From Naomi: Perhaps you’ve heard hope is an anchor for our souls. It’s part of a rather popular worship song. There are bracelets and home décor featuring anchors for this very reason.
But are you familiar with the first part of this scripture? Let’s take a moment to dig into this passage from Hebrews 6:17-20 (NIV):
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
When we talk about hope being an anchor for our souls, it’s imperative that we know WHO that hope is anchored in. I know it can be tempting to gloss over a portion of scripture – especially when it’s one we are familiar with – but let these truths sink in and saturate your soul:
Re-read those truths if you need to. Let them become the pure and lovely you’re dwelling on.
It is easy to speak of hope anchoring our souls when the winds are still. But when the waves are pounding and the storm is surging, we must be more conscious of WHO our hope is anchored in, than hope itself. Jesus, the high priest. God, who cannot lie. That is WHO our hope is anchored in. He is unchanging. His love never fails. And our hope in Him can never disappoint.
Father, I thank You that Your Word does not return void, but accomplishes that which it was sent forth to do! Thank You for preserving Your Word, and for Holy Spirit who guides us in all truth. Father, I ask that You would be with each person reading this post. That Holy Spirit would minister peace to their spirits, joy to their hearts, and hope to their souls. Thank You for Jesus, our High Priest – who promised to never leave nor forsake us! Thank You for Your faithfulness, and that in You our hope is secure. Set our mind on You this day, and show us how we can surrender to the hope found in You alone. Make us conduits of blessing and hope to others, and allow us to bring You glory! In the Name of Jesus.
From Naomi: “Are you almost done?” I held my sweatshirt up over my nose.
As I stood there, trying not to breathe, I began to laugh. (Which in hindsight, is a terrible idea when trying to inhale as little as possible!) As someone who doesn’t particularly care for body fluids, I never fancied myself being the personal cheerleader of a little person who was trying to… well… poop. It isn’t the first time I’ve stood in the bathroom, literally cheering our kiddo on as they go, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But in that rather unusual moment, God began to teach me about His greatness. He has such a way of doing that!
One of our children had several reconstructive bowel surgeries following birth. While this child can eat orally, the surgeries shortened the gut enough that there are side effects on a daily basis. Because emptying the bowels can be uncomfortable, this child had developed a habit of withholding. Maybe this feels like TMI, but stick with me. If you’re working in the adoption and foster care realm, there is a good chance you will encounter a child who does the same thing. Fear has a way of making us hold on to things it would be much better if we let go of.
Let me repeat that for you, fear has a way of making us hold on to things it would be much better if we let go of.
And God, in all His glory – in His righteous holiness – stands there, cheering us on to let go of the waste. He doesn’t push us aside until we can get it all together, or perfect our ways. Instead, He enters into the messiest places, puts up with the stench, and speaks words of life and encouragement over us.
What is it you’ve been holding on to, friend? What is it in your life that fear has convinced you to hold back?
When we hold on to the things we are not meant to hold on to, it can cause significant pain. Pain inhibits our abilities to respond in loving ways, and begins to effect the people around us.
What pain would be healed if you could let the waste go?
When we hold the waste in, it occupies space that’s created for something else. It impedes the purpose of that space, and compromises our ability to embrace that which is life-giving and sustaining.
What would you have space to receive if you got rid of the waste?
When the voice of fear tells us we can’t because it’s too hard or scary or painful, the voice of love reminds us that we can because He is with us, for us, and in us.
If there’s something you’ve been holding on to, I’d like to encourage you to let it go. Surrender whatever it is to God. Allow Him to cheer you on as you empty yourself of the waste, so you can be filled with the power of Holy Spirit. I promise, if you’ve been struggling to get through your days, or even moments, it doesn’t have to stay that way!
Naomi blogs at Living Out 127.
And don't miss buying her new book Don't Waste Your Wait!
From Naomi: “This shouldn’t take long!” I thought. We had just received our homestudy approval. Our list of situations, behaviors, and needs that we could not handle was not extensive, and we were looking for a sibling group to keep together.
For months, I anxiously checked my texts, compulsively refreshed my email, and answered every phone call as if it was the one!
For months, we made every decision based on our child(ren) coming home! We waited and prayed. Countless inquiries and phone interviews and the deepest parts of our lives revealed to strangers across the country.
When we began our adoption adventure, I had numerous misconceptions – beginning with “this shouldn’t take long!” Our son came home 18 long months later. For some, 18 months is less than half their wait. Some parents wait years for their precious child(ren).
Wherever you are in your wait – whether you have just begun, or have been at this for years – I want to encourage you, today. Waiting is not easy, but it is purposeful. This season of waiting isn’t the intermission. God doesn’t set your situation aside, working in some abstract place while you develop patience. No, rather, the wait is an intricate part, a time specifically designed by God, for us to draw close to Him.
Yes, our hearts are longing for our child(ren)! It is hard to have holidays and special moments and even just weekends pass without word. Acknowledging how challenging this is – how heartbreaking a failed match is – is healthy. But we must guard against becoming so engrossed in the wait that we miss the present.
When we grab ahold of the present, and intentionally use it to accomplish the will of God in our everyday moments, we bring Him glory and prepare the way for our child(ren)’s homecoming! There are ways we can practically prepare, and things we can do to develop habits that will help us in our relationships with God, our spouse, our family, and friends.
