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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Orphan Care Ministry- 7 Things You May Not Know.

1. You can't do it without God.

  This is so true when it comes to being a Foster Parent.  You can NEVER prepare yourself for this and each case is different.  Trust God, if HE CALLS you to it HE will see you through it.

   In my own power I can not rock a crying baby to sleep, a baby who is begging for their mother, and tell them it is all going to be okay.  Especially when I know the details of what mom did to them.  My flesh screams "WHY?" "Why are you begging for this monster?"

  In my own strength, I can't accept criticism with grace.   When you get that text from a parent who doesn't have their children for very serious reasons…  The text telling me that she doesn't want her children to play outside because they have mosquito and ant bites on their legs.  My flesh screams…"You idiot!  You are worried about mosquito bites!!  Don't you know that mosquito bites are normal... however, what happened to them while they were in your care put their life and well-being in grave danger!!"

  In my own strength, I can't pry the Mountain Dew filled sippy cup out of the 2 year old's hand at 8:30pm after their 2 hour supervised parental visit and gently remind them it is bedtime but first let's go take a bath.  Because they came home smelling like cigarette smoke, covered head to toe in mud with soiled britches.  My flesh screams….I want to tell the child that mommy and daddy shouldn't have done this or that and that mommy and daddy should have taken them to the bathroom.

But when you walk with the Lord, He is strong when I am weak.  My weaknesses are great and my strengths are few.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Cor 12:9-10 (ESV)

2. Community….Community….Community….

   If you are a Christian you should be taking care of Foster Children.  
Foster Parents must have community with other believers.  All the money in the world, can't take care of a Foster family/child the way a Christian Community of Believers can.  

27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.   James 1:27(ESV)

So if you are sitting in your nice quiet home with your well dressed, well behaved healthy children or grandchildren wondering if you are supposed to be doing anything with Foster Children. 

The Answer is YES!

God has not called everyone to be a Foster Parent, but every Christian has been commanded to be with them in their affliction.  You may not be able to dedicate yourself to caring for abused, abandoned, emotionally disturbed or orphaned children in your home 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  

   But you can 
  • Write a note of encouragement
  • Give money
  • Make a meal
  • Encourage birth children of the foster parents (THEY ARE GIVING UP A LOT MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE! But spiritually gaining and growing because of it. )  
  • Give your time…You could become a "Respite Family" go to classes so that the Foster Parents will have people that can babysit while they go on a date.  
  • Collect new and used clothes when a new placement comes into your community….
  • Collect Furniture
  • Collect School Supplies, bedding, diapers…
  • Give the child an overnight bag and a new pillow/toothbrush 
  • Be aware….If a child is placed and you have children close in age/size clean out the closets.
  • Pray.  Everyone can pray.  
  • Smile.  Encourage. Love. 
Foster parents must surround themselves with other believers and these believers must be actively involved in orphan ministry.  Orphan care is a ministry and just like every other ministry you must get your hands dirty sometimes and make sacrifices so that other people can feel the love of Christ.

3.  Tears lots of tears….

Tears of JOY…That moment when you finally make that breakthrough you have been working on for weeks, the one that seems small and insignificant to everyone else.  The moment when you realize that because of your obedience and sacrifice,  a difference was made in the life of a child.

Tears of frustration….When you have answered the same questions 18 times in 2 hours and you finally just can muster the strength to answer it again.  Or when you have spent 20 minutes explaining why we need to bathe and brush our teeth no matter what has occurred for the first 7 years of their life and 10 minutes later they return from the bathroom and it is obvious that they have just held their head under the water faucet to give the impression that a bath has taken place.

Tears of Exhaustion…You know when everything that you think could possibly happen has happened and then that one more thing happens….The small thing that you don't have words for…So you just go to your bedroom and cry for a few minutes then you put your big girl panties on and come back out and deal with things like Madea would.

Tears of Sadness….  They will leave.  One day they will leave.  Nothing can prepare you for this.   Yes you will cry.  Your birth children will cry.    It is hard.  It is real hard.  You will grieve.  It hurts.  

Nothing no one can prepare you for this.

