Solid Ground

This poem is dedicated to Maryann.

Solid Ground*

 

The rollercoaster of our lives
Takes us up! down and round and round!
At times it takes us for some dives
Yet our feet are placed on solid ground

Our solid ground is Jesus Christ
In whom we savor sweet rest
The one who bought us with a price
And continues to bless and bless

On solid ground He will keep you
He will refresh you who are near
Gingerly like the morning dew
Giving life to you who are dear

Rest in the lover of your soul
The one through whom you are made whole

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* inspired by the following famous hymn

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

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Encouraging Students As Our Own

imageI received a forwarded email below from my sister, a teacher; she received it from one of her colleagues. It was taken from a devotional, How God Grows a Mother of Prayer. I have not independently verified that it is quoted accurately, but it’s worth posting in its entirety (as I received it). I believe the part in parenthesis is an added part by the teacher at my sister’s school. Psalm 127: 3 says that “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Let’s treat other people’s children as if they were our own. The rewards will be manifold.

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“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Those little ears. They are so cute. And they are so tuned in to what we say, aren’t they? Those little eyes are so beautiful. And they see what we do. More than we know.

How our kids perceive themselves as adults is very much connected to the words and actions they experience growing up. Especially our words and actions. How they see themselves in the mirror is perhaps the way we see them. How they choose their friends may have something to do with the way we choose ours. The way they play, eat, study, work, think, dream – and pray – can be linked to the inner workings of family life. (We are included in their lives for a blink in time even if there isn’t a lot of support at home)

They may come off as inattentive and oblivious at times, but their hearts are still tender sponges, taking it all in. Even if they don’t say so, they long to hear our good words about them just as we long to know God is still in love with us and we’re making Him proud. kids want to hear those same words from us. “You make me proud. I’m so glad you’re my child. I enjoy being your mom/dad (teacher). I sure do love you.”

Have you encouraged your children today? Now’s the time. The hour. The moment……..


Let’s love children the way Christ loves the church, even when they disappoint us (we ourselves have disappointed God as well as our earthly parents).

For further reflection read:

Romans 8:35-39 (below) and the entire chapter of Romans 8.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Becoming a Mother: My Journey

 

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Our Family

 

When God tells you to do something, He expects you to do it! Many years ago, I told my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that I would do whatever He told me to do. At that time, I did not realize the magnitude of that commitment. The one thing that I knew was that I wanted to please Him and to serve him with all of my heart. As a result of this committment, He has taken me to “places” far and wide. My life has not been easy, but God has prepared both me and the “soil” to accomplish great things in His name. One of the many accomplishments, via Christ,  is becoming a mother to other people’s children. Sometimes mothers need assistance in caring for their children. It’s better to ask for help, than to need it and not ask.

When I was a teenager, I knew that I would adopt children. From an early age, children surrounded me. I helped rear my three younger siblings.  In 1998, my nephew, Maven, came to live with me for two years; he was twelve years old at that time. The challenges were many, but God saw me through each one. Seven months after he returned home to his mother, I became a parent to another child, Indea. Through a set of circumstances that I did not foresee, I became her mother for nearly a year. The challenges of parenting her were many, but her good heart helped me through the challenges. In 2004, on a particular Sunday, I believed that the Lord was telling me to look into adopting a child from foster care. The command seemed clear to me. I went home and looked into the process of becoming an adoptive parent through foster care. I requested the information from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Within a few days, the packet of information arrived. I phoned my next door neighbor, Catherine, both a colleague and a friend, to share with her my news. She said she also had some news to share with me. I went to her home to share my news and to hear her news as well. Seemingly adventitious, we both had the same packet of information. We never discussed adoption before. Her news was confirmation that I heard correctly from the Lord. Catherine, had started one training class, and told me that I should consider adopting an older child, because older children are hard to place. I was reticent to adopt a teenager for many reasons, but I promised Catherine that I would attend a class with her, and make up my mind afterward. After the class, I was sold on fostering an older child. I took the required classes with Catherine, but I felt that I needed to finish a Master of Education degree that I just started before I would begin fostering. Catherine was the vehicle that the Lord used to encourage me to consider older children (I previously felt that I had been down that road and did not want to revisit it).

Two and a half years later, I completed the degree and I began looking into meeting foster children eligible for adoption. Finding the “right” child was not an easy process. I requested several children, but I was denied access to each one, for unknown reasons (The steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord). I almost gave up. Mary, the worker from the older child adoption/ placement agency, You Gotta Believe,  told me to choose another child. I did not want to try anymore. A couple of days before Mary’s call, I reflected on a message that I heard Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, speak. In his message he asked, “Are you making the most use of whatever God places in your hands?” For several days, I was obsessed with this question. I also began rereading a chapter in Bishop Vashti McKenzie’s book Journey to the Well. In her book, she said that we have to be sensitive to the kairos moments, the appointed time when God is about to do something in one’s life. I also went to the prayer meeting at The Brooklyn Tabernacle, my church, the day before Mary’s call. I began having a brief conversation there with a developmentally delayed adult. I told the Lord that “we” have to look after people like that.  When Mary called the next day, I promised her I would choose another child, but my heart was downcast. Mary told me to look at the videos on Wednesday’s Child, a brief segment on NBC affiliates about adopting hard to place children. I promised her that I would look at the videos and review the photo listing of eligible children, although I was discouraged. I came home, looked at the listing again, wrote down some names, although I was not excited about them because of their level of emotional dysfunction. I was ready to shut down my computer when I remembered that I was supposed to check Wednesday’s Child. I clicked on the most recent video from the previous week. The first line of the video said, “This child makes the most use of whatever is placed in her hands.” At that moment, I knew that “this child, Latoya,” was the one that the Lord had for me. Yes, she was everything that I was not looking for, but everything that I needed. There was no delay in meeting her! Within two weeks, a meeting was arranged. Latoya was a child without parents and family and she entered the the world under adverse circumstances.

Over the next fifteen months after meeting Latoya, I began having her visit me every weekend, every holiday, and during the summer vacation. After our initial meeting, and making a committment  to her, I began seeing the multitude of challenges. Although I was in a hurry to have her in my home, the Lord put the brakes on me to slow me down so that I could become acclimated to the many challenges. I had to teach her many things because at sixteen years of age, she had not been taught many things that should have been learned years earlier. I realized that between the time in which I took the foster care classes and having Latoya placed in my home full time, God was preparing we for the work. He also started preparing me many years earlier when other children were placed in my home. I did not realize until after the placement, that God had interceded on my behalf because of his great love for me. He allowed a great bureaucracy to slow me down do that I could adapt to my new life.

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Latoya

Latoya is developmentally delayed and has a multitude of other challenges, but God shows himself faithful through his love. Through the experience of mothering her, I have become more patient, accepting, loving, and supportive. I cannot fully explain the level of difficulty I encounter, but God sees me through every challenge and from walking away from them. Progress has been made in many areas of Latoya’s life. With prayer, God’s grace, and assiduousness, God’s hand continues to be upon us both.  It’s been eight years, since Latoya and I met. I have not formally adopted her, but I continue to parent her. She now lives in a group home with similarly situated women. She has not been in crisis for almost two years, and is more emotionally stable. Recently, she requested that we study the Bible together, an activity in which she was heretofore reluctant. Although our study is fraught with many challenges, we continue to press on to take hold of the things for which God has apprehended us.

What is God calling you to do? Let’s be fishers of men and women!

For further encouragement read: Romans 12; Isaiah 58; Ephesians 6