Thank You for this blessing,
That I never dreamed I’d have.
Though I asked You to help me,
Not once did I expect this salve.
Now here I am smack in the middle,
This is it Lord, sink or swim time.
Again I ask for Your help,
Help me love this blessing of mine.
When challenges present themselves,
Lord, I pray creativity to overcome.
Where intimidation rears it’s head,
Let my confidence be in Your sum.
Where pride is stung that I failed to supply,
That by sweat of my brow You didn’t provide,
I turn to You Lord, praying for grace,
This is Your blessing by my side.
Lord, teach me to love this blessing,
Simply because it’s a gift from You.
When negatives nibble around,
Remind me dear Lord, You’re the source,
And in You, from You, only the best is found.
The door to my “secret room” is open
My sins, my flaws, weaknesses exposed
But I’ve prayed about them before
These things I hide You already know.
I didn’t come to our seaside abode
To pray over things or past hurts
I come here today to say thank you
For the way Your Spirit within me works.
Let me express my gratitude
For Your daily protection and strength
Your provisions and Your guidance
Have added tremendously to my days in length.
Your love for me is so vital
It’s grace, it’s peace, it’s joy
It heals my deepest hurts and anguish
More comforting than a child’s treasured toy.
I take so much, too much, for granted
Show so little gratitude in turn
How pitiful the time I take to express
Thanks for Your love within that burns.
For people loving me beyond measure
When I’ve deserved it the least
They’ve stepped up and loved me like You
When I’ve been much like a beast.
I’m ashamed of the times I forget
To say thank You for them too,
Its weak and its even foolish
To forget one’s truest of true.
Lord Your blessings upon me can’t be numbered
Like the grains of sand on the beach
Your love that covers me keeps growing,
Keeping them all within my grasping reach.
Let me take the time say You
Thank You Abba for blessings abound
Thank You for this moment right now
For being lost now being found.
Thank You Abba Father, thank You
No expression will ever be enough
For the blessings always around me
As beautiful as the sand and surf.
(From AWC-Part 2) “However it came to be, they wouldn’t be seeking a solution in a doctor’s office this they both knew for sure.”
Briefly closing her eyes Sarah reminded herself of the promise God had given her, He would allow them to be parents, in HIS time. God could not be rushed.
Sarah clung to that promise and exploring adoption with Kevin had provided them with much more fun and anticipation than they had thought possible. Yet so far they had not been able to find “their” child. There were so many children out there needing parents but both of them knew they were meant for specific children and so far, God had not given them the green light. Now the Christmas holidays were fast approaching.
With this holiday approaching Sarah found it to be particularly difficult to sing the hymns and Christmas songs about a baby Jesus and His mother Mary. The longing for a child seemed to triple in her heart and she prayed constantly. Reminding herself God always kept His promises she forged ahead.
She prayed as she shopped, as she decorated, as she wrapped gifts, as she cooked meals, laid awake at night, woke each morning and even as she showered. “Please Lord; please help me keep the faith.”
Kevin too was praying. He knew, though Sarah tried hard to hide it, how hard the holiday was for her. It was hard for him too.
The phone ringing early two weeks before Christmas caught Sarah in the midst of baking cookies for the widows Christmas baskets at church. It was one of the not-for-profit adoption groups they had applied with and had been approved as foster parents with.
They’d taken in four children over the last six months for brief periods before the children had been moved to other homes before too much bonding could take place as they would not be children up for adoption later.
If surprised at the number of adoption agencies, for-profit and not-for-profit ones they were stunned at the number of children in the United States who were waiting to be adopted. Sarah and Kevin’s hearts wept for many of the children they read about on websites.
The caseworker asked Sarah to look at a particular group of siblings who had recently became listed with the state as adoptable children. The picture that came up was of a group of six siblings. The caseworker had told her their parents had died in a house fire. A fire caused from their manufacturing crack cocaine in their homes’ basement. The children ranged in age from 4 to 14 and as Sarah studied their photograph she saw the weariness in their eyes.
The oldest, a girl who was dressed much like a boy, had a defiant look on her face that chilled Sarah to the bone and made her wonder what that 14-year-old was feeling. As much as this sibling group called to her Sarah was sure taking on six children at one time with such an age range and in a house that didn’t have room was not God’s will.
There was no point in getting the children’s hopes up knowing the local Department of Children’s Services would not approve them for six children. Still she and Kevin went to meet the siblings and Sarah felt it hard to leave them in the agency’s visiting room. The six had been split into four different homes and clearly the hour they had together was precious to them.
Reality couldn’t be denied. Kevin and she lived in a modest three bedroom house with one bathroom, it would not work for eight people. No way. Sarah tried to forget the sibling group and a new fear began to nibble at her heart.
