10.29.2008

One of "those" days...

Have you ever had one of those days??  I mean one of those where you get up and it goes absolutely nothing like you planned?  Well...  today was one of "those" days.  My plan was to get up this morning, have a cup of coffee, read the Word, take a shower, and then go get flowers and take them to my mom at her work for her birthday.  Well, NONE of that happened!  No coffee, no reading, no SHOWER! And, no... I didn't get to take flowers to my sweet mom for her birthday.  (Sorry, Mom!)  No... today was not even a day that I could have dreamed into existence.  Today was a day that only WILL could have made a reality.

This morning, Will woke up with a stuffy nose.  This may be too much information, but as smart as Will is, he has only recently learned how to blow his nose and not suck it all back in.  You will see the relevance of that in a minute.  Well...  we're trying to blow his nose (apparently he forgot how to because he has slept since the last time he blew) and after a couple of sucks instead of blows and a 2 year old growing frustrated because he forgot how to blow his nose, we stopped.  He then begins crying and saying "my nose hurts right here" and he points to the left side of his nose below his eye where I imagine his sinus cavity is.  I'm thinking that it is probably because of all the snot he just sucked up, so we started trying to blow again, this time successfully!  He blew a couple of times and then he said 

"Maybe it's hurting because there's a rock in it."  
I said "A WHAT?!?"
He said "Oh, nevermind.  There's not a rock in it."
I said "Will, tell me what you're talking about."
He said "I put a rock in there on Sundays." (everything either happened last night or on Sunday in Will's world.)
I said "Where did you get the rock?"
He told me that he got it from the "park" where the cars go at church.  (Parking lot)
He also told me that it was a tiny brown rock and he picked it up, then put it in his nose, then he pushed it all the way in with his finger and that this happened when Jay and I were in the youth building and Keith and Chloe were playing basketball.  So putting all the clues together, I realized that it had to have happened on Saturday when we had a work day at the youth building at church.  

At this point, I'm in shock that my 2 year old has told me a story in so much detail and that the story he is telling is about a rock and a nose!  His nose!  I felt sick.  So, I called Jay, then the pediatrician's office.  The pediatrician's office decided to send me directly to an ENT doctor.  We get dressed, brush our teeth, and head to Southaven for his appointment.  We filled out paperwork, waited about 10 minutes or so, and then went back to tell the doctor what brought us to him.  The doctor (who did not seem shocked at all by his story) then looks up his left nostril.  You could have heard a pin drop while we were waiting on the doctor to tell us what he saw.  He leans back a little -- then looks up the other side.  

That's when it hit me.  There's no rock.  It was all a hoax.  Not true.  My son is a very detailed story teller.  He had me hook, line, and sinker!!!  The doctor leans back again and looks one more time in the left nostril.  He looked VERY thoroughly I might add.  As he leaned back a third time,  he carefully said "Well... I do not see a rock in there."  We leave the office - $30 later with 2 stickers for our little fibber and nothing but an unbelievable story to tell.  :)

In my son's defense, I don't think he is really a liar.  I think it is very likely that he could have stuffed a rock up his nose on Saturday at the youth building.  I think it probably fell out immediately though and when he woke up with his sinuses hurting this morning, all he could think of was that he put a rock in his nose on "Sundays".  


10.16.2008

::in my weakness, His strength is made perfect::