 But when they leave you must remember that they are worth your tears.   They are valuable enough to God to receive your love.  God placed that LOVE in your heart so that you could give it to them, if you keep it for yourself it will be of no kingdom good.  Love hurts.  But God…will fill the holes and patch the brokenness.  And if he doesn't you will just have a few more cracks in your pot so that the Light of Jesus can shine through into the darkness of this world.

4.  Forgiveness feeds forgiveness

Okay so this one is tough for me…I'm not going to lie.  

It is real easy to say but real hard to do. 
It is only by the POWER of CHRIST living in me that I can do this one.  

Forgiving the birth parent.  

You see when a child is placed in your home, they don't always tell you everything…probably because "they" don't know everything.

they tell you just enough…...

But then as that child's heart is knitted to yours and they begin to trust you and find refuge in your home.  

They begin to open up and share more things about their life prior to living at your house.  

More than you will ever want to know…...

Forgive the birth parent. 
Actually don't just forgive them….respect them.  
Sin is sin.  
Sin is ugly.  
Sin is dirty.  
Different sins control different people. 


******This just in……….  Most birth parents aren't christians, seriously I know this is hard for you to believe.  

But really they aren't.  

They are controlled by the sin in their lives not the savior in their hearts.

  You can't expect a non-christian to act like a christian.  
Shoot!  Most Christians don't act like christians should….and here you go expecting someone who doesn't know Jesus to not sin.

What evidence in your life could someone use to convict you of being a Christian if it were illegal?

Pray for the birth parent.
Look for ministry opportunities to minister to them.  

Pray for them everyday.  
If you don't, your heart will become dark and ugly toward them.  Don't let this happen.  

You may be the ONLY JESUS they ever get to see.
  So don't be a bad representation.

This is hard.  This is real hard.  Harder than you think.

Not in your own strength but by the power of Christ living in you.

5.  Say "Yes" more than you say "No"

This one takes practice.  

When these children come to your home….It is probably going to be culture shock.  

When they start asking for things, try to say "Yes" at least as many times as you say "NO".  

Choose your NO's wisely.  

In my past parenting life, we only wore certain clothes and certain shoes to certain places at certain times.  

I would quietly condemn others for not being socially conformed to my standards of practice.  

As of recent…I was reminded by a dear friend how much that has changed over the past year.  
If everyone has bathed within 24 hours 
(48 hours has of recent become the maximum time allotment depending on stink factor), 

has shoes on 

has clothes on…. we are good.  

We do try to brush everyone's hair and teeth at least once a day.  

We no longer have a pair of shoes for every occasion 

Walmart clothes -VS- playing outside clothes (They are the same!)  

Every female is no longer required to have a hair accessory prior to leaving the house.  

Dresses are no longer required for females to go to church.  

Most pierced ears have grown up.  

If you want to purple shorts/purple tutu and red cowgirl boots to the mall….well I just really don't care.

  A wonderful friend of mine taught me a few years ago….that when picking a battle ask yourself this simple question:

In Light of ETERNITY Does it MATTER?

If your answer is yes, then the battle is worth fighting.  If your answer is NO, then just LET IT GO!

6.  Love hurts.

See #3

Every child is worth the pain that is cost to love them.  
So LOVE without borders.  
Put your guard down.
Stop guarding your family.  
Stop guarding your heart.  
Love them. 
Love them like they have never known before.

Let God protect you, your family, your heart, their hearts….All you have to do is Obey God and HE will take care of the rest.

  It is the MOST important thing that you can give them.

7.  Pray a lot.

This is listed as last because if you have forgotten everything else…..I want this one to stick with you.  

Don't forget to pray.
Pray about everything.
Walk in a spirit of prayer.

Pray for a parking space.  I do.
Pray for the children who have come through your home.
Pray for the children in your home.
Pray for their parents, that they would see Jesus and come to know Him as Lord and savior.
Pray that God would protect their hearts, their minds and their bodies.
Pray out loud for them, so that they know you are praying for them.
Pray for provision, He is faithful when we are faithless.
Pray for Godly friendships, because you are going to need them.
Pray that God would give you wisdom and discernment, sometimes you won't know why.
Pray that God would give you mercy and grace, you will need to share this.
Pray that God will forgive you when you fail, because you are going to fail.
Pray before taking a placement.
Pray before giving.
Pray before going.
Pray about how God would use you to minister.
Pray about everything.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


  This is so far out of reach for me.  

