Tag Archives: adoption

Tall, Grande, Venti

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One of the most important decisions when ordering coffee is what size you want. Each size has its own merit and each size has its own cost. We have to weigh the cost against the amount of coffee we feel we need and can finish. Oh how like life that is! Each decision we make has a cost. Each cost reflects the worth.

In working with others, our decisions matter. Each decision effects others and reflects our opinion of their worth. Jonah had this problem. He felt the people of Nineveh were not worth his time, effort, or his God. It seemed to hurt more than the fish bite!

Jonah chapters 3-4

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion

4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Sometimes we get mad at God. I was taught that getting mad at God was unnatural to a Christian. That isn’t true. A relationship with God is not one sided. If that is all God wanted from his creation, the animals would have sufficed for company. God wanted beings he could communicate with. Although God’s motives are pure and he never makes mistakes. Ours are not, and we mess up every day.

4:1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

One thing that struck me about Jonah was he got mad at God for who he is. He got mad at God for doing something good. Do you ever get mad at God for doing something good? I have. As a mom, this happens to me frequently, as a foster mom even more! Sometimes I even get mad when God gives me what I want and I realize it isn’t all it was cracked up to be. “These kids are hard. This house is not meeting my needs properly. This child shouldn’t be here. God why did you bring me to this place?”

I love how God responded to Jonah.

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

The dialog recorded between them is sometimes even comical because it is so outrageously relatable. Especially if you have a four year old or a temper like mine. Jonah would say something and God would respond to what what going on in Jonah’s mind and heart, not what was coming out of his mouth. Boy is that a lesson in parenting!!! What wisdom is displayed there!! Then God would lovingly present another perspective to Jonah. Jonah didn’t take it, at least not in the recorded story. But in the end God had a “mic drop” moment.

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

It doesn’t matter if we respond to God’s leading and even attempt to see the other perspective he offers, truth is truth!! And God will not yield to our brattiness. Sometimes being faced with truth requires us to act against our feelings which is contrary to our natural selves. (Jonas’ obedience to God required him to act against the way he was feeling about the people of Nineveh) But God will lovingly provide fresh perspective, shade and comfort, and will show us his power over it all. If Jonah had put his eyes on God instead of himself he would have experienced a share in the power and redemption of God. When we release everything to him, he will live through us.

The same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives within us!

Every time we complain to God,he will remind us of who He is!! Once we see him and not us, he will show us what to do in light of who he is! He will never give us solutions that don’t flow out of who he is for us and through us, for his glory!

Jonah’s decision to run from God had consequences, but one of the best things that came out of it was the men of the Ship’s salvation!! God used Jonah’s disobedience and his testimony of repentance to bring others to Christ!! How encouraging is that! If God used our disobedience, how much more will he do when we do our best to do what is right. Our decisions have consequences, but a decision we make that may not be the best one but is made to the best of our ability as we surrender to God will be used!

The king of Nineveh called for a kingdom wide turning to the Lord, regardless of whether or not the Lord changed his mind.

7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

That is true repentance, we don’t repent so nothing bad will happen we repent because we realize that we are wrong and our only hope is God. We are not preserving our life, we are preserving our relationship.

Jonah did not like the people of Nineveh and he did not like his calling, he did not like that The God who was gracious to him in the belly of the fish, was also extending his love grace and mercy to people he had pre judged as unworthy.

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Jonah 2:8 ESV

This is the God we serve, he loves us when we are vile and unloving. When we stomp off to pout he grows a plant to shade us. He is patient with us when we are angry with him and others, he does not surrender his power or give in to our ridiculousness. But he doesn’t blast us out of the water for being human. We want to see justice done and we think we can decide what someone else deserves. God loves and forgives. Our concern for others should be to see them loved, not punished.

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Jonah 2:8 ESV

What decisions are you facing? Do you feel like you are paying “venti” price for a “tall” sized product? Are you mad at God for doing something good or not giving you what you want? Ask him to put your eyes on him, ask him to remind you that people are priceless, look for the shaded plants he has provided for you along the way, and trust him for the outcome and to provide the currency required for the cost!

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Bulletproof coffee

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Bulletproof coffee

Recently I took my low carb diet up a notch and gave into the fad of bulletproof coffee. The concept is simple but takes time. It promises results while furnishing you with a unique blend of caffeine, and fat, and natural sugar substitute. It is a meal replacement that propels you forward and contributes to your overall dietary needs and goals. Essentially, it “bulletproofs” your meal giving you energy and necessary calories, while protecting you from a sugar spike and eating too many carbs for breakfast.

Ever wish you could be “bulletproof?”

Have you ever felt the need to be protected? Have you ever been attacked by someone or lied about? What about your loved ones?

