Friday, October 31, 2014

Be careful what you pray for...

Aside from the first few posts explaining my reappearance into the writing world, I really wanted to refrain from making this blog a personal journal.  My goal is to give God glory and teach others about Him, not share the details of my everyday life.  But good gracious.... when He decides to move like He did this week, I can't resist the urge to share!

The whole reason I'm not a foster parent yet is because I can't do so in my current living situation.  I love living where I do, but financially, a change just hasn't been possible.  So while fostering and adoption are my long-term goals, the first thing to happen has to be my moving out.  Insert frugality, side jobs, and a hope of getting published here.  My plan (which you know is always exactly how things go) was to save like mad and move out some time in the next one to two years.

Annnd this is where God decided to laugh hysterically.

I received news this week that the people I live with need to sell their house.  In other words, I'm gonna be moving out a whole lot sooner than planned!  At first glance, this seemed to derail my plans in a big way, but after a very anxious 24 hours and numerous talks with God-fearing friends, I came to realize what a huge answer to prayer this is.

  • I get to move out.  As scary as this week has been, that IS what I wanted.
  • Doors have been opened for financial provision, possibly in more ways than one.
  • I got to avoid two very awkward conversations that would have had to take place in the future.
  • I also get to avoid two situations that would have been guilt-inducing even though I wasn't doing anything wrong.
  • If all goes, ahem, according to plan, I could be caring for a foster child by this time next year.
What's funny is that just two posts ago, I ended by saying something along the lines of "Knowing God, the path won't be that straight.  I'm pretty sure He'll take this small act of obedience and use it to open a door I never saw coming."  And y'all, let me tell you..... I never saw this coming.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Five things I want my teenagers to know about the Bible

My Sunday school class has spent the last two months competing in a Bible-reading challenge.  By finding Scriptures that spoke to them throughout the week and sharing them with us on Sunday, they earned points and had an opportunity to win a handful of gift cards.  But in the end, the point of our contest wasn't for them to take trip to Starbucks on me.  It was about laying a foundation, and I hope they haven't missed the point.

If I could share five things I wish my girls knew about the Bible, it would be these:

1) It's okay if you don't always understand it. God is so much bigger than anything we can comprehend, and the same goes for His Word. It's deep. It's complicated. It's seemingly contradictory at times. But it's also revealing, enlightening, and incredibly beautiful. Don't let a fear of failure get in your way of experiencing it. Even if nothing makes sense at first glance, the time hasn't been wasted. And on that note...

2) The Bible is something to be experienced, not mastered. We can study the history, the geography, and the people to our heart's content, but if we're coming to it from a purely intellectual standpoint, we're going to miss out on all that it has to offer. Learn to just "be" with your Bible. Read without expectation. Soak it up. Enjoy it.

3) Luke 6:45 says that our heart brings forth our words, and it's the same with God. If you want to get to know His heart, who He is at His very core, get to know His words. You'll learn what His passions are, what hurts Him, what brings Him joy. Don't listen to who others say He is- read it for yourself!

4) The Bible might be an ancient book, but it's alive and relevant even today.  No two people will read a passage the exact same way.  We'll notice different things, have different questions, learn from different situations.  That's because God meets us where we are, and no two people are in the same place.  And no one person stays in the same place forever.  What God spoke to you through a particular story last year or last month might be totally different than what He has for you today. You've grown since then, and there will always be something new for you to discover.

5) Context is everything.  Some instructions in the Bible are meant for all people at all times; others aren't.  Some visions are warnings, while others are true prophecies.  Without knowing the time and place a particular passage was written, it's impossible to know the difference.  So while there is a time to read for no other reason than to experience God's presence, there is also a time to study.  Find a commentary or other book that will give you some insight to the context, or simply use Google. However you learn, looking at the whole picture versus just a single verse will open you you up to so much more than meets the eye.

The Bible can be incredibly intimidating when you first start to get into it.  For people who don't like to read, it contains a whole lot o' words.  But with only a few minutes and an open heart, those words can change your life.  So be brave.  Open it up, and go exploring.  There's a good chance God has an adventure waiting for you!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Connecting the dots

In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea to return to blogging right before a busy week full of commitments.  There's nothing like saying I'm back! and then disappearing... again.

But anyway, I'm here now. :)

I shared in my last post that I have a dream of adopting children and what I believe is a calling to write.  In my mind, the two were never really connected; adoption is what I wanted to do, and writing is what God made me do.  One I've wanted almost my entire life; the other I've had to wrestle with and grow to love.  The way I saw it, mother and writer were simply two of the many roles I felt led to play in this thing called life.

Last spring, however, as I was grappling with the reality that my current situation makes adoption all but impossible, God kept nudging me to, you guessed it...write.  Unfortunately, it's been my habit to do so only when I feel inspired, need to process something, or have an upcoming Sunday school class to prepare for, but this time He wouldn't let it go. In an effort to be obedient and seek direction, I blogged (on a separate site) every day during Lent.  39 posts later, I was still just as clueless as I was when I started.

Fast forward six months to our current small-group study.  We're studying Mark Batterson's The Circle Maker* and talking a lot about our dreams. Once again, I sat there praying God, what do I need to be doing to make this happen?  Wouldn't you know that one word kept popping into my head, the same quiet whisper no matter how many times I asked...

Write.  Write.  Write.

Two days later I sat down for some serious God time.  And in no uncertain terms, He let me know that it was time to get my butt in gear, specifically regarding a discussion guide for A Year of Biblical Womanhood* that I'd started writing for my high school girls, but never got around to finishing.  Let me tell you, I've done more work on that in the last five weeks than I had in the last five months!  I've had people tell me numerous times that I needed to think about publishing my Sunday school curriculum units, and now that God's lit a fire under me, I'm beginning to pursue that as best I can, although at this point it's only involving a lot of editing.

