Friday, December 31, 2010


The reason I have not posted in quite a while is this little thing that happens every year called...Christmas! It's crazy, busy, hurried, and wonderful. I love every minute of it. My husband's sister and brother in law were in town from far away this year with their one-year-old son, so days have been even more full as we've tried to soak up every second we possibly oould with that little guy! We also have some great friends who recently adopted a son from Uganda. Meeting their new addition and spending time with my nephew really heightened my excitement to enter this new phase of life!

Now, I understand that most of what I have seen of these two is their best behavior, and life probably won't be quite as rosy when we get our first placement, but I am trusting the Lord to be faithful to our obedience. It will certainly be an adventure, and I can't wait to get started.

However, I'll add another layer on this emotional roller-coaster. It has been about a month since this decision was broadcast to those who are closest to us. In that month, I have been sick almost the entire time. I thought I was pretty much well a week or 2 ago, but then two days ago, I had a fever of 102.5! Satan sure knows how to get to me. Exercise is my best stress reliever, and I'm a full-fledged extrovert. If I was to plan the perfect attack on my spirit, this would be it. I have felt isolated and lazy much of the time, but I am calling spiritual warfare what it is, and I'm praying through it.

One benefit of being home sick several days recently is that I have forged ahead on our mountainous pile of paperwork. We are scheduled for training on the weekend of January 22, and I'm trying to get as much done as possible in my down time. Lo and behold, I have 22 documents to complete, and the first one I opened was 36 pages along. Not only that, but my husband and I have to complete one apiece. The second one I opened was instructions to complete an autobiography. The bullet points of information to include go on for 2 pages...yikes! Needless to say, I didn't open any of the others. I'll just take this one step at a time.

The last thing I'll say is that my husband had his psychosocial evaluation right before Christmas, and as he left, the therapist assured him that he "had no reservations about us being foster parents." He then said that he would see us in January. Great news right before the holiday!

2 Prayer Requests:
  • IMPACT Training is set for the weekend of January 22, which is also the weekend of a retreat I am leading for several middle school and high school girls to learn their worship dances for the spring. Pray for someone to step forward to take that responsibility from me or for the girls to be flexible to rehearse the weekend before (MLK Weekend)
  • Pray that my sinuses would CLEAR!! It's getting ridiculous.
Happy New Year to you and yours! May the Lord use all of us in challenging ways this year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

On the Upswing!'s late, and I can't take the time to give too many updates. Suffice it to say that days have been better, and my husband is the greatest.

Over the past couple of days, I have run into current foster parents and former foster parents, heard songs about foster kids on the radio, heard commercials about foster care on the radio. There have been an abnormal number of instances validating the need and giving encouragement. I'm not saying they're signs from God or anything, but they're certainly encouraging nudges, so...we press on!

I had my first 90-minute psychosocial evaluation with our foster agency this week. Needless to say, this was new territory for me. My husband has his next week, so I can't wait to compare notes. It was surprisingly not as awkward as anticipated. Throughout the conversation, however, I felt like the counselor probably didn't believe the lack of significant stressful events in my life...I was feeling some pressure to reach into the recesses of my mind and recount any shred of stress that I could remember living through! When the psychotherapist was talking about drug addiction, divorce, and natural disasters, I just couldn't help but feel a little unjustified referring to the stress of finals week...haha. No, but seriously, I was encouraged and reminded that my family life has been one filled with love and encouragement. Perfect? Absolutely not...but more than sufficient. I was reminded of the unfortunate rarity of that kind of upbringing, and since then have been really moved and thankful as I have reflected...right in time for Christmas.

Mom and Dad, thank you for doing your very best all these years. Thank you for loving each other faithfully, and thank you for pouring yourselves into both me and my brother. Speaking of my brother, thank you for your influence in my life. I'm not sure you'll ever know the power that comes along with being an older brother. I'm not sure many people in my life will impact it more than you have. Thank you for using your influence for my benefit, and for putting up with your pesky little sister all these many years. I love you guys!

In-laws (all of you), what a blessing you each are to us. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms, and thank you for agreeing to walk this path with us, praying for us, supporting us, encouraging us, loving on kids who aren't your own. I consider it no small blessing to have in-laws whom I love so dearly.

Now, off to bed...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bad Days...

Ever since we made the big announcement to staff, friends, and family, I have had a long string of bad days. I've been sick, but mostly, I've been battling a lot of self-doubt. I feel like around every turn, there's yet another reminder of something that I didn't do well recently. These are the words of condemnation that are flooding my thoughts:

You're too irresponsible to take this on.
Your house is a can't even keep up with your current to-do list.
What makes you think you could keep this kind of family together if you can't even keep it together with you, your husband, and your (presently) 2 dogs?
You're getting lazy.
...and so on and so forth.

