Friday, January 23, 2015

Abide



"Abide in my love." -John 15.9

Abide means to stay, remain, live.  I'm trying to let this really sink into my heart.  What does that mean for me to stay in His love, remain in His love, live in His love?

Most of the time, I don't really get it.  When I come face-to-face with my fallen-ness, with the sinful nature that still lives in me, I realize I still don't fully understand His love.  Because I doubt.  I doubt that He really does love me with that never stopping, unconditional love.

So what does it look like for us to live there, in His love?  I'm still working it out.  "Remaining" in His love means I have to keep pulling myself back there.  It means I can't let myself leave His love.  I can't go to that place of questioning His love or questioning His forgiveness.  I must accept it and stay in it.

Harder than it sounds, isn't it?

Join me in this conscious effort to live in His love.  And may the truth and reality of His love change us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Soul Rest



One time our son took a picture of his birthfamily out of his room and left it on his dad's nightstand.  He didn't say anything.  He just left it there.

Another time he took "his story", a little photo album I made for him that tells the story of his adoption, and he left it on his dad's nightstand.  Again, no words, just left it there and walked away.

Eventually it dawned on me how beautiful and significant what he was doing really was.  He was taking the hard stuff and letting his dad take care of it for a while.  Each time this has happened, it's been when our son was having a particularly hard time with his past, his story, his feelings and processing of it all.

It's beautiful, really.  He takes that thing that's just too hard, or that he's just too tired to deal with anymore, and he leaves it for his dad to hold onto.  He lets Dad worry about it for a while, carry it for a while.

This speaks to my soul about my relationship with God.  I want to be more like my son in this way.  When I get weary from the load I'm carrying, when it's all just too overwhelming and too hard, oh, how I need to just leave my burden on my Heavenly Father's bedside table. 

And my son trusts that Dad will take care of it.  He trusts that Dad won't question this action or shame him for not being able to carry this load on his own.  He knows that Dad is big enough and strong enough to handle it, even when he himself is not.

When I am weak...

His strength is made perfect in weakness.

What is wearing you down today?  What is too overwhelming to even think about anymore?  What feels too heavy, too hard, too much? 

Leave it with your Dad.  And trust that He is capable.  Know that it's not too much for Him.  Approach the throne with confidence.  Cast your cares upon Him.  Leave your burdens. 

Find "rest for your souls."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Don't Take It Personally



They tell us not to take it personally.  Heck, I even tell other people not to take it personally. 

But when our kids from hard places yell that they hate you, that they wish you weren't their mom, that they're not a part of this family anymore, when they hit you, when they throw something at you...it's hard NOT to take it personally.  Are you with me, adoptive parents?

True confession.  I've always taken it personally.  Every time.  It's my human nature.  It's my mom nature.  Truth be told, it hurts every time. 

Sure, I reason it out in my head.  I remind myself that he doesn't really mean it, that what he's going through really has nothing to do with me.  I remind myself that he takes most of it out on me because he's actually closest to me and because he feels safest with me and because he trusts me more than anyone else.

But it still feels personal.  It still stings in a very personal spot.

There was a period of time where these not-to-be-taken-personally-things happened every day in my house.  We're not in that season anymore, Hallelujah!, but sometimes it rears its ugly head again. 

And so I sit here remembering the mom in the trenches today.  The one who's heard those hurtful words every day for a while now and everyone tells her not to take it personally. 

To you, mom in the trenches, I want to say, it's okay to take it personally.  It's natural.  It's normal.  It's okay to feel it and to be hurt by it. 

But then, pull yourself up out of that place.  Remind yourself that it really has nothing to do with you.  That it's really not about you.  That he doesn't actually feel that way toward you.  Ask your partner to remind you of those things as well.  Go through all the "clich├ęs" because they're actually true. 

And even if he does truly hate you today, one day he won't. 

One day you won't live in that season any more.  You will probably still visit it from time to time, like I did the other day, but you won't live there anymore.

