Clean

My point in writing this isn’t political. It isn’t to sway an opinion. It isn’t to revolutionize this topic with my spin on it. My point in writing this is simply…this is my story.  God is the author of redemption and healing. This is a story of that. I knew this day would come. As a writer, I knew that there would be a day when I was so compelled to write that it would finally come pouring out and I would share it with others.  Today is that day.  I have shared this with some in an email, but now I am sharing it with you all. So here I am writing to you telling you that seventeen years ago I had an abortion. Seven years ago I kneeled before the Lord and trusted Him as my Savior. What I am writing now is to tell you about my experience seventeen years ago, to tell you about my experience with it now, and to give you the perspective of a pro-life, post-abortive, born-again Christian living in a time when the temperature on this subject, abortion, is extremely hot.

When the two pink lines showed on the pregnancy test I wasn’t sure what to do. Who do I call first? What do I do next? What have I done? The inner turmoil began. I didn’t want to make this decision. I wanted someone to make it for me. I felt like I would ruin my boyfriend’s life if I had the baby. I was addicted to him. In the unhealthiest of ways. He didn’t make me do it in the same way he didn’t stop me. It isn’t his fault. I thought there was no way my parents would let me give their grandchild up for adoption so I thought that option was out of the question. I didn’t tell them. (This past year, after tremendous healing, I have told my parents.) My thinking wasn’t rational or sane. It was panic induced. Obviously not capable of making wise decisions, I turned to my friends, the ones I knew that had already had an abortion. They didn’t regret it and said they knew it was the right decision for them. I heard that from three of my close friends. That number baffles me. If three of my very closest friends had one, then how many more of my acquaintances had?? I was in my first years of college at a fairly liberal school. At the time I regularly drank, smoked, and did a myriad of other drugs. Had I already hurt the baby? Could the baby already be damaged? Is it a baby? I do remember thinking it wasn’t a baby yet. So many questions and confusing thoughts but from the very first moment I started a process I wasn’t even aware of. I began to push down feelings deep down to a place I thought would be unreachable. I was preparing myself for the decision I knew I was going to make.

My boyfriend and I went to a pregnancy crisis center in that college town. I didn’t realize what a pregnancy crisis center was. A few minutes after walking inside I realized what it was and that the agenda was to save the baby. I felt like a paper bag holding a diamond inside. As long as the diamond was saved the bag didn’t matter. I could just be crumpled up and tossed to the side and go back to being the trash I was. They asked to pray for the baby with us. When my boyfriend said no they did it anyway. My boyfriend was getting angrier the longer we were there as he was realizing the Christian viewpoint that was being offered. Now in saying this I am in no way discouraging pregnancy care centers. I hope to one day volunteer at one as the Lord leads. The experience I’m sharing is not to disparage the intent of those working there but to let you see the state of mind I was in during that time. These were self inflicted labels and my eyes and ears were closed.  I am not saying the diamond isn’t important. It is! Oh it is! I am SO thankful for the people and the places that exist solely to save the lives of innocent children. I am thankful for the marches and fundraisers and awareness that is being raised because of the Christian pregnancy crisis centers around the country. I am so grateful for any and every life saved because of them and I praise God for their diligence and passion and ministry. My point is this. There are two hearts that need to be saved. In trying to save the one you need to reach the other. I needed the gospel! Marches, pickets, signs, lobbying, and social media can’t reach someone the way a one on one, face to face, outreach of the gospel can. My hope is that for every picket sign held there is a discipleship relationship happening with a young person you know. My hope is that for every march there is an evangelism outreach happening in your neighborhood or the neighborhood you’ve never been to. My hope is that for every shout of the law “thou shout not murder” there is a pleading for the soul of another to kneel and give themselves to Christ. I needed the gospel. How can we expect someone to not sin if they don’t know Jesus as their Savior? This is sin we are dealing with. It isn’t an agenda, it isn’t left wing or right wing, it isn’t feminism, it is sin. Sin can only be reached and slayed by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I don’t remember every detail of the day it happened. I actually don’t know the date at all. I can pinpoint the year because of where I was living and the circumstances surrounding that time. I can’t remember the name of the place I just know the city it was in. I wanted it washed out of my mind, so holding on to facts surrounding it wasn’t something I was interested in. I do remember exactly where I was when I made the call. I remember the apartment I was in, the chair I was sitting on, and the phone book I used to look it up. I remember that I couldn’t say “abortion” so I told them I needed to make an appointment to terminate a pregnancy. I could never say that word until recently. I remember the day we drove there and I remember walking in. I remember what the waiting room looked like and that there was a television with a sitcom on. I remember filling out paper work and being taken through another door where I filled out more paperwork. At this point I was alone, my boyfriend had to wait in the waiting area. I was in a hallway and there were several rooms off from it with other women in them. Many, many, other women. I overheard conversations. I remember hearing from some that is wasn’t their first time. I remember hearing laughter. Chit chat. The cramming down of emotions continued for me. Stuff it down Holly. Way down. To that place. It won’t be reached. You won’t have to feel this again. I convinced myself it wasn’t a baby yet, but the idea of a future baby I was getting rid of was still sad. It was finally “my turn”. I do not remember what the doctor looked like. I do remember a nurse who had kind eyes.  As I was laying down I heard noises, machines, and the inner turmoil began to bubble up. Stuff it down Holly!!! I was screaming on the inside, shove it down!!! Put these feelings in that place, it will be unreachable. It was over and I was a different person. I now was a mom who killed her child. I would now be nursing a scar that seemed to never want to heal. I had to go to a waiting area with other women sitting in chairs around the room. Some were chatting. Every part of my body was raging. I was bleeding. I kept having to get up to go with the nurse to the bathroom to change my pads. I was quickly becoming nauseas while back in my seat. I told the nurse I was going to throw up. She gave me a bed pan to throw up in. In that room, with all those other women, my body was so violently reacting that I couldn’t catch my breath. I was panicking. I was begging for my boyfriend but because of privacy issues they couldn’t let him in. He was waiting out the back door entrance in the car. No one else was throwing up. I seemed to be the only one having a reaction like this. Every emotion I had tried to stuff down to that unreachable place was being hurled back up all over me in my bile and blood. What had I done. When I was finally cleared to leave I went out the back door. You don’t exit where you enter. That would be bad for business. I got in the car and didn’t speak a word the whole way home. I cried and bled.

