Chronicling the joys and challenges of the life Mrs. Hays

Friday, December 20, 2013

What a Man...

Let me tell you about one of the best men I've ever met: My husband.

We have been married five years now, and I'm still in shock about how this guy could choose me. Maybe it was because of my awesome laster tag skills that I had when we played our Senior year in high school or because of the letters I sent to him in bootcamp, but somehow I snagged him.

I have been so blessed to see him grow into an amazing man of God. He leads not only me, but our family to seek after God with our whole hearts. And he leads by example. I can't say that I've met more than a handful of people who do that.

I watched Sean go from a man who said he'd be more than happy with just one kid, to now wanting five (or as many as God wants us to have.) That, my friends, is because he let God mold him into who He wanted Sean to be.

I'm challenged by him on a daily basis. I'm stubborn and don't want to change my ways. But when I see my husband willing to change and grow because of how God is prodding him, I want to change and grow. I wish it was as easy as he made it seem though. He truly changes with ease and lets God mold him.

Sean used to be this quiet, introverted man. Of course he's still just a little quiet ;-) but not with our kids. He plays, he talks, he interacts like an amazing dad does. He puts himself out there for them because of what they need and want. He's one of the best dad's I've ever met.

Even with our new little guy, he helps in the middle of the night when G is having his fussy time. He's amazing.


He's also one of the hardest workers I've ever met. Right now he's not only a husband, a daddy of FOUR :-), and working 50+ hour weeks, but he's getting his masters. Yes, it's crazy. And I think sometimes he's a little crazy. But we know that's what God wants Him to do. And rather than shying away from the difficulties, he presses on. He really even does so well in all of them. When I'm feeling so drained and needing time with him, he's willing to post-pone homework and give me a date-night-in. When the girls want to play mommy/baby with him, he'll agree to be their son and cry for them all they like. When he's asked to work all Thanksgiving, he does it, because he's a man of his word. And when he's asked to right 12 page papers, he writes them well and gives all he's got.


When I grow up I hope to be like him. I want to be kind and compassionate in all circumstances to our kids. I want to give 100% when I feel like only giving 50%. I want to honest and caring and loving at all times.

I'm so blessed to have you in my life. I love you Sean :-) Happy 5 Year Anniversary.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Letter to A

I wish I was the mom you deserved.

When I step back from everything that's going on and look at you I see such a beautiful, amazing daughter of God.

You are a girl that lights up a room with your infectious smile. You get giddy with excitement over the simplest things. You bring such joy to our family.


I don't know why I'm so hard on you. Maybe it's because I see too much of myself in you so I push you harder and harder until one of us breaks.


It's not fair, and I'm sorry baby girl. You don't deserve that at all.

You are the girl, the new girl, who decides to befriend the other new girl at school. Your teacher said he's never known a new student to step up and welcome the other new student. But you do.
You are also the best sister in the world. Even when Abby is mean to you, you look for any way to be sweet and kind. Any girl would kill to have a sister like you.


You, my daughter, have the love of God in you and you share it with everyone else. Sometimes you may go overboard and smother, but you love wholeheartedly.

I pray you never lose that passion and zeal and child-like love of Christ. Tonight you made a poster of the manger scene and wrote "God sent Jesus to save us." Then you made a beautiful song about how God's people were being very bad, but because God loves us so much He gave us Jesus, and now His people can be good because we have Jesus. You're so precious.

I'm sorry I'm hard on you. Please forgive me sweet girl.

I love you always and forever.

Mommy

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Letter to T

My awesome sister, Beth, blogs. If you don't read her blog, you should start. She's pretty amazing and very well spoken/written. She has inspired me to begin writing a letter to my children. She has done quite a few and they're beautifully sentimental. I have this ideal world that I won't forget any moments with my children, good or bad. That my brain will remember it all. However, I am already forgetting simple things that were so "monumental" during Abby's first year of life.
So, I will begin writing letters to my kiddos.

