Fast forward a few years later, and you'll notice I rarely write about running anymore. Why? Because I quit running! It was due to several factors, injuries, laziness, lack of motivation, sickness, you name it.
And then there's today. To give you some background before I tell you the story, let me start here.
When I used to blog more, I did so because I thought that every time God showed me something I needed to tell it to the world. I thought everyone needed to hear the truths God was showing ME. The TRUTH is, sometimes He doesn't show us things so we can tell everyone else. Sometimes He shows us things because they are truths He wants US to know. Sometimes He just wants a moment of me and Him, and in that moment He reveals things to us that are intimate and personal, and something He just wants to share with just me for that moment. That doesn't mean He won't provide a means for me to share it with someone else, but what it does mean is that I had to take a look at why I was even writing to begin with. Was it just to show people what God was saying to "me"? Or was it because He was really giving me something He wanted me to share with others.
For me, I had to learn the value of being quiet. The value of no words, as opposed to many. For that reason, I quit posting lots of stuff. No blogs, no facebook posts, no tweets. I wanted all the things He was showing me to take root in me personally. And sometimes we just have to be quiet and keep things between us and God while He is teaching us new things so they have a chance to really take root in our own hearts.
Now today....what He showed me today was just too good to keep to myself and I really felt like He said someone else needed to hear this truth. So, here ya go.
My husband is a huge dog lover. I don't mean huge in the means of size, I mean he just loves dogs. And for whatever reason, he always gets spiritual analogies from dogs. His big thing is, if you spell dog backwards you get "GOD". A friend of mine gives him a hard time about it, but he does have a valid point!
Well, I started back trying to run some after I started a boot camp at a local fitness gym. This morning I went out and started my normal path in my neighborhood and then out to the road that runs beside our neighborhood.
This road is rather long and straight. It leads out to the highway and is surrounded by fields of corn and a house or two.
I had ran the length out to the highway and when I hit the highway I turned around to start the trek back. As I did, I noticed a large black dog that had been following me. I have no idea how long he had been there, but I was startled when I turned around and saw him. I wasn't sure what his next move was, but as I kept running he just followed in behind me. I kept looking over my shoulder to see where he was, and he never tried to come near me. He just stayed back at a distance behind me.
I ran down to the other end of this road and turned around to head back into our neighborhood. As I came back on him again, he just sat there until I got past him and he came in behind me again. When I turned into the neighborhood he followed, but when he got right past the entrance he just sat and watched me until I got to my house. As soon as he saw that I was walking in my door he turned around and walked away.
I have no idea who's dog this was. I've never seen him before. But this morning that big black dog was used by God to show me something I needed to hear.
Let me share some scripture so maybe you'll see why.
“And the Angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them, and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face,
and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and it was a cloud and
darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these:
so that the one came not near the other all the night.”
Exodus 14:19, 20.
“The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8.
“For the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12.
Did you catch anything specific in those verses? He is our REAR GUARD. REAR!!!!
As I started thinking about that I started realizing how and what that means for me. For us. For you.
I wonder, have you ever been at a time in your life where you could not "see" Him in front of you anymore? Did it appear He was not there at all? You look all around in front of you, but you can't catch a glimpse of Him anywhere. Or so it seems.
What I began to realize by this big dog this morning, is that sometimes I may not see God in front of me. It may seem as if He is not near at all. But that doesn't mean He is not near me.
He has promised us in His word that He will NEVER leave us forsake us. Hebrews 13:5. So if this is true, then even when we can't see Him, we have to know He is near.
And the truth is, sometimes He has removed Himself from the front in order to be our rear gaurd.
I had no idea this dog was even behind me this morning. I don't know when he started following me, or how long he had been there. But the bottom line is - he was there. Even though I couldn't see him or hear him, he was there.
When I turned around is when I saw him. It's when it was revealed to me about his presence that I had a revelation of it. And when I knew he was behind me, I felt safer. Why? Because I don't know what was behind me that I needed protection from. But knowing he was there I knew that whatever could be behind me would have to go through him first.
