Tag Archive | Parenting

Enjoying the Process

Life is such a funny thing.  You think you have it all figured out and then  it goes and changes on you.  I am certainly glad God knows what He is doing because often times I haven’t got a clue!  I don’t think that God keeps me in the dark to be cruel or watch me squirm (ok, sometimes I do think that is exactly why He does it – but it isn’t true!!)

God knows me inside and out better than I know myself and He knows exactly what I would do if He told me all the plans ahead of time.  I would map out the quickest route to my end destination, skip from step A straight to Z and wind up in a big mess waaaaay over my head with no idea what to do or how to trust Him.  I am an instant gratification type person (aren’t most of us?) and I simply do not have the patience to trudge through several years of “preparation time” before finally reaching my final goal.  I want that goal and I want it now!!

The problem with that is this; with out trials there is no testing of our faith.  With no testing there is no chance to learn to trust in God or stand firm in times of trouble or testimonies and memories of Gods favor and help for us to fall back on when it gets tough.  If I had all the information of what God has planned for me and ran with it, skipping all the tough, painful and VITAL hardships and “barriers” in my way I would wind up neck-deep in trouble with none of the tools I need to dig myself out.

I could get frustrated, angry even, at how things are going right now but I am starting to learn to just TRUST Him and enjoy the process.

I have moved 3 times in the last 4 months and I am about to move AGAIN! The first time I moved I had no choice, the place I had lived for a year was being over run with mold.  I was left living with my sweet dad and step mom with no idea what to do next.  I truly felt lost and questioned everything I had decided was from the Lord.  I was near despair and full-blown depression after just a month.  I finally cried out to God and asked Him to move me closer to the goal.  I couldn’t stretch any further I needed Him to move me forward in His plans.

Quickly after this prayer I was finally able to find an apartment I could afford and I thought, “YES! This is where the Lord wants me to do foster care. I am just starting to get on my feet, I can’t expect to have my farm right away.  I will just continue helping friends with their gardens and wait to get any animals – this is God’s good will.”  I got a two bedroom knowing ahead of time that the second room was for someone else (the foster kids) and E.v.e. would be staying with me in my room.  Only I didn’t get foster kids – my precious sister Lambchop came and lived with me before her big missions trip.  “Okay,” I think to myself, “this is good.  This will work.  She will live in the second room and I will start to foster once she leaves. It could be just a month or two or it could be a year that she lives with me but we will learn so much from each other and THIS is the good will of God.”

A friend of hers gave her a bunch of wonderful furniture and our little tiny apartment gets filled with lovely things that make it feel like a home.  My sweet sister left after a month for her missions trip and left all her things behind for me to care for.  Now I have an apartment that is cozy and inviting and NOW I am ready to foster.  I have a lease for a year so this is where we will stay.  THIS is the good will of God.  I began the process right away and like my last post stated I scheduled my home study.  As the day approached I became more and more confident that I was going to pass with flying colors and be fostering within months.  However, I also became increasingly aware of the dangers lurking in my apartment complex.

By the time my homestudy appointment came around I had encountered enough crime that I was not comfortable where I was living any more.  My lovely little home felt more like a very thin cocoon protecting me from circling vultures.  I know that God can and does protect us from harm but this felt like unnecessary endangerment.  I explained it to a friend this way – Just because I believe God will protect me from danger doesn’t mean I should walk down the middle of the free way – and that is what living at this apartment very quickly began to feel like.

The week of my home study I got a call from someone who will stay anonymous.  He and his wife were moving to a new home and they were offering to give me there three bedroom brick home to foster in! It still had a mortgage but it’s payments were the same I was paying in rent!  I began to get very excited!   I had my home study at the apartment the day after I prayerfully decided I would accept the offer of the house.  The case worker said the apartment would work for foster care but the prospect of a house would be better.  I would have to wait to apply to be a foster parent till I was in the house but then it should be a very quick process. “Okay God, I see where this is going.  I got the apartment to experience living on my own and to be blessed with this free furniture until I can afford to buy my own, plus all the other priceless lessons I learned here and now you are taking me to this new house to do foster care.  I can have a little garden and a couple of chickens and a dog – it’s not the farm I would like but it’s better than the apartment, maybe THIS is the good will of God.”

So, where I am now is in the middle of the third move.  My story has almost caught up to present time.  Everything that has happened so far was very quick.  Things changed from one week to the next but now for the rest of my story things are changing from one DAY to the next and in some cases one HOUR to the next.  Talk about whip-lash!

