Wednesday, May 3, 2017

To Love Like Jesus

A few days ago I posted a picture on Facebook of Tobias taking a nap with me on the couch.  I had written that we had a long night and I would write a blog post later to explain it.  Well, here is later...

Last Friday morning, I woke up from a dead sleep at 3am and felt an urgency for Chris to put a lock on our backyard fence.  It was one of those wake ups that is really hard to go back to sleep because your heart is beating out of your chest.  As I was waking up, all kinds of  fears started popping into my head.  The main fear was  that if Chris didn't get that lock on the gate that our kids would be taken from our backyard.  I got up and went to the couch because Chris was heading out of town that afternoon for the Men's Retreat.  He would be teaching the sessions, and  I wanted him to be well rested for the weekend.  I go to the couch and spend some time praying, reading scripture/my devotional and begin to feel at peace. I am a dreamer, so I have learned to pray through some pretty upsetting dreams.  I figured there was no better way to handle this situation than through prayer.  Anyways, a few minutes later I hear a police car in full sirens drive by our house.  This is an unusually occurrence, but I didn't think too much of it since our street runs between two major streets.  I just thought that it was the quickest route to where the police officer needed to go.  I was still wide awake, so I decided to read a book on the Kindle to help me get sleepy.  Well, about 20 minutes later I see a person in our backyard with a flashlight!! Oh, the paralyzing fear that came over me!!!!  I get off  from the couch to head to our room to wake up  Chris and grab my phone.  As I was walking back to our room, I notice a police car idling in front of our house.  We call the police and all they told us was that they were canvassing the area.  We could see the police going from our yard to our neighbors' yards (five all together) for a good 30-40 minutes.  Then the police car started going down the street to the next section of yards.  Needless to say it was pretty hard going back to sleep.

Later that morning, I sent a text to some ladies asking them to be my prayer warriors. I shared with them what happened and then I wrote:

Please pray for me and my tiredness and taking care of these kiddos while Chris is out of town.  Sometimes in my tiredness I get grumpy and snap.  I don't want to walk around a grumpy/snapping momma the next couple of days!  I don't sleep well normally when Chris is gone, but with this event from this morning...well, I can't even imagine!! I told Chris that I was seriously considering putting all the hurricane windows down at bedtime.  I was kinda joking, but he encouraged me to do so.  I was hoping he would tell me I was being silly, but he didn't.  I don't want to walk around in fear...or should I say stay awake in fear.  I feel like a majority of this is a spiritual attack...I mean of all nights for this to happen, it happens the day Chris is to leave town for the weekend!  So just pray for us...for me...and for Chris.  Thanks, Ladies!

The love that came flowing through my phone after that was unbelievable!

"Ok, PRAYING for you and the family"

"Oh dear friend, I'm so sorry! I've never heard of anything like that happening in our neighborhood, it does seems to be a very special situation! Praying for you today and will continue to ask the Lord for practical ways we can help..."

"Standing firm in faith with you. Jesus, command your angels to stand sentry around the Greenwood home...and all of our homes as our husbands are away.  No weapon formed against us will stand. In your mighty name...amen"

"I'm sorry, Sara! We had that happen during the day at our other house so I can't imagine during the night!! Pray for peace and protection for you!! Love you!"

"Ahh...I can understand your fear, but God has you in his care.  I pray you have peace and sleep well knowing His protection is over you and your house.  I'm so sorry this happened."

Me: Thanks, Ladies!! Your prayers mean a lot to me and Chris!

"Love you!! Praying security of physical home and heart now!!"

"Isaiah 54:17 and Proverbs 18:10.  Praying both of these verses over the Greenwood household!! You are loved and you are SAFE with Him!! I love you!"

"Praying protecting on the Greenwoods!!"

"Oh Sara! That is completely terrifying. I'm so glad you weren't alone when it happened.  Rest in the peace of knowing you are protected under the shadow of his wing!"

