Just living my life, and making it work!

Posts tagged ‘faith’

God’s Plan is NOT MY PLAN! How God is Pulling Me Kicking and Screaming Toward Foster Care Adoption.

There is a little girl in one of my preschool classes. She can be tender hearted towards kids that need help, and is very bright. She also has a will made of iron. The other day a teacher asked her to do something she did not want to do. She ended up under the desk, shaking it while crying out “God’s plans are NOT MY plans!”. We go to the same church as this little girl so I am sure she has been in many Sunday school classes where she has heard that we need to be obedient, and bend our will to HIS will.

I know exactly how she feels. Now, I haven’t screamed at anyone or shaken any desks over it, but I have been struggling with obedience, and trusting in His plan.  We never expected to go to China for our first adoption, and we sure didn’t expect to adopt a second time from China. Over the last few years China has become our normal, our comfort zone. We have done it twice, and know what to expect. We have the paper chase down to a science being able to anticipate what needs to come next. We know a little bit of Mandarin, and even know where our favorite restaurants and shops are in Guangzhou.  We have grown to love China and its people, and wanted to go back “one more time”. We were so looking forward to going back again. That’s been the “plan” for the last three and a half years. I can’t count the times I’ve said “Well when we go back to China I’ll…..”.

As it turns out, we won’t go back to China. I was shocked, and broken hearted to learn that the Chinese officials rejected our pre application for a third adoption due to our visual impairments. Of course we appealed. We made videos of us doing regular mom and dad things. We wrote an appeal letter, our 13-year-old adopted daughter wrote an appeal letter, and our agency fought hard for us.  We did everything we knew to do to change their minds, but eventually we had to accept that China was closed for us. We knew in our hearts that yes, the Chinese officials had said “no” to us, but so had God. After all we had two Chinese children that proved that their decision had made zero logical since.

I was so mad that I really wanted to give up. I wanted to settle for the five amazing and beautiful children we have. I wanted to be done, and move on. I mean life is good right now. Our adopted children are adjusting well, our kids are relatively healthy, and are all doing well. My youngest will go to Kindergarten next year, and we will be moving to a new stage in life as parents of older kids. Did I really want to have another preschooler or toddler? Did I really want to risk a child with a difficult adjustment to living in a family, or might have attachment issues? There were a million reasons why it was ok for us not to adopt again, but through every excuse I made God quietly whispered “You still have room in your home and heart for another child who needs a family.”

I then began looking at other international countries. Many internet searches, and phone calls later I was disheartened that none of those programs were going to work for our family. Eastern Europe countries wanted loooong incountry stays. Several other programs such as India have a four child already living in the home maximum, and we have five. After crossing off each country I knew I was moving closer and closer to domestic foster care adoption. THAT WAS NOT MY PLAN!!!

There are good reasons why we chose international adoption to begin with.

1)     I don’t want to deal with biological families.

2)     I don’t want to deal with seeing kids that I love on, sent back to the same terrible conditions they came from.

3)     I don’t want the State THAT involved in my business.

4)     I don’t want the State telling me what I can and cannot do with my child.

5)     I don’t want to deal with the aftermath of a broken-hearted child whose parent didn’t show up to a visit, or showed up high, and couldn’t see the child.

6)     I don’t want to deal with a child who has BIG feels and BIG problems because of the abuse they have suffered by those who are meant to love them the most.

7)     I don’t want to deal with how losing a child we loved for so long to an extended family member would possibly affect the children we already have.

8)     I don’t want to deal with a broken system full of misinformation, turnover, and protecting the rights of biological parents when it isn’t the best interest of the child.

Basically, I told God domestic foster adoption was too hard, too risky, and required too much of my heart. This is pretty much what He had to say about all that.