I'm hoping that today is rock bottom and that soon I will bounce back. In the meantime, I'm trying desperately to convince myself of these promises:

Phillippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
I don't like to throw this verse around often. I think all too often we take this to mean that we can do anything we set our minds to (a very American idea, for sure). Instead, I think the Lord gives us strength to accomplish the things HE has set before us. Feeling called to walk this path, I claim this promise, and I also pray that if the Lord would have us to change directions, that he would shut doors and make it very clear. Until then, we press on.

John 10:10 - "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Romans 8:1 - "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Words of condemnation that give me a feeling of hopelessness are not the words of the Holy Spirit. At their core, these words are all true...I am not ever going to be good enough or capable enough, but the Holy Spirit tells me "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" - Galations 2:20-21
I know that this is Truth, and I remind myself of it repeatedly. The reality, however, is that I'm struggling with this today. If you stumble upon this, I would covet your prayers.

Hopefully looking forward to a more upbeat post in a few days!! Just trying to be real.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Word of Explanation

A couple of months ago, my husband and I started to really wrestle with an unsettled feeling within us. As we prayed and really dug into Scripture, we struggled to see our lives as a real reflection of Christ. We were in a comfortable place in many ways, but the Lord would not quiet the stirring within each of us to take another step of faith. One evening as I prayed, I began to feel led to the idea of foster care or adoption. Not wanting to lead the charge myself, I prayed that the Lord would independently lead my husband to the same thought. I never said a word to my husband and just continued to pray for clarity. About a week later, we were riding in the car when my husband said, out of the blue, “I’ve been really thinking about 2 things lately – foster care or adoption.” Needless to say, we have felt 100% convinced since that day that this is something the Lord has led us to do. We have decided on a foster care agency and are beginning the long process of approval, but we are praying with much anticipation for the children who the Lord will entrust to us in the coming years.

You might wonder why on earth we would decide to do this, and you wouldn’t be the first. We have even asked ourselves that question, and it is a good question to ask. Let me start with some of the reasons we are not doing this. We are not doing this to fill any void in our own lives. We’re certainly not doing this so that we will get a pat on the back one day from anyone or so that people will say of us, "They’re such good people!" We’re also not doing this because we think that there are kids who need us to rescue them from evil parents.

The most basic reason is that we really feel strongly that the Lord has led us to this decision, but more important than feelings or perceptions is the mandate in Scripture. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." The story of the Bible is one of sacrifice and redemption, and as Christians we are to proclaim that story in every facet of our lives. Seeking to be obedient to that command, we are excited to walk with the Lord and rely on Him daily, striving to show these children the love of Christ, which is certainly unconditional but grounded in discipline. At the same time, we want to pray for their parents’ redemption and restoration, lovingly speaking the truth of the gospel into their lives as often as we get the chance, and expecting the Lord to be faithful to His promise in Isaiah 55:11 that His Word will accomplish His purposes.

You may be thinking that this all sounds great…until the reality sets in. We are keenly aware that the reality of this situation is going to be difficult (to say the least). We don’t have any false hope that we are fully prepared or that this road is going to be easy. We rest in the fact that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 promises us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." We are simply being obedient to Christ, and we are expecting Him to do the work of equipping us and walking with us every step of the way.

More than any material resource, we will need prayer and encouragement. We will soon begin to write family rules to hang in our home that will guide our actions as parents as well as give expectations for all the kids who will stay in our home over the years. We haven’t decided on many, but our first rule will be this, "Everyone who sleeps in this house is family." For whatever short time these kids reside in our home, they will be as if adopted into our family.

What a picture of Christ! At its very core, the gospel of Jesus Christ as represented in the Christmas story is a story of adoption. The story began in Genesis, when God’s people first turned away from our Heavenly Father in favor of our own desires. That story continued through the entire Old Testament, and I know we can all relate as we reject God in favor of ourselves and our ideas daily. In order to restore our relationship with God, a sacrifice was required as well as a mediator to speak on our behalf. Then came the story we celebrate on Christmas. God sent His son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice on our behalf – that through Him as our mediator, we could stand blameless before God, adopted as children of God and co-heirs of Christ.

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. "
            Romans 8:14-17

May these words give you a fresh perspective as you celebrate this Christmas season, and may the words of this blog give you an honest picture of the many highs and lows that are sure to come along the way.

Here goes nothing!