My first is to my beautiful five year old, T. She begins kindergarten on Wednesday, and I'm nervous, but excited for her. We went to her "Back To School" night last night and got a whole slew of paperwork to fill out. One was a sheet asking me to tell the teacher all about her. I love that I was forced to sit down and think about so many different things concerning just T. We fill out so much paperwork on these girls that I get lost in completing the task. But this time, I got to stop and think about this precious daughter of mine.

To my T.,

I am so blessed and honored to be your mama right now. You are determined and dedicated. Fragile and faithful. When you are encouraged and praised you keep trying until you finish and master it. We bought you a bike for finishing preschool and within five minutes you were riding with no training wheels, no help, no reserve. Your feet don't even touch the ground, but that doesn't deter you from riding it.

You are the best little mommy, and Abby just adores you. Abby may be naughty sometimes, ok, a lot, but I think she would be completely heartbroken without her big sister/mommy. There are way too many times when Abby cries out, "Mommy!" to receive my, "Yes Abby." Only to be returned by, "No, you not my mommy. T is my mommy!!!" You're kind, compassionate, and so loving towards her.

You are mommy's little helper and cell phone finder. I can always count on you to be more than willing to jump on a task that I ask of you. You're constantly looking for ways to receive praise, and I fail you too often by not giving you that praise, but you still help and do awesome things none-the-less.

You are Daddy's little girl. From the moment we got you, you wouldn't let go of him. Wanting to be held, wanting to hold hands, wanting to sit on his lap for stories and prayer. I sometimes feel as though you would trade me for Daddy any day, but I know you need me and love me too ;-)
I even think you sometimes have a lot of my genes. You take criticism really hard, are willing to eat anything for a treat, and love putting Leo, the cat, in a stroller for a walk. All summer long you have been asking to ride a horse. Did you know that I have a deep sense of love for horses? Nanny and Pa even let me have horseback riding lessons during middle and high school. Pa grew up above a barn for awhile and even Great Grandma Carol has worked with horses almost her entire life. It's in our blood. AND... for our mother/daughter date I knew exactly what you and I should do. Go riding! I think you were in Heaven.
T, I know you have so much to overcome and that there are hurdles that seem like mountains that you'll have to jump over. But I've already seen you do so much. You came to us not recognizing any of the alphabet, not knowing how to write your name, not drawing in the lines, having nightmares, not looking me in the eye or telling me you love me. Now, now you know the entire alphabet, write your name, color pictures, button your jammies, brush your hair, have sweet dreams, ride a bike, love me, and most importantly love Jesus and tell others how He now lives in your heart. You even say that when you grow up you want to be a Ballerina Missionary. Are you just the cutest thing??

I so desperately want Jesus to let me be your forever mommy, but I know He loves you so much more than I do. That you are His little princess, now and always. That He will be by your side when I am and when I'm not. 

You have a beautiful heart that you are so careful to guard and keep safe. I am so honored that you have chosen to share some of it with me. I promise you that I will do my best, and prayerfully even better at taking care of it for as long as I can. There is more to you than you know. You will be the light and appearance of God like you've never known or expected.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your life right now. I love you dear T.

Love,
Mommy


P.S. If you want to be apart of little girls and boys like T, you can donate to our agency that helps hundreds of foster and adoptive kids here

Monday, August 5, 2013

Moving Mercies

Or I could title this blog "Moving Mayhem." Both describe the past few weeks well.

Over a year ago I was walking through my parents neighborhood looking at all the gorgeous homes and property surrounding the homes. We had just begun the fostering paperwork process and I was anxious to help as many children as possible. Our home only enabled us to take in two, and our car only one. God handled the car. I began praying that if God wanted us to take in more kiddos He'd have to be the one to pretty much give us a bigger house.

I didn't doubt that God could do such a thing. I just didn't believe that He wanted to do such a thing.

I WAS WRONG.