Charles Spurgeon writes:
"It is said the pillar went, and “stood behind them.” I like that, for it is a settled, permanent matter. The Lord had left, but He was not gone. He would stay as long as was necessary where He then was. That glorious Angel, shrouded in the clouds, stood with His drawn sword in the rear of Israel, saying to Pharaoh, “You dare not come further, you can not break in upon My chosen.” He lifted up His vast shield of darkness and held it up before the tyrant king so that he could not strike—no—could not see! All that night his horses champed their bits, but could not pursue the flying host! “They were as still as a stone till Your people passed over, O Lord, till Your people passed over whom You had purchased.” It is glorious to think that the Lord stood there and the furious enemy was compelled to halt!
Even thus, the Lord remains with the dear child of God! You cannot see anything before you to make you glad, but the living God stands behind you to ward off the adversary! He cannot forsake you. He says to you out of the pillar of cloud, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you.” He stands fast as your rock, steadfast as your safeguard, sleepless as your watcher, valiant as your champion."
For me personally, I have walked through seasons where it did feel like He was no where to be found. I could not hear Him, I could not see Him. Specifically, I am reminded of the time when my heart ached so badly for a child. It was a season where it seemed He was no where to be found. He was not answering me (or so I thought), He just seemed absent. But looking back, I see that though I could not see Him in front of me, He was behind me, working in ways I couldn't see, bringing about His plans and purposes.
And that made me realize that seeing Him behind me reminds me to occassionally look back and remember His faithfulness to me in times past as I am travelling forward now. Sometimes we have to reflect back on what He's done before, to remind us that He is GOD. To remind us that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If He carried us through yesterday, He will carry us through today and what we are currently facing, and He will be there to carry us through in the future, no matter what awaits us.
The most amazing thing to me about the dog this morning was that he stood and watched me as I made it safely to my house. And once I was in, he left. He didn't follow me to my house, he stayed at the entrance and watched. Isn't that just like God as well? He watches us over our journeys. He stands at the gateways of our lives and watches over us. His eye is always on us, through every part of our journey.
I know this is a really long post today, but I really believe God wants someone to know today that even though you don't see Him in front of you right now, even though your circumstances may seem like He has left you all alone, He hasn't. He has just removed Himself from your visibility to go and "stand behind you". And His being behind you is not to make you feel alone, but rather to be your rear gaurd. To stand as your safegaurd, your watcher,your rock, your champion. He is doing things out of sight to you, but working things to bring about His plans and purposes for your life, for this season of your life. And He will watch over you until this season in your life is complete and you have reached the place this journey is taking you.
So I want to encourage you today, look back. Look back and remember all He has done for you before. Remind yourself of the truths He has taught you in times past about His character. Remind yourself of His faithfulness. Remind yourself of His word. And then look up, and see that He is ever with you, standing watch over you, wherever you are.
First, let me just say this, I in no way was trying to imply the fault was all on the girls. I am sorry if what I said came across that way. That was not my intention at all. I just wanted girls to be aware of things and I wanted to maybe just draw attention to the fact that we need to monitor and be cautious of what we do. Not just for the sake of helping our brothers in Christ, but also for the sake of honoring God as well in the things we do.
Honestly, THAT is the biggest reason for all of this. He has been showing me lately how everything we do either glorifies Him, or it doesn't. And there is lots in my life that does not bring Him glory. If we profess to know Him and we profess that we are "Christians", then a certain level of responsibility comes with that.
We carry His name if we profess that we belong to Him. So everything we do either shows Him in a holy light, or it defames His name. I, personally, do not want the latter said of me.
I have been reading a book by Henry Blackaby called "Holiness". (Highly recommend) In it, he makes a quote that has really rocked me to the core. He says, "Do not give occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme His name because of the way you behave." OUCH.
Our choices, our decisions, everything - is it glorifying Him or is it giving a reason for His enemies to blaspheme Him?
Which leads me to today, and this continuation of the first letter.
What I am writing today is geared towards boys, but really, its for all of us.
As I started thinking about some of the comments to the last post, I decided to turn to scripture and see what the bible said about some of this.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love… For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:5, 12-15)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. (Psalm 119:37)
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Peter 2:12)
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. (1 Timothy 2:9)
Those aren't my words, those are God's.