I don’t know know about you but if I am attacked or betrayed personally it’s painful, but I feel like I can manage. When someone I love, especially my husband is hurt it makes me feel like a soldier in a prison of war. I want to be a warrior but it feels like my hands are tied. When my kids are hurt it makes me want to fight even if I am tied up.

Hurt is a multifaceted thing. Often, especially in ministry, the pain that we go through has to be kept private. This adds another layer of pain. We don’t want to lie, but we also can’t tell the truth so we suffer in silence. We don’t want our pain to cause someone else to hurt.

Recently God has been taking my family through a valley of darkness. In this darkness I have experienced pain for myself, husband, and children. Psalm 23 is something I am thankful God took me through recently because it has had so many applications in this present hardship. That post can be found here:Brewing

But, I have been studying David’s journey running from Saul the past few days. God has used it to show me some truth that I would like to share in hopes of encouraging you but also to record it for my own altar of remembrance.

David was innocent of the charges Saul brought against him. He had dealt with Saul’s being kind then turning on him over and over. Finally he had to leave his home and run. While Saul searched for him and caused destruction all along the way, David looked back and felt it was because of him others were hurt and even lost their lives. And yet, God protected him and allowed the destruction to continue for a time.

Two separate instances have been very significant and precious to me from his journey I would like to share:

1 Samuel 21 New Life Version (NLV)
David Runs from Saul
21 David came to Ahimelech the religious leader at Nob. Ahimelech came shaking in fear to meet David, and said to him, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” 2 David said to Ahimelech the religious leader, “The king has given me something to do. And he has said to me, ‘Let no one know anything about what I have sent you to do.’ I have told the young men to meet at a certain place. 3 Now, what do you have ready? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you may have.” 4 The religious leader answered David, “I only have bread which has been set apart as holy, if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David told the religious leader, “For sure women have been kept from us while we have traveled. The bodies of the young men are holy even on everyday trips. How much more they are today!” 6 So the religious leader gave him holy bread. For there was no bread there but the bread before the Lord. It was taken from before the Lord, so hot bread could be put in its place. 7 Now one of Saul’s servants happened to be there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the head of Saul’s shepherds.
8 David said to Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or a sword? I did not bring my sword or any spears with me, because I had to hurry to do the king’s work.” 9 The religious leader said, “The sword is here that belonged to Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah. See, it is behind the linen vest, with a cloth around it. Take it, if you will. For it is the only one here.” And David said, “There is none like it. Give it to me.”
10 Then David got up and ran that day from Saul. He went to Achish king of Gath.

David needed help. He went to the religious leader for help. The priest thought at first that his resources were extremely limited. The bread he gave him was not even supposed to be given but he did and God used it to refresh and feed and care for David. This was something God did that was special for him. What I learned from this was to look for the bread God is providing in my life that feeds my emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. Within our situation we have seen so many things God has nurtured us with and had so many people come to us letting us know they love us and they are praying. These encouragements have been bread. Even almost “forbidden” bread at times.

David needed weapons. This was so incredible to me!!! The only sword that the priest had to give him was the sword David had used to cut off the head of Goliath!!!????!!! Wow!!! How cool is that? So the weapon David left with, was actually a tangible reminder of what God had done for him in the past. To carry with him, to help him, and to be used for the other part of the story God used to help me so much…

1 Samuel 24 New Life Version (NLV)
David Did Not Kill Saul
24 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “See, David is in the desert of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took 3,000 chosen men from all Israel, and went to find David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the places where the sheep were kept on the way. There was a cave there, and Saul went in to get rid of his body waste. Now David and his men were sitting farther back in the cave. 4 David’s men said to David, “See, this is the day the Lord told you, ‘See, I am about to give the one who hates you into your hand. You will do to him what you think is best.’” Then David got up and cut off a piece of Saul’s clothing in secret. 5 After this, David felt guilty in his heart because he had cut off a piece of Saul’s clothing. 6 So he said to his men, “May the Lord not let me put out my hand against my leader, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.” 7 David stopped his men with these words. He did not let them go against Saul. So Saul stood up and left the cave, and went on his way.
8 After this David got up and went out of the cave and called to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David put his face to the ground, showing much respect. 9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘David wants to hurt you’? 10 See, your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you to me today in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I had pity on you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my leader, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.’ 11 Now, my father, see the piece of your clothing in my hand. I cut off the piece of your clothing but did not kill you. So know and understand that I have no desire to do wrong to you. I have not sinned against you, yet you come wanting to kill me. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. May He punish you for your action against me. But my hand will not be against you. 13 As the men of long ago said in their wisdom, ‘Out of the sinful comes sin,’ but my hand will not be against you. 14 After whom has the king come out? After whom are you running? After a dead dog? After a little bug? 15 May the Lord be the One to judge between you and me. May He see and help me, and save me from you.” 16 When David had finished speaking to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul gave a loud cry. 17 He said to David, “You are more right and good than I. For you have brought good to me, while I have done wrong to you. 18 You have said today that you have done good to me. The Lord gave me to you and you did not kill me. 19 If a man finds the one who hates him, will he let him go away safe? May the Lord bring good to you for what you have done for me this day. 20 Now I know that you will be king for sure. The nation of Israel will be made strong under your power. 21 So promise to me by the Lord that you will not destroy my children after me. Promise that you will not destroy my name from my father’s family.” 22 David gave Saul his promise, and Saul went home. But David and his men went up to the safe place.

