Repeatedly, this morning (and in the past months), I have read in my Bible about my "voice". I found that there is a great deal in Proverbs 1 & 2 especially. When I first started reading these scriptures, I started highlighting every time I read the word "voice". Example, Psalm 3:4
I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.
The Book of Psalm is full of words like these; Psalm 4:1 is another favorite.
Here me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Next to that verse I wrote: VOICE IT!
Pray with me...
Lord, you are keenly aware of any hopes that have been deferred in my life. Help me to put my hopes in You for You will fulfill my longings.
So, much as been on my heart for months. I constantly struggle to find the right balance between planning and designing the life I want and depending on Him to plan and design the life He wants me to have. Does anyone else struggle with this too? I am praying that He and I come to an agreement and that really means that I am in His Will.
I run my own direct sales business and I love it! I love it because it made such a radical impact in my life. It allowed me to leave a teaching career that was "not what I signed up for." It allowed me to come home to my 3 children and take care of their needs. I was able to do a great deal while working but there were times I knew I should have been there for my kids and the regret scorched my heart and sometimes broke my spirit. After I went back to work I kept saying, "all I ever wanted in life was to be a momma." I know many people want to be momma's but they LOVE being teachers, doctors, dental hygienists, case managers, etc.... Not me, I only really ever wanted to be a momma. I prayed when I was a little girl that God allow me to be here on earth long enough to experiences motherhood and He listened. Being a momma is my "job".
Sometimes, my prayers have felt like they are just words spoken too. Like they were meant for my ears to hear more than my Lord Father to hear. Why is that? It wasn't until I realized how very close He was, that He delights in leaning close to me that I started speaking to Him. My Lord Jesus, petitions for me so that I can walk and talk knowing that He is near. So, in January I started a list. I listed all the people I wanted God to bless. I listed all the circumstances I could so that I could be specific in prayer and boy have I seen Him work since being intentional. As many who read my blog know, one specific prayer that He answered was our questions about adoption.
He led us straight into Foster Care. We never dreamed that would be what His intentions for us. After writing about how clear He was in giving us direction, it seemed that many other things took a back seat for a bit. Including the business that brought me home. All the while I pray He strengths it. Sure, we still move about out daily lives but it seems like everyday is a full of tiny little steps and thoughts towards bringing our baby home. We've had support from friends and family and we've had people who literally shut us out; which I will never understand that kind of selfishness.
The journey since January 20th has been longer than I expected. Our IMPACT training classes started on February 7th and ended in March. We were hoping they'd have been completed in February. We have spent the better part of March getting all our paper work filled out: back ground checks, doctors forms, drug testing, appointments, phone calls, pet vaccinations...
Now, it's April and this has been the slowest of them all. They are assigning us case workers for our home study and I have 1 more class on the 25th to complete for CPR, First Aid, Safety, and Discipline, etc. I am having to miss a major business event this day and I PRAY that everyone understands the circumstances. There will be more chances to travel for work but only one day to get this done and finished.
My husband has lost time at work for doctors visits and testing, we've been working on the nursery, buying locking medicine cabinets, and making sure household chemicals are secure. I have been buying clothes and cleaning out closets. I have been reading and talking to people to help us be more prepared for what's coming. I'm not naïve as to the horror stories of foster care but that is all out weighed by my faith and trust in the Father.
The one thing I can say that has been my battlefield, where I feel attacked, is spiritually. The devil has been all over me and my marriage. Things happen, fights happen and then... you open your eyes and wonder what just happened. It is just like the evil one to attack those who know they are doing something for Kingdom. The worse fight my husband and I ever had in the 22 years we've been together happened in the midst of this journey. Words were said that only Gods grace can cover. The devil's attack was on me as my character and peace were diminished, but good always comes. It changed me. I am so grateful God put the tools in my hands that I needed immediately. He covered me with His hand and let me rest in a place of darkness for a bit while I let Him fight for me. Knowing that I have been protected and ushered back into the Light gives me a new hope. Being sifted in such a way as to bring up to the surface the things that needed to be removed. I prayed for sifting, to have my weaknesses exposed, I just didn't know how it would all happen and I'm glad it did.
While, I feel like this journey is private in some ways I also believe that I should give a "voice" to the experience. My hope is to be real enough that future foster or adoptive parents know what to expect and how to handle the spiritual warfare that goes on in the home. My voice lifts of prayers. My voice is heard by Him. I pray that my voice serves Him within the households of many families who believe in taking care for the innocent. I pray that His voice is sought after always.
Even as I come to a close on this post the devil is telling me to go back and chance my stance...I will not! God is all in this process and He can not be removed.
