Rest

week35-rest

There are many things about our American lifestyle that people from other nations find peculiar. They look at our habits and rituals and don’t understand why we do some of the things we do. One of those things that others are puzzled by is our culture of busyness. We are always going and doing. Being busy is some kind of badge of honor for most of us.

Our culture of busyness has reached epidemic proportions. We consume energy drinks and caffeinated drinks to get us going, some people even take pills (over the counter and others) to help them go, go, go. And then at the end of the day, they take other over the counter pills, prescription drugs, or natural supplements to help them sleep, just to run another cycle after too little sleep. We are tired and we are stressed and we are not able to give our best to our spouses and our kids.

The problem with constantly being busy is that we can’t be present with our families if our attention and best is constantly given elsewhere.

Something has got to change. We all need to take a break. There is a lie we are too quick to believe, if not me then who? If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. We need to follow God’s example of resting from his work.

The bible says that rested from all of his work on the seventh day of creation. It’s interesting that most people don’t see rest as part of the created order, yet the bible says that God rested from his work on the seventh day of creation. May we follow the Lord’s example and rest, really rest, from our labors and enjoy some time with family and friends.

Prayer
Lord, help me to be like you and rest. I want to be less busy and be more present with my family. Let me push the distractions aside and help me be the husband and father they need me to be. In Jesus name, Amen

“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” – Genesis 2:2 (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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The Greatest is Love

Week34-TheGreatestIsLove

A friend of mine spent some time in foster care as a child. He was placed in care when he was 10-years-old and reunited with his birth family some years later. There are those who would call that a foster care success story because it’s an example of the system working. They would say that his family couldn’t take care of him so he was in care for a little while until he could return to his birth family. And if you only view it as a systems function issue then I suppose it can be considered a success; an example of the system working.

But as I have come to know him better over time, he has invited me into more of his story. As I learn more about him, I have come to understand that his story can be considered a success because it was in foster care where he learned two things; he learned that he was lovable and as a result, he learned how to express his love for others.

I recently asked him if there was anything that happened to him in care that had a profoundly positive impact on his life. He smiled and said that his foster mother used to kiss him on the cheek every day. He said that he still thought about her most days and every time that he did he would smile. The small act of kissing him on the cheek had a profound impact on him.

He shared how his mother was not an affectionate woman and that she did not hug or kiss him. The first time that he received any physical affection was from his foster mother. That little kiss on the cheek was probably not a big deal to her, it was just they way she greeted her kids, but it had a huge impact on my friend’s life. He said that he is able to be an attentive husband and loving father because he was shown that he was worthy of love. That daily kiss on the cheek helped to change his belief system.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, he wrote that faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest is love. Love can change someone’s story, it did for my friend. Remember, you may never know the impact of your smallest acts of kindness. You may never know how you can change a child’s story.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for my kids. Please teach me to love them well. Help me remember that their unwanted behaviors do not define them, but are an indicator of their wounding. Help me remember that small acts of kindness can have a profound impact on their lives and their healing. In Jesus name, Amen

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go

Some years ago, a friend of mine was involved in a serious car accident on his way home from work. As he crossed through an intersection, another car ran the light and crashed into the side of his car. As he sat trapped in his vehicle waiting for help, he could smell the fuel from the severed fuel line. So, by the time the fire department arrived, he was freaking out. “Get me out of here! Get me out of here! You need to get me out of here.” was all he kept yelling at them.

As the firefighters were working to free him from his vehicle, one of them climbed in through the passenger window and covered him with a foil blanket and said, “Hey buddy, buddy, look at me!” When my friend finally made eye contact the firefighter continued, “They’re doing the best they can to get you out of here as fast as they can and I want you to know this, I am here with you and we are both getting out of this car or we are not getting out of this car. From this moment until this is over our fates are intertwined and our destinies are linked. For better or worse, what happens to you, happens to me.”

When we welcomed our children home we told them that our destinies were intertwined and our fates were linked. We told them that from that day until our last we were in this thing together. What we effectively did was climb into the car with them. I often think of the story of Ruth and Naomi when I think about our kids. When Naomi tried to send her daughters back to their mothers Ruth told her that she would never leave. May we always remember the commitment we made to our kids no matter the challenges we face. May we always love them well just the same way we did when we decided to climb into the car with them.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the example of Ruth. Help me to remember that my kids are a blessing from you so that I may love them well in good times and bad. Help me to never forget that we are in this together. In Jesus name, Amen

“Wherever you go, I will go” – Ruth 1:16 (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jesus Often Withdrew

Week32-JesusOftenWithdrew

We started a tradition some years ago in our family that has fast become one of my favorites. We head to the mountains of Colorado for a week at the beginning of August every year. We live in Dallas so a week away from the hottest days of summer is very much what the doctor ordered.

The camp is a wonderful time of refreshment and connection as a family and as a community of adoptive and foster parents. It brings me much joy to watch my children run and play with their friends while we sit on the rocking chairs and talk to other parents on this journey.

As much as I enjoy the time of adult conversation and rejuvenation when we are there, I used to feel guilty that I was just sitting around and “doing nothing.” I couldn’t rest like I needed to because I couldn’t fully engage in the downtime, I was too concerned about what was not getting done. I was being Martha when I needed to be Mary.

This year I decided to be like Jesus who often withdrew to the wilderness. I tried to leave my laptop in my bag more than ever before. I spent more time with my family and others than I ever had in years past. I found time to engage others and sought solitude to pray. I made the beautiful mountain my wilderness. I rested.

We can all so easily get caught up in all that we “have to” do that we forget to do the things that we need to do. We need to rest. We need to pray. We need to withdraw to the wilderness. We need to be like Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the beauty of the wilderness. Too often we get so caught up in our to-do lists that we forget to follow your example to withdraw and to pray. Help me to find my strength and rest in you. In Jesus name, Amen

“Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” – Luke 5:16 (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God Blesses Those Who Mourn

God Blesses Those Who Mourn

Life is hard. We have to deal with so many things that we would rather not deal with every day. There are things that disappointment us and things that scare us. Disappointment, and sometimes fear, can lead to anger. When I get angry I can act in ways that require me to make amends after the fact. My response to disappointment and fear are different than my response to something else I have to deal with. When having to process loss, I don’t get angry, I mourn.

There is so much loss for each of us to process. I have to process the people and circumstances I have lost along the way. As an adoptive and foster parent, I have to process something more, I have to process my child’s loss too.

No matter the circumstances (good or bad), every adopted and foster child’s story has an element of loss. We become a part of our kids’ stories when we welcome them into my homes. That means that their losses become our losses and we need to mourn those losses as we help them heal.

Mourning is part of our lives and we can rest in the knowledge that God comforts those who mourn. We all mourn for different reasons; we mourn the loss of a parent, we mourn the kids we never met, we mourn the kids that left, and in the midst of it all We know that God loves us.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for you comfort and your healing. There are so many things that cause us to mourn. Bless us and comfort us. In Jesus name, Amen

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” – Matthew 5:4 (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.