The weapon David carried was used to produce the evidence of his innocence. David used the sword to cut off a piece of Saul’s robe and decided not to harm him. We have to remember that our weapons are not always to do harm and usually aren’t. Even the whole armor of God is to be used to stand.

His innocence was proclaimed and peace was brought to the situation.

But David didn’t just go home with Saul and say everything was fine. There was forgiveness and afterwards David went back to the safe place. Relationships can come to a peaceful place and still not be safe.

The biggest thing I see from this lesson in my life and how God has used it in my situation is first and foremost his love and provision for me and my family. I can protect myself and family simply by standing for the truth. I can know that God will provide bread and the weapons we need to come through this trial in peace.

What are the things in your situation that you can see are “bread”? These are the things God used to minister to you physically emotionally and spiritually.

What “weapons”do you have at your disposal? These are the things God gives us that are tangible reminders of things he has done for you in the past. (Like his Word!!) How are you choosing to use those weapons? Are you choosing to obey God or Man?

Being bulletproof means to be protected. Being bulletproof does not stop bullets from coming and it doesn’t stop the pain when they do. Being bulletproof does mean that through the danger and pain you are able to stand. I pray he will continue to reveal his love and power and provision to us. That he will show those who would bring us harm that he loves on both sides. I pray he will continue to bring clarity and peace. I pray as the bullets keep coming that he will teach us how to apply his armor and the weapons we carry will remind of us his past provision and that we will use them for his glory! I am thankful for the bread along the way, I pray he will use it to nourish us while we run, while we stand, while war is raging and when peace comes. And that afterwards he will give us wisdom about where to go next!

Filed under miscellaneous

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This statement is meant to wrap into a neat little package the inevitable undesirable circumstances life brings and tie it up with a ribbon. To be identified, solved and put away. The ability to process information and file it away where it belongs is how we handle all things negative and positive: both to remember and to forget. What happens, though, when you are faced with information that just will not compute? Where do you file things that are so unimaginable that you will never forget and will never understand, or worse, are afraid to understand fearing it will leave a permanent stain?

How do you recover from pain that follows you the rest of you life? Dreams unrealized, expectations obliterated, illusions shattered by those who were supposed to shelter you, what do you do with these?

Sometimes it feels as if we must break them up into smaller pieces and file them in the places those pieces alone fit. However, doing that leaves fragments behind that don’t belong anywhere and are missing information that helped them remain tangible. Essentially leaving us right back where we started except now the information is scattered. The only hope we have of ever moving forward is for them to be kept together. A whole, a file containing all of the information. This means that when we remember, we remember it all. When we forget, we forget it all. It also means that we will never remember or forget for long.

When no amount of organizing or processing is effective we must add the file as a whole to “Miscellaneous”. We must allow our selves to explore the pain, to grieve, to savor the good refusing to believe that it wasn’t real. We must also allow ourselves to be broken so that we can begin to pick up the pieces. I am convinced, anything less will hold us back from healthy emotional connections and the continued genuine presentation of our selves. Bitterness and resolve are opposite sides of a coin. We must decide which side we are on. Pushing everything aside or breaking it apart will lead to bitterness and leave us with leftover pieces that will never be filed away. Wholeness comes with the strength gained from walking through the pain of being shattered and put back together better than we were before. A mirror once broken produces the best rainbows!

Mommy of four?! Part 4

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She sat down across from me as we prepared to have our meeting.  The auditorium was still a little noisy with several groups of people fellowshiping and preparing to leave, but it was as if the world stood still and it was just the two of us.

I took a deep breath and Jay Jay said “what is going on? You are scaring me”

“I need to tell you something.” I recounted the information I had received about Jalica and I told her how we had been praying since before she left that God would bring her a very specific kind of family.  Jay Jay and her husband fit that description to a tee.  I told her it wouldn’t be easy, that she would have a uphill battle ahead but that God had put them on my heart when I knew Jalicia was ready and waiting for her forever home.  By the end of the meeting we were both in tears and prayed together.  She said they would talk and pray and get back with us.

