Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Stay here and wait with Me." said Jesus Matt 26:38


I want to go get Critter. Some things are not happening like we were under the impression that they would and I want to go get my manchild. Don't get me wrong, God has been good and faithful and loving. Critter has been standing up for his beliefs in Jesus at Shelterwood with some of the students and he has been a listening ear and a praying heart for them, as well. He really likes his 'big' and his counselor. He loves his teachers and is doing well in school.

I took my desire to my Lord. With my heart and mind engaged, I climbed up in His loving lap and fell apart. I lamented, complained, begged, reminded Him of all my issues, and asked Him to speak to me. I sensed He stroked my hair and let me fall against His strong chest. Chris could not really console me. My mom could express her love and wisdom but my tears just kept falling. It was like I was emptying out my soul - so many years of hurts and joys and challenges and defeats and hopes and disappointments of watching this sweet manchild get rejected, get left behind, get ridiculed and made fun of, get defined by his processing and reading abilities or disabilities, not get invited, not get a chance, not get understood, get overlooked, and get underencouraged. I want to also say that in each of these times, God always sent a messenger of His love and reminders of His Sovereign ways. He never left us but the pain has been much.

I talked with a friend late in the evening and simply asked her pray. I woke this morning about 6:30am and the first thing I asked my Abba Daddy was "Can i go get him?" Grabbing a cup of coffee, I spotted a book that we had given several of our special friends for Christmas If You Will Ask by Oswald Chambers. I sensed God asking me to pick it up and talk about it over coffee with Him this morning. I starting reading and just started to laugh. I mean from the sweetest places in my spirit. I had asked and my Daddy had answered and it was ABSOLUTELY OPPOSITE of what I wanted but it suddenly didn't matter because I knew that I knew that I knew that He had heard me, loves me, and had spoken His banner of love over me. The opening Scripture of the book is "Stay here and wait with Me." said Jesus (Matt 26:38). My Lord and my Master has asked me to stay and wait with Him. He had tenderly told me no and in the process, revealed His Presence to me.

Oswald went on to remind me that "we must take as from God the arrangements of our lives." If Jesus tells me to stay and wait with Him, the only appropriate thing I can do is to stay and wait. The sweetest part was that I was looking for the Strong Arm of the Lord and He revealed His tender face to me. Of course not in a velvet painting, but I sensed the tender, creased eyes from His knowing smile and His soft voice as He knew His answer was not what I wanted but what He knew would be the best for me - His Presence, not my way. I was really asking God for permission and for His power and in His gentle "no", He gave me o so much more - His Person. Oswald tells me that the basis of my prayers is not my human earnestness, although I can assure you I was earnest. The basis is not my human need or my human will. The only basis on which I may petition the heart of my Lord is the redemption in Jesus.

I don't know what you are talking to our Daddy about today. Your heart may be broken, your spirit may be worn out. You may need an option selection, physical healing, or wisdom. I can only tell you that you are asking Him for His power and in His answer, whether it is what you want or not, He will not disappoint because you will get His Person - because He has paid the price of His life for you - you mean that much to Him!

Monday, February 1, 2010

"When he was a long way off, his father saw him.." Luke 15:20



He is doing great! We immediately sensed something in his voice and in his heart...gratitude. Gratitude for love. Our love for him and Jesus' love for him. He shared almost the whole conversation about his burden for some of his fellow students. He knows that they are all there because they have needs, including him, but he recognized that their biggest need was Jesus. He understood he has been poured into and is accountable now to share his treasure - Jesus - with those who he shares his life with. This may sound "churchy" to you but you need to remember this isn't our "churchy" child. He told us that he has shared more about Jesus since he has been there than he has ever done in his home environments.

We suddenly had no trouble picturing Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. Only the part that we have known all too well - where the son wastes all that has been given to him and that he is an heir to -is not the part we are getting to see. v20 says that, "while he was a long way off, his father saw him.." The words "long way off" here means that he had his face set homeward- although he has sinned, he is heading toward his father. We sensed that Critter is heading toward his Father. We are steadfast in our position of waiting for him and looking with God's eyes as He sees what He is doing in the heart of our son. The Father of this passage has clearly looked this way many times and only seen through tears of waiting and anticipated the day he would catch a glimpse of his son coming toward him, coming home. We have come to know those tears but there is more.

"His father saw him" is such a rich way to describe what happened! The word "saw" here means more than just the eye doing its is the first glimpse of grace. As a parent, maybe you are standing here with us as we wait for our children to head toward Jesus. Maybe your tween or teen has started to rebel - either by outward displays or inward indifference and lack of passion - and you are looking all over their lives for a glimpse of grace - to "see" Jesus in them. The cool thing here is the word "saw" here. This "saw" means perceived and discerned and cherishes. The Father discerns that the son has a rough go of things, even if he has brought it on himself. Maybe the son is thin and dirty and his clothes are tattered.The Father perceives that the son is coming back home to him. He senses that this son is drawn back by their relationship-by his father's love. The father cherishes the son and runs TOWARD him and showers him with kisses and hugs and displays of his love. That is the good news - Jesus runs to us, to the prodigal! The father does all this outside, for all to see. He doesn't care what the neighbors or his fellow synagogue members think- his son was lost and now he is found! I get this part!

