Are You Struggling with Depression During the Social Isolation from Covid-19?

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There is just so much that is unknown right now with this Covid-19 virus.  As a working RN I just can’t even go into all the emotions I personally have been struggling with.  For my own knowledge I like to read A LOT and learn from all different sources and references.  It is more helpful to see multiple sides and hopefully get “some” truth that way.  The struggle is that there are so many conflicting reports and things keep changing within my own job every five minutes.  What I am finding is that my own mental health is starting to get infected with it all!!

The other day I was just feeling down about all of it.  The political hatred is driving me nuts and I am trying to hurry past anything spewing hate!  On Sunday I felt so down.  I miss going to church.  I miss my friends.  I miss family.  I am struggling with not knowing where I will be working or when.  I am struggling with will I need to move from my home to protect my immediate family.  All this was whirling around my head and I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to check on the bird eggs.

One egg has disappeared, but one has hatched and is alive.  It was a picture of hope for me when I needed it most.  Two have yet to hatch.   New life gives HOPE!

This is the week we remember what Jesus did for ALL of us. Can you imagine getting a warm welcome into Jerusalem one week then within days those same people were screaming for your death?   Jesus knew he was going to die.  Jesus went through the most unfair hatred ever known.  He did everything perfectly… He loved perfectly…  Even Pilate said he could find no fault in him.  Yet the hatred reigned and Jesus was sentenced to the most brutal beating known to mankind with flogging, then the most tortuous death known to mankind, crucifixion.

As I struggle God keeps reminding me that there is nothing He doesn’t know. Jesus took every sin of all mankind to the cross with Him.  It was dark, scary, his followers ran, they were isolated and fell into despair.  BUT in just three days Jesus arose!!!  He conquered all the darkness, evil, and hatred.  What was meant for evil God used to SAVE us from our own sin!

There are so many theories and blame games going on right now it is hard to know what to believe.  Even if something is meant for evil, God can use it for good  to fulfill His plan!  God is in control!  When we trust in Jesus as our Savior we have new life and have the promise of life everlasting in heaven.  This is what I cling too!

As I feel a sense of impending doom I have to turn to God’s Word.  As I feel down I have to remember what Jesus went through for me and all man-kind.  Jesus gives HOPE and life!

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

 

There is Hope in These Uncertain Days… “His Eye is on the Sparrow”

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In the midst of all the uncertainties going on in our world a momma bird has chosen our front door winter wreath to bring her little ones into the world.   First the nest was noticed, then one egg,  then days later two,  then over a week later there are now four eggs!!  Delightfully I laughed yesterday discovering the four!  Wooo weee the Lucas love porch has a lot of hanky panky going on!!!!!  Why our noisy front door with kids in and out, three dogs barking,  two cats that lurk in the window?  It doesn’t seem to be a safe option for the momma bird in my mind, yet here we are.  Of course my winter wreath will be up for the duration as Spring in the truest of forms transpires on our door.  Now I feel a sense of responsibility wanting the door to open and close carefully because of the fragile new life that rests on it!  How beautiful is the craftsmanship of the nest and the eggs.  The security of the nest is amazing in how it doesn’t even shake on the wreath as we open and close the door!  Simply amazing to me!!

As this Covid-19 virus rips across the world I am reminded even more deeply of how fragile life is.  How very precious this gift of life!  Every life, the unborn, the elderly, the special needs, every ethnicity precious and fragile.  We are one race, the Human race, and God is giving us a chance to see how very delicately we all hang in His beautifully created balance!  In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus tells us not to worry.  Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  The other night on Facebook I watched one of my favorite Christian artists sing “His Eye is on the Sparrow” from her home with her hubby on the piano.  As my tears flowed her powerful voice stirred me to worship and thank God for life itself and my family. (I am not sure about copy writes. I don’t make money from my blog, but search Natalie Grant’s facebook page to listen😏)

One of my favorite songs as a kid was “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.  This is what I envision now as there is so much uncertainty.  God created us, He loves us, He is in control,  He is the giver of life and gave us free will to choose to love Him back.  The lyrics of this song repeats the same line four times for each verse.  ” He’s got the whole world in His hands.  He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands.  He’s got you and me brother in His hands.  He’s got you and me sister in His hands.  He’s got the wind and the rain in His hands.  He’s got the whole world in His hands”.   As a little girl I remember reaching out to my dad for his hand on walks or in a busy place for safety.  My dad had big hard working hands that represented strength to me.  How much greater are our Heavenly Fathers hands holding all of creation in balance with His strength, power, and love.

