Friday, January 29, 2016

Breakfast Devotionals - Bringing Family Together

It happened. My little family just grew by two more feet! And those feet belong to a pre-teen boy who wears a size 6.5 shoe. Yay! My wonderful daughter has gained the sibling she's dreamed of having and I have an amazing son. After months of waiting, praying and wondering what would happen next, finally my son was officially placed in my home January 2016! We still have the state required "6 month waiting period" before we can finalize the adoption, but I'm committed to him and so is my family. 

One desire of my heart right now is to deeply bond and bring our family of three closer together. Everything changes when you suddenly have a new person in the mix but each day we develop a closer bond through laughter, tears, new experiences and normal routine. 

As part of our normal routine, I've tried to incorporate a weekly, bible-based family devotional. I began them when my daughter moved in but I'd not quite "figured it out" or always been consistent. This past weekend we had our first family devotional with the three of us. I'm sure it went okay but afterward I began feeling our devotionals needed to undergo some adjustments. My children have a seven year age gap so longer devotionals that draw out deep topics for my seventeen year old daughter are not necessarily a good fit for teaching my 4th grader. And yet, if I shortened the weekly devo to something better for his attention span and level, I feared she might not get what she needed either. Hmmm...

So I began praying to God and while sifting through devotional books online, I was reminded of Corrie ten Boom's book, "The Hiding Place." In the book, she wrote about how her father would read from the bible every morning to his family. I meditated on that and decided that a Monday - Friday breakfast devotional was the answer! 

Neither of my children grew up in or around a church, so the devotional book I selected is Grace for the Moment: 365 Devotions for Kids by Max Lucado. Each day is one page with a scripture, topic, and practical. Having a "bite-size" daily devotional instead of a "full meal" weekly one meets my children's needs. Benefits include, bonding deeper as a family, hearing God's word more often, and having a daily spiritual focus. This also gives me the opportunity to "each day proclaim the good news that [the Lord] saves" to my children by feeding them both spiritually and physically at the same time. (A1.) I've already shared with them about my personal conviction of spending daily time with God so, who knows? Maybe they can even begin seeing the power of spending consistent times with God in their own lives too! 

In case you are curious, here's an example of how a breakfast-devo flows for us. Today we sat down to breakfast and (using what my kids have affectionately nick-named 'awkward prayer hands' - ha) I prayed over them individually. I prayed specifically into the challenges each are facing at school with classwork, friends, and other situations. As they ate breakfast, I read today's daily devotional. It included the scripture, "But the wisdom that comes from God is pure, peaceful, and gentle..." then Max shared short reminders of when Jesus had exhibited his peacefulness and gentleness. (A2.) Afterwards, we took turns sharing what stood out to us and each committed to focus on being peaceful and gentle throughout our day, like Jesus. :)

Now, for your family, a breakfast-devo simply might not work. That's totally okay! This is just the way God has directed me as he Father's my little clan so I wanted to encourage others by sharing.

May your day be peaceful and gentle.

A1. scripture - 1 Chronicles 1 6:23b
A2. scripture - James 3:17b

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Embrace the Mystery

Currently, I'm waiting to get news on when a staffing meeting will be held by the state to decide whether or not I'd be a good match for a preteen boy who needs a forever family. There is a lot of hopefulness that I'll get picked and also a ton of waiting right now which can make me inpatient. All the workers are probably busy with helping other grateful families during National Adoption Month and also the Thanksgiving holiday being right around the corner could delay things. So I find myself moving between content in the timing and impatient for answers. And let me just tell you, "impatience for answers" is never a healthy place for me to camp out. So tonight, I'm spending some time with God meditating on the beauty of mystery. I've been in the bible, in some poetry books and searching online on the topic of mystery. This time reflecting on the mysteries of God has been so refreshing. I'm finding that an amazing calmness springs up in my heart as I embrace how mysterious the Lord is in everything He orchestrates. Here's just a taste...enjoy! 
1 Timothy 3:16 "Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory." 

