Monday, December 12, 2016

My Missing Puzzle Piece

Every child has a story and every child longs to hear their special story over and over.  Her story is different.  I wasn't there for the first 4 years.  I don't know what it was like to carry her in my tummy or if she kicked hard like my oldest.  I don't know what her first words were or when she learned to walk.  I wasn't there to see if she sucked her thumb and to hear her soft coos.  I missed all that.  So when she looks at me with those big brown eyes and wants to hear how she too belongs this is what I say: "You are my little missing puzzle piece.  I used to count my kids, 1, 2, 3, 4...where is 4.  I only have 3.  Someone is missing I would think and it was YOU.  YOU are my missing puzzle piece." And with a grin and squeal of delight she agrees.  God knew I would count, God knew I would feel like someone was missing and God placed a little birthmark on her that looks just like a little puzzle piece. It's her special story.  She was lost, and incomplete but now she's found and part of a bigger picture.  A picture of love and hope, healing and redemption. Thank you God that my little puzzle piece is found!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Requirements

Nearly 8 months have passed since the day I met her.  Eight roller coaster months. We entered a world with lawyers and interviews, social workers and home visits, court rooms and police stations. It's not the world I would have imagined 8 months ago.  Yet it's exactly where God put me.

Ten months ago I was a mother of 3, with dreams of adopting. Of course I told God it would be a boy and he would be under 2 and would have no abuse in his history.

Oh how God must have shook his head at my requirements.  How he must have laughed....perhaps that's why nine months ago while putting my children to bed we began talking of all the children going to bed without a mommy to sing to them.  Perhaps that's why that night my youngest prayed if there was any little girl or boy that didn't have a good home that God would provide them with a family. Perhaps that's why my prayers began to change and I thought of the many hurting, lost, abandoned and abused children that desperately need love. My heart was touched to the point that I wrote in my prayer journal to God, "If my child has already been born Lord protect him or her, and surround them with love and the Holy Spirit so that they  feel safe and are able to sleep tonight." My heart yearned for them.  I knew in that moment that my child was somewhere without me and I prayed not knowing who the child was. But God saw. 

He looked down and saw my little girl, alone and scared and he put the ball in motion.  Who knew an egg hunt would be the means to join me with my child. The start of a rescue mission. Here I am 8 months after that egg hunt waiting for papers to be finalized, but now a mother of 4. My requirements were not met...but my destiny was.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Safe with Me

The journey has been hard.  Oh the things I didn't know.  When those dark eyes pierced my heart I knew not what the future held. And now I see God was sparing. For had I seen it all perhaps I wouldn't have stepped out in faith. Perhaps I would have said, "This is too big for me."

 I took a snap shot at the egg hunt.  One snap shot, and I starred at it. The child in the photo was not my biological child, yet every time I looked at it I saw my daughter. I memorized her face, her grin, the short dark curls around her face. I prayed and asked God, "Is this really my daughter. Do you really want me to step out and move forward?" Was I to just be a friend, help out the caretaker, give play dates and opportunities. I could do that. But that was not all I was to do. I knew in my heart. I knew she was mine.  I kept saying this is bigger than I know. God's doing something bigger than I know.  My head thought perhaps he was going to bring salvation to her lost family, or perhaps bring companionship to her caregiver.  Something sweet and smooth and glorious.

I didn't know that it would be ugly and dark.  People were not what they seemed.  Reality is so much messier than you imagine. But oh yes, God was doing something bigger than I knew.  When I faltered, when I stumbled and lost my way.  He would repeat to me. "She is your daughter.  I will make the mountains into plains.  I will do it. Not by your power, or might, but by my Spirit." When I rested in that I saw God move huge mountains and in the process uncover such darkness, such pain.  Yet he is doing something amazing and beautiful and glorious.

It was bigger than I knew. It was a rescue mission.  He saw her, he knew. He saw the hurt and the wounds and he knew.  Though man failed to recognize, God saw.  He heard her desperate cries and he plucked her out of the darkness and filth and set her into a family. And that is something beautiful and glorious.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

And the curve ball was....

A little girl. With her dark curls and goofy grin she stole my heart. We were told she needed a family and boom my life changed. She looked up at me with deep brown eyes and called me Momma with a question. She was asking, searching, "Will you be my mommy?" "Will you take care of me?" My heart said yes. God moved mountains of obstacles and provided every step of the way. Though I knew nothing that I know now, I knew she was mine. She had adopted me. Now it was my job to follow through and let her know, "Yes, I will take care of you, you are safe with me."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Life Throws Curve Balls

Life is constantly in the business of throwing curve balls my way. 

Like I think I'm throwing an egg hunt, but instead God plans for me to meet people there that will forever change my life.

I plan to do one thing and something totally different happens. 

I'm learned that this is a part of life.  I just have to go with it and hold on to God. 

The thing I know is constant is our Father in heaven.  He never changes and He is always there for me.  I'm thankful for that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Awana

Wednesday is Awana day for my household.  During the summer we had Five Day Club, from Child Evangelism Fellowship, in our backyard.  The kids that came to that have continued to come over every Wednesday for Awana.  One little girl actually buses over after school.  The kids play, sometimes we do a craft, or practice their Awana verses, we eat dinner together and then I take them to Awana.