Our front door is essentially the only way in and out of the front of our house so trying not to disturb momma bird is difficult.  This reminds me that there is only one way to life everlasting in heaven.  Jesus is the door.  Our world is broken.  The disease of sin has ravaged the human race since Adam and Eve ate from the one tree that God asked them not to.  We are all under the curse of sin.  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary.  Making him fully God and fully human.  You see God left the glory of heaven to feel all that we feel here on earth because of our sin disease.  He was fully tempted to sin as we are, yet He never sinned.  This made him the only one that could take the punishment for our sins.  He took our place on the cross bearing all of the world’s sin.  He rose three days later proving that He is God.  God did this out of love for His creation.  He gave us free-will to choose to love Him in return by accepting Jesus as the Lord of our life.  John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”   John 10:9-10 “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

My prayer is that we as the human race will awaken to how valuable life truly is.  That we will love and care for others again.  Right now the sacrifice is not that great.  Just stay at home and love your family.  My prayer is we will open our eyes and hearts as to what is truly important and what has been a distraction.   God asks us to love Him and love each other.  Our basic human needs of food, water, shelter and love is what is important. We have become so greedy as our sin disease ravages mankind.   God is bigger than any disease, He is bigger than any government, and He is bigger than all of our own personal pride.  I invite you to have a personal relationship with Him and walk through that door of life.  There is hope in Jesus no matter what is going on around us!!

Lessons from Our Adoptive Son

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The heart of man kind is such a mystery to us, but not to God.  Our son continues to teach me more and more about human nature and God’s love for us all!  It is amazing how people can go through tough circumstances in life and come through with basically two very different outcomes.  The circumstance will either better us or make us bitter.  Really the choice is our own and is based on our heart!  So often I hear “John has a good heart.” from teachers, people at church,  friends, and family.  He of course has a ton to learn like anyone, especially at age 12.  He does indeed have a very loving heart.  With what he has gone through in life, yet still has such love, forgiveness, and remains “teachable” is quite amazing.

He has been bullied a lot and in a very recent case continues to find forgiveness in his heart.  He tells me “Everything is good mom, we are friends now!!”  It amazes me how his ultimate desire seems to just be buddies with the whole world no matter what anyone has done!

He asked me today “Mom, if you could choose any job you wanted what would it be?”  After a second of thinking about what I truly enjoy in life I said a park Ranger!  I have loved being in the woods since I can remember at age four begging my dad to take me for walks in the woods by our house!  I told John I love the woods and I love taking kids on hikes too!  Hikes teach a lot of life lessons!!  He says “Yeah!  I think all the hikes you take me on have helped me get more mature and responsible!!!”  Oh my gosh that is that sweet heart of his, God love him!!  I then said I love to fix up and restore old houses too!  A park ranger that also fixes up houses those are my dream jobs!!  He agreed and was satisfied with my answer!  😂

Recently we redid our laundry room.  My husband tore out a closet that just wasn’t very functional.  Our home was well built with a LOT of plaster and wire.  It sure wasn’t like the fix up home shows that seem to always just take a sledge hammer to bust out walls a lot of different tools and grit were needed.  This wall had resilient layers of plaster with a strong fine mesh wire, and a strong studded framework!!  After the walls came down and stubborn tacks in the floor were removed we were able to restore this space to a pretty little room maximizing the potential of the space.  I was reminded of what God can do with a human heart!  He wants to restore us, tear down the walls of bitterness, and maximize us to the full potential He created us to be!!

There is so much in the Bible about the heart!  We all sin, after Adam and Eve sinned we all have the curse of sinful nature.  Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”

We all are in different stages of restoration and need of restoration.  When we look at others how God sees them it sure helps to protect our own hearts from bitterness.

Every person God has used in His great plan has sinned, but He always considered their heart.  It was the condition of their heart that caused God to use them.  Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Moses, David, Paul, Peter, John… the list is so very long.  All sinners, yet had hearts that were repentant and teachable, loving, able to receive and give forgiveness.  The scripture of course speaks better than I.  Here are just a few verses that really touched my “heart”!!  ❤️

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Psalm 119:2 “Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their heart.”

