A letter to my Nieces and Nephews.

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Dear Nieces and Nephews.

Near and far. 

I’m sitting here thinking…reflecting…praying for each one of you. 

I’m thankful for each one of you and who each of you are. Each of you are special in your own unique way.  As I reflect…I can’t help but think of your losses, your goals, your accomplishments, your struggles, your hurts, your gifts and your talents. Some of these things about you I know very well and some of these things I can really only wonder…and pray for you! 

I want you to know you each bring me happiness. You make me laugh and just thinking about you makes me smile. There’s not one thing you could do, that would stop me from wanting the best for you. I love to see you, to hear from you, to catch up, read posts, share pictures and to share life’s moments with you. (the good and the bad)  I am thankful God gave me each of you and I will never hold the title of being your “Aunt” lightly.  It really is a title that brings me great joy!

If there is only one thing that you could learn from me, I hope it would be this…

Nobody…yes NOBODY!! Has or ever will, love you like Jesus. Not your parents, your best friend, your guy or girl friend or even your spouse. Your children that adore you, admire you and look up to you, could never love you like Him. His love is indescribable, unmeasurable, and undeniable! It truly is the greatest love of all…

Life can fail you, friends will hurt you, loss can consume you and pain can be way too real. But…You are never alone! He is greater than all of lifes messes and He will direct you always…as you seek Him. I know too well through my own mistakes and struggles that He is the only answer to life’s problems, and He is the only one to fill an empty void that maybe present. Trust Him.  

And so, I have decided to make this my prayer for each of you…

I pray the Lord blesses you and that each of your lives bring Him glory. That you are a light to others in this dark world and a reflector of His love to all those you meet. I pray you have strength to face each day, because some are much harder than others. That you live life to the fullest, enjoying the people in life, that surround you. I pray you are wise in your choices and a positive influence on the road that you walk. I ask the Lord to protect you daily, provide peace when needed, give courage when necessary and multiply your gifts and talents. May you seek His presence often, live by His truth, grow in your faith and personally experience His saving grace. 

And I pray to be here for you…to the very best of my ability…pointing you to the one… who will never leave you or forsake you and has the perfect plan for your lives!  

I Love You, 

Each One of You, 

Forever ❤️

Aunt Sue 

It is what it is…but it really isn’t!

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I have definitely said that at times. And in many cases, it has helped me to process whatever it is that has been presented to me or someone I love…a little better.

The easiest way for me to deal with something out of my control is to think “it is what it is.”   

But guess what?  It really isn’t!

It isn’t what has been presented or what I may see it as.  And it never will be!  

It’s completely fine to think “It is what it is” if in our hearts we can know that “it really isn’t.”

Situations beyond my control become a little more bearable and understandable (I didn’t say they were easier) when I take the next step and fully trust God and cling to His eternal hope.  I have learned to accept that God is the only one who sees what really is.

He is the only one who understands all the details of the masterpiece He is creating with our lives. And God uses every “it is what it is” moment that we face. He uses our every pain and our deepest hurts.

When we look to Him we can make more sense out of something that seems so senseless. We can cling to the promise that His plan is far greater for our lives than we could ever comprehend. We can move forward knowing that everything out of our hands is really in the best hands ever! 

His plan is far too complex for any of our knowledge. It is much too beautiful for our eyes to visualize.  Our broken hearts could never grasp how all the pieces will perfectly be mended together one day. How He works things out for our good will always be far beyond what our minds can understand. 

But He is working!

And what IS really ISN’T.

Learn to trust Him with ALL of lifes moments.

Open your heart, mind and soul to Him.

Remember “It is what it is…but it really isn’t.”

 

There Is A Fine Line Between Helping and Enabling.

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The desire to help people, especially those who mean the most to us, comes very natural to many of us. Especially to Parents who want to help their children succeed.  Unfortunately, this well-meaning impulse to help solve a person’s problem can backfire. I am learning this as I grow older, not only as a parent, but also living a life of Ministry. Trying to avoid back firing can be tricky and difficult. We try to give, help and serve others like Jesus. But in doing so, nobody said it would be easy. It can tear your heart out and make you question all you’ve ever known.  But trust God, His timing and His promises!  He is proven His faithfulness to me over and over again.  And I too am always learning!

