Monday, August 24, 2009
I haven’t made any previous announcements about this. If you have seen me at church, you probably figured it out anyhow. I have a boyfriend. So why I am sharing this here, in this place I created to share about what God’s doing? Well, it’s because God is using him to remind me of who He is.
Ever since the first day I met this guy, I have been really comfortable around him. He is very much himself; that is he doesn’t try to hide who is or be what he isn’t. That has made me feel that I can be the same way. It’s good not to have to feel guarded in who I am, in fear that I might be rejected. (This is a struggle I have faced in varying degrees for years – well maybe forever.) It’s not as though I haven’t continued to deal with this fearful feeling, but it is usually when I am caught up in my own mind.
So last night I was in that place again, feeling like I had to explain myself as I was staring across the room – then I looked at this guy and that fear went away. I knew that he wasn’t judging me or wanting me to be a certain way – instead I knew that he accepts and appreciates who I am. It feels good to be in that place. When I thought about that feeling this morning, God reminded me that this is how He feels about me. I know this: that God accepts who I am. He created me this way! But it is a different understanding having a fellow human convey God’s message through more than a sermon. And knowing that God is with me all the time, that I never have to feel those fears, makes me feel very loved. God’s love is so great!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I have a rock on my desk, and while it may seem odd, it’s not going anywhere.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Yesterday I was pondering about things that are going on in my life (aside from parenting, which is somewhat consuming). A few weeks ago I struggling with my thinking. Not bad thoughts, but just too many thoughts. I am a thinker in that I can spend hours just sitting with my mind going, and while thinking can be a strength, sometimes it feels like a weakness. I had been over-thinking my life too often didn't like it, but didn't know what to do about it - think some more?
So in part due to my busy-ness and the resulting need to trust God, I haven't been so consumed by what ifs. Then yesterday when I had time to think, my mind didn't want to over-think life. I started to what if, then quickly realized it was a useless waste of time and that I don't have to worry what if this and what if that. My heart reminded me that God is in control and how much my love for him and his love for me is enough.
Then last night I was finishing up a book and it confirmed the same. That when we trust in God, it doesn't matter what is going on around us, we can take a risk and have peace about it. It is great, my heart and mind communicating again.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you
Saturday, July 4, 2009
When I was a sophomore in high school I made a decision: my first kiss was going to be after “I do,” and immediately preceded by the words “you may kiss the bride.” The reason I made this decision: I saw my friends who had broken up with their boyfriends cry their eyes out and I did not want to be in that place. So I asked myself, “What is different about that relationship than other friendships?” I determined that is was kissing. Non-romantic friendships include hugging, so that’s not it, I thought, it must be that extra physical aspect. (looking back now, I just realized how much of my church/youth group upbringing likely affected this decision, that I assumed it was because of the physical part of the relationship and didn’t consider other pieces of a relationship.)
I have stuck with the decision - not as though I have had opportunities to challenge my decision - but against people telling me I was crazy, that I would change my mind when challenged... I always said, “No, I made that decision a long time ago and I am sticking to it.” I have even had support: something in a book I read, a couple I admire making that decision. So I never questioned it - I made a promise to myself and I am not one to go back on my promises.
So why am I writing this? I have been confronted with a piece of truth: “Our wounds, our vows, and the agreements we’ve made with the messages [from those wounds] all give ground to the Enemy in our lives” (Captivating, p.105).
I made this decision (vow) because I didn’t want to get hurt; I didn’t want to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is something God is continuing to work on in my heart. I see more and more that I live a very independent life; it is my way of coping with the disappointments in life. “I can do/handle whatever it is, and I don’t need help;” that has been my mindset. But that isn’t what God wants; he wants to be my savior. This decision, no matter if it is good or bad, was made from a place of self-protection, but I am giving up (and will have to over and over again) that way of living. I am choosing to let God be my protector. As a result of this new choice, I have to surrender that vow I made years ago. It’s harder than it sounds; I have lived with that decision for fourteen years and now I am letting go.
I might make the same decision again, but if I do, it will be from a wiser place. I have seen value in this choice, and will re-evaluate it. But I can no longer live with a decision made from a reason and way of life that I no longer believe or chose to live in.
Today is a day of freedom; not only for our country, but for my heart! Praise God.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So I have two thoughts crossing through my mind. Do I take the only course that fits my schedule even though it was not a course I was going to take, just to take a course and remain an enrolled student? Do I not take any courses? If I don’t take a course, what does that mean for my future? Will I go back? It will certainly make life easier in the way of balancing my time, but what about the future of my job? Without the additional education, I will certainly be bored in my job. I was looking forward to a 500-level course that wouldn’t be too tough – thought that would be good for balancing the addition of raising a child. So now what? I don’t know.
God – what is going on?! What is your plan for my life? I heard you tell me to not worry about how I will pay for this semester – is that because you knew that class wasn’t going to be offered? I know you show me a step at a time, but this seems unclear. And I feel like I am taking so many steps in so many directions that I don’t know which way to look. What path are you lighting? Where does it lead? Is there something I am not seeing?
