When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

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Sometimes we just need to be reminded of why God is calling us down a different road. My husband and I will complete our last home study this weekend to help us become foster parents. So far this journey has been mentally taxing but overall exciting. There are even days I question if this is the right choice for our family.

Last night, I was driving home from work when I started to pray. (I talk to God a lot when I’m driving. It keeps my road rage at bay.) I talked to God about my hesitation and my fears of becoming a foster parent. Will I make a difference? Can I even help these kids? That’s when I asked Him to send me an encouraging reminder as to why He wants us to do this.

Side note. God understands my first love language is words of affirmation. He also knows I’m very visual. He knows that I need to be reminded in the midst of a journey. One way he likes to show me things is through my dreams. He has shared with me many times about my future husband (Steven) before I even knew who he was. He even used a dream to help me see Steven was safe to pursue. Dreams are a major way God communicates with me.

That prayer I prayed to God came true. Last night, I dreamed about our future foster kids. To no surprise there were 3 teen girls. Out of the three girls I saw the face of one girl. She looked to be about 13-years-old. Hispanic with beautiful black hair. She also had a love for horses. The second girl I didn’t see but she was talking to me on the phone. This girl talked a lot. She was asking me if we had dogs because she always wanted to own big dogs. I remember her voice coming alive when she found out we had TWO big dogs. The third girl I could barely see but I know that she was African American with an up-do. It was as if she as at a farther distance than the others. But God confirmed that this journey is what He wants us to do.

I share this story with you because some of you are questioning God about a choice, a decision or even a direction He is leading you in. I totally understand fearing the unknown.  Feeling unqualified for what He has called you to do. But like me God wants to send you reminders too. Maybe He communicates with you in other ways. Like sending people to speak into your life or through scripture. Whatever future you are facing I want you to ask God to give you an encouraging reminder as to why He wants you to choose that path? Keep your eyes and ears open to what He says.

Remember, it is normal to question God. No matter how strong our faith is. If you open the Bible…it won’t take long before you come across a story about a person God uses to do mighty things…who has little faith. Or even question God’s direction. God doesn’t mind if we ask questions. He doesn’t mind that we doubt our ability. That’s when He comes alongside of us to shine light on what we are capable of. Following God is not easy. He never said it would be. But His ways are better.

I would love to hear how God sends you little messages. Share your story below.

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Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

 “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.” – Lamentations‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When I was pregnant with Aurora I used to sit and talk to my tummy. Rubbing my hand across my daughter wondering what she was going to be like. There were days I ached to hold her so bad that I would find a baby doll to hold. It would give my heart a little relief. When I saw her for the first time my heart felt complete. That’s what it feels like as I prepare a place for our future foster children.

My husband and I still have a way to go before we become licensed to be foster parents. But right now we are getting a room ready. We just painted and put up bunk beds. The bedding just arrived this week. So now the beds are ready.

The other night I had a heavy heart thinking about the kids that will come into our home. Where are they now? Are they going through abuse and neglect or are they safe in a foster home? I went downstairs into the room we are preparing for them. I sat in the floor and started to pray. (One thing I’ve learned is that when someone is heavy on your heart – there is a reason.)

I prayed for their protection. I prayed for what they are going through now. I prayed that whatever brings them to this room will be turned into a testimony of their life. I prayed that when they walk in this room they feel the peace and safety we want it to demonstrate. That they don’t feel scared with us but relieved.

Like waiting for my daughter to arrive I am waiting for foster children to arrive, except it’s under different circumstances. It will be exciting and sad. These kids will be coming here because of the pain they’ve experienced. That breaks my heart.

But I am believing that it will make a difference. That they will find themselves growing stronger, feeling more loved and appreciated for who they are. That’s my hope at least. I have no idea what our future holds. Who these kids will be. But God knows. That’s why I pray to God about these kids. About these beds and this room. He knows what these kids will need. And He knows what impact they’ll have on our lives.

We’re Adopting and I’m Terrified

This Is Us: 4 Takeaways For Foster Parents from this week’s episode.

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Parenting Through Grace

This Is Us: 4 Takeaways For Foster Parents from this week’s episode.

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*SPOILER ALERT* This post contains many details of the episode “The Big, Amazing, Beautiful life” from the show This is Us

I have been watching This Is Us since the beginning. I don’t like many shows these days but I would say it’s probably my all-time favorite. I think I love the show so much because it’s about real life. The exact opposite of what reality TV presents on most channels.

This week’s episode had me thinking about the foster system, the kids in it and all those included. As you may know, my husband and I are in the process of becoming foster parents. Even though I haven’t had any child in my home yet..this episode reminded me to keep an open mind. Here are 4 things I learned from this week’s episode.

  1. Not all parents are bad. This episode really showed the story from Deja’s perspective. I can agree that her mother was selfish in her actions…she tried hard to give her daughter the best life. The episode revealed that Shauna was 16 when she had Deja. An age where girls are already struggling with life change. Not to mention now she is a new mom. It also shows that Shauna had her grandmother in her life. A great woman who worked hard and spoke truth into her when she needed it. But quickly that relationship ended when her grandmother passed away. Instantly, Deja was the one who began to take care of her own mother. Despite Shauna’s flaws she really did try to get back on her feet.