It is hard to ask you to pray for my son as he is in a residential treatment program. By definition, you can assume I have failed as a parent. You can judge decisions we have made. You can suggest that you "saw it coming." You may sense our heartbreak and pain and secretly identify with it as you are hurting with one of your children. I don't know. I do know that tonight, we get v 20! And the view here, as we get a glimpse of grace, is amazing! Jesus is running toward your prodigal, too! How do I know? ...because the Bible tells me so!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beautiful Feet! Isaiah 52:7


We heard from Shelterwood yesterday! "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
breaking the news that all's well, proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, telling Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7.

Critter is doing well! It as been over two weeks and he is embracing the opportunities for spiritual and personal growth at Shelterwood. He is doing well in his classes and getting to know the other students. He likes his "big" and has even done his own laundry! He is reading through the book Do Hard Things. Please pray God will breathe His plans and dreams into Critter's heart as he reads this book!

Isn't it great to get good news? You just want to share it! It is as if with each recounting of the good news, you are reliving your initial joy. Of course the best news of all is the news of the Gospel! The hope and salvation found only in Jesus Christ! We get to relive that forever and ever!

I thought about the joy that Shelterwood brought us today with the encouraging report on Critter's initial adjustment. I found myself so grateful for the encouragement. I thanked Jesus for His love and goodness! I did begin to wonder if my feet had been "beautiful" lately. Maybe it has been awhile since you have done a "beauty treatment" on your feet by sharing Jesus and what He has done in your life. I pray you will talk with Him about that. He tells us that His love, counsel, comfort and goodness are surely meant for us to experience and pass on. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 we are told, "All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."

It is hard to walk such a painful journey but God is so good. I pray my feet stay beautiful through these months of Critter becoming and that Jesus will make much of this path. A dear friend recommended an amazing book to me that I am devouring called The Grace of Catastrophe. The author refers to journaling as "tracking grace." I like that. I like that this blog will "track grace" in this journey. For today, we are as Romans 12:12 says, "Joyful in hope, patient in affliction and constant in prayer."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So that the power of Christ may rest upon me..2 Cor 12:9-10


Today is my sister's birthday. I took her to lunch. I smiled and we enjoyed our meal. Inside, I was crumbling. This is not the path I wanted for Critter. I want him here, with us. I want him checking out for Senior Lunches and painting the rock at midnight on the football field. I want him to be applying to colleges and us making college visits. I want him thinking about who he will ask to the Senior Prom. I am not going to get what I want. God has another plan. His plan has left me broken and weak. Yet, Jer 29:11 and Psalms 33:11 let me know that His plan is perfect and for our good!

I love the words to the song, "Your Grace is Sufficient for Me" by Shane and Shane.

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
And all that I cling to
I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient for me

2 Cor 12:9-10 tells us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." The Lord says that His grace is sufficient for me. Sufficient is one of those words that you think you know what they mean but the Greek, actual word is so much more. Sufficient in this verse means," to be possessed of an unfailing strength, to be enough." The Lord is enough.

When I am weak, the power of Christ will rest upon me and Jesus is enough. So for today, I will choose to be content with God's plan because He loves me with a perfect love, just as He loves Jesus (John 15:9) and He tells me that He is enough.

Exodus 23:20-30..Promises, Promises


It's been 8 days since I have had my arms around my manchild and heard life according to my Critter! I am really hurting today! The tears are flowing and I am fighting the urge to go get him. This is simply a fight I am not strong enough to fight. I pray and ask God to please help me! I sense the Holy Spirit is interceding for me, as I really don't know what to pray. I go to my Bible...Jesus is always so faithful to meet me there.

Exodus 23:20-30 is a passage where God tells the Israelites, His people, what He will do for them and what they need to do.
11 times in 10 verses God says,"I will." What does He promise the Israelites He will do? He will fight and win their battles for them, on their behalf. He says He will:

* guide them and take care of them by sending an angel before them to bring them from where they were, the wilderness to
the place that God has promised and prepared for them - Canaaan

* prepare Canaan for the Isaelites. He has gone ahead of them and has goodness and rest for them

* fight and conquer the Israelite's enemies FOR the Israelites

What does God tell the Israelites that they are to do?

* Pay close attention and listen to the angel

* Obey what He tells you to do

* Worship God only

Can I claim those promises for myself, our family and Critter? hmm..we certainly feel like we are in the Wilderness right now!
Could you claim His promises for your life?

