I had a decision to make tonight. I have been putting it off all week, assuming as the day drew nearer I could make a decision. This wasn’t a big deal, no major crisis, no one would really care either way what I decided. I had been invited to two different gatherings on the same night. So I had to decide which one I would go to. At first I was just trying to decided on which to attend. One was a girls night, some at-home shopping at a friends’s house. The other was a dinner with those from a ministry I’m involved in. Both inviting, both I wanted to attend. I mentioned it to my husband, that I had two things going on Thursday night and I had to choose one. Mid week I still just couldn’t make a decision, I wanted to spend time with all of the people involved and didn’t know how to pick which group. The night before I realized there was a third option; stay home with my family. I know that was God showing me I needed to put my family first tonight. As the day progressed, the decision was being made, yes, I will stay home with my family. Now this is not to say there is anything wrong with a girl’s night or a night of spurring each other on with a dinner and encouragement. There have been nights that I of course have done those things and there will be more in the future. What is so cool is that God steered me in the way I should go. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8. Up to this point I was thinking about what I would miss out on if I didn’t attend one of the gatherings but now I was looking forward to that chosen time with my family, and let me tell you the fruit of my decision was bountiful!

We have been going through an intense time of teaching boundaries and discipline with our daughter as she pushes back and struggles with obedience. Progress is being made and my husband and I are working together (the snow days gave us some extra time of full days of parenting together which was good!) and I just saw that staying home tonight would help since I have to go back to work for three nights in a row starting tomorrow. I texted my husband at 3:00 today that I would be staying home tonight and told him what was on the menu for dinner. He replied back with a smiley face 🙂 Just that simple little gesture reassured me I had made the right decision. It meant something to him that I made a choice to stay home. When my husband got home SG set the table and dinner was served. Right before I sat down SG said “mommy can we pray first and can I say the prayer?” Now she has prayed before. She prays at night or after we’ve had a moment that needed forgiveness, and sometimes when I ask she will pray at dinner but she never has asked to say the prayer at dinner on her own. She reached for my hand and her daddy’s hand and started her prayer “Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day, thank you for this family dinner, and thank you for my mommy and daddy, in Jesus name, Amen.” Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 That moment right there was worth every contraction or labor pain times a million. My husband looked at me and asked if she always prays like that. I told him she does pray but has never asked to do it at dinner without my prompting. He told her that was a really sweet prayer. Usually when he is home for dinner I say it really quickly with her before he is in the room or we don’t say it at all. I think SG may have just changed that.

She then asked if we could turn the lights off and light the candles so we could not only have a family dinner but a “candlelit family dinner”. So we did. We proceeded to the living room after dinner for ice cream and games. I asked my husband how much work he had to do tonight and what did he need to get done and he replied “I’m not doing any work tonight”. I believe he was honoring my decision, my choice, to stay home when I could have had a night away, by making his own choice to put work away and savor this sweet time we were having. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14. My home was in perfect harmony tonight. Each one of us loved the other well. God showed me to put my family first tonight and His mercies and gifts showered us the rest of the evening. SG bowed her head to God in thanksgiving and sweet blessings flowed from that. My husband, by God’s grace, saw the importance of a puzzle and games over TV in the background or work.

God works like this every day. This was a beautiful picture tonight but He also reminded me that there are moments that aren’t this beautiful that are still filled with His mercies and that we are to Rejoice always! May I remember to rejoice always even in the disobedience, because it brings me closer to seeing my own disobedience and a closer relationship with the Lord. Rejoice always even when the boundaries are pushed because I see her as my little arrow then and the gifts and strengths God will use in her future to bring Him glory. Rejoice always even when I wonder if I am teaching her enough to prepare her for the battles and decisions she will face in the future because tonight she showed me it is sinking in, she is hearing me and she CHOSE to thank God tonight, in front of her daddy and it hit a sweet spot with him.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 I am overflowing with gratitude for the union I have with Christ, that rock, that firm root that allows me to abide in Him which results in being able to make a decision that seemed to be small and not important but that was part of God’s plan to pour love on us tonight and draw me closer to Him and bring him much glory. Praise God!

No Doubts

I’m reading in a comfy chair while I am at my in-laws house for Christmas. Everyone is napping. I glance to my left out the sliding glass door and I see a gorgeous sky – a grand display – a gift – a blessing – a reminder of the great I AM. The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1. Isn’t it awesome that we get to live in a beautiful setting that shows God’s workmanship. Drippings and snapshots of His glory all around us. Yet there is MORE to come! For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the GLORY THAT IS TO BE REVEALED TO US. Romans 8:18. What a promise! I have received reminder after reminder today of God’s promise and His sustaining and ongoing work He is doing in my heart and the heart of those around me.

The book I am reading is called Adopted for Life. I am reading it as we get closer to this pool of redemption we are wading in. The foster/adoption community we are a part of. We are in the middle of a complicated case surrounding the lives of two sweet boys. This book is helping. But in ways I wasn’t prepared for. I have had thoughts, doubts, about whether we should be adopting children into a spiritually unequal marriage. I asked some friends early on and they couldn’t find a biblical reason not to. Our case worker at DSS thinks it makes us a stronger candidate for a good home because we know how to work through a major difference in our lives and still have a thriving marriage. So I was settled about it after that. Until now. Is it fair, is it right, to bring a child in to an unequally yoked marriage? (As I read that now, it seems like a silly question, but it is something that has been on my mind and heart).

