Put the Bible Back

I have seen post after post about the Bible being put back into schools in some states and how we need it in every school in every state.  It isn’t that I disagree with that, I just think we are too quick to pass the buck, so to speak.  It is easy to blame the schools, the teachers, the church, or the preacher but the spiritual and all other responsibilities for raising a child start at home.  I know that the worldview is that it “takes a village to raise a child.”  That is simply not true.  It is great to have the support of a village or family or friends but it takes a parent to raise a child.  That is why God gave us parents and did not just let us be weaned and left to fend for ourselves as He does for the animal kingdom.  In fact, we see in Ephesians chapter 6 that there are specific instructions for parents and children, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  We have a responsibility to teach our children the ways of the Lord which will benefit them for both physically (long life) and spiritually (eternal life).  How is that not happening?

As hard as it is to admit, we need to put the Bible and God back in the home.  Oh I know, we go to church, we are Christians, we love the Lord, but are we really passing that to the next generation?  When is the last time we sat down, turned off the television or any electronics and just read the Bible with our children?  Do any of us do that every day?  That is the Bible back in our homes.  No one wants to do that.  Blame the government or the schools but do not take any personal responsibility.  We are too busy.  Do our children have the Bible on the phone or tablet?  Do they actually read it?  Most of them do not.  It is for us to teach.  This is a spiritual battle.  We are losing the battle for the next generation.

It is happening every day, parents are blaming children because they are doing drugs, drinking, smoking, watching porn, lying, stealing, and cheating.  Where are they learning this?  Fellow parents, they are learning it on our watch.  Oh but, we are adults, we should be able to do what we want to do, right?  No, if we say we are Christians, we are saying that we gave up what we want to live for Christ and we are to be an example for others, especially the children that God gave us.  Oh, I know that there are days when we jokingly want to “give them back” but truthfully, we blame God when anything goes wrong and forget that we asked for this when we became parents.  We agreed to be responsible and willing love them but we want to “bail” when they are perfect.  Guess what, we are not perfect either.  I am glad God does not bail out on me. Now, this may seem a little drastic but I have actually heard adoptive parents say that they would like to give a child back because the child was too hard to deal with.  Hmmm, that parent may be a little hard to deal with but let us hope that God is more merciful toward them than they are showing.  Others may not think they would ever have that opinion but we are in a sense “giving’ our children to the world when we fail to teach them the truth.  I mean the real truth, God’s word not mine.  That is what is going to change them and us.  Let us put the Bible back in our own homes and schools and teach our children by example.

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The Heart Does Not Understand

I always said that I would not take the babies.  There are couples that have never birthed a child and want a baby so bad and I did not want to stand in the way.  I have had two birth babies and I was satisfied with that. If you know foster care then you know how that worked out.  I did take babies that were going home again.  Because their placement was sure to be temporary they were placed with me so that a childless couple would not have the heartbreak of loving then losing the child.  I felt I could do this and with the help of God, we did so many times.  Until the day my six-year-old son prayed for a baby brother but that is another story.  I will just say that answers prayers that the innocent pray in ways that will knock you off your feet.

Then came baby J.  They called me and asked me to take a three-day-old baby boy as a temporary placement.  He was already addicted to drugs and the placement that he was sent to from the hospital could not deal with him.  They wanted to send him back.  Mercy!  I agreed and knew that this would be temporary and difficult because I had dealt with drug babies before but I know we could do this.  Drug babies typically cry a lot and require an extraordinary amount of attention but we were called to it.  Right?

He was so sweet and so strong. He cried but he fought hard and such was a loving baby between the crying bouts.  He was our baby and I was the only mama he knew.  He cried for me and I rocked him for six weeks.

Then the plans were completed for placement in another state with his birth siblings.  I was ready to see him happy and settled before he became more attached to us.  They loved him already and were ready for him to be a part of their family.