Well, according to John 16:13, Jesus has certainly sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us and care for us until He comes back.
Just like God provided Canaan for the Israelites and placed them there, Galatians 3:27 tells me that He has provided Jesus for us and placed us IN Christ. According to Matt 11:28 and Eph 1:11, our rest and inheritance are not in a place but in a Person, Jesus. However, just like the Israelites still had battles in their promise land, we will still have battles until Jesus returns.

So yes, while the promises in Exodus were for the Israelites, the Holy Spirit teaches me that the New Testament holds the same promises for me! My enemies are not the Hittites or Amorites but Eph 6:12 tells me it is Satan. Romans 8:37-39 tells me that "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus." WOW! Jesus will fight for me!

One last nugget. In Exodus 23:30, God tells the Israelites that for their own good, He will drive their enemies out "little by little." God will also handle timing. 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that God doesn't keep time like we do. I know He loves me so and the only way He could let me hurt right now is that He sees the future. He sees the man He is making in my Critter. He sees His glory as Christ is expressed in Critter's life and He sees my joy at Him keeping His promises! He is working "little by little."

So for today, I will choose to let God fight my battle and believe 2 Corinthians 1:20, " For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God." "Blessed is she that believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

You've Got a Friend in Me ..John 14:15


It's Saturday and I am thinking about my manchild! His first Saturday away. I wonder what he will do today. I started praying and asking God to bring him a friendship that would bring God glory and Critter companionship. I was concerned he might be lonely. Not the kind of lonely where you are physically alone because he is in the "5 feet" zone. He has to stay within 5 feet of his "big" and earn the privilege to have more space between them. The kind of lonely where you could be at a football stadium filled with fans for your team and feel empty and all alone.

ANYWAY, I sensed God drawing me to His Word and I went to John 14:14. This verse says, "whatever you request along the lines of Who I Am and what I am doing, I'll do it." request was for God to get glory in Critter's friendship and for Critter not to be alone, I think that lines up with God's heart. I keep reading and laughed out loud at God's goodness and His greatness!

John 14:15 says, "(The Father) will provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth." He had already answered my prayer for my sweet manchild!! Critter has the Holy Spirit always with him!

Maybe tonight you are praying about something. I am sure you have told God all about your request. Go to God's Word and let Him talk to you! He is good and compassionate and Psalms 111:4 says He causes His wonders to be remembered. What wonders has He done for you that you need to remember? Those awesome memories will be the faith fuel He uses for you to trust and obey Him for this request that is on your heart.

How do I know? I did Critter's Senior Page for the school yearbook today. I wept and I laughed as I looked through the boxes of photos God has blessed us to experience with our manchild. I remember praying for him when he was still in his birthmother's womb. I remember the first time I held him in the church nursery where we picked him up from the adoption agency. I remeber when he finally learned to read. He wanted to stay up all night and keep reading because he thought if he went to sleep, he might forget how to read. I remembered all his firsts...and as he is having another first today..his first Saturday @ Shelterwood..God has filled me with the faith fuel of the wonders of all He has done in Critter's life and I choose to believe He has good in store for my sweet manchild.

What are you choosing to believe about your requests? Are you choosing to say,"I will sing to the Lord because He has been good to me"? Ps 13:6.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Keep Yourself in God's Love as You Wait...



Everybody knows what it feels like to wait. Even newborns wait to be fed! I know what waiting feels like, but I wanted to know HOW I am supposed to wait. HOW do I wait for God to do things in my son's life that only Jesus will get the glory for? How do I bring God glory in my waiting? THESE are the questions that are on my heart today..these and wonder if Critter making friends, wonder if Critter is doing his quiet time, and wonder what I could have done different, or better, or longer, or not at all...maybe you are asking some of these same questions about situations in your life that you KNOW God has allowed to filter through His fingers of love.

I looked up the definition of wait online, " to remain inactive or in a state of repose, until something expected happens; to be available or in readiness; and to look forward to eagerly." THEN I checked to see what the Bible says about waiting. Jude 1:21 tells us to "Keep yourself in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." The Message version of the Bible says, "Staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of Jesus Christ." I am to wait IN God's love. The Greek word for waiting means to give access to one's self and to expect a fulfillment of a promise. I have to give Jesus access to the real me and wait WITH Him as I hope in His promises. 1 Corinthians 13 tells me that the love I am to wait in is a perfect, agape love. A love that never gives up, trusts God always, always looks for the best, NEVER LOOKS BACK, keeps going to the end and never dies! WOW! The ONLY way to wait in perfect love is to wait in Jesus!

Psalms 27:14 says, "Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart and wait for the Lord." Another version says, "Stay with God. Take heart! Don't quit! Stay with God!" I disagree with the dictionary's definition of waiting being 'inactive'. I believe 1 Cor 13:13 tells us what we are to do as we wait in God's love...
* trust steadily in God
* hope unswervingly
* love extravagantly
"and the best of these three is love."