Jay and I have a new saying.  It was birthed sometime in the summer and we only use it periodically, but especially when necessary.  Our saying is "Fostering isn't for sissies."  There are so many different scenarios that can spark this comment. Waking up one morning with one plan in mind and mid-day getting a phone call from DHS asking if we could take a child, having the struggles that go along with having an abused child (and an ADHD child), and  having a child removed from our home that we have cared for and loved as our own are only a few examples that cause us to say "Fostering is not for sissies!"  Exactly 6 weeks ago today, we got a phone call about a one year old little girl that needed temporary placement while they did background checks and tried to find family that was fit to care for her in her mother's absence.  She was with us for 5 weeks and 1 day before being placed with her great aunt and great uncle.  In 5 weeks (and 1 day) it is very possible to fall in love with a child and to adapt a schedule among such chaos and craziness.  In 5 weeks (and 1 day) it is also possible to learn so much from the Lord.  Through that time, we learned things about ourselves and about the Lord that we never could have learned without her.  I personally learned that the Lord is the only giver of peace.  After having her for about two weeks and realizing that I was growing so attached to her (and she to me) I began praying that the Lord would give me what I needed to willingly accept whatever it was that He had for her life.  I also began studying about what it means to "guard your heart".  What I learned was to guard your heart does not mean that you can't give love.  In fact, Jesus commands that we love one another (John 15:17).  To guard your heart means to allow Jesus to have the number one spot.  So I prayed that I would let Him reside in the place that He desired in me as I continued praying that He would equip me with what I needed to accept the Lord's plan for this child.  Last Thursday when her social worker called to inform us that they were ready to move her to be with family, I was very sad but I had an overwhelming peace, a peace like no other time in my life.  I truly felt the presence of the Lord as I packed the things she came with and the things she had accumulated.  I prayed for my children to feel the same peace as they prepared to say goodbye to her as well.   I am very glad to say that everything is good here at the Adkins house.  We all miss the sweet blessing that was able to be here for a short time, but we know that the Lord loves her so much more than we could.  He used our family to stand in the gap as a mother, a father, brothers and a sister to her when her own family was not able to.  We are very honored for the privilege that was ours to be the hands and feet, the arm, the lap and the heart of Jesus to a sweet little girl caught in the crossfire of the enemy's schemes.  There are so many other things I learned, and I will probably post later, but for now, I leave you with this:  

Matthew 22:36-40
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." 
38 This is the first and great commandment.  
39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." 

10.06.2008

Sorry it's been so long

I'm sorry its been so long since I've last blogged.  I've been a little busy.  We now have one more child we're fostering for a grand total of 4!  The newest is a 1 year old little girl.  She has been with us for a month now and has adapted pretty well here and everyone loves her.  :)  Our little 6 year old boy is still with us also and seems to be doing quite well in spite of his sad and very unfair circumstances.  

What I really want to share today though is about my Chloe.  She has to do journal entries every day (M-F) and turn them in to her teacher.  They must be 60 words and the teacher comes up with the topic.  Today's topic was "I like who I am because..."  Her answer has really blessed my heart and I want to share it with you.  

I like who I am because God knows everything about me.  He knows when I am going to win my soccer game in the spring.  God loves me so much that He told His son Jesus to take my place on the cross, that is how I know that He loves me so much.  He even knows how many pieces of hair are on my head.  That is why I like who I am.
I have to add that she wrote this tonight after coming home from her last soccer game which they lost, and they haven't won a game all year.  In spite of being so discouraged about that, she still knows that her identity lies in Christ and not in her soccer record or anything else.  I can only pray that that peace will reside in her through everything she encounters.  I have been learning from my sweet Chloe for 8 1/2 years now and I pray that the LORD will continue to teach me many more valuable truths from her precious innocence for many years to come.

8.07.2008

School's in!

So, today was the first day of school for 2 out of 3 kids and I have probably enjoyed that a little too much. :)  I did, however, reminisce about crying my eyes out when Chloe started kindergarten (I was 6 months pregnant with out of control emotions).  Today, she went to the Middle School (3rd-6th grade) and I have to try real hard not to think about how much she's grown up in the last few years.  K-man is in the 1st grade and I think he was a little nervous about starting a new school.  Jay and I talked to him about getting a fresh start though.  I'm praying he'll understand what that means and he'll take advantage of it.  And that leaves little Will.  He was very sad that he's the only one that doesn't have a playground, so at 8:45 this morning, we were playing at the park! :)  He has really enjoyed being home without having to share his toys or his time with mom with anyone else.  And this is just day 1 of the new school year!  

