I’m a scaredey-cat. I suppose one could call it an anxiety issue, but each New Year as I start out, I’m the glass-half-empty person. Even though the Lord blessed my socks off this past 2010, I worry about the future.
I prayed about it yesterday morning---confessed my fear as a lack of belief in the Lord’s goodness---and not 2 hours later a small miracle happened. It’s amazing how kind God is. He rewarded my honesty by assuring me that He will take care of me. He will take care of my loved ones. I don’t need to be afraid of 2011. Here’s how I know:
One of the blessings of being published by a traditional but small press is that WhiteFire is allowing me to contribute to the front cover of my debut novel. If the photos turn out well, they’ll send them to their designer. So I found a model, a beautiful young woman who just happens to be my birth daughter. How serendipitous can you get?
I began to hunt down the costume for my character, Abby, as she arrives in India at the end of WWI. A lady from church loaned me a gorgeous straw boater hat which fits the era. In a second hand store I found a wide collar blouse that also fits the period. And I was pretty sure my calf-length, beige linen skirt would complete Abby’s 1918 ensemble. But when I looked for the skirt in my closet, I couldn’t find it.
Then I remembered I’d given away a ton of clothes this past year when we moved house. I’d stuffed that skirt into one of any number of charity boxes.
So yesterday morning I prayed about my worries for the upcoming year, including the front cover for my book.
I trudged out of my house, planning on buying material and a pattern at the mall. On the way, the thought popped into my mind to check the second hand store. As I parked the car I prayed again, Lord please help me find the right skirt.
Not 5 minutes later, halfway down the skirt aisle I stopped. There was my skirt---the very skirt I’d given away 6 months ago. I could buy it back for only $9.99.
At the checkout counter I told my story to the girl.
“Impossible,” she said. “It can’t be your skirt. We only keep stock for 4 weeks.”
I looked at the skirt. It had the faint blue ink spot I’d put close to the knee. But it also had a smudge of dirt and a tea stain that I had not put there. But it was my skirt, even to the extra button still in its plastic wrapper at the back. This was my skirt.
I don’t know how the Lord did it. Did he hide it away in the shop so no one would buy it for 6 months? Or had someone bought it, wore it a few times, and then also given it up?
All I do know is, God the Father cared enough about me to ease my worries over a simple skirt, because He cares about my novel’s front cover. He cares for me.
And He cares for you.
John 16:33 Jesus said,"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
Friday, December 31, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
It is my pleasure today to have as my guest, Renee Sanford. She and her husband David Sanford are professional writers of such calibre, that their interest in me over 8 years ago encouraged me in my desire to become a writer. They are the authors of Thriving as an Adoptive Family published by Focus on the Family, of which I am proud to be a contributor. It is in this book that I shared a brief version on what it felt like to be a birth mother. Below is an article that Renee wrote on how God shaped them into becoming adoptive parents.
THRIVING AS AN ADOPTIVE FAMILY By Renee Sanford
Have you ever thought of growing your family through adoption? If so, what was the first gift God gave you in your parenting journey of faith?
As a couple, my husband, David, and I knew adoption was our heart’s desire for our family long before we were married.
How did David know? First, he loved children! Second, he strongly resonated with God’s call to care for orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). Third, adoption played an important role in his extended family.
I felt the same. My family first grew by adoption when I was nine. My parents heard about a little boy who was going to be placed in foster care because his mother’s degenerative disease had left her unable to properly care for her children. Through no moral fault of his mother, this little boy had experienced profound neglect. My parents welcomed that little boy into our home and later adopted him.
Several years later, other families from our church were adopting children from the Philippines where missionary friends lived and served. Again, my parents felt God’s leading to meet the needs of an orphan child. A little girl this time, they decided.
When they wrote to the orphanage, they happened to say, “If you have sisters, we’ll take two.”
Two it was—two darling girls, aged one and a half and three years old. For me, as an almost thirteen-year-old girl, it was like having two pretty dolls (except when the littlest one threw tantrums!). For my parents, however, it meant embarking on an uncharted journey into parenting children who were adorable on the outside and hurting deeply on the inside. Little did my parents know what they were getting into.
At that time, I remember my mother started listening to a new radio broadcast hosted by Dr. James Dobson. Because my parents had grown up in broken and neglectful homes, they took in whatever they could learn from God’s Word and ministries like Focus on the Family. God’s grace proved to be abundant as they poured into us children the love and nurturing they themselves had not received as children.
Still, there weren’t all the tools available that my parents needed for the particular challenges of raising adopted children. They did the best they could, but they wish they had known more. Looking back, they would have done some things differently and, perhaps, everyone would have experienced a bit less pain.
Thankfully, much research and attention has been given to the unique needs and concerns of adopted children and their families. Careful study and insightful listening has led to a better understanding of how to more effectively parent children who have experienced the loss of their birth family and/or the horrors of abuse. Resources and support are now available to adoptive families that were non-existent or hard to find in years past.
All parenting is a brave journey of faith. After all, God alone can work the miracles of healing, health, and faith that we desire to see in our children and in our own hearts and lives. So, when God gives us the opportunity to truly meet our children’s needs and better love them in ways they understand, let’s receive those gifts with thanksgiving and praise.
May God supply many such gifts to you and your family now and for years to come.
Renée Sanford and her husband, David, are the general editors of the Focus on the Family Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family (Tyndale House Publishers).
Click here on this link Thriving as an Adoptive Family if you would like to purchase this handbook.