About six months ago my parents approached Sean and I with the gift of their home. They'd been trying to sell their Bed & Breakfast, home, and cabins for nearly three years now. With many prospective buyers, none of them were able to purchase all the properties or even just the business. I guess my parents just felt pressed by God to gift us their house! Crazy right?! Essentially we'd be getting our inheritance early. They'd move into the Lodge and make that their home while we would be their neighbors in my mom's dream house she'd built twelve years ago.

You'd think we'd jump on the offer and immediately say yes to being given a house. However, it took us about five months to say yes. We had just recently gotten our two other daughters and were learning all about being parents to three kids and learning the system of fostering as well. After a lot of discussions and fine-tuning a deal with family, we said yes! God directly answered my prayers in giving us a bigger house. I so LOVE how my God works like that. I get to see Him tangibly through His servants everyday. I get to see how He provides for His kids when they walk in His will.

We really are pretty terrified of moving to a house where we could easily take in two more kids fairly soon, and with an extra seat in our van we could take in three more. Being a mommy of three has been pretty exhausting. And being a mommy of three very needy children is even more tasking physically and emotionally. But how can you say no to our God? How can you say no to bringing a child from an abusive and neglectful home to a home of crazy love chaos?

I have been so encouraged by reading Katie Davis' book Kisses From Katie and her journey of adopting 13 children in Uganda, as a single woman, of 22! She talks about how people so often tell her God will never give her more than she can handle. But God will most certainly give you more than you can handle so that He is the only possible reason you can get through the situation He put you in.

That is the type of situation Sean and I feel like we are about to enter into. My two oldest are about to start a new school, in a new home, in a new city, with new friends they have yet to meet, and I am nervous for them. Transitions are so difficult for children from hard places. And there are a lot of transitions they're going to have to go through because what God told us we could do. But it makes this mama's heart nervous!

And I know I can't handle more kids, but I also feel as though that is exactly what God wants us to handle. We do have a few months or so before we can actually take more kiddos, but will I be ready for more kids by then? No. But do I know God is ready for more kids through me-yes. I love how I can look back over the past seven months and see God's fingerprints all over these three girls. Truly, the days have been long but the months and years have been short. If we can get more kids and see God's fingerprints all over them, then it will all be worth it-no sleep and all.

I wish I could say I've entered into this house agreement with total grace and gratefulness without letting my flesh get in the way. That is not the case. I've belittled my parents and my spouse. Been annoyed at God and my children. And we've practically begrudgingly accepted this gift. My heart is so terrified of what God wants me to do that I feel like I'll do it but not without some kicking and screaming and whining on the way. I'm sorry Mom and Dad for that. I'm sorry Sean for not being your encourager. And I'm sorry girls for taking that frustration out on you. I feel as though I am now at the point to let the Lord do His work in my heart to become joyous and gracious for this gift-it's just taken six months to get there.

Our God is such an awesome God, and the fact that He lets me be used is so humbling. It truly brings tears to my eyes that He looks so favorably on Sean and I to use us at all! Thank you, Lord, for letting us be your light to a dark world. Thank you for using us despite our flesh and our sins. Thank you for even giving us the opportunity to house more of your children. And thank you for giving us a family, even beyond blood, that will let us be used by you.

Here's to more car washing experiences at our new home :-)



P.S. If YOU want to be involved in helping orphans or foster children just like our girls, consider supporting our agency, Hope and Home. Every year they do a fundraising event to raise money to help provide more and more for foster children.  You can participate by praying for us, walking with us, or donating financially here.


Friday, June 21, 2013

A True Miracle

Sean is gone. He's gone for two and a half weeks and it's only been 8 days! It's been a rough 8 days though. I'm not sure if there's a spiritual attack, but that's sure what it feels like. Here's a sampling of what the week has looked like emotionally:

Tuesday: While waiting at the tire store to get our flat tire fixed, A. looks up at me and says, "Mommy, being with you is like being in Heaven. Being here with you and Daddy is probably just what Heaven is like."
Thursday: While amidst a meltdown A. says, "I HATE YOU MOMMY!"

