It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

Priscilla Shirer, in God is Able, taught about how to connect our circumstances to You, God. She explained that abundant life is not always reaching for our “it.” She gave examples of if we get married, if we lose the weight, if we graduate, if we move on from the past, if we get the job, if we pay off the car, all those things we’re looking for later. She wrote: “but it turns out, abundant life is not something you experience when there are no impossible situations to deal with. Abundant life is what Jesus offers and His Spirit enables during the times when you’re right in the middle of them. It’s meant to be experienced when all is wrong around you while all is simultaneously, inexplicably, very right within you. It’s the smile that creeps to the corners of your lips when God fills your heart with a peace that runs contrary to your reality.”

October kinda de-railed my good habits going on, at such a pace that I missed it until it was gone… And if I’m being real honest, it started in September. So, here is my list of things that need to be re-connected to You:

  • my finances
  • my quiet time
  • my ability to cope with change
  • the rock that just cracked my windshield
  • my family devotions

I could sit here and count all the mess I’ve made. But if I’m gonna do that, I need to also count the things in my life going very, very good.

  • my life group, my church family
  • my responsibilities and serving my church
  • my Titus 2 women, the women shepherding me and praying for me
  • praying for my sheep, my flock
  • my christmas stocking donations

Adding a foster kid to my routine completely changed everything. It may look like I am surrounded by: doctor visits, school registration, homework, counseling, horse lessons, case workers, social workers, medicaid and so much more. And best of all, I added a joyful, always laughing teenager to my life. I am surrounded by You, God. I am surrounded by beautiful life giving moments and people. I do not have it all together, by any stretch of the word, but my God, thank You, I have everything I need and more.

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for abundant life. Thank you for life giving people and moments. Thank you for reminders of your grace. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for your never ending love. Thank you for chasing me even when I try to run away. Thank you for making me better than I was. Thank you for not leaving me the way I was. Thank you for those precious Titus 2 women in my life and all their love and service. Thank you for opportunities to be a Titus 2 woman to others. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Use my hands use my feet to make Your kingdom come.

My heart was heavy this week. Lord, I prayed for you to break my heart for what breaks Yours. I prayed for You to open my eyes to those around me that need You. I can’t not see it now.

I see the man who asked for me to buy him a sandwich outside the Chick-Fil-A and again the next day when I saw him again.

I see it every time these kids reach out to me after they’ve run away. My heart is aching for them. I want to stand in the gap and help, but I’m not sure that I can legally do or even what to do. I want to be the connection that points them to You. When everyone else says no, I want to be the one that says yes, I’ll help. I don’t want to sit around doing nothing. I want to be always moving and guiding and pointing to You. I don’t want to give up on them, even when everyone else does. I don’t know what this looks like right now, but I know You are stirring something in my heart.

And Father, it’s November, so our birthday is coming and I am missing my friend, something fierce. If it’s not too much to ask, could You give him a hug from me? Father, I know he’s with You, I just miss him. Thank You for taking care of him. Thank You for the time I had with him. Thank You for writing a glorious story of Your love with his life.

Galatians 3: 28 says There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Abba, my friend is Yours. I am Yours. And these kids are Yours. You never left us. None of us. You have been with each of us, this whole time. We just have to call out to You. You are faithful, even when we are not, even when we are lost and afraid. You always keep Your promises and You are always trustworthy. Father guide these kids home to You.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray I hold onto those around me a little tighter. I pray I hug a little longer. I pray I make a few more calls and meet up for coffee a few more times. I pray I walk a little slower and talk a little more. I pray I love a little louder. I pray that I give a little more. I pray I spend a little more time with you. I pray I keep seeking your heart. Father, this life is a mystery and sometimes it drags on and on, while other times it’s over in the blink of an eye. Lord, I pray I make this life count. I pray that I spend my life building your kingdom. I pray my heart never stops breaking for these kids. I pray that I move where you want me to. I pray I do more. I pray I point to you more. I pray I follow you. I pray I give all of myself to you. Abba, I pray I remember this isn’t about me and I can’t do it all and I can’t save anyone, only you can. Father, that’s what I’m asking for: save these kids. Do what I can’t. Send me where I can and show me the way. Lord, I prayed for you to interrupt my life and you changed it’s entire direction. Thank you for giving me more than I could even imagine. Help me to stay focused on you. Father, grab a hold of their hearts and don’t let go. Thank you for chasing them with gentle grace, the way you chased me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You love the little children, now I know You love me too.

