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My eldest son had come over for a few hours and helped me hang some outdoor lights for a party.
“I want to move back home and go to college.”
This wasn’t the first time he had brought this up. He had been renting a house with roommate and working in a respectable job and being diligent. He just felt stuck. I had been praying for this moment for years. Not that I think everyone needs a college degree to be successful in life, just the fact that he wanted to better himself. To move forward in his adult life, so he was prepared for marriage and a family.
Adopted children often get a lot of flack for not entering the world of adulthood at what society thinks is the proper time or missing it altogether. I think there is a great deal of misunderstanding when it comes to what adopted children can or cannot do. They can become independent barring, any severe neurological or physical challenges. The misunderstanding or flawed expectations come when raising a child from a difficult beginning, understanding that the child is half his chronological age emotionally and then blatantly expecting that child to magically adult at eighteen, nineteen or even twenty.
Children from hard places find it difficult to push through physical or emotional pain to success. This is often because pain before (emotional, physical or mental) has only yielded more pain or more negative circumstances. Like a young girl I knew who cleaned her family’s whole house regularly and meticiously , but was not allowed to sit at the dinner table with the rest of the family because her step-father said she was not his ‘real kid’. Do you think she had a positive picture of sowing and reaping at home?
Or the child who was beat up in the middle of the night in the orphanage. He may overreact to someone grabbling his elbow or a sweat bee sting. I’m not talking about sensory issues, I am referring to the ability to push through minor pains for major victories. It may be the pain of sore muscles for awhile when a kid joins a sport team. Children from hard places may view the pain as a message in their brain that reads, “I can’t do this! I shouldn’t do this!” or may assume because they can’t do things perfectly the first time that they are a failure.
Here’s another example of my teen son with a power washer. He had the machine set up and ready to go. I had done all of the power washing of the patio around our pool and asked him to do a small section. I thought he would enjoy it because he is meticulous when it comes to detail. He struggled with a few issues, the hose fell in the pool, the electrical cord was headed in the same direction. The machine shuttered because it hadn’t had time to build up pressure.
“That’s why I don’t do this! I shouldn’t do this!”
I explained that I had the same issues with the power washer. Kids who struggle with pushing through because of the foundation of their past don’t need talk therapy, they need affirmation therapy. Don’t ignore your child’s fear of pushing through. Acknowledge it. Talk about it. Recognize it and put it it’s place. Help them move from flight, fight or freeze in the downstairs brain to the upstairs where sense and reason reside.
Help them with time and patience come to conclusions such as:
- Nobody can do things perfectly the first time.
- My muscles hurt from swimming laps, I’m not dying.
- It’s okay to make mistakes, it is how we learn.
It is through reaffirming that the child is feeling pain or stress (yes, I’m sure your arms do hurt, you swam for a long time) to a reasonable and logical understanding (your arms hurt, but you aren’t dying, you will get stronger). These concepts move a child into his upstairs brain and need to be reinforced in the early stages of adulating which begins at home. Yes, your part time job is hard. You have to sweep floors and that takes time and energy, but you did it. You can keep doing it. Or that online class is giving you a lot of work to do, but let’s not quit. Let’s break it down and decide what to do first. This translates into college or moving out of the house years when you say, yeah, you have to pay the bills first and then you can go out to eat. These sound so simplistic and so easy to grasp, but for a child from a traumatic beginning, they are not. The concept of cause and effect is muddled by early experiences. The ability to push through to victory must be coached and affirmed in the same baby steps that would have occurred had they been with you from the very beginning. You are going back and filling in the gaps and redefining the world with your child. Be prepared to continue to assist for years to come. Don’t stress or compare. Enjoy the journey and celebrate victories! Adulting is difficult for all of us and a child from traumatic beginnings need encouragement and understanding. He may need help longer than other adult children.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor! Join us!
I sat at my desk waiting, while the little circle on the computer turn around and around. The words seemed to be on a two minute delay. I shut the laptop and went on to something else, frustrated and at a loss. I had been working on two, no three writing projects. That moment, I was working on revisions on my second book, a series of articles on adoption issues. I am writing my first novel for teens.(More info on upcoming books in a later post!) Number three is my website. I write articles on adoption, childrearing, organization, family and also type up my workshops or notes for speaking engagements. That’s a plethora of words to say that I rely heavily on technology every day.
