A promise. A promise is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. A promise is a guarantee. It is an oath, an agreement, a contract. A promise is a covenant. God has many promises in the bible for us. His promises can be found from Genesis to Revelation. For the rest of the year, I will be praying God’s great and precious promises from Matthew to Revelation over our children we birth, adopt and foster and I invite you to join me and pray for your children. The effective, fervent prayer of a person who keeps God’s commands has much power. Prayer does change things.
Today, I am praying the promise of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ taken from Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Father, I bring forth my child/ren (call out their name) to You. The very name of Jesus means Savior. Thank You, Lord, for saving my child/ren from their sins, saving them from the darkness of this world. I pray for their mind, Lord. Help them be disciplined in their thought life. Let them desire to want to think on what is just, pure and lovely and of good reports (Philippians 4:8). Lord, I pray for their eyes. Let them be strong to turn away from things that displease You, from seeing things that can lead them on the wrong path. Let their eyes be open to recognize You in their life (Luke 24:31). I thank You that any veil that is over their eyes is taken away as they turn to You, Lord (2 Corinthians 3:16). I pray that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Your holy people, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:18,19). Lord, I pray for their ears and what they are listening to. May they hear Your still small voice. May they hear You crystal clearly when You speak to them.
Lord, I pray over their hands and feet. I rebuke laziness and apathy from them. I declare the works of their hands will be pleasing to You, Lord. They will know the value of hard work at home, at school, and in their calling and purpose as adults. They will be diligent in the work before them and they shall prosper. Their feet will carry them through and bring forth peace to people on their path. They will be strong in the Lord, unshakeable and not afraid to share the good news of the gospel. Thank You, Lord, that You make known to our children the path of life; You will fill them with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand (Psalm 16:11).
So today, Lord, I thank You for sending us a Savior; for sending us Your Son Jesus Christ, for dying on a cross for my child/ren, for conquering death and raising from the dead so that my child/ren can be saved, can be one of Yours! In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
As a Mom to eight children, six who are adopted and two who are birthed, I learned early on that children love to hear stories especially their birth story! Telling our children stories has been one amazing tool to reach the heart of our children that we adopted and birthed. My husband and I parent with the goal of striving to reach the heart of our children. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” As stated in Strong’s Concordance, our heart denotes the center of all physical and spiritual life; our soul and our mind. Our heart is the fountain and seat of our thoughts, passions, desires, affections, purposes and endeavors. It is where our will and character begin. It is the very place in which we store up our treasures; where good and precious things are collected, and kept.
One of the first stories our children heard from us while growing up is their birth story. Children love to hear their birth story; the way we cried tears of joy when we first saw them, the joy we felt when we held them close to us; however, in our situation with adopting some of our children at different ages, 2, 9, 13, and 15 years old, not all our children’s “birth” stories we tell start when they were born. Some of our children came from hard places. Some of our children’s original birth story is one of rejection, abuse and abandonment. They came to us insecure and with hardened hearts. As parents who adopt children from hard places, we cannot change what others have done to them, however, we can draw from God’s word that He takes what the enemy meant for bad and turns it to good. Adoption is one way God turns bad into good. In Ephesians 1:5, His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family through Jesus Christ and it goes on to say that it gave Him great pleasure. Adoption was created by God. It is a way that God takes a child out of a bad or hard situation and places them in the arms of a loving family with the intention of nurturing and loving that child the way He nurtures and loves us.
For our children that came from hard places, their “birth” story is about how we prayed for them, the first time we met them and how we felt. One of our children got sick from a bag of candy we gave him the first time we met him in an orphanage in Peru when he was 8 years old. He loves to hear this story. We may not have experienced the first time he talked or walked but we did experience the first time he ate ice, the first time he rode on an escalator, and the first time he went ice skating when we went to Peru to adopt him. This is his “birth” story. Every time we tell our son his story he smiles real big. This story reaches his heart. It is a story of love and how we, his Mom and Dad, pursued him and wanted him. Our children that were older when we adopted them love to hear their “birth” story as much as our children we received at birth love to hear their actual birth story.
When we reach the heart of our children with their “birth” story, we begin the attachment and bonding process our children need. We provide a way for our children to feel secure and develop intimacy. Positive life-giving stories reach the heart of our children.
