As we wait I continue to see how God is working within my own heart to prepare me as well as my husband and children.  He continues to provide people of support, stories, testimonies, and articles to read to build a foundation of love and wisdom.

Our family continues to lose loved ones.  Tomorrow we say our earthly good byes to the man that was my last earthly father figure remaining, my maternal grandfather.  All the loss lately of fathers, aunts, uncles, friends leads me to a deeper level of empathy that can only scratch the surface of the loss that any child placed in our care will have endured.

As a child one of my greatest fears was to lose my parents.  I am not sure if that is a normal fear of a child.  Having been a pretty weird little kid now grown to weird little adult it is goofy stuff that I remember best.   When I was age five my parents went on a retreat of some kind I am sure for pastors.  A couple from our church kept me for about a week and another family kept my baby sister.   What I remember that week is that I never stopped crying.  The couple I stayed with were very sweet and loving.  They were at their wits end as to what to do to make me happy and to stop crying.  They bribed me with buying toys to no avail.  I am surprised I didn’t dehydrate from all the tears.  I wanted familiarity, normalcy, and security.  I felt scared and alone even though I was with nice people in a nice home.   The highlight of that week was getting to see my baby sister at church.  She was my family and someone I had a true bond with.  It was the longest week of my life.

Having been born to a very loving stable environment I really don’t know what it feels like to have the people that should be your rock and support fail you.  I don’t know what it is like to suffer through the death of a parent while still a child.  I have not been beaten or have had to watch anyone beaten and abused.   I have not had to watch sexual immorality or people getting high as if that is a normal everyday activity for a child to see or experience.   There is a loss of family and a loss of innocence for so many children and it makes my heart ache.  What I know is that week without my family even though I was safe and cared for made me so very sad.  I know that as we continue to lose more and more family my heart grieves and I am forever changed.  My prayer is that God will keep these feelings alive in me so that His love and compassion will flow through me as we press on with this journey.  He continues to prepare us and ready us for who He has planned.  It is hard not to get impatient in the waiting.  He reminds me that Noah didn’t build the ark in a day.  David had to wait to be king.  The Israelites were slaves for 400 years in Egypt.  Throughout scripture God refined and strengthened His people, prophets, and disciples through the process of waiting.  Then the glory of His perfect plan and timing was revealed.

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”  Psalm 27:14

Hug Like it’s Your Last

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We can learn a lot from this sweet lady pictured above.  Her name is Donna.  She is my sister’s husband’s grandmother.  Great grandmother to my nephew and niece.   When I think of the definition of “Fun Grandma”  she fits the description perfectly.  My sister’s picture captures her character as you can see.

How many grandmas do you know that play volleyball into their 80’s?  She is the only one I know.  Donna played volleyball regularly unless her health held her back here in these last months.  She even played up to about a month ago.  Donna is a cancer survivor having battled cancer in her 40’s.  It took another 40 years before it reared it’s ugly head again.  In the meantime she LIVED.

Being a distant non-relative  I know her from just a few family gatherings, the stories, and the impact she has had on my sister and her family.  Living 9 hours away she was able to make one last visit back in early November and was present at my niece’s birthday party.  As she was leaving that evening and saying her good byes she stopped right in front of me.  What she did next has truly made an impact on me.   Donna turned looked me right in the face and in the eyes and said the sweetest most sincere good bye.  She then hugged me so very tight.  This 87 year old volleyball player could squeeze tight let me tell ya!!!    I knew she was saying her goodbyes to everyone and she made this “non-relative” even feel significant by her sincerity.

A few weeks ago while she was still physically able she wrote in a card for my nephew’s birthday and the family waited to mail it for her so it would arrive on his birthday.  She passed just the evening before Ben’s birthday.  What a treasure her sweet words of love and encouragement in that card will forever be.

Donna has got me to thinking “What if we lived everyday like a cancer survivor?”   “What if we treated every good bye and every hug as if it is our last?”  We don’t always know when our life on this earth is coming to a close.  None of us know when our last breath will be.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

This Christmas hug your family tight.  Look each other in the eyes and say kind and sincere words of love and encouragement.  This Christmas have fun and laugh!!  We just never know when it is our last.

A Strong Clue That You Are Following God’s Plan Foster/Adopt #4

In all of our sixteen years of marriage Mike and I have never felt more under attack since we decided to take the step of faith to become licensed foster parents.

As a nurse I have cared for the drug addicted, mentally ill, abusive, and suicidal. I have cared for children on the receiving end of all sorts of abuse. I have cared for the broken, lost, and angry who lash out at those who are genuinely trying to help. God has given me the strength to love patients and families throughout my career. He has helped me on countless occasions to not judge and show compassion. I am not 100% perfect in non-judgemental, loving compassion of all humanity ALL the time, but it has grown easier and easier through the years with God’s help. That being said it is one thing to take care of the broken at work. It is a whole other ball-game to invite the broken into your home. Not just inviting the broken but the government as well.

It has been knowing what foster care would truly involve that has taken me over six years to surrender to taking this step of faith. After that sermon from our youth pastor mentioned in the first foster/adopt post my husband and I discussed finally moving forward with licensure. His statement to me was “I have always been good with it. It has been you that has struggled.”
Ok fair enough. Now as we have completed two thirds of our pride foster parent classes he has developed some of the same fears I have faced over the last six years. These classes can be sobering and emotionally draining as many worst case scenarios are shared. How the tables have turned as I feel a stronger determination not to give up and also that I want to not give up on any child placed in our care. As well as help that child’s family if at all possible. Mike on the other hand is questioning and he mentioned the word fear several times. We have both been stressed, cranky, and overwhelmed. Attacks by Satan worse than ever on our own personal attitudes and patience. In our discussion I mentioned that fear is Satan’s strongest tool to prevent people from taking steps of faith. It is only fear and our own selfishness that truly makes this decision hard. God provides scripture at the most critical times as the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus came to mind. I reminded Mike that as soon as Peter started to become fearful of the storm and waves he sank. (Matthew 14:22-33)When we stop looking toward Jesus and look at all the dangers around us we will never truly follow the path God has for us.

The image of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane so often comes to mind.  Being fully human knowing the pain, suffering, and the weight of bearing the sin of the entire world Jesus prayed “not my will but yours be done”.   Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of all humanity.   Brings the sacrifices made to make a difference in at least one young life into a whole new perspective.  (Matthew 26:36-46)

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

What Tools Define Your Life?

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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!”

Just Praying that my Pants Stay up

As God continues to answer my prayers on a daily basis I had to blog about a very minor prayer request He answered today.  Of course it really could have been a huge distraction to His praise and worship!!!

In our second church service today as the choir finished it’s song I folded my music folder and started placing it on my choir chair to head down to sing with the praise team.   As I did my folder hit the top of my pants.  This pair of pants does not have a button above the zipper.  This pair of pants merely has two hooks that just slide to secure my britches.  Somehow my folder released the hooks from their secure placement and I felt a release at my waist line.  A feeling of paranoia set in as I became fearful that the zipper would now work its way down and my pants would fall while singing…ON STAGE…ON LIVESTREAM!!  Now that would not be glorifying to my Lord and Savior at all!!!   My prayer was “Dear Lord please keep my pants from falling down!”

My pants did  stay up Praise the Lord!!!  My youngest said the last song was so powerful today with the last chorus sung acapella. I told her I felt the same way in both services.  Such a beautiful sound of all those voices singing God’s praise!!  We raised the roof to God’s glory and… my pants stayed raised!!

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”