So here's what I want to say to boys and their moms:
First to the moms.
If we want our boys to learn how to relate to women properly, we have to be willing to invest our time and energy into it. We have to spend time talking to them and educating them. Sure, it's easier to just sit back and relax and think they'll figure it all out because they are just boys. Sure, we can let the world teach them what is proper and acceptable. But I don't want what the world tells them to be the standard by which they live. I want the word of God to be their standard. And I can't sit back and wait or expect someone else to do what is biblically MY (and my husbands) job to do. I have to teach him what the bible says about how he is to treat a lady.
If you're like me, you may be thinking, ok, but HOW do I do this? What are some practical things I can do to not only safegaurd my boy, but also teach him right?
Well first, let's talk about the big issue on the table: pornography.
I know we tend to be overprotective of our boys. I do anyway. But when it comes to this issue, you can't be overprotective enough.
Porn is one of the most destructive forces against boys and men today. Because of a male's visual nature, it is almost irresistable. These images get locked inside a boys mind, which in turn causes him to desensitize towards women and causing him to make unrealistic comparisons.
Today, boys and men are completely bombarded with a steady flow of sexually graphic images. It seems everywhere they turn, sex is being put in front of them. Everything from Victorias Secret advertisements to unsolicited pornographic website spam is in your sons face from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep at night.
The reality is that your son can access pornography anytime he wants. So as parents, we have to be zealous in our protection of them in this area.
Some safegaurds we have set in our home is computers and tv. We have parental controls set on every television in our house. If it's not G or PG, you aren't watching it without our password. If it's a chanel that tends to show questionable material, we block that chanel.
As for the computer, set passwords and parental controls on there as well. You can go into your computer in the website settings and set up what you will allow and not allow to be viewed.
Ipads, Notes, Iphones, smartphones and all that jazz....whew. Where do I begin? I know it's the cool thing to have an iphone. I get it. I like technical toys as much as anybody. BUT, giving one to my child puts a level of responsibility on them that I just don't think they are ready to handle. I'm not saying you shouldn't give those things to your kids, but beware, a phone that has anytime access to the internet is just a trap where they can be lured into viewing things they shouldn't. And before you go saying, "my sweet baby would never look at such filth", think again. Even the best of kids struggle with this issue.
So, if your kids do have smart phones and ipads, set gaurds on there as well. Our ipad is set so that the internet is blocked unless I come unblock it. And then they are going to be in the room with me when they are on it.
You also need to be doing random checks of their phones. They need to know that at any time you are able to pull up all their texts and messages. They need to know that YOU have access to any and all passwords.
I know some may think I go a little overboard, but I've already learned that when it comes to this issue, you totally have to err on the side of caution. Now, is it fail proof? No. I'm not ignorant to that fact. BUT, I am doing everything I can to make it incredibly hard for them to access it.
And even bigger than setting those safegaurds is the most important...teach them the word of God. Show them what God says about these things. Teach them and show them how God feels about it. I've included some scriptures above. That's not all of them. Just do a search on what God says about purity and modesty. You'll get plenty. The same goes for how they are to treat women. The bible has much to say about all of it.
I wonder what would happen if we all began really pouring these truths into our boys at a young age. How could things be different? I'm going to be the first to tell you and admit, I've not done a great job at this. I've focused on the practical and neglected the spiritual. I'm learning that the spiritual is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of raising kids.
Moms, we have to do a better job at OUR jobs in this area. We have to learn that it's not important if people agree with the way we are doing things if we go against how everyone else is doing it. If we are following God's leading, we have to be settled into it and follow it, no matter what others say or are doing.
I firmly believe that if we teach our boys God's word, and show them His ways, we are planting seeds into them that honor God, and He will bless that. His word even tells us to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart."
Now, to the boys....
I have three boys so I am speaking to them as much as anybody.
Things will be put in front of you. You will have every opportunity to fall into sin. Satan will see to it. But if you are following Christ, then He has promised you this:
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
He knows you will be tempted in this area. But He also knows that in HIM, you CAN overcome.