Monday, June 15, 2009
I have been wanting to pray for my future foster child, but haven't known what to say. The boldness and trust with which we should approach God caught my attention. Now, I do usually "approach the throne of grace with confidence," so maybe it was more believing that God does want to heal - emotionally in this case. During some of the earlier training in my foster classes it was mentioned that the children take two years to begin to show signs of emotional healing. That sounded ridiculous to me. I thought of my time in Colombia and the changes that I saw in the children over the ten weeks were there. Yet I was doubting that would happen here. Those foster classes prepare one for the worst, and I was in that mindframe. But Sunday morning the idea that God can heal quickly was presented, and I felt that my inital thought on Him healing the foster children's hearts was correct. So I prayed for my future foster child and his/her parents; it was really good. =)
Monday, June 8, 2009
I have begun to define some rules for when my foster child moves in. I have been trying to make them general enough that they will apply as soon as the child moves in, but also continue to be relevant throughout their time in my home. For a (counter) example - using nice words when talking to and about others will be something I will include. I suspect that it will be necessary, but maybe not at first. I think that modeling this behavior first is going to be important. Also it might be good to give the child time to heal a little.
This is not my point however, what I was thinking of during church yesterday was my first rule: Ask if you want or need anything. This has two purposes: first it says what may seem as obvious - don't just take or do anything you want. But secondly, and what may also be a problem with this children, is that it says that it is safe to ask for things. You aren't going to get yelled at because you want something; you will be listened to.
This is the part that reminds me of God. So often we don't ask things of God, but he wants us to ask. Matthew? (ask seek knock), James 1... The verse that says, you do not have because you do not ask and when you ask, believe that God will answer you. (something like that; I'm not in a place to look it up now) God does want to bless us, and yes it is not always in the same way we think it should be, but he hears us and considers our requests.
My parents arrived Thursday night; I wish they would follow this rule too. I would love to provide for them, but they brought their own sheets and blankets! Don't they know and understand that I have plenty of these items and it saddens me that they fend for themselves instead of asking for a need from abundance. That must be how God feels when we try to figure life out on our own and don't ask for his help.
Friday, June 5, 2009
It's almost scary to admit, but I want more openness and vunerability in my life. Tonight I long for something deeper. My heart yearns and aches for love. When I wrestled with the notion when it was first presented, I was scared of getting hurt. That is a chance I take when I open up to others. But now I welcome the possibility for deeper, real relationships. Maybe that is why I am so brave tonight to share this. (although it could also be due to less screening because it is late ;-). ) but as much time as I have spent in prayer this week, I can't help but think this is of God; what amazing thing does he have in store?
Friday, May 29, 2009
If you were to listen to just my side of the conversation it would go something like this:
I could do this, but what about ___ ? ... oh yeah, I guess that's true. but what about ___ ? ... hmm, yeah I know that too. Then there's this complication.... I know, I know. guess I know what I need to do here.
Then God's side of the conversation:
(Insert string of appropriate Bible verses/ideas based on verses here) Some common ones: Matthew 6 "I will provide" ... Isaiah 55 "My ways are beyond your ways" ... "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5
I find it amusing how common this conversation is. and although one might think that I should stop second guessing, I find comfort in these conversations. First, it reminds me how important that verse is in Psalms about hiding the Word in your heart and makes me grateful for growing up in a family and church where God's Word was valued. Secondly, I can recall the conversation and find assurance that God is behind this idea and is there to support me during those times when I or someone else question my actions.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Here they are in no particular order:
Lesson #1: Community. When I decided to be a foster parent I knew that I would need support from my friends and family, but I had no idea how much. Already I have been asking friends for prayer and support. It is a very humbling thing to do. I also knew that I would need God, but I wasn’t putting these together. God told me that he is part of the community/network of support that I need, interwoven into it and head of it. I need to get back into daily devotional time. I don’t know how I will make it without my ‘daily bread’ to give me strength.
Lesson #2: Love. This is a continuation of what God has been teaching me. Now the challenge will be to love the parents of the foster children. It has been easy to be appalled at people, but difficult to feel love. I couldn’t express it appropriately in words Sunday, but God has called me as a follower of Jesus to love the birth parents. I was struggling with how to view them, and this week God has shown me that it is through His eyes. These people are broken and hurting and in need of God’s love and prayer.
Lesson #3: Identity in Christ. I thought I had this down. Really I did. Guess I shouldn’t be so proud. There are many things that people find their identity in, but I have been content and confident with my identity as a child of God for years. This last fall I was faced with the possibly of not being able to continue my masters program, but I knew that whatever the outcome it didn’t change who I was. I was excited to face a test of my identity and feel like I passed. But one thing I have never faced is the parent role. I have prided myself in my ability to care for children and have expected to be a mom since I was a little girl, so I can see how this could be an area where I might struggle with who I am. In thinking through the foster situation, my role became confusing. I am not the child’s mother, but I will be acting as a mom and feeling love towards the child like a mom. But the child will (probably) have a mom; so I wondered: “what does that make me?” God’s response: my child. Guess I am not done learning that lesson in finding my identity in Christ.
