Not gonna “Google” it, I’m gonna “Bible” it.

 

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I like John Curley. I listen to his radio show pretty much every morning. He is conservative like me, and he has a great sense of humor in my opinion. But he bothered me last week when he said God doesn’t care about some issues. He said, “Leave God out of political debates. Don’t bug God. God doesn’t care about your football game. I wish people wouldn’t bring God into these things.”

Is that true? I guess it would be if God were similar to humans. Then, yeah, considering all the more important things going on in the world, He probably wouldn’t have time for everything. But He’s not human. We know that He operates on a level that we can’t imagine. We know that His power is unfathomable to our human minds. We are unable to comprehend His magnitude, strength, omnipotence, and Love.

When I thought about this, I really wanted to write an email to John, explaining why he is wrong. But I didn’t. As I kept thinking about it, I realized that the most exciting part of challenging John’s comments was that I knew where to find confirmation that I’m right and he’s wrong. neener, neener.

Isn’t is awesome that we have a source to find the answers to all our questions?

 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For example, some say, “babies aren’t born with instruction books.” But really all our instructions are in the Bible. All our answers to everything are there. I felt comforted knowing that the words John spoke were not supported anywhere in the Bible. Nowhere does it say, “don’t bother God with your mundane problems. He only wants to help with significant ones.” No, it says the exact opposite: He knows the number of hairs on your head. Nowhere does it say, “God only cares about some things on our earth. Be considerate of what issues you bring God into.” No, He wants to be interwoven into every big, medium, and tiny detail of our lives.  He cares about what we care about.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28

 I am grateful for that. And I am especially grateful that I have a place to go, the Bible, to find out the Truth. Every word of this amazing book is a gift from God to us.

 

Who We Wait With is Just as Important as What We’re Waiting For

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The year before she came we filled our days with preparation.   We bought baby gates, inherited a set of bunk bed, and purged cabinets to make room for cleaning supplies & medications to be moved out-of-reach.  We gathered information,  joined foster support groups, and prayed. Phase 1.

The day she walked into our house we began a new project. Phase 2: Nurturing, teaching, playing, reading, driving, doctor appointments, holidays, birthday parties, and growing to love her more and more every day. Phase 2 has been a year so far.  We can’t imagine our family without her now.

Phase 3. How do we live in phase 3? I thought phase 3 would be either adoption or saying goodbye as she was reunified with parents or relatives. Turns out that is Phase 4. Phase 3 is actually another season of waiting. The waiting season for our foster license to be issued was difficult. Now it is a whole new level of difficult to wait for the courts’ decision as to whether we can keep our new daughter forever, or if we are indeed a temporary home.

Most Bible verses I looked up about “waiting” say, “wait for the Lord.” Or “wait on the Lord.” We are of course waiting for something, that’s true. But I wanted to find a scripture assuring me that God is waiting with me, not just that I am waiting for His will or His blessing or His plan. I wondered where I could find, “wait with the Lord.” Then I realized that is truly the message throughout the entire Bible.  With the Lord is essentially the message of almost every verse of scripture. You can insert anything in front of “with.” Eat with the Lord, Shop with the Lord, Be with the Lord, Wait with the Lord. It’s what Jesus was teaching us to do with every aspect and detail of our lives. He is with us always.

 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 Joshua 1:9 NIV

Delivered from Deficiency

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When our little girl came to our house she had been diagnosed with rickets. She had been deprived of many nutrients. But the most damaging was that she was deprived of vitamin D. Rickets is the condition of bone deterioration, distortion of bones, and weakening of bones due to lack of vitamin D. She was 2-1/2 years old and could barely stand and walk. She was bent over like a little old lady. She had already begun treatment when she came to us, but before then she would cry when she moved because of the pain.

It was so satisfying to feed her. Watching her cute little mouth sip on milk, take bites of cheese, and gulp down raspberry yogurt was gratifying! She was depleted of nutrients and we were here to replace, rebuild, and supply. It was seriously rewarding to see her gain weight, grow taller, stand straighter, and move around easier. But not only that, her speech improved and she was thriving in all developmental areas.

I’ve learned that God delights in supplying us with nutrients too. He knows our deficiencies and wants to be our provider. What am I deficient in? For our new daughter it was vitamin D. For me it changes, right? Deficient in faith some days, deficient in trust, deficient in time in the Word, deficient in patience, in love for my family, in submitting to my husband, and so much more.