A.W. Tozer, " We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper mystery.

Ecc. 11:5 TLB, God’s ways are as mysterious as the pathway of the wind and as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of a baby while it is yet in its mother’s womb. 

Matthew Henry commentary on Ecc. 11 [para] - We don't know the way of the Spirit. We know not when it comes, or when it goes, or when it will turn. The same can be said of the human soul; we know that God made us, and gave us these souls, but how our specific souls entered into these bodies, are united to them, animate them, and operate upon them, we can't understand! The soul is a mystery. For all that we do know, we cannot describe the infusing of the body with a soul; both, we know, are the work of God, and we yield to in his work, but cannot trace the process of the operation. And because of this great mystery and his powerful working, we may well trust God to provide for us... 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Build, with faith, in the wait.

New table - has butterfly leaf that transforms it to seat 8 people!
Lately, I think I've been nesting again. Life with my daughter is going amazing and although God's not opened the door yet for another child for me or a sibling for her, we've been doing what families do...soaking up life together.

We have also been preparing for the upcoming holidays. Our Halloween yard decorations are planned already since she has begged me to "make it legit this year, Mom." *laughing* Done, girl. Recently, I bought a beautiful dining room table and chairs that seats up to 8 people. I was a bit cautious at first but, after visiting 10 stores looking for the perfect table, I'm ecstatic with this buy. Our new table has already gotten so much use now that we have something larger and a bit more comfy. Another holiday I recently made a purchase for was Christmas. I swooped up a dreamy Christmas tree! This artificial tree stands proudly at 7.5 ft. and is heavily flocked with long needles and gentle, white lights.

So what's with all the money spending? Well, I've been praying about that and thinking a lot about my purchases to check my motives. (Do you ever do that?) The only way I can explain it is that when I "nest" I'm building, with faith, in the wait. This is not the first time I've done this either. For example, I just celebrated the five year anniversary of purchasing my home. Five short years ago, I bought a three bedroom home as a single woman. I had no one to fill the house. No potential female roommates from church, no children, and I wasn't dating anyone but God drew me to the home. I knew it as soon as I walked through the door that I was suppose to buy this house and I knew He would fill it and make it a home! So in the meantime I nested. Even back then, I built, with faith, in the wait until finally, BAM, I have a daughter! Ha. #adoptionrocks

And I'm waiting again. I'm waiting for God to add to my family because something in my spirit tells me God's not done. I have no clue on his timing. I have zero information on the plans He's drawn up but I'm committed to keep building with faith during this wait. After all, there is only two of us in my home right now but I just bought a table for eight! That's a faith move! But I believe God can fill way or another and if He does, my home will be ready. This morning, I can say with confidence, "My God is up to something!" I can't tell you exactly what, who, or even when but I feel His prompting as He's preparing my heart so I'm preparing too. I want to be ready.

Are you waiting on something to happen that God's placed on your heart? How are you building, with faith, during your wait? I think for many of us, it's hard to make faith moves because we think more about how stupid we'd feel if things don't turn out than about how much it pleases God to take steps of faith! So let me remind you...if you make faith moves, God can come through. Don't you believe that He wants to come through?! Work on stretching your faith and be bolder. Have faith in God.
Faith verses to ponder: 
2 Samuel 22:26 “To the faithful you [God] show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity.
Psalm 119:30 "I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your [the Lord's] regulations.
Isaiah 7:9 "But this is what the Sovereign Lord says...Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” 
Habakkuk 2:4 “...But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
Matthew 9:29 "Then he [Jesus] touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”
Matthew 15:28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
Matthew 17:20-21 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.”
Matthew 21:22 "You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” ~Jesus
Galatians 5:22 "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..."
2 Thessalonians 1:11 "So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.
Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:6 "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
James 1:2-4 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
New Christmas Tree