"So many spiritual attacks are happening across the board in our KPC family! Satan does not want this weekend for our men to be successful.  But we know that greater is He that is within us and He that is within our men than he that is within the world!"

Me: Amen! We must be on bent knee this weekend!  Not only for the men on the retreat, but also for the ones at presbytery...elders and pastors...as Pastor M. finishes the final step of becoming ordained.

"Amen!"

"I love being a woman and wife in community with you all!"

"Yes!!! I totally agree!"

"We are praying for everyone at the presbytery!"

This is what my heart needed! The Lord knew I needed these prayers.  I could feel their prayers working! I felt loved by these ladies. But God in His goodness didn't stop there. He not only wanted me to feel their love for me, but He wanted me to experience His love!

Later Friday morning, I got a text. It said:
"Do you want me to come and spend the night with you tonight?"  
I felt tears rising in my eyes to receive such a loving offer.  

Then about an hour later I got another text. It said:
"Hey Sara...do you need me to sleepover at your house?"
I was amazed! 

Another hour later, I got another text. It said:
 "I know it is a long shot, but would you want to come over and sleep at our house tonight with me and the kids? You are welcome!" 
I was beside myself!

Then later that afternoon, I got a phone call.  My friend was wanting to know if I wanted to load up the kids and come to their house for the night. 
I was in tears by this point.

Then that night I got another text.  It said:
"The hubby wants you to call us immediately if you have any concerns! Would it help if I came
 to sleep over?"  
 I stood in amazement of the love He was showing me!

As the day went on, my heart was exploding from all of this love coming my way...the love of God!  I have discipled many ladies through 1 John 3:16-17, but on this day I experienced the love of 1 John 3:16-17 in a tremendous way! 

"This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. You made it disappear."
-The Message

So early that morning, Satan was trying to bring fear into my life.  He was trying to keep our focus off of what God had called Chris to do that weekend to further His Kingdom's work.  I am thankful that I had friends to call on to be my prayer warriors...to stand in the gap for me and my family. But what I am even more thankful for is that I was a part of God's love winning...it didn't disappear because these ladies listened and obeyed as the Spirit led them to love like Jesus! 









Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beauty from Ashes

I still stand in amazement of all that has happened in the last three years.  As I look back over the last three years and see the work of God, I can't help taking time to reflect and praise God for all that He has done.  When you go through such a journey...such a transformation, it is hard not to take a moment and be still and remember that He is God around that life-changing event each year. 

And this year as I reflect,  it has been a little more emotional because of the fact that I joined our church.  As I slow down and am still before the Lord, I am reminded of Isaiah 61:3 (ESV):

"to grant those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."  

When we started this chapter three years ago, I never imagined that I would have a beautiful headdress.  In my heart of hearts, I felt like I would be wearing ashes for the rest of my life.  I couldn't fathom ever replacing the spirit of mourning that I was in with gladness.  At the time my spirit was weak...it was faint, but today I stand here humbly wearing a garment of praise.  All of these things...the ashes to the beautiful headdress; the mourning to gladness; the faint spirit to praise...needed to happen so He may be glorified!!  

When we left our church almost three years, I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to be a part of a church again...let alone be a pastor's wife.  When you are broken...when you have felt pain in places that you didn't know existed, your natural response is to retreat...to protect yourself. I am thankful God gave me two godly women who LOVE Jesus so passionately walk with me through this season.  One lady was my discipler and the other was a friend of the family who has spent many years walking with women through life changing events...giving them godly counsel and sharing godly wisdom.  Oh, how I have been blessed by Him through these women!  These women counseled me, they prayed for and with me, they shared God's word with me and they lovingly challenged me when I was not handing issues over to God.  