Both events make me want to cry. We worked through the last issue, but it still hurt. This whole week has seemed to hurt. I miss my husband. I miss him terribly. The girls miss their Daddy. We even had to spend Father's Day without him. I even just seeing my own Daddy around because he has to work all the time :-( However, it was a good reminder that we are here to celebrate the love of our Heavenly Father. Our Father who never leaves us nor forsakes us.

I have to begin to rejoice in the small battles we do win. T. is becoming more verbal with her emotions, and she's sometimes sharing on her own! She graduated preschool, can write her own name, is coloring awesomely in the lines, plays with other kids when she wants to, learned to ride a bike in five minutes, and more! A. has the sweetest, most generous heart, loves so deeply, is the best big sister, is compassionate, has calmed down immensely, is a genius, and eats new foods! Abby sometimes sleeps through the night (ha), is sometimes potty trained (another ha!), loves cuddling with T., thanks Jesus for everything she sees and every time we get up the driveway, and sings herself to sleep with 'Jesus Loves Me'.

I need to shout it from the mountaintops when we have big victories. T. gave her life to Christ at VBS!!!!!! Can you believe it!!!!!! Praise God! (Even satan tried to steal that victory, but I claim life over her!). A., awhile back, got baptized!!!!! Aren't those the ultimate victories? Everything else is just a wash. At the time it certainly doesn't feel that way, but I need to remember that we are here to pour Christ's love into these girls. I am a deeply flawed woman and mommy and wife. I don't know why God gave these girls to us, but they truly are my heart and song. They bring such joy. If only I could show you their sweet, beautiful faces, you would understand. But for now you get to see their beautiful hair :-) These girls already exude Christ's love, and that is the true miracle in all of this.








These are the girls we get to pour into. These are the girls who are the light of our lives. Thank you God for giving them to us right now.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Prayers Please

Long time no blog... I'm not sure why I've taken so long to write a post, but I have. The past month or so has had many ups and many downs. Mother's Day week was difficult to get through, emotionally. A & T are now done with school-more emotions. Bio mom missed four visits straight, but then decided to show up this past Monday-more emotions still.

But there have been many positives as well. This Mother's Day I was celebrated as a mommy of three-complete joy. "My husband rose up and called me blessed"-complete humility. Sean completed school just last night-sense of relief! A & T learned how to ride bikes-total excitement! Abby's a little light in this darkness that we go through at times-blessing. 

But now we find ourselves at month number five with our girls. While A has truly made huge steps forward in learning how to handle certain emotions, we've watched T regress more and more since the day bio mom stepped into the picture. She is finally starting to show emotions, as difficult as those tantrums are, she is finally showing emotions. Abby has made the transition, we believe, fully into having two older sisters. Her first two months were complete chaos, but how she is finally sleeping "regularly," playing, eating, getting bigger, bringing joy and laughter and a lot of sassiness. But I can see how much A & T love her and how much Abby loves them. I've loved watching Abby develop these relationships with her sisters and vice versa. They may "only" be foster sisters (and I say that term sarcastically), but they are family now and forever.

June 4th is a big day in this household. It's court. As far as we know bio mom has done absolutely nothing except show up to court once, show up to mediation once, and show up to a grand total of four visits in the past five months (that's four hours in the past five months that she has seen her beautiful kids.) My frustrations are high, but I KNOW without a doubt that our God has this all in His hands. Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." That is what we must rest in, and that is what we rely on.

Court, we are praying, will begin to make some hard decisions against bio mom, pressuring her to get her act together or else. The foster system, as much as it is intended to be a system to protect the children, is seemingly set up in favor of giving bio parents every last chance to win over their children. It makes me furious. But as Sean and I were talking last night, he came to a tough revelation that shouldn't we, as Christians, desire for others to have chance after chance after chance and an abundance of time to find Christ (at least while they spend their time here on earth)? Maybe I'm using this verse out of context because it seems to be discussing one who has already been a Christian and wandering off rather than one who is not, but Matthew 18:13-15 says  "And if he finds it (the one sheep that wandered from the 99), truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."