Your greatest weapon against the enemy is the word of God. If you surrendered your life to Christ, then ask Him to show you specific verses to use against this temptation. Ask Him to show you in His word how He expects you to treat a girl.
The bottom line is, you can't control what others do. You can't always control what is put in front of you. But you CAN control your response to it. You can choose to walk away. You can choose to not take a second look. You CAN do this. Through Christ, you CAN.
I promise you, you are not the only boy out there battling this. So find yourself another guy or a group of guys you trust and be accountable to each other. Help your brothers overcome. How awesome would it be to see a generation of young men arise to set a different standard in our world. Be THAT guy.
I saw this on another blog, but don't have the website, but thought it was pretty accurately stated:
When engaging the topic of modesty let’s follow the example of Scripture:
Scripture never limits the discussion of modesty to a specific age group.
Scripture never blames women for the thoughts or actions of men.
Scripture always addresses modest/appropriate dress along with Godly living. The two cannot be separated.
Scripture always address men and women when discussing modest dress and Godly living.
Scripture tells us that we are each accountable for our own thoughts and actions.
Scripture tells us that we must be mindful of the “weaker brother” – or the person we know who wrestles and struggles in a particular area more than we do.
I'll close with these thoughts...
As a Christian, your behavior sets the tone for how others see you and how they view God in you. So be mindful of everything you do, whether it's picking out the clothes you wear or sitting alone in front of a computer. Always remember the Name you are representing
And may we all live according to the frame of mind to not give occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme His name because of the way we behave.
Thanks for letting me share. :)
Having said that, I want to raise these boys to be God fearing, Jesus loving, and honorable young men. I want to raise them to know God, to honor Him, to pour their lives into His kingdom. I want to raise them in such a way so that when their time comes to be a dad, they will want to raise their children the same way.
It's been a while since I was a teenager. However, for whatever reason, God has placed me in a position of working with highschool teenage girls. So I am around that world all the time. Most of the time I love it. I secretly thank God that He made me a boy mom though. :)
There has become a trend in recent years with the way technology has developed and the way our world has become saturated with immoral values. That trend has been oversaturated with sex. We see it on tv, it's in song lyrics, it's on billboards. It's everywhere. The theme: sex sells.
The way that technology has advanced, social media has become the "IT" thing. First there was Myspace. Then came Facebook. Then Twitter. Then Instagram. Now there is Snapchat, Vine, and the list goes on. In and of themselves, these things are not bad. It's a great way to connect with people. I love that aspect of it. I have reconnected with old high school friends, I keep up with friends living hundreds of miles away from me. THAT part of social media is great.
What has my heart so stirred today is the other part of social media that has bought into the sex saturated mentality. It's the pictures that go along with it.
If you have ever just scrolled through Instagram, (especially in the summer months), there is a trend that has taken what could be a great tool for connecting with people, and turned it into a modern day online playboy that doesn't require an ID to purchase.
I remember when I was younger, gas stations would have "those" magazines back behind the counter. You couldn't just go in and browse through them. You had to pay. And you had to be a certain age.
Well, thanks to technology and the way our world has turned, you no longer have to be a certain age, and you no longer have to pay for it. You can just open up social media and get your fix of half naked girls.
Now, back to the issue of raising boys....
Do you know what the number one problem teenage boys deal with? Pornography.
So, why this letter?
Well, I want young girls to know how their actions affect young boys.
I know, I know...you say, "But I just want to take cute pics with my friends", or "what's wrong with pics of me in my bikini?" Well, here's the problem girls. If you are hanging with girls and showing off your swimsuit to them, yeah, they will think your swimsuit is oh so cute and how adorable you look in it. But to a boy, they aren't thinking how cute your suit is. No, on the contrary, they are looking at your half naked body and their thoughts are going down a totally different path. And while you may not mean to be seductive, a half naked girl is always seductive to a boy. It's just how they are wired. Just because you look good doesn't mean you have to share everything on Instagram. And if you think I'm being over zealous about this, just ask any teenage boy.