In my book, “Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home,” I talk about eight ways that we can utilize our wait. We can be good stewards of the wait – and in doing so, fully embrace every step of the journey.
I am so excited about the message of this book, that I am holding a giveaway! There is a link for entering the giveaway at the bottom of this post! You can also sign up for my email list, to receive encouragement right to your inbox. As a thank you, you will receive the first chapter of “Don’t Waste Your Wait” for free!
While written specifically to families who are waiting to adopt, my prayer is that the words of the book will bring hope and encouragement to anyone who is awaiting the fulfillment of a promise from God!
You can find the giveaway here: http://bit.ly/2njkZ4S
You can join my email list here: http://bit.ly/2mvguAR
You can find the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2nj5x8T
I am praying for you, friend. That God shows up in ways you couldn’t even imagine. That He speaks peace and provision and comfort and encouragement. That through His mighty grace, you are empowered to wait well!
How do we help our child not feel rejected by the People who birthed them and by the choices they made? How much do we share about why they were in foster care or an orphanage?
We know that families praying about adoption and foster care have many questions. We also know that some families who have adopted or are fostering have questions too. You are not alone! We would love to hear your question and feature it on Adoption Strong's blog Q & A Friday. Simply go to our Ask a Question page and submit your question to us and some of our team of contributors will respond.
And now for today's question:
Adoption is often talked about as a beautiful loving choice. Foster care adoptions and adoptions from an orphanage are not usually this way. How do we help our child not feel rejected by the people who birthed them and by the bad choices made? How much do we share about why they were in foster care or an orphanage?
From Naomi: Both of our sons are adopted through foster care, and I can relate to the desire to guard their hearts while speaking truth. I have found that sharing age-appropriate information, with a generous dose of grace, is the best way to handle this. I tell our 6 year old that his first momma loved him as much as she could, but that she was unable to take care of him. I ask him if he wants to pray for her, that she would know Jesus' love --- because that's what she needs in order to love. We talk openly about his past, and how some of the things he experienced were not God's plan for him, but that God was redeeming those things for our son's good and God's glory. We talk about how when we don't have Jesus' love inside of us, it limits our availability to love; and that we have to learn how to take care of others - including children. We focus on how we can love and learn, while asking God to help others, including birth parents (of 'first mom and dad' as we call them!). Truth brings freedom, so when we couple age-appropriate truth with love, we are equipping our children to walk in freedom from shame and rejection!
From Aimee': Adoption is definitely a beautiful loving choice that can be made by a woman who has determined that she cannot give a child the life she desires to give them. However, not all adoptions are because a woman decided to make a self-less, hard, loving decision not to parent. Some adoptions are the results of abandonment, lack of care, and abuse whether here in the US or in another country. This has led to children being removed by the state foster care system or children entering an orphanage in another country because of unhealthy environments and/or different forms of abuse whether physically, mentally or sexually. We have eight children, six whom were adopted. One of our adoptions is because a woman, while pregnant, made a hard, loving decision she could not give this child the life she wanted to give him so she chose us to be Mom and Dad; however, five of our children were abandoned. Some were abandoned at birth and some were abandoned as toddlers and young children. The first 9-15 years for them were hard (we adopted our Peruvian children at 22 months, 22 months, 9yrs, 13 yrs. and 15 yrs). Because of this lack of care and abandonment, our children were available for adoption in a Peruvian orphanage and we chose them to be our children. Through the years, we have had some tough conversations. Our home is open for discussion about adoption and why they were adopted. We do not lie about why they were available for adoption but we make sure they know that we do not know the whole story. We do not know all the details but we do know that life must have been difficult for her and him and whatever the reason they could not be the Mom and Dad they were supposed to be and they made some bad choices that led to our children getting abandoned and going to an orphanage. The conversations have been hard and it is very important to me to not sugar-coat the past but at the same time couple it with grace and mercy and share God’s love for all and share how God reached in and put them in a forever family to love and nurture them. How we can still pray for the people in their past.
Adoption is a beautiful, positive word in our home. We love to connect Ephesians 1:5 as God being the author and creator of adoption. We also teach our children that birth and adoption are both miracles from Him. From there, through the years and age appropriately, we make sure our children know they were loved very much then and very much now. Let me address rejection very specifically. The enemy will grab hold of rejection and try so hard to use this as a tool to beat our child up and try to divide our family. As the parents, especially as Christian parents, God has given you and me the authority over ALL the power of the enemy – this includes the spirit of rejection, the tool the enemy will use to try and suffocate our children. The enemy would love nothing more than our children to feel like they were cast away by the people that birthed them, to feel like they were disowned and not valued. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken authority over the spirit of rejection in our home. Luke 10:19 tells us God has given us authority to trample over serpents and scorpions and ALL the power of the enemy. So, to answer the question above, one way to help your child not feel rejected by the people who gave birth to them is pray. Pray. You must press in prayer for your child and rebuke the spirit of rejection that the enemy wants to torture our children with. You will be pleasantly surprised to see the peace and joy that comes over your children when rejection has no place to live in your home….. all because of the power of prayer.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper