When God’s Voice is Louder (Foster/adopt a child 2)

Our journey to become licensed foster parents has barely begun and we hit our first road block.  Our above ground pool is an issue.  There are all types of rules to having a pool when a foster parent.  The rules are understandable and basically we need to turn it into Fort Knox or build the Great Wall of China around it.  Earlier this summer as I wrote in the “Just Five or Six More Summers” blog we were faced with replacing the liner of the pool.  At the time I felt God urging me that it was the best stewardship to just repair the pool rather than take it down.  So we invested in the necessary repairs and went on.  Little did I know how much stronger God was going to place this burden of foster care on my heart just a few short months later, but God knew.  There was also no awareness that our pool set up would be considered “climbable”  by a small child.  I am not sure my five foot five inch build could climb it, but a strong-willed, strong-bodied, beef-cake toddler could very well prove it unsafe.  As I received the news from the case worker Friday I found myself back in an “arguing with God” moment.  Exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally from the week I yelled out “Why on earth would you put this on my heart if we can’t do it!?”  “Why would you give me the green light to invest in fixing the pool just to tell us to take it down!???!!”    After I prayed/said/asked my piece and started to listen God started to provide the answers.   One answer He provided was actually a question right back at me.  “What is a greater sacrifice Anita,  to give up a broken pool or to give up one that is fully restored?”

As I have said before I am just a sinner and I often try to fix things within my own strength instead of trusting God first so after my frustrated cries out to God I thought, measured, and researched prices of fencing.   The financial reality that the price of the fence and it’s lack of true function for our set up was just too great a cost for what the pool is worth.  By that next morning I had completely surrendered to fact that the two options we have as a family were to take the pool down and foster children or leave the pool up and not foster children.  My heart was now in complete submission that whatever we need to give up I am on board and that the life of any other human being is far more important than anything material.  The next question was what did the rest of the family feel God was telling them?  The first conversations were just between my husband and I.  After he had about twenty four hours to digest everything and pray he had come to the same point as I,  “We can just take the pool down.”   Initially a family meeting with us all together was what I thought was in order.   With the timing of a busy weekend this really wasn’t a possibility.  Separately I spoke with each daughter about the decision we were facing.  When I spoke to our youngest about the decision we faced as a family I explained the options including the ones  to get the pool to the requirements necessary.    Her words were  “that would look really dumb” when explaining how we would need to fence it or change the railing of the deck.

After allowing the girls about twenty four hours to think and to pray I asked them separately what their thoughts were about the pool.   Each of them separately said “We need to foster children.”  With each response from the most important people in my life my heart grew fuller and fuller with love toward them, toward God, and toward who ever God is planning to place within the care of our family.   He is doing an amazing work in all of our hearts.  There are so many scriptures that in my own bible study time, shared by friends on social media, and bible study/sermons at church that keep pointing us toward this decision.  It is funny that the one that has been on my heart the most has not been presented in any other way than through God bringing it up from the depths of my heart.

Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,  I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me,  I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

What God keeps repeating to my heart over and over is…”I was a stranger and you invited me in…”

What is Ever Truly Resolved by an Argument?

When I really stop and try to think of a time that arguing has ever solved any kind of problem I truly can not think of an example.  Even if someone gets their way by arguing what is really won when hostility and harsh feelings are left behind?  There is nothing that cools the flames of anger any better than love.  Love given when the person on the receiving end may be far from deserving of it.  Love is the only power that can break down the walls of bitterness.  Our human nature wants to always be right, but what is the cost?  Our pride can cost us our family, friends, employment, reputation, blessings in life, and the list goes on.

Holding our tongue and showing love instead of anger is the greatest problem solving solution I have ever know to actually work.  Maybe because it is God’s solution to conflict…LOVE!

2 Timothy 2:23-25 “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Words are so powerful.  Words of anger cause problems.  Words of love solves them.

Conflict

Sometimes I struggle with finding inspiration when studying the Old Testament of the Bible. As a person who avoids conflict as much as possible it is painful sometimes to read of conflict after conflict all brought about by sin and disobedience to God. There was one passage I recently read that instead of the feeling of pain it was hilarious to me. There are such differences in cultures and in time, but human nature remains the same. In 2nd Samuel chapter 10 King David is making a kind gesture to the Ammonite king in the death of his father. He sent some of his own men to bring condolences to this king. Some of the king’s men basically said “naw they are here to spy so King David can over take you.” So then this king, King Hanun, ordered for his men to shave off half of each of the men of King David’s beards and to cut the bottom out of their pants right over their buttocks. Now I absolutely do not recall a sermon that I have ever heard being preached on this passage. For the visual that God’s word gave me I would have definitely had one of those “awkward trying hard not to laugh in church” moments. Back at this time this was terribly humiliating for these fellas and this act started yet another bout of war and bloodshed. Now days there is a large amount of the American male population that purposely wear their britches down below the buttock region revealing their undergarments. Humiliating to cool who knew? The physical battles, how God continually stressed that any people or things that brought temptations were to be avoided or removed, the fact that mankind failed again and again all leads us to God’s perfect plan of love. He came to earth in the flesh to show us the way to peace. You see from the day we are born there is an inner conflict within us good versus evil, right versus wrong, my way versus God’s way, Satan versus God, the world versus God, our strong or sometimes weak will power versus God’s will for our lives. The list goes on and on of the inner turmoil we face. Taking notes during our pastor’s sermons is something that I have never grown into the habit of doing so I will have to paraphrase a statement he made recently that is so true. The devil will tempt you and lure you into sin and then be the first one to say “Well look what you did! God could never love and forgive you now!” Satan only wants to bring conflict and destruction to our lives. Jesus is the way to inner peace. He can bring peace when there is nothing but turmoil all around. No matter what conflict we are facing in our lives Jesus is the answer to true peace. He is the only true comfort. The more we give Him the victory in our lives the greater freedom we have!!