Thursday, July 29, 2010
My mom and I sat on the porch talking prior to our visit to Indiana. I was telling her how much I've truly missed having friends who live nearby and how I couldn't wait to be with them again. I explained how during this past year, I have learned to depend on the Lord to fill that void and it has been good for me. That's not to say I won't be glad when I begin to build some Minnesota friendships.
I went on to explain that for me, relating with other women is one of my basic needs. Food, water, clothing, shelter and people/friends. I need to encourage and be encouraged. I need someone to vent to and bounce ideas off. I need someone who can laugh with me. In fact, in our relationships with other Christians, we can be Jesus to each other. John 13:15-17 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth no servant is greater than his master nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
We live in a new development. We are currently only one of 2 houses on our block. I don't have any neighbors. My mom, always the optimist, pointed out all of the potential for friends in our neighborhood with 6 houses yet to be build or occupied. She began to pray out loud asking God to bless the neighborhood and fill the homes with Christian families who would encourage one another and be a tight-knit, happy place to live.
I told her that when my best friend and next door neighbor Trina moved from IN to Phoenix, I shared with her that I knew God wouldn't take her from her friends and not give her a new one. Within a short time she met Dawn and they became fast friends. Not long after, God gave me Brande.
When we moved here, I didn't even worry about making friends. I thought it would just happen. I'm not going to lie, I was frustrated and I expressed that in no uncertain terms. I was also questioning why God has not given me a friend yet.
A short while later we took the twins on a walk through the neighborhood. As we turned the corner, I saw a woman standing in her yard and she waved and I waved back. Then I stopped. There was a real person! I asked if they had just moved in and they said yes. We proceeded to introduce ourselves and quickly learned we had a lot in common.
*She and her husband are Christians and have also been praying for the neighborhood.
*She has a 3 year old son they adopted from Ethiopia.(we have adopted twins and will soon have a niece from Ethiopia)
* She teaches voice lessons from her home. (I have 3 kids looking for a voice teacher)
*She goes to a church with a lot of people I grew up with.
* She and her husband had been praying the same prayers mom and I had for the neighborhood! She yelled to her husband as he drove in the driveway "Honey we have neighbors and they love Jesus!"
As we walked away my mom was giggling about how great God is. I was feeling a little ashamed for doubting Him.
The most encouraging thing was that I have a lot of things I'm seeking God for that are so much bigger and I know there isn't really an immediate answer to them.
This particular answer to prayer was God reminding me that I am important to Him and that he knows what I need.
Thanks Lord for showing me in both big and little small each day that you love me and that I matter to you!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Last week I stopped to use a public restroom. I checked the mirror on my way out and noticed that my shirt was on inside out and the tags were showing. I laughed out loud, fixed it and went about my day. It wasn't the first time and I'm sure not the last time this will happen to me.
Somedays, I feel completely out of control. I am over booked, over tired and overwhelmed. I mean, if my outside mirrored my inside, wouldn't it be something! I imagine myself with a big clump of hair in the back of my head where I teased it, but forgot to brush it out. I brush my teeth with Desitin instead of toothpaste. I am wearing make-up but forget my mascara so my long, very blond eye lashes are invisible, thus making me look "tired". I am wearing lipstick but I have accidentally "colored outside the lines". My shirt is new and the size sticker hasn't been removed and there is already a spot where my little one wiped his nose. There is a piece of toilet paper hanging out of the back of my pants and I have one black and one blue shoe on. Truthfully, each of the above things have happened to me, just not all at once!
A friend of mine recently posted this on her facebook: "I'm really feeling out-of-balance in about everyway in about every area of my life at the moment. I really have to get that worked out with the Lord"! I really like how she worded that. She hit the nail on the head when she said she needed to get that worked out with the Lord and that nothing else would take the place of talking to God.
I admittedly will often take several paths to remedy the feeling of unbalance in my life. The honest admission of my friend reminded me where my balance and stability comes from.
I have just returned from a short visit to Indiana which was my home for 14 of the last 15 years. One evening a friend had reserved a table and invited some of my friends. This particular group I doubt would be together on any other occasion. Their commonality was that of being friends with me. What an honor. It was an unforgettable evening! As I sat there and looked at the faces of these women, I wanted to bask in the moment. Each one of these women have a special place in my heart. I am better for knowing them. The photo above shows some of us that evening.
Throughout the past year I have greatly missed having friendships with a history. The kind where we know each others past, greatest struggles, families and what makes them laugh and cry. Friendships that are made over time and which will stand the test of time.