You may remember in episodes before — Shauna seemed like an awful mom. I’ll admit…I judged her. Randall even judged her. But he…like many of us (yes, including foster parents) didn’t know the full story. I know, I haven’t been through this process yet. I soon will understand the heartache that comes with the job. HOWEVER, Foster parents it is not our place to judge. Before assuming that parent is awful — try to get to know them and find out what the real story is. I know there are many parents who have done more than we can imagine — but there are those that are just lost. Think of it like this. Many of those parents would have been your foster kids 20 years ago.

2. Not all Foster Parents are good. One of Deja’s first placements was with a foster dad who abused the children in his care. Honestly, I don’t know how people like that get through the system. But it’s true that not all foster parents are doing it for the right reasons. These kids have already been through enough. So to think of them going to a home where they are no more safe than they were with their parents…makes me mad. Deja’s fellow foster sister talked about how he wasn’t as bad. To think a child has to pick between the lesser of two evils. To the foster parents that do provide a safe home I thank you. To those who don’t…all I can say is you’ll be answering to God one day.

3. The child’s actions is NOT always what it seems. Many children who go into the foster system may find themselves making bad choices. For example, when Deja stole makeup from the store. She stole because she didn’t have any makeup to wear to the dance. It wasn’t right, but I’m sure her Foster Dad wouldn’t have been helpful if she asked him. We have to remember to teach and lead these kids to make the right choice. Instead of the foster dad hitting the daughter — he could have found a better way to handle the situation. Give the children consequences for their actions. Make them pay back the amount of what they stole. Maybe even have them help out the store owner. Kids make bad choices. I’m sure you made mistakes as a kid. I know I did. I wrote on a bathroom wall at school when I was a kid. I thought it was cool. I wasn’t a bad child and nor did my mom make me feel like I was.

4. We can make a difference. For foster parents who are in the trenches I want you to read this closely. If you are providing a loving home for the children in your care — then please know you will make a difference. Even if the child is in your home for a few days…YOU can make a difference in their lives. If that child is in your care for a long time or you adopt them…understand it may take a while for you to see the fruits of your labor. Don’t give up on these kids. They are testing you. They want to see if you’ll push them aside. Don’t do it. I do understand circumstances are different with each kid. Not every child is easy to care for. (Once again, I’ll soon experience this first hand.) but remember you are making a world of difference in the lives of these kids.

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

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What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Untitled-design-10.jpgMy husband and I just finished our first weekend of foster training. The first day we learned about ways to discipline a foster child and how trauma can impact kids. The next day we learned about sexual abuse and Indiana Department of Child Services. These classes not only taught me new information but it also brought up my childhood experiences.

It’s been 14 years since I told a judge I no longer wanted to see my father. Each day has helped me recover from what my mom, sister and I went through. But this weekend I relived A LOT. There were even some stuff I never told my husband until this weekend. I must say it was weird watching videos and hearing stories about kids that closely related to my experiences. I didn’t have as much trauma as some of these kids. But I still remember calling the cops on my dad, going in hiding for a few days and having my dad’s family lie on the witness stand about what kind of parent my father was. Yes, my heart is a little heavy after being reminded of all these past experiences. But do you want to know what I got most out of these classes? Hope.

I can’t compare my trauma to the kids I will soon be fostering. I know many of them have experienced more pain than I can imagine. They’ve had everything ripped from their lives in an instant. (I thankfully had my mom and sister with me the whole time). But my hope is to some how teach these kids to overcome their trauma.

I would say that I’m not a perfect person but I think I turned out better than what I could have been. That’s because I had a loving family, friends, church family and God to help me through each day. As the years go by, the stronger I feel. The farther away the trauma is. Except when my past is brought back up.

After two days of listening to stories about kids in the foster system, I had an anxiety attack. It came out of nowhere. My husband and I were on the couch watching a show when I started to freak out. I was on overload with my memories. It took me a good hour to calm down. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in a while. Thankfully, my husband was there for me. Even though that was a rough moment…I learned something.

Trauma is still a part of our lives. It is still a part of my life. As I learned in training, triggers can happen any moment. A simple thing can spark a trigger leading a person into panic and chaos. Like me, these kids will face their trauma the rest of their lives. But they don’t have to let it control them.

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It took me years to get over some things from my past but I rarely think about it. It’s as if I lived another life. I remember the hurt and pain but I also remember the daily fight to get where I am today. After my attack, I started thinking I may not make a good foster parent. Especially since I just had an anxiety attack. But instead of using that moment as a negative I am using it as a positive. It’s a current reminder that the kids that will come into our home will need the support when they too have an anxiety attack or a trigger.

I hope I’m able to help these kids work through their trauma. To help them know overcoming their past is the easy part. It’s staying in a positive mindset that’s hard. But it can be done. That’s where my faith comes in. My relationship with God has helped me through a lot. Not only to control my trauma but to forgive those who caused horrible experiences in my life.

To be honest I’m not really sure why I am writing this post. Maybe someone needs to read this. Someone who feels guilty for falling back into their past. Maybe a soon-to-be foster parent needs to read that their love can make a big difference. But they may need to help the kids through triggers. Whoever this is for I pray it helps you.

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When God Uses Our “Ugly” to Impact Others