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”

Proverbs 21:2 “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

How is your heart condition?  God is continuously working on mine!!!

Freedom in Adoption

 

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One or two days out of the week when I am off work I get to walk our son to the bus stop.  Walks and car rides seem to always be the best opportunities to have meaningful conversations with my kiddos.   Our son essentially talks non-stop.  Sometimes he says a lot of words and I  still have no clue what he is actually talking about.  We have a lot of work to do on the who, what, where, and why content in his verbal communication.  There are times though he says things that are so very profound.  He continues to teach me how to have good listening skills as I work to teach him how to communicate well.

He likes to talk about when he first came to our home for respite care as a child stuck in the foster system.   Many times he has said he knew this would be where he would stay, his forever home.  I don’t remember what led up to the statement that struck me so deeply, but it was probably some of his reminiscing that he loves to do.  The statement that has caused me to ponder so deeply was “Now that I am adopted I am free!”

In the last six months our guy has made greater strides than he had in the fourteen months prior.  His reading has really improved, he keeps his room clean, self control, and maturity have also tremendously improved.  Of course with ten years to catch up we still have a way to go, but the leaps and bounds have been amazing.

Even with deep empathy sometimes it is hard to imagine what a child in Foster care truly goes through.  As a family licensed in Foster Care there are times we feel “bound by the system”  so I can only imagine how the children feel.   Not knowing where and who you will live with. To have so many emotions that you can’t even begin to understand.  Fear, anxieties, lack of trust.  People and a government that should have your best interest in mind continuously letting you down.

For our son adoption has meant freedom.  Freedom to let oneself love. Freedom to trust. Freedom from the worry of where you will lay your head each night. Freedom from rules that “regular” kids don’t have. Freedom to let go of fear. Freedom to get to hang out with friends.  Freedom to have your picture taken. Freedom to say “this is my home”.  Freedom to say I belong. Freedom to say I am loved.  Freedom to have structure.  Freedom to have loving discipline because someone really wants you to succeed.  Freedom to say I am wanted…  I could go on and on.  Until he said those words I really hadn’t realized what a release of chains of bondage adoption can bring.

It is such a reflection of what being adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ brings.  When we give our heart and life to Jesus He gives us freedom.  Freedom from our own sins that bind and consume us.  Freedom from worry when we trust in Him.  Freedom knowing that no matter what happens in life we have an eternal home.  Freedom to love and know that we are SO VERY LOVED.  Freedom knowing that He will provide. Freedom to embrace His loving discipline because He wants us to succeed.  Freedom in knowing that God indeed wants us even when all else has failed and forsaken us.

Ephesians 1:5, NLT: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

John 8:36

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 3:12

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

No Life Expectancy

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Planning has sort of been my thing.  Personally I like to have plan A, plan B, and plan C.  It’s possible I will even go to Z.  Plans continuously running through my brain  how I think things will go, but if something crazy happens we will go with this or that plan.  All the planning so that I can rely on me, myself and I.  I am the master planner!!  Waa haa haa (my power hungry sinister laugh).  It is quite hilarious that God led me to be a nurse where a good day can turn in a split second to complete chaos.  Even more hilarious is that He blessed my life to become a mother where one barfing kid can completely blowout the neatly planned day.  Yet to further the hilarity he has led our family to foster parenting.  It is one thing to mess with my work shift, another to have to change plans due to a sick child,  this life in foster care has become a whole other ballgame of inability to plan.

God does humble us where needed.  Honestly I have been broken to complete submission of the plans and expectations in this brain of mine.   From one day to the next there are constant surprises.  Continuous changes in parent visits, sibling visits, therapist scheduling and canceling, behaviors that change with no clue as to what triggered them.  Will this child or that child live with us until adulthood?  Will this parent turn their life around and heal or will they continue the vicious cycle?  The constant change, chaos, turmoil, blessings, falling in love, heart brokenness, victories, defeats, dealing with choices of others… it all has brought me to expect nothing.   I don’t know what will happen next.  I just don’t know…  Ok God you have me I surrender…  Make my thoughts your thoughts… my plans your plans… my heart your heart… You see the bigger picture and I do not.  You know what is best and I do not.