After that particularly frustrating moment, I had an idea. Why not get a typewriter? Hubby Jerry was outside working on some yard work and I went out on the deck and yelled, “hey, do you mind if I order a typewriter?”
“Sounds like a great idea!” I ran back up to my office with visions of Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) floating in my head. I couldn’t wait to start typing on a typewriter! I ordered a manual. I didn’t want to be dependent on electricity or the internet in order to write. I just wanted to write. I had reverted to pen and paper going through yellow legal pads like my toddler grandchildren go through wipes.
My typewriter arrived (thank you Amazon Prime) and I did some practice sentences to warm up and realized my hands needed some more muscles. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and I pulled out the latest chapter I had written and typed it up. No distractions. I couldn’t pop open another tab or do some last minute research. I couldn’t tweet, fiddle with Pandora or check Facebook. Just type. It’s been one of the best disciplines for me. I make note when I need to look something up. I don’t look it up then.
The truth is, several people have tried to help me get back on technology. My daughter lent me her Mac. I brought it home and plugged it in, the cord popped, smoked and fried. Are you trying to tell me something, Lord? Then my son’s girlfriend loaned me a hot pink computer that I am typing on right now. Interesting thing, I did not touch the computer for a week or so. My website has been pretty silent and all I keep hearing in my head is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. So, I have been, plunking away, chapter after chapter. Only three left to write (and two of those are outlined).
This portion of Scripture kept coming to mind:
If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.– Matthew 18:8-10
Sometimes things happen in my life and I view them as punishment, when they are actually discipline. I needed to step back from my technology habit and cut it off for awhile, it was causing me to stumble in my daily walk. I wasn’t viewing porn or watching R rated movies, I was just wasting time. And wasting time can be a sin. The Word says that we should not be vague, thoughtless or foolish, we should instead be diligent.
Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.- Ephesians 5:15-17
I was deceiving myself into believing that flitting around through social media and other people’s blogs was sensible and diligent, when in fact it was robbing me of the true will of the Lord which was and is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.
Maybe you seen the handwriting on the wall clearly and aren’t as hard headed as me, if that is true, than God bless you, sister. This article isn’t about the evils of technology, it’s about letting anything get in the way of what God has placed in your heart to do. He has given each of us a God-sized dream and a measure of the talent we need to complete it. It our job to walk carefully, making the most of our time and increasing our talent through thought, study and discipline.
I pray that my mini lesson has helped you in some way. Although my webpage has been on pause for awhile, I know it is a season. I will come back to it when the time is right. Don’t be afraid of seasons. They are natural and normal. Don’t look at what everyone is doing to measure yourself by, use the ruler of the Word and you won’t be led astray. If you need to, cut some things out. Re-evaluate. Write down your mission statement and your goals and pray over them. Study. Pray. Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit directs you to do something that no one else is doing!
Joining Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!
Husband Jerry and I were walking on the rail to trail along the West Fork River while our son rode ahead on his bike. We talked about our days and as usual slowly slid into current events. “I’m still going to Target,” I stated to his opposite opinion. “Jesus would go to Target.” We weren’t arguing. We just sometimes land on the opposite side of opinion and that’s okay. I have my reasons. Target is not the church,nor does it claim to be. It is not bound by Christian doctrine. I don’t condone their decision. If I were asked to vote as to whether their should be transgender bathroom, I would vote ‘no’. I am not. I cannot. What I do have is the power of the gospel at my disposal in this post- Christian nation. This is not a bathroom issue. This is an issue of the pulse of our nation. The transgender issue is a symptom of sadness, brokenness and how far our nation has fallen from its heritage.
I scroll through Facebook and see dozens of heated arguments about transgender bathrooms and boycotting Target. Jesus didn’t boycott or call non believers to maintain the doctrine He prescribed. And as far as those who wish to keep the law, Jesus said…
35 And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him.
36 Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]
37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).(C)
38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.(D)
40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.- Matthew 22
We cannot love people to Christ or share the Gospel by jumping up and down and screaming about our rights as a Christians. We can share the power of the Gospel by loving regardless. I’m not saying go to Target and wait in the bathroom for a transgender and hug him. Don’t go to Target if you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t use the bathroom if you choose to go and don’t like the bathroom policy.