We watched her thrive in all areas of her life.  And it all started with providing for deficiency in one area:  nutrition.  How many areas of my life will thrive if I go to God to provide for even just one deficiency?  I believe receiving grace, guidance, or growth from God in one aspect of our lives can prompt growth in additional aspects.

Just as we have found joy in fulfilling needs for her, God finds joy in doing the same for us. I’ve learned that we don’t have to be ashamed of our deficiencies. He knows what they are before we do. He is so happy when we come to Him for our needs. I believe He rejoices that He provides our nutrients so that we too can thrive in all our developmental areas.

 Thank you God for accepting us and embracing us as we come to You with our deficiencies.

Got Milk? Yes we do. We gots lots of milk to supply our little one with her vitamin D. Got Grace? Yes God does. He gots lots of grace to supply us with all that we could ever need.

Happy One Year Anniversary to Us

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Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of this little bee buzzing home to us. We have been foster parents for a year! And we have only had one placement. We were blessed with this adorable little 2-1/2 year old girl who came into our lives and filled us with joy.

I am just now re-booking our travel plans that we cancelled last year when we found out our first little placement would be moving in. I’ll never forget getting the phone call asking us if we could take her. We were so excited, but also had a vacation around the corner. Dilemma:   take a needed family vacation and get some sunshine, rest, and take a break from routine. Or… the opposite of that. I thought about it for a while, and even got advice to postpone taking a placement until after the vacation.

Insert Irony: Our vacation was to go to California to see our pastor preach at his LA campus, and the sermon would be about Jesus, and then we would be inspired to live like Jesus, and then we would want to take in a foster child.

In addition to the irony was God’s quick nudge that this little girl was supposed to be part of our family. I cancelled hotel, car, and hair salon reservations with no penalties. Again, God put it on my heart that He would take care of the details.   I had a feeling I should call the airlines (rhymes with Alaska) and explain the situation to see if cancellation fees could be adjusted. No doctor’s note. No death certificate. The agent responded without hesitation, “Yes, I can waive your cancellation fees no problem. And thank you. I was a foster child and my foster family was such a blessing to me.” Holy Spirit in action.

 God thank you for working out all the details of our first foster placement. It has been beyond anything we could have designed for ourselves. You are greater than our hopes and dreams.                                                                                                                                                          God, I am so grateful that you aren’t afraid of our weaknesses. God, that you can work out the details for me to grow closer to you. Thank you for giving me desire for you, making me see free time as opportunities for prayer or devotion. And arranging all the details for me to grow in relationship with You.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Jody

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This year I want to grow closer to you. I am so thankful that you are my Abba Father, and that you desire to be close to me.

It’s been a year since our first foster placement came home to us. It’s been over a year since I’ve posted on my blog site. What happened? Why did my search for answers and guidance and comfort stop when our little girl came into our lives? I mean aside from the fact that all of a sudden my days were busier: changing diapers, driving to doctor appointments, meeting with social workers, and stocking up on mac-n-cheese.

Looking back on my blog posts during our licensing process, I remember the desperation and anticipation in which I was immersed. I admit if I really search my soul, I may have felt closer to God a year ago than I do now. Maybe once we got our placement, I felt satisfied. My prayer work was done, and my search for the answer to a full life was over. We did it: we listened to our pastor, we prayed, we followed Jesus, and we obeyed, and now it’s complete. Not so much.

After we had our little girl for about a month, our son came home from college for a long weekend. He confirmed everything I was thinking, “Wow Mom, I have never seen our family so happy. You and Dad are doing great. The girls are happy, and our new little sister is amazing.” I felt like something was accomplished, completed, and settled. What else could I ever need?  What else could God ever want from me?

But as our journey with our foster child was getting more and more awesome, I eventually noticed my soul was feeling more and more empty. My heart was/is idle.  I wasn’t  joyful, I wasn’t engaged, I started to focus in on the difficult sides to our fostering experience.

