Jesus- Like A Sidewalk

I trust people all the time. I trust the people who ride in my car not to jump out of it while we’re rollin’ down the freeway. I trust my car to start on cold mornings to get me to the gym where I trust that no one is going to kill me dead. (No one wants to die at the gym. At least I don’t.) I trust the coffee shop barista  to make my drink properly and to not poison me. I trust that when I make a deposit at the bank, the teller is in fact putting the money into my account instead of pocketing it and I trust that the sidewalk isn’t going to cave in when I walk on it.  I trust in these things primarily because I have been taught to do so. I don’t remember my mom warning me as a kid, “Be careful now sweetie, that sidewalk can’t be trusted!”  I walk assuredly on the sidewalk because that is what I have been doing my whole life.
I only wish that I had been equally well trained to trust Christ with my life and everything in it.

Now don’t get me wrong, my parents taught me that the LORD is trustworthy, but I believe I was sheltered from the strains of life as a child and was therefore mostly unaware of the tremendous amount of God-given faith it took to get my parents through the tough stuff. That being said, I wish I had learned to trust Jesus like a sidewalk a long time ago. You can put both feet and the full weight of your life on a sidewalk.

Jesus is ridiculously faithful. Over the past several months, I have really learned to know God as my provider. I have told people time and time again, “You can’t take this lesson of trust away from me.” As in, I have learned to trust God to meet my needs; He will and no one can tell me different! However, I have found that if I should choose to, I can easily let go of this lesson on my own and this is why trust must be learned and also practiced. Back to the sidewalk thing, what if you always said you had no problem with sidewalks, but when given the chance to walk on the sidewalk from your car into the library, you choose to walk through mud instead…?  Sounds like somebody has a problem with sidewalks! No analogy for Christ holds up as long as He does, so the sidewalk thing of course falls apart at some point, but I hope you get the picture. 🙂

Jesus is more faithful than a passenger, a car, a person, a barista, a bank teller, a sidewalk, or anything else. He never fails. He never gives up. He always provides. He always follows through and He always has your back. Our only responsibility in this is to CHOOSE to trust Him with everything, every day. We aught to be striving to get “trusting Jesus” to be our constant default. And one day, by His grace, we will trust in Him as readily as we do a sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why meeting famous people was disappointing…

A couple of weeks ago I was exploring more of the Las Vegas strip with some new girl friends of mine. We didn’t have a plan or any money so we were just sort of wandering around and site seeing.  We happened to come upon two huge tour buses behind a hotel and no sooner than we realized who the tour buses belonged to did we encounter the famous people who rode in them. Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw  are two of my favorite singer/ song writers and there they were… and I was the one asking to get a group photo with them. Gavin DeGraw must have still been on an adrenaline high because he was hugging me a lot more than you would expect someone you just met to do. Anyways, we got the crappy photo taken and were walking away in a daze before I realized, “Holy cow! I just met Gavin DeGraw and Colbie Caillat!”

Later that night I was laying in bed before I went to sleep and I was recounting the day’s activities. I could not help but realize that my life was really not much different than it had been the previous evening when I had recounted the activities of that day. Why was my life not changed by meeting famous people? Meeting famous people seems like something you could live for. I guess I expected the experience to change me and make me feel like I was leading a more fulfilled life but it did not.
I think this is the same disappointment that tackles people when they get married or have babies. Even when these big things happen, we are still the same people but maybe just with a different perspective on life. The only time I have ever met anyone who changed my life, who changed ME upon first glance, was when I met Jesus and He changes me every single time we meet.

That was a pretty big realization that meeting a a couple of people I looked up to didn’t change my life. It was a tad disappointing until and I fell asleep loving Jesus more than I had the day before and loving Colbie and Gavin a little less. 🙂

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“Let Go and Let God”…. Or Something Like That

We really don’t have control of much. We get to control our actions and that’s about it. I often wish I could control SO much more. Sometimes, if I had it my way, I would not only control my life but also the lives of many people around me. I would probably want to control your life if given half a chance. And, I can guarantee that if such a thing ever did occur, the whole wide world would unravel at the seams and everything would be even worse off than it already is. I would make a terrible God.
Even if I just focus on controlling my own life and the stuff that happens day to day, many days are simply a disappointment because there is so much about which I can do absolutely nothing. I can’t even seem to control who comes in and out of my life. I’ve had friends die, friends and family move away and other people who just because of circumstances in life are no longer available for close friendship. See what I mean by disappointing?
It gets worse. Even if I recognize and realize that I can’t control anyone or anything else even when those people and things interact with me, I still have to live with the disappointment of something even more close to home. Sometimes I feel like my own mind is my enemy and that I cannot even control my own thoughts. Often. I am shocked and horrified by the thoughts that enter my brain. It’s when I struggle with these horrifying thoughts that I get terribly crazed by the lack of control and I arrive at a stopping point.

