How do you do all that you do?
As women, as mothers, we are bombarding ourselves with images of what looks like perfection. We have Pinterest to show us the perfect way to organize our home, craft our hearts out, and style our family. We can thank Instagram for capturing the perfection of life by using filtered images with carefully placed "words of wisdom". We owe many of life's negative feelings to Facebook as we see perfect people hash out their opinions about injustice, elections, or religion when it was meant as a way to connect people it is actually tearing people apart. I could go on and on about the images that our brain stores away as standards of perfection that we desire. Some of us strive for perfection. Maybe it's for others to see, maybe its our own insecurities, maybe it's obsessive compulsions, maybe it's because we have and idea of how we should be stored away in the files of mind but we all fall short. Every single moment that we push for perfection, we fall short. So, when someone asks you "how do you do all that you do?" what is your response?
Just this morning as I was dropping off my beautiful foster baby girl in the nursery I was fussing about her dress and her perfectly placed bow and sounding completely exhausted about how we are never on time and that I'm the last to take care of me. A sweet friend from across the room asked me that very question. "How do you do it?" In all seriousness she is probably in awe of how I managed to get 4 boys, a husband, and a baby girl into church; late, but into church. Mind you, my grandmother had 6 kids, a farm, and no technology like we have today and they got to church on Sunday.
Of course, I smiled and said a few things that I think went like this..."Oh, I don't know either. I take care of me last. We are late no matter what I do. Here but late and I'm not sure everyone's teeth are brushed or hair is combed." I'm pretty sure I took the glory of the Lord right away from Him in that very moment. In that very moment, I became a Peter in Matthew 26. Well, that's what God decided I need to see for myself anyway.
Accent actually has several definitions. One is the distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language. The definition that stood out to me was, to emphasize. I'm no Bible scholar by any means but God certainly uses my Bible to speak to me and that's what He's done here. Many different translations use variations. For me, today, God wanted me to catch this little detail. Whatever your translation, it's how you are presenting yourself to others that gives you away. Do people recognize you as a follower of Christ by what you choose to emphasize about your life to others?
I also noticed that as Peter denied Christ three times, the intensity with each questioned built as if God himself was trying to drive the true answer right out of him. Much like when you know the answer your child should be giving you but you keep asking with more intensity because they keep denying the truth that you already know. First he was simply asked by a girl, then a girl said to the people, and then the people wanted to know. Imagine crowed building from the question of one single little girl. All for one, simple, truthful answer.
The denial started small.
You will be recognized as a Christian by what you "accentuate" about your faith. You will be given opportunities to give God glory for all He has done in your life. Peter could have said, "yes, I am a follower because He rescued me when I was sinking, we walked on water together, etc.
When I was asked "How do you do all you do?" That was my opportunity. That was my moment to glorify my Savior.
Answer: My Savior! The Helper! My Lord Father! Giving God all the glory for all that I'm able to do.
Peter loved Christ. Still, even though his accent gave him away, he denied Him.
Peter was trying to save his own skin.
Nothing I am able to do is by my own hands. My hands alone can not do all that I do. It's not because of me. When things are hard, I turn to Him. I ask for help. I should give Him the glory. You should give Him the glory.
Give Him the glory!
It's been a year.
A year ago my heart was steadfastly praying for a foster baby who had not yet arrived. Our family was always on alert, waiting for the call. We had been approved as a foster home in July and we were approaching the end of September. Still, no call. We knew a child was coming. God had prepared our hearts and lives much earlier in the year. In fact, January 2015 was when He set it all in motion. This "waiting" was chipping away at our confidence in the situation. We had to explain to friends and family constantly that we were just "waiting". I called it our "delay to develop"....
Eventually, nearly 2 months later in November, we found ourselves shaken and questioning the path God had so bluntly put us on. It only took a brief moment before confusion began to stir us. We started looking into the situation and even different paths. We were shaken by emails wanting more paper work and private messages that something was going down with our agency. I made calls to other agencies but God was slamming those doors shut just as I was trying to open them. Sunday came. Worship. A breath of fresh air and a new perspective. Our prayers led us to the conclusion that our Lord Father is not and never will be the author of confusion. So we decided to ...Be STILL.