I am seriously good at solving problems. It may even seem weird to some of you, but I actually enjoy problem solving.  I love to help people, so I am more than willing to do whatever I can to fix things for them.  I will always help people, but I have grown more aware of what it really means to enable someone. There is a fine line (but a big difference) between ”helping” someone and “enabling” them.

Personally, I believe it depends not only on the situation confronted with, but the condition of the person’s heart that you are trying to help. I find myself pondering on a few questions whenever I am making the decision to offer my help to someone… so that I do not enable them.  Does the person own up to what they have done?  Or only when they will gain something in return?  Are they being truthful? Demanding?  Or rebellious?  Is the person willing to help them self and change their ways?  And also, is there a pattern to their behavior that needs to be broken?  Would I be helping them to succeed or hurting them in the long run?  Is there behavior or problem causing harm to them self or someone else?

I felt compelled to write this to shed some light on enabling through my own parenting experiences that have ended in mishaps and also in many successes. I know my children have to solve problems “big and small” on their own.   And….Ugh it’s so hard not to protect them from failures!  Can any of you relate to this?  I know many of you have walked this hard and unclear road as well.

I (we) have great kids!  All five of them are different and have different levels of responsibility and different levels of problem solving skills.  They, like anyone else, have to make decisions that are responsible and live by their consequences. Nothing makes a parent more proud of their child than to see them trust God and figure things out with His guidance. BUT…I also like to be involved in the process. LOL  I struggle with letting go and letting God do his amazing work. (He works even through their struggle)  I have learned that being involved in the problem solving process for most people (esp. teenagers and young adults) doesn’t give them an advantage in the long run.  It can even make a problem grow or become a temporary fix.  No matter what the “problem” is when they have to solve it themselves, they are most likely to learn from the process of figuring it out and less likely to keep repeating it. When they problem solve on their own, they learn from their choices and they gain the confidence needed for the next thing they will face in life.

I am not talking about offering assistance to someone that has an immediate and or true need. And there will always be times we give and offer help not knowing the full circumstance of the situation. When you give from your heart out of obedience and someone abuses that giving, it is on them, not the person who has given. Alway give…

Enabling means: To give someone the authority or means to do something.  I recently read somewhere that the meaning has really become more like – “offering help that makes someone or something, (typically an undesirable situation) continue indefinitely. A friend who makes excuses for his hung-over friend is enabling alcohol abuse.  The relative who lends money to a drug addict is enabling that addiction.  And a parent whose child asks to be “bailed out” of a situation they’ve created because of their poor choices is enabling irresponsibility.

Those who constantly enable dysfunctional behaviors are called co-dependents.  I don’t want to be a co-dependent of anyone…..especially in my child’s life. The reality is, enabling not only doesn’t help the person to overcome or learn anything, but it actually causes harm. It can make the situation much worse and continue to repeat itself.

Stepping in to “solve” the problem, takes away any motivation for the person to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Without that motivation, there is little reason for them to change their behavior. Enablers can help their spouses, friends, and children dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble.  People have to solve their problems without a “bail out” (a rescue) or THEY haven’t solved the problem. Therefore, they have most likely not learned from it either.

There is definitely a fine line between helping and enabling.  “Helping” would be like letting a teenager ignore their chores while studying for finals or because of a busy work week. Dismissing a teenager’s drug use, drinking, lying, defiance, violence or rebellion as “just part of being that age” is NOT helping.

If you ignore unacceptable behavior…you are an enabler. 

If you solve all of the problems brought to you by a person…you are enabler.

I have crossed that ever so fine line of “helping or enabling” myself.  I just didn’t realize it at the time.  Boy is it a tough lesson to learn for both the parent and the child. The child who didn’t get money at their request, or the “bail out” they feel they deserved after their poor choices, may feel they have lost the parents love. But…Oh how wrong that is….

A Strong love… teaches others to solve their problems, grow and learn from them.  Even when it’s painful and can cause heart ache. 

Love your children, spouse, friends, and relatives Strong

Pray for them!  

