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?

Powerlessness

solar-storm
This blog post is coming from a variety of recent experiences all coming together to give one word “powerlessness”. The last couple of days I have taught Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). The first time teaching since my dad passed in March. I have spent the majority of my 19 years as a nurse in the critical care arena and have been certified in ACLS around 18 of these 19 years. Even with the knowledge and experience we just can’t save everyone. The details of the attempted resuscitation of my father and his hospitalization experience from his surgery have been hard to suppress from my mind. Knowing something was wrong after my father’s surgery to remove his cancer and not being able to pinpoint it or fix it myself has left me with an even greater sense of powerlessness in this life. No matter what our profession we are all limited by our human capabilities, experiences, and what minute amount of knowledge we have obtained. As a healthcare worker I am merely a tool that God uses at times to work His miracles or to bring comfort to others.

In the state of Illinois we are required to pay a fee for an annual sticker for any licensed vehicle driven or pulled along the roads. I had gone to our local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to purchase our stickers. As I waited in line two older men were having a very loud conversation about women. One of the men loudly bragged that he was going to get him a twenty year old. The other man said “Whew, I don’t want no twenty year old.” The first man replied “I got enough money I can get me a twenty year old.” In this moment I was very thankful for technology as I just kept looking down at my phone not wanting to make eye contact with either man. My eyes always give me away. It was hard to stifle my smile and giggle as I thought “Really…” and then “Be careful what you wish for buddy. The kind of love you have to buy usually is not worth having and comes with an even greater price.” When I did sneak a glance at the twenty year old seeker I observed a man maybe about five foot seven inches in stature. He was probably sixty to one hundred pounds overweight. His hair was thinning and his shirt was unbuttoned nearly to his navel revealing thick curly black chest hairs. My eyes had to quickly look at my phone and stay there because even if I could manage to keep from smiling I knew my eyes would not. The word “powerless” came to mind again. His money and arrogance are not enough to hide the fact that he is powerless to life’s normal aging process.

Our lives these days seem to continuously be inflicted by the dreadful diagnosis of cancer. It seems nearly daily another friend or loved one is being diagnosed or having a cancer scare. My fourteen year old daughter had read the book “The Fault in our Stars” and desperately wanted to see the movie. Being certain that I have met my quota for tears in the year of 2014 I didn’t particularly want to cry anymore. Of course doing what mother’s do I took her to see it anyway. It is a beautiful story and now I need to take the time to read the novel. One word that kept coming to mind during the movie was “powerless”. We are powerless to cancer. Even with all the man-made medicines and tests we are powerless to cancer and so many other diseases.

As I continue to think about this word “powerless” I keep thinking more and more of the one who is Power. Not has power or is powerful. He is power. God spoke the earth, the heavens, and life into being. With just one word He can create or destroy. The more I realize how “powerless” I am on my own the more I realize the greatness of the power of Almighty God. It is through God’s power and wisdom that I can do anything of importance.

Jeremiah 10:12 “But God made the earth by his power;
He founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”

1 Chronicles 29:11 “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”