Monday, April 27, 2020

HE Will Complete It

Have you got a few more minutes to be blessed?
Click on over to Youtube to listen to He Who Began a Good Work in You.
Just close your eyes and allow God to lift your heart.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

They Don't Know

This morning I had a few minutes of quiet.
I sat in the presence of God and just enjoyed being silent. Ahhhhhh.
And in the midst of the peaceful moment I heard, uh, something.
I am not going to call it noise, since that word usually has a negative association.
What I heard was delightful.
I heard birds singing. They were chirping and carrying on as if they had not a care in the world. The sound was sweet to my ears, and I quickly discovered it was also sweet to my heart. So I sat in the silence and I enjoyed the birds' song. As I listened, however, I thought, They must not know.
The birds were singing so joyfully, I realized they must not know the current status of the world.
Clearly, they don't know everyone is stuck at home - discouraged by the known, and fearful of the unknown. They must be unaware that most of the world is feeling a sense of despair because of sickness and uncertainty, and being told to shelter-in-place, and staring at the same walls and people day after day.
Indeed, the birds were singing so sweetly, there was no way they could have known.
Then I glanced out the window and I realized the flowers don't know, either.
They stood so lovely and full of color. They didn't look at all like the grey sky above, nor did they act as if they were disappointed with staying in the same place
They just sat there, all beautiful and stuff, and brought joy to my heart.
And in that moment it was as if God said to me, You're right, darling. They don't know. They aren't bothered by any of it. Because I am taking care of them, providing everything they need. And do you know what, dear one? Just as I am tending to the birds and the flowers, I will always care for you. Fear not, My child, I am with you.
So I am choosing today to be a little more like the birds and flowers.
Although I do know, and even though my feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged are very real at times, the faithfulness of God is more real. And because of HIM, I am not going to fear. I will live today trusting God and not worrying about tomorrow.
Ahhhh, I am so thankful they don't know - so I could learn.


Monday, April 20, 2020

I Surrender

I am in a season which I truly didn't see coming.
Actually, I guess we probably all share that sentiment right about now.
As I am trying to understand what God is doing - how HE is shaping my life and refining my character, and as I seek to be obedient to His work (and try not to cry and whine about how difficult it gets sometimes...) I am facing the reality that my posts here will be irregular, and maybe sparse at times.
(Such a hard thing for a Type-A personality like mine!)
I find great joy in writing posts on my blog. It delights me that God often takes the things through which I am going and about which I write and blesses others. I love being used by Him here!
But the truth is, sometimes I get too caught up in thinking about blogging. Even though writing posts and encouraging people is a good thing, there are occasions when I need to step back. And now seems to be one of those times. Not sure if God is doing it to ease my stress at the moment, or to humble me. To remind me that I have limits, and that the world will - in fact - carry on quite adequately, even without my two cents' worth.
Whatever His purpose, I am trusting it is good. And I am choosing to submit to it.

So, until the next post, may you keep your eyes fixed upon HIM - and may your heart remain faithfully surrendered.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

In Make-Believe

I took a walk yesterday. Sort of.
That is, I suggested to Foster that we go for a walk to get some fresh air and I put on my shoes and coat and hat and gloves. But seconds after we were out of the house, it wasn't really "me" who was going on the walk. Foster quickly asked me to become "her."
That is, Queen Elizabeth.
I'm pretty sure Foster likes me well enough, but every time we go for a walk he asks me to bring her out. And every time, he becomes somebody else, too. I have, I mean, Queen Elizabeth has walked with Batman, Spiderman, Super Foster, and even the Joker.
But yesterday I, I mean, she met somebody new.
It was quite an interesting experience, as the queen learned about the life of an anti-hero (and the definition of such). And as she listened to his adventures which included escaping from televisions to enter new dimensions, as well as his angst with being put into silly children's movies when someone gave him a bad rating in his own movies. Deadpool spoke of "them" making him play roles he didn't want to play, and wear costumes of which he was not fond. Sometimes he even looked up - to make contact with the "them" on the other side - and complained about the nonesense they were asking him to do.
Fortunately, by the time the walk ended "they" had returned Deadpool's chip and agreed to let him act in the movies with which he was pleased. And all was good in the (make-believe) world.

That's pretty much the way our walks go.
I, as the queen, am surprised by the appearance of one hero or another (or villan, or anti-hero...) and proceed to spend the next 20 minutes or so listening to his story and seeking to solve whatever problem he is facing on that day.
If I was a licensed professional psychologist I might be able to analyze and treat the real behind the pretend. Maybe.
But I am not.
And I cannot.
I'm just a foster mom seeking to love a foster son, and to point him to Hope in the process.
And I think that's enough.
For real.

How's your story today? Do you need Someone to help you with your real?


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Delivering Hope Through Cyber Space

Four months ago I recorded this poscast with a friend.
And for some reason, God caused her to hold on to it until now.
I listened to it last night and was so encouraged to remember God's faithfulness in the midst of strife. So for each of you who is struggling today - whether it's due to the children in your home, or some other source - I want to offer you now 43 minutes of hope.
Praying God will speak to your heart through this podcast.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Friday, April 10, 2020

Be Still and Hold Fast

I cannot count the number of different emotions, outlooks, concerns, attitudes, and perspectives I have experienced this week. (It's kind of been like the weather of late. Just took a walk and went from cool breeze to snow er, no, it's sleet to light drizzle to sunshine in one trip around the block.)
Anyway, it has been a week full of struggles and small victories. Of contending with negative thoughts and listening to the Voice of Truth.
I have learned more fully that I need to become less, so HE may become greater.
I have been constantly reminded that in my weakness HIS strength is more than enough.
My battle weary heart has longed for renewal from the One who possesses the victory.