When we got home I stayed at my boyfriend’s apartment for two weeks. I told my parents and my work that I was sick. My boyfriend tried desperately to cheer me up. He took me to Carowinds; as if rollercoasters and funnel cakes could fix me. He just wanted to see me smile. Some part of him loved me because he was trying to fix it. I have two pictures from that week that my boyfriend took. I look hollow. That’s the only word I could come up with to describe how I look in those pictures. I waited tables for a living at that point. I remember the first time I waited on a family with a baby in my section after I went back to work. That is when I picked back up with and got better at pushing it all back down. The unreachable place. I developed a good poker face. Years of hiding it. Years of lying. Years of pretending it didn’t bother me when someone had a conversation with me about abortion. Pretending that song or that commercial didn’t bother me. Realizing that no hateful words or labels or judgement from others could make me feel any worse. Words like “murderer” don’t hurt; an empty womb does.

In those following years that boyfriend and I broke up. I continued pursuing a career in restaurant management. I met and married my husband. I continued drinking but stopped most of the other stuff. I was settling in to “adult” life. Friends were getting married and having kids. We still weren’t. In those years of not conceiving the self condemning continued. I deserve this. Of course I’m not going to get pregnant again, I shouldn’t be allowed to. In those years I was all over the place in my religious beliefs. I had enjoyed taking classes and studying eastern religions. I was beginning to look into and believe we are connected by energy. The universe as a vast web of minds. I was getting very far away from God in my thinking and exploring. The times I did entertain the notion that God was real and heaven and hell were too, I decided heaven wasn’t a place for me. I had done the ONE thing and had gone just too far. There were times I rationalized my decisions with fate and destiny. A lot of twisted things going on in that head of mine. Things started to disintegrate again. So many of my mistakes and decisions were catching up with me. I got a DUI, lost my license, community service, the whole humiliating deal. We still weren’t able to conceive a child. My marriage was on the verge of ruin because I was selfish, controlling, angry, and not trustworthy. Like a bulldozer pushing mounds of dirt on me I felt like I was being buried alive. That is when I could feel God putting His hand down in that pit of dirt and denial and pull me up. He reached the unreachable place. I couldn’t escape the compelling nature of a God who was pursuing me relentlessly. That is when I began to see my sin and call it that. It wasn’t just bad decisions it was sin. It wasn’t just a past of mistakes, it was sin. I was brought to salvation by a mighty and loving God, who could, yes, love EVEN me.