8.06.2008

God is love

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.    1 John 4:18

The LORD used this verse to help me understand that this is where our 6 year old foster son is now because of where he was prior to coming to stay with us.  One morning while we were on vacation, I was spending time with Him and in the quiet and stillness of the moment, God spoke to my heart through His Word a concept that I have known, but apparently I needed to hear again.  This time I heard it as if for the first time.  I have heard numerous times that all a child needs is love.  Well, that's 100% true!  1 John chapter 4 also tells us that "God is love."  So, if you reword that, it becomes "all a child needs is God."   Nothing truer could be said.  

Now, let me tell you about the timing of this profound nugget of truth the LORD showed me.  On Tuesday, we found out that this child is terrified of water.  It's not just the common fear of water... I mean, the boy freaked out and thought he was going to drown while he was standing up with his little head above the water!  And to top it off, he's been swimming with us since about day 2 or 3 of being in our home, but this was the first time he completely flipped out.  That night, Jay and I were talking about it, and Jay said "his fear goes way deeper than water.  This is just how it has manifested itself today."  So, when I read that verse, it all made sense to me.  He has lived through 6 years of emotional abuse without being shown love.  He has been punished for everything he's ever done wrong without ever being loved on.  He is proof that if you sow punishment out of anger in a child then you reap fear and no knowledge of love.  

Alan Wilson once said that you (parents) are the first representation of Christ that your children will ever see.  For 6 years, he has not seen Jesus through the actions of his parents.  My prayer is that God will begin replacing horrible memories with the knowledge of the love that Jesus has for him.  I pray that anything bad that has happened to him will be wiped from his memory unless the LORD wants to use it to build character in this child and draw him into a relationship with Him.   I also pray that Jay and I will remember the awesome privilege it is to be able to be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ to a child hurting and in need.  Please pray that we will be compassionate and loving.  Pray that we will walk worthy of the calling placed on us.  Pray that Chloe and Will would also see Jesus in us and that they would understand why we do what we do.  

For the glory of His Name, and the further of His fame!

8.04.2008

I can't do it!!!

Let me tell you about a phrase that I have heard countless times, and I've even said it before.  It is a phrase that is quoted by Christians to people that may be carrying around a heavy burden, or have suffered a tragic loss.  It is a phrase that many believe is a verse of scripture.  It is a phrase that is not only NOT found in the bible, but the principle behind it is unbiblical!  Here it is... but before I offend someone, remember that I have said this before too...

"God will not give you more than you can handle."

I have found out in the past 7 or 8 weeks (I've lost count) that I can't take care of this 6 year old boy!  I can't love him like he needs or care for him like he needs.  I can't be a perfect foster parent.  I can't even be a perfect parent to Chloe and Will!  But guess what else I have found out...  I'm not expected to be perfect.  The LORD does not hold me to a standard of perfection.  He only wants me to rid myself of me and be filled with Him so that He can care for His children through me!  I'm simply a vessel.  

So, I surrender!  I'm waving my white flag.  I'm choosing to be victorious through Him.  I choose today to turn this over to the author and perfecter of my faith.  The only One who is able.  The One who holds the universe in the span of His hand.   He is capable, sufficient, sovereign, merciful and loving.

7.02.2008

Fostering

I have been thinking about something the last few weeks and I just wanted to share.  As believers in Christ, we are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself.  We are usually better at the first part of that than the last for some reason.  I believe that loving our neighbor as ourself should have a certain look to it.  It should cause those of the world to wonder why we act that way.  It should also be an overflow of loving the Lord our God with all our heart/soul/strength.  The way we love our neighbor will look different for everyone.  For some, it may be that you buy Christmas gifts for a family that has no money.  It may be that you cut your neighbor's grass because she is a widow and unable to do it herself.  It may be that you befriend someone new to the community or someone that just doesn't seem to fit in and needs a friend.  Loving your neighbor as yourself will cost you something.  That's why Jesus didn't tell us to just love our neighbor...He went a step further and said "as yourself".  For my family, doing foster care is something we do to love our neighbor as ourself.  I've been asked MANY times -- by "good Christian people" the question "Why would you want to do that?"  The answer to that question for us is that it's something that the Lord has laid on our hearts to do.  I can't do it in my own strength and my own power, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My challenge to you is this; how are you loving your neighbor as yourself?  