We want God's will to be accomplished, but we so desperately want God's will to be us keeping these girls. We're asking for you all to be praying for us and with us as this time approaches. They are going to be requesting additional "Relative Resources" to be made, which sends out more letters to all the relatives seeing if any of them want to take the girls. We're terrified about that, but we know our God loves these girls and cares for them more than we do and will continue to protect them. But that does not mean our prayers are to be weak-willed.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we knowthat just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sense of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." 

Please join with us in fighting for our girls on the spiritual realm. God is their Defender, but I know He wants us to ask Him to do what He can do and so much more. God has not called us to sit idly by as His children, He has called us to fight this battle as His children.

Thank you friends.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What A Funk

What a week!
I'll be honest with you all, this has been the most difficult week for me since we've gotten the girlies. After three months of their biological mom not being in the picture, two weeks ago she showed up for her first visitation. Our oldest, A., did NOT want to go. But we had to force her. Court order. I cried and cried as I watched the girls walk away from me and to their bio mom. With their mom not in the picture at all, I truly felt as though I took on every aspect of being their mom. I was raising them from the point of view that they were MY daughters. And these girls were looking to me as though I would be their forever mom.
The past two weeks has changed that. They are now ready to move back with their mom and constantly remind us that we're not their real home. I'm not their real mom. Abby isn't their real sister. This breaks my heart into a million pieces. I keep asking God why He would let things unfold in such a way. And although I have not gotten back a solid answer, I can only imagine He really needed me to love these girls like they were my own. To hold nothing back from them. And that is what I've done. But now my heart is suffering for it.
This week I have been dealing with those emotions, and for about four days I've sulked through it. Sean  kept asking me what was the matter, but I don't think I even knew to explain to him. So he got a lot of, "I don't know. I just feel defeated." Hard for a hubby to hear. He couldn't do much because he didn't even know what was going on, but he was still supportive and very hands on with the girls when he was home, but my attitude drained him as well.
To add to the emotions, A. has been having 4-10 meltdowns a day since her visit with bio mom this week. She's perfectly fine one minute, but the next she's a little monster. And then she's great again. We've now (kinda) learned how to handle them (since they have taken on a whole new face than her previous meltdowns), but it is DRAINING! I love this girl so much, and it makes me so upset that the courts would allow children to endure more trauma like this. But this is what it is. And these are the beautiful girls God gave to us. I can't stop loving them, even when they say I'm just their foster mommy, and Abby's just their foster sissy.
After day four of sulking I was able to go to my Bible Study. I honestly can't remember much of what was spoken in the class, but our devotional speaker said Isaiah 55:

"Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is MY word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper and instead of the briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign that will endure forever."

It was a smack in the face to read that. God is Sovereign and in control, and His plans are NOT my plans. But I will hold tightly to the promise that His Word will not return empty. That these girls are watered and immersed in truth because we pour that truth over them. That instead of turning into thorn bushes they will be junipers. His love will flood into their lives because of us, and I pray they know that  love from everlasting to everlasting.




Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fostering Frustrations...

We are heading into our third month of having our sweet girls! However, this road seems to be getting harder rather than easier.

After we thought we had "figured out" our oldest daughters triggers in avoiding episodes and meltdowns, we are getting into the nitty gritty of the court system.

They tell you over and over again that the goal of fostering is reunification, but I won't lie to you, my heart desires these daughters to be our daughters forever. We fall in love with them more and more every day. Even in dealing with severe meltdowns with our oldest, we wouldn't give her up for the world.

