Monday, August 05, 2013

It Hurts, God…. It Hurts….

I’ve said it many, many times.  Being in the foster world is a way to really see God work.  Being part of a foster/adopt family has completely changed my views on life, and God.  But, our story ended with a happy ending.  We got to keep our kids.  We get to see them grow up. 

They’re hard kids.  Some days I’m not sure how much of a “blessing” it is.  That’s the honest truth.  Some days I wonder why we did this because some days I can’t even breathe.  They’re hard.  But they’re ours.  And they ARE a blessing.  And it IS a blessing and a privilege to be their mom.  It is amazing to see Shea light up and love me like she does.  She has some trust issues.  She has some control issues.  But at the end of the day, when I sing my “Mommy loves the Shea Shea” song to her she quiets, gets a peaceful smile, and all is right with my world.  William has anger issues.  He has days when it doesn’t matter what we say or do.  He has days when he’s so angry he hates everyone around him.  He’s hit me, thrown books at my head, screamed at me, you name it.  He’s hurt himself in anger.  It’s scary to see a 3 year old act that way.  But then, when he’s calm and he repeats back to me that Mommy loves him and will always keep him safe it makes it ALL worth it.

I tell you these things not to ask for sympathy.  I have thought on several occasions about other foster/adopt parents out there.  Do they struggle with a lot of the same issues?  Do they wonder if they are the right parents for their kids?  Do they feel like a failure?

I’m going to guess that they do.  Maybe you are one of those.  Maybe you took in kids that were hurt by life more than anyone should be and you planned to love that hurt right out of them.  And, then, several years later, when they’re not “better” you realize that you can’t love that pain out of them, but you can love them through it. 

So, you renew your resolve to never let go.  You tell the again how much you love them.  You cry when they’re not looking.  You feel alone.  You wonder how bad it will get before it gets better.  You take yourself off the list.  You pour everything in to them.  Everything.  And, as you do, other parts of your life begin to suffer.  Other parts of your life have to take a break.  And you find yourself losing a part of your identity.

The truth is, parenting hurt kids is hard.

But, everything worth worthwhile is going to come with difficulty.

You’re changing the future for these kids.

You’re changing the future for the people who will interact with them.

You’re changing your future.

I struggle with trying to look like I’ve got it all together.  Like the fact that the State said I could do this should make me a perfect parent.  It didn’t.  I am far from the perfect parent.  And on some days I’m even far from a good parent.

But I love these kids.

I would do anything to protect them.  I would do anything to heal their hearts.  I would walk through Hell for them.  And that is why God ordained my husband and I as their parents.

But, sometimes, things do not work out with a happy ending.  Sometimes the kids go back to the situation from which they came.  Sometimes the biological parents are healed and it is a good thing for them to go home.  Other times it is not.

One of my best friends is getting ready to return her 3 foster children of 2 years to a bad situation.  She’s loved those kids as her own.  She’s done everything right.  She’s prayed.  She’s loved.  She’s scared.  And, honestly I am too. I can’t find the words to comfort her.  She’s mad at God.  I’m encouraging her to keep the dialogue open with Him.  Tell Him she’s mad.  He understands her feelings more than she does.  She doesn’t get the happy ending.  Her babies don’t get the happy ending.

So, I’ve been on my knees for her.  I can feel my heart breaking as hers is.  I’m scared for her.  I’m scared for the kids.  I’m devastated for her and her family.

When looking for ways to comfort her I came across this book: Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts.  It looks like a good read and I think I’ll probably read it.

But for now, my words to my friend are this:

I don’t know why these kids are going back.  I don’t know what their future is.  But what I do know is this:

For these children you have prayed.  Your prayers are like incense and a fragrance to God.  He has heard your prayers.  He has a plan.  He is always sovereign.  There IS a reason.  It is just not one that we can see or understand.  Maybe we will understand in the future, but for now, we need to trust in Him.  Trust in His Sovereignty.  Trust that He is in control.  Trust that he can take anything and turn it in to good.

You have imparted God’s love in to these children.  You have hidden His word in their hearts.  They have felt true love through your family.  They now know what it means to truly be loved.  They now know that they are worth it.  These are things you have given to them that no one can take away.  They will always know in their hearts the gift of love that You and your family have given to them.