Now let me tell you a story of redemption. It is mind blowing! God is the best author there is. He wrote an amazing book that is alive and active and he continues to write our testimonies and our life story and I just can’t believe the one I get to live. In the beginning, after I was saved, all I knew to do was pray. I began running and praying. It was a sweet time out alone in God’s creation talking to Him. I was learning how to be a better wife. My sweet husband was forgiving and patient. After my first five mile run I came home and on a whim took a pregnancy test. It was positive. We were going to have a baby. It brought up emotions that I still hadn’t completely healed from but God continued to replace that with the truth. The cross is enough. You are forgiven. My sweet daughter was born and we realized soon after I probably wouldn’t conceive another. Cysts, removal of an ovary, endometriosis, were all contributing to the difficulty with conceiving. Adopting became a conversation. It had in the past but this time we started really talking about it. I was so clearly being led to adoption. Now I need to add something in here. My husband isn’t a Christian. During that time I was coming to know the Lord He was realizing his own beliefs. Even though we have two totally different world views and beliefs, our marriage is restored, thriving, and wonderful. I have such a kind husband. He just doesn’t know his Savior like I do. But my God is faithful. So back to adoption. We started the process and became licensed to foster/adopt in our county. A year and a half after we began the process we got a call about a little girl born on my husband’s birthday who needed a home. Her mom was brave enough to carry her and protect her for nine months. I admire her so much. I am so grateful for her decision. I am so thankful God let me be a part of this adoption story which reminds me of ALL of our adoption stories when we come to put our faith and trust in Christ. That being said, getting our second daughter brought up some of those emotions again. Do I deserve her? Would people be so happy about what we were doing if they knew what I had done seventeen years ago? Some lies and fiery darts were flying. But God in the sweet way He always does filled me with truth. One morning at church I was holding my daughter who woke up right before the service was over. Communion was starting. We were sitting in our seats getting ready to drink and eat to remind us of the blood and body of Christ. The song lyrics that were playing were “sin had left a crimson stain and He washed it white as snow.” As I sang those words and tears poured down my face and I looked down at my daughter I felt God’s arms wrapping around me. What a reminder of redemption!!! What a reminder of the life transforming power of the gospel!! My scarlet letter had followed me, that blood I could never wash off my hands, and Christ came, a perfect sinless loving Savior and spilled all his bile and blood for me. For every part of me. For the seventeen years ago massacre that happened in my body.

I needed the gospel. There are girls that are confused. There are women that are callous. There are victims of horrific acts that now have a life in their womb. There are girls scared of their parents. There are women trying to protect a reputation they think they have. There are women who believe their child would be better off in heaven. There are woman who think there is no other option. There are those that feel the burden so heavy they can’t carry it. There are women who say they don’t care if they’re going to hell. There are women who never regret it and there are women who never get over it. There are women who heal and there are women who give up. They all need the gospel. We all do. The fight for sanctity of life has to be fueled by the gospel message. I know there are those that will disagree. I know there may be someone reading this who feel no regret. My point in sharing is not to add to an argument or create a divide. I want to simply share the power of Jesus Christ to redeem and heal the hole that is there and to bear witness to his great love that saved me.

I am writing this now because my hope is that there would be less emphasis on a Facebook post with an ensuing battle in the comments to affect change, and more focus on souls needing to be won to Christ. I am speaking to my self as well and would ask that you pray for me. Pray that a discipleship relationship would be opened. Pray that I would clearly see what the next step is for me with my message and point of view that I pray God will use to save lives! Pray that I would be able to build a relationship with the Pregnancy Care Center when and if that is the direction God wants me to go. I do not feel this epidemic, this mass killing in our country, will be changed by shouts, by hateful words, by pointing the finger and condemning, by ranking sin, or by giving up. It will be changed by Jesus Christ. One person at a time hearing about and coming to know Him as their Lord and Savior and then continuing to be discipled in love and truth. Policy makers, lobbyists, and government regulations won’t change the heart of a women who is determined to end the life of her child. But Jesus can!