And so for today, I choose to keep myself "right in the center of God's love" by keeping His Words, His Promises, and His Presence on my mind and my heart. I am however, still wondering if Critter is brushing his teeth...:)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

IDidn't Really Wanna Talk To You Today!


As my eyes flew open today, my first thought was,"God please wake Critter up to Your Love this morning!" ...and I sure hope he set his alarm clock! All day, I would think what time it was in Missouri and try to picture what Critter was doing. I would start praying and talking with God about whatever I thought he might be doing.

I have had so many sweet calls, texts and emails! Thank you my sweet friends! I really didn't wanna talk to anybody today! I just wanted to let our new "normal" sink in. We did get an email from Shelterwood that Critter was smiling and on the way to the gym. Crossfit may bill us a franchise fee for Crossfit Shelterwood! Ha!

I just realized that God is starting to plant new dreams in my heart for Critter..I want to "clean out" the old ones so there is plenty of room for God's dreams. In James 4:5 today, He reminded me that, " What God gives in love is far better than ANYTHING else I will find.." Father, love my manchild today with a double portion of YOU! Please begin doing something in Critter that only YOU can get the glory for!

On the Mountain of God, Where He Sees To It Gen 22:14

Sunday, 1.11.10

Today is the day I have prayed for, prayed never to come, prayed wouldn't be necessary, and prayed to get through and rest in Jesus! I got up this am and thought, " I can't do this. I can't leave my manchild with people I don't know!" I asked God to change my perspective. I asked Him to let me see this the way He sees this.. I reached for another book I had brought and opened it to a page where a mother was giving a story about leaving her 17 year old son in a chemical rehab facility. She said she kept an index card with this Scripture written on it... " I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of his return." 2 Tim 1:12. WOW! God is so enough!

We got to Shelterwood about 9 am. Several inches of snow on the ground!

We met with Director, counselors, principal, and his house director. It was a good meeting. Critter shared his heart. We sense he is ready for Shelterwood. He went with the house director and got his stuff put in his room while we did enrollment stuff. Saying goodbye was coming and I just kept wishing time would stand still! We prayed, took pics of him in his dorm room and said "See you later" in his room and got in our car and left. I kept feeling I was forgetting something as we drove to the airport and I was - a 190 lb huge piece of my heart!

God had answered the biggest prayers we had ever prayed when He blessed us with Critter 18 years ago and now He working out our prayers for Critter again! Romans 8:28. As I was going to bed, I read Matt 10:37-39, "...anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me..." I felt God saying to me, "Love Me - My plans, My Will, My Way more than your way, your wants..I will rest in You, Jesus.

We set out for the place God had directed us...Gen 22:4


We flew out to Independence, MO today to leave Critter @ Shelterwood. I am overcome with so many emotions...but I sense the broom of hope in my heart sweeping away the sadness for what won't be and the hateful lies of my shortcomings and failures as a mom.Of course the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac has been on my mind. I have been praying all week for God to make the ram show up...I realize He has- Jesus in me, Jesus to me, Jesus through me!

I had left a small Walmart run list for us to do once we got to Independence. We got laundry detergent, batteries, and a few pics developed. Chris and Critter went to get the car while I checked out. That is where it happened..the panic attack. When Whitni, our oldest daughter, got hung up in the Lebanese War a few years ago, I started having panic attacks. I didn't know thats what they just felt like an elephant was on my chest and I couldn't breathe. ANYWAY, once she was home, I have never had another one...until today. I was waiting to pay and thoughts started ambushing me..You know, how I could have, should have, and didn't do things better as a mom to keep tomorrow from having to happen. How we would miss prom, Senior Banquet, Senior Parent Breakfast at church because we were "setting out for the place God had directed us"Gen 22:4 so Critter can heal and grow and become. We got back to the hotel room and I asked God to speak to me and quiet my shattered heart. I grabbed a book I had brought and opened it right to a spot where the author was sharing about when he had panic attacks as a young surgeon. He said he memorized Scripture and would literally take each thought and breathe between them. Paul gave us the same directive in the Bible in 2 Cor 10:5, "take every thought captive to obey Christ.." isn't that just like God to lavish us with His Presence and love the very second we need it??

I don't know how I will leave my sweet man-child is a thought I can't think right now. I don't have to. He is laying right beside me in our hotel room. Father, please let a day last 1,000 years!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

glory just around the corner.....

WOW! this is hard...but God is so faithful!

i am going to blog about my side of critter being at shelterwood. my prayer is that God will speak through me each day and touch you and that when critter gets home, he will have a testimony of my side of waiting for God's glory just around the corner... "Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner." (1 Peter 4:12-13. The Message).