My job is to love.  My job is not to predict the future.  My job is not to judge.  My job is not to be the fixer, but to point to the true healer.  I can not even love within my own strength it is only the love of Jesus loving through me. I am just not capable of this kind of love on my own.  My words must be led by the Holy Spirit or I mess them up out of my own frustrations.  I can not deal with my own grief and loss without Jesus.  I am a sinner in need of forgiveness each and everyday… I am no better than anyone…

One thing that I know, this life of welcoming the broken into our home has brought me to a place of surrender that I didn’t even know was needed.  Who knew that being a little OCD, planner, lover of organization, lover of predictability,  a bit on the “I will take care of this myself” side was such a barrier between God and I.  Really I just thought I was responsible.  No, my addiction to organization and planning actually was and is a form of sin in my life.  This life has brought me to a deeper level of trusting God in each moment and love everyone while I have the chance and the time.  There are no guarantees of tomorrow.  A blessing and gift from God that has come from opening our home has been a deeper level of understanding what it means to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind… and loving my neighbor as myself…   Still have a long long way to go.  The journey is rough, but I am so thankful for the hard stuff!

The Honest Truth

So instead of folding laundry and mopping a sticky floor I am taking a much needed break.  Whether or not another soul reads these words, typing the thoughts and lessons God continues to work on in me is the most therapeutic.  I guess yesterday I made the mistake of talking too much about the need to be part-time in my job as a registered nurse and stated that “momma’s tired”.   The reply I got was “Well you are doing what you wanted.” As we continue our journey in foster-care some “get it” and some don’t.  That is what it is and I really don’t expect anyone to “get it” or give any approval. That comment though brought out sincere truth of why we are in this.   My rebuttal was “Actually truth be told it’s not what I wanted.” The reply back was, “but you have wanted it for a long time.”  My reply back was “Actually God would not let up in calling us, I put it off for years knowing how hard it was going to be.”  Truth be told if I separate what I truly want in my fleshly human self I would still live in our house we just sold, we would have our pool, I would keep working full-time,  I would keep working long hours to have more finances to put our own two children through college, Mike and I would be planning and taking trips just us.”  Then I remember saying “I wouldn’t change a thing as far as the people that have come into our lives because of foster-care.”

We would also be unsettled and miserable because we wouldn’t be doing what God has called us to.  Our lives would make little if any impact on anyone else.   It is so hard to explain why we do this in a way others can understand.  It puts a strain on our marriage, our other relationships, our own physical, mental, emotional well-beings.   We actually make our family very vulnerable to some crazy stuff.  Compassion fatigue is very real and despite my best efforts I have suffered it with each placement we have had.  My writing today will have a sad tone I’m sure because I am in the midst of some major compassion fatigue.  Hence the desperate need to write!!

The thing is the deeper my relationship with Christ the deeper my understanding of his love for me and this hurting world.  The deeper my understanding of how weak and insufficient I am on my own.  The deeper my understanding of what He did for me and this broken world by leaving the Glory of Heaven.  He came to this earth to be fully human to face, feel and experience all that we do in our lives yet never succumbed to the temptation of sin.  He led the perfect example of the life he has planned for each of us.  As Jesus came to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28).  Ultimately He gave his life as the ransom for our sins so that we can be saved from our brokenness of sin.   He rose again as He had said proving that He is God.

My life truly is not my own and my purpose is to live for others.  Life especially in the last 2 years has been a constant process.  Trying to find balance like never before with continuous big life changes.  I have such limitations.   Because I am so weak, so limited, so unqualified God continues to reveal His strength and miracles.  When it comes to what truly matters there just is no comparison to what I want as to what God wants for me.  It may not be my way.  I may not know most of the “whys” until I get to go home one day.  What we are doing is not what I want.  That is the truth.  It is what God wants and I really can’t see anyone being able to do this right without God’s strength, Grace, and Mercy.  Because God is God and I am not what He wants for my life far surpasses what I think I want.

Another lesson is just never tell anyone if your sick, tired, etc… Judgment usually follows. I can cry out to God “Lord I am so tired, I need you!”

Just recently I was told “Thank you for not judging me!” even yet more confirmation that God has me exactly where he wants me.   Our  purpose is to serve and to love.  Our purpose is not to give our opinions and judgment. It is quite a relief actually to leave the judging to God.  To be on the receiving end of judgment of others  is pretty stinky and I pray that God helps me to always leave the judging to Him!!

