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!
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!
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.