I have lived in 4 states. I have friends living in more than 12 different states. My friendships are an important part of my life. I have learned that they nurture many different sides of me. Some make me laugh, others promote growth in my spiritual walk, others make me aware of things I would have otherwise not known, a few have walked with me through the most difficult times of my life.
I have so many great friends, each one of them has left their mark on my heart. Some friendships happened instantly. Those are rare and amazing. Some friends have an amazing sense of humor that can make me laugh like no one else, even when I'm not suppose to be laughing! They allow me to be silly and stupid. Some friends are people I have chosen to call my family. I love my real friends. The ones who I can be myself with and not care about how I look or how my house looks or what time of the day or night I need them. Sometimes a neighbor can become a cherished friend. That's a beautiful surprise I have been blessed to have experienced.
I have friends who I have mentored and friends who mentor me. I have friends who challenge me to be a better Christ follower. I actually have a friend whom I have only ever met once but we worked together in adoption and relate by e mail or phone. She is uplifting, compassionate and a faithful person. I have many friendships I've made through my work in the field of adoption because I have come across some incredibly fabulous people who have truly changed me by their faith and their strength.
I have a friend from college who I roomed with for all 4 years. We are not much alike but we really like each other. She knows everything good and bad about me and she still loves me. She's who I want to be when I grow up. We are finally living close to each other and I love it!
I share this with you because my friends are important blessings in my life. I need friends like I need to breath. I thank God for the gift of friendship. Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another".
Friday, July 2, 2010
I have to tell you something about myself. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. It has served me well in a few of my past jobs and sometimes I don't have to go looking for that rush of adrenaline, it finds me.
The other night we brought Dickey's BBQ to my twins' favorite park they call 'the purple park' because all the equipment is purple. We sat at a table and were eating when I began to witness a few drug deals take place around me. I was shocked! This is a park we visit several times a week for soccer games and to enjoy the great playground equipment. The social worker/vigilante in me came out first and called the police. It was my knee jerk reaction. At any given moment in my life no matter what the circumstances, I would have reacted the same way. It's who I am.
The mom of a child with a drug problem came out next and I was angry. A few of the kids I knew as "friends" of my son. I imagined the pain this would cause their parents. I also imagined that this may be an instrument of change for some of the kids.
Then the mom of toddlers playing at the park woke up and thought 'I wonder if this is safe?'.
My husband immediately knew what I was going to do. He handed me his cell phone and I called 911 to report the drug activity taking place. I continued to play with my little ones as I waited for the police to show up, all the while taking note of what is happening around me. It was unbelievable! Teenagers were literally coming out of the woods and within seconds have made their buy and then disappeared. There are so many teenagers that if I didn't know better I would think they were making their way to attend a sporting event in the nearby soccer fields.
The police show up and begin arresting kids and swarms of them take off in all directions. I tell the Police who ran where and where the drugs are(I have to admit I used to dream of being an undercover agent). Officers and the big German Shepherd narcotics dog were chasing them in all directions and in the end many kids were arrested. Seriously, all I wanted was a quiet evening with my kids at the park!
Our family is aware of the very real fight we are in against Satan and his cohorts. That night was a visual reminder of just how great that fight is. I felt like I have had flashbacks to things I remember reading in Frank Peretti's 'This Present Darkness" where he paints a great visual picture of the literal fight between good and evil in the spiritual realm for our souls. It's as if we got a glimpse of the evil that regularly surrounds us in the park that evening. I certainly could feel it. It brought me to my knees! It made me wonder what it would look like in our children's schools if we could see the daily fight that goes on around them and for them. Through all of this, I have wondered what more I can be doing for my son and my other children.
Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Often, Christians don't like to talk about Satan. I wonder why not? He's VERY busy in our lives. He is the one we are fighting against. This experience gave me a urgency to pray not only for my current family situation but the daily struggles between good and evil in our life and the lives of our children.
After it was all over, I realized that it would be obvious that I had caused the drug bust. I probably should have worried but I realized that I had essentially stood up to Satan and said "I will NOT stand by and let you destroy the lives of more young people, my family included". I am in FIGHT mode, which means I am increasing my armor with fervent prayer.
A friend sent me a message sharing Isaiah 61 3 ...'To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair".
I have to tell you that I was in such a place of despair when we first learned of our son's drug use. Today, I am filled with gladness and praise to God who gives us strength to do all things.(Phil 4:13)
Besides being physically exhausted, I am not depressed. Praise God!
Please join me in praying for a heightened awareness of the spiritual battles that are going on around us.