So many families are on the same journey we are. Their timeline and experiences may be different so I pray for their protection and for their sifting as well. I ask that you pray for our family as well.
If there is one thing I know, the more you walk in God's Will the more determined the devil is to get involved. I understand now why God allows him too.
Writing about this topic below is painful and scary to share. I pray now my dear one that if you are reading this, it gives you permission to ask God for help...to be complete in brokenness...to be sifted...to be healed. We are all broken together.
that is a word that has been surfacing so much lately. It is in music, it is in conversations, it is in things around the house, it is in the air.
This morning I was cleaning up the kitchen and putting away items and inside a basket was my favorite salt shaker...broken. I had dropped it full. It had been in 1 piece just as I liked it but now it lay in 4 pieces and I didn't have the heart to toss it. I reached in our kitchen junk drawer and pulled out the glue. I carefully pieced my little salt shaker back together. Almost like new. I filled it with salt and sat it next to the mate.
Last night I came home from helping a friend get her business started. I was exhausted. My FitBit read I had nearly 18,000 steps yesterday and 9 miles. As I reached up to turn my lamp off I noticed something odd. I then realized the bed was a good 5 inches away from the wall. The night stand nor the lamp had been moved. No one in the house could tell me how the bed was moved 5 inches. This large, heavy, king size sleigh bed had been moved. As the conversation went on my middle son revealed that my bed was broken on the left corner and was supported by a stack of children's books. I don't know how they got those books under there but what they didn't know as they were climbing over the front of my sleigh bed earlier that evening was that it had already been broken and repaired. I wanted to laugh and cry thinking about their little panicked hearts trying to hide the brokenness.
I fixed the bed, but not without dropping a box springs on the top of my foot not once but twice. (Ouch) It's not perfect or like new but it will work.
The night before last I was in the laundry room finishing up our laundry and the kids were running off to get ready for bed. I heard a cascade of dishes falling and breaking. My first thought was they somehow had knocked over my china cabinet full. When I rounded the corner my oldest son looked like a deer in headlights, my youngest was crying and my middle son was ready to bolt. A box of dishes I had meant to put in the attic and sat on my steps had been knocked off when my oldest tripped going up the steps. They didn't believe me when I said "It's okay, I'll clean it up. Go to bed."
Where was the screaming mom? Where was the mom that was going to lash out? What happened to that mom?
That mom had been broken long before the dishes. The brokenness came to a full head about a month ago. Yes, right in the middle of our journey to become foster parents. No matter how hard I tried to be a good Christian momma, friend, wife, daughter....no matter how many times I picked up my Sword of the Spirit and read my Bible my spirit was broken. For years I have felt that I was failing on the inside. I try so hard to look like I have it all together on the outside. My house, my kids, my marriage, my spiritual walk. When you are broken in your spirit and you try that hard, it's tiring and what surfaces is not pretty.
I know I am loved.
But am I ever going to be good enough?
I have found in recent days through much prayer and much sifting that this feeling of never being good enough in my spirit goes back to a hinge moment in my childhood. When I was little I didn't realize I was different, set apart. I thought I was just a little girl like everyone else. As an adult the devil has used that hinge moment to put fissures in my spirit constantly telling me the lie that I will never be good enough.
I had the ideal childhood. I was loved and protected and prayed over. However, little seeds were placed in me as a child. Seeds...words...hurt... There were times when I couldn't do well enough in school and I was made to feel less than others. There were times when my confidence level in myself was much bigger than those around me and they let me know. I felt stupid. I never felt like a kid that could achieve anything. I was terrible at ballet. I was terrible at tap dancing. I was terrible at spelling and the list goes on. I was told I wasn't smart enough for "college prep" in high school, that I couldn't handle the work load. I did it anyway, just fine. I have a masters degree now, go figure. All of the little seeds that took away my confidence grew rooting themselves deep into the fissures in my spirit. Like the roots growing through a sidewalk. Eventually it's not pretty.
There is that moment in my life when I realized I wasn't was not like the others. It happened in 2nd grade. I thought I was friends with everyone and had no enemy's. I loved everyone of my classmates. Then one day a friend invited me to my first ever slumber party. I was over the moon excited. I had never been invited before. A few days later she passed out invitations for real and that initial verbal invitation was found to be null and void. I sat among a group of girls who were opening their invitations and I didn't have one. That little girl who was having the party said, "sorry, mom said I could only have X number of friends over." OH MY HEART! How was I going to tell my mom that I had been "uninvited"? I didn't tell her. The night of the party I packed my things and mom dropped me off as 8 little girls stood in the driveway and starred me down...then it started....
