Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jeremiah 33:3

Each of our boys have a Bible verse. We waited until they were several years old and got a sense of what their personality was, their innate traits and things we saw in them. 
We read over several scriptures for each until we really felt we found the right ones. 
These verses we had my friend Lauren design prints for, and we hung them in their bedrooms. 
We pray these over them every night at bedtime and they've memorized them as well. 
They even say them to one another at times. 

We chose verses that not only felt fitting for them, but that would be true about them in the future. That the truth would become a part of their identity and they would grow in them. 

Jack is a leader, which is pretty typical for firstborns. He's also super cautious and sometimes second guesses himself. He is tender, super smart and wants to know anything and everything he can about almost anything. We pray that as he grows, he would find courage in who he is and stand strong in what he believes. And that he would find his strength in the Lord.

Jack, be on your guard, stand firm in the a courageous (a man of COURAGE), be strong. 
1 Corinthians 16:13

Camden, as mischievous as he can be, truly is a peacemaker. He is the first to give up something to create peace, he's the consistent helper, and the first to say sorry and forgive. We pray has he gets older he would continue to be a peacemaker but not to be walked on, seeking out mercy for others and that love would be his default. 

Camden, to those who have been called by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ, 
and LOVE
be yours in abundance.
Jude 2:1-2

Christian is slight in stature but big in emotions and feelings. He continues to work on controlling those emotions, because at this age when he's angry it's explosive and when he's excited and joyous he's been known to knock down unsuspecting friends with hugs. He's also the one with the most tender heart. As we work with him on processing his emotions in the right ways, we have seen and believe that he's always had this fighter/warrior spirit. Going back to his days in the NICU. 
We fully believe God has big plans for him and cannot wait to see God use him.

Christian, the Lord is with you, MIGHTY warrior.
Judges 6:12

A few days after we had been caring for Little Man I asked Jack if we should pick a verse for him. 
He said yes!
I asked him if he had any ideas, and he immediately said 

"Jeremiah 33:3"

I immediately began tearing up. Our boys listen to Seeds Worship in the car and at home. We love it because it's scripture, put to music but in a non-cheesy, whole family loves it kind of way. It's a wonderful way for kids (and adults) to memorize scripture and in essence hide it in their hearts. 

This is the first song on the album we listen to most often. 
This isn't Jack's favorite, nor is it one we often sing together. 
But it is so fitting. It's so incredible Jack didn't hesitate when he said this and I love that verses are on the tips of their tongues. 

Little Man, call to ME (Jesus) and I will answer you, I will tell you great and
unsearchable things you do not know
Jeremiah 33:3

We pray that wherever Little Man goes from here, wherever his life takes him he would have something inside of him that begs to search for more. That he would not be able to settle until he has sought out Jesus for his answers, because we have a faithful Father who will meet his every need. 

He may never know he was loved by us, we may never see where his life takes him. 
Whether or not we are a part of what his life looks like in the future, we know that God has his hand on him and will be faithful to meet him where he is and be the answer to his questions. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reckless Love is Not Practical

About 3 years ago to the day I felt God moving in my heart to expand our family in a non-traditional way. I had returned from Haiti where I had seen first hand what it looked liked to partner with people so they could provide for their families and not have to give them up for adoption. I saw how partnering with people to help create sustainable businesses and giving them opportunities to succeed was orphan care at the very greatest. Preventing orphans is orphan care. I also saw situations where this was not possible, either due to parents being sick or having passed away or there was literally no other option. This is where I felt the tug. I could work alongside Trades of Hope and help with orphan care by partnering with parents, and we could also adopt.

Over the course of the next few years we took steps towards that, seeking out what international adoption would look like, moving forward with some fundraising which went towards initial paperwork and physicals and then eventually taking classes through child welfare to begin the process of adoption from within the system.