6.29.2008

My dream...

Ok...so I just got home at 1:30 this morning from the Deeper Still Conference in Atlanta, GA.  While I was there, the Lord convicted me of my pitiful prayer life.  I mean...I pray, I just know that the Lord wants me to go deeper in my pursuit of Him and deeper in my prayer life.  I have felt lately like I've been carrying around many burdens and heartaches that are linked to things I can't control, but I know the One who can and I know that He wants me to give them over to Him!  So, I got home and went straight to bed with all of this on my mind and I had a "crazy" dream.  I dreamed that I was lying in bed, half asleep, and I heard a terrible commotion in the next room...  When I got up to check on it, there was a huge snake slithering around everywhere knocking things over, and destroying everything around it.  I ran to get Jay and told him to come quickly and do something!  When I walk back in the room, he's holding this small seemingly harmless snake around the neck with one hand.  I remember saying "It looked way bigger than that when it was tearing up the house!"  He killed it, threw it out, and we began to clean up the mess.  I woke up with a fear that there may be a snake in my house somewhere (it was one of those very realistic dreams) and I felt in my spirit that the Lord wanted to use that to tell me that if I could see the enemy visibly destroying my house, I would do something about it, but because so much of what he does is unseen, I don't take seriously the battle and I don't go into it with my prayer guns blasting!  I have not been able to stop thinking about it all day, and I want to encourage all believers to PRAY!!!!  Join me in praying for our nation...  the lost... the upcoming election... for believers to return to what they know to be truth.  

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

James 5:16
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

6.14.2008

The wait is over...for now

For months now, we have been waiting on "the phone call". We have sometimes patiently waited, sometimes anxiously waited, and always prayerfully waited for the phone call that would change lives. Not only ours, but the life of a child with no hope, no future, stability, no love. We finally received the call this week and I now fully understand why God had us to wait.


But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

The Lord allowed us to wait on Him so that He could renew our strength. We definitely couldn't have ever been prepared for this in our own strength. Let me tell you now what has happened...

A few weeks ago, we felt led to not adopt only, but to foster a child or children. Our ultimate goal is still adoption, but we feel that the Lord has led us to be a family to child that is in need. So, we got a call this week, and without being too specific (sorry) we now have a little boy here with us!
We do not know if this will be permanent or just temporary. We do know that he is very loving, very outgoing, and he loves Chloe and Will and they love him. We also know that he has been through a LOT in his very short life.

These are some things that the Lord has taught me so far. First, I have seen through this child that God places in each of us a desire to be part of a Christ centered family from a very young age. As children, we all need to have a dad that is the spiritual head of the household and one that intercedes on our behalf. We all need to be loved and nurtured by a mom. We all need to have brothers and sisters to lean on and learn from. And we need to see our parents love each other. I am so thankful that this is the model that Jay has set in our home and I just pray that however long this child is in our care will make a difference in his life for eternity.

So, the wait is over...for now. I know that this is not the last time we will do this for a child in need. Please pray for us and for this child we have. Pray for wisdom on our part and for the love of Christ to capture our new friend. Pray for his salvation and for his steps to be firmly planted in the Word of the Lord! Pray also that he will be able to understand that the Lord has plans for him - not to harm him, but plans for a hope and a future.

5.01.2008

Toronto testimony

I stumbled across this when I was cleaning up some unnecessary files from my computer and I thought I would post and share. I returned from Toronto exactly one year ago on May 1, 2007. :)



I had the privilege of going to Toronto to partner with Chris Adams and his family because of God’s sovereignty. I had not even considered going until Craig called me 4 weeks before the trip and asked me if I would go. I got off the phone to pray about it and all I could think of was “Why would I NOT go?” I know that God’s desire is for us to know Him and to make Him known, so I knew that He would take care of the details (and He did…from having money for my passport and getting it back in time to having people to help Jay take care of the kids). God is so good!