I'm not sure where God is guiding and directing us in all of this, but I know He is sovereign. I'm currently in a Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur study called Faithful, Abundant, True. The past few weeks have been about God's power, and how to live in His power. We are His daughters filled by the Holy Spirit to do great things. Jesus tells us in John 14:11-13, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father will be glorified in the Son." Priscilla says that she often prays, "Do this or do something greater." My prayer is: Please give us these girls God, or do something better with them.

As foster parents, we have practically zero rights over these girls--these girls they tell me to be a mommy to, but don't actually be a mom to them (but that's a rant for a whole other time). But because we don't have any rights in the legal system, I have had to step back and see what I can do for these girls. And a verse was put before me that I know God wanted me to hear for this moment: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine POWER to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Our place as their foster parents is to be praying fervently over them and loving them as much as we possibly can. There is such an urgency to do everything all at once, but we are exhausted! That's why I am so incredibly appreciative of the friends and family who have banned with us in investing in these girls life. I even have friends and family who aren't here in town who are dedicated to praying often for us and the girls. And the battle is truly being fought in the spiritual realms, not in the court system. I don't know how we could do this without support of those who love us and who love the girls. Thank you!

Keep on praying and fighting for these girls to be victorious in the will God has designed for them. They are amazing. And if you haven't gotten a chance to meet them yet, make it so we HAVE to do something. Our lives are crazier everyday, but these girls need to know they are loved by so many, even more so loved by God.

Again, thank you to those who are supporting us. We truly don't know how we could do this without you.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Weekend Away

This past weekend we got to go on our first overnight getaway as a family of five. I must admit that I was a little nervous about being in a car for four hours, but the girls did amazingly well! Even Abby! They slept half the time up there, which meant I didn't have to listen to four hours of Veggie Tales ;-)
Grand Lake, CO
View from our cabin
Sean, Abby and I have been up to my father-in-law's co-owned cabin once before, but it was during the summer. This time when we got there we had to park about 200ft away from the cabin because the snow was too deep to drive through, (also, our van does not do well in the snow so it was really probably for the better). Only one child fell while walking to the cabin. I tried not to laugh, but it was a classic snowfall, and she was adorable doing so. It made the trek through the snow a little more light-hearted anyway.

Saturday was our "snow" packed day.
We went sledding



built forts



Roasted Marshmallows
Made snow angels



Tended to the fire


Enjoyed the fire :-)



made snow men, shoveled, painted, read books, and relaxed. Although a vacation with three children is not as relaxing as a vacation with two, or even three, it was still a time away. A time away from endless laundry, dishes, dirty bathrooms (and everything else dirty), paperwork, and the list goes on.

Learning to just stop and play with the girls has been one of my biggest challenges. I seem to always have something to do. This was finally an opportunity to be with the girls and even just sit on the couch with my hubby and read while he did schoolwork.

I love that we had a family getaway. And the girls loved it as well. We kept asking them what their favorite thing to do was and the answer was always changing. What I gather from that was they enjoyed everything.

Our family growth has brought challenges and changes, but I wouldn't chose to have it any other way.

I feel the journey thus far (2 MONTHS!) can be summarized through these verses:

Psalm 40:1-4a
"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust" 

I praise God for giving us this time away as a family. I praise God for giving me this family. And I praise God for using us to love on these girls like they are our very own.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Praying Child

We have now been a family of five for six weeks. Our foster agency tells you to just make it through the first month, and we have! Trials and tribulations have definitely occurred, and I'm sure they will continue to occur, but we are so blessed to be able to love on these girls.

Despite all the difficulties, one of the best things we have witnessed in the past six weeks is the girls' relationship with Jesus. I absolutely love how they have fallen in love with God. There are times when I think they know more about how to just love Jesus than I do, and I think they've really only ever known about Him starting six weeks ago.