Christmas was a week away and Kevin asked Sarah to sit with him by their tree one night after dinner. He’d turned the tree lights on and lit the candles she’d placed around the room, turning off the overhead lights. They sat on their sofa enjoying the quiet of the moment. Kevin spoke first.
“I’ve really been praying a lot more about God leading us to the right child in the right way to adopt Sarah and I know you have too.”
She sighed, “Yes, but mostly I’ve been praying He’d help me keep my faith in Him and the promise He made me.” She paused then continued, “And I have to admit there is one issue I can’t get beyond Kevin.”
“What?” He was surprised.
“What if I can’t love another woman’s child Kevin? No matter which child God brings into our lives?” Sarah confessed her fear.
“Sarah honey, you have a mother’s heart already. Of course you can love another person’s child! Where did this come from all of a sudden?”
“I was looking at that website with that sibling group of six on it and remembering what their caseworker said about how their parents died. Kevin, their parents were dopers. They used drugs and they made drugs to sell. They endangered the lives of their children by starting that fire that killed them. Why do you think the oldest has that hard look on her face? What do you think those kids have seen? Experienced? It won’t be easy to love kids like that.” The look on Sarah’s face was one of panic. “Kids like those six are going to need a lot of emotional support, unconditional love, a firm set of ground rules and who knows what else?
Kevin nodded slowly and interjected, “We haven’t even discussed adopting that sibling group seriously Sarah. And they can’t help who their parents were or what their parents did, kids like them and others need forever families in more ways than we can begin to name.”
“Yes, I know,” Sarah said, tears rolling down her cheeks, “but Kevin there won’t be a bit of either of us in a child we adopt. Not a bit of our blood or a bit of our flesh. Biologically no child we adopt will ever be ours.”
“You’re right but we know a bunch of people who have been adopted and it makes no difference to their Father.” Kevin smiled.
“Yes, but I’m not God…I’m not sure I can do this Kevin but I don’t see any other way we can become parents.”
“Let’s pray now Sarah, together. God is going to open this door. I just know it.” Kevin said, reaching for her hand.
Across town another group of people were praying too. They were praying about how to help Kevin and Sarah in a practical way.
To be continued…
There are lots of questions couples have about adoption. One of which is can they love someone else’s biological child as much as they would their own biological child. The desperate search for a way to have a baby can be heart breaking. Remember with me the journey Kevin and Sarah have in their quest for a child to call their own.
The tears in his wife’s eyes, rolling down her face and falling unheeded onto her blazer made Kevin twisted him with guilt. He gripped her hand more tightly, fumbling with the key fob, silent in his fear. Internally he thought only how this was his fault.
“Kevin I just really feel God leading us to trust Him to provide and not to go through infertility treatments again of any kind.” Sarah had said.
“Honey trusting God to provide food, a job, or clothes is one thing, but last time I checked He didn’t walk around handing out babies.”
“Try telling Abraham and Sarah or Jacob and Rachel that Kevin.”
“That was Old Testament times. These are modern times,” he countered back picking up his mug-to-go and heading out the front door, “God uses modern science and medicine to work His miracles now.” He paused. “Just one more time? For me?…
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Being a parent doesn’t mean someone issues you “Parental Fix It” in a can like “Fix a Flat” even though that certainly sounds like a marvelous idea. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is witnessing your child hurting. It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they are hurt in any way it is hard for a parent to witness. It’s even worse when there is absolutely nothing you can do to ease the pain except hold them and pray.
One of the joys of parenthood is witnessing your child stepping out into life and making decisions that will be foundation stones for their life. Our daughter made such a decision recently at a Wednesday night worship service.
She had harbored a secret for the last few years and with only the nudging of the Holy Spirit, not only went forward to ask Jesus into her heart for rea,l but to admit that her previous public profession was made with the wrong motivation. She made her “fake” decision at a time in her life when she was acting out over the hurt and anger she had towards her biological mother who it seemed, to her, just up and left her and created a new family. Our daughter knew what she was doing was wrong but, she reasoned then as a child, if she was saved she could get into Heaven regardless of her behavior. Now, as her reasoning and decision making skills have expanded she realized the greater wrong was in lying to God, herself, us and her church.
We’re proud of her. It showed a lot of maturity on her part to realize she was wrong and step forward with no one telling her she should to right her wrong. She came home with such a peace in her eyes I was astonished and with an attitude change that has lasted!
Two days later, she is sobbing in my arms with her first broken heart. The two parts of parenthood I’ve already mentioned collided and we had a third piece of the parenthood picture, leading your child to do the right thing regardless of their own pain.