I couldn’t have the house until June but didn’t want to stay in the apartment between now and then so I took up a couch surfing existence.  I would stay with one friend when I knew I was going to need to be on that side of town the next day and I would stay with my dad when I knew I would need to be on his side of town the next day.  It worked for a week and I slowly started moving things over to the house I would be living in soon.  As I am typing this MOST of my belongings are still in the apartment I no longer live in but still pay rent for – talk about super expensive storage unit!! With everything happening so quickly I just haven’t been able to know where to move my things to so there they sit.

I knew that I was going to have to replace of couple of the windows before I could do foster care in the house.  (DSS is very strict about their window requirements!) I figured when I got a loan from the bank to buy the loan from the current owners I would just tack on a couple extra thousand dollars to cover the cost of replacing them.  Well, upon further inspection I realized that I would need to replace ALL the windows in the 3 bedrooms.  It wouldn’t be such a big deal except the house is brick.  Very expensive to install larger windows into.  As I did the math and went through all my options I suddenly realized – this isn’t going to work.  The Bible says that the blessings of God carry no sorrow but this house was going to cause me plenty of sorrow.  I was going to have to go much, MUCH further into debt than I had originally thought and the payments were going to be higher than I thought.  Also, because of a clause we found in the current owners loan they couldn’t actually sell me the property for 3 more years.  In the end it was going to take a lot longer to be able to foster than I felt like I could handle.

So then I am left with the disappointment of realizing all the plans I had made for that house (in the few short days I thought I would get to live there) were all gone.  By now though I am used to things of this nature happening so I was able to quickly recover and try to figure out what to do next. That is the wonderful blessing of previous trials!!! I have already figured out that if one thing doesn’t work start looking for what is next – don’t waste time freaking out!!

I had already decided I could not stay in the apartment any longer but didn’t have anywhere else to go.  Just an hour later my sweet dad and step mom stopped by my apartment.  (I was sitting in the disheveled, messy living room with random bits of missing furniture feeling very lost and frustrated…..basically I was pouting)

They had talked amongst themselves and wanted to know if I would like to move waaaaaaaay out into the country to live on their property and foster there.  They had a little double wide trailer that was vacant and there was 6 acres of land on which I could garden to my heart’s content and have any animals I would like as long as I took care of them.  Visions of chickens, goats, rabbits and a lush garden instantly danced in my mind.

It was like the sun started to shine again.  “ok ok ok THIS is the good will of God!”  I don’t know how long I will get to enjoy this opportunity.  I may never even get to move in but I have decided I am going to just trust God and enjoy the process.  I have had so much FUN the last couple of days doing TONS of research about different animals that are suitable for a small family farm and how to care for them.  I can now tell you just about anything you would like to know about raising goats, chickens, rabbits and even how to raise fish in a barrel just to name a few!  I have also found loads of wonderful ideas about how to build the various stalls and such that I would need to care for these animals for very cheap (FREE in a lot of cases) I don’t know if I will get to use all this information at this new location I will be moving to soon or if it just another stepping stone preparing me for something maybe even better but I am not going to waste my time worrying about it.

I can’t help but laugh at myself as I realize that all these things have been the good will of God.  I kept feeling like I had failed or heard wrong or missed something but I never did.  Every step of the way I am being guided along the journey.  Like a silly sheep I keep stopping to nibble at the few parched weeds along the path thinking “this must be where we are going, I guess this is all I have to eat” not realizing the Shepherd is trying to get me down the road to the pasture full of lush, delicious grasses.  I keep trying to stop and put down roots but all this is just the journey to the destination.

I guess in all this I am just trying to say that I have decided to not care about tomorrow, I am going to let God take care of that.  I am just going to worry about today and trying to use each “today” to get me one step closer to my two simple dreams – 1. A self-sustaining family farm located anywhere God would like to put it 2. filled with wounded children I have the honor of showing the love of God.

From the Mouth of Babes

E.v.e. : I love you Momma (hugs my leg)

Me: How do you know you love me? (I keep washing the dishes)

E.v.e.: Because I kiss you, silly!

(We both laugh)

Me: What if you couldn’t kiss me?  Would you still know you love me? (look down at her sweet angel face)

E.v.e.: NO MORE KISSES?! That would be sad. (most adorable pouting face ever)

Me: Yes, it would be sad, how would you know you loved me if you could never kiss me again?

