I Double Dog Dare You

I feel like Clint and I are in a slightly new phase of life.

We have almost reached our initial goal for our 5-year plan. Granted, it did not all go as anticipated. I think we had kind of hoped that while we faithfully followed the heart God gave us for foster care he would, within that time span, begin building our forever family. But it is not our job to determine our future, it is simply our job to obey the calling God places on our lives.

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And so we have. And it has been a roller coaster, but we have been thankful for the opportunities placed in front of us. We have had a total of 2 placements, 4 kids in our home. It has been quite an adventure.

This being said, we also know that we are only human, and when life throws you more than you can handle you have to lean on Christ to provide. So right now he has provided us a time of rest. A break from the hard parts of fostering, a time of renewal so that we may follow what He has in store for us next faithfully and without hesitation.

While I know this time is essential, I must admit I am not very good at it. I long to keep my heart open to what is next, and I pray that God is working to put all the pieces in place while I rest. The song playing through my mind is that of Bethany Dillon “You can do more in my waiting, than in my doing I can do.”
That being said, I spend a lot of time online hunting through different websites that could be important for our next steps when rest time is over. I have combed through websites like International Justice Mission, The International Mission Board, A21 Campaign, Noonday Collection, Countless seminaries, and many different masters programs to get an idea of what is out there.

Out of all the websites I have combed through God has placed one on my heart to specifically share with you.
As a foster mom there is a website that I am ever aware of, and regularly perusing.
Every state has a website full of children in foster care whose parents rights have been terminated. This means they are officially in custody of the state, they have no mom and no dad. No parents to ever show up in court for them, no parents to schedule visits with. They are in limbo. These are the kids who end up turning 18 and aging out of the system with no family ties to walk with them through their adult years, no parents to teach them about taxes, jobs, relationships, or parenting.

And it is for these kids that I would ask DARE you to pray for an open heart.

I Double. Dog. Dare. You. to allow your heart to be opened to the scary things God might call you to if only you would let Him.

I Double. Dog. Dare. You. to sit down with your spouse tonight and pray for God to break your heart for what breaks His, pray that He would give you His eyes, and pray that He would give you faith like you have never had before.

and then

I Double. Dog. Dare. You. to click the link below and not fall in love with at least one of these kids who desperately need The Church to take Christ’s commands seriously, and step up.

http://www.adoptuskids.org/_app/child/searchpResults.aspx

It would be easy to put one verse here from James, but because the whole chapter ~book in fact~ is so clear to speak about how we, as Christians, are to respond to our broken world full of broken people in need of an incredibly grace-filled, healing Savior, I will put the entire chapter to give the verse context.

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
Blessed in the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no on say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts on one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. The desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
   But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 
   If anyone things he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. “

James 1 (ESV)

I really want to add James 2 as well, but you get the picture, and if you’d like you can go on and read the rest of the book. Actually, please read the rest of the book.

So. Good.

~Kels~

99 Cent Convictions

I have been reading this book:

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(you can’t really look inside, the image came from Amazon, which is where the link will take you also…)

I have been wanting to read it for a few months now, but I was feeling to cheap to buy it, so when I found it at Goodwill for 99 cents it was like God left me an early Christmas present!

I started reading it right after I prayed that God would convict me about the sin in my life and use the conviction to change me.. Obviously I forgot to re-read the back of the book before I opened it up after saying that prayer.

I have come to a few conclusions. I am so very annoyed with the American lifestyle. I mean really, how do you pray for a nation that is 100% fixed on themselves when The Church is the #1 culprit? That is a conclusion I have been at for awhile actually. I’m really praying that God will remind me that He desires mercy on a daily basis, because mercy is something that I do not naturally have in leaps and bounds for the American Church. 

I have come to the conclusion that we are giant prisoners of consumerism. My favorite movie growing up was “10 Things I Hate About You.” Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles anyone? And I could quote most of the movie, but I specifically remember this one: “in hopes of distracting themselves from the pathetic emptiness of their meaningless consumer driven lives.”

I edited out the first part, it’s not horrible, but you probably know it anyway. Amen Julia. 

The verdict:

1. I will not buy an article of clothing for the rest of the year. This includes jewelry, bags, scarves, headbands, etc… 
I realize that there are only 4 months left this year, but most of my jeans have either shrunk or are beginning to wear holes, so I’m afraid if I commit to longer than 4 months I will be pantless by January…

2. I am a purger. I love to get rid of things, however when I get rid of things I tend to just pile it in my car and send it all to Goodwill. This is not a bad thing. I think though, that there are places in my community that could benefit greatly from these things I have just been too lazy to seek them out. I will start doing that.

3. It occurred to me yesterday while doing my quiet time that there are needs that I see on a regular basis, be them big or small, that I have the means to meet but for some reason I don’t. This is ridiculous. It is seriously time to stop being so American and start loving people. I have a tendency to see someone on the side of the road with a cardboard sign and think “it’s a scam, they are just going to buy beer.” Let me tell you what this is, it’s an EXCUSE. That line is an excuse to hold tightly to those few dollar bills we keep in our wallet, and for what? A candy bar from the vending machine when we are not hungry, but think we need something sweet? So maybe they will use those three dollars to add to a collection to buy beer, but guess what, maybe they will use those three dollars to add to a collection to buy groceries for their 3 kids who are at home and haven’t eaten in 2 days. Who am I to assume that I know what they will do with that money? 
No more excuses, Kelsey.

On another note, while I was sitting outside in the hammock having all of these spiritual revelations my dog was creating a new fashion trend with my flip-flops…

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The weirdest part? The other half of that flip-flop is nowhere to be found in my yard. I’m 98% positive that she ate it.