What and how it all came about isn’t important. Let me just say that the young man involved is a smart, funny, kind 13-year-old who truly cares about our daughter. He and his family live with his Asperger’s diagnosis and part of that, for him, makes crowds hard to tolerate. He wanted to go to the Homecoming game and dance with our daughter. He planned to go. He was excited to go. But despite his wants and his good intentions he left in the second quarter of the game.
My husband was with our daughter and this young man at the game. It was hard to see our daughter hurt like that firsthand, he wanted to leave and bring her home, but she braved the game out even though she found the dance to be too much to deal with on her own. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that the tears came and she walked into our bedroom, threw herself into my arms and wept.
Her initial reaction was to tell the young man a few things that weren’t going to help the situation, especially if she hoped to salvage a friendship out of the relationship. As parents though it was up to us to help her handle the situation in a way that would honor God.
We wouldn’t let her text the teenage boy and “break up” for we didn’t want her to “do unto another and have it done unto her” later. Despite modern societies obsession with electronic communication it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to handle letting others know what you’re thinking or feeling.
Gently we reminded her of the times and ways this young man had shown her he cares deeply for her. When the two of them are together the light and laughter in their eyes blows us away. He was her defender when they went to the same school and stood by her even when she was making really rotten decisions for herself after she broke his new eyeglasses on purpose. We reminded her of his Asperger’s and how, although it was terribly painful, it was the Asperger’s part of him that hurt her, not all of him. It wasn’t deliberate. He truly didn’t understand how deeply he would hurt her. Someone hurting you on purpose, or unavoidably doesn’t give you a license to hurt them back.
Our daughter’s first broken heart over a boy. She’s handled it well. She’s made her decision that perhaps they will best be a part of each other’s lives as friends and she knows that for him to be a part of her life that the social situations they are in will need to be thought out to ensure he and she are comfortable and can have fun. She knows it is possible, they’ve done such things before. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or simply a friendship that involves anything in a crowd without his parents is unlikely to occur. To want those things, football games and dances, parades, fairs and hayrides; doesn’t make her a bad person or selfish. They are both way too young to have a serious relationship and her social development is also important. Plus it is a step in teaching her the things she will need to consider when she’s older and ready for a more mature relationship.
Above all else, her falling in love with Jesus came at the perfect time, as does God’s timing always fall. Prior to that Wednesday night decision our daughter wouldn’t have handled the Friday night crushing disappointment well at all. When she got out of the car this morning to go into school I wasn’t concerned she’d act out and I’d be getting a phone call later today from her principal.
As a parent I drove off with my own smile on my face. First love. Yes, our daughter is on the path to eternity with Jesus and He’s her first love, above even herself. I know there are still tough times ahead for her, other broken hearts over other boys (or the same one) but I believe too she will come to have her heart broken for the things that break God’s heart. Maybe if all I can do is hold her and pray for her or simply pray for her during those times she weeps for what makes God weep then I am doing the greatest part of my job as her mother after all.
A praying mother,
Don’t give up!
poem and photo original to the author, all rights reserved.
Life may have
taken a body part,
broken my heart,
spirit, & tested
my faith but I am
still here. Why?
Because my God
enduring and totally
undefeatable! I am
His daughter, His
hier and after
this life I have
a whole new life
So LIFE bring
it on, in the end
During worship yesterday the poem by Mary Stevenson Zangara “Footprints in the Sand” came to my mind. Since her original poem is copyrighted I will not repeat it here and besides many of you will have read it numerous times. However, I offer a poem that I hope will also be inspiring.
Though inspired, in part, by Mary Stevenson Zangara’s poem, “Footprints in the Sand” this poem below is my own work and from a different perspective.
I’ve no doubt I’ve come thus far
Through all life’s ups and downs
Because when I was unable to go on
Jesus helped me get around.
One set of wheeltracks,
One set of footprints.
Into His arms He’s lifted me
And carried me through the fight
Soothed my weary soul and heart
Through many day and many night.
One set of footprints.
When death came knocking at the door
Jesus held me close to Him
And death has passed me for now
This time, that time and time again…
One set of footprints.
The road ahead I cannot see
I trust in God to see me home
The wheelchair now shows its use
And Jesus footsteps show the way.
One set of wheeltracks,
One set of footprints.
Yet shining clearly in the evening sun
Is a beach at Heaven’s shore
And just at the ocean’s edge
I can see Heaven’s door.
One set of wheeltracks,
One set of footprints.
The wheelchair tracks are clearly seen
Deep grooves dug in the sand
Then Jesus steps and takes my hand
And at last there are two sets of footprints
Two sets of footprints in the sand.
As Heaven’s door swings open wide
My last earthly breath a brief goodbye
Then our feet walk through the door
Two sets of footprints left in the sand.