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A Great Need

A Great Need

Facts – 230 children are in foster care in our county, only 38 licensed foster families, 30 plus children waiting to be adopted in our county.

“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Jeremiah 22:16.

There are children in need. Children who have suffered. Children who have been abused, neglected, exposed to drugs and alcohol. Right here, right now, in your town. I want to plead their case and expose you to their need in the hopes you will show magnanimous kindness and consider blessing them with your prayers, time, love, or care. I have experienced a little bit of this world as I have been a licensed foster/adoptive parent through DSS for a year. I have many friends who have been foster and adoptive parents for much longer. I know stories of great redemption and recovery and stories of great sadness and loss. No matter what the outcome of these stories and these lives, the need is still great.

God is in the business of plucking us out of the sinful and selfish world of our flesh, redeeming our lives, and bringing us into His family. By His grace, and locally through the services of DSS, He is plucking these children out of their hurtful and scary world and giving them a chance of redemption. Once they are in the system, we are asked to step up. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:27‬ . We are the hands and feet of Christ that God uses to carry out His sovereign plans. Once these children are brought in, God prepares our hands and feet to carry these children and He pierces our hearts to love and care for them. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬
The role of a foster parent or adoptive parent can be frustrating. But oh so rewarding. It can be heartbreaking, but stretch your heart in ways you didn’t know it could. It can sometimes seem more than you can bear, to know some of their stories. But God will provide the reminder that suffering is temporary and the children are now on a road to His glory. There are times the plan is reunification with the parents, and we pray there is true change. There are times adoption seems to be the plan, and the long process of waiting and not knowing begins. There are times when the plans change. There are times of great joy as families grow. Children are a GIFT from the Lord. It can be hard, but nothing is as hard for us as it is for those kids. As difficult as it may be, there will also be great reward and blessing. A joy getting to know these precious kids. They may live in your home temporarily but the love and the lessons are not temporary. We are asked to follow Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬. Would you consider giving yourself up for a child in need? For siblings to stay together? To open your home to a child temporarily or to grow your family by bringing a child in permanently?‬‬‬

To be a part of this world of foster care and adoption, of redemption, is the closest thing to what God has done for me that I can get. I desire to continue to pour my heart out for this even if it gets broken sometimes. I pray as you read this your heart will burst wide open and be sensitive to the call to care for these children in need.

What can you do? There is an informational meeting held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Family Services Center. In your town, contact your local Department of Social Services and they should have similar meetings and services. If you are at all interested this is a great place to start.

“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.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Answer is No

We got the call this morning, we are not the family chosen for the boys. Rejection is hard. Rejection concerning being a parent is the hardest so far I’ve endured. Rejection has caused me to look at myself long and hard but ultimately to look to God. That really is the only place I can look. When He says He is for me so who can be against me I have to believe that and believe that this rejection is an act of love to us. When He says He works all things together for good I have to believe that our rejection is in the best interest of the boys. When I start looking at all I can praise God for, it is endless. I simply cannot be bitter, there is hope! This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us Hebrews 6:19-20a. An hour later and I have a smile on my face and am praising God for His mighty Sovereign hand who sees it all and knows it all and is in control. Such good has come from this week.

I have been so sensitive to and have had my heart burst wide open receiving the message of adoption. That God would love these boys to the point of plucking them out of their birth home, of despair and a cursed cycle of debauchery, and put them into a home, a loving home where they now will receive the blessing of knowing God’s love. It is not my home they are coming into but God is bringing them into His by rescuing them and putting them in to a home of those who are promised blessings for generations to come. How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on the earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2. Wow! How can I be anything other than thankful for that. It also so sweetly reminds me that I am one of his “plucked” children. He took me from the path I was on which could only lead to death and brought me into His Kingdom, His family, the Body of Christ and the generations under me receive blessing from that.

This has brought my husband and I closer, we have become a stronger unit, and we have experienced that in a way that wouldn’t have happened if this had all went perfectly our way. Praise God! We are stronger and I am closer to the Lord and that can only be a good thing in preparing us for the child that we will be chosen for. Maybe there needed to be some more work done in us that only God knows and He was protecting us from the mistakes we would have made. I just don’t know and I just can’t guess because when I try to lean on my own understanding it produces nothing good. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do no lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5. God is the only one who can be Sovereign, my little brain would just burst if I had to figure it all out. Praise God that He is working, praise God that He loves me enough to not give me what I want because He can see beyond it and what is ahead, (yes, a great parenting lesson)!

