Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is not what this world is selling…a thin, healthy body, a home full of beautiful things, a fast car, or shallow love.  Happiness is not found in the love of a friend, a family member, a spouse or your child…It can’t be bought, created or manipulated, is not made by working hard or learning more and it is not found in status, ‘success’, in wealth or works.

All the things this world tells us we need in order to obtain happiness…Well, listen carefully… It’s a lie, a big infomercial that we buy into at the cost of our peace.  We’ve all fallen prey to it at some point in our lives and sadly many spend the entirety of it seeking and never finding.

Here’s the thing…It’s so much easier and so much fuller than all this!  And it’s free!

The secret (shout it out!), is no secret at all…True, lasting happiness is found in the LACK, the void of all these thingsWhat?  You say…all the commercials are not truly seeking to fill that void in my life?!  Say it ain’t so!  Well, believe it.
Happiness finds you
when you realize that ALL these things, all the things that can be taken away in an instant, aren’t needed to thrive.  In fact the strength in knowing your heart can be at peace amidst a storm is the greatest…truest form of happiness we can have on this earth.
The freedom from fear of losing what we value on earth (as we know one day we are guaranteed to lose it all)…the FREEDOM from the fear of the inevitable is PRICELESS.  To find peace when all appears to be lost…To smile knowing the hope of what is to come?  This, THIS is happiness…Beautiful, freeing, full and forever. 

THIS I pray all my friends and my family will pursue, find and be filled…The peace that surpasses all understanding…The promise that only Christ can offer (free of charge, full of mercy and topped with amazing grace).

There you have it.  Don’t say you didn’t know (and if you can still return whatever you thought would bring you happiness; you might want to act now)!
😉

Peace amidst the storm

With Christ at my Side, it can only make me STRONGER!

Those who know me know that I am not a thrill seeker (at least not in the traditional sense).  In fact, I go out of my way to keep safe and the thought of risking a life or financial stability with a thrilling moment or the chance of making it big, makes my stomach turn…Definitely the tortoise…not the hare.  However, I seek a thrill that it seems many others do not understand.  The difference is that this ride is not of my choosing and the outcome may not appear appealing at all to others though the promise it holds for me is priceless.  Also, the risk involved (though it could mean everything on this earth), carries a guarantee for the life (the everlasting life) after this one.  No risk there, satisfaction guaranteed!  I think I’ll take it!
Don’t misunderstand.  I am not saying that by doing any ‘works’ that we would be saved…Nope, totally NOT the case (Romans 11:6).  What I am saying is that when we are saved and when we’ve seen God’s hand in our lives in amazing ways, you want to see it MORE.

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I love this!

That said, I quit taking birth control in August of last year after a bit of tugging on my heart and research that showed me that all synthetic forms of birth control are in some way an abortifacient… what?!  We had no idea.  We tried natural methods but in November threw caution to the wind and ‘oops’ I became pregnant.  Tragically after much to-do, planning and excitement, I miscarried on New Years.  I became pregnant again right after (January 12th) but miscarried again after just 11 days.  These events were tragic to say the least and I have exhausted my writings about them already so I won’t revisit that topic now.  What they left me with however, was not a door shut to God’s will but a door opened all the wider…’what then, do you want from us?’  My mind continues to return to adoption.  Our application for foster care licensing expires on the 21st of this month and we still need to install a stool or something below both of the girls’ windows.  After meeting a woman at church last Sunday who also fosters in Oklahoma, the flame was lit again and when we returned home, Ron and I had a heart to heart about what we wanted to do.  Do we want to have another of our own?  Do we want to adopt?  Do we want both?  What ages would we be opened to?  A boy?  A girl?  The choosing is the hardest part…not wanting to take control ourselves and wishing that God would just show us what HE wants.  Ron agreed that he does want to get licensed, though he is not sure on what ages we should accept and neither of us are excited at all about being a part of this corrupt ‘system’ of foster care.  Regardless we ordered a stool for Olivia’s room (he put it together yesterday) and we now need to fix it to the wall and build a small step (all we need is 1”) below Maddie’s window to make it ‘legal’ (even though we do not intend to use her room, it’s what the state requires…hoops to jump through, sigh).