The year has had it's ups and downs.  There are days when things go perfectly and days when there is massive girl drama and I'm the referee.  But it's an example of influence I talked about yesterday.  My family and I can influence these kids through little things like them sitting at the dinner table with us praying, and talking.  I know when I grew up with a single mom some days we ate together at the table but I remember more often then not we sat in front of the t.v.  I remember a couple meals we had regularly rice with pork chops and gravy and tuna casserole.  Other than that I remember eating lots of cereal, or ice cream or ramen noodles.  The sad thing is that many kids today never sit down at a table with their family to pray, to eat and talk together.  Either they are on the run all the time and getting fast food or they're all on their own electronic devices too busy to talk with each other, or their parents simply are not home.  The simple act of breaking bread together can greatly influence the lives of others.

How can you use your influence today?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Our Call

God has commanded us all the same thing.  Love him with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.  He has given us all the same commission, "Go forth into all the world and make disciples of all nations." Yet he has called us all in uniquely different ways.

He called Moses as he tended sheep, on the run from murdering someone.  He called Giddeon as he was threshing wheat secretively in a wine press.  He called David as a young boy, the smallest in his household.  Jesus called his followers as they were fishing, collecting taxes, or doing their odd jobs.  He calls us too.  Calling has multiple meanings, but we are going to focus on two.  One is a vocation, a job, what you do.  The other meaning is to be summoned, as in God calling you to do something.

We all have different jobs.  I was a teacher.  Now I'm a homemaker, who still teaches my children and blogs.  Perhaps you are a homemaker too, or maybe you're a teacher, or a nurse or secretary, or a store clerk or retired.  Whatever you do, where ever you are Jesus has called you to fulfill the commands he has given you.  When he gives you a summons like that, he will equip you.

God equipped Moses with the words and the power to lead the Israelities out of slavery.  He equipped Joshua with the battle plans to defeat Jerrico.  He equipped Ester with the position and favor to save an entire nation from ethnic cleansing.  God equips us all.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "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." God equips us through his word and through the Holy Spirit.  I didn't know the first thing about being a godly wife.  I was raised by a single mother and I did not have a role model in that. I didn't learn how a godly wife handles conflicts or treats her husband.  I was clueless.  Honestly I started out my marriage being very demanding.  I would yell and pout and throw fits, in grown up form.  Yet I knew I wanted a godly marriage.  I knew I believed in Jesus and he had something better for me and my husband.  So I went to his word, the Holy Bible, and I listened to sermons, and read every Christian book I could get my hands on about being a wife.  I wanted our marriage to last, to break the cycles of divorce and unwed mothers.  I knew I didn't have the tools to do that alone, but God did.  The wife I am today is completely dicfferent than the wife I started out as, and it is all because God equipped me.  When he calls you to a task, whether it's being a wife, being a mother, homeschooling or the career you have he will equip you for it!

The next thing he does is give you influence.  He gives you influence in the lives of others, in order to fulfill the great commission. I see two types of influence God uses.  The first is lasting influence.  These are relationships that we won't easily forget about.  Our family, co-workers, students, people we see day after day, year after year.  These people watch you, they see how you act when you are frustrated.  Because of these relationships you have the influence to speak into these people's lives.  You can lead by your example.  You can address their needs, pray with them, and for them.  You are there as an example of a Christian to answer questions they might have about Christ.  It's here that you can bear the most fruit.  

The obvious is with our own children.  In this arena we have full reign to speak into their lives and they watch our example.  What about your co-worker, friend, other relatives that don't know Jesus? They still see you and watch.  The Bible says, "They will know you by your love." They being the world, or non believer, will recognize you are a follower of Christ Jesus by your love.  So show them love.  Listen to their hardships.  Let them see how you act in the face of trials.  Don't be afraid to share the things that God is doing in your life with them.  God loves us all so very much that he took on all our sins and died on the cross for us.  You and I are no better than the unbeliever.  Christ did not die for us alone.  He died for all.  All have sinned.  So don't sit in judgement of your relative or coworker, instead be an example of Christ's great great sacrificial love. Point the way to him in your actions and reactions. 

 This is hard.  Believe me I know.  I have plenty of family members who do not trust in the Lord as the one true God. Yet I do not shun them or shame them.  I do not throw the Bible at them every time I see them.  I ask God to help me patiently and lovingly lead by example.  I take opportunities that God gives to share his truth.  And I pray for them.  God has given me this awesome influence into their lives.  I get to know what's going on with them and bring it before the God of the universe in prayer.  That is pretty amazing.  

When I was a teacher my student's knew I was a Christian.  I talked about what I did on the weekends.  I took some of my students to a church camp.  I spoke into their lives as much as I could.  I haven't seen them for 6 years.  Yet I still have influence, through prayer.  Which brings me to our second type of influence.  Fleeting or passing encounters.  A patient or client you had once, a neighbor you rarely see, a customer or clerk at the local store are all examples of passing encounters. Yet God has allowed you to meet them.  You may not get the chance to really speak into their lives, but perhavps you can pray for them or be a flicker of light for a moment.  There have been times when I've felt nudged or called by God to give a gift card or food or things to perfect strangers.  I know it's not my own thoughts, as I don't really like talking to strangers.  When God has lead me to do that and I've obeyed it's been such a blessing to my heart.  I get to see how God cares so much for the hurting.  One particular time after giving a lady a gift card, she turned to me and said, "Are you serious? I just had a break in and I needed this, thank you!"  I had no clue- but God did!  Even times of passing influence God can use to bring someone to himself.  

The whole point is that the world would know him as Lord and call upon his name.  Isn't that the point.  So he calls us, he equips us and he gives us influence in order to fulfill his great command bring Glory to his name!  Use your influence. Walk in your calling and be blessed today!