Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When the Statistics Became More Than a Number.

Thomas and I have always sort of 'known' that we had a calling to foster care, our hearts ached at the staggering statistics. We started the process about a year ago and, because of circumstances beyond our control, had to put everything on hold. 

Fast-forward a year later, we moved right next door to my parent's which increased our support system. We are attending a church that supports foster parents in more ways then I could have ever dreamed possible. The decision to re-open our home should have been a no-brainer, right? I wish I could share with you how great it was to know that it was time and that I trusted God and that I just did it without any reservations at all, but, that my friends, was not the case.

A lady from a Bible study that I am attending posted a blog post about saying "I'm blessed," it resonated in my mind for the next few weeks. I began to realize how privileged we are. My prayers changed from 'bless my family' to 'Father, please help us not waste our privilege.' I asked Him to help us to use the privileges that we enjoyed to glorify Him.  
**I feel a warning is necessary here! DO NOT pray stuff like this unless you are ready for God to break your heart and change your world!**

That is exactly what happened! Over the course of the next month God began working in Thomas and I's hearts concerning foster care.  I have always seen the statistics of the number of siblings that are separated when entering care because homes can't/won't take sibling groups. I began to realize that if I hadn't been 'privileged' enough to have my parents, and something were to happen to Thomas and I, that could be our kiddos counted in those statistics!

So, I made the call. We would begin again the process of opening our home to foster care, but there was something that just felt off. I knew that this was right, but my selfish nature kept trying to buck it's selfish will and interfere. I struggled. When Sunday came the following week, I was beat up emotionally and spiritually. I was exhausted and about to throw in the towel. Why would anyone want to walk this road?

That day our Middle School Pastor at church brought a Missions Moment. I do not remember much from the video he showed or what he said, except this:  "Those statistic that you see on the screen, those are not just numbers! Those are people. Jesus died for them and they need someone to tell them that good news!"  

Jesus broke my heart! Right there in the middle of the Mission Moment at the beginning of our service. Those statistics that rocked my world all suddenly became far more than just a number, they had faces and stories. I wept. I was embarrassed and ashamed of the selfishness that I had been harboring. I knew that I needed forgiveness. I also knew, right then, that this was absolutely the calling that He had placed on our lives! We were to be foster parents.

We don't take this lightly. I believe that this is our mission field. So many are called over seas, but God chose to call us right where we are, in the middle of a crisis. A broken world, filled with broken families who are in desperate need of a Savior. Our job is to show His love to these families as they work to restore their lives and start over. We are in the business of reunification of families. 

That is why we are becoming foster parents! We want to share His love with both the children and the parents in the foster care system! We know that this calling won't be easy, in fact, we know the very opposite is true. We will love these children like our own and then we will say goodbye and hand them back over to their parents. We will have to learn to trust God in a whole new way. We may never know what will happen to these children once they leave our home, but we trust a God Who does! We must learn that we only have today and the intensity of that truth. 

We covet your prayers as we welcome these children into our home. Pray that we will be able to share His love to these families.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beginning the Journey...

We are beginning our journey this month, but I am sure that her journey began before we even signed our fist form. We started training last week; I wonder what she was doing? We bought a bed yesterday, I wonder where she slept last night? Sister picked out a pink stuffed dog especially for her, I wonder what she held onto last time she was scared?

I am not sure where she is or what her life is like right now. I don't know what her life story is or when our path will cross. I do know that when we get that call, we will be ready. Ready to give her love and support, to pray with her and help her heal. We will be there as a support for her family, to show them the love of Jesus. Our family is already preparing. We are praying for her and her family even today. 

I wish there wasn't a need for foster care. In a perfect world, there wouldn't be, but this isn't a perfect world. This is a broken world in desperate need of Jesus. We believe that we have a calling to share the love of Jesus with people. Our specific calling is to the children and families in the foster care system. 

I ask that you keep us in your prayers as we start this journey. Pray for the children and families that we encounter. Pray that Thomas, the children, and I would be able to share the love of Jesus with them. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Night and Peace?