Aimee and her husband, Tommy, have eight children God blessed by adoption and birth. She and her husband lead His Heart for Orphans adoption ministry at Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Aimee is the Director and Coordinator of a statewide initiative Louisiana Heart Gallery where she advocates for children in the foster care system that are available for adoption. You can read more of their adoption and birth story here.
Balance. What does it mean to get balance? The definition of balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady, keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
When we get balance we remain upright when a storm approaches, when instability comes our way. We stay in a steady position and we do not fall; but how do we get “balance” in a busy life with the many hats we wear as a wife, as a mother? Can we really and truly get balance?
For the woman who is a single Mom, can she get balance when her children are raised with two parents who have total opposite ways they parent? Can she get balance while in custody battles? Can she get balance when her bills are behind and the next month bills are in the mail?
For the woman married, can she get balance as she tries to meet the needs of her husband, children, and the home responsibilities?
What about the woman who is fostering or has adopted, can she get balance in raising children who need lots of love and discipline to undo what was taught or not taught to them?
Getting balance goes beyond having our meals prepared, our home tidied up, and our routines in place. We can have a meal prepared and ready for our family, home spotless, the laundry caught up, and routines written on the wall but these will provide temporary balance; balance for the moment. Storms still come and sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed with being unbalanced even though our world looks balanced. Right? But God wants you to experience balance when your world shakes, when instability steps in.
When we look at The Parable of the Sower of the Seed in Matthew 13:3-9, Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13: 18-23, “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Jesus mentions four kinds of grounds a seed can get planted in. The Hard path: it’s a worn out path, a packed down hard, tough, firm path. It’s a path with unfenced fields. There are no signs of growth on this path, no plants, no flowers, nothing too pretty on this hard dirt path. If seeds fall they can get eaten by birds.
The Rocky ground: you don’t see much dirt here. There are some plants that can grow on rocks but they don’t live too long. Plants must have roots down in the soil to grow and flourish but the rocks block the roots. If seeds root it’s shallow and quickly get scorched by the sun and die.
The Thorny ground: Now the thorny ground has soil but as the seeds grow into plants along with the thorns the thorns eventually take over and choke the plants. This is true for weeds as well. Because there is soil, the weeds are also able to root in the soil and grow along as the seeds grow into plants but eventually the weeds take over and smother the plants. So this is a place seeds can grow but they grow with stuff that can eventually choke and smother them.
The GOOD ground: this is the fertile ground, the rich, abundant soil. It’s a place a seed can grow, flourish, mature.
In this parable, the good ground/soil represents the condition of our heart and how we receive the word of God which is represented by the seed. For this teaching, we are going to see the seed as our children and the ground/soil as the heart of our homes. The principle is the same. The answer to getting balance in our busy lives lies is the last of the four soils….. GOOD GROUND. We develop and create this beautiful raised garden bed in our home if we want to get real balance in our busy lives. Not the hard dirt path, the one where there are no fences, the one we trample about our home but don’t really pay any attention to what we are doing. We just do life and we do it hard. We go about our day on auto pilot. We know what we have to get done and we do that and move on. The home with the hard dirt path is really not a “home” atmosphere. It’s just a place where we eat, drink, sleep, pass each other up in the hall with not much communication. Not many memories being made. Just people getting through the day.
We will not get balance with rocky or thorny ground in our home. A small amount of soil exists. A small amount of bible knowledge exists. Just enough knowledge of a small portion of what God has said because church is not a priority, God’s word is not a priority, we may go to church but only a few times a year like Easter or Christmas or maybe we heard about Jesus but don’t know He is the Savior of the world, that He died for our sins, rose and conquered death so that sin cannot take dominion over us. We have possibly heard of Jesus but old habits continue, bad behaviors persist, rebellious attitudes direct their steps, anger and frustration lives on the rocky, thorny ground. Bitterness dominates us. Pain follows us wherever we go. You will not get balance with this type of ground in your home.
What do you notice about the picture of the raised garden bed above? It’s beautiful with no hard dirt, rocks, thorns, or weeds. Its plants have room to grow and flower. It has a frame around it; it has boundaries.
If GOOD ground is how to get balance in our busy life, then how do we create good ground in our home?
First, we have to PREPARE. We have to prepare our hearts by going before the Lord in prayer. We can bow our knee to Him and say “Search me, O God, and know my heart; know my ways; test my thoughts. Show me where I am not creating good ground. Lead me along the path you have for me.” We prepare our home. We need to take the bible off the shelf and not just place it on the table to see it every day, but to open it and read it.