(Long Pause)

E.v.e.: I know I love you cause I misses you when you’re gone.

*warm fuzzies*

 

My sleeping little angel

 

Day 2 – HOMEWORK

As before I will type up the questions for todays homework first and then under that put in my answers.  The free work book that I pulled all this from can be found at : http://www.parentingministry.org/component/content/article/14-main-menu/150-parenting-is-a-ministry-video

  1.  Today in the video we reviewed Deuteronomy 6:1-6 and Luke 6:46-49. In your own words, briefly summarize what these verses mean.
  2. What are the ingredients of a strong foundation?(hint – there are 3 mentioned in the video)
  3. Review the Scriptures that discuss why suffering is part of our journey as a parent: 1 Peter 4:16, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Psalm 127:1, and 2 Peter 1:1-4. Write out your prayer to the Lord and ask Him to help you to accept His plan in these difficult times. Also write out your commitment to look to Him daily for the grace to love and serve your children according to His will.

 

 

1. Deuteronomy 6:1-6 talks about how we are to not only obey the words of the Lord but to also teach them to our children and that when we listen to the Lord and pass on what he tells us to our young ones He will be faithful to bless us.

Luke 6:46-49 tells us that in order for us to have a strong foundation that will withstand the trials of this life we need to come to the Lord, listen to Him and obey the things He tells us to do.  If we don’t do those things we will never have a foundation strong enough to hold us up when the storms of life come against us.

2. Come to Him – accepting Jesus as our savior, Hear His sayings – abide in a relationship with Him and obey Him – apply His word in our lives

3. Lord, Thank You so much that Your mercies are new every morning!!  There are so many mistakes that I have made in my short time as a mother and I am so grateful that You are willing to not give up on me and to continue to perfect the work You have started in me.  Thank You that Your word is all-sufficient and has an answer for every problem that we face.  I am very aware of my lack when it comes to being a good parent.  There is still so much that I need to learn and so much inside of me that needs to be changed or fixed.  I pray that You would help me to continue to recognize when I am lacking and when I do things that dishonor You or are not edifying to my daughter or others.  Help me to become the mother and woman of God that you have called me to be.  I know that I can not make these changes in myself but that You can as long as I am willing to trust You.  Thank you for the trials that You have given me and for giving me a daughter that is a perfect match to what you want to change and develop in me.

~Nichole

 

 

Day 2 – Video & Notes

OK so todays video was a bit longer than I realized but it was still very good!  totally worth the extra time I had to take to watch it.  Here is the Link!!   http://www.parentingministry.org/parenting-class/session-1-mainmenu-67/session-2-mainmenu-74

My notes are as follows – (some wont make sense if you didn’t watch the video)