It's Sunday night, and already my brain is swirling about what tomorrow may hold. The business of the upcoming week has begun to chip away at my rest. In the middle of a thought, the Lord reminded me of a verse that our Pastor used this morning. I read it in the Amplified version to get a better grasp on what Jesus was saying. As I read it I knew that stress, anticipation, and anxiety had no place in my mind tonight!
I thought that I would share it with you in hopes that it would encourage you as it has me!

So, as you enjoy these last few hours of your weekend, and as you wake-up in the morning, you can rest assured, sweet Momma, that He has overcome the world! 

I pray that you have a peaceful night and week ahead!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer: A Homeschool Crew Review

Have you ever read a Bible story and wondered about the background of the people? This is something that I do on a regular basis. I wonder what was going through Esther's mind, the lady with the issue of blood, and what about Hannah after she gave Samuel to Eli in the temple. I have found a love for books that take the Biblical accounts, mix them with historical fact, and add in a little imagination to follow people in the Bible that are simply mentioned for a chapter or two.  
Imagine my delight when I was given the opportunity to review a book exactly like that!  Peggy Consolver - Author penned a story about the Gibeonites of Joshua 9-10 called: "Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer."

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

When I first received my copy of "Shepherd, Potter, Spy -- and the Star Namer" in the mail, I had to go back and reread Joshua 9-10 in my Bible. So little is said about these Gibeonites that I hadn't ever thought about them. After I read about them again I wondered how Mrs. Consolver was going to bring these people, who were barely mentioned, to life.  

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Keshub, a young Gibeonite boy who is tending the families sheep in the morning and learning to become a soldier in the afternoon. His real dream in life to see and experience adventure beyond the confines of Gibeonite territory. Little does he know the adventures that await him. 

As I read through this book, I was made aware, for the first time ever, of the other people, the ones that lived in Canaan before God gave it to the Israelites. I never thought about the rumors that went through camps, the fear of impending defeat by a group of foreigners taking over land, the question of whether or not you would survive an attack and if you did survive, where would you live? 

This book opened my eyes to the other side. I am not going to even pretend that there weren't questions about why it had to be this way. I spent several days in prayer trying to find peace in God being all knowing, all powerful, and just even though my heart was aching for these people groups being forced from their lands.  I had always lived with the understanding that Canaan was the promised land to God's people. I just never thought beyond that. This book challenged me to dig deeper. I am still in the process, even after 6 weeks, of studying the Gibeonites (descendants of Ham). I do not understand everything, but I am searching. My next search will be the Amorites and their selfish king. 

I love history and this book helped to create another layer of history to the Bible stories that I had never thought about! I think it is a perfect way to start learning and teaching the Bible from a point of historical context. It has definitely sparked a new interest in me!
When I originally requested to review this book, I intended on having Popper read along side me or even co-read with me. However, after reading the first couple of chapters we discovered that this book was simply too advanced for him and I chose to read it alone. I think this book is geared more towards upper middle school/high school to adults. I am definitely going to have my kids read this when they are older to help teach them to dig deeper into their Bible stories. 

There is also a study guide available for this book.  It has maps and keys to help the reader visualize where the events are taking place. The guide includes a couple of links per chapter to videos or resources to help you better understand parts of the story. It is a great addition for helping to get a better grasp on the book as a whole!

About Peggy Consolver

The author, Peggy Consolver, is was raised in Oklahoma where she graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She taught in a Dallas high school for a while and then enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom to her 2 children. She now enjoys teaching Sunday School and women's Bible studies that challenge women to dig deeper into the stories!

Mrs. Consolver had started writing "Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer," but was struggling to make the story come alive. She decided to take a trip with a couple of her friends to visit Israel and walk where the Gibeonites, that she was writing about, actually lived. Through a sequence of events she was able to spend 18 days with the Associates for Bible Research in Israel in 2010. Here the story of Keshub and his family came alive to her and she was able to write about their experiences from a place of better understanding.  

You can connect with Peggy Consolver-Author on Facebook.

As usual several of my Crew-mates read and reviewed this book as well. You can read their thoughts about it by clicking the link below:

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}
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