Show them a love that does not enable their behaviors, addictions or defiance’s.

A Love that helps them to grow and continue to blossom. 

A Love that allows them to learn from their mistakes and become better at solving them.

A love that never stops loving them, but never loves their poor choices.

A love that guides them in the right direction without picking them up and taking them there

A stronglovewebLove that does NOT enable.   

A person struggling needs a Strong Love…

Christ love for us is Strong! 

 

 

I am not a professional…..But If someone you know becomes mentally unstable please do not hesitate to seek medical attention. I suggest seeking a counselor or therapist for anyone that has a dysfunctional behavior that could cause harm to their self or someone else.  If an addiction to drugs or alcohol is the problem, I suggest enrolling them in a treatment plan, attending a local AA group or a Celebrate Recovery Program and or seek counseling.

Foster Parents~Let Your Love Shine Brightly in 2016!

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I’ve heard your pain, your hurts and your worries and I have felt them myself. Being a Foster parent is not an easy job. As a matter of fact, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

Nobody fully understands what it entails and nor will they ever completely get it…unless of course, they too are given the heart to walk the hard road of fostering for themselves.

These children come in all different fashions when they arrive at our door. They can be any or all of these things when we are finally introduced. (fear filled, fragile, desperate, beaten, neglected, starving, anxious, confused, shaken, hyper, mischievous, hurtful, calm, depressed, etc.) They often face other struggles because of their life circumstances. (Attachment disorders, learning disabilities, sleep disorders, post trauma disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, severe anxiety, processing disorders, and so on)

We don’t just open our doors and everyone blends perfectly together. We cautiously open our hearts too. And when we do that just right, so many other things start to unfold. We long to really “know them”  so we can care for them just right. The unknowns about “who they are” and “what they will be like” brings on our own set of pre-placement anxieties. We wish we had all the important information upfront. And we somehow accept that we may never really know much of anything. (What have they gone through? Will we be all that they need to heal?) So many things matter in how we move forward, yet little is ever answered. We help them transition the best that we can. We set out to love unconditionally and try not to have preconceived expectations. We are on call 24/7. So therefore, we live a life of spontaneity. Organization becomes second nature and we learn quickly to utilize resources when a call comes. We usually over think things, analyze everything, and have only a handful of people (or less) that we can talk to…about everything.

The life of Fostering is a hard one. It’s exhausting emotionally and physically. It is definitely not for all. It makes our hearts ache, our heads spin and can turn things upside down in our families for awhile. But…it is desperately needed! It’s rewards are great! And it is making a difference, one child and one family at time! And in the midst of some crazy days/nights, weeks/months, and sometimes years…as we do what we are called to do…somehow, someway, the blessings manage to outweigh each and every struggle and heartache.

We may not see the progress or healing while they are in our homes, but we claim it for each child and family.  We have faith and it outweighs a failing system. We cannot do it by “our power” so we trust an unfailing God and “His power” to do all things.  We seek the Lord as we keep pouring out. He fills us daily, so we can keep our focus and move forward with every struggle. We pray His perfect plan unfolds in everyone of our Foster children(s) lives. And sometimes His plan is a forever home through adoption.

Remember…You (WE) are not “just a Foster parent.” 
We are comforters in the middle of the night, when a child wakes with night tremors or wants their Mom. 
We are therapists who hear the things that would break anyones heart. 
We try our best to speak wise words of love and truth…when at times we are struck to complete speechlessness.
We become reporters, when a child opens up for the first time. Or there is visual evidence of wrong doing.
We are transporters as we caravan repeatedly to appointments, court dates and visitations. 
We quickly become patient advocates as we seek every service and resource for a child’s medical needs. 
And….We are professional child advocates as we fight for the help our child(ren) need in school, with daily tasks, or life in general.
We are often the first real example of a parent (mom or dad) and it’s imperative that these children have one. 
We can improvise and change routines or plans in a split second. 
We are a quick learners and we learn things about our child(ren) and…ourselves daily! 
We multi task and meet the needs of our husbands, bio kids and that of your placements. (which all bring there own challenges) 
We appear to be super mom to others, but often we feel alone on your mission to save the world…one child at a time. 
We sit for long hours at appointments, in court, at therapy and visitations, and sometimes still work other jobs outside of the home. 
We are happy doing what we are called to do despite the chaos at times. 
We are creative and fun loving…
We are motivated and determined. 
And…We are so much more!!