This is Not Our Home

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Just recently Mike and I attended more Foster parent training focused on trauma.  The trainer had us all participate in an exercise to help us to better understand the loss that children in care have endured.  She gave us each five blank index cards and instructed the class to write one thing that is important to us on each card.  Some wrote individual names I grouped my people which might have been cheating a bit.  As I began to write God was my first card.  Next I wrote husband, kids, extended family, and then friends.   Not one material thing popped in my head as to what is truly important to me.   So for the next step our trainer asked us to give up one card and lay it upside down on the table in front of us.   As much as I love my friends that was the card I gave up.   Then the next part of this exercise I watched as the trainer went around to each person and took all but one card.   Everyone reacted with “aww you are mean!!”, there were a lot of sighs, gasps, and sad faces.  As I watched this process I just kept saying/praying “Just please don’t take my God!!”.

Guess what card I had left?  Yes it was my God card.  I think I was the only one smiling in the bunch.  The reason for the smile was that it is God who has given me everyone and everything in my life.  Without God the creator my sweet husband, precious children, all family members and friends would not have ever been.  I would not be.  They are His to give and His to take.  Everything on this earth is His.  No matter what I do or how hard I work to earn something.  It is God’s.

This point is driving home even deeper with me as our country and our world continues to be hit by natural disasters and wars.  Right now so many people in the great state of Texas have lost family, livelihoods, and homes.   We do not know from one second to the next what turns our life journey will make.  We are to love and cherish all that has been given in the time that we have been given.  Each moment is a gift of God’s.

So that brings us to this next step in our journey of Foster care.  We now have our home on the market.  As we have stepped into stories and lives of two children so far in our journey the reality of how much of me these kids need has really hit hard.   As I have evaluated the hours I work and our finances God placed the question on my heart.  “What are you really working for?”  I can spend my life making very little impact on this world keeping my own little world maintained.  Or I can work less maintaining my own little world and spend more time making a greater impact in the world we live in.   Life is about people and relationships.  In my fast paced job there is very little forever impact made.  To provide love and safety to a broken young person and their family that can last forever.   People need our time, our love, our encouragement, our hugs, our smiles, our true heart felt concern and help.  People do not have changed lives for the better by me having a nice home.  So we press on looking forward to the great things God is going to do.  We press on as God plans for our life path to cross the life path of others.  I pray God will use us to bring Him glory and point the world to His love and true healing He gives us through Jesus!!

Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

When We Sabotage Our Own Lives

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Once again I am preparing myself to pack up another child’s room.  Once again I feel the sting of grief.  My hope is that as my heart is shattered into more pieces that God can use those pieces to love that much more greatly through me.

As Mike and I think and look back we feel no regrets.  I pray and ask God was there something else that needed to be said or done.  There is nothing, but a peace He gives that we did all we could.  We loved whole heartedly we provided chances, forgiveness, teaching, true sacrificial giving of time, energy, and resources.

There has been nothing that has painted a better picture of what Christ has done for each and every human being than this ministry of Foster care.   We are born into a sinful and broken world.  Why are innocent children abused and neglected at such a young age?  Why are so many people succumbed to addictions to drugs and alcohol?  Why are we so prideful and full of ourselves?  Why are we so selfish?  Why are we so ungrateful?  Why do people who show nothing but love and kindness get taken advantage of?  It is all because of sin.  God gave us all freewill.  I can not make choices for any other human being and can only control my own.

We become comfortable in our situations of sin self inflicted or inflicted by others.  It is what we know.  It is why so many victims of domestic violence just keep returning to the abuser. When love steps in, when God calls to a person’s soul, we become uncomfortable.  We start to realize there is something far greater and bigger than us and it is scary.  The thing about our human nature is that so often we start to see and realize what true love, true abundant life can be and we sabotage it.  We retreat back to old ways because it is what we know.  Our sinful habits are what we think will make us happy.   It is a deceitful lie that leads us down a painful and deadly path.

The image of Jesus dying on the cross taking all my sin and shame as well as every human being’s remains the strength that keeps me going.  Christ was rejected by his very own.  He is rejected every minute of every day.  So many curse Him, turn their backs on Him, and run straight into the pit of destruction He came to save them from.