A part of me is thrilled with the rollercoaster of ‘expecting’…somewhat like a pregnant Mom awaiting the arrival of her baby.  I want to plan, decorate, move furniture…nest.  BUT there is another part of me that wants to run away screaming and slam this door shut!  THIS part kept me up last night, after reading blogs of other foster Moms (some encouraging some mixed and some…downright scary).  One foster parent talked about her foster baby that was drug addicted and how she had cried nearly non-stop for months and months…lights had to be turned off at home, no music, no TV, no perfume or strong scents, no leaving the house (dinner, shopping, etc)…a prisoner in her home!  This would simply not work in our home.  We have little ones, we homeschool, the girls run, play and SCREAM! 

Lord I want to help…I want to be your hands, be your feet and share your heart but God I pray you will bring the right child into our home for this family.Something better waiting

Two scenarios continue to play in my head.  The first is of me holding this precious baby, breathing her in, treasuring her…giving our hearts to this little one and our family together, loving this baby as our own.
This picture also comes with fear however…what if after months or even years of loving this little one, we are not allowed to adopt (some relative comes forward)…What if (like most cases) they take the baby away after we have opened our hearts?  Can I wipe the tears of my girls away, while holding back my own???  Could I ever recover from the heartbreak?

The other picture is of me trying to soothe an inconsolable child at 3AM night after night.  Trying to successfully homeschool the girls while fighting fatigue and caring for the needs of a special needs child at the same time…and worse yet, for trying to keep Ron from resenting me and the baby for the chaos that this change brought (as this has been in my heart for 20 years, not his).  THIS is my biggest fear.  Can our marriage handle the trials that a foster child will bring?  Will this bring us closer together as a family, closer to Christ, or tear us apart?

There are no solid answers to these questions.  Not yet.

The part of me that is excited is fueled by one thing.  Fear is not of the Lord.  If we are called to adopt, then we will adopt and God will be with and bless us.  This doesn’t mean that we will not have heartache, trials, sleepless nights, change and surprises but it DOES mean that God will bring us through it and make us better because of it in the end.  THIS is exciting.  THIS I can handle and THIS is a thrill I look forward to experiencing.

My prayers must sound like a broken record to God…”Lord bless this home, lead us Lord and show us YOUR will so that we can follow you…”

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is easier when we’re not the ones in control of it.  Had I been given the choice of having a ‘healthy’ body or a life with Type 1 Diabetes, I’m pretty sure I would have taken the healthy body without question.  Had I chosen a life with Diabetes people would have thought I was nuts and I would have agreed!
BUT, what I would have missed out on is what others don’t see and something I never would have known to miss, had God not given to me what He knew I needed to see it.
I would not have known to run to God at such a young age, nor the truth that I am not the one in control.  I would have believed the alluring lie that I was an ‘invincible teen’ and walked a line that should not have been touched.  I would not have seen God’s own hand work miracles on this body, showing me plainly a grace completely undeserved…And I never would have known the peace that God brings to a heart with no earthly hope at all.

This is why I’ve learned to welcome the trials, knowing they are of the Lord.  The other side of the trial…the side that many people cannot wrap their heads around?  Oh it is indescribable…priceless, worth more than this world can offer.  I would take it any day.

I am pretty sure that this body will wither away, like everyone else.  I do not know how or when, but when the endless ‘what if’s’ threaten my peace, I call them what they are and lean on Christ’s promise to never leave me.  A promise I can stand firmly planted on, as I have been shown the truth of it time after time again as He walks me (sometimes carries me) through each fire.
Every heartache I have lived through, each night that I’ve mourned only to wake rejoicing in the morning, I see God clearer than the day before.  No matter what this life throws in my path I can take it and it can only make me stronger IF I am living a life for Christ and He is with me. 

All that said I welcome this roller coaster thrill ride of following ‘blindly’ God’s will.  I do not expect an easy road as life is not easy regardless.  I do expect however, to be reminded daily that I need to lay it down…to give it to Christ (“the battle is his” and it’s already won!  Why am I exhausting myself fighting?).  It’s easy to forget this when life is on auto pilot and everything is running as it should.  It’s impossible however, to not be reminded of this truth daily, when life is clearly not in your control. Be Still.

So I suppose I am still not a risk taker in the traditional sense.  In fact I would say that in seeking God’s will for this family, we are taking the safest route possible…through Him, with Him in the lead.