I was also aware of the many of you who prayed for us during this. It brings me to tears thinking of those that prayed for us Monday and prayed for us the night before our interview and prayed for us during our interview. THAT was the body of Christ coming together loving us, spurring us on, taking us to the throne of grace. Oh what a gift that was! Friends your prayers were answered. Don’t take this as a “no” from God. Take it as a “yes” to His will. He answered and His will be done. The effective prayer of a righteous man CAN accomplish much James 5:16. My prayers, as hard as it was to pray, was that the boys would be placed in the right home, that the people making the decision would place it before God, that my hearts desire was for the boys, but that God would be glorified. All those things have come to pass, your prayers have been heard and God will continue to work this situation out for good. What comfort to know He sees what is ahead for us.

I will never regret meeting and knowing and loving these boys. They showed us we can love in ways we weren’t aware of. They showed us that even though we fought for them and didn’t ultimately get them, that the fight was worth it. I pray they will know how much they were wanted, I pray they remember the love they received in our home. There will always be pictures of them in our photo album and we will look back at them fondly remembering those little “cutie-patooties” as SG calls them. To be a part of this world of adoption, of redemption, is hard but it is the closest thing to what God has done for me that I can get. Why would I not continue to pour my heart out for this even if it gets broken sometimes. God already has a plan for another child that needs to be “plucked” out of their world and into His and I pray that He will use my family to accomplish that and that ALL will see the glory of God.

I’m sure waves of sadness will come. I have faith that God will sustain me and my family. He has already delivered in such a mighty way to allow me to be able to sit and write this and stop the questions and “what ifs”. I just can’t see anything but God’s hand in this so there is nothing to complain about. Praise God with me. Pray for my husband’s heart to continue to be softened after being so deeply wounded. But as for me I will hope continually and praise You and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14.

Joy Comes in the Morning

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. Psalm 5:11

I can sing with joy this morning. This week as been an emotional roller coaster but God has kept me close and as I reflect and process it this morning I am filled with praise.

We were initially told Monday that we were not chosen to be one of the families interviewed for the boys who we had previously given foster care to for two weeks because of our spiritual differences. The committee couldn’t understand how that big of a difference could work and not be a hindrance in our home for the boys. The adoption committee is made up of people from DSS Family Services and it rotates. It’s not always the same people that decide each case. Our case worker was not happy with their decision and was surprised as well. We have always been upfront about this, it is in our profile that was signed by the director and the state board that gave us our license to foster and adopt so our initial reaction was confusion. We were asked to foster the boys only if we would consider adopting them and we agreed to that and now we weren’t being considered as a family for them. Again confusion, which produced many other emotions ranging from sadness to anger.

So many questions now. Do we continue working with DSS? If this particular committee saw that as a weakness why were we given a license? It is not something we can work on or change, it is just who we are so if that is seen as a problem then why are we here? Why were we allowed to foster them? My husband sent an email to our case worker and asked for a meeting with her and her boss stating our case and how the process seemed inequitable since our bond and time with the boys in our home wasn’t even considered in allowing us an opportunity to tell our story and show them how “it works” in our home. This caused a conversation in the department and with the committee and they agreed it was the wrong decision and we now have an interview Friday at 10:00. I’m proud of my husband for fighting for the boys, amidst a whirlwind of emotions. I am reminded that God is not a God of confusion but of peace. I want our interview Friday to be surrounded by God’s peace, not confusion. I want the committee to see that we are the exception. Yes in general spiritual unequal marriages aren’t the best, they can be filled with bitterness and resentment and nagging and hurt. I have many women introduced to me in a SUM and I know my husband and I are the exception. We talk about the hard stuff, the “elephant” in the room. We don’t keep things from each other, I don’t try to change him but plead in prayer for his salvation. He doesn’t try to keep me from church activities but instead encourages and supports me in them. We are the exception. I praise God that I get to show this committee and tell them our story so they can see what the mighty hand of God can do. So they can see when he pours his grace and mercy on us and tells us to stay, and to not leave the marriage that it can work, that it does work. I want to show them that my husband is a kind, loving, man who loves these boys fiercely already and seeing that makes me love him so much more. I praise God that this has caused me to reflect on the many ways my husband sacrificed and compromised and loved and supported me because he knows my faith is my number one priority. When I was tempted to stay home from Lifegroup when the boys were here because I didn’t want to leave him alone with the three kids for another night he told me to go. He knows it is what I need, God is what I need, and he supports that. It doesn’t make sense. It seems strange, that if he is an atheist why would he be okay with encouraging my relationship with God and the body of Christ. It is because he fiercely loves me as well. And I have a powerful sovereign God who loves me even more. I also praise God for how he has changed the view of the word “atheist” by many who know him. A friend recently admitted she too thought very poorly of anyone who identified as an atheist before she met him. Most people think it means a satan worshiper or a really mad angry evil person. My husband is a kind man. A patient loving giving selfless man. He is a hardworking man with an immense work ethic and great integrity. He does not believe in God. His intellect is telling him God doesn’t exists. This does not make him evil. It does not make him a worse person or less. It makes him blind to God’s truth. His heart is not open to God’s truth. Just as mine wasn’t until I was saved. So I praise God for opening the eyes of others on how they should view an atheist; as a child of God, needing a Savior. Not a monster needing to be shunned.

