Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Comfort, Comfort My People

If you have been in church for any length of time you've learned to associate comfortable with a negative feeling. I remember vividly sitting in services where the preacher was preaching against being comfortable. You're not affective in the Kingdom if you're living comfortable, it's a badge of honor and Christianity to be in a constant state of being "uncomfortable". Many times I made the vow to myself and God that I would never live a comfortable Christian life I was going to be the radical.

Again I will preface this by saying if all you do in you walk with the Lord is show up on Sunday and warm a seat then you're probably missing out on the 'fun' part of the Faith. However I live in a culture where everyone is radical. I do understand that not everyone gets that from their body but around here every moment of everyday someone is doing something that God told them to and making the world a better place.

Just recently the Lord started to highlight the word Comfort. Unconsciously, I immediately associated the word with a negative emotion. The many sermons for not being comfortable settled into my subconscious and I wouldn't even let the Lord reveal what He wanted to. Finally I surrendered to the revelation and God changed my perspective completely.

As I'm working with children who have had major trauma and pain in their short young life I realize that comfort is actually a heaven idea. There are so many scriptures on comfort. The Holy Spirit is the comforter! The power that's in comfort is beyond natural. Comfort heals, sets free, and brings restoration.

The only people that can give comfort to the broken are people who are comfortable. If I'm living in a constant state of tension, anxiety, and on the edge pushing the envelop I'm not in a place to give something I don't have. There are many days now where I stay home with my adopted daughter and now foster daughter and we sit by the fire wrapped in warm fuzzy blankets with warm fuzzy clothing on. That moment of comfort helps to calm the anxiety and tension. I have to say I'm still on the journey on the power of comfort and it's connotations to healing to the orphan spirit but there's something to bring a traumatized child into an environment of comfort.

When we live in a place of peace and comfort we are ready to hand it out to those who come across our worlds who need the healing power of comfort. Here are a couple of verses to meditate on about comfort.

Psalms 23
Psalms 71:20-21
Isaiah 40:1
Matthew 5:4
Romans 15:4
2 Corinthians 1:3

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Are you the best choice?

It all started long ago this idea that we as single people have to wait to walk out certain parts of our destiny till we are married. I have to make a personal statement here I want to me married and I believe with all my heart that it's part of my destiny.   I know many think you have to wait  so I want to set into perspective, I believe everything needs to be taken in balance. I understand that God says to us directly that we will do certain things after we are married but a lot of people (especially women) don't believe they are capable to walk out their destiny till they are married.

Last week I was talking to a young woman whose heart was to do foster care but she was warned against doing it as a single mom. "It's best that there are 2 parents in the home." was their advice. While I agree the best solution is that both parents are in the home and healthy I want to challenge that statement.

Just recently I was placed with a little girl who came from a world of hurt. How humans can do the things like this to another human I will never understand. As I'm reviewing her short but heavy history I have a realization that God placed her in my home to have the best shot at healing the wounds as possible.

Because I said yes to my destiny and didn't wait till I was married I've adopted a child who otherwise would have been bounced around from foster home to foster home and now another child will have a chance at encountering Jesus. Every place this kiddo went before me was unable to give her what she needed. I'm not saying I'm the solution but Jesus is. One person in the Kingdom, who carries the Spirit of Adoption, can completely shift an entire bloodline and destiny of an orphan. Would you want someone to rescue you when you are in the worst possible situation or would you want them to wait till they are married?

I get it, you're saying but ........ xyz. Whatever your excuse or reason for not stepping forward and saying yes to your destiny lets ask this question is it because you think you can't do it or God can't. People ask me all the time how do you it? My answer is..... I don't know. I honestly have no idea how I do it because I don't God does. Sounds pretty cliche but its' true. When I imagined my life before a baby I didn't think I would make it. When I imagined having 2 toddlers in my home at the same time I didn't imagine making it but when I stepped out and did God showed up.

Is God tell you to wait or is your fear telling you to? There are babies/ kids/ teens out there now who need someone anyone who knows God, loves Jesus, hears His voice, lives a Kingdom lifestyle to break their bonds and free them from their pain we will wait to have everything line up just right or will we step out and say yes?

You, a powerful Kingdom carrier can do it! God has not given you a spirit of fear but love! You are more than enough, you are more then some of these kids have ever had in their entire life. Nothing is impossible! I believe in the power of God and trust Him with my destiny so much that I live in the yes. When God shuts it down I know that it's not the right time. God is faithful in every little detail of my life He has never failed me He won't fail you. I encourage you to step out, be bold and say yes.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Soul Ties - A slow march to the end

While this post may not seem relevant to adoption/foster care I would say through my limited world view it has a lot to do with it. Soul ties are a huge part of unhealthy behavior amongst foster children because of their past, there was never a healthy example of valuing one's self and no picture of covenant.