Now comes the hard part.  I had no idea that is would be this tough.  I had accepted the move before I ever laid eyes on him but now my heart was rebelling.  I agreed to meet the worker but I could not even talk to her on the phone for very long.  I meet to leave him at the agency and I could not talk for crying.  I desperately tried to find a loophole to keep him with us although I knew this was not the best for either the baby or our family.  This went on for two weeks until God gave me peace over the grief.  I do not know why it hit me so hard except that the heart does not always understand what the mouth has agreed to do.

Foster care is hard and it involves the heart or should.  When people say that I do not know how someone can give up a child, I agree.  I want to take them all but that is my calling and I know God has a plan for everyone.  I am so thankful to be part of the plan in many young lives to date.  I hope to always have my heart involved.  It is how God loves us and wants us to love others.  Foster care is not the shameful machine that people try to make it.  It a picture puzzle of how God can take the pieces of broken lives, including our own, and put them back together again.  Do not be afraid to let your heart get involved.  It will change your life.

By Rachel Gould

What Does A Calling Look Like?

 

I always said it was too hard and I could never do that.  I would get too attached and could not send them back.  I found out that it was all true.  It IS hard.  I COULD not do it.  I DID get too attached and at least three times I could NOT send them back.

I want to keep every child that I hear about that needs a family.  You know what, I cannot but that does not stop me from wishing it was so.

Several years ago, my husband and I were doing ministry work at a small storefront church that had grown out of a house church calling.  We had no idea where it would lead but we just knew that God put in our hearts to begin church at home.  Doesn’t everything begin at home anyhow?  So, we had church in our home for a year and got to meet and pray with people that would not attend a formal church setting.  Do not get me wrong, I grumbled about the extra cleaning, I had a brand new baby, and my mother-in-law got sick and passed away during this time.  It was not all warm and rosy.  We just knew it was true.  What we did not know is where it would lead us.

As we moved from house church to storefront church we began to see something happen.  We kept seeing people that were struggling to keep their children or were working to regain custody of their children from child protective services.  We felt called to help them.  We wanted children to have that chance to be at home with parents and we hoped to give parents the chance to make this happen.  So, I began to learn about the foster care system.  I had no idea the path this would take us.

As we tried to help parents and empower them to help themselves we began to carry a burden.  Everywhere I turned, every book I read, messages that I heard preached, women’s meetings, and so on, all tugged my heart in a new direction.  Our calling began to change.  If families could not or would not do what it takes to be family, then we needed to.  I called to speak to social workers about other cases and began to ask questions for myself.  Foster care pulled us in.

Since 2001, we have gone from having two children to caring for more than twenty children.  We have fostered, adopted and homeschooled several children and experienced all the fun in between.  We love the church, youth ministry, singing and playing music, and sports.  We are very busy.

Yes, it is hard.  Yes, we have family setbacks.  Many days we are drained, tired beyond going but it is worth it.  It is not perfect, but it is real.  It is not always fun but it is always an adventure.  I have had babies that I knew would not stay but my heart did not know that.  I cried for weeks.  I have had children that I knew was returning to a bad situation but all my heart knew was to pray.  I still don’t know where some of them ended up.  I still pray for them all the years later.  They would not even recognize me, but my heart doesn’t know that.  It still wonders and worries.  Some of my teenagers thought my rules were too hard and I was unfair.  I hope they now realize that it was because I cared what happened to them.  I wanted them to know how a family worked.  I hope we made some good memories.  I had so many people ask if I thought it would even make a difference in the long run since they would just go back to the same life that brought them to me.  My head said probably not, my heart said I had to try.  They would remember the feeling if nothing else.  I hope this is true.

If you think you want to foster just know that it is a calling.  Also know that “whom God calls, He qualifies” Romans 8:30.  He calls us all to work, it is up to us to step up and answer.  The glory is not in the here and now but it is eternal.  I, WE, did not do this.  God did this through us.  That is the only way we could have survived.  The long nights, the desperate prayers, the struggle to do what is right when the whole system seems to be wrong, God is faithful.  He has lifted us up and brought us through.  We are on the other side of most of those days now.  We still have children at home but we are not taking more although my heart would still take them ALL.  I know our calling has changed once again.  It will also move us in paths that we cannot see yet but I do KNOW that God will be there every step of the way.  Every trial will become a blessing through Him.  We just remind ourselves that “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28.  Called, that’s the one.

