pulling weeds, planting seeds

I’m not going to lie… I am really discouraged. It was one of those days I couldn’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel.. 😭 which for me is pretty bad because I’m usually the “upside” kinda girl.

I committed to doing this “what are you grateful for today” thing every day in November (you can follow that journey on social media if you want to).

But today, I wanted to sulk. Today was hard. I didn’t want to be grateful.

But, as a laid down to go to sleep… I felt convicted.

I do have a lot to be grateful for.. way more then the amount of days in November.

And especially on a night like tonight, I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who walks with us during those rough times, whose promises never fail. I’m thankful I get to be a mom.. even though it was not fun or easy today… I know it is a gift.

We have seasons like these as parents where we are planting seeds and pulling weeds… in order to produce a fruit later. I know this, I just need to remember it. So I choose to “think on these things” as I sleep tonight. And I’m very thankful tomorrow is a new day. ❤️

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adoption day

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The big day came and it was so special.

So, meet OUR SON… Jax Lukas.

We are so blessed and privileged to be his forever family!

Here are some images from the morning.

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letting go

My life has been so busy lately. And, it never fails… when I get too busy, I neglect my time with the Lord.

This morning I felt pretty convicted about that. My time has been rushed, forgotten, or delayed too much the last couple weeks.

One of things I notice in myself when I am not spending enough time with God, is I quickly begin to doubt.

I doubt that He does have everything under control. I doubt that He does care about the little things. I doubt that I am here for a purpose. The list goes on…

If I would just spend time in His presence actually listening to His words.. I would see those things are not true.

He is in control.

Say it again Jenny, HE IS IN CONTROL.

Which means I need to let go of trying to be in control.

Lately I have been barely keeping my head above water trying to keep up with my business, mommy duties, fostering, being a wife, and a good friend. I think I can keep it all in order and under control, but it’s not working. I am exhausted. I am overwhelmed. I am emotional.

It’s a lesson I am constantly relearning… but I need to LET GO. I need to BE STILL.

One of my biggest fears lately has revolved around my little foster son. We love this little guy so much and it seems every week his future could change. That’s hard. I literally don’t have any control over what happens. I need to let go of thought that I do. I need to turn to the ONE who does have power of his future. The one who does have a purpose and plan for this precious child.

It wasn’t by chance that my morning read was on this very subject today. Here’s a little snapshot.

Jesus Today

(And if you haven’t ever read Sarah Young’s little daily books… go and get one! They are so awesome. This is my second year doing Jesus Today…)

Anybody else in my boat lately? Anybody else need to give the wheel over to the captain?

 

 

q & a- jenni from place of hope

Today, everyone is talking about issues like gun control, health care and economic security. While those are important, there is a topic many don’t even realize affects them.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are currently more than 400,000 children living within the American foster care system. That number is staggering, and their education, financial status and job outlook is going to affect all of us—regardless of whether or not we have any involvement with the foster care system.

This article at Relevant Magazine talks more about the statistics and future reality. Read more at here.

The numbers in our area are rising at an alarming rate. In Palm Beach County alone, there are more than 1,000 children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Many children are being sent to other counties because there simply are not enough licensed foster families here willing to care for these hurting children.

This is a recent news story that aired locally. The story states that the number of children needing a home the past three months have increased 100% since last year.

Click here to view the video.

I hope you don’t feel like I am giving you a sob story or trying to make you feel guilty. That is not my intention! This is just something I never understood until someone opened my eyes to it. I only want to share the facts and raise awareness. Share the need that is so desperately there.

Fostering has changed our lives. It’s not always easy.. in fact it’s heartbreaking in a lot of ways. But, it has also blessed us in more ways than we can count. It has made us feel alive. It has grown our faith. And like I mentioned in this post… I would rather feel… even if sometimes the feelings hurt… than not.

Maybe you have a question or want to learn more? Just leave a comment below.. I would love to help in anyway I can!
Also, if you are a foster parent  or involved in fostering in anyway… I would love to hear your input as well. Please comment below!

One of the people that educated and mentored us while we were taking steps towards becoming foster parents was Jenni from Place of Hope. 

I thought it would be best to have you hear from her… so enjoy this little Q&A.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I have been a foster mom for about ten years. I am married, have three bio kids (age 7, 4, 1). I work part time for Place of Hope. I have a Master’s degree in Human Services. My husband and I were houseparents at Place of Hope for a long time and cared for six teenage boys at a time. We have had a total of twenty seven foster children come through our doors. In the past year we have cared for two different toddlers in our home(one for 8 months and one for three months) and reunified both of them back to their parents.

What inspired you to become involved in fostering?

My love for God and His command to care for the least of these is what compelled me to invest my time, energy and life into children in foster care. I also work training, licensing and supporting other foster parents through Place of Hope. I am passionate about doing everything I can to make a difference for these children who have suffered so much. The need is so intense right now that we literally do not have enough beds in foster homes for children to sleep tonight. The shelters are even full and we have had to send many kids out of the county to other shelters because of the lack of space to put them. We had seven precious children come into foster care yesterday.

What was one of your most memorable experiences as a foster mom?

My most memorable experience is when a boy I fostered for four years sent me a text as an adult thanking me for my investment and expressing his love for me.

What are some things you think most people don’t know about fostering?

