Monday, February 27, 2012

"My Calling"

In the last few months God has given Adam and I  a few specific revelations. Here is one which is a pretty cool follow up from a 2010 post I did called "Learning who I am."

I don't need to strive to become "something".  Everything that I need is already right in front of me.
I have all the opportunity in the world to learn and grow and gain revelation while being a stay at home mom!

"My Calling"

To focus my heart on loving God and His ways, through that I will be at peace with myself as an individual. As that peace flows through all the areas of my life, my marriage will become amazing. As my marriage grows leaps and bounds in strength, my parenting becomes incredibly natural. As a united team Adam and I learn to become better parents all the relationships in my life become healthier. And finally as all the things I learn through that process translate to my relationships, my testimony/impact and calling will be real and true.

It is so clear and obvious now that it is written out, and I am sure there are many sources that say it quite literally word for word but to have it put on your heart personally, and to experience the "a ha" moment or "journey" in this case, makes it even more impactful.

That is who I want to be. Through the ups and downs and as I "fall forward" I want the trend in life to speak volumes of "My Calling" !!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Perfect Timing. (An adoption story) by Cheryl Stanley

I have been processing lately all the women who I have come into contact through the years that have made a positive influence in my life and one that came to mind was a woman named Cheryl Stanley. Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I went to a church where she was the children's pastor. The heart of this woman towards the children in our church was incredible. She went out of her way, above and beyond to show love to the little ones. She was putting action to the truth that one day these little ones will be the leaders of our world. Although my family moved away in 2002ish my heart attatchment to her has never swayed. She showed me kindness without even realizing it in a really hard season. She showed me the love of Christ. In the recent years I have from a distance watched her family grow as they welcomed a new little bundle with open arms. They adopted their fourth child in early 2000's who obviously fits in like a glove. When I asked her to share a bit on how God led them through the adoption process she sent along a blog that she had done in the midst of waiting for their fourth baby to come into the family. Here it its.

**post from March 2007**

Part of sitting in the belly of the whale is waiting. Waiting to change. Waiting for what will be. Waiting on God. While you sit, you may know in your head that God has something in store but your eyes cannot see what it is. It is a place where all of Heaven is busy working at what is unseen through our eyes.

It was in that place that we began to pray for our youngest son. In the spring of 2003 we started the very long process of becoming foster parents. Papers were filled out. Screenings and interviews were done. Finally, the day came and we were finally approved to be foster parent. Our hearts beat in expectation.

Then nothing happened.

What did happen was a long process of praying, waiting and wondering if a child would ever come our way. We were encouraged to be patient. To wait for the right match. But, to anyone that knows me patient is the last word they would use to describe me. I'll work hard, come up with great ideas on how to accomplish something, to speed up the process, to make it happen...anything but wait.

And then, on a Friday afternoon, when we were going about everyday things, we got the call.

Our worker had a "referral" they would like us to consider. The referral being a 19 month old boy. Reports were faxed over and we spent the weekend trying to digest every morsel of who this little guy was and all the pain this he had experienced in his short life. We wondered what he looked like. What he liked to do. We were unsure how he would fit in our family. Did we have the ability to do this? In many ways this wait was like birthing a baby - soon we would see his face, hold his hand, gather him in our arms and never let him go.

A few days later we found ourselves driving up to a home where "Little T" lived. Peeking through the back window was one the most beautiful children I had ever seen. His gerber baby cheeks and huge blue eyes were mesmerizing. He was perfect. We had not been in the house for more than a few minutes when he began to bat his eyelashes and turn on the charm. He warmed up to Big T right away, bringing him toys and books. In that instant every doubt was driven away. I just sat and watched him play. Telling myself over and over again that I was going to be his mommy. This was our new son. The one that we had prayed for. Soon, we would bring him home and he would meet the rest of his family. A big brother and two big sisters. A forever family... and we would be so much the richer for him being there.

And now two years later our little guy has grown leaps and bounds above all hopes they had for him. What a testimony to God’s perfect timing and fit. Every day he teaches me patience. To live right here - in today - and let tomorrow rest in God’s hands.