  Yes sometimes I feel strong…
but most of the time I feel like I could crumble at any minute. 

  Dignity, that flew the coop when the first little blessing came along.
  Laughing without fear of the future? 
 Well sometimes I laugh about what our future looks like.
  Like when I am writing our families' fall schedule and we have some sort of "activity" every night of the week, every week through the month of October.  

  I'm pretty sure that is not "without fear of the future".  

  I'm pretty sure it is a coping mechanism.  

  You know that whole it is better to laugh than to cry.

Last fall, the Lord said, "Just be a mom."  

Just Be A Mom

In my mind that meant rest. 

That meant I was being relieved from my responsibilities.  

In my mind that meant I was getting the year off.

Last year my wonderful husband was Interim Minister of Music at a Church.
I was the Director of a very large and thriving Classical Conversations Community.
I was on Leadership for Community Bible Study.
I home schooled my children.
We had just gained custody of a baby boy. 
I was also taking care part-time of his 1/2 sister.

My life was full and so busy.  

So I just knew without a shadow of a doubt that GOD being the good father and knowing how tired I was…

 HE said "Just be a mom" it must mean rest.

So I hung up the CC Director Job title.
I prayed earnestly about CBS because that is my lifeline to my Savior when life gets crazy so I just knew HE didn't "REALLY" want me to step down from that leadership role.  

I must have heard HIM wrong.  So I asked and asked again.  Nope  "Just be a mom" kept coming back as my answer.

  So I embraced the "Just be a mom" idea.  I began bragging to my friends and saying "Nope the Lord said I get to "Just Be a Mom" this year!  I get to REST this year!"

Fast forward a few months….

    In January, we came back to our home Church and they were discussing Mission Trips. 
 My girls are very missions minded.  

 We talk about Missions and missionaries as a family.  
 We study the lives of missionaries.
 We talk about "unreached people groups"
 We talk about Martyrs.
 We talk about hostile countries.
 We learn geography and study these places.

It is just who we are.  It is what we do.  We are Missions Minded.

So it was no surprise to me when my oldest daughter came to me and said,

"Mama can we go to Ecuador?"

  My response was I don't know I'll think about it.  I thought about it and it wasn't possible.  

I couldn't possibly pay for not only her trip but my trip too.  Because I would never send her by herself.

I couldn't possibly leave 3 other children and my husband behind and fly to another country.  So much could happen to them.  Who would help my husband take care of them?  What if they got hurt while I was out of the country?  What if they got sick?  What if I got sick and couldn't make it home?  What if the very active large volcano I was traveling to erupted and I couldn't make it back to them?  

So many reasons we shouldn't go.  So I said, 

"No Emma, maybe next year.  Let's pray about it."

A week or so later, we were sitting in Church and the Lord just shook me and said to me,  

"Take her and go this summer."  


  I lean over to Donny during the message and whisper, 

"I'm pretty sure the Lord wants me to take Emma to Ecuador this summer."

  His response,

 "Ok….Can we afford this?  You pay the bills.  If you think we can afford it and you are sure that is what you need to do, then go."

Nope we can't afford it but the Lord said go.  So I signed us up.
Then I prayed some more….

"Lord I don't know how were are going to do this but…I trust you."

Guys I'm not kidding you when I say, "HE PROVIDED!!"

He provided every single dollar.  Even our food and spending money.  HE PROVIDED!

So we went.  It was life changing.  My girl begged me not to come home.

She wanted to stay in the Andes Mountains and live there.  She was scoping out colleges.  She was looking for places to live.  She asked if we could just stay and send for Donny and the other children.

  It wasn't an easy trip.  It was a hard trip.  A very hard trip.

She came home and started devising plans on how she could raise money for her next trip and trying to figure out how she can get more bibles and take them and how she can learn to speak spanish.  

She is a GIRL with a MISSION now.  

She sees past her own needs and sees the needs of others.  Her heart is forever changed.

  Just be a Mom!

It took me to Ecuador.

Just be a Mom!

We then came home.  
And I thought okay Lord now it is time for that rest.  
That Just be a mom rest you have promised me.  

We renewed our Foster parenting license. 

   We weren't sure we were going to do that because of somethings that were possibly on the horizon but we prayed about it…and God said, renew the license.