 

By Rachel Gould

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Who Do You Inspire?

All I could think of when I read the blog was how little I know the writer but how well she has expressed my thoughts.  She doesn’t even really know me.  We are acquaintances.  We are in the same co-op and share some of the same friends but we have never had a real conversation.  We just make small talk as we pass in the hall or meet at the same spot.  Even so, she could have been writing about me.

What does this mean?  Does she stalk me?  Has she been listening in on my conversations with my family?  Does she question my children when I am not around?  No.  There is no way she would even know what to ask them.  So, what happened here?  How can this be?  There is only one explanation.  It has to be the same calling on her that I feel in my life.  Let me explain.

This writer began by talking about a book that I had encouraged my own children to read and in fact, one of my daughters asked for the whole collection one year as a birthday gift.  Then she wrote about media and how it was changing our families.  I agree with every word.

Everyone that knows me well knows how I feel about too much electronic use.  My children think I fell out of the dark ages.  I see them roll their eyes when I tell them to do something constructive.  Social Media is not what I have in mind and they know it.  So, what do I do about this?  I try to plan as many activities as possible that will cause us to be together as a family.  Yes, gardening and yard work counts in my book.  And her words seemed to agree with me.

Then I read another post.  Bam!  Hit me again.  Every time this writer posts it speaks to me personally.  I wonder if she knows that God is using her because that what it has to be.  There is no other way that she could speak straight to my heart.  It has to be God speaking through her and I haven’t even let her know.  I haven’t and I am not sure why.  Maybe it’s because I often feel that I should be the teacher but I have so much to learn.  After all, I am old enough to be a parent to many of the women that are in my circle of friends, however, they are the ones inspiring me.  So I have to ask myself, “Who do I inspire?” and “How will I Know?”  If I even need to know.
I know one thing for sure.  We all need encouragement and I am determining today to tell someone that they have encouraged me with words or deeds.  In fact, I think this will be a part of my Advent calendar this year.  Twenty-five days to find ways to inspire, encourage, and uplift another as others have done for me.

Continue reading “Who Do You Inspire?”

I WON’T EVEN THINK OF FAILING

I am a procrastinator.  Always have been.  I don’t put things off necessarily because I dread them but more a fear of them.  I have all these ideas in my head of how things should be and I plan for them extensively, in my head.  However, they very rarely transpire like I have planned.  In fact, it is often hard to find any similarities.  This is my main reason for procrastination.  You see, as long as the idea is still in my head it is perfect.  As soon as I began to act on the idea then it starts to change with my very real human limitations. This sets me up for failure.  Then I become more reluctant to try again next time.  This is my excuse for having all these notes for blog posts but never posting them.  I…might…actually…fail.  I may have no followers! Oh, my!

Well, since I have that out of the way I can now write.  Followers or no followers, I need to get this out of my head so that new thoughts can have room to create. I have tried to skip it, forget about it, and file it away for later but it doesn’t work.  I am called to this and it calls to me.

Okay.  Let me go ahead and address this.  To fail is to never try, but if you never try you will never fail, right?  Wrong.  To never try is the worst sort of failure.  That is the point I have been missing.  Yes, I may fail to live up to my own expectations but I do that anyhow by not even trying.  So, I will try and try again.  I will keep painting, crafting, writing, and being the best mom, sister, parent, daughter, grandparent, friend, and in general, human being, that I can be with the help of my CREATOR.  I am glad He never fails.  That thought gives me so much courage to do my best.

I am not going to worry about whether or not this is pass or fail but I’m just going to do it.  For fun, for a challenge, and maybe to help someone in the future.