Monday, August 26, 2019

Are You Willing?!?

I was having coffee with a mentor and friend that other day and something she said really struck me.  She said that one of the things people have told her that they appreciate about her is that she is willing.  She might not have the skill set for things but she has a willing heart to help, give it a shot and try something to help.  The definition of willingness is, 'the quality or state of being prepared to do something; readiness.'

It says in 1 Peter 3:15,

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 

As someone that has followed Jesus and been surrounded by the Godly people for a good chunk of my life, I have a lot of head knowledge. Perhaps like many other Christians, if I don't allow God to penetrate my heart and mind and truly take a hold of that knowledge, then it is just knowledge...without action.  

Until the past 4 years or so, I have been an extremely busy person.  I was involved in numerous sports, played in orchestra and sang in choir and show choir in high school.  I then continued on in that path in college and as an extrovert, continued that path of busyness into married life as well.  I have always liked the idea of having a schedule of being available like Jesus walk alongside people.  Now looking back, I believe some of the reasons that I kept myself so busy was for selfish reasons.  An extrovert is energized by people and therefore I was likely getting satisfaction in life in spending time with other people and ensuring they liked me.  Not that we don't need human interaction and good, caring relationships in our life, we know God made us to need that but when it replaces our need for God or is our identity, than it is sinful. 

When we had our first child, God started to tear down some of my selfish heart and desires but as I see now it was just the beginning.  Parenting has definitely been the most difficult thing I have ever done.  I have expectations of how things are going to go and most of the time it does not go that way and then you are thinking what the heck and the anger can rise!  It is very draining, day in and day out and yet as I am seeing these past 6 months, if I am willing their is joy!  The greatest thing we can do in our life is to raise up children that know and love God.  It does not matter what amazing honor or promotion we have received at work, how big of house we have, how many boats we own, or what kind of clothing we wear. 

Another reason I believe that being willing has been hard is because of being afraid to fail.  This is also known as pride.  Every single person (including me) created after Adam and Eve struggles with pride, just on different levels.  

In 1 Peter5:5-6 it says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

A humble heart recognizes that everything we have came from God.  Instead of life, we deserve death.  

My prayer going forward this year is to trust God and be willing.  So far, it has been a freeing experience and I am excited to see what God has in store.  I know he is a good, good father.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that he would give us 4 amazing children to love and gently lead towards to him.  Are you in this journey of being willing?!?  

Monday, August 12, 2019

A Year In and Struggling to Let Go of that Control...

So....we have lived a year in Waverly and we would say we feel settled.  Do we still miss our friends from the Cedar Rapids/Mount Vernon area, yeah;  are we thankful for our new friends and church in Waverly, for sure!  We are so thankful for Matt's job and schedule for our family's needs and we love our neighborhood, house and our local coffee shop, Duo's.  We really have so much to be thankful for.  I think one of the benefits of moving to Waverly has been to see that even though we moved farther from family, we lean on each other as a couple and depend more on God, which is what he wants us to do anyway.  I also love that since we had to start all over, we were blessed with a schedule of minimal commitments so we can be less busy and choose to use our time wisely!  Heck, I started reading books again which really hasn't happened since college because I was burned out on reading so much then for my classes. :) 

I would say the hardest part of moving has been learning to trust God and that he is in control.  This, however is not new to us but very evident when starting over with everything in a new area.  One of the hardest areas to trust has been when our children are going to school and we want them to do well but school may not come as easy to them as it did for us! I am so thankful for teachers and how they work with students each day.  It exhausts me to be with my kids and I love them so much but I am not a good teacher.  When moving to Waverly, we had to build relationships with the staff at the boys school and they had to build relationships with kids, too.  It was a good reminder to me, even as an extrovert, how hard it is to build all new relationships with people.  We have no past with these people and they don't know our story.  Telling that story can be exhausting but it gets better in time.  

Another area that has really challenged me this past six months has been our 2 year old who has experienced some speech delays. It has been tricky to figure out what exactly was going on.  For awhile I was feeling guilty, because I felt like we must have done something wrong to stifle his development.  As an adoptive parent, my mind likes to take me there sometimes and I can feel extra guilty since the child is not biological.  However, these are lies and not from God!  We are finally making some progress and I have to remind myself that none of this was a surprise to God.  He knows everything and we have to trust his ways and seek His wisdom and not our own.

Matt and I have learned so much through our adoption journey and as we continue to raise two adopted children alongside our biological children.  We try to control so many things in our lives even though we really don't have much control over anything.  Adoption so clearly taught us that some things that we might have done differently as far as exposure to certain things with our biological children were not really as big of a deal as we thought.  We are constantly reminded that so many people in this world are hurting and need Jesus!  When things don't go as planned like speech delays, behavior issues at school and melt downs with lots of change in our schedules, it draws us close to God and we come with open arms to receive His wisdom, love and strength.  I challenge you to think about something that you are trying to control and hold so tightly in your hands.  Pray and ask God to start to help you trust Him with it.  Our relationship with God should be freeing and not a burden!

I leave you with this verse meditate on:  Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”