Second, we START BUILDING. We establish boundaries; dividing lines that protect and keep our children and us safe. We cannot do that unless we know God’s boundaries and where He tells us to draw the line. This is where we make the tough parenting decisions to limit tv shows and certain songs, establish limits in relationships with others for our families.
Third, we PLOW. We start digging deep, turning over the dirt with each dig. This has to be done before sowing. This is where we prepare the soil for planting. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that once the frame is up you can now plant the seeds in your raise garden bed. Not yet. Take the time to plow that soil right. Take scriptures and speak it over your home. God’s word goes forth to accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish. It does not return void. How can His word do this if we are not speaking forth His word? How can we speak forth His word if we are not opening up the bible to see what His word says? Part of getting that rich soil is mixing in God’s word. And for most of us, as we plow we will uproot some old thorns and weeds, old mindsets and behaviors, and maybe uncover some rocks, some hard stubborn attitudes . Just go ahead and pull them up and get rid of them. They have no place in your raised garden bed.
Fourth, we PLANT those seeds. But some of you might be saying, “my children are a little older. They are already planted in rocky, thorny ground.” That’s ok you’ll just need to transplant them into the GOOD ground you are creating. You know how transplanted plants are at first? They are taken from where they were and placed in rich fertile soil and at first they droop a little almost like they don’t like this new rich fertile soil but over a little while they start to perk up because their little roots have started to go down into this rich soil. Their little leaves start to stretch out. The top of their little head starts to rise up. They realize the sun and the soil and the water is life to them. This is our God and His word for us! This is where balance is starting to happen, the plant is steady and upright. His/her roots are slowly going deeper so when a storm or instability comes this little plant will not fall because he/she is planted in GOOD ground. It’s where your children have strong roots going deep. It’s where they do not fall when storms come, when instability comes their way.
Fifth, we TEND TO IT. Sometimes we are excited to start a new project. We have lots of energy and enthusiasm. But when the project looks more like work many give up. Can I encourage you not to give up with this part of the process, with the “the tend to it” because your rewards will be great! This IS where relationships are strengthened. This is where we renew our mind with the word continually. We learn to rest and stop spinning all the unnecessary plates in our life. The enemy would love nothing more than for you to have lots of plates to keep spinning instead of tending to what’s the most important: your family. Take time to pause, take moments to observe your raised garden bed. Use these times to also give attention to your husband and children.
Those moments on the couch, those moments before bedtime, these are times to pour into our children making sure no rocks or thorns have come in, and if we see they have we ask God how to remove them and then remove them immediately before they take root in our raised garden bed.
After we have prepared, built, plowed, planted and tended to our raised bed garden, tended to the ground in our home, we then witness true balance when we see our children making the right decisions when the parents are not around. We witness true balance when a storm does come and try to shake us but our family doesn’t fall apart because we are upright and in a steady position. Because we are balanced the way God intended for us to be balanced.
What if the ground in your home is one of the other grounds and not the GOOD GROUND? Be encouraged, it is never too late to change the ground in your home. God is a loving Father. His voice is gentle. He will not yell at you to get you to change or condemn you for starting now. His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, meets you where you are and gently takes your hand and guides you and leads you. With Him, the ground in your home can change. You can experience true balance in your busy life!
In the meantime, g0t a good crockpot recipe? I need a meal for tomorrow ;)
November is National Adoption Awareness month! November 8 is Orphan Sunday.
Tommy and I were blessed to talk with Gered Lambert about adoption on Healing Place Marriage and Family Podcast!
Are you wanting to do something as it relates to the fatherless or maybe you are a couple desiring children? I believe this podcast will bless you!
It's been an exciting October so far! I was blessed to be able to get connected to Sandra Flach with Justice for Orphans and Orphans No More and talk about our adoption and birth story along with Orphan Sunday and the Louisiana Heart Gallery. Sandra is the co-host at Orphans No More radio show at Justice for Orphans where she is also the co-founder and executive director of Justice for Orphans. Sandra also wears another hat as the media coordinator for Orphan Sunday with Christian Alliance for Orphans! It will air October 30 on New Light Radio.
Hello and Welcome!
Wife, Mother, Adoption Advocate, Writer
Who am I? Galatians 2:20 does a great job of summing up who I am. My life is His, the One who loves me and gave Himself for me . In return, I want to be all He wants me to be and do all He wants me to do on this side of Heaven.
Recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award 2016. A program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.