“…we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”- Target
Making lots of noise about this decision by Target is like trying to stop an avalanche that started in the sixties when the 1966 Good Friday cover of Time asked, “Is God Dead?” with a stretched out piece of saran wrap. It won’t work. It is like wormwood. It touted the ‘new atheism’ and was followed by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and preceded by the 1962 decision to remove prayer from public school. We have been placidly swallowing it for some years and now it tastes sweet instead of bitter. We can’t go back to our Christian roots by anger over a bathroom. We can by prayer, humbleness, repentance and a true love for those hurting confused souls like ourselves.
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.- 2 Chronicles 7:14
If we truly are his people, we will humble ourselves, pray, seek, crave and require of necessity His face. We will turn from our wicked ways. We won’t require non believers to change their ways to suit our religion. We will preach the Gospel that says that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. We should tell them that before the foundation of the world, they were chosen to be part of His eternal family if they accept Him. They have been pre-approved. Jesus will clean the fish. That is not our job.
Meanwhile, right here in WV, there has been a spiritual awakening in Mingo county, the town of Williamson, the ‘heart of the billion dollar coal fields’ intersect the restroom debate. They both speak of need. Coal mines close. People are struggling. A visiting Hilary Clinton is called on the carpet for her comment, “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of work.” Teens are not getting real answers. Transgenders struggle with identity. They seek acceptance to meet that most basic human need- love, connection, attachment. The teens are answered with an outpouring of God’s love. The restroom debate needs another answer.The spiritual vacuum is the same.
“It’s a climactic time,” he said. “I think the many years of creating a spiritual vacuum inside of kids by not teaching them the true reality that there’s a destiny in God—time plus chance, plus matter—has produced a vacuum on the inside.”- Pastor Mitch Bias of the regional Church of God in Delbarton
We cannot remove spiritual limbo by fighting the results of spiritual decline, but by repentance, prayer and sharing the true Gospel.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!
It’s in the dark, pre-dawn hours. The orphanage is quiet and I am awake. I can’t get back to sleep. I fluff my pillow and sit up in bed, leaning against the iron frame of the bed. Sleep hasn’t come easy this month that we have lived in the orphanage. I am running on adrenaline and my heart is in overdrive.
Hubby Jerry and I flew to Poland and then rode to Sulejow to adopt a sibling group. This was a small village, destroyed by the Germans in WWII, just 15 km from the first Concentration Camp in Poland. We moved into the orphanage after living a week in a castle turned hotel.
At least there was real heat in our quarters in the orphanage as opposed to the frigid castle. I still couldn’t sleep. You see I wasn’t prepared for the emotional overload. My mind skipped back and forth between joy and grief. Overwhelming joy that we were adopting. Overwhelming grief that I couldn’t take every child home. It ate at me. It gnawed at me. I played games with these kids. Hiked into the village with teens. Watched them smile while they played with my video camera. And I couldn’t take them home.
Interesting thing about orphans is they look appealing from a distance. We can form all sorts of platitudes, we can quote James 1:27 and intend to raise money for orphans. We can intend to adopt some day. As a church, we can vow to fulfill the mandate ‘to care for widows and orphans’ while we sit in comfortable pews and take communion and remember the death and suffering of our Lord. but, up close, you can’t ignore suffering.
I couldn’t. I wasn’t prepared for the faces of neglect, swarming around me vying for attention. It’s nothing like in the movies. I couldn’t just smile and move on.Poverty envelops those children and strips them of the most basic of human needs, connection. They want to matter, just like every human being on the planet. They want someone to look them full in the face and say, “YOU MATTER. YOU ARE VALUABLE. YOU ARE LOVED.” Neglect says, “You don’t matter.” Abuse says, “I don’t care about you,”
While Hilary Clinton, looking weary and worn down, states on camera that an unborn child doesn’t have Constitutional rights, she devalues life once again. Life is valuable. Everyone with a beating heart and breath in their lungs holds value. You cannot set a dollar amount on life.The Constitution or rulers don’t set the value. It is there. You cannot snuff it out.
The church should be adopting orphans quicker than they bag their groceries at the self check out. We should be proclaiming from the rooftop the value of life, that Christ died that each child might have life and have it more abundantly. We should not be participating in stealing, killing and destroying of life. That is the enemy’s work.