During this chapter, the Lord gave me a new life verse.  I was meeting with a lady that I was discipling, and she was going through a hard season.  I naturally went to Jeremiah 29:11 to give her some words of encouragement.  But as I got to the end of verse 11, the Spirit told me to keep on reading, so I did.  By the time I got to the end of verse 14, I was overcome with emotion and tears filled my eyes.  This was the first time in over a year, that I missed the fellowship of a church family and I felt like I was ready to be a pastor's wife again.

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  
 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.   
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.   
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.
 I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” 
declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
 Jeremiah 29:11-14 

 
I had sat in the bottom of a pit for so long, and I was tired of being there.  I realized that for too many months, I was in protective mode.  I was trying to control all the pieces, so I wouldn't be hurt again.  I called out to Him that day and He listened to me!  I began to seek Him with all my heart, and I saw Him in a whole new way.  I had lived in captivity for so long, but that day He carried me back to the place from which He carried me into exile.  It was around this time that the Lord brought me to a place of where I could forgive those that had hurt me.  And through this process of forgiveness, I felt a freedom that I hadn't felt in months.  As I continued on the journey, I was able to love people in a whole new way...I was beginning to understand what it meant to live and love like Jesus. 

Almost three years to the day the Lord has closed this chapter through joining our church.  It is not a chapter that will never be read again, but a chapter that will continually be remembered and visited.  A chapter that can't be forgotten because it had such a life-changing impact on me.  A chapter that I will share with others when the opportunity arises, so that He can be glorified. 

So, as my time of being still comes to a close, I can't help but to praise Him for giving me beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning, praise from a faint spirit so that He may be glorified through it all!!



  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Obedience Is Action

I have been discipled since July of 2010.   I can't believe that it has been almost 7 years since I began this journey of not just gaining knowledge about Jesus, but to apply it to my every day life...that there must be action...fruit of what I am learning as I read the Bible. 

It has been hard over the years.  I am naturally an introvert, so I don't like putting myself out there...afraid of rejection...afraid people will analyze me.  But in the last several months, the Lord has been working in me...changing me...building a confidence in me. 

Just before Christmas, I was running an errand and saw this gentleman sitting by an empty store front with a backpack and a couple of grocery bags filled with some belongings.  As I walked by him, he caught my attention. The Lord reminded me of the bags in the back of the van that we made a few days before for anyone we saw who was struggling with homelessness.  I felt the Lord leading me to go get a bag and bring it to this man.  I continued on into the store and told the Lord that I didn't think it was a good idea to give a bag because I didn't know 100% that this gentleman was homeless...and I didn't want to offend this guy while trying to love him like Jesus.  I went about my shopping and paid for my items.  As I was walking back to the car, I see this gentleman again.  And very clearly, I hear the Lord say to go get one of the bags out of the van and bring it to this gentleman.  I knew in that moment I had a choice...I was either going to obey or disobey.  I continued walking back to the van and put my stuff in it.  I went to the back of the van and got a bag.  I took a moment to pray.  I told the Lord I was willing to go, but I need Him to give me the words to say.  I took a deep breath, shut the door and walked over to this gentleman.  The whole way over to him, I just kept praying..asking the Lord to use me as he saw fit.  Finally, I am standing in front of this gentleman.  I hold the bag straight out in front of me.  I explained to him that as I was walking into the store I felt the Spirit leading me to bring him this bag of items.  I asked him if he wanted the bag.  He nodded his head and reached out and grabbed it.  Then he proceeded to say how much he appreciated the fact that I had brought him this bag of items.  I asked him if he knew who Jesus was and he told me he did.  (In my mind I was thinking, "Who has taken control of me?"  because this is NOT my normal approach...ever!) I then went on to explain that I was giving him this bag because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross.  I shared with him the church we attend and invited him to come for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service.  I told him that he was more than welcome to come worship with us anytime he was in the neighborhood. 

On the way home, I just praised Jesus for giving me the courage to obey in this situation.  I don't struggle with obeying when it is something I am comfortable with...like watching kiddos for friends, inviting people into my home, cooking a meal.  But this situation was COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.  I prayed that the Lord would water whatever seed was planted that day. 