Because of this decision and reversal of the decision my husband and I have had many great conversations. About our differences, about our family, about our strengths and weaknesses, about my faith, about his feelings towards Christianity, about atheism, about parenting, just so many great conversations, again not making the “elephant” in the room of our SUM an uncomfortable thing but something we are comfortable taking about. We have held each other, cried together, had a great family night after Monday’s news. We are most definitely stronger because of this. He told me last night he has “prayer warriors” at his job who will be praying for us during our interview. These are friends of his who know his beliefs, and tell him they are praying for him. Even in his friendships, God is providing a way for others to love on the atheist and for him to allow it and not resist it. Thank you to all of you who are praying for our family. I love our story. I love every day that God has written. I love that I get to be a part of this. Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ Isaiah 46:10.

I am so thankful God turned this around and is letting us go in to that room to sit with a committee and tell our story. We are like no other family. You can’t get to know us on a piece of paper. I’m glad my husband fought for that chance we now have. I am so at peace as well. If the decision is still made that the boys won’t be ours I I will praise God for the endless ways we have been blessed by this situation. The end goal is that God be glorified, not Holly gets what she wants. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13.

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!

He is Strong

I have started Judges this morning, and a theme has come forward. More like a big exclamation point!!!!!!!!! with arrows screaming >>>>>>>>”LOOK AT THIS HOLLY, MEDITATE ON THIS, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU”. Do you ever get messages from God like that when you are reading His Word? This morning I knew was going to be a “writing” morning for me, God made that clear.

The Israelites have been delivered to the promised land. They have been given their inheritance, their land, and have begun to conquer the land by God’s hand. A little background in Exodus shows God told them “I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands and you will drive them out before you.” Exodus 23:31. This is a promise from God. Then in verses 32-33 He commands them “You shall make no covenant with them or their gods. They shall not live in your land because they will make you sin against me. For if you serve their gods it will be a snare to you.”

If God promises He will deliver, if He says you WILL drive them out of your land, it should happen, right? Fast forward to Judges 1:19 “but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots.” This seems reasonable, the Canaanites had superior weapons, iron chariots, so in this instance they just couldn’t quite drive them out of the land. This is where it began. The lesson. This is where I saw that the Israelites started trusting in their flesh to accomplish the task, and didn’t have faith in God’s power, that is when it failed. The excuses began, “it’s just too hard”, “they are too strong”, “I’m doing the best I can”, which then leads to the slippery slope of “will it really hurt if they stay here”, “we can still control them into forced labor”, “I can still honor you God, but live amongst something that could make me sin”. See where this is going? What have I let stay inhabited in my life, my heart, my thoughts, because I thought the iron chains of its hold on me were too strong, or that it is just my personality, or it really isn’t hurting me, or any other excuses I come up with other than obedience. Where do I stop trusting in God and his might and power lived out in my life and instead try to work through my flesh only and try to conquer things my way or think I can ignore them?

Is God always right? He is. Judges 2:11-12 tells us the Israelites “did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them.” God knows what is GOOD for us and what is not. He wants to protect us from those snares and traps and slippery slopes.