And that doesn't stop at swimsuits. It goes for anything. If you dress seductively, I can assure you of one thing...you are causing young boys to stumble. And that's why I'm writing this.
I want my boys to honor a girl and treat her with respect. I want their eyes to not be tarnished through the filth of pornography. I want them to have pure hearts and minds. For this reason I do everything in MY power to protect them. I don't just give them electronics so that the world of sex is right at their fingertips. I don't just let them watch regular PG or other movies just because everyone else has. I monitor. I guard to the best of my ability. And more than that...I pray.
I can only do so much to protect my boys. The rest is up to them. They have choices. But I am doing everything in my power to point them towards the right direction and a pure heart.
And here is where you come in. Think about all the boys in your circle of influence. Think about all the boys at your church. How would you feel if you knew that all these pictures you are posting was causing them to stumble? Because you know what? It does. It's hard enough for them to battle against what the world throws in front of them. Don't be another battle for them. Don't be a stumbling block for them.
I know I may not be popular for saying all of this, but as a mother trying to do everything I can to raise Godly boys, I just want you to know what it's like from my standpoint and from a boys standpoint.
I have personally had to go and remove people from my boy's social media. And it's people that I love dearly. But I can't allow what girls are showing off to the world to cause my boy's hearts to stumble into sin.
Now, before I go any further, let me just say this - my boys aren't perfect. They are just normal young teenage boys. They find their fair share of troubles. But like I said earlier, God has given me and my husband the responsiblity of watching over and caring for them, and I don't feel I would be doing that high calling justice if I didn't do what was necessary to help protect them while in my care.
So, I say all that I have to say this...
Girls, be mindful of what you are doing. Be mindful of what you wear. If you think you look sexy...you probably do. And if you look sexy, I can assure you that a boy will not be focused on enjoying your company or just hanging out. Their minds will be tattered with thoughts of lust and nothing other than how they can sleep with you will be at the forefront of their minds.
Be mindful of the pictures you post on social media. Pictures of you and your friends all wrapped up with each other skin to skin are not "cute" to a boy. They are seductive.
Be mindful of how you hang all over boys. While your intent may be innocent, touch is just an instigator for boys. So don't be throwing yourself all over them.
Bottom line...don't cause your brothers in Christ to stumble. You can be cute and not be seductive. Just because you wear modest clothing doesn't mean you aren't comfortable with your body. On the contrary, I think it just shows that you have respect for yourself. And just because the world or Victoria's Secret says you look good, who cares. Victoria has no secret anymore because she has basically shown you her whole package anyway.
Moms, if you want to protect your daughters virginity and innocence, be mindful of what your kids are doing. Be mindful of what they are wearing. Heck, you may want to even check out their social media sights and get some real eye openers. And yes, it's totally ok for you to have their passwords and monitor what they do. It's ok to make them "befriend or let you follow them " so you can know what's going on, too. From one mom to another, I'm begging you to help us boy moms out.
That's my rant. It's not just for my boys, it's for all the boys out there trying to live according to Godly standards. It's for all those moms out there trying to raise Godly boys.
I recently read a statement about the secret of prevailing prayer - Andrew Murray says, "The secret of prevailing prayer is to study the word of God to find what God's will is as revealed there in His promises and then simply take these promises and spread them out before God in prayer with the absolutely unwavering expectation that He will do what He has promised in His word."
With that said, in light of the recent heartbreak in not only our church, but our community, we as believers in Christ are given the ultimate gift in being able to cast our cares at the feet of Jesus during this time. We have the ultimate gift of not just being able to pray, but being able to pray prayers that will prevail.
Why can I say that? Because I've searched His word to find hope for my grieving soul. For my church family's grieving soul. And I can assure you His word is not lacking in having promises that we can stand on and pray with during this time.
For me, this passage is one that I am clinging to:
Lamentations 3:19-30 (MSG)
19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
For me and my family, we are clinging to hope. We are clinging to Him.
I have struggled with even writing this post, but for me, sometimes I have to write to just help my mind wrap around things. Especially things that my mind can't even fathom how to wrap around right now.
