Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jesus loves the little children......

My heart has always been pulled towards children. Children have been a constant all my life. I loved babysitting during my teen years. After graduating I went to college to pursue my degree in Elementary Education - it only took about five breaks from school and twelve years but eventually I did receive my degree. I taught in a preschool center for two years before opening my own in-home child care nine years ago. Oh, and how can I forget my own children.....those two precious beings that completely captured my heart and turned my life upside down. 

Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:3-4

I am also moved emotionally by social injustices. Racism, human trafficking, woman and children who are trapped in abusive relationships are just a few that break my heart and open the tear ducts. My tears flow when I think of the children being used, abandoned, neglected, abused......forgotten. Friends, it just breaks my heart but I'm being awakened to the fact that my tears and my heartache does absolutely nothing. I'm moved emotionally but haven't been moved physically. My tears do nothing for those that are suffering at the hands of others.

Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor;  defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.  Isaiah 1:17

Fear keeps me here in my safe home. Fear of taking on too much. Fear of neglecting my own family while spending all my time and energy loving those that desperately need love. Fear of failing. Fear of giving too much of myself. Fear of making a commitment that would involve making a sacrifice. And the fear that I keep claiming is the most importance is the fear of danger because I must keep my children and the children in my care safe. But friends, God's been whispering in my ear. 

    Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  Isaiah 41:10

Last fall I attended a women's conference and heard Jami Kaeb speak. Jami and her husband currently have six children and are in the process of adopting another child from Uganda. Although she is the founder of The Forgotten Initiative, her topic wasn't talking about foster care or adopting. She spoke about seeing people with the eyes of Jesus, and showing compassion and love. And I wept and proclaimed that I wanted to see people and love people that way! I loved hearing her stories of foster care but didn't even think about that as being a way to love like Jesus. At least not for me. 

In January I started to read Jen Hatmaker's book, "7". Again, the subject wasn't directly related to the international adoption of orphans but wept as she talked about social injustices, the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia and the prayers that she prayed while waiting during the long process of bringing her children home. And my heart started to move as I dreamed of a little boy or girl with dark brown eyes and chocolate skin that I could call my own. But life got busy and those dreams subsided.......until Jen came to my church to speak at a Women's Conference in April. 

Currently I am reading Jennie Allen's, "Anything" and I'm learning to abandon all my anything's, all the things that I hold so tightly to, so that He can use me and so I may serve Him well. Again, not a part of the story line of "Anything" but Jennie just happens to have adopted a boy from Rwanda.

Ok, these ladies who speak God's truths to me? They need to just knock this stuff off! Don't they know that they are influencing me? I can't even look at any of those "sponsor" know, the ones with adorable children looking all needy, without wanting to sell all my possessions and jump on the next plane to Haiti or Africa so that I can scoop them up in my arms and love on them! Guess how many times I've been to MN Adopt (an organization in Minnesota which helps foster children find a forever family through adoption) website? Too many.

The other night I was listening to an audio study of Revelations, which of course includes a lot of 7's. 7 is the number of "completeness". I immediately stopped listening to the study so that I could count our family members. Let's see. Me + Hubs + my 2 kids + his 2 kids. WE NEED ONE MORE so that we can be "complete"!  [I haven't shared this theory with hubs yet. He already questions my sanity on a regular basis.]

My kids? Well they are on board. Kinda. Until I suggested to my daughter that she move out and get her own orphan (don't worry, she's 22...that's old enough). Then I can be grandma. She can have the sleepless nights. I'll be the fun "mom". My son exclaimed, "Mom, please?? I've always wanted a younger brother or sister!" Really.

Meanwhile I ponder what my role is. What does God want from me? Should I fulfill my childhood dream and buy a huge farm house and fill it with children who need a home? Do I travel afar or search my own state for a child? Or is my role to educate and inspire others to act?

I don't know. Maybe God will send me a clear sign. Like if hubs came home tonight and said, "Honey, I think we need another kid"......that would knock my socks off! Meanwhile I draw close to Him and practice giving Him all my "anythings"! Like Jennie, I want to serve the Lord with each and every breath, each and every second.

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra 7:10

God, please prepare me to do your will.

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