There must be help somewhere. There must be hope somehow. And there must be someone who IS in control. SOMETHING MUST be in control because there is still intricate and undeniable order in some things in this place. There are migratory patterns, and weather patterns. There are seasons and the Earth still seems to be spinning on its axis. The whole cycle of life, as screwed up as it is, still manages to continue. There must be a God because someone or something who is bigger than all this MUST be the one holding it all together. Not the greatest of us humans could keep this world under control. So, it must be Him. 🙂

And if you take the focus off of me, or you, or whomever, and put it on God and everything He IS in control of… My goodness! What a sigh of relief! What a breath of fresh air! There IS hope!  We have not been left to our own uncontrollable world without Him. The One who is in control is trustworthy, faithful loving and He doesn’t just stop with Himself. He extends Himself by the power of His Holy Spirit into us and teaches us self-control… one of the many fruits of life with Him.

Life with Him is good. He’s really good at being God. He’s been doing it forever and no one can take the job from Him. He is a professional at being in control. He is the reason why there is order instead of chaos. He is the one who holds this whole shebang together and suddenly… That’s okay with me! 😉

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Adoption Snapshots

Yesterday, I rode past Planned Parenthood on my way home. As passed by, I saw someone outside waving a sign that said “Adoption Not Abortion”. This sign put me deep in thought about adoption for several minutes. Adoption is seriously one of the most beautiful and profound things I have ever witnessed. Because I work with foster families, I am growing accustomed to walking alongside families on their sometimes long journeys toward adoption.  In the past 6 months, I’ve been to three different adoption hearings and they have all brought me to tears because adoption is JUST SO BEAUTIFUL! At the second adoption hearing I went to, I had the unexpected pleasure of sitting in the witness stand because it was the best place for capturing photos of the whole thing- which was my responsibility that morning. All that business of taking pictures got me thinking about the snapshots of the life of the child being adopted. For each child, imagine that there are juxtaposed two small snapshots of what his or her life could look like. In one picture, his or her life would be filled with neglect, brokenness, abuse, and loneliness. In the other snapshot there is love, family, acceptance, growth,  and more love! So when the judge bangs his gavel and the paperwork gets turned in to the clerk, that child gets the happier snapshot… for life! When it’s said and done, something huge is different in the life of that child FOREVER!  It’s awesome!!! In fact, adopted children receive a brand new birth certificate when the adoption is complete. It is as though who they were before the adoption never existed- and so it is when Jesus washes away our sins and gives US new identities as members of His family.

If you think about adoption for long, and you love Jesus, you will eventually put the puzzle pieces together and realize that adoption is even more meaningful to Christ followers because God has adopted us as His children… for life! When Jesus chose to die on the cross for our sins, He chose adoption, not abortion. He chose to love us even when we were children of wrath and keep us as His own forever. He chose to not abandon us or forsake us, but to love us. He chose not to destroy us, but to save us, and to top it all off, He has given us a wonderful inheritance.

Below is a portion of The Adoption Decree:

the minor child shall henceforth be regarded and treated as their own child, and has all the lawful rights of their own children, including the rights of support, protection and inheritance;” and “and all persons other than Petitioners, are hereby relieved of all parental duty toward, and all responsibility for the minor child, and have no right or control whatever over said child.”

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Hand in Hand

So many analogies exist to illustrate our individual and personal relationships with the Lord. If you have been walking with Him for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve come to see Him in many different lights. He is our Counselor, Rock, Redeemer, King, Salvation, Shepherd, Strength, Source of Life, Creator, deepest source of love, Father and friend. This is the recount of how I learned to know Him as the Lover of my soul.