For the brief time that I had been placed with my teen foster daughter I started to see something that I hadn't seen before. There was a deep tie she had with someone in her life who was not only unhealthy for her but in many ways toxic. Neither one of them are to blame for their toxic relationship because neither of them knew any better or any different. When you don't know there's another way you won't know there's a way out of what you're in. That's why abused women stay in abusive relationships.

This relationship in her life proved to me that her deep need for connection, protection, and family would be paid at whatever cost she could afford. She was never wanted, cared for, chosen, loved, or valued and with all that this person demonstrated those priceless desires in her heart so she would do whatever she could to connect and protect that connection. As I observed her deep soul tie to this person I was instantly taken back to my teen years. I was right there with her. I found someone who fulfilled all those needs except it was empty in the end. Though I can't say I came from any similar background as she did that same desire to be loved, valued, connected to, seen.... was very familiar to me.

No matter what I wanted to say to her about the futility of this soul connection I realized that this was her way of staying alive. Maybe more figuratively then physically but, maybe that too. She needed this unhealthy connection through it all because it was the only connection that she had that told her she was something.

As I was spending time with the Lord about her I felt the Lord say " Soul ties have an end date." He continued to show me that soul ties because they are forged out of a need to self serve would never last, but a covenant relationship was formed from the nature of God. With covenant commitments, because it is formed from the nature of God it has a lifespan of eternity as long as the boundaries and characteristics of covenant are adhered to by those joined in covenant.

In this moment I realized my goal to stay connected. Once my teen lost that soul tie she would need a fall back family. Her fierce independence was emboldened by the fact she was connected but if that connection's time ran out the reality of her loss would quickly turn into a spiral. While she was in my environment I demonstrated as much as I was able to her value and her worthiness of being chosen and being loved. Many times that demonstration threatened that deep soul tie connection she had but I kept my love aimed towards her no matter how much she ran, raged, or fought it because I wanted her to know she was worth it.

People often ask me about having a teen in my home and I have to admit that often times it felt like having a roommate. I will never be her mother but I can be family when she needs it. There were moments where I thought " I have no idea what I'm doing" but in reality I think about that with my 3 year old all the time. Love is the key, not preaching at them, controlling their behavior, or demanding them to fit into some box. To love the orphan is to lay down your agenda, to commit to a covenant. You see, in my covenant with God I pursue what I see in His heart. What's in God's heart? What is He passionate about? For you it might be different but I see the orphan and widow in His heart. Being in this covenant with God means I pursue the desires of His heart to serve and love what He loves.

Soul ties are the Ishmael's of covenant. In the presence of a covenant soul ties pale in comparison. My desire is that through being in covenant with God and with my adopted daughter my foster teen saw something different, something hopeful.

Monday, October 27, 2014

In the Land of Teenagers

Well it happened, I became a mom again or maybe a friend I don't know what you call me when they come fully grown. Pained at the world and full of judgment I got placed with my first teen a couple weeks ago. I have no illusions about teenagers, I was one. I was an angry one, rebellious in all ways, hate spewing, bitter, the stuff of parents nightmares. I remember the feelings of being trapped by expectations that I could never fulfill and connections I could never make. I remember… So what was I doing with a teenager.

It has been a ride. As many foster parents have warned me teens are a whole other deal especially in foster care. They are something that should not come out in daytime. So here I am a mom or just a grown up to this very grown up young lady who for all intense and purpose has her whole world put together. She has a plan, a plan to escape all she needs is that magical age where the government gives her wings and she gets to fly or at least that's her fantasy.

I remember that feeling, when I turn 18 my whole world will be different I will be free. Yet there was another side to her that many would not see if they tied her down to strict rules and regulations. This need for family, for love. No matter how much she wants it from her significant other she's still missing that mother and most of all the Father in her life. Just by being here in my atmosphere she sees a life that's possible.

When I restarted my journey of being a foster parent that Lord told me clearly that this would be all about redemptive justice. Redemptive justice is a fancy term for bringing Gods original plan back to form. With a broken family being completely restored all the pain caused healed and redemption being gloriously displayed through deep family reunification.