Dear Elisabeth,

I know you do not want to deal with all of that stuff. No body does, but do you honestly think the kids that are dealing with it every day want to deal with it any more than you? Could you look one of these little ones, and tell them “This is too hard. You’re not worth it?”.  These are real children, with real needs that you can meet. Remember when I brought you Quinn? She was an older child adoption with a scary special need that you had zero experience with.  Yet, now you cannot imagine your life without her, and more importantly, you can’t imagine her life without you.  Y’all are experienced parents of five, experienced adoptive parents well acquainted with connected parenting. You both have counseling field degrees. I have prepared you for this. I don’t ask for what I am not going to provide for. Get out of your comfort zone, and TRUST ME.

Soooooo yeah, my husband and I attended our first orientation meeting with CPS yesterday. We have no idea what this will look like. If we will love one child, or many. If we will love them for a day, or lifetime, or somewhere in between. We do know that the Lord Himself goes before us, and will be with us: He will never leave us nor forsake us.  We will not be afraid or discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8) We will get out of our comfort zone, take a running leap, and say “Yes Lord, send me!”.

 

 

 

 

When God Tells You Who You Are BELIEVE Him!

The other day one of my kids came in the back door crying because someone called him a “big fat jerk”. I asked him if he was in fact a big fat jerk, and looking at the floor he slowly shook his head no. Hugging him I said that when people say bad or untrue things about him he should stand up tall, and confidently say “Those words are not true, and I don’t care what you say about me.”. I encouraged him to practice saying that sentence. The first time tears were still streaming down his cheeks and I could barely hear his voice. We said it again and again together until his head and shoulders were high and there was conviction and strength behind his words. We practiced because he could say that sentence 100 times, but until he really took it into his heart and BELIEVED it to be true, the words would have no power.

A short time later I found myself in a funk. I was anxious about all the never ending house hold chores I hadn’t completed. I felt insecure about looking older, and worried that I wasn’t spending enough time with my husband. I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids, teaching them enough, making them eat enough good foods. In short I felt unworthy of my house, my marriage, my children……basically my life. I allowed these thoughts to seep in through the cracks of insecurity and unworthiness in my heart, and pool together at the bottom of my soul leading to feelings of failure and despair.

Mercifully I was doing a women’s Bible study by Pricilla Shirer called “The Armor of God’, and the idea of using the “Helmet of Salvation” to “take every thought captive” was fresh in my mind. (An amazing Bible study that I highly recommend) I began to break down and evaluate these thoughts, and compare them with His truth as found in the Bible. I realized that most of these thoughts were rooted in lies of deception, guilt, and unworthiness. None of witch comes form God, and in fact are used by the Devil to deceive us and shield our minds from the truth.

Every time I identified a thought or someone else’s words as untrue I stopped what I was doing. Bound that untruth in my mind, and purposefully rejected it. I then asked the Holy Spirit to replace that lie by speaking truth to my soul. Over time I began to identify these lies more quickly, and I made room in my heart for God’s truth. We tell our children they should be confident in who God made them to be. We tell them to ignore and stand courageously against lies they hear from others. Unfortunately, we don’t always apply that wisdom to our own lives, because deep down although many of us already know God’s truths we don’t really BELIEVE it in our soul. So……

When He tells you he loves you, and will provide what you need BELIEVE HIM!

When He tells you you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that He knit you together in your mother’s womb BELIEVE HIM!

When He tells you not to be anxious about bad seasons in life, but to see it as an opportunity to grow in wisdom and strength knowing that He will see you through it BELIVE HIM!

When He tells you eternal salvation is as easy as accepting Jesus as your savior and putting Him first in your life BELIEVE HIM!

Anything contradictory to His truths are lies conceived to destroy you peace, your faith, your hope, and your calling according to  His purposes. Once you know these truths and you BELIVE God is who he says he is, and you BELIEVE you are who God says you are in Him, you can easily identify and reject the lies seeping into your life. In doing so you leave room in your mind and heart for the Holy Spirit to speak TRUTH into your life. You start to BELIVE in your heart that you are a child of God, as in the CREATER OF THE UNIVERSE GOD, and any outside approval you may or may not receive becomes insignificant in comparison.