In the stillness something was stirring under the surface. We prayed for the coming foster baby. We prayed....
"Lord, protect this little soul."
We knew that in order to receive the foster baby that God had told us we would receive months and months earlier, to receive her would mean she would be placed in a potentially dangerous situation. We prayed for little damage. We prayed for the mother to make the best decisions as she could. We prayed for many things but mostly we prayed that the baby would be safe from harm.
God answers prayers.
Within the 2 weeks following our decision to simply be still things did start happening. We got our first call, the information given to us for those children was all wrong and we were not approved for more than 2 children. The second call came and this time we said yes but our hesitation resulted in them being placed with another family. The third call we missed.
I called back as soon as I could after hearing the voice mail that there was a newborn baby and her toddler brother. I just knew we had missed this one too.
Within hours, we received the littlest boy and the next day his baby sister. They were perfect! Not all had been perfect. In fact, the not knowing of all of their life's details was and is quite scary sometimes. We only knew the circumstances under which they were placed into the foster system and that our lives had just changed.
It's been 10 months since that day.
I can't tell you the shaking you get when you are a foster mom. A new foster mom is like a deer in headlights. Everyone is like a deer in headlights. You can't see very far into your future but you are surviving at the very moment. We are pouring out great vats of love on the children and worrying about their wellbeing. You are helping your family adjust and helping new "Little's" adjust. Every new foster mom reacts and handles situations differently but we all have the deer in headlights feeling even if it's fleeting.
For months their situation and their case constantly shook me. I can't speak for my husband but for me I physically shook on some days. Illnesses, court dates, doctors visits, visitations, new baby stuff, little sleep, lots of faith, and changing prayers.
Then my Jesus unveiled me.
Like a bride, the veil was lifted. It was so hard to explain to people that I could now see my Jesus with me in situations. I could feel him guiding me, my actions and my words when I listened closely. My weekly anxiety over visitations and trauma was lifted. My fear of the birth parents was gone. There was a new me that was strong and courageous, unafraid and brave. Thank you Lord for walking beside me. He is unshakeable.
For All God's Girls...
His kingdom can not be shaken. My world, your world, seems to be shaken more and more and it leaves us off balance, searching for a better foothold. Our foothold is found in His Word when we go to it. When shaken, run to Him who helps us regain our balance and also puts things into perspective.
I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
I saw the Lord always before me...
There He is, Jesus. He unveiled me and I see Him standing there. There is no barrier between Him and I, as His child. My Jesus is right in front of me at all times, even when I don't choose to see him standing there. I must choose to see His glory even in part because his complete glory is in His unshakable Kingdom. Still, Jesus stands near me and with him the vastness of the heavens. The deepness of knowledge is with him. He commands the tides and the winds with a single breath. He never leaves me. When times are hard I feel like I've made a mistake and he has stepped away but the truth is, nothing I can do can shake Him. Nothing.
Because he is at my right hand...
When I see him in my minds eye and put my focus on Jesus, he is NEVER to the left of me. He is always to the right. I couldn't explain why this was when I shared my experience with others but when God showed me the above scripture in my study time with Him, it explained it for me. He is near and always at my right hand, never moving, always where I know I can find Him. It's as if I could gently raise my right hand and touch His garments. he is that near to me. When I keep my veil lifted my perspective is on Jesus, his glory and his goodness. Oh previous Savior! He calls to me "focus on me....I will not be shaken".
I will not be shaken...
Me? Yes, me! I will not be shaken when my focus is on Jesus. I will stop letting these things shake me. Stop letting things shake you. How very silly of us to even let this world shake us. David, in Psalms, said this very thing. When you get a chance, open your Bible or look up Psalm 16:8. I will praise the Lord who counsels me, who guides me, who makes me unshakeable. I will not be moved.
During our little adventure as foster parents we have learned a great deal about considering others. We have learned that nothing is within our control if God doesn't want it to be. When things are hard and we are shaken, that always means we aren't focused on the Kingdom work he had for us here. Raising babies is not easy for any momma. The good news is, He saves us. Our worries and insecurities are not for us to worry with. They are nothing He can't handle, can't set straight, can't take away, or can't find balance for.
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.