With the newest member of my house I didn't see how that was going to happen. With her short stay in my home and her non-communication with her birth family I didn't see the redemption, until one day. "I've never seen anyone parent the way you do. You're so patient with Bella you never yell at her." As I heard those words come from this beautiful young woman I knew instantly that justice was being released in that moment.

No one had ever demonstrated peace through parenting moments in her world. The Lord told me in that moment that she would always remembered how I parented Bella and it would break the cycles that had gone on in her birth family. Redemptive justice, redeeming what the enemy through fear and pain had stolen from her. Maybe she will never talk with me again after she leaves my home but at least she's seen love in action.

As I've aimed radical kindness at her and those she carries close I can hear the Father calling her heart. Maybe not today or even tomorrow but someday she will remember the moment she saw love and felt safe. If that's all we can give to these teens who have been tossed aside they will remember Jesus because He is the kindness they are looking for the fulfillment of their deepest desires.

So as a mom or a friend to a teen who is on her path to her true Love here I stand in the gap. Praying in the moment where Love breaks through, where hope rises, and where freedom rings.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A New Journey

Many times I often think about the time I used to be able to use the bathroom in peace, without a little person banging on the door because they are scared or want something or have hurt themselves. I can't even remember a time without a child in my life anymore. Being a parent utterly changes you.

I'm not going to lie and say this has been an easy journey. Far from it, but is it worth it? Yes, more than anything it's worth it. Having a child in your life is a source of revelation about who you are on the inside. Long gone are the days where I can deny my process and pretend I have it together. Many moments I have failed as a parent and many moments I have basked in the victory of many years of hard work and studying.

You see before I was a parent I was an expert. I studied developmental psychology, I took parenting classes, and I taught children. When I became a parent I became a novice at everything. Especially when it came to age 2 and 3. I knew nothing, absolutely everything I thought I knew flew out the window. I think maybe because I thought I was an expert I was lead to believe that no little tiny human being could beat me but beat me she did.

Even after all that I'm here to confess in the most beautiful way possible that I am an amazing mom. Not because of what I know or don't know but because I choose to pursue my child. I've heard many mothers doubt themselves, condemn themselves, and through their failure question their sanity or character but I'm here to say we are amazing.

I chose to be a mom. Not inferring that you didn't but I decided that there were way too many children without parents who needed someone to hold them, encourage them, teach them, and love them into their greatness. I told God at the beginning of this adoption journey that if He could use the little money I had, the 2 arms and 2 legs that I had to help a child become their best that I was here. I gave Him my 2 loaves and 2 fishes and He gave me a baby girl who is more amazing then I could have ever dreamed.

My daughter has pushed me to the max of love, of sanity, of willpower, and of crying out to God. There's no journey like being a parent. Truly it's a gift from God. I really believe with all my heart that parenthood is the kindness of God on our life. It's an opportunity for us to learn to love more then we could when we only had ourselves to look out for. As I gush about how amazing parenthood is I have to be so real about how in the moment of parenting a screaming 2 year old my self control flies out the window and I have said things I only thought would stay in my parents mouths. Humility has been my friend, my enemy, and my last resort. Through all that I'm learning about the greater capacity that God has created in me to love.

Adoption is a continued journey even after all the paperwork and court appointments are through. I'm continually teaching my daughter about adoption and how I'm not her birth mother but I'm her forever mommy who loves her very much. We talk about siblings and birth father. The hardest thing for her 3 year old brain to understand is why all her other friends have fathers and she doesn't. I walk her through that process about how we are praying for an adoptive daddy for her and that her birth father lives far away in another city. In her language she describes this more of a fact then an emotional pain. Which for me is a satisfaction in a sense because I long for the father she has never had. No mattered how much I've declared, prayed, and stood on the promises for her future daddy my heart longs for that moment for her. The moment when she realizes that she too has that special person in her life that can be called dad.

These are mountains that we still have to face in our journey but they will not define or conquer us. All that being said I've decided and have felt the invitation to start again. I've applied again to be a foster parent because I really believe that what I have and the family that my daughter and I have started can foster healing and family. Family is where our worst comes out because it's where we were created to be loved and healed.

I feel so strongly that this journey will be less about adoption and more about redemptive justice. I will blog more about my revelation about redemptive justice but I wanted to update everyone about my journey to this point. I have the space, time, and finances to take in more kids and God knows that if He gives space I will open it up to kids who need a family. Whether we are a forever family or a step into their future I don't know but we are here and ready to pour love on whoever walks through our door.

I'm excited to see who God will bring into our lives. As always, thank you for the prayers, love, and support that you have shown to Bella and I. May God bless you on your own journey to taking care of the widow and orphan.