Wednesday, I enrolled my foster kid into school. I walked in there and there was a mom who was livid from waiting. Grumbling and complaining because she was late for work. I could relate, I smiled and sat there quietly. Lord, I am trying to bring You with me. I am trying to remember You taught me to be patient. That WWJD bracelet they gave us in the 90’s rocked ya girl’s world. When she later stormed out and said she would be back tomorrow, I smiled again. Fussing ain’t gonna move anything any faster. It’ll only rile that frustrated mama up more and it’ll stress the lady working in the office out more.

After our turn was finished, we filled out all the paperwork, we were approved by the school board, got our locker and class schedule, I went to get an oil change since my day was halfway over. It started to pour rain. I called when I arrived. They said just pull up to the gate and we’ll get you taken care of. I waited outside for twenty plus minutes and called again. Again, I remembered WWJD. This time they opened the gate and took my keys. I smiled, said thank you and went inside where I was greeted by two different groups of people waiting who grumbled and complained about how I better get comfortable because it’s gonna be a while. I smiled at them and went about my business.

Almost an hour later, my car was ready. It took another 15 minutes to get my keys back. I sat, I smiled, I waited. I went through the pouring rain to my car and opened the door. And right there on the driver seat’s was a big black greasy hand print. On my 2018 brand new, hardddd earned car. I shut my mouth, and sat down. WWJD? right. Yelling would not make that hand print disappear. A little bit of Dawn would though.

This morning I drove my foster kid to the bus stop. She started putting her nose on the window and rubbing her fingers in the frost, just a laughing. I heard my dad’s voice in my head saying: “get your hands of my window, you’re leaving dirty fingerprints!” I near about burst laughing. They are only kids for a precious, little while. I’m enjoying the innocence and joyful heart for as long as I can. I can spray some Windex on the window later, that’s what Windex is for: messy kid hands. Right now we’re sipping hot chocolate and making up a song about being cold: I can’t feel my toes when it’s cold outside…

There is going to be Dr. Pepper spilled on the monopoly board and the pieces will wind up missing. There is going to be hot chocolate spilled in the backseat. There is going to be a candy wrapper in the cup holder. There is going to be towels on the floor. There is going to be tardiness. There is going to be shoes tripped on. There is going to be glitter slime leaving residue. And that was all just the first week.

I know that paint on the carpet, nail polish on the table, and sooo much more is coming. But those are all signs of life. And she is going to talk all through the Service at Church and ask 150 questions. I ain’t worried about messes because I’ll be right there with grace to help clean it up and show her how to move forward. I ain’t worried about questions because I got answers and I’ll be right there reminding her for 85th time to say please and thank-you. And I’m coming with Dawn, Lysol wipes, Tide, and Jesus.

I’ll just turn on Miranda Lambert and sing: “It’ll all come out, all come out in the wash. Every little stain, every little heartbreak, no matter how messy it got.” If I act a fool for all these little things, when the big messes happen, she’ll be too scared to come to me. If I act a fool, she’ll repeat my foolish behavior. If I act a fool, I miss the freezing cold waiting on the bus laughter and it turns to yelling that’ll ruin a whole day, if we let it. Everything will get cleaned up, stains will come out-or they won’t. Either way it’ll be ok.

I am Heaven-bound, that greasy hand print or spilled drink don’t matter to a hill of beans in Heaven. I know I’m in that honeymoon phase of fostering and trouble is always a-brewing. But we will worry about trouble when it comes. Ain’t no sense in the pre-worry. I had plenty of foster mom fails already. Like not bringing gloves on Halloween for pink and purple fingers. There’s grace for all that too. Right now, we’re singing and dancing and learning how to feel safe again.

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for miracles only you can provide. Thank you for laughter and joy and safety. Thank you for teaching me and preparing me for this. Thank you for moving mountains and parting seas. Thank you for rainbows and sunshine after the rain. Thank you for Titus 2 women leading me. Thank you for grace and forgiveness when I don’t look for the way out that you provided. Thank you for cleaning up my messes and showing me a different way. Thank you for courage to move forward and try again. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.