Foster Care | Savings, paying off debt, making room, filling out paper work, training, classes, home inspections...so many things to do to prepare, to feel prepared.
It's just a feeling.
You just want to be ready. God has it already prepared but we can't see it so we do as much as we feel we can and hope. We spend time preparing, sharing, and praying, those are the 3 things that we do.
The beginning process of fostering is like standing at the edge of the ocean shore. All the work behind you and you look out on the ocean with hope. There is an ocean waiting for you to enter.
But before you do, you built sand castles. Tedious work, thoughtful, but fragile and beautiful but right on the edge. Then when you are ready...You are dipping your toes in the water. You are looking out over the vast waters. They are beautiful and deep. Jesus is calling you out. He wants you in the boat.
The ocean is SO big and beautiful, the sounds are soothing and the rhythm of the world is at your feet. The sands shift under your weight, it moves around your feet as you step out into the ocean. At first it is warm, it is thrilling, it is magical...then you step a bit further and you see the life beneath the waves that is watching you, that is curious, that keeps its distance. You may or may not be able to see the ocean floor and the waves could be pounding but you know, if you can just get past the crashing waves there is a rolling peace in the deep...you just have to tread. A little further and you find that you begin to feel weightless and less in control, that you can sink your body under the surface, under the service, still touching the bottom and still able to bounce up and breathe. So while the treading seems easy at first and the waves are behind you, the billowing of the oceans lifts and drops you up and down. Out in the deeper waters it can get so deep you can't even imagine how far down it goes. Have you thought about the boat? The danger rises and your faith shakes. You want to turn back but at some point you are too far out. Even your calls for help can't be heard...but they are heard. Because in the deep is where you find Jesus. In the deep is where you want to be. It's where you were called.
The day comes...
Foster babies or children arrive. What's a mother to do? While out in the deep waters you scoop them up and put them in the boat that's waiting. They're safe in the boat. But their baggage. That stuff they brought with them, the hurt, pain, neglect, drugs, withdrawals, trauma, brokenness...its all baggage. What's a momma to do? Carry it of course.
So, you do.
The waves rise and fall and you're in the deep waters and you're treading hard. The boat looks safe but someone has to hold the baggage. You can't climb in a boat with baggage. So you tread. You sink awhile and you swim awhile. You see Jesus. He's offering to help. His hand reaches out but "you've got this". Just pray about it. Pray for that strength and endurance. He'll give it to you.
That's not what He wants to give. He wants to take.
Then, it happens, when nothing else works. You sink. You're sinking and you can't let go. Your arms are wrapped so tight to that baggage that's bringing you down. You're drowning. You see shimmers of hope above you but how can you get there?. How can you find the surface? Then you hear it. That still, small voice say "let go".
LET GO! Let go! let go...
You relinquish your trying and you open your arms and you float to the surface. No struggle. Just float up. As you surface you see Jesus. He's there like he's always been. Just above the surface. He takes your hand and puts you in the safe place...where you belonged the entire time.
Breathe. Oh breath of God. Breathe.
When you turn and look at the shore, it is beautiful. You realize you'd been building sandcastles all these years. Staying where it's warm and safe. You have looked out over the ocean and marveled at it's vastness. You continued to enjoy riding the waves and building your sandcastles.
Aren't they beautiful?
Wait! But where'd they go?
Time, rain, waves, storms, wash them all away. What was most important. What was ever lasting?
Moving your feet towards the waters can sometimes be the hardest part. Taking that first step is most important. You can enjoy the ocean for as deep as you like but Jesus wanted you in the boat with your eyes on Him always. If you pick up the baggage after He's called you out, you sink.
So, because it is new and your don't know what to expect you sit on the shore line.
Stop building sandcastles and dreaming, and put your eyes on the deep.
As we move forward we are going to continue to witness the devil and his evil spirits come under attack. The last thing he wants is for us to raise up a daughter or son of His, a princess in His kingdom. We will pray daily, call on His name, ask others to pray, and have faith in Him.
There is a Bible story about King Asa of Judah, he did what was good and right with the Lord. He removed the foreign alters and smashed anything that was dishonoring to God. He brought peace to Judah and the Lord gave Him rest. When it was time for battle, he called on God for help.
"Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty." 2 Chronicles 14:11
God helps the powerless. Powerless is exactly how I know I feel at some point. In the mean time, we have decisions to make regarding our home and family. We have to get ready so that we move forward in peace and when the time comes, when the devil attacks, we can rely on Jesus.
...we will find Him in the deep!
God has been all over me to dig in His Word today. As I sit down to do some reading I decide it's probably a good idea to start with the book He keeps pushing towards me today...Exodus. So I open up to Exodus and my eyes fall on a section called "Bricks Without Straw" and this part of a scripture...
"...They are lazy, that is why they are crying out..." Exodus 5:8
Lazy...hmmm, where did I see that word today? Oh yes, I remember, in my vintage "Anti-Satan Kit" I just bought at one of our little antique stores in town. I saw it and had to have it! The card that I pulled out first was "Laziness", I even took a picture of it to show my finds earlier today.
The card read...
"Relax. You need your rest. Besides, what can you do?..."
God had told me recently to stop crying out and just move forward, so today was better than yesterday. What I've found is, that the busier I am, the less time I spend with Him and so I get frustrated with the balance of trusting in Him and spending time with Him (which can feel lazy) and then working and moving forward. It's a hard balance, let's face it. It's simply not true that we are lazy when we spend precious time with Him.
Then I read this... "Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies." Exodus 5:9
Lies (according to the Pharaoh) being that we are to take time to worship our God and spend time with him. Make the work harder by making them collect the straw. Like a ton of bricks, yes pun intended, I realized that my work gets harder as a distraction. I'm doing all the "little" things that God could be handling. When it feels too hard or that I'm being drawn away from my time with Him, then that work is fruitless. It's time to rest and be refilled.
MAKE BRICKS! Make Bricks! make bricks...
The scripture makes it very clear that the Israelite's were to continue making the same amount of bricks, everyday AND that included collecting the straw to go in them. Just because the Pharaoh added to their work didn't mean he wanted them to produce less...this was all on purpose.
As a mom, I deceive myself into thinking I can do everything. My kids should have fresh hair cuts, their clothes should be neatly hanging in their closet, their meals should all be healthy, the house should always be clean, and so on. As a wife, I do the same thing. I picture every mom or wife I have seen through the years and admired. I remember my mothers immaculate house, my friends polished children', the friends whose clothes look dry cleaned, the meals the magazine moms make, and I mentally punish myself for not being the best, better even, and I question my abilities. Did I remember all their dentist appointments, are the doctors bills paid up, is the toilet paper in the guest bathroom...is it clean.
i need to was dishes...MAKE BRICKS!
I have phone calls to make...MAKE BRICKS!
I have dinner to cook...MAKE BRICKS!
I have fold laundry...MAKE BRICKS!
I need to match socks...MAKE BRICKS!
Sometimes, it feels like I'm expected to make bricks but first there are 100 other things I need to do first. The Israelite's had to gather straw first to make their bricks, their work became harder but God had a plan for release.
A great lie...
All those 100 little things are necessary in order to make my "bricks" and my work complete but are those little things keeping me from worshiping my GOD! My God who is capable who gave me the verse Psalms 121:1-2. Where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord. I am lying to myself when I tell myself I can do it ALL!
My friend says "I can do all things but I don't have to do all the things."
So, while I need to keep making my bricks for now, God has claimed victory for me if I'll release and let Him help. He will accomplish more than I ever thought I could on my own. Exodus 6:6
Oh and don't forget...
The straw, while very important and very much needed could be collected by someone else...delegate!
I won't always be making bricks.
If there is one thing that I struggle with, one thing that holds me back, it is the lack of consistency.
Consistency matters but only in the things that matter, right?
I can rattle off to you every aspect of my life that feels like it falls short of glorious and lack of consistency is what keeps it from being so. Maybe because it's not meant to be so.
Some other words for consistency would be words like diligent and rigor. Neither of those sound much like me at all.
kiss my babies.
hug my husband.
feed the dog.
The list of things I consider myself doing well could grow quite lengthy.
So why do I let the short inconsistent list bother me so much. Why do I fret over it and let it hold me back.