God promises us we have the power to obey Him in all instances, because when we are saved, when we place our faith in Christ, we have the same power that raised Him from the dead. God gives us the grace through Christ to cover all of our sins, our covenant is secure, God will never leave us, but letting our minds wander away from the fixed truth of His power and might in us, produces disobedience and sin. I am weak but He is strong. The little kids song teaches us that, and His Word is full of that strength that is now part of us! Isaiah 40:29 says “He gives strength to the weary , and to him who lacks might He increases power.” That is why Paul can boast about his weaknesses, that is where the power is perfected. (2Corinthians 12:9). But it is HIM, it is not of us. He has me there. My heart is prostrate on the ground in awe of His goodness as I cry out to Him for humility and to take “ me” out of the equation, at the same time my soul is standing tall by the Holy Spirit giving me strength through the power of Christ in me to be ready and obedient. He is teaching me about His strength that is in me, EXACTLY, at the time I need it more than ever. I wasn’t searching for a lesson in God’s power this morning but that is what He gave me. He is cleaning out my heart and reminding me there is no excuse for sin, no matter what “hard” life circumstance I am in. I must be in tuned to His Word, to His whispers, of how to live my life so when it gets to the really tough parts my belief in His power will produce obedience. Examples of this in my life look like this….

Put your phone down, look at your family, be present.(Proverbs 31:27)
Don’t open your mouth and say that. (Philippians 2:14)
Don’t let your mind wander to that place. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Don’t look/read/watch/listen to that. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Get up, you need Me more than sleep. (Psalm 1:2-3)

When I ignore those reminders from God, then I am giving up and saying the iron chariots are too strong to defeat.

As we wade further into this journey of adoption for our family I continue to see God’s faithfulness in preparing me. We will have two boys staying with us for two weeks starting December 25. A gift from the Lord for sure! I don’t know if God is preparing me to be the mom of these two boys or if He is preparing me to only have them for a few weeks to foster. I don’t know if He is preparing me to have strength for going from mom to one child suddenly to mom of three children in a matter of months or if He is growing my faith and strength through Him for the loss I will feel when they leave. But He is preparing me. Today, this lesson of His power in our lives to accomplish ANY task He gives us and the destruction that comes if we don’t, is a perfectly timed lesson. The comfort that gives me, the firm foundation of hope that gives me, is proof of God’s overwhelming love for me. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:18-23.

Respite Care

Respite Care

We got a call at 3:00 today asking if we could give respite foster care to a boy for the weekend. His foster parents needed to go out of town and couldn’t take him. I left it up to my husband and he said yes. So there is a little one and a half year old boy sleeping in “little sister’s” room right now. He is precious. He hasn’t cried once. I don’t know if that is good or bad. I can’t imagine how he feels. Already in foster care, seeing his mom on visitations, now in a stranger’s house. I can’t imagine, yet he is adapting so easily. He goes back to his foster family Sunday. What a little blessing he is. He is preparing us for when we bring our child home. He is giving us a glimpse of this world that we are getting ready to be a part of, that we already are a part of. He is making it seem more real now. What a gift in a little package that loves cars and bananas and rain and doggies. There is so much we’ve learned about him already, without him saying much. A lot of wondering and contemplating has melted away that I have had about our adopting. Wondering what it is going to be like to bring a child in who we have never met. Wondering if I can immediately scoop them up and nurture and make them family. I know each child is different and the child we adopt will be different and challenges will arise, but this little guy has been a sweet, sweet gift, a reminder of the equipping God does when he calls us to something. “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:16‬. Little does he know the impact he already has had. It will be hard to let him go and it’s only a weekend! How do foster parents do it?? A lot of trusting in God! SG and I went into his room while he was sleeping and prayed over him (her idea!!). That is another blessing, I now have a chance to pray for him even when he leaves, another life God has asked us to remember and pray for. Oh what this is teaching SG! I didn’t fully think that through, but I can already see the impact and how her heart is being prepared also. I am so thankful God has put so many people in my life who have experienced fostering and adoption, each family I have already learned so much from. ‬‬‬‬‬‬
I am praying God will continue to teach me through this process as I get a greater understanding of our eternal adoption and this calling to adoption He has brought our family to and that I would humbly put “me” aside in all of this. It is about another person’s soul, this little guy in my house tonight delivered that message so clearly.“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