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.

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”

One thing I love so much about the bible is that every word and sentence has a distinct purpose for God including it.  As a mother reading the four gospels I often find myself paying close attention to Mary.  A simple young woman that God planned to use to change the world.  Just recently I mentioned to the middle school girls in Sunday school how much I loved the verses that say “Mary pondered and treasured these things in her heart”.   There is a specific purpose for Luke chapter 2 to mention that Mary intentionally paused, pondered, marveled, and took time to treasure distinct happenings in the young Jesus’ life.  She knew that his conception was of God and that there was something special and miraculous about this child she bore.  She didn’t have the full picture and understanding until this child grew to a man, died, and rose again of what God’s purpose was for this child.

Little by little Jesus grew and revealed himself and his purpose to Mary.  Each special moment, each little hint of who this son really was, Mary stopped and recognized it.  She kept these moments in her memory until eventually God revealed to her that the son she bore was God in the flesh who had come to save the world from sin.

These scriptures are a reminder for me to stop, ponder, marvel, and treasure the moments in my life that God reveals himself.  Each answered prayer, each “perfect timing”,  each time I see His divine protection, and with every miracle.  He is always there and patiently waiting.  He reveals himself and his plan little bits at a time, as much as my maturity and faith can handle.  I am so grateful for the blessings of those moments.

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

How Much of God’s Promise are we Missing?

map wade to euphrates

So I was just reading in Genesis and in chapter 15 verse 18 God says to Abram “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”  Out of curiosity I searched how much land that actually is compared to what the Nation of Israel actually ended up being through the Old Testament to our current time.  Wow because of sin there is a lot of real estate missing.  The nation never really even got close to what God actually had fully promised.  You will have to read the entire Old Testament to find out why and how sin was the culprit.  This made me question how much of God’s promise do we miss as individuals in our lives?  Through my own doubts and lack of trust how much of His peace, love, protection, and blessing do I miss out on?  What promises do I miss out on because of my sin? Every single time I decide “It’s ok God I got this myself!” what am I missing?   What real estate in this life have I not even come close to scratching the surface of?  A lot to think about…

What Will You Leave Behind?

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For some time now our youngest daughter has been telling me I need a new Bible.  In her words mine is “too crusty”.   A new Bible was my special gift from my husband and children this year.  They got me a study Bible because they thought it would be helpful in teaching Sunday school.  The gift and the wonderful thought my family put into it will be something I will always cherish!  What is of the greatest value to me is the fact that she thought my Bible was too worn.  This got me to thinking about what do I really want to leave behind when God calls me home.  Do I want to be shiny and new possessing a shiny new Bible?  Do I want to have riches and material things stored up?  Here is a list of what I truly want to leave behind someday.   What would your list consist of?

As a mother what do I want to leave behind for my children?

I want to leave behind worn out Bibles from hours spent seeking God’s wisdom in how to raise them and how to live.

I want to leave behind worn out knees from hours of praying for guidance, for protection, for my family, and the world we live in.

I want to leave behind worn out hands from a life spent serving others.

I want to leave behind a worn out back from helping others carry their burdens and giving them to God.

I want to leave behind worn out feet from working and never being idle.

I want to leave behind a worn out heart from loving, empathizing, and having compassion for all others.

I want to leave behind worn out vocal cords from singing God’s praise.

I want to leave behind a life well spent and lived to the fullest.

I want to bring the only thing that I can bring when I die and that is friends and family my life has helped lead to Jesus.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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Security

safe

Yesterday at church my husband’s cellphone fell out of the pocket of his Bible bag and plummeted to the floor. The end result was a completely shattered screen and a non-functional phone. I couldn’t help but notice the significance of what the phone fell from and where he was the time the phone was broken. It seems we all are so glued to our phones these days as well as other technologies. It is with guilty fingers I am typing this blog today. Life seems to stop when one of these devices ceases to work. The first thought “Oh no what am I going to do?”

Now there are certain safety aspects to having a phone. Taking call for my job deems it is a necessity most definitely for me. We cancelled our home phone line because it was rarely used and we have not missed having it. The phone in and of itself is not a bad thing. It is our lack of looking up from the phone to experience the world around us that gets us into trouble.

The question of where does our security lie? Is what has fleeted through my thoughts from the time I heard of the phones demise. The fact that our first reaction so often is panic when our phone doesn’t work is a clue in what our society has put its trust in. Last year on vacation I had to spend half a day taking care of my phone that without warning just up and died on me. There was a need for a call shift as soon as I got home, but still frustrating to waste family time having to take care of a phone. Now the significance of time being even greater as this was the last vacation my father would be with us.

Will our phones save us in a true disaster? No all cell phone service will be caput. Will our stocks and bonds save us? No they can be gone with just a click of a mouse of a hacker’s computer. What about our homes? One tornado or fire…gone.
The fact that Mike’s phone fell from his Bible bag reminds me of how secure the Word of God is. Oh sure the book itself can burn and be destroyed, but nothing can destroy God’s spoken word. It stands forever. He spoke this world into existence. The word actually became flesh to take on the sins of this broken world to give us grace and mercy we are undeserving of.

John 1:1-18 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

The only thing that lasts is Jesus. The world didn’t recognize Him then and it is obvious it doesn’t recognize Him now. We are too distracted by our “own securities”. What we think is secure. We hold onto what we think is within our own power and control. How much control and power do we have? Can we control how long we have a heart beat? Can we control the weather? Can we control the evil of this world or the evil that is within our own selves? Only Jesus had the power to speak the world into existence, only Jesus could speak and calm the storms, only Jesus could pay the price for our sins (the evil within each man), only Jesus conquered death, only Jesus can give us grace and mercy, only Jesus can bring true hope of eternal life, only Jesus brings true security.

Yes this will sound weird that I am glad my husband’s phone broke in the way it did. The daily reminders of who God is, the truth, and what really matters are priceless. My true security does not rest in the “stuff” from this life.