Why don’t we see the value of adoption? The importance of it? Because we first don’t value ourselves. We see ourselves as sinners instead of saints (thanks, Tracey for that insight). We see ourselves as beggars instead of sons of God. We don’t recognize our own adoption. We don’t realize that we have received the Spirit of Adoption by which we cry “Abba, Father!” We don’t know that before the foundation of the world, God chose us, actually picked us out, destined us to be adopted as His own children (Ephesians 1:4,5). Read that again. Let it sink in. YOU ARE CHOSEN. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE A SON OR DAUGHTER OF GOD. You are not an orphan, wondering lost, looking for acceptance. You have it. You have been pre-approved.
With that truth settled deep in our spirits, we must go into all the world and preach the Gospel which has the power to save souls. We should be sharing this news with those who need it most, the spiritual and physical orphans. Those who have been rejected, neglected, abused and abandoned.
If you don’t have a heart for the lost or the orphan, then go visit them in the midst of their pain. Go participate in their circumstances. You can’t watch it on a screen and understand. You cannot have empathy for something you have not lived through yourself. Ask God to give you the gift of understanding the suffering of others and the hands to do something about it.
I was messaging a wise mentor the other day and she told me to read Titus 2, “don’t just read it,” she said, “read it word for word.” In other words, study it. I know that chapter, I thought. I really know it. Pride. So, I set my pride aside and I have been studying it. I copied some of it last week and the more I read it, the more I am challenged.
“3 Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble,
4 So that they will wisely train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children,
5 To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).” – Titus 2:3-5
To modern culture, these words seem outdated. Words like: reverent, devout, sacred, sane, sober, self-contolled, chaste, good-natured, adapting, subordinating, seem like something out of an ancient book. They are. An ancient book with words as powerful as they were when they were first penned.
Hubby Jerry and I were in a conversation about modern humanism and how it values the lives of animals above those of the unborn. A turtle egg is protected, yet an unborn human has no guarantee of not being ripped from the womb. The truth is humanism cannot protect anyone from consequences, no matter the belief.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.- Newton’s third law
This is a scientific law. It cannot not be ignored, bargained with or denied. What does this have to do with a bunch of supposedly outdated ideas from the Bible? If you are practicing the opposite of all of these words, the reactions will not be null and void. Loss of control will give a chaotic reaction. Being bad natured will cause everyone to not want to be around you. If you don’t adapt to your surroundings, you die. Adaptation equals survival. If one acts insanely, he will not have sane results.
I know of a woman who was a devout church goer and schooled in theology. She married and had children and heartily believed that divorce was wrong. It was a rule she was determined to keep. Yet, when it came to his family, she often acted (in the early days of marriage) with little self control and selfishly thought the marriage would be held together by her belief that divorce was wrong, not by kindness, behaving prudently, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ].
It’s a hard thing, this dividing thoughts and motives. We seem to be fine at dividing them for other’s, not so much for ourselves. The women in the story is me. I am often selfish and I expect an unequal reaction, that is I wish my family to love me, to be kind despite my unkindness. I have so much on my plate, they should understand, right? No. Love is not based on work load.My responsibility is not lessened because I want it to be. Responsibilities are not based on our moods. What we should be sowing is not based on the weather. I need grace, that unmerited favor, that power to overcome my weakness and help in my time of need.
Unselfishness requires me to measure time and determine what sort of workload I should take upon myself. Is it unselfish to take on more than I can bear and blame my crankiness on my family? Is it selfish to say “no” when I know if I skip the event I will be kinder, sweeter to my family? No.Unselfishness is not giving oneself with no regard to the consequences (reaction). That is actually selfishness. That is idolatry. Setting your plan above health and sanity is selfish and cowardly. Men balance us, women. When I ask my hubby if I should lead another group, join another organization, travel to another _____, he often says, “no”. Not because he doesn’t want me to live out my dreams. He just understand the nightmare after I overextend myself with the agenda of helping others.
“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others.“- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Let’s re-evaluate our definition of unselfishness for the good of our families, ladies.We can adapt to our husbands by not taking on more than we can handle physically and emotionally. We can be keepers at home by unselfishly not saying ‘yes’ to every outing, but by a healthy ‘no’ when needed. We don’t have to teach every class, join every bookclub, go on every field trip, speak every time we are asked, serve every time we are wanted. If our motives are awry, then our opposite and equal reaction will be frustration, not joy. Joy and unselfishness do not coexist.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!