Saturday, July 25, 2015
As I write this, I am sitting at a table at the local roller skating rink. Teens are all around me, grooving to the music, and my own teen and her friend are acting so silly that they instantly bring me back to my innocent teen days: days filled with giggles and knowing the grown-ups in my life would take care of the major things for me. Now I am one of the grown-ups, keeping kids safe, bills paid, work and housework done. And, in the past, that responsibility has weighed heavily on me, and I often felt I'd break from the pressure. Tonight, surrounded by laughter, young faces enjoying their lives, and the thump of bass too loud for my comfort, I am amazed and humbled by a God who takes care of my needs in amazing ways.
About seven months ago, I finally surrendered a stronghold that I felt defeated and unable to overcome for years. I had felt I didn't have the strength to combat its lure and didn't want the darkness exposed. And I knew the Holy Spirit residing in me was supposed to give me power, but I didn't feel the power. (Read Angela Thomas' book “Stronger” if you feel that way too.) Finally, I was so disheartened and disgusted at not honoring God that I got mad – mad enough to draw a line in the sand. It was a shame I didn't want to confess, but once I finally chose to believe the truth of God's Word, the Lover of my soul actually had me confess the stronghold. Since that day of confession to my leaders at church, not knowing what consequences I would face for my disobedience to God, He has shown me just how the Deceiver of my soul wanted to keep me – and you – in bondage. I was convinced, if I confessed my sin, I would lose a place of service that is very precious to me. Instead, I've gotten grace-filled prayer, guidance and, yes, accountability from peers and leaders at church who love me and want me to realize my full potential – and most importantly, my full freedom in God's grace. In fact, God recently instructed me to share details of my secret shame to a room full of about 200 women, so they could see how keeping sin secret and unaccountable leads to guilt, shame and defeat that the enemy wants to keep them in. He alone gave me the courage and boldness to do that. If you're stuck in secret sin, I encourage you to read Galatians 5:1 and 13 and realize Christ wants you to be free!
It's from this point of vulnerability and confession that I see my Abba Father, my Heavenly Daddy, blessing me! In the last 3 years, my employment status has been the rockiest of my life. During that wilderness of upheaval and homelessness, I decided I was going to rebuild my finances around tithing. Because I now tithe, this one stronghold was the last willful disobedience to God in my life. Now that it's out of the way, by His daily grace and strength, God truly is pouring blessings on my household.
For about 9 years, I've known I am called by God to adopt a foster child. First a dysfunctional marriage, then a divorce, then economic instability and fear of the unknowns in the adoption process kept me from moving toward it. Now, I'm done with training and waiting for my license to be approved by the state to become a foster-to-adopt mom. My previous apartment was much less than ideal for three people with its 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and no laundry. Because my physical home is also part of the foster care license, I realized it would be much better to move before getting licensed than afterwards. By the grace and favor of a Father who knows my deepest desire is to be a forever mom to a girl desperately needing one, in March, He provided a new apartment with a security deposit and pet deposit that were, combined, less than one month's rent, which is unheard of. In His grace, He saw favor to have my former apartment complex let me out of my lease early, with no hit to my credit score, no requirement to pay the full month's rent, etc. And, with only a week to plan and pack the move, I had friends volunteer to help and another friend told me of a good, used washer and dryer. The new apartment is peaceful, spacious, still affordable, and we are getting to know a great community of people within the complex during these summer swimming months. My cup and heart are overflowing with adoration for a Father providing for me like that!
After drowning out the noise at this skating rink for the first hour we were here so I could read my Bible study material, then typing this, I will go back to teen-watching, praying for these kids and pondering how this next generation can best be reached so they aren't trying to overcome all that life is throwing at them without knowing the Lover of their souls, who supplies all their needs.