  We received calls for several weeks regarding placements that just weren't manageable for our family situation so we said "NO".  We said "NO" about 5 times.

Then the call came.
The one we had been waiting for.
The "YES" call.

We had been saving our "YES"….

It was for a sibling group of three.  We were only suited for 2 children, but they were having trouble finding a placement for this group of 3 so if we could possibly take all three of them and help keep the group together.  

It was the plea.

We said yes.  
We weren't prepared for that.
We had no idea how we were going to do it.  
We weren't prepared for this.
We didn't have enough beds for them.
We weren't prepared for this.
We had no clothes for a little boy….there was a boy in this group and he wasn't a baby.
We weren't prepared for this.
It wasn't payday.
We weren't prepared for this.  
We didn't have any extra money in our account. 
( I had just gotten back from Ecuador a couple weeks earlier.)
We weren't prepared for this.
School was starting back.
We weren't prepared for that.
Then they arrived.
We weren't prepared for that.

All three of them had everything they owned in an "Outback" take out bag. Everything.
We weren't prepared for that.

The investigator that removed them from their home had taken them to Walmart and bought them 3 outfits each, a pack of socks each, a pack of underwear each and a toothbrush. It all fit in the "Outback Take Out Bag"…..

We weren't prepared for that.


They walked in the door.  They were sweet and loving.
We weren't prepared for that.

They walked straight to the back door where I had a bag of trash sitting to be taken out when the husband got home. 

They started rummaging through it digging stuff out and asking if they could keep it.  
We weren't prepared for that.

My heart sank.

Then the first two days, they ate everything in my house.
We weren't prepared for that.

So I robbed Peter to pay Paul.

Went to the grocery store and when I tell you I bought $680 in groceries.  I bought $680+ in groceries.
That was with coupons, a menu plan and sale papers.
We weren't prepared for that.

They ate everything within 2 weeks.
We weren't prepared for that.

You see they now realize, that we will have food tomorrow and we will have food the next day.

The food isn't going to run out.

They will get to eat at least 3 times a day.

I still remind them that I will feed them breakfast and lunch and dinner….  I still remind them that I will have snacks available.

They have relaxed a bit.  They now eat a normal amount of food for their ages.

However, that being said….I now have 7 children in my home.
We weren't prepared for that.

My husband:

He has a great job.  
He has a job that pays very well.  
He works very hard for our family.  
He is an amazing provider.

Our family in 1 1/2 years has went from a family of 5 to a family of 9.  

We have doubled in size.
We weren't prepared for that.

So I asked the Lord….Lord you called us to this.  You placed these kiddos in our life.

I know you will provide.

I just don't know how.

You called me to homeschool.  Do you want me to quit and get a job?

I don't see how this is all going to work.

Please show me.

I get an email…."I've got some clothes for you for that little boy."
BUT God was preparing her heart for it….

I get a phone call….  "I have a bed for you."
BUT God was preparing her heart for it….

I get another phone call….  "I want to help you with school supplies. Tell me what you need."
BUT God was preparing her heart for it….

My response…THANK YOU LORD!  Thank you Lord for showing me that I am listening to you.  That I have heard you correctly.  That I am not hearing "voices" like my baby mama.

The next week….  I get a card.  $200 cash.  From a person who doesn't even know me that well.
BUT God was preparing her heart for it….

I begin to cry.  I cried.  I thanked God.  
BUT God was preparing my heart for it...

The very next day…My husband walks in the door from work and says you are never going to believe this!  He then tells me in his very long drawn out storytelling style…that a TOTAL STRANGER walked up to him and said, "The Lord has impressed it upon my heart to give you this!" and hands him a $50.  
BUT God was preparing his heart for it…..

It doesn't stop there.

Other friends, walk up to us a few days later and say, "Hey we just want to help with those children you have living with you." and hand my husband $100!
BUT God was preparing their heart for it…..

These are answered prayers.

So when I say "Trust and Obey"…


"God is Faithful even when I am faithless"

It's no joke.

God continues to show up and show out big time.


He said….
He didn't say rest.

He said Go….
He didn't say rest.

He said give them everything you have…
He didn't say how.