I don't consistently....
put away laundry.
clean out my car.
mop my floors.
I could go on and on with that list too but it would still be fairly short.
This short list is the one I dwell on.
I could lose weight if I'd stay in the gym more, if I run more, if I eat healthier all the time.
I could feel less overwhelmed if I could find the boys underwear or my favorite pair of shoes.
I would feel more worthy if I remembered birthdays better or called my friends more often.
The reality is, whatever is important to me is what is easily consistent. What is easily done well are the things that matter most. What doesn't come so easy truly weighs me down.
I want my running goal to matter more...but it doesn't.
I want my jean size to go down...but it doesn't.
I want my floors to not be filthy EVERYDAY...but they are.
So, I dwell and worry. I fret and frown. I scold myself and others. I blame my inconsistency on a husband short on time or kids who are well...kids.
Then one day...today...I look up from the pile of bills to file, the craft supplies ready to be organized, the desk that is a mess & I realize that it's all good.
Eventually, my consistencies and inconsistencies will shift when needed and some may never.
I realize that everyday I have to fight. I fight for my life to be what it is intended to be.
I fight the evil one who wants me to believe that my inconsistencies are what hold me back.
Did you know that fight has been won already? But I still feel the need to take a jab or two in his direction.
When in reality the inconsistencies are just evidence that some things are just not as important (at this moment) and worrying about those disrupts the things that are. They are a distraction from the things I do well and do right.
I know I'm not the only person out there who feels this way.
It is simply time to get out of our own way y'all. . It's time to let God handle the things we can not, handle the parts of our lives that are not consistent until we can become consistent at them. That is if we're even meant to actually bother with them. There may just be a reason for them not being so.
So with ever inconsistency we need to give it over to God. He is waiting there ready to BLOW OUR MINDS with what He can do with it. We're going to stop putting limits on a limitless God!
The enemy is going to allow us to hear peoples negative remarks, looks of disappointment, and feel rejection. He wants us to feel like all of these circumstances are hopeless and there is no way out. Why would He want to do this? So, he can bind us to the things in life that don't matter.
I serve a God that is greater, bigger, and more magnificent that I could ever imagine and He promised that HE can do exceedingly, abundantly more than anything we can imagine for ourselves. Ephesians 3:20 What we let go of, God will do greater with it. He has better for us. We only need to believe and let go. Like an anchor that's sinking, we are holding on tight to the things in life that are eating away at us. Let go and float on up. He's there ready to take your hand so you can walk on the water..and be amazed.
All of those inconsistencies of life that are distracting you from what God has waiting; from the joy, from the happiness, from the fullness of life, let them GO! Because on the other side of consistency is FREEDOM! The things you are good at, that matter most is where you freedom lies...right behind consistency.
You will find freedom in the things that matter to you most. The love for your family will set you free. The love for your purpose in life will set you free.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. Proverbs 13:4
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
So my friends, let go of the things in your life that are causing you pain, hurt, & regret.
Believe that God created you to be more & that He has more coming for you.
Step out of your comfort level & focus on Him & the consistencies that truly matter.
Stop beating yourself up, that's not for you, that's not what He has waiting or intended.
Seek Him first!
Consistency matters but only in the things that matter.
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: exodus 33:22
This scripture has been on my mind for about a week now. The imagery of being inside a cleft or cave and having God cover the opening with his hand. Covered in darkness.
How many times do you feel as if you are in a dark place, like things aren't going our way?
When God places you in a place that he knows will become dark and gloomy, that it may be cold and lonely, that it may be frightening or silent, he is doing so to protect us. He places you there with love and intention.
Unbeknownst to you, He is passing by. Beyond the darkness, beyond the feeling that there is no way out, His glory is passing by and you don't even know it.
When He removes his hand and you can step out into the light, you will be stepping out into the wake of His glory and all the things that you were protected from, you may never even know. What you should focus on is that He walked ahead and protected you. He did so because you have a purpose. He's not done with you yet. Live loved. Live purposefully. Live with expectation.
I am birth mom to my 3 boys, foster mom to 2 sweet babies, wife to my high school sweet heart, and daughter to my King. I love to write. I am no scholar but I love my Lord and He helps me.