Do I have any idea how writing curriculums relates to adoption?  Nope.  Not a one.  There are some obvious possibilities like publishing and making money and building a side business that could support a family... but knowing God, the path probably won't be that straight.  It's more likely that He'll take this small act of obedience and use it to open a door I've never even considered.  All I know is that I've been given a task, an opportunity.  And even if I don't see a relationship between these two very different things in my heart, it's time to let Him connect the dots. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Dream vs. His

As Walt Disney so eloquently put it, A dream is a wish your heart makes.  It begins with a spark in the deepest part of our selves. Some of our dreams begin as we develop certain talents or hobbies- being a famous football player or musician, for example. Other dreams, like that of flying, may simply be the result of our imagination.  Still others are planted early on in our lives and continue to grow until we can't remember a time without such a desire in our hearts.  That's the case with my dream of adopting children.

A calling, on the other hand, doesn't begin with us.  It's like a dream, but it's God's dream. It's picked out specifically by Him, tailored to who He's made us to be, and often times, it'll be something we never expected.  In fact, there's a good chance we'll fight it in the beginning.  We'll think about how unqualified we are, how impossible it will be, and how we just aren't cut out for it.  And that, my friends, is the beauty of a calling.  We aren't qualified, and we aren't cut out for it.  But if we choose obedience in the midst of our fear and doubt, God has an opportunity to receive glory.  

Both dreams and callings are unique to who we are.  I love kids, have a ton of experience with them, and even went to college to learn how to handle them.  My dream of being an adoptive parent surprises absolutely no one; kids are just... what I do.  But I'm more than just a teacher or a soccer-mom-in-training, as someone once called me.  I'm also an incredibly deep thinker.  I'm an avid reader.  I'm passionate about the Bible and love connecting Scripture to everyday life.  Those were the things that led to my call to write.  Was it something I ever wanted to do?  Absolutely not.  But no matter how hard I tried to escape it, I couldn't.  No amount of kicking, screaming, pounding my fists on the desk, and telling God I don't wanna do this! made Him take it back.  

And now... well, now my calling is just as much a part of me as my dreams.  I'll be sharing later in the week how the two are connected, but in the meantime, leave a comment and let us know what your dream or calling is!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Dream is Born

I can remember the moment like it happened just last week. 

I was roughly 12 years old, and had gone with my mom to visit a neighbor who'd just had a baby. While I cuddled the newborn in a recliner, they sat across the room doing what all moms do when a child comes into the world: they shared their labor stories.  And as a preteen who had only recently learned how babies were made, I sat there intrigued, horrified, and disgusted.  I made a vow right then and there that I was never ever going to put myself through that.  Adoption was always a possibility, and as far as I could tell, it was going to be the only possibility for me.

And although it started out as a silly reaction to a major OMG!!! moment in my young life, the idea of adoption never left my mind.  As I got older and learned about God's heart for orphans, as I witnessed the terrible home lives of some of my students, and as I researched and learned about the great need for foster parents, my resolve was strengthened until I knew without a doubt that this is what I was made for.  Married or single, able to conceive or not... none of that mattered.  I longed to be a mother, and I longed to create a family through the miracle of adoption.

As I entered adulthood, every decision was made with that goal in mind. I read anything I could find on the topic from personal stories to books full of practical advice to state and country laws. I set career goals based on the requirements for single adoptive mothers. I had a plan, and I was well on my way to fulfilling that dream when God threw me a curveball. 

In 2010, He asked me to leave my teaching job- and the paycheck, benefits, and stability that came with it. Everything I'd worked so hard for was gone. Suddenly I found myself wondering where the next rent check was coming from, where I was going to live, and what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. It was a great soul-searching experience, but it put quite a halt to my almighty Five Year Plan.

The years since have been full of wonder, as in I wonder if I'm still supposed to do this... I wonder if God really is going to make a way... and I wonder if this is in fact His plan. I'm grateful for confirmation that tells me the answer is YES. The many, many details are still unknown to me at this point, but He's let me know that I can't let those things stop me. And I'm finally, slowly, working up the courage to be okay with that.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


This place has been rather quiet for the last few years.  Not completely ignored, but pretty close.  And yet, when God says it's time to get packed for a road trip, there's nothing I reach for first.  Something about this blog, something about the meaning of GPS, something about the journey that led me here, reminds me that God is in control.  That promise is something I'm clinging to as I embark on this new journey He's set before me.

Life has been fairly stagnant lately, and I've loved every minute of it.  Things are more or less predictable, I'm comfortable and happy, and my biggest struggle has been waiting on God's timing.  At least I thought that was a struggle.  It's not exactly any easier when He up and says It's time! without filling you in on the details.  Now I know there's something new on the horizon, but I have no idea how or when we'll get there.

I guess that's why I need my trusty GPS, huh?  When I felt the need to blog about this next chapter of life, I thought it would be best if I started from scratch.  A new chapter, a new site, a new theme, new topics.  Makes sense, right?  Except God kept bringing me right back here where it all began five years ago.  No other title so easily sums up my journey, and nowhere else feels like home.

So here I am, with new batteries and a fully-charged Navigator ready to go.  I've received some much-needed direction for my writing, have some opportunities I'm excited to explore, and am even looking forward to making a life-long dream a reality sometime in the not-too-too-distance future. Stay tuned throughout the rest of the week to hear about everything going on.  It should be a fun ride, and as always, I'd love to have you tag along!