All along I said "I could never do Foster Care".  I could never willingly step into a system that is broken on so many levels. I could never take a child in, knowing that no matter how long they stayed with us, eventually they would leave. I could never put my heart on the line like that and risk the hurt that would come. I could never ask my children to sacrifice for another child that would only be with us temporarily. I could never disrupt the rhythm of our home for weekly visits with parents who may or may not show up. I could never disrupt our solid nights of sleep that we've been blessed with by children dealing with drug withdrawals, abandonment and attachment issues. Our house is too small, we already got rid of all of our baby items. We finally feel we have hit a stride now that the twins are older, we have a good thing going here. Why mess that up? Why tinker with something that is good and working?

People are really good at saying things like "God hasn't called me to do that" or "That is great for you, but it isn't what God has laid on my heart"

Jennie Allen says in her book Anything....

"Some think we need to be 100 percent sure before we do this...saying 'Is God really calling you?' But I think God does not have to over-clarify for us to obey. God has said his piece...Does he will for me to take my ridiculous abundance and bless others in need? Does he want me to care for the poor? Does he want me to lay down my life? Did he command me to care for orphans? God's clarity is not my issue......I don't want to make decisions based on my adequacy and capacity. I don't want to miss what God has for us because I'm afraid"

She goes on to say "We have become such a pragmatic society with our pros and cons and schedules that when we get to matters of radical obedience, it's easy for us to talk ourselves out of it. We rationalize that if the cost outweighs the benefit, then we shouldn't do it....Those of us who know Christ, we live for a different reality. We live for things we can't see and make decisions based on that different reality."


Along with our close friends, we decided a few years back to position ourselves to just say YES to whatever God might have for us. Just being willing to walk through doors and move forward in trust. One step at a time, one door at a time. They ended up adopting and are now preparing for another crazy awesome change in some other areas. God is showing up. God is moving because they've allowed themselves to be made uncomfortable and vulnerable.

Vulnerability is scary, but when we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives- Brene Brown Rising Strong (please go get the book and start reading as soon as you finish this blog, you're welcome) It is not easy to put yourself in a place where you feel exposed or defenseless.

My hope for our children is that by our example they see us making decisions not out of what is best for us, but out of a trust for a God who has never ever not come through. That by living a life of sacrifice and reckless love they would grow up to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. They would see us be freaked out, and yet be brave. They would watch us not living a perfect life, but a one that is dependent upon the only source that can meet the needs we have.

And so, yes. We have become certified to be foster parents. We have taken the classes, filled out the bazillion pieces of paper, had our home scrutinized and our privacy invaded, our backgrounds checked and fingers printed, our family and closest friends have sent in references and come alongside us in support. We have decided to step out in faith, walking through a door trusting in a God who provides all we will need. We are preparing our hearts and home for what may come, knowing at any moment our lives will look completely different than they do now. That disruption is imminent and that kingdom work is coming in a much more tangible way than before.

Would you pray along with us? For our marriage to continue to stay strong, for our three boys and their hearts and minds. We want more than anything for them to see their parents live out the gospel, see what living for others looks like and that it's normal to give of yourself for others. For finances and all the little details you don't always think about right away. Also for the children who will come into our home. For their little hearts, the brokenness they bring- we pray God's hand on their lives in a mighty way and trust the time inside our family would be forever impactful even if we never see it for ourselves. We don't know what this looks like down the road, if this is forever or just for now. If it's a short season or a long one. If it is one child for a long haul, or many short term stays.  If it leads to adoption or not. We are just being obedient with the next step in front of us, and trusting God for all the steps beyond that.

If you have questions about Foster Care, what it looks like to get certified or anything at all- email me! If you have questions about anything email me! I would love to share with you about what God's been doing in our family over the past several years to bring us to this point.

As a side note, I did feel all of these things before my husband did, I trusted he would pray and seek God and I waited for God to move in his heart the same way he did in mine. I'm pretty sure he said he'd never do anything like this at all, and now here we are. So if you're feeling led to start down this path and your spouse isn't quite there yet....keep praying, and ask them to pray too.

The video below is really hard to watch, but I encourage you to do so if you have a moment. 
It's the accurate reality of so many. 
There are approximately 400 kids in foster care homes in Jackson County alone and there is a critical need for more homes. 
Critical is an understatement.