In the midst of all that - and by the grace of God - I found time to study hope in His Word.
And His Spirit used the lessons, study conversations, and tender moments of worship to convince my spirit of this: I simply need to be still and hold fast.
Be still. Cease talking, arguing, justifying, whining, or trying to convince HIM that I know how things should go. A.k.a. Trust that God knows what He is doing.
Hold fast. Cling to, depend on, embrace, safegaurd, and preserve the truth that God in His Son has brought salvation to the world. Including me. And nothing - no trial, frustration, disappointment, battle, or interference - can pluck me from His hand.
Therein is my hope: The sovereign God of the universe has me in the palm of His hand for eternity.

Do you know this hope, too???


Monday, April 06, 2020

Friday, April 03, 2020

It's My Pleasure

Have you ever heard of people going through a drive-thru and paying for the person behind them?
It is a kind gesture, and I've experienced it occasionally when I'm working.
But this week people seem to be upping the good will.
That is, I worked Wednesday and Thursday and both days I had somebody say, "I'd like to pay for the person behind me." Both times, the person behind had a fairly sizeable order (That's how it's going lately. One person making a food-run for a larger group.) but the person gifting the meal didn't mind. Their generosity wasn't deterred.
And, can I tell you? That one act of kindness brings so much joy!
Obviously, the person receiving the free meal(s) is pleased. I mean, really. If I was allowed to have my phone with me and record their reactions, I would share them with you. But I can't. So you'll need to trust me when I say their eyes light up, and they share expressions of wonder and why-am-I-so-lucky? I relish the moment when I say, "The person in front of you paid for your order," just so I can take in the looks of surprise and delight which I know will be gracing their faces.
And that's where another aspect of the joy comes into the picture. Of course there is joy for the recipient, but there is also great happiness for the employees inside. The one passing along the good news, and the rest of the crew who witnesses the benevolence. Honestly, each time somebody pays for the person next in line I hear whispers and comments behind me from employees who are eager to share the news with one another. It gets especially fun when the gift gets passed along down the line.

All that to say, it isn't terribly uncommon for acts such as this to be done around the holidays - when people naturally tend to reach out with kindness. But our present season is quite different.
World-wide sickness, quarantine, and social distancing are hardly a recipe for celebration, yet it's what I see happening more and more.
Times are hard, but hearts are soft. We're in this together.
And together - even if it's at least 6 feet apart - we're going to make it.


Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Ummmm, WHY?

I saw something yesterday I've never seen before.
I mean, I have seen them, but not in the context in which they appeared yesterday.
That is, I saw tears. Running down Foster's cheeks.
And, until that moment, I had never seen him cry.
But yesterday some feelings came up for Foster and the only way he could express them was to cry. He tried to put words to the emotions inside of him, and with prompting he was able to get some of it out.
In the end, however, tears were the best way. So I gave him tissues and sat by his side, trying to assure him it was OK to cry.
As I sat there, I was also praying - begging God to give me grace and wisdom to lead this little boy through the feelings he was having. Asking Him to heal the circumstances. Wondering WHY He was allowing this sweet little boy to live in these circumstances.
Actually, I've found myself wondering, WHY?, with an increasing frequency in recent days.
There's the circumstance we expected to play out smoothly - because it has been done hundreds of times before. We can think of no (earthly) reason for all the delays and hurdles which have caused frustration along the way. And certainly, no one expected the HALT which just forced itself into the works.
I'm witnessing various individuals go through trials with work scenarios, family relationships, personal battles, and physical challenges. Not to mention the economic and health-related adversities so much of the world is facing right now in the face of COVID-19.

One of those individuals simply said, "I'm stuggling with my faith."
And my first reaction in each of these moments is to wonder, WHY?
Why, God? Why have You allowed all this...stuff? Why not just wave Your loving hand over the earth and make it all better? Why must we struggle, God? WHY???
Then His Spirit reminds me of the Truth.
He brings scripture to mind, like Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
He causes me to remember Job and Joseph and David and Daniel and other biblical heroes who faced trials - whose faith was tested and proved - who emerged more resolute on the other side.
I remember episodes of God's faithfulness in my own life.
He speaks to my heart to remind me of the times His plan didn't make sense to me - when I questioned His actions, because I couldn't discern His ways. Until He had brought me to the other side of the struggle and I was able to benefit from hindsight.
Indeed, in the middle of my WHY? God brings me to a place of rememberance.
Of recognizing who HE is: faithful, and good, and unchanging.
Then before I know it, my heart is aching to trust the One who is trustworthy. Though my mind cannot explain the reasons WHY?, my soul experiences the peace which surpasses understanding because my spirit knows: just as HE was faithful in the past, so HE is today, and will also be tomorrow.
Thus, I choose to dismiss my questions. And I abandon myself to trusting God.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

~Isaiah 55:8-9