There is much going around on social media. I have refrained from posting. But what I want to say in this post is this:
In all of your hurt and anger and shock and every other emotion you may be feeling right now, there are real people who are completely broken inside of all of this. Yes, it feels like a nightmare we are all hoping to wake up from soon. It feels as if we are in another reality. But the truth is, this is our reality right now. We have seen the face of evil be displayed. We have seen real people experience real hurt. We have seen that whether we want to believe it or not, we DO have an enemy who is prowling like a lion, looking for who he can destroy. BUT, we have a God who has overcome him and the world.
So as much as you may be questioning things or needing to "air out your feelings" on facebook and twitter, please remember that the best thing we can all do right now is pray. Take your hurts and your questions and everything else and talk to Him about them all. Love each other. Stand strong for each other. But PRAY.
Throw yourself into God's word and find hope. Find strength. Find comfort. Find what He promises in your time of need and then pray those words of hope over yourself, over our church and over this community.
Now is not the time to get into arguments and controversial issues about why how someone feels is wrong. Now is the time to fall on our faces, cry out to the God who is the ONLY one that can heal our brokenness.
I do want to give honor to my Pastor and church. I cannot imagine the depth of burden he is carrying. I encourage you to pray for him and all the people involved with administering leadership and justice. I have never been more proud to be associated with my church family than I am now. And while this may be one of the most difficult things our church has ever walked through, I am honored that I am able to stand next to, and to link arms with this group of believers who are desperately seeking the face of God.
I'll close with a prayer that Max Lucado posted after the tragedy in Sandy Hook. I just think the mindset of this prayer is perfect for our community right now.
Come into our darkness Lord Jesus.
It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Lately I've been having conversations with people and seeing alot of other posts regarding adoption. People have questions and want to know more. Some people don't know a thing about it, but for whatever reason their hearts have been stirring wanting to know more. Some people are at the place where they know God is calling them to adopt but they don't know what to do next. Others are in the process. And then there's the ones who have already adopted, who are in the thick of it, and just need support from others who have been where they are, faced what they faced, and support for the day to day.
I'm no expert, but I have been and currently still, walking out each phase of the questions above.
There are moments of the good, the bad, and the hard in every phase of adoption. But, what changes my perspective on each phase is that adoption isn't just a "good idea" or "something you may want to do", but adoption is also the heartbeat of God.
When I think about what God did to adopt ME into HIS family, it really changes my views on the hard days, the good days, and every day in between.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)
To be made WHOLE by His love....one of my favorite parts of that passage. Because THATS the heartbeat of adoption. To take all the fragmented parts of our lives, to take the broken places in us, to take what was deemed "unlovable", and to make us WHOLE by HIS LOVE.
He knew all my junk, took me in with all my junk, and loved me lavishly with all my junk. He loves me on my hard days. He loves me on my good days. And He loves me on all the days in between. Man, am I grateful for that kind of love.
So when days are good with my children, I'm reminded of how He loves me when my life is good. When days are hard with my children, I'm reminded of how He loves me when my life is hard. And it then becomes HIS LOVE that drives me...compels me - to love like He does.
I don't know where you are in the adoption journey, but I do know THIS -
God wants you to know HIS heart about adoption in every phase.
He wants you to know that if you are at the place where you are thinking about it, He wants to show you answers.
He wants you to know that if are in the process of it, (the paperwork, the homestudies, the WAITING) He wants to show you that He is in every detail, He is in every question, He is in every moment of the waiting.
He wants you to know that if you are a parent through adoption, He wants to show you His heart in how He adopted you, how He longs to show you love and compassion, how He loves you on your hard days, how He loves you on your good days, and how He will empower and equip YOU to love your children the same way.
So, where are you? I want to help in anyway I can and one way to do that is to help answer questions. I don't know all the answers, but God has blessed me with a network of friends and people who are all part of this glorious journey of adoption who will pitch in and help us all navigate through it.
Comment here, email me, call me, facebook me. However you want to ask your question. Then we'll help find answers. I have friends who are in every part of this journey who I know would love to help you answer your questions.
I'm going to make every effort to at least once a week post a question that's been asked.
What a fun journey this will be! Now, let the questions begin! :)