Hold on to that hope today.  And may God bless you.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seasons


I read some words the other day that stuck with me.  They hit me in a spot where I couldn't find the words on my own.  They came from my friend Kim of Drops of Honey Designs.  She wrote about seasons.  About learning to be okay with living life in seasons and just being present in the season you're in.

I so often feel that I have to accomplish and fulfill everything I'm supposed to do in life RIGHT NOW.  I get confused that every passion, every dream, every calling, every desire has to be for this time; must be fulfilled in this time.


But I actually don't think that's true.  I think I agree with Kim that life happens in seasons.  There is a season where _____ is what I'm supposed to focus on.  Next there'll be a season where I'm supposed to fulfill _______ dream.  Maybe in 30 years, the season will come for _________ calling.

In some ways this goes against the fibers in my being that shout, "LIFE IS FLEETING!"  And I convince myself again that I must accomplish everything this year.  Or that if I'm not currently pursuing _____ dream, that I'm failing or missing out or ignoring (maybe even denying) some part of myself. 

But it also makes sense that there are seasons to our lives.  Jesus didn't really begin His ministry on earth until He was 30 years old.  I mean I'm sure Jesus was always ministering, but the season of His life that we focus on was His thirties.  I am still on the younger side of that number and so when Jesus was my age, He was still preparing and growing and maturing.  He hadn't started the season of His life that would be filled with miracles and healings and no place to lay His head.  He was "just" a carpenter's son, probably learning that trade.  That was the season He was in.  And that was okay.

I wonder if He ever got restless.  Knowing He had so much more to give, knowing there was such a bigger calling on His life, knowing He had so much more purpose.  But it just wasn't time yet.  Was that hard for Him?  Or was He okay with it because He understood this very lesson I am just now learning, that there is a time for every season?


Maybe I'm in THIS season right now.  This very one I'm in.  And the seasons will change.  There will be a time for each reason I'm here to be fulfilled.  But all of those reasons don't have to be fulfilled at the same moment.

I don't want to ever use this as an excuse to stay still when I should move or to be crippled by fear when I should bravely move forward. 

I do want to give myself permission to be in the season God has put me in.  Really BE there.  Present.  Alert.  Useful.

I do want to dream about future seasons and keep alive the passions in my heart that just aren't for now, but one day will be.  I do want to stay excited about those seasons.  Without missing this one.


Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year Post



Happy New Year, party people!  I hope you had a good new years!  We kept it pretty low key, as we usually do.  We went over to my brother's house on New Years Eve, with my parents, and some friends, and enjoyed a delicious dinner and hanging out a bit.  We typically celebrate New York time New Years with our kids so a little before 9:00 here, we headed home in time to let them do some poppers and toast with some sparkling cider.

Once the boys were in bed, Chris and I watched some tv.  Around 11, he fell asleep on the couch (party pooper!).  I was super tired and just thought it seemed silly to sit there forcing myself to stay awake until midnight, when we'd already celebrated as a family anyway.  How old am I, right?  Only 28, don't be fooled.  Mom life, right?


2015.  I usually make one resolution.  I find I keep it when I only make one!  But this year is different.  I actually didn't make any.  I don't feel like there's any huge stuff I want to work on or change.  I feel like I've worked through stuff this past year and made changes, but it's all been stuff God brings up when He brings it up.  And right now, nothing's really pressing on me.  And I'm okay with that. 


As we wrap up 2014, I thought I'd share my top 10 posts of the year.  In case you were wondering.  Or in case you missed any.  Thank you so much for reading and sticking with me on this blog!

Top 10 Posts of 2014

1.  Adoption Language 

"...most people just don't know the correct terminology to use when discussing adoption or talking to adoptive families.  We, as adoptive families can sometimes get offended or hurt, when really we should educate."

2.  Busy Busy

"Downsizing has been good for us to realize how little we actually NEED.  We can so easily become convinced that what we want is what we need, right?"