I guess it took a year for the answer to “what else could God want from me?” to be revealed:  He wants me to be close to Him. Always. In happy times, desperate times, sad times, hard times, victorious times, and yes, the “I got this” times.  Thank you, Jesus for rescuing me from slipping away.  I will never ever forget this Christmas, 2015.  Because our new daughter was with us, and because my focus on you was renewed and refreshed.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,  To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18   NKJV

 

Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

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“Sorry, no.” Our licenser replied, “The background checks have been taking longer than normal recently…. And by ‘recently’ I mean for the last 10 years.”

We have completed all requirements and are now waiting for our foster license to be issued.  So that means we are waiting for our background checks to be complete.  So that means we are waiting for the government to complete a task.  And we all know what that means:  more waiting.  “Wait for IT……  (crickets)” ok, keep waiting.

What do we learn from waiting?  In a world where everything is instagram speed, what does it mean for us to wait?  What’s the use?  Nobody likes to wait anyway.  We hate waiting.  We want everything right now.  In this fast-paced time in world history, there are billions of essays, articles, sermons, songs about waiting and patience.  I’m just in that wondering stage right now… What does the wait mean for our family?

So here we are sitting in the “waiting room.”  It’s great comfort to know that our wait is a blessing from God.  It is all part of God’s plan for this process for us.  It could be:

The Lord’s timing is different than ours.

Or…   We have more to learn during this season.

Or… The road we are on will take a different course.

Or… This is our opportunity to prepare.

Or… Something else in our lives needs to shift.

Or… God is arranging details we aren’t even aware of.

Or… Calm before the storm!  Batten down the hatches!

Or…. something else I can’t think of right now — or a combination, right?

Thank you God that you are in charge of timing.  You are the almighty scheduler of schedules.  We find a path, and you guide our steps.  We set our calendar, and you define our moments.  We make a plan, and you design the details.  

We believe that our waiting season is a gift from You, God.  Through prayer and Faith and Trust we recognize the blessings of this precious time.  Thank you for Your Grace and Your patience with us, Lord.  Help us to be gracious like You.  Remind us to have patience like You.

 

 

 

 

Faith of a Mustard Seed

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Faith of a mustard seed?  That doesn’t seem like enough.  But that’s how it can start out.  Our Faith might start small and grow to be Great.  In the parable in Matthew 13, the mustard seed grows, blooms, increases, thrives into a large plant or rooted tree.  It is comforting that we don’t always have to have the Great Faith of Abraham or Peter.  We can have little Faith sometimes, and that’s ok, as long as we pray for it to grow and take roots in Him.

From the beginning of this journey we have prayed:  

Dear Lord, we have Faith in You.  We believe in Your will for our family.  Please prepare our hearts, schedules, and house to receive what You have planned for us.  Thank You Father.

A couple weeks ago my husband arrived home from work, burst through the door (as always), and first thing said, “what time do we need to leave for the meeting?” (an optional foster support group meeting) I thought he would be relieved when I answered, “I can’t go.  I have to help with homework, I have to make chicken for tomorrow, blah blah.”  Something happened then that I will never forget.  My husband replied, “Well, I was looking forward to it, so is it ok if I go by myself?”

Excuse me?  I had the ol’ “who are you, and where have you taken my husband?” flash in my mind.  “Heck Yeah”  I said.

Wow.  We have come a long way in a short 5 months.  Didn’t he just say, “this is too crazy.  I don’t want to add confusion.  It doesn’t feel right to me.”  I had heard from the Lord that my husband would be supportive and enjoy the process.  I believed that.  But I had no idea he would dive in and even take a lead role.  God is indeed revealing His true plan for us.

Here is a peek at my husband’s recent transformation into a foster parent:  (I’m not playin’)

“How about we have a Christmas party for the foster families?”  

“Hey, date night:  Let’s go to our foster support group meeting.”

“I exchanged contact info. with that guy. He’s really cool.”  (after meeting a foster dad)

“I’m going to call our licenser to see if we’re almost done.  It’s taking too long.”

and my favorite:  “It’s gonna be so awesome to have a new child here with us.  It’s going to be so fun.”

What happens when God stirs our soul and changes our heart and gives us His vision?  You want to drop to your knees and weep, right?   A God this powerful and good and Faithful is overwhelming and it’s even difficult to find the ways to thank Him and Praise Him because it doesn’t ever seem like enough.

“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’ ”

Matthew 13:31-33, NIV