Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Taking up our cross

This may be the scariest most vulnerable post I've ever written here.  I know many of you that we have confided in and asked to pray with us have voiced your concerns to others that "we haven't thought this through." and even some of those closest to us have stated "I think you have lost your mind."  Maybe we have.  But if so.... if this is losing our mind...(I can only speak for myself)  but I have never felt so right about anything in my life.

Back a while ago I posted this.  And a few months later I posted this.    Here we are and many days have been flipped on the calendar. Alot has happened.  I am amazed as I look back at how the Lord works.  How he knows the desires of our hearts because he places it there.  I am floored at how a thought can turn into a spark and how he fans it into a full blown flame.  I am humbled mostly at how he takes this mess of our lives and uses it for his glory, for his people, for his purpose.

Ken and I have decided to foster parent.  There was a time in our lives when Blake was younger that we felt led in this same direction.  Two training sessions in we decided that it wasn't the right time.  We had definite ideas about the environment we wanted to raise our son in. We agreed as a couple that having children in the same house with different rules and disciplinary methods were not something we were willing to navigate.  The disruption seemed too much of a compromise at the time and we discussed waiting until Blake was older, not ruling the idea out completely.  This may appear selfish to some or only thinking of our own child at the time but whatever your thoughts may be, it was our decision and we had our reasons.

Fast forward to last year.  My dad had passed away and I began to look at my life while I was grieving the loss of his.  I thought about death and mortality and my years here on this earth and why God even has me here to begin with.  I thought about my spiritual walk and my church and I started asking myself questions.  I started asking the Lord questions.  I turned to scripture to answer these questions and what I read was not lining up with what I was doing, how I was living, or who I was living for. I was hungry for more.  I wanted to stop talking about my faith and start living it out in a tangible way.

So I started to write about these things here and in my journal and I started to pray and discuss with my husband how we could make an intentional effort to live out our faith.  How just going to church didn't seem enough anymore.  We were excited but afraid at the same time.  God is kinda known for taking you places you may not necessarily be looking to go :)

The foster parenting idea began to weigh on my mind again.  I quickly dismissed it.  Our son is grown.  We are older.  I mentioned it to my husband as a possibility and he dismissed it quickly for the same reasons I had thought of already.  We were entering a different time in our life.  Time for us.  Our nest would soon be coming full circle.

We were in revival in November and over the past several months the thought of fostering had continued to weigh on my heart.  I would look at the heart gallery and see these kids who wanted a home so badly and my heart would break.  I didn't want to hound my husband to death with this call I felt that he obviously didn't and I knew this decision would take both of us being in agreement so I had let the idea rest.

One particular night Casey Johnson, our evangelist, preached a message called "A cause worth dying for." The scripture was actually based on David and Goliath but woven in were the causes we face in our world today.  Clean water, human trafficking, hunger, adoption, etc.  My heart was about to burst.  I felt fostering was our cause and the Lord was affirming that in my heart as the message unfolded.  At altar call I knelt in the corner of my pew and Ken went to the front of the church to pray.  I discussed with the Lord in my prayer time that I felt he was calling us to foster parent but I could not agree without my husband on board.  I prayed that if the Lord wanted us to do this that he would speak to Ken and have him approach me about it and that would be our confirmation. 
I returned to my seat after praying and Ken was still at the altar.  He motioned for me to come to the front and pray with him.  As I knelt there, he explained that after hearing the message he felt the Lord was calling us "to help some kids."  "I think we need to foster."  We prayed together right then.  Not knowing where, who or what the future held, I knew that God was in control of this situation and he had just confirmed it.

We are in training now.  We started this process in November but apparently although there is a huge shortage of homes for these kids, the process takes months and a lot of patience.  There are days that we are afraid of what the future holds.  Everyone doesn't think fostering kids is the best idea on the planet.  After all "some of them have lice"  and "they have to leave at some point, won't that be hard?"  "Some of these kids have problems."  They show up at all hours of the night." All of this is true and yet it hasn't changed our minds.  Strangely I've never been more sure that I was in the will of God than I do about this.

We pray about the days ahead.  I often pray for the child that is coming and their first night here.  I pray that we will be equipped to offer peace after a horrible day of being ripped from their parents and their home and how afraid and sad they will be.  I pray for the energy to deal with young children again.  I pray that we're not too old to do this.  I pray for understanding from our employers as we fall full blown into this.  I pray for peace as we watch our training videos and all the things that "could happen."  I pray for unfamiliar parenting strategies and the skills to incorporate them.  I pray for eyes to see birth parents through the eyes of Jesus. I pray that we can show the Father to the fatherless. That we can show love to the unloved.

I pray that you will watch this video.  And afterwards that you will think about how you can minister to orphans.  There are so many ways to do that even if you don't feel called to foster or adopt.  We as Christians claim to be pro-life.  We want mothers to avoid abortion.  We claim to believe that life is sacred.  It's easy to think it's someone else's responsibility to care for these children.  But Jesus said it is ours,  that we as the church are to care for them.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.  James 1:27

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17


If nothing else, please pray for us as we finish our training and the waiting game.  Pray for the children that will come through our home. 

Pray that you will discover your cross and that you will pick it up and begin to follow him.  Whatever that cross may be.

If anyone serves me, let him follow me. John 12:25-26

And by follow I mean FOLLOW.  Not just in word...but in deed.

Make a difference for the kingdom.


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