And on the other side, just out of sight
With tears rolling from my eyes
I’ll kneel at my Savior’s feet
Before Him prostate I will fall
Then when He bids me rise
A look of joy on His face
He’ll give His nod of consent
And I will dance, and run for Him.
I know in Heaven I won’t look back
To this earth again
But if I should I know I’d see
An empty wheelchair on the shore
And at the end
Two sets of footprints in the sand.
Till we’re all home together,
No regular blog this morning,
I’ve been so long in prayer
Not seeking fame or fortune
But truth and solace there.
Many needs for many folks
Are recorded in my book
I couldn’t write a real quick prayer
These deserved a deeper look.
For some stand in need of healing
For spirit, body, soul and mind
Others needs are quite different
Special intercession they must find.
One father in need of salvation
One father whose temper needs control
A daughter faces breast cancer again
A mother witnesses this battle foe
My daughter has some issues
My friends have needs I do not know,
Yes the prayer list was quite lengthy
For which I praise the Lord
Was time well spent with Jesus
On behalf of His children He adores.
Prayers for you!
Samuel King stood 6’4 in his worn jeans, long-sleeved dark blue work shirt with his long weathered face crowned by a greasy black hair comb over, eyes as black as his hair and his 283 pounds was solid from years of manual labor. His feet were planted a foot apart shod in cowboy boots caked in so much grease, mud and red Georgia clay that the color was hard pressed to be named. He towered like an angry thundercloud in the front counter area of McDonald’s, totally out-of-place among the bright yellow, white and red decor. Sam didn’t care. He didn’t care that he didn’t fit in, he didn’t care that people were moving as far away from him as he could and he didn’t care that the 21-year-old red-haired frail looking manager was telling him that he had to leave.
“Shut up, I ain’t leavin’ ‘til Becca gits on home.” The man shouted, blasting spittle on the managers head.
Kevin Engle was the youngest manager McDonald’s had in this restaurant and he was frantically wishing one of the other managers was on duty instead of him. He was rightfully frightened by Sam King and suddenly aware of why Rebecca King worried when he switched her shifts or had her work late. She had tried to explain that her father was difficult and didn’t understand she couldn’t always get off right on time or had to work a different shift than expected. Kevin remembered her request to use the phone one more time during the last hour of her delayed departure and his own refusal to allow her. Well, tomorrow, Kevin decided, tomorrow Rebecca’s difficult father wouldn’t be his issue anymore because he had all intentions of letting her go.
“Sir, you can’t act…” but that was as far as Kevin’s quaking voice got as tried to regain some of his authority. Sam’s large baseball size hand reached out from the end of his leg sized arm, seized Kevin by the collar of his uniform and tossed him aside. Before anyone could react he had swept over the front counter, uncaring of the displays he knocked down and landed beside the terrified cashiers. “Becca! Becca you best be gittin on out here girl ‘cause when I find you you are in for one more whoppin’!”
Kevin recovered enough to scramble to his feet and he shot out of the restaurant with a speed the coach would have admired as he ran for the fire station less than a football field away. When he burst into the bay, panting and panicked the firemen had a hard time understanding what Kevin’s emergency was but once they heard the name of Sam King they knew it was trouble. One of them called the police while three others went back with Kevin to McDonald’s. Maybe they could calm Sam down although not one of them believed it possible.
Hanging back Kevin let the firemen go in first, feeling braver standing behind them than in the lead. The customers had cleared out and so had the employees except for the ones Sam had either pushed down or knocked out. One was laid out visible just beneath the swinging gate leading to the back of the counters, another midway down the aisle at the grill. Sam could be heard still calling and threatening his daughter somewhere in the back, his curses loud and ugly.
One of the firemen used his walkie-talkie to request for paramedics and the other two went to help the victims. Leaving the walkie-talkie fireman to also deal with Sam. “Anything back there like a gun or knives?” he asked Kevin.
Kevin’s negative response helped the fireman quickly decide to wait for the police unless Sam became a threat to someone instead of property. Already in the distance police sirens were heard.
Sam King slammed out of the McDonald’s back door and walked right into the path of Officer Macon who had his gun out and aimed. He was subdued after only a little resistance and handcuffed before being left in the back of the patrol car. His anger seethed within him and he added the weight of the last half hour’s events into Becca’s account. Although some might think him to be illiterate he was shrewd. He knew he could not afford to allow anger to pour from him now, he would wait until he had Becca in hand before venting that, but it was hard to pull himself back into control.
Twenty minutes later on the way to the police station Sam remembered that his wife was responsible for taking Becca to and from work today and he had the impression Martha had told him something about needing to stop at her mother’s to help her with something or the other. That meant the reason Becca wasn’t home yet was because her mother had made that extra stop. That was okay, Sam reasoned, then they would both pay. They would both pay dearly.
To be continued…