Last year when I was living in Mexico, I prayed a little prayer and asked God to help me fall in love with Him. I had heard of those people that have felt truly romanced by God and I had a hard time believing that such a thing was real and could happen to me, but in my curiosity, I prayed the prayer anyway. After spending a long time in prayer with my Discipleship Training School classmates, God broke through my selfishness, pride, and all the lies I had been believing for a very long time. He showed me that He sees me as pure and that He loves me. It’s like He unveiled the last and final layer of fear that I had encompassing my heart and I fell smack dab in the middle of love with Him. I was sitting on the floor of a small office where my classmates and I were meeting with our teacher of the week and I saw sunlight pouring through the window. It was like I had been washed absolutely clean and all that was left over was the love God felt for me and a new love I had for Him. For the rest of that day, and for many weeks to follow, I enjoyed a special time in my relationship with the Lord. It was in those days and weeks that I learned to see Jesus as the lover of my soul and I discovered the sweetness of trusting Him intimately.  It was then that I learned to walk hand in hand with God instead of walking wherever I wanted in live and trying to drag Him along with me.

I try to remember often that day when I fell in love with God. I try to remember the weightlessness that I felt and the permanent smile I had on my face for a while. I try to remember the things I said to other people in that time like, “I never want to get married if it gets in the way of this!” Or, “This relationship is better than any relationship I’ve ever been in or will ever be in!” And I try to remember why at the time, those statements were so true for me. Remembering the day that I fell in love with Jesus helps me remember why I still love Him and why I don’t want to go anywhere without Him. I do not want my hand to separate from His. I love Him and He loves Me.

If you’ve never been in love with Jesus, I encourage you to pray that little prayer and see what He does.

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Six Months- Thoughts

Some moments slip through my hands so rapidly that I struggle frantically to hold on to them. Other moments drag me along with them against my will for what can seem to be an eternity. Just like most of my life, the last six months here in Sin City Grace City have been filled with a combination of these moments. I wish I could better remember my first night here but I was so absolutely exhausted from the stress of moving to a new life that I could barely focus on getting my luggage off the conveyor belt. I wish I could forget some of the stories I’ve listened to as people have poured out their hearts to me as they’ve shared with me the brokenness in their lives and the lives of their children. Because God has blessed me with the gift of empathy, I feel better quipped to do the work that He has called me to do, but having such a gift makes it so that when someone tells me their story, it’s like I am living it for myself in some small way. When I hear about injuries, emotional abuse, or death, I feel as if part of my soul has taken the blow. I care and therefore I carry the burdens of life with these foster families. All too often they have no one else who understands or prays with them on these matters which are so close to the heart of God. And it is because He cares, that even when I do take on the worries of this world and the pain that someone else is under, I do not have to keep it to myself. Jesus is with me in all my moments and He carries my burdens with me. In the past six months, I have learned to be empathetic in a healthy way. It has been an important lesson learned in the moments of  my life.

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What The Heck Does She DO!?

What do I do every week?

Every week is different from the last one, but below is a list of things we do on a regular basis.

Weekly staff meeting at the YWAM base

Driving- it’s not uncommon to drive a few hundred miles each week

Visiting with  foster families that we support- tracking with the statuses of their foster placements- keeping in the loop with court dates, termination of parental rights, reunification processes with biological families, health problems and also progress and improvements

Praying and fasting with and for families that are going through particularly difficult times with their children

Sorting clothes/ toys/ and other donations in our Foster Connect storage garage

Gathering and delivering donations to foster families in our network as needed- generously

Picking up large donations (We had a school do a fundraiser for new car seats for us to give away, and a store is currently doing a diaper drive for us so I’ll soon have to go pick up what they’ve collected.)

Raising awareness for the needs of foster care in churches and at conferences

Maintaining relationships with and expressing gratitude to different groups, churches, and organizations that work alongside us

Going to adoption hearings with families- so awesome!

Meeting for regular prayer and worship at the YWAM base

Planning and organizing ways to network our foster families together so they can also support one another – we had a picnic at a park last month and we have  a camping trip coming up this month

Emailing people in our network about needs of other families and resources that are available for them

Giving discipleship to foster parents so that they can disciple the kids that are placed with them in a God honoring way

And in my personal life:

I attend Grace Point Church and have recently started serving on the “first impressions team” and joined a small group/ community group

I exercise

I hang out with the friends God has brought into my life and the Biggerstaff family

I’m on facebook! 🙂

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