I write this blog post to say that even though I have been discipled for almost 7 years and have discipled many ladies over the years, I am still growing...I am still being stretched...I still have moments when I struggle with obedience.  But over the last couple of weeks as I reflect on this day, I am more and more convinced that obedience requires action.  Obedience is action.  I can't just read the Bible week after week with my discipler and not apply what He is teaching me.  I can't read the Bible week after week with the ladies that I disciple telling them that they need to obey as the Spirit leads them even if it makes them uncomfortable and not do it myself. 

So as a new year has started, I am listening for those opportunities that He lays before me. I pray that in those moments when I feel out of my comfort zone that my immediate response will be an obedient action instead of explaining to the Lord why it isn't a good idea or why it won't work.  I pray that I will remember:


Monday, December 19, 2016

Ripple Effects

Oh, the life lessons the Lord teaches me through our Hooties is never fun...but definitely needed.  My most recent lesson is how sin doesn't just effect the person doing it.

Almost two weeks ago, two of our Hooties decided not to be very kind to another Hootie.  One of them was the mastermind behind the action while the other did the action.  Then they sat there watching their sibling be in fear and did NOTHING about it.  I heard the one crying from inside and go flying out the back door to see one being mean to their sibling while the other just sat on a swing doing nothing...the reasoning...they thought the one crying was just whining.  I was FURIOUS to see two of our kids treating their sibling this way.

I sent them both to their room with the understanding that they lost TV for two weeks...at a minimum...and when their dad got home there may be other punishments.  Chris was in Richmond when I called to tell him what had happened, so he had two hours to think about their punishment.  They stayed in their bedroom for two hours...only able to read books.  When Chris got home, he talked to each one to find out all the details of what happened. The added punishments would be no TV, Wii or iPad time.  He explained how he would put 14 lines on a piece of paper (they each had their own) and each morning he would either erase a line or add a line depending on how they treated those in our family.  Once all the lines were gone, they could have TV, Wii and iPad privileges back. 

Let me tell you...the last  couple of weeks have been HARD!!!  I didn't realize how much I depended on the TV, Wii and iPad in the afternoons while I cooked dinner or did some chores.  Within the first couple of days, the Lord revealed to me that sin doesn't just effect the person who is doing it.  There is definitely a ripple effect that happens when those closest to you sin.   I must admit it was a tad easier at the beginning of the punishment to not have screen time, but by the end of last week I was begging Chris to let us "show some grace" to our kids and let them have their electronics back.  I have to selfishly admit it wasn't because I wanted to teach them a lesson on grace, it was because I wanted to have some check-out time.  I wanted them to be entertained while I got to do things I wanted to do.  I am thankful that Chris saw my heart and encouraged me not to give in to my own selfishness. 

This morning we got up and got ready for the day to have the power go out randomly.  The neighbors across the street from us and the neighbors two doors down all had power, but not us.  When the power went out, I began to dread our morning.  I had planned to do some Christmas baking, but that obviously wasn't going to happen.  I had a little bit of Christmas shopping left to do and bring back a couple of items, so I decided we would have a change in plans and run errands this morning. 

After getting everyone bundled up in their winter jackets, we headed to Walmart to return my items and pick up a few things.  While we were waiting in the return line, I noticed that there was a hot pink duct tape line to show where people needed to stand while waiting for their turn.  A couple of the Hootie Hoos kept crossing over the line and disturbing the people who were being waited on.  In that moment, the Lord began to speak to me. 