In fact it was quite a while after he came into our home that I realized how perfect that timing was. You see we began the process of becoming foster parents, and of praying for the child that would come into our home in the Spring of 2003. That was the exact time that Little T was born. I believe we were left waiting all that time because he needed his mom and dad to pray him through through that tumultuous time in his life. If we had rushed ahead in impatience we would not have felt that empty unseen spot that Little T would eventually fill. We would not have seen so clearly the exquisite tapestry that God was weaving as he brought us together as a family. While his face was unseen to us before his first heartbeat he was fully known to the God that holds him in the hollow of his hand.

Stanley kiddies. Cheryl's legacy!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

PSALMS 139:13-16


Blessings my friend Cheryl. You have made an impact on so many lives. Thank you for being you. I look forward to continuing to see God work through your life and one day through your children and those who you have mentored through the years. The ripple continues.

New Guest Blogs!!

YAY!!! I am so thrilled to let you guys know that I have asked a few more people who have made an impact in my life to write a guest blog for Passionate Women. I am so excited to see what comes in. I love that God has put ladies in my life through the years to encourage and uplift me as a woman, as a christian and as a servant to others. There is such power in sisterhood. Lets continue to reach out to other women as we are walking together in this journey!!!

I hope you enjoy getting to know a couple more people who have made a difference in my life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Training a child to be a good friend.

So High school was never my favorite place to be. In fact I think I loathed it to be quite honest. I have very few memories of when I was in school where I actually enjoyed the experience or even wanted to be there. It's funny though how you create your own illusion of what you think happened. It's so easy to turn a blind eye and forget what you would rather not return to, than to do some retrospective thinking of what in actuality was happening during a season that you would prefer to not remember.

So thinking on high school the movie "Mean Girls" comes to mind. The Hollywood version of high school. Although it's greatly exaggerated, I have to admit many of the feelings that arose during watching that movie was pretty close to the real deal. In my mind I would consider myself the out cast. The one that didn't fit in. In many cases it was not within my control but in others it totally was.

Grade 8 grad. Can you pick me out of the bunch? (Ps these were not the "mean girls")

I started out with a decent view of school had a nice group of friends, not a whole lot but a small group of people that I enjoyed, from the past and a few new faces also. Recently I was reminded by my mom that I was even on the honour role in grade 9. To be honest I had forgotten that grade 9 actually wasn't that bad. Grade 10 came in so quick to make that memory fade. Relationships dissolved and my life turned in a completely different direction of my friends who turned their back on my prideful faith.

I have home schooled my girls for a few years now and I continually need to process how to train them to handle relationships. The two older girls specifically are both old enough to understand a decent amount of social norms and how to behave. But my desire for them is to not just be "good girls" but to be a positive influence where ever they go. I don't want them to need to be "popular" (whatever that means) but to develop a character that serves others, who is independently content knowing who they are in Christ plus sucessful and influential wherever their social circle and personality lends them. Tall order!
Now I totally understand that grade 9-12 at school is a massive difference from home schooled elementary students, but we have to start somewhere. If I am going to teach my girls how to handle themselves within relationships I need to know where I went wrong. Looking back and remembering where my heart position was... it didn't look good. Seldom was I looking for what I could do for others but what they could do to make ME happy. I wasn't standing on the promises and confidence of God but placing my pride in myself and my ability to put on a pretty front and pretend that I was better than others. I had an arrogant and entitlement mentality that was only out to get something for me. YUCK! Now don't get me wrong I am definitely not forgetting how cruel that some of the girls were, but I can't change people I can only change myself. So I remember my attitude and forget the nastiness that hurting girls do to others.

To get back to parenting. My girls were outside today with a bunch of neighbour kids having a blast. They were all playing soccer outside, talking and laughing... and... one of my girls telling the other kids how to do things the right way... another sitting on the step mopping because she didn't think she could play the game well,  and one of my girls again selfishly pausing the game to do whatever she wanted to do... plus all of them creating SUPER drama out of the most minuscule of things..... hmmmmmm...... YA I have a whole lot of work to do still... (Not that I have ever once thought I had arrived!!!!!!) I had a GOOD chat with them after they came in about how to be a good friend in order to make good friends... and well just to develop a healthy character. It went over pretty good... but now getting a bit more introspective... we still have a lot to do to help them continue to become fantastic young ladies.

So here's to parenting purposefully. Looking straight into who we are as a person, where we have come from and tearing apart our own motives and tendencies, in order to help grow as a parent.

Lets launch our kids as FAR off of our shoulders as we possibly can!!!!

Facebook post by a friend.