One way I see this is in their prayer life. When we first got the girls we made it a point to pray with them every night. The first couple of weeks they didn't want to pray. I don't think it was because they didn't want to pray, but I think it was more the fact they didn't know how to pray. Now they seem as though they are prayer experts. And because of their prayers now, our little, just turned 2  year old even prays!
I love it. I love when they pray. Their prayers are usually short, simple, and sweet, "Dear Jesus, I pray we don't have any nightmares tonight. Amen!"

Other times their prayers seem to be never-ending: "Dear Jesus, I pray we don't have any nightmares tonight. Thank you that I got to have special time with Nanny today. I pray sissy gets to have special time with her soon too. I pray that Abby sleeps through the night so mommy gets more sleep. I thank you for sissies. I thank you for mommy and daddy. I thank you for nanny and pa. I thank you for Mimi. I thank you for Auntie Beth, Jo Jo, Micah, Ella . . . " And the list continues for awhile. Yes, it's bed time and I need them to sleep, but how can I cut them off from talking to God?! Their Father who has loved them since before they were born?!

(Abby's prayers seem to go something like this, "Pray no nightmares, Pray no nightmares, Pray no nightmares. Amen!" They are elaborated if her sisters prompt her with something else to pray about)

Our Elementary Pastor has been encouraging the kids at church to find quiet time with God, and as I went to wake up our 7 year old, she said "I was talking to God just now." Melted my heart. She loves it. She loves talking to her Daddy, and I love her talking to her Daddy too.

Mark 10:14-16 says this, "Jesus said to His disciples, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."

Our girls came to us with horrible nightmares. We began praying over them immediately, and now they too, ask God to give them peaceful sleep. I think it has been over a week since they have had a nightmare, and even before that they only seemed to be having them intermittently. God hears the cries of these girls, of His children, and answers them; He blesses them. It is one of the most beautiful things to be a part of.

Our prayer now is that their love for talking to God and experiencing Him grows tenfold as the days go on.

There truly have been many difficulties in the past couple weeks, but I know the focus needs to be on the successes these girls are making. And this, I believe, is one of the greatest successes yet.




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Start Small, See Him Move Big

This will be a short and simple, but a very powerful post. Only powerful in the fact because it's all about God's power.

I am amazed everyday I chose to let God be the ruler over my life. He never fails to reveal Himself to me.

Today's amazement started over a month ago, when we bought our miracle van. I really wanted to sell our other car before we bought the van, but that's not how it ended up happening. Do I think I could've walked in God's sovereignty better at that point? Yes. But did God's will still reign supreme? YES. And He used that faltering to show me His power even greater today.

We still hadn't sold our other car and we had our first payment on our van this past Wednesday. I was discouraged that God still hadn't sold our van (cause it's all God's fault right???) :-(  I thought it was His fault, but now I know He wanted to show us His power again.

So, finally, I decided to put our situation in His hands again. All last year we saw God move mountains in our lives through fasting and prayer, so I decided to fast and pray on Friday (PS. I don't say this to say I'm righteous, because I am so corrupted and evil and need God so much~that's why I fast, to have God change me to be more and more like Him). I listed our car again on Craigslist Friday evening and got a call 20 minutes later. They wanted to come see it Saturday morning. I was so excited. Our car was listed on Craigslist for over a month and the only calls we got were all spams. This was finally a legit call! They had cash, and they seemed ready to buy.

They came, and decided not to buy it. But before they even came we got another call about the car. And then another. They both came to look at it, and we were starting to get a little discouraged, because like the first guy, the second offer was discouragingly low. But God knew what He was doing, and by the time the third family came around, they made us the offer we'd been praying for!

Goodbye trusty car. You were a great blessing from God for the time being.



I don't know why I don't learn my lesson every time. I always chose to walk in my own will rather than in His. Not only does His sovereignty amaze me everyday I chose to let His sovereignty reign, it's His love that amazes me even more. He lets me continue to walk in my way, but takes me back to His every time I ask.

I would encourage any of you who feel you're in between a rock and a hard place to put your life in His hands. Honestly, I have seen God do so much when we fast and pray.

Start small, and see Him move big.