I called the Hooties over to where the line was.  I pointed out the line on the floor.  I asked them if we were to think about God in relation to the line what might the line represent.  One of the older ones shouted out "sin!"  I told them that were absolutely correct.  I asked that if the line represented sin does God want  us to get as close to the line as possible without touching it or does He want us to stay a safe distance back.  One of them said He would want us to stay back.  I then asked if God wants us to stay away from sin because He is mean and controlling and wants us to have be miserable all of our life.  Before I could give another option one of the Hooties shouted out that He wants us to stay away from sin because He loves us and wants to keep us safe.  And from behind the counter one of the cashiers shouts, "Amen!  Preach on!"   Then on perfect cue one of the little ones jumps over the line and one of the older ones pulls them back behind the line.  I kept the conversation going.  I told them that what just happened was a perfect illustration.  When we see someone we love commit a sin, we should be there to pull them back.  I asked them what they could do to "pull" someone back away from sin.  Some of their responses were "share the gospel"..."pray for them"..."read the Bible''..."love them like Jesus."  My heart was FULL as I listened to their answers...as I listened to their hearts.  In that moment, I thanked God for random power outage and change of plans.  Part of me feels like we needed that illustration today as the Lord continues to fine tune me and reminds me that sin doesn't just effect the person doing it, but there is a ripple effect...it can very easily effect those closest to you.  And just like sin doesn't just effect the person committing the sin, the person committing the sin shouldn't have to handle their sin problem on their own. We as disciples of Jesus should be ready to walk with them in love and truth. 

As CHRISTmas approaches, I can't help but to be thankful that Jesus came to defeat our sins. He was willing to come as a baby so we don't have to handle sin on our own.  My prayer is that as I continue to walk this journey that more and more each day I will live and love like Jesus does.   



"I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus.  When He served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good--not only yours, but the whole world's"
(1 John 1:1-2, the Message)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

This One Guy



17 years?!?!  Yes, it has been 17 years since we started our journey.

I was a young 21 year old college student who had REALLY just started living her life for Jesus.  I was broken...I had just ended a relationship that wasn't at all centered around Jesus.  I had sworn off boys...I was finally getting serious about my relationship with Jesus and realized that He was all I really needed.  I started going to the United Methodist Student Center (UMSC) with an old high school friend.  I was making new friends and growing in my faith.  There was this one guy who had captured my eye...one who led worship each week...one who was the president of the ministry...one who loved Jesus and wasn't afraid to show it.  But I pressed on toward Jesus...vowing not to be distracted by this one guy.

After a few weeks of hanging out with this new group of friends (and this one guy), I got a phone call.  It was him!  He was calling to see if I wanted to go out...just the two of us.  The re was this excitement in me, but at the same time a nervousness...I had NEVER dated a Christian guy.  I agreed to go out with him for dinner.  I told him that I would meet him at his apartment (I lived out in the county, so it was easier for me to head his way then for him to backtrack to my house).  We got off the phone, and I started to get ready.  I was trying to find something to wear...I was nervous...there were butterflies in my stomach.  This was different...I hadn't felt this way before.  I finally pulled myself together and headed to this one guy's apartment to pick him up.  Then we headed to Pizza Hut.

We talked and talked throughout dinner...getting to know each other better...having those conversations that are kind of hard to do in a group setting.  We talked about so many different things, but the one part of our conversation that I remember to this day is when you asked me where I saw myself 5-10 years down the road.  My answer was that I could see myself being married supporting my future husband in whatever ministry the Lord called him to whether it was a doctor, trash collector or a pastor.  And if the Lord happened to bless us with children, I could picture myself being at home with them teaching them about Jesus.  This answer surprised me because prior to getting serious about my faith, I was going to school to be a neonatalogist and had plans to live a single life enjoying the money that I would make.

Sidenote:  And just to be clear, I wasn't saying this to just get the guy...the Lord had been working in me and changed my heart.  Because prior to meeting this one guy for the first time in my life, I decided to ask God what He wanted me to do with my life...what He wanted me to study in school.  I had changed my major from Premed to Early Childhood Education.  I was shocked by what He was calling me to do...but out of obedience I was going to trust Him.