Sometimes we get to see the seed blossom, sometimes we can only sow it.  This is a time of sowing seeds for you.  And you have sown.  You will reap rewards, they will be different that what you had hoped for, but what you have done in these childrens’ lives has not gone unnoticed and has had an impact.  A reaching impact.

I am incredibly proud to have the friends that I have.  I am more than proud, I am blessed.  They challenge me to be better.  They know me and I know them.  I have life long friends who have been there through thick and thin.  I only hope that I can have the right words to help my friend during this difficult time in her life.  I can’t walk through this valley for her, but I certainly can walk with her.

"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love" (NLT) Romans 8:38

Friday, August 02, 2013

Walk By Faith

Recently our pastor preached a sermon about a beautiful gem that she saw in Tiffany’s.  She spoke about how every angle that you looked at it there was a new sparkle, and how it drew you in with it’s complex beauty.  She then brought it around to the Bible.  She said, as she looked at that beautiful gem, and how it’s beauty changed constantly with different lights, different angles, different times of day, that it reminded her of God’s word. The Bible, she explained is just like that gem- it’s complex beauty is constantly changing as you look at it from different angles, in different light, and at different times of the day.

This stuck with me like glue.  How many times have I read over a passage of scripture and at that moment in time it hits me in a TOTALLY different way then it ever has before.  The way I understand the passage is greatly affected by the angle I look at it from (what sort of a mood I am in, or what is going on in my life), the different light (new things I have learned lately about this crazy adventure of life), and at what time of day (or what season of life I am in).  It is something that has always fascinated me.  It is also a reason I have so enjoyed being in Bible Study- because others’ interpretation of the same passage will be affected by the same things, and if you’re willing to have a listening heart you can learn so much through  others’ experiences.

Which brings me to today….  This is the passage that hit me differently today:

How many times have we said this?  How many times have we read this?  It is a very popular passage…..

Here’s how it hit me today:

In relationship with other Christians, we should walk by faith, not by sight.

We have to live in this world with other people.  Our families are full of people.  Our communities are full of people.  Our churches are full of people.  People hurt people.  Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes it just happens. 

How quickly do we get our feelers hurt and respond in anger?  How quickly do we allow our anger to dictate our next move?  When you have a problem with someone, you should go to them and resolve your differences.  You can not resolve any differences as long as you are allowing anger to control you.

In relationship with other Christians, we should walk by faith, not by sight.

How often are we hurt by others and we forget our relationship with them and it changes everything

It is a difficult practice to Walk by faith and not by sight in relationship.  You will get hurt, because people hurt people.  But here’s why I think it’s important to make it a goal:

Our perceptions are what they are- we believe the sky to be blue, the grass to be green, water to be wet.  Is this how God views these things?  Is the sky blue to Him?  Is the grass green?  Is water wet?  We don’t know, because we are not God.

As humans, we see varying degrees of sin- gluttony, for example is not as bad as murder.  White lies are not as big of a deal as other lies. Coveting your neighbor’s house is not as big of a deal as stealing their bench.  You get the idea.

God sees sin as sin.  Period.  It doesn’t matter what value we, as humans place on the sin, to God, it is sin.  Sin is sin is sin.

And that, I believe is part of how He is able to heal ANY sin, and to forgive, through Jesus ANY sin.  Because to God, we are all equal.  His love for us is not based on works, it is grace based.  He loves us first because we are His creation.  So often we hear of people who feel they have gone so far away from God that there is no coming back, and that is simply not true.  God loves, forgives, heals the murderer, just as he loves, forgives, heals me, the glutton (among other sins).  Why?  Because God works by faith, not by sight.  He has faith is who He knows us to be.  He allows us to make mistakes.  He allows us to suffer consequences and learn from our mistakes.  But he never lets our mistakes dictate His relationship with us.

And so, in our journey to be as Christ is to the world, we, as Christians, must sometimes walk by faith, and not by sight in relationship with others.  We need to have faith in those who have hurt us that they are a work in progress, just like we are.  We need to guard our pride, and try not to measure the “sin factor” of someone’s actions, and trust God, that He is in control, and He does have a plan.

Has someone done something recently that hurt you?  I challenge you to ask God to help you to see that person as He does.  He loves us all and loves all of us.  We should be quick to love those around us.

Remember my life verse for this year? 

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

In Relationship, Walk by Faith, Not by Faith

I just love God and how he can take anything and make something good out of it.  We simply have to have faith Smile