"You weren't invited"
"Yes, I was. She told me I could come."
"Oh yeah, what did the invitations look like."
"I don't know but she TOLD me I could come before the invitations."
After a few minutes of being beaten with words and not backing down because my mom had already left me they gave up and played with me. I'm assuming that my friends mom told her it was ok and I was staying. I stayed up late played with the one girl who was ALWAYS nice to me even though she never really called me friend. I had rice crispy treats and I remember that because I don't think I had ever had them before because my brother having Juvenile Diabetes, we never had sugar in the house. It was heavenly and divine. That was the only part that was.
All those same girls always came to my slumber parties, every year. They still as adults always said mine were so fun because they were different than others. We went exploring in the woods, and played in clubhouses....no fancy girl stuff. Real life play outside stuff. Although, I was NEVER invited again to another sleep over. HINGE
From that night until this very second I live and breath it hurts.
Lots of other moments in life, to numerous to mention, caused that break in my spirit to grow bigger until that little crack was pure brokenness, fear, and ugly. Like the fissure...the crack...the broken sidewalk.
The devil uses them all. They are his foothold.
That brokenness was made complete about a month ago. It needed to happen. It's the only way to heal completely. If my little salt shaker just had a hairline crack I would have kept using it in its fragile state. Because it was broken completely I was able to repair it with a little glue. However, when God repairs...it's complete and perfect.
My brokenness came to a head one night. What started off as a fight and anger rushing through my veins led to my husband walking out the front door. I felt relief when he left. These moments were like a full sudden swing that came out of no where with words coming out of my mouth that I knew I didn't want there. I've always heard that when you are shaken, what is in you spills out just like shaking a cup of water. I constantly prayed about these moments. There was no rhyme or reason to them. When they were over I would pray and ask God for help but that night was different. After pouring my heart out to God my husband came home as I was about to go looking for him as it was past midnight. When I saw he was in the driveway I went out to his truck and as I walked out a flood of ANGER swept over me like no other. I won't go into details but let's just say at some point I pointed to my open Bible and screamed...."It doesn't work! No matter how hard I try. I'm done. I can't do THIS anymore." With all my heart I believe the devil is trying his best to break up the home of families who love Christ. He is doing everything in is might to assault marriages. I know God has a plan and if God has a plan then you better believe the devil has one also.
Confirmation of Broken...
I slept on the couch that night. The next day I moved about with a sick feeling. Heavy. Hurt. Broken.
A song on phone "Broken Together" by Casting Crowns caught my attention. A friend posted a picture on Facebook "Even broken crayons still color." I spent the day too sick to eat and busy moving my kids bedrooms around. I wasn't sure what the evening would look like when James came home from work. I ordered a book because it just sounded like something I needed to read. The title alone was how I was feeling. I mean, how can a girl who loves Christ so much do and say the things I had done and said?
When the book arrived I started pouring over it. In a matter of minutes I had my highlighter out highlighting the words that were describing exactly how I have been feeling and in the end. I knew!
I have been under attack. The devil has had a full out assault on me.
God is allowing him to break me. My Father wants to fix me.
God is allowing him to break me. I am God's.
God is allowing him to break me. I needed sifting. (Luke 22:31)
Beth Moore talks about "sifting" in her book 'When Godly People Do Ungodly Things." This book arrived with perfect timing. It was time for healing. Beth is very clear that this book is really only understood by a portion of believers. I understood it so well I marked every page. Not everyone who loves Christ is going to be assaulted by the devil like this. There is a full scale attack going on still. However, what I have noticed is that I'm not tolerant of some things and tolerant of others. There has been a shift in me towards healing. I'm not tolerant of being disrespected but I'm tolerant of accidents and mistakes that usually would have set me off. So I was sifted to expose my weakness and brokenness. God needed me to see where it really all stems from.
The reason I can not move ahead in my business is because of the hinge moment.
The reason I can not further His Kingdom is because of the hinge moment
The reason I have fear of rejection is because of my hinge moment.
The reason I use words as a weapon is because of my hinge moment.
The reason I stay hurt or angry is because of my hinge moment
Broken by a hinge moment, a fissure, that grew.
The devil tells me lies daily based on this hinge moment.
God choose to work through broken vessels.
Surrender it all to Jehovah Rapha!
My Lord of healing.
My beloved Father.
By His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5, Psalms 147:3
This whole situation of brokenness goes much deeper than this post. Brokenness means healing, means God can use me as a vessel, means He can fill me up, means He can pour out.... but first healing!