We continued talking and hanging out at Pizza Hut.   I think we may have even gone back to your apartment and watched a movie.  We stayed up way later than we should have, but you were going to be leaving for your grandparents' house in Tennessee for a few days.  I was sad to see the date end, but at the same time it was good that you were leaving for a few days.  It gave us time to pray and see where the Lord was taking this relationship.

As I sit on our couch 17 years later in our home, I never would have imagined my life to be what it is.  In the last 17 years we have gone from a first date to an engagement to graduating college to getting married.  We moved into our first home as newlyweds to our second home where the Lord brought much healing to me and made our marriage stronger.  We moved into a townhouse in NC so I could teach while you went to seminary. You graduated from seminary while we waited the arrival of our first child.  We moved in with family while we waited for your first call at a church and welcomed our first son into the world.  Then we received our first call at a church outside of DC, so  moved into an apartment outside of DC and began this new journey of you having a full-time position at a church while I stayed home with our kiddo.  Then we found out we were expecting our second child and the Lord provided a bigger place to live...a townhouse that was closer to the church.  While in this home, we welcomed our second, third and fourth child. We did life together.  We loved people together.  We were together.  Then our life took a twist.  My faith was tested in a way that it had never been tested.  Once again, I found myself broken...the only difference was that I had you there walking with me...holding me...praying for me...loving me unconditionally. We packed up our things and moved in with family while the Lord brought healing to my life.  He gave us a vision.  He gave us a renewed passion for discipleship. He gave us the faith to step out and do what He was calling us to do.  A ministry was born...a faith was strengthened.  We moved back to Georgia to place we said we would never move back to when we left.  We lived with family again.  We trusted for God to provide for our every need. He provided...He allowed us to have our own home again after 14 months of living with family. He grew the ministry He called us to start.  Then just like God, He put an unbelievable opportunity before us.  He called us to move again...back to Virginia.  He was calling us back to serve in a church while growing His ministry.  He provided a home on our first day of house hunting.  A place to do ministry and to raise the precious gifts we have been given.

So, 17 years later I stand in awe of where we are and who we have become...as individuals and as a couple.  I am thankful that He brought us together and has allowed us to do life together.  I am thankful that God knew I needed this one guy in my life...to show me what it means to live and love like Jesus...to encourage me to be the follower of Jesus that He desires me to be.

ILUVM, Christopher Potter Greenwood, and I look forward to many more years of celebrating the day He started our journey together!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Zhiquan

It has been a long time since I have sat down to blog.  We have been pretty busy this fall as we started school, discipling, soccer, AWANA, leading a new Life Group, building new friendships...and sickness!  We are on our third week of being sick with two different illnesses.  There has been a definite blessing in all of this...we have slowed down.  Today as three of the Hooties are napping and one is off playing with a friend, I have a few minutes to myself.  I could be doing a thousand other things, but I am choosing to blog.  Oh, it is sweet therapy for my soul.

This morning, we were doing school.  It is a light week since Thanksgiving is a few days away.  We are reading LOTS of Thanksgiving books and doing some Thanksgiving crafts.  I decided to go pull out my Thanksgiving folder from my teaching days in NC.  And when I did, I saw this picture:


Ohh, the flood of memories that came over me when I saw this picture.  Zhiquan was a student that got transferred into my Transition First class one year.  If we are going to be honest, Zhiquan ended up in my classroom because he had behavioral issues.  When his kindergarten classroom had too many students in it, the principal told his teacher to put a few in my room.  At first, I was VERY frustrated because this teacher saw it as an opportunity to get rid of some students who had behavioral issues.  But little did I know that the Lord was going to use Zhiquan to grow me into more of who He desires me to be. 

Within the first couple of weeks as I began to learn more about who Zhiquan was, he began to have a special place in my heart.  Zhiquan at his young age, had been in and out of foster homes.  He had seen A LOT in his few years of life.  My heart broke as I learned more and more of his story.  But the Lord gave me the ability to see Zhiquan as He does...a broken child who needed to see the love of Jesus.