Most people don’t know that there is such a desperate need for loving families. They don’t stop and think about the fact that these children’s lives are happening and they will go somewhere to live during this life changing and difficult time in their life. Please put the breaking heart of a child above the fear of your own heart breaking! It will be challenging but it will be worth it. My prayer is that God be glorified and may He draw all precious children to Himself. I want to be a part of what is close to the heart of the God I love and I strongly believe this ministry is that.

What’s the best thing about being a foster mom?

 The best thing about fostering is the love and relationships that you build with the children and with other families who are serving with you. God has taught me so much about Himself and blessed me with the ability to serve and love Him in this way.

How can someone get involved?

You can get involved by calling your local foster care agency. If you are in PBC and would like to work with a faith based agency, please call Place of Hope at 561-775-7195. We are in need of foster homes for all ages of children. There is a child who needs a family to love him and keep him safe and believe in him while his biological family is walking through a very difficult time. You can do it! It is often inconvenient and it is often heart breaking to love and invest so much of yourself and to reunify the child. BUT please think of the other option. Without you, that child may not learn about the love of God for them and about how the safety and love of a family feels. They desperately need you to make the sacrifice to invest in them.
Here’s an images of Jenni and her beautiful family.
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dirty pots & pans

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I am currently reading “Kingdom Woman” by Tony Evans and daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst. It’s been an awesome book so far, I highly recommend giving it a read.

I wanted to share an excerpt of the book that really hit home for me recently. See, we recently found out that our sweet foster son may be leaving us soon. We have had him since he was just 7 weeks old. He is almost 9 months now.

I knew this day would probably come soon, but it is still hard.

And, I am not going to lie. I go through really selfish moments during this whole fostering process. I find myself praying to God, “Why can’t he just stay with us? We would love to adopt him, Lord. He fits so well with our family. We couldn’t love him more if he was our own son! Why would you give us such a passion for this child and then have him leave?”

God always whispers back, “Trust me Jenny. I love this child more than you can ever comprehend. He belongs to me. Don’t you know that your two daughters aren’t even yours? That you don’t have control over their future anymore than you have over your foster sons?”

And it’s true.

God is in control. And I know it. So I will focus on that truth. He has great plans for this precious child, even if I don’t get to see it…. I believe in Him and His plan.

So, long story short. Times like these are just one of things that make being a foster parent hard. And sometimes, the thought runs across our minds that maybe we should just stop fostering because it’s too much. It’s too hard.

Haha, well I was having a bit of those thoughts this last week when I came across this part of the book… I thought it may encourage you today as well…

“Growing up I couldn’t understand why my mom let her pots look messy. Now as a grown woman myself, I know why. Good cooks have seasons pots and pans. My grandmothers all purpose skillet was cast iron- a veteran of many years. I think of my crock pot, it’s a favorite, even though it has a few scuffs of it’s own. If a pot or pan isn’t marked up, then that would indicate it hasn’t been used.

Let’s think of people like pots and pans. Society would say that someone who has imperfections is of less value or has a harder life.

But what about God? I think he sees the women with scuff marks are simply seasoned and therefore more available for His use because of their imperfection, inadequacy, or life struggles.

Sometimes the things we go through, or things that God asks us to do seem strange and far-fetched. Yet, when we are experiencing them we get to see God show up in a way that we never expect. Granted, we are sometimes worse for the wear, externally we may be tested, tried, and bruised- but just like those treasured pots and pans… it gives us flavor.

Living without smudges is possible, I suppose. But, I don’t think that’s what God looks for when he searches for a heart that will commit to following Him. Instead he looks for whether the woman has learned to depend on Him, whether she knows the value of commitment and faith.

One of the surest ways to stay off God’s miracle radar is to stay put in the cabinet of life in order to keep looking shiny and new. God isn’t looking for shiny and new, He is looking for seasoned faith.

Just like the pots and pans, we have to count the cost of living as a kingdom women. A kingdom woman realizes that sometimes the stove God places her on will get really hot. A kingdom woman understands that, at times, the stuff of life that she is required to cook may be very messy and leave evidence of her participation. But are we going to experience the good with the bad? Or we going to experience nothing and stay safely hidden away in the cabinet?

As I grow older and more seasoned, I am learning to fear the elements less. I am learning it is more valuable to step out in faith for God to use me then to hide away some religious, “Christian” walk where I don’t risk a bump or bruise.  I am learning to walk with a bit of life’s mess on me. Because those smudges, nicks, and scars are a testimony to God.

He looks at my heart. He looks at whether I respond to Him despite my circumstances. Not only will He meet my needs in those moments, He can use us to meet the needs of others as well.

God is looking for people who are willing to trade the shining exteriors for usefulness in His kingdom. God treasures the one who desires His purposes over an easy life. Our Father values women who love His plan for them more than they love their plan for the themselves… even when His plan may hurt.

God loves a woman who can trust that He will only let her experience the grit and grime if necessary for Him to fully use her for His glory. And he knows that she will come out of it in the end seasoned and blessed.”

Isn’t that some awesome truth? The things in our life may be hard and really hurt. But, isn’t it worth it knowing there is a bigger purpose? Id rather feel, even if sometimes it feels bad, than never feel at all.

And for those who are in a moment right now.. feeling beaten and bruised. Run to Him. Trust He can make good of it. Trust that it can bring Him glory if you are willing to be obedient to what He has for you.

What are some things that have seasoned you? How has it made you stronger in your faith? Please share, I’d love to hear your stories.