I want to tell you a little bit of what our team accomplished in this massive city in the short time we had to be there. Ministry is a little tougher in Toronto because of the diversity of the city. There are people from all over the world that live there and because of that, there are people of all different religions there. The Adams’ home is located directly in front of a park in their neighborhood where It is not uncommon to see Catholics, Seikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons as well as all different races and cultures. They all have one thing in common though. They are desperately in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. The way to minister there is “relationally”. And our goal while we were there was not to cram Jesus down their throat, but to do things for them in the name of Jesus and pray for them. Two of the days we spent doing random acts of kindness which was my favorite time there! We had two teams and our plan was to get together, pray as a team and ask God’s guidance in where he would have us go and what He would have us do. The first day, my team went to Wal-Mart and gave out $25 gift cards to mothers with young children. Then we made “snack bags” and passed them out to construction workers all over the city of Brampton. The next day, the team I was on went to the Salvation Army battered women’s shelter and found out what their needs were. We found out that of the 32 children staying there, none of them had backpacks for school. So we went to Wal-Mart and bought backpacks for all the children there. God showed me through those 2 days that we do not have to go on a trip to another country to show acts of kindness to others and also that ministry here should be done the same. Building relationships with those that God puts in our path is the most effective way to minister and witness to them.

So, why should you go on a mission trip? Simply answer this…Why should you NOT go? I had many reasons to not go. I didn’t have a passport, I work part time, I have two young children, I even missed a graduation! But none of those things were too big for God to handle. Besides that, they are all temporal things! Colossians 3:2 (NLT) says “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

Why should you give to missions? There is nothing in this world that you can give your resources to that will yield a bigger return than missions and kingdom work. God’s desire is for us to know Him and make Him known. If we are to conform to His image, we need to see people and circumstances through His eyes. Everything we have is not ours. My children, my family, my money, my home, our church staff and church family…it all belongs to the LORD and my responsibility is to not hold onto it too tightly and ask God what He wants to do with it. It all begins with the heart. Matthew 6:19-21"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.












4.20.2008

Adopted

I have found out through this adoption process that some days will just be so easy and some days are just going to be incredibly difficult. Waiting is such a struggle! But let me clarify...waiting in itself is not what causes me pain and heartache, but what I am anticipating causes my hurt. The unknown is painfully frightening. The intense desire to just be able to see, hear, touch, and smell my child is overwhelming some days. The emotion associated with the complete inability to be able to comfort her, protect her, kiss her goodnight, hug her when she's sad, read a book to her just so that we can spend time together, or plan our holidays and vacations knowing that she may not be able to go because she's not here yet is sometimes unbearable. God is so good to me though. He has taught me so many valuable lessons in the midst of my waiting. He has reminded me of how adoption is such a picture of salvation. God sent His only son to die for our sins so that we may be ADOPTED into the family of God. It wasn't immediate though. Our adoption did not take place the instant that Christ died. It didn't happen even when He was resurrected. The LORD had to wait for us. I was twelve years old when I gave my life to Jesus, so for twelve years, He waited for me! He waited for my adoption to be final!!! His desire for my life was much like what I desire for my children...to spend time with me. He wants to comfort me, teach me as I read His Word, hug me when I'm sad and He even wants to plan trips for me to go on with Him! How awesome is that!? The Creator of the universe, God Almighty, wants a relationship with me as my Heavenly Father. He wants to guide and direct me. He wants me to make His name known among the nations so tht He can adopt more into the family. How painful must it be for the LORD to have to wait for each adoption to become final? How frightening to know that some have chosen not to be adopted into His loving care. But how awesome do you think it is for Him each time one of His children is added permanently to the family and given all the rights and privileges to the kingdom. He must be thrilled to receive children and watch them grow in His presence knowing thta one day that child will enjoy unbroken fellowship with the Father for eternity. AMEN!!!!!
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Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
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1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.