When he first got into my classroom, there was LOTS of testing of boundaries.  I think there was so much testing because he had lived in so many places with so many different rules.   Some days it was absolutely frustrating, but I think he was seeing if I was worth trusting.  In the end, consistency won!  A couple of months in, Zhiquan couldn't do enough for me.  He grew into being responsible.  He desired to do well for me.  He began to excel in his school work.  Now, don't get me wrong...it wasn't all peachy keen...but when he was off, I knew something was going on at home.

Today, as I write this blog, I wonder what has happened to Zhiquan.  I have tried looking on Facebook for him, but haven't been successful.  My heart wonders if he ever found his forever family. I have prayed often that he has...I have prayed that he got a mom and dad who were his BIGGEST fans and could encourage him to reach his potential.

As I reflect, I thank the Lord for allowing Zhiquan to be a part of my classroom...a part of my life.  I thank Him for using Zhiquan to grow me in compassion for those who are broken.  Reminding me that often times those who are acting out are the ones who have the deepest wounds.  I thank the Lord for using Zhiquan to grow me in seeing that wherever He places me is an opportunity to love like Jesus. I thank Him for using Zhiquan to plant the seed of one day adopting children who are in the foster system and giving them a forever home.

I pray that Zhiquan saw Jesus when he was in my classroom.  I pray during our year together, he  knew that he was loved not only by me, but by God.

Today, I am saying a special prayer for Zhiquan.  I am praising the Lord for this sweet child and giving Him thanks for all the good that came out of an at first frustrating situation.  And I am praying that Zhiquan  got a glimpse of His love for him and realized that there is One who has an ending/unconditional love for him. 

"Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." 
Psalm 106:1




Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Rock

Today was another HOT and humid day (it was 113 with the heat index), so we headed to the church to run around inside to get rid of some energy.  We parked on the gravel driveway just so we wouldn't have to walk out in the heat for as long.  As I was unloading the Hooties, Tobias leaned over and started picking up a rock...and then another...and then another.  I was trying to coax him to come quickly so we could get inside where the A/C was.  But he kept stopping and admiring each rock...picking out just the right one.  This is our DAILY routine wherever we happen to go.  For some reason his rock collecting bothered me today.  But we were able to make it into the church without me losing it!  All you mommas out there know that was a miracle in itself!! We spent about 30 minutes doing obstacles and relays in the nice air-conditioned church.  The whole time, Tobias held on to his prized rock.  Just before we left the church to go get some lunch, he needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped by the restroom.  While he was in there, he must of put his rock down because we got outside and he realized he didn't have it any more.  He got upset, but I told him that it was OK because we had plenty of rocks at home.  A part of me was secretly glad to not have one...more...rock to pick up. I could tell he was a little upset, but he didn't have a meltdown...another miracle I witnessed that day!!   But it didn't last very long because as soon as we got to the gravel driveway, he started looking again for just the right rock.  He began picking up one...and then another...and then another.  I felt myself starting to get frustrated...I just wanted to get in the van and start the A/C...not wait for him to collect all of his rocks.  And in that moment the Lord reminded me of this verse:

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

He reminded me that I need to be like Tobias...looking for my Rock in ever situation.  Being excited each time I encounter my Rock.  That I need to study my Rock in such a way that I am constantly learning something new about Him.  When I misplace my Rock...meaning not spending time with Him...then I need to be upset AND I need to go "looking" for Him again.  

As I was reading scripture and gathering my thoughts to write this blog, I came across this verse:

For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
Psalm 31:3 

I am so thankful in that moment today that the Lord spoke to me...that there was enough room in my frustration for Him to lead and guide me.  And now, when I walk through my front door and see this container of rocks, I will think of my Rock! 

Oh...this is one of three containers that collect rocks by our front door!