BUT God has truly revealed himself to me this year.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  

Romans 5:2-5

I have a name for this HOPE I have….His name is Jesus!

HOPE does not put us to shame….

My oh My…
So now…I bring you back to this little beauty…

Clothed in the "Strength" ……...OF CHRIST!
dignity……  OF CHRIST!
Laughs without fear of the future…..BECAUSE OF CHRIST!

You see when you have the right perspective.  It all comes together.

This old cracked pot, can be strong, dignified, and laugh without fear of the future…not in my own self but because of CHRIST in me.

Because God is FAITHFUL when I am FAITHLESS.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What is your LEGACY?

 I LOVE that my 4 year old is up at 5:30am because she is afraid she is going to miss my bible study time.

    I must admit, I haven't always loved this.  I actually started doing my bible study at 5:30am to beat her to the punch, race her to the kitchen table, so I could have a quiet time with the Lord and get my day started on the right foot.  I'm going to be truth speaker honest with you, I have often become extremely resentful… we are told we ought to have this bible study quiet time and when you are a mom of what seems like 40,000 kids "QUIET" anything isn't in the vocabulary.  

  At first I tried my "quiet" time during breakfast, that didn't work.  Then a dutiful friend suggested I get up a few minutes before the masses and commence to the vast and in-depth studying of the bible, well my 4 year old was vigilant as soon as she detected my creaking bedroom door moaning open.  

"Moooooommy get me this and mommy get me that… I love you mommy.

   it was so frustrating. Frustrating? So then I started setting my alarm for 5:30am and quietly sneaking like a thief in the night to the kitchen table not making a peep.  

Guess what?!?! 

   She was up within minutes. minutes…sometimes seconds. Quickly. Pittering and pattering about... I couldn't get my bible opened.  I would complain to her and make her go get in bed with her sleeping father, or turn on cartoons and let her eat cereal at the bar while I studied.  Being quite snippy because I just couldn't wake up any earlier, I was exhausted already.  Because as a mom of what seems like 40,000 kids you are already up late at night to get "things done" and have a moment of silence browsing through Facebook and Instagram catching up on all the posts you were deprived of throughout the day and laughing at everyone's jokes.  

It is in vain that you rise up early

    and go late to rest,

eating the bread of anxious toil;

    for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 127:2 (ESV)

Then not to long ago…. I came across this verse.  WHAT?!?!  Whoever wrote this (Solomon) must not have been a mom of what seems like 40,000 kids.

The struggle is real.

Then came time for me to start the new Ecclesiastes summer bible study, with the girls at Women Living Well.  As I begin this journey of learning about Solomon who was healthy, wealthy, and wise, so far Ecclesiastes is about him whining about his life, we have only made it to chapter 2, but it's not looking good for the home team.   Nothing really matters.  No matter how many wives he had he wanted more, no matter how much stuff he had he wanted more, no matter how much wisdom he had it wasn't enough.  It was never enough.  He spent his life "Chasing after the wind"…he had everything "under the sun" at his disposal and it wasn't enough.  No one would remember him and he couldn't take any of it with him.

16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten.
 How the wise dies just like the fool! 
17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me,
 for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 2: 16-17 (ESV)

Vanity= emptiness

Whoa! SOLOMON had it all!  And yet he was afraid he was going to be forgotten.

Legacy:   something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past

That struck a chord with me. Ol' King Solomon, was worried about his legacy.  Then I inadvertently started singing in my head…  "I wanna leave a legacy, how will they remember me.." by Nichole Nordeman  

Music always speaks to me and it is a powerful tool of the memory.

All while the 4 year old won the race to the kitchen table this morning and sitting and patiently waiting before the sun was up with her "Princess Journal" to "DO" bible study.  I was pleasantly overwhelmed and humbled as my king whispered…

"This is your legacy!" 

   So as you can see in the picture above we studied God's word together.  Her princess journal is filled with words to her king.  I read a few verses to her and she wrote unintelligible (to me) notes to her king and I studied.  Yes being the task oriented person that I am sometimes disruptions of people annoy me.  As the Lord continues to work in and through this old cracked pot and the Holy Spirit does a work in me despite my own self.  I learn daily how to die to myself and submit to my King.  For my reward is great when I submit my will to his and listen just obediently listen to what my King has to say.