3.  A Face

This was actually my entry into a Best Faces of 2013 photo contest.  It's a picture of my E and you should go look at it because he's so picking cute!

4.  Forgiving Me

"I realized that most of the time that I'm walking around with guilt or shame, I'm the only one who hasn't forgiven me."

5.  Your Questions: When?

"I think we all feel fearful to 'pull the trigger,' don't we?  Adoption is a huge deal.  It's scary and unknown and big and beyond our comfort zone.  It's also beautiful, adventurous, fulfilling, rewarding, and full of love!"

6.  Forever & Always

"That's a huge thought for a little guy.  She WAS my forever mom.  She was supposed to be my forever mom.  What if you're not here forever either?"

7.  The Good and The Terrible

"It takes a village, right?  And sometimes that village looks different.  Sometimes it's family, friends, support groups, and therapy.  We all just have to find OUR village that works for OUR family."

8.  Stress & Regressions

"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and are saved."

9.  Goodbye Garage

"...my husband and I just made the decision to close his gym, The Garage.  In a couple weeks, we will shut the doors and he will go work for a tractor supply company selling skid steers and other tractors to construction companies."

10.  What I Wish I Knew Then

"I wish I knew how much grace I would need for myself as an adoptive mom."


Happy New Year!!!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!  I hope you celebrated the miraculous gift of Jesus coming to earth and that your soul "felt its worth."  I hope that you had special moments with family and/or friends. 

On Christmas Eve, we went to Chris's brother's church with him and his family and enjoyed worshiping Jesus.  Then we celebrated with Chris's family at his parents' house.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner, treats for dessert, and watching the six little boys tear into their presents.  Our two boys and our four nephews who were there are all ages 8 and under.  I stepped back after all the gifts had been opened and just smiled at the chaos and mess that had occurred. 



 
We had a quiet Christmas morning, just the four of us.  My in-laws stopped by to see what the boys had gotten and we wished my mom-in-law a happy birthday.  Her birthday is on Christmas, but we celebrated the day after this year.
 
We then moved on to my parents' house and celebrated with my family.  More gifts, more great food, more time enjoying family.
 

Chris spent most of the day assembling toys, transforming new Transformers, and installing batteries.  Oh well, he's used to it by now.


Our big gift to our boys this year was a used Wii we bought off Craigslist (love Christmas shopping on Craigslist!).  So both sets of grandparents and my brother and his wife got them extra Wii games.  There was a lot of video game playing this Christmas! 
 
 
Now my goal is to survive two weeks of Christmas vacation with both of my boys home together every morning!  Actually, my goal is to enjoy it rather than just survive it, but, they are going to give me a run for my money on that one!
 





Monday, December 15, 2014

Enough



Lately, the enemy has been poking at all my insecurities as a mom.  All my shortcomings and failings and guilt are resurfacing and to be honest, at times it fills me with fear.  I start to become afraid of what God is asking me to do next. 

Chris and I have been talking a lot lately about what is next for our family.  We feel God leading us toward foster care once again.  And it scares me.  I'm afraid I'm not enough.  I'm afraid I won't be patient enough, loving enough, kind enough, gentle enough to add another child from hard places to my home.  But as I thought through all my fears the other night, I heard the Lord whisper, "But all of those things you think you don't possess enough of, are the very fruit of My Spirit." 

Oh yeah.  As Christians, we possess His Spirit, He lives in us.  And the fruit of God's Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  The very things I need.  The very things I'm worried I don't have enough of. 

But this is not some checklist of character traits I need to somehow come up with.  These are the things that God's Spirit produces in us because that's what He does, not because I deserve it or because I'm focused enough or strong enough or had enough of them to begin with.  Simply because that's what the Spirit does.

So we don't need to be afraid that we aren't enough for whatever God is telling us to do.  We aren't.  But He is.  And His Spirit will produce those fruits in us and THAT will be enough.


In what area are you afraid you aren't enough?

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