I know YOU…I am You!

You have cried in the quiet

And yelled privately at the system

You encourage yourself to keep going

And question everything you do

You have doubts

And you talk yourself out of them

You are happy with baby steps

And ecstatic with big ones

You jump for joy when you sleep all night

And you try to catch up on sleep when you don’t

You shoot to move mountains

And are satisfied when you help a molehill move

You love the smiles and laughter

And you look forward to new goals

You get discouraged when trust is broken

And you hurt when a child leaves

You prepare your bios from the loss that’s to come

And you protect and guard your own heart without even knowing

You worry about outcomes

And you wonder about plans

You love each and every crazy minute of your life

And….You love and provide so much more!!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! You are like me. And WE are like so many others. And WE are all called to love!  To live life and help others to live their lives better. To make the world brighter! To make a difference and then some! 

So let the difference your making be inspiring. Let your story be told.

Let your love shine brightly in 2016!

Remember, We are so much more then what the world sees as “JUST a Foster Parent”.  

We are a Gift to a child..a Blessing to a hurting family… and a crucial piece of stability to a system that needs our help.

We are changing the world… 

You Are More…

YOU ARE MORE….

You’re More Than Your Hard Days!

Some days you may try your best and it may not seem like it’s enough.

Some days the words you want to heal may hurt instead.

Some days you may question everything you do or lack the energy to complete it.

Some days your agenda, goals and plans may be shattered.

Some days your intentions may seem like they dont matter.

This doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Or you should quit.

Or God is mad at you.

It just means this…

All of your days you will be human and make mistakes.

All of your days you will grow, but you will never reach perfection.

All of your days there will be grace enough for you.

All of your days will start fresh.

And new.

And with joy.

Remember that the positive always out weighs the negative in life.

Remember God never gives up on you, so never give up on yourself.

Remember everyone’s ugly can become something beautiful.

Remember there’s no test or trial or hard day the Lord can’t use for His glory.

If you let Him.

So,  Keep going.

Keep trying.

Keep moving forward.

I know it’s hard on some days. But you are MORE than those days.

At the end of all of your days, you may very well hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And that alone will make ALL the hard days you had to persevere through worthwhile.

So take a deep breath.

Keep your focus.

Remain strong in your faith.

And each night when you close your eyes, remember you are loved.

Loved Today.

Loved Tomorrow.

And Loved Forever.

Because You Are More Than Your Hard Days!

Don’t Confuse Your Path With Your Destination

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Every one of us will encounter storms on our journey.  Let’s face it, not one of us is exempt from them. It’s a part of growing. It’s a part of parenting. It’s a part of building our faith. Storms can mold our character; teach us about love, mercy and His amazing grace….they are a part of life. We can face storms on our path at any time as we move towards our destination. We may walk through some dark and gloomy days, wake to hurts and losses wishing they’d have disappeared over night, and stomp our way through some very difficult times.

But the Lord says this….

Deuteronomy 31:8   The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Sometimes we get off the path while we are facing a storm. We lose focus on the sunshine that is promised to come again. We need to remember we are never alone. The Lord is with you and has already gone ahead of you.  He already knows the outcome and has a perfect plan. The sun will shine again.  Keep your head up.  Keep pushing through the rain.  Trust His plan even when all you see is dark clouds.  Have faith that your destination will soon be glorious.

After the storm…..the outcome may be all that you have hoped for, everything that you have pushed forward towards, and way more than you could have ever imagined.  Allow the Lord to work on your behalf as you seek Him…even in the midst of your storm…seek him with all your heart!

The Lord also says this….

Jeremiah 29:11-13  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Facing a storm?  Or in a storm right now?  Or do you have a testimony where the Lord has calmed your storm, brought the sunshine back into your life, and or set your path straight again?

You may be a glimmer of sunshine to someone else.  Share your story.  It’s been given to you for a reason.  Let God use the path you’ve walked to share HOPE with others.