So if you are reading this, please pray for me. Pray that I will find my strength in God and take time out each day for Him. Pray that when I need help, I won’t be too proud to ask for it. Pray that God will help me to see the birth parents as people in need of love and that He will give me words when I have to talk to the children about these complex relationships. Pray that I will not lose sight of who I am in Christ. Thank you, God bless!!!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
This is something long coming… I don’t remember when this song came out, but it was probably high school – “History Maker” by Delirious. I said to myself – I want that – I want to be a ‘history maker,’ to leave a lasting effect on my world. In 1999 I went to Colombia for 10 weeks and worked with street children – and really enjoyed it. While there I asked God if that was in his plan for me – and he answered ‘no’ that there are children in the US who need love just as much. I thought about taking in teens who were close to running away or in a bad situation. But as a single female, that was not something I was comfortable doing alone; so although it has come to mind over these ten years I have always said later.
That following school year I began attending a church who, as they say “do the stuff.” This was a great time of support and growth and I wanted to take that back with me (to Vacaville) after college. Doing so was much more difficult than I thought and after a couple years I stopped trying. Although I was heavily involved in church ministries, it wasn’t quite the same. And by the time I moved away, most of it was routine than heartfelt service. There were moments in my last couple years in Vacaville of rekindled desire to live a ‘dramatic’ or ‘radical’ Christian life – usually brought on by songs like “Brave” by Nichole Nordeman and “What Are You Waiting For” by Natalie Grant. These songs echo the deep desires of my heart. Unfortunately those desires were so buried that they never saw the light of day and never lasted long enough to change my habits.
So for years I wanted more but never took any real steps to get where I wanted to be. I hoped that a new location would bring new life, and while that did not happen overnight, walls have been crumbled and the rubble is being removed. What hit me hard about Crazy Love; it asked if our lives would really change or if we just had kind-hearted words and feelings. I felt I was being called out; I could no longer pretend that my good intentions were enough.
So here I am - only a couple steps away from being a foster parent. (including a good month’s worth of training) I am not really nervous about it, and it seems like this is what I am meant to do. I feel like - why didn't I see this before?
It ties in well with what God has been teaching me about love too; about caring for others. Much of my time in San Diego God has reminded me about the importance of community. So often I try to do things on my own- being independent comes both from my own character and from my circumstances. It is hard for me to ask for help. But I know that I am going to need help and this experience will be a good lesson: in living in community, asking for help, developing friendships...
I really expect a lot from God- to see Him move in mighty ways - and that is really exciting.
...some verses that are resonating: James 1:22,17; Ephesians 2:10
Friday, March 27, 2009
(So thanks everyone from small group for encouraging me. I know I sat there in silence, but I appreciated the discussion around me.)
When an idea comes to mind repeatedly I can tell it is God. What has been on my mind and heart for years is the desire to take in children who need a loving home. My thoughts have always been either, "maybe someday if I'm married," or "when I have a home and good income." But why not now? Any excuse I come up gets shot down. So I am going to look into fostering children. It's kind of crazy - I'm single, working full time and going to graduate school, but so what. It's not as if other people aren't doing that out of necessity. If it is God's will, He will provide. I have no doubts about that.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Well, I think God is saying something here, now I just need to ask what action to take.
...anyone want to come over for dinner?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I flipped the calendar page last night and read this verse: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
My first thought was, Ah, February, the month of love, with Valentine's day right in the middle of it.
And although this might have been the reason for the placement of this verse, I felt it timely for my life. God prompted me to stop and think about it. I wondered, "What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord?" I pulled out my old Student Application Bible in the New Living Translation to see what it said. "Take delight in the Lord." A little clearer, but I was hoping for a different word. Delight. Hmm.
As I was going to bed I was thinking more about this concept. I have always looked at this from a future perspective, as if this verse is always YET to come true. Then I realized that God has already fulfilled this promise in my life. Yes, there are still -- and will always be -- things my heart desires, but that makes this promise even better. It is this ongoing process: continue to delight yourself in the Lord and he will continue to give you the desires of your heart. So what desire has God given me? I have mentioned it before: grad school.
This new perspective helps me to understand the verse; I can change my question from this abstract thought of "what does it mean...?" to "what was I doing in my life... how was my perspective at that time... when God gave me the desire of my heart?" I know the answer to this question! (If you have read this blog, you know too!) I was living with hope and the knowledge that God would do what was best in my life.
Living with desires for something specific, but trusting God --that His will is best, not knowing if His will includes this specific desire. That is how I have been living. It is new. It is almost paradoxical. It is great!