Two weeks before Christmas Jalicia was placed with Jay Jay and her husband Jason.  We planned to take them dinner their second night together.  I had never been to their house before and I asked for their address to obtain directions.  That’s when I found out that they live around the corner!!! Jalicia and Owen get to grow up together and we now have a new branch of our family. We get to be in Jalicia’s life and she in ours! She calls us aunt and uncle now!! God is so good!!!!

Tomorrow they will stand before the judge and take their own oathe and become an official forever family!! I cannot wait to celebrate with them!! 

Mommy of four?! Part 3

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I wrote before about our science co op. It was a long time ago but it is important to note that it was through that co op that my kids began attending the church that our co op met in on Wednesday nights.  

Kaitlyn’s class was called STARS and she had been asking for prayer for our situation and she missed Jalicia and prayed for her all the time.  

A few weeks after Jalicia left I found myself hanging around after the services there, talking with Kaitlyn’s teacher Jay Jay.  It was pretty cool because she had been wanting to talk to me about fostering for a while. She and her husband had been liscnesed to adopt for a long time and were praying for God to give them a family.  I felt like God had given me a friend but I was also very thankful that Kaitlyn had a teacher who cared enough to pray and could understand some of what we were going through. All part of God’s plan to bring healing.

In October we found out that the case would be closing because all of the children were going to be adopted.  They were all in the homes that were going to adopt them. Every thing was set…or so we thought.

I received a frantic call telling me that Jalicia would need to be moved ASAP from the home she was in.  We starting praying that God would intervene.  I spoke with the case worker and told her I had an idea and asked if it was a legitimate option she said yes.

So I made a phone call and set a meeting. Two nights later I was preparing to have yet another life changing conversation. I had to get ready for the possibility of an epic turn of events. I walked into the room my stomach in knots. God please give me what I need and please help me breathe!

Mommy of four?! Part 2

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Over the next few weeks things changed-a lot.  We were attempting to get our bearings and learning the ropes of being a family of six.  

We had good days and bad days.  It soon became clear that little Jalicia needed way more than we could give and we were in way over our heads.  Thankfully though, God wasn’t. 

We began to arrange for services to be put in place to get her and us the help we all desperately needed.  Then we got the news that changed everything.  She was going to be moved from us to another home.  

We were both partially relieved and also devestated.  I knew I wasn’t meant to be her mom but I so wanted to be.  I knew that my little family had been through a war zone and that my children needed some recovery time.  I also worried about Jalicia as she had to start over fresh-again.  I knew we would continue to see her at sibling visits and that I would know how she was doing.  I didn’t know if I could handle knowing that either. What if things didn’t go well? Would I be watching her struggle? Could I handle the outcome? We began praying that God would give her a wonderful new home that it would be a smooth transition and that she would be happy.  

Two weeks later we found out that she had been moved again and again.  It broke my heart so much.  We just prayed and prayed that God would bring her a couple who either had grown children or never had children who would love her and care for her and give her all the attention she needed and deserved and could meet her needs and be her forever family. 

Finally Home

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One year ago, around ten o’clock pm, DCF placed a sleeping baby boy into Kaitlyn’s arms and in that moment he entered our hearts! 

For the next ten months we engaged in a legal, personal, and emotional battle. We fought to protect him. We strived to teach him. We interceded for him in prayer.  Through the fear of loosing him, through the joy of loving him and having him with us, we trusted God.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,When as yet there were none of them.

All the days fashioned for me were written before there was one. We were not there for his birth, or his first 11 months of life, but God was! He was writing his story and guiding his journey to us! We celebrated his first birthday with him. We saw his first steps! Johnny and Kait became big brother and big sister. He was our first placement, and we were his. His firsts mirrored ours as we bonded together as a family of five for the first time! 

Genesis 50:20…”As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be saved, as they are today.”

Owen was born into a circumstance that Satan meant for harm. God’s plans are never thwarted. We believe that he meant him to be with us and now is the fulfillment of his plan!  It brings to mind what I wrote about his first night with us:”Even after all he had been through, he didn’t cry, he just looked up at us and smiled like he had always known us.” Maybe in his little baby heart God had reassured him that after all he had been through his first 20 months of life(9 in the womb, 11 out), he was finally Home.

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

On February 17, 2016 Baby “O” officially became Samuel Owen Andersen. Standing in front of the judge we took a collective oath as a family that we accept him into our family with all the rights and privileges and equal treatment as our son. It was one of the top five moments of my life! His name means “we prayed for this warrior.” We call him Owen. This journey is a roller coaster ride and it is exciting and scary and pushes the limits of reality and sanity. It is incredible!