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.”

“It’s a Dog Eat Dog World”

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The little black dog is harder to see all snuggled on my lap. One of my favorite pictures of the dogs, my buddies.

What a beautiful Memorial Day morning. As I sat on our back patio reading my bible and drinking my morning coffee the realization of all who sacrificed everything for the freedoms I was enjoying in that very moment was overwhelming. There are so many to whom I owe my humble gratitude Jesus, American soldiers, my parents… My attention then turned to my furry friends who had joined me. Our small dachshund /Lhasa Apso mix dog in the chair beside me and our three legged wonder Yellow Lab dog lying beneath my chair.
Our little dog tends to be more of the family annoyance. She is an extremely selfish and nervous creature. She would eat until she literally exploded. She seeks opportunities to steal any kind of snack from anyone not paying close enough attention. Snappy and grumpy if she is not getting her way her selfishness, her looks of paranoia, and nervous habits often tend to be the center of family jokes. Her choice human happens to be me and she only seems content when near me and/or eating.
Our sweet rescue dog is quite the opposite. Her quiet and peaceful demeanor has made her a true family dog. Completely unselfish in her love and affection for the entire family she shows pure gratitude toward anyone who cares to rub her belly or scratch behind her ears. Her patience with the little dog amazes me. At times I have observed her leave a few bites in her bowl of food for the little one to devour. It took the work of four families to rescue this precious pet. That is a whole other story of God’s timing that I will share sometime.
When the time comes that the little dog passes I am quite sure that I will be the only one to shed a tear for her. Her lack of affection for others and selfishness has not made a great impact on this family. On the other hand when our sweet three legged wonder passes there will be great mourning in the Lucas household.
It is amazing to me how we as humans will feel the loss and mourn for lives of ones who truly loved and led lives of sacrifice for others. When a selfish power hungry dictator, politician, or shrewd businessman departs from this life there actually may be a celebration instead of mourning. Our human response is so amazing in that we long for love and selflessness yet the attitude of do what is best for “me” overpowers and most often prevails.
Jesus was the ultimate example of God’s love. He demonstrated the perfect life of selflessness and sacrifice. The bible clearly provides the knowledge and wisdom of salvation from our selfish tendencies. God’s word reveals the true source of love. Often as I observe the world the two things that seem most hated are Jesus and the Word of God. Maybe like our little dog the world is so content in its self- absorption that there is a nervous fear of letting go of the self -made prison. We miss out on such a blessing in this life when we focus on ourselves instead of others. When we trust in Jesus and turn our selfishness over to Him the love he pours into our hearts is indescribable. Our little dog misses the blessing of enjoying the whole family in her little anxious world. Our three legged dog has this love thing down pat. Don’t let the opportunity to allow Christ’s love to fill your heart pass you by. There is tremendous freedom in giving Jesus more of my selfishness and allowing him to replace it with love. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There are so many verses on human selfishness and on God’s love. It is hard to pick just one or two.