Then this book. I got such an amazing strong answer from God about this while reading this book. It reminded me that my doubts are not from God, they are from a deceptive liar. I am overcome by the message He is giving me – Walk this path I have you on, continue. Several verses brought clarity and comfort.

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Men are called to provide and protect their families. From the fall of man and the curse given in Genesis 3 men are commanded to provide “by the sweat of your face”, “to cultivate the ground from which he was taken”. My husband has such a strong work ethic. He works so hard and takes on so much away from home to take care of his family, and he does it without complaint. Yet he also does so much at home. God has given him this desire to provide for his own. He is a great dad.

James 1:27 – Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Isaiah 1:17 – Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
Jeremiah 22:16 – He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know me? Declares the Lord.

As a Christian these verses convict me. They spur me on in this decision to adopt which in my case is obedience to a calling God has put in front of me. What does that mean for my husband though? He isn’t biblically convicted. It means God has poured out His common grace on my husband so that he is also obedient in this! I was reminded last week of God’s common grace to unbelievers and this is such a clear example of that to me. It also is a gift to me from God, allowing my obedience by my husband’s agreement, leadership and excitement about adopting.

Even as families with two believers need to pray for unity, I was reminded to even more so pray for God to bring unified vision into my home and that HE LOVES TO DO THIS! He has done this in getting us on this path together, agreeing on this, and MANY other times and that is why our marriage is a testament to God’s love and mercy. I know the Lord will continue to cover my household with blessings and take care of each individual child we have with a precise love, knowing them better than I do. For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

God has put it on my husband’s heart to be a “father of the fatherless”. I continue to pray that he too will know what that truly means and the Lord will draw him in to the body of Christ. My husband loves these boys already. He is preparing himself for the loss if they aren’t meant to be ours. I don’t know how God is going to use this. I just know my house is surrounded and filled with the redeeming power of God. We say YES to adoption, no doubts!

The Wait

I have a friend who cannot wait. Literally, she cannot wait for the ending. She Googles movies before she watches them so she knows how it ends. She reads the end of the book first. She doesn’t like surprises. She wants to know when and where it will all happen. I was reminded of this while continuing my study in the Old Testament. I came to the part recently of the Israelites, ALMOST to the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 11 Moses is preparing them and reminding them of the laws and commands and words of the Lord. For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it, and you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the judgements which I am setting before you today. Deuteronomy 11:31. I knew the outcome but still in reading those verses I was filled with the anticipation of it, and wondered if they felt that too. Was the air electric with praise and thanksgiving? Were they just beside themselves, so close they could taste it? Were they hasty and rushed and ready for it to hurry up and get here? Were they trying to look ahead and “google” the outcome? Twenty two chapters later, a new book began and finally in Joshua 3 they crossed the Jordan!! Even when I know the outcome, the promise, I can get impatient, instead of trusting what His perfect Word tells me. Not one of the good promises which the Lord has made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45.

God knows we will be tempted to turn away, to not trust whole heartedly 100% and that we can be tempted to worship other things in the waiting. Beware that your hearts are not deceived and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. Deuteronomy 11:16.. I can be tempted to worship the gods of “more”, “comfort”, and “now”. I want more spiritual growth quicker and faster. I want the comfort of knowing that family members will be saved. I want my circumstances to change now. There are things I am waiting on and in all of these areas of “the wait” I can see God using them to grow my trust, to prune and shape ugly things out of me, to reach and encourage others. He is delivering on His promises, in His perfect timing and His perfect way. Kingdom work is being done! Just as the Israelites were being taught to trust God all those years before the Promised Land, everything we are going through now is preparing us and others for our time with Him!!

One of the verses I love is short and simple and may just be a literal physical direction from God but to me it speaks of His perfect knowledge and sovereignty of when and where we need to do what and how. You have circled this mountain long enough, now turn north. Deuteronomy 2:3. Oh friends, I know some of you have been circling the same mountain, waiting. Fill your heart with all the many verses God speaks about the beauty of the wait. The trust He is growing, the longing for Him He is increasing, the humility that will be used to serve Him and His people, it is all good for us. For me, when I have a “NO LORD, NOT THIS, I DON’T WANT TO!!”moment, He leads me by His grace, to a place where I surrender and say “Yes Lord, I trust You.” That doesn’t always happen as immediately as I would like, but it is a promise He keeps. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19. The covenant standard isn’t the law anymore but is faith and hope in Christ!!! When we have that we cannot fail, and God never leaves us! Serving the Lord with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things is the standard in Deuteronomy 28:47. The abundance of all things isn’t money or physical blessing it is an abundance of humility, abundance of peace, and abundance of righteousness. When we are waiting, when we are circling the mountain, and are serving with joy and gladness God is giving us those abundant riches spiritually on earth as we wait for the return of Christ and our complete sanctification. How GOOD of Him to grow us now, how LOVING of Him to give us circumstances to grow our trust and faith in Him so we can share it with others. Friends, I pray that you will be encouraged in the wait, and with great anticipation of what God has when He tells you it is time to turn north!