Monday, September 19, 2011

Building Character

Two toddlers run around. One carefully checking out where the next move should be.
The other running carefree. They collide. The careful one is instantly in tears thinking his life is over from that horrible "crash". The other oblivious and keeps on playing. Crashes are just a part of her day after all.

This is the image that goes through my head as the pastor talks about suffering building character. Resiliance.
Paul talks in Romans about rejoicing in our suffering.

I don't think either child rejoiced about getting hurt, but one didn't let it stop her. It's happened before and she knows she'll be okay. Perhaps she turned to her mom to look for reassurance, and when she received a smile, she knew. All is well.

The hurt child doesn't know this feeling and doesn't like it. I am sure he too ran to his parent. Crying out for her to make it all better all the while wondering how on earth she could let this happen to him! Why would his mom let him get hurt?

Was the mom a bad mom? Was she mean?

No, but she knew he would be okay. She maybe did allow it to happen, but she knew he would watch out next time. Or maybe he would learn to not be so scared, to know that bumps and bruises will happen, but they won't be the end of us.

Is God a mean God because He allows us to get hurt?
Or does He simply wait for us to learn from our hurts. To look to Him to know that it's going to be okay and it will not be the end of us. It may feel like it will be, but it won't.

Because we have hope.

A hope in Christ that no one can take away.
A hope that comes from us being so low we need to look up and ahead.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

How is God instilling HOPE in you today?

Linking up Michelle De Rusha for Hear it, Use it. A great communitiy of faith writers- you really should check it out! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do Something

This week I have had the choices to make.
Choice 1- feel sorry for myself - miserable, but does allow for extra chocolate consumption which I usually see as a perk
Choice 2- Do Something- listening to the people God put in my way- sometimes quite literally IN. MY. WAY.- and find that passion back that drove me to this journey of foster-adoption.

Since God has put people so literally IN MY WAY of feeling sorry for myself, I chose option 2. But don't worry, I still found reason to eat chocolate.

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of listening to one of the most amazing women I have met, share her story. Margot was here in Iowa speaking about Compassion Int'l at a college chapel.  I was there volunteering to help at the Compassion booth. I really had no idea what to expect. After all, I only became a child sponsor last fall..Margot Starbuck is a woman who radiates so much joy and enthusiasm for life that you can't imagine she's ever had a bad day in her entire life. But the truth is, she has had many bad days and really if anyone could have justifiably made the choice to feel sorry for herself, it is Margot. Instead, she takes all she has been dealt and makes it her passion to tell others how much God loves them. Each.  One. YOU. Compassion has allowed her to tell many children how much God loves them and that He really is for them . Not only through her sponsored children, but the audiences she speaks to and to anyone she meets on the street. And in the short time I got to know her, I am pretty sure that she really will stop you on the street just to make sure you know that true joy!

Hearing her passion for Compassion, got me to thinking about why I became a sponsor. And remembering that, also helped to refuel my energy to help children and stop feeling sorry for me.

Last year around October I believe, fellow blogger and friend, Duane Scott participated in Compassion Thursdays- highlighting a child in need of a sponsor. Honestly, I was going to breeze past it. I have heard of Compassion and thought about it, but I figured, hey, I am a foster parent for crying out loud, I am trying to do my part to help kids. I figured this was for other people and I left it alone.  But God didn't leave it alone.

So, why won't you sponsor a child?
      Well, God, you laid it on my heart to help the children. So I signed up to be a foster adoptive parent. So far, that isn't exactly going well.

So, you'll only help the children who can come to you?
    Well, uh, no... but if this is all you wanted me to do, why would I go through this whole other process?? It makes no sense why you lay one thing on my heart and now tell me to do another!

Is adoption only about the child's need?
    Well, no. I guess it is also about me filling my desire to have more children...

So, you don't want to do this because you won't get anything in return?
      When you put it that way... it does sound like that.

Trust. Me.

And so I did. I knew that God was telling me to step outside my wants and my desires and reminding me that when I say I am here for His children, that I need to be there no matter what.Whether I gain from it or never see any personal change,  I had to DO SOMETHING. And I did see change. After I trusted God. After I obeyed Him and acted on His call to help His children, not only was I blessed to have Charlie Brown come into our lives, we were also blessed by an adorable boy named Riski in Indonesia. Blessed by the fact that he and his parents pray for all of my family and loves my children as though they are indeed siblings. Blessed by knowing how little I do for him makes such a huge impact in his daily life. Blessed in being able to share with this child that God is For Him. Blessed in him telling us the same thing.

But it isn't enough. I need to do something! There is work to be done. There is much need for orphans and poor. Whether here in the U.S. or overseas in a poverty stricken country. We are Christians and we are called to DO. Not just a little. Not our extra. But to give of ourselves- give until it hurts. Not just financially, but give up ourselves.

The other person I listened to this week was via a link that was sent from our foster support group leader. This video is taken from the Adopting for Life Conference back in 2010. David Platt is a pastor, author, and adoptive parent. The video is almost an hour long, but I promise you, it is worth your time.  I couldn't find the code to put the video on here, so you will need to follow the link. If you have ever considered fostering, adoption, child sponsorship, you need to watch this. And if you have never considered any of those things, you need to watch this. He spoke to so many of my emotions in such a powerful way. He really got me in the beginning when he said how we sometimes wish God would just take those longings away that He put there. If nothing is going to happen anyways, why do you want us to feel this way, God? I don't know how many times I have been on my knees saying those exact same words to God.

God is sovereign. There are no coincidences. He has it all planned out. Will you listen to His call, even when it hurts?