  • God looks at our individual child just as much as His entire church.  My child is uniquely special to the Lord.
  • Just like my child is special to the Lord, so am I!  I need to make sure that I am spending time with Him every day.
  • In Deut. 6 God reveals how important it is for us to maintain that relationship – it was life or death for the Israelites!
  • We must choose to have an intimate relationship with the lord – DAILY! (Duet 6:5)
  • We need to obey Him and abide in Him (Duet 6:6)
  • Most christians don’t realize there is more to our relationship with God than just going to church on sunday and praying from time to time.
  • What is a foundation? What does it look like? There are 3 ingredients –
    •  1. accepting Jesus as our savior “come to me”
    •  2. abiding in Him – relationship “hear my sayings” (can’t hear him if we don’t spend time with Him!) and
    •  3. obey – apply His word in our lives “do them”
  • What is my “relationship grade?”
    • Have I been saved? Yes
    • How is my prayer life? (read Phil 4:6) – I would call my prayer life “growing”
    • Do I spend time daily reading the word of God? (read mark 4:34, 2 Tim 2:15) – off and on 😦 I try but something always seems to get in the way
    • Do I give tithes regularly and according to Gods word? (Prov 3:9-10) YES!
    • What are my priorities? Are they Godly? (1 Cor 14:40, 1 Tim 3:1-13) Currently my priorities are skewed =/ they tend to go – child, work, responsibilities, worries then try to squeeze God in 😦
    • Do I practice Godly principles in my home? (Gal 5:22-23) I try very hard
  • I need to remember that God is my Daddy and I am allowed to get excited about spending time with Him
  • God is excited about spending time with me!!!
  • Ignore the distractions and do what I was created to do – spend time with God! Everything else stems from that relationship and can only be as fulfilling and strong as my relationship with the Lord is.
  • If there is anything that has a higher priority that God – I am the one who will suffer and so will my child
  • Most christians focus on the third ingredient – obey – without realizing that it is the “abiding” aspect that gives us the strength to obey – when we try to obey without a relationship with the one we are trying to obey chances are we are going to fail.
  • Rebellion = Doing things my own way, or prioritizing what is most important to us and not to God.
  • How rebellious am I?
    • Are my first thoughts of the day focused on Him? No- I am usually thinking about and dreading all the things I have to get done in the next 12 hours or all the things that I am lacking
    • Do I daily acknowledge how much I need Him? Yes – I am very aware of my weakness and lack of discipline – doesn’t mean that I am smart enough to go to Him for help daily! >.< Even knowing how frail I am I still feel like I have to do things on my own in order to please Him.
    • Do I put God first and maintain relationship with him?  Honestly – no 😦
  • God knows the trials we will have to go through in our lives when we face a new struggle we can immediately go to Him for direction – He already knows the solution!
  • He uses those trials to transform us but we will only be transformed if we are willing to look to Him to find out how we should respond to those trials and ask for forgiveness for the times we fail.  We have to be willing to admit we are wrong and not strong enough to obey without His help!  If we don’t do this we will stay stuck repeating the same kinds of trials over and over as the Lord tries to get through to us.
  • Jesus sent His disciples out onto the water when He knew that a storm was coming – God sends us into storms too! Then Jesus walked on what they feared the most – the water they did not want to drown in!  By doing that He was showing them that he was more powerful than what they feared!  God is stronger than our greatest fears too!
  • the journey of transformation will last until we die.  We should never stop growing
  • God will foil the best of plans if He is left out of them – He is more interested in the relationship than the plans
  • satan uses our responsibilities and worries to distract us from spending time with the One who can help us get through them all.

Day One – Homework

I am going to list the questions first for those of you that are wanting to follow along but don’t have the time/means to print the work book out on your own.  Then I will list my answers as an example or something for you to think about as you come up with your own answers for those of you that don’t have the time to sit down and write them out on your own.

  1. Write out in your own words how seeing your role as a minister changes your perspective as a parent.
  2. How does being a minister affect you as a father and mother (if married) when it comes to how to handle the raising of your children?
  3. What are God’s purposes for parents? (hint – there were 4 mentioned in my notes)
  4. Make a list of non-glorifying behaviors that God is revealing in you through the trials and/or difficulties in raising your children. Example: impatience, resentfulness, etc.
  • If married, discuss these things as a couple, then together take them to the Lord.  Ask for His forgiveness and for the ability to take responsibility every time these things are manifested through you.   Ask for the faith to trust His way in bringing about your transformation.  REMEMBER: there is no growth or transformation taking place if you do not ask for forgiveness…every time.

Worksheet found at: www.parentingministry.org

 

My answers:

  1. I already knew that being a godly parent was a ministry/responsibility given by the Lord. It was, however, very encouraging to hear my beliefs being confirmed by not only someone wiser and more experienced than myself but also to be able to see it in the Bible as well.  My new verse of the week – Genesis 18:19 -(God speaking about Abraham) “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
  2. Being aware that the Lord is holding me accountable for my actions towards raising my daughter puts more importance to my daily choices, it motivates me to do my work well so that when the Lord looks at what I have done He will be pleased with not only me but my daughter as well.
  3. Our transformation, God’s glorification, to love our children and to train our children.
  4. YIKES! Here comes some honesty folks! Putting selfish expectations on others, poor anger management (stuff, stuff, stuff – EXPLODE!!), lack of self-discipline.

 

Love, thank You for helping me find this bible study and giving me the means to share it with others.  Thank You for the work You are going to do in me through this study.  I pray for any one that takes this ten-day challenge – I pray that You would help them to remember the things they learn in Your word and be able to apply it in their lives.  I pray a special blessing over them and their families, that You would pour out Your love and Holy Spirit on them and give them the strength to allow transformation to take place in their hearts and homes.  I lift this list of mine up to You and ask for Your forgiveness.  Please help me to recognize and take responsibility every time I allow these things to be present in my life and in my relationship with my daughter.  I especially ask that You help me to put realistic expectations on my daughter and not my selfish ones.  Help me to have patience with her and to remember that she is, in fact, only 3.  Help me to trust You and allow You to transform me.

~Nichole