A favorite mantra of mine is “If it is good enough for God, I don’t care if its good enough for anyone else”. I’ve been saying this to people as an encouragement for the last few years, but I didn’t  really BELIEVE it in my soul. I would say it, but just like my son, the words had no power behind them. I still had feelings of doubt, insecurity, unworthiness, anxiety , and fear. Once I started rejecting the lies behind those feelings, and BELIEVING that what God says about me is true I found a inner peace and joy that I have honestly not had since I was a child. Now I can hear the lies whispered into my ears intended to settle in my heart, and say with confidence ” I am a child of God. Those words are not true, and I don’t care what you say about me.”

 

 

Running from God by Being Intentionally Busy

Last night at a Bible study I admitted to my girl friends that I felt convicted for ignoring my blog. I felt God asking me to share my story through several situations, and He has all but left a Post It note on my desk telling me to. Personal writing is uncomfortable. Letting people in is uncomfortable. What if no one reads it? What if they do, and they don’t’ like it? What if I really have nothing to say? All of these thoughts, and more, have made me feel ill equipped, and so I have ignored writing all together under the auspices of  “I just don’t have time to write.”

My girl friends pointed out that just like Jonah I was running from God’s instructions. Instead of running away physically, I was running by making myself intentionally busy. Instead of letting God fill my time with the things He wanted me to do, I have been filling my time with things like a hair bow designing business, and selling Jamberry nails. See, if I kept busy, I could justify my ignoring writing my blog. It is time to realign my priorities to His, and so here I am, writing the first blog entry in almost a year.

Before I go, I want to ask you to think about the following……..

How have you been running from God? Have you been like me, and filling your time with other stuff, and telling God you are too busy? Or have you overextended yourself financially, and think you don’t have the financial resources to do what He has asked you to do? Or maybe you’ve been putting it off until after a life event such as retirement or children growing up? A friend of mine joked last night that a big whale was going to swallow me whole, and in the bottom of the fish I’d find paper and a typewriter. Sometimes God goes to great lengths to get our attention when we ignore Him, and sometimes He may simply start asking someone else. But, either way, when we don’t do the things God asks us to, we are telling Him we don’t REALLY BELIEVE He is who He says He is, and will do what He says He’ll do.

So what ever it is that you have been ignoring, or putting off, start today. Let’s stand together on the cliff of faith. Ready…..Set…..JUMP!

 

On The Other Side of the World

Somewhere on the other side of the world there is a four year old boy. He lives in an orphanage in China. It is about four or five in the morning, and he is probably still asleep on a mat in a room full of young boys. What separates him from the countless other orphans in the world is we are in the process to adopt him. We are two months into a year long journey to make him our son. We have never met him, but he has already found a place in our hearts. We think of him and pray for him daily. There are many people hard at work to bring hin home to us.

One of the many things I find amazing about this process is he has no idea we even exist. He’ll get up today, eat breakfast, and generally go about his day never knowing how hard we are working to give him a better life, or how much we love him. Even when we bring him home he won’t fully understand why his life has to change so completely or how this change will give him a far better chance at life. To him it will seem that we are simply pulling him away from EVERYTHING he has ever known. It will take years for him to realize that even though he had to endure the loss of his former life that the blessings of being part of a forever family, and being an American will far outweigh any hardships he’s endured.

Yesterday I was thinking about all this, and Jeremiah 29:11 just popped into my head. It says ” For I know the plans I have for you, declaires The Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Just like this little boy’s transition from China to America is a difficult but necessary part of a bigger plan so are the dark times in our lives. I clung to this Bible verse when I lost my parents. I have no idea why God decided to take my parent’s home so soon. I miss them daily, and am heartbroken that my children have lost them as grandparents. However, I know that God has a plan. Just as this little boy has no idea what plans we are making or how they will prosper him I have no idea the plans or knowledge of the Lord. I just have to have to trust that those plans are to give me hope and a future even during the times that are difficult.