So a couple of days ago I was on Facebook and was reading a post made by a friend from our church. Jennifer Choong, is someone who I admire for her genuine faith. The passion that naturally overflows from her is incredibly inspiring!!! She speaks about God with a living, breathing and all encompassing love, that organically impacts all areas of her life. What an example for me to continue to strive after in maturity. She continuously uses Facebook as a tool to encourage others, to speak of where God is showing her to go. Passions that is being birthed in her and causes that should be known. I love how she uses Facebook as a way to show Christ to others.

I am going to re-post one of her conversation because, after my last post I read this and was really encouraged, all I need to do is quiet my spirit from my busy life and just listen. That's all. There doesn't need to be confusion or indecision, I don't need to be anxious in this life if I choose to be connected with God instead of submit to the circumstances that surround me. It can be natural and not a fight, just a choice.  

Satus : ‎"The Holy Spirit will guard your heart and mind with supernatural peace. Philippians 4:7. We do not have to live with a heart filled with jealousy, rejection, anxiety, or fear, nor a mind filled with turmoil, confusion, and indecision. If we ask for joy in specific areas of our life, we will actually receive more of it." ~ Mike Bickle in Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man.

Friend : So how do you think we ask? And what does it look like when you get it? Do you need this- or have it? Do you agree with it entirely or like the concept of it? Can you back it up? Is that too many questions? Lol

Jen: Hey (friend), nope, it isn't too many questions ... I think the questions are really good questions. For me, one way I ask is when I sense the Holy Spirit convicting me, I ask Him to show me how to be/act/process differently. So for instance (real life example) on Tuesday I was skiing at chicopee, and I felt stressed a number of times as I had 3 kids with me to get rental equipment for, lessons to get them to (which seemed REALLY hard to figure out at the time ;-), and trying to make sure I knew where everyone was as much as possible (a five year old beginner, a 10 year old almost beginner, and a 10 year old who was doing black diamonds( hardest ski slope) .... so I felt pressed and felt stressed inside. It wasn't until I lost our blackberry on the hill that I realized that my losing the cell phone was actually a picture of how I had "lost" my peaceful/receptive/listening to God type of communication for a few hours with the Lord. I began to dialogue with Him and asked Him to show me where I 'lost it' during the day, and the thing that came to me was that I not 'stilled' my soul that morning before leaving the house, and that I was processing everything 'in my own understanding' (Proverbs 3:6-7) - so to answer your question truthfully, I would say that God brings scriptures to my mind to reveal to me how I could be living in every moment, and then I feel Him prompt me to bring my brain to that place where He is my Lord and I'm not trying to be my own 'source' of making things go right (realizing that I can plan my way, but the Lord orders my steps), Reminds me of when our kids need our guidance, but they need a bit of extra prodding in a loving sort of way to remember what they already know .... And I think I receive it when I make my heart a place where I acknowledge that His way is right and I have pushed Him out of His rightful place as Lord - So when I realized on the ski hill that I had really left the peace of the Lord behind me, and was trying to forge the day out in my own strength, when I realized that I lost my cell phone, a picture of my close communication with Jesus, I asked Him to forgive me and bring me to the place where I could see the happenings of the day from His perspective and receive His peace - because I felt knotted up inside. I ask Him to shift me back to that place in my heart, where I am walking in peace, and I relinquish my desire to figure it all out, and I allow myself to trust that God's got my back, and that He will help me navigate ... whatever the thing is that I sense that I am lacking, I ask Him to bring a scripture to mind, and then I remind myself that God is faithful to His promises, that He is trustworthy and that I can really rest in sureness that He will help me in my weakness. And then I usually worship Him. Hope my reply isn't too long :-)

oh yah, the little update that I forgot to add - after I prayed on the hill to get my peace back, I immediately got a call on my walkie talkie that my cell phone had been found. So cool that God got my attention and got me back on track, walking in peace. With the added perk of not even losing my cell phone permanently. it seemed like He made it pretty clear to me that He is able to download His peace to me without me missing His point or the download :-)

Thank you Jen for letting me re-post!!! I hope that this encouraged some of you out there with her words.
This is where I say thank the Lord for Facebook. Because when used correctly, it can be an incredible source to encourage and lift up others as we daily walk out our lives. We can't always meet up face to face, but to be able to choose to use this as a tool. Wow. We can have some pretty neat moments of revelation and growth!!!