Oh, but when a person finally does realize their great and desperate need of His love and forgiveness that is when life truly begins.   Life is hard and the consequences of our own bad choices are very hard.  God gave us a way out of the pit.  He gave us a way to true life through Jesus Christ.  As my relationship deepens more and more I yearn for each breath I take to be for Jesus.  Because of my own sinful nature I still have so much to learn about full surrender and trust.  The more I breath Him in the deeper my peace, joy, and realization of how loved I am becomes.

My heart breaks when the love I give is rejected.  I can only imagine how Jesus feels to have paid the penalty for all sin through death on the cross only to be rejected by so many.   In fact the love I give doesn’t even come from me it is Christ loving through me.

So my eyes will continue to look that much more intently on Jesus and His way.  Everything I do is for His Glory and not mine.  God has a plan and perfect will.  My hope and trust is that anything done for His Glory will not go in vain and that He will take the seeds planted and continue to water His truth on them.

Philippians 2:1-5 “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and one of mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”

Growing Strawberries and Being a Foster Mom

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Feeling down thankfully is not the normal for me.  Most days there is a song in my heart, a one liner joke or pun at the tip of my tongue, and a some smooth dance moves especially designed to embarrass my children or anyone around at any given moment of opportunity.   That has not been the case lately.  For the first time in my life I would have to say I have felt extremely down.  The bombardment of what I refer to as “stupid stuff” has been non stop from the moment I made the call to start the licensing process for Mike and I to become Foster Parents.  There have been a million annoying things.  The attack on our marriage, strain on finances, everything breaking, annoying stressors in our jobs, you name it Satan has been blasting it.  Nothing real huge just stressors that are like stepping on a Lego block barefoot it hurts, but doesn’t cripple.  Our choice to become Foster Parents has been totally and utterly a calling from God.  In my heart I know that these attacks are because we are doing what we are suppose to.  In my heart I know that if we weren’t making a difference Satan would not be trying so hard to get us to quit.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally I have grown tired.

There are days I feel the weight of so many people sitting on my shoulders.   I feel that I am crumpling underneath the weight of this cross God has called me to bear.  Actually I feel like I am flat on my face with my mouth and eyes full of dirt under the cross.  Each time I cry out God provides someone, something, or some sign of hope that lifts me back to my feet with a renewed strength to keep on with my cross upon my shoulders.  This road of ministry as with any God called ministry can be a very lonely and painful road.  The more God teaches me how to love with His love the greater the strain under the weight of my cross He has planned for me to carry for Him.   It is hard to explain being able to look someone in the eye that actually hates you and still feel a deep compassion for them.  It is hard to explain wanting to still help and give all I can even when the help is not well received nor wanted.  The only explanation is God’s love, God’s strength, and God’s will.  It sure does not come from my own ability because I can not.

Today I had one of those moments that I could feel God lifting me to my feet and giving a renewed strength to carry this cross. Our pastor’s sermons the last two weeks have had a significant impact as well as scripture God has led me to personally preparing me to see what I needed to today.

This afternoon I walked down to our little raised garden that really isn’t much to speak of.  A few years ago I planted two strawberry plants as well as many other types of seeds and plants.  The strawberries were the most successful so two years ago I decided to just let the garden be a strawberry patch and planted two more plants.  Each year the vines take over more of the garden and the harvest of plump red strawberries grows larger and larger.   There really hasn’t been much work needed.  Just the space for the plants, sunshine, rain, and some pulling of weeds.   God brought the fact to my attention that our call to Foster Care is much like our little strawberry patch.  We need to be willing and open to providing the space, resources and care.  The rest is actually up to him.  What lives we actually make a difference in has nothing to do with us, but is totally about God and His power to change lives.  It is God’s power that grows the strawberries.  It is God’s power that will make the difference in the lives he puts in our path.   We are to be available and let him love through us.  There is a nice harvest of delicious fruit that took a few years to get to reap and enjoy.  There is no limit to what God can do with the opportunities to love others, children, families, caseworkers, state workers, and our community through the ministry of foster care.   As of now counting our birth children we have had four children to plant, love and nurture.  Like the four strawberry plants I pray the love of these children will spread, grow, and bear a tremendous harvest of fruit.

Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with me, He must deny Himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

 

John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

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