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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

Where Passion Meets A Paycheck

Do you ever get the feeling that something significant is about to change? That your present “ordinary” is about to be exchanged for a new normal?

It’s one of those seasons for me. An off-hand joke tossed out. A random suggestion at the most unexpected time. And the soul stirs…longing, hoping, dreaming of possibilities that were utterly impossible just seconds prior.

Somewhere along the way I suppose I got the idea that a job is just a job – that it can’t be a passion. And if your passion becomes your job, then eventually that passion will die out. But, I’m realizing what a lie that’s been. It’s not to say there won’t be difficult, exhausting, frustrating days. But, if you’re blessed to match up your passion with your paycheck, how can that be a bad thing?

Some jobs come along and they’re provision. God has provided a way to pay the bills, to put food on the table, to keep a family together.

Then there are jobs that are paving stones. Not the final destination, but pivotal steps along the way. God is preparing you for what’s yet to come.

And then there is that intersection where passion and paycheck meet, where you’re blessed to spend your hours and days living in the center of what drives you – what you would do for no pay at all. That’s precious. That’s a gift from the One who created you in the first place, who set your design and affirms your purpose.

Where are you at on your journey?

Is a change coming? Are you open to possibilities should they come in unexpected ways?

 

 

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

Being Comes Before Doing

I sat restless, my certainties from just hours before upended. Surrounded by coffee house chatter, the smell of roasting beans, and a sense that life was about to shift in a dramatic way, I poured out my heart on paper. The years and my choices had taken me far from God. My dreams, ambitions, they had nothing to do with Him anymore. My world centered firmly on me. But my world was experiencing an axis-shift.

Just 19-years-old, my future before me, a longtime dream in my hands, I finally opened my ears to hear His opinion on my future, my identity, my purpose.

My dream: to become a recording artist and producer. My reasons: I loved music and I wanted the spotlight. Surely my career was supposed to be all about me. Right?

But as my world shifted and turned, poles realigning, and I heard His voice, suddenly what I wanted shifted too. In a matter of moments, I’d stepped out of the center of my own life and invited God in to be the new center. With fresh eyes, with a heart finally opened, I began to care more about what He wanted than what I’d had planned.

And He asked, “Will you give Me your dream?”

I paused…not quite resisting, just facing the depth of His question to me. Finally, my heart spoke, “Yes. Here’s my dream. Here are my plans, my hopes. I don’t know what You have in mind, but I’ll trust You.”

My hands unclenched, opening palms up.

He wanted to talk about who I was before He would let me in on what I was supposed to do. He wanted to focus on my being before my doing. We spent months chatting in journals and quiet moments, speaking of things like identity and being and His truth.

One day, sitting outside the student union building between classes, He was suddenly there, radiating light…sitting in the patio chair across the table from me.

And I asked, “Lord, since I’m a part of the Body of Christ, what part am I? What is my purpose?” I was ready to see a glimpse of what my being was designed to do.

“Be My hands. Be My voice.” Somehow, I knew this meant to write and speak, though both things were alien to me at that moment. “Be there, not to stand in the spotlight, but to reflect My light.” And He was gone. The patio chair empty once again.

Now, journals stacked two feet high show me more than a decade of conversation between us in the years to follow. A non-writer began writing. A blog began, space dedicated to continuing this conversation about Who He is and where He is to be found. A book written and published, all about identity. More writing projects stand on the horizon. A perspective shifted, a new dream discovered. Doors opened that I never could’ve imagined on my own.

It’s the most exciting journey of my life, following Him each step of the way, wondering what’s next, still dumbfounded that He would choose to work through me in any capacity. It began with a conversation. With unclenched hands, opened to new possibilities. With willingness to let go of what I thought was best. Given a new hope and a new future.

 

 

 

 

refining identity cover no grad
Imagine if you knew who you were designed to be! What you were created to do! How might that shift the way you live and understand life today? Refining Identity is an invitation to take a journey through identity discovery, releasing the faulty and incomplete definitions we’ve used and realizing our true identities.
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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

The Complex Turned Simple

blue pansy

It’s almost too easy to slip into a sea of hopelessness as we face this complicated thing called “life”.  For those who have found their salvation in Jesus, it can still be overwhelming just dealing with the day-to-day. But, what if it was intended to be simple?  What if the complexity of trudging through our days was merely a deep-seated lie we’ve accepted as truth?

A thriving relationship with God need not be formulaic or complex.  It can be very, very simple.  But the complexity we bring to the relationship via sin shifts all that simplicity into seeming chaos.

All through the Bible, we are told to lean on Him, trust Him, come to Him.  Basically, the simplicity of a relationship with God is that we live as though He is actually our life-source.

But then we’d have to release other things, things that we find comfort in, things that we’re used to, things we believe to be true.  Perspectives, addictions, worldly comforts, the sense of having control…all these things we would need to let go of for the simplicity of a relationship that more than fulfills all we think we’re getting out of these temporal things.

What if it was as simple as saying, “God, here’s my concern, my hurt, my devastation.  What do You have to say about it?  What do you have to say about me?”  And then stop…and listen.

What if we could truly trust that Jesus dealt with our sin once and for all and is, Himself, the living Truth which moves beyond our limited and skewed perspectives?  What if He is the only Source we need? Things might begin to look drastically different.  Life may not get “easy”, but it would certainly be simpler. No longer relying on “me” to fix whatever I think needs fixing.   Just trusting Him with it, whatever “it” may be.

Honestly, I’m not fully there yet.  Many times, I still turn to worldly comforts as a default.  I turn to topical books and classes (which are often full of wonderful wisdom), but when I look to them to “fix” everything, I’m seeing the class or the teacher as my source rather than God.  Or, I take the nuggets offered and I try to force them on my circumstances, therefore attempting to master my personal universe.  Take a wild guess how that usually turns out…

But God is wooing me back to a relationship founded in simplicity.  Founded in trust.  Founded in love. Founded in actually living like He’s my Source.  Bringing Him into my day-to-day, asking Him to sit with me at the kitchen table, inviting Him into the reality of my messy kitchen while we sip a cup of tea and chat…doing life together.  Isn’t this the point of it all anyway?  Relationship.  One that opens the front door unapologetically while wearing pjs, with the kids’ toys scattered all askew, without fear of judgment or reprimand.  Relationship with the One who loves me most.

What does He have to say to you today about where you’re at? About who you are?

 

Imagine what your life would look like if you knew exactly who God designed you to be?  In my book, Refining Identity, you will dive into God’s Word, sift through the lies you’ve been living under, and discover God’s purpose and identity for you.  For individuals as well as groups, Refining Identity is written as an interactive discipleship journey to help you walk in that relationship with God, coming to say for yourself, “I am who I AM says I am.”  Discover more HERE!

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Adopt | Foster Now Found Blog

Overflowing Love

It has been a month of go-go-go for our family, as I’m sure it’s been for yours. Yes, we had Thanksgiving, but truthfully that was the simplest day of the month for us. I mentioned back in September that we were undergoing the licensing process to become foster parents. Well, at the end of October, we received our license and just a few days later, we got a call that made a wonderful new change to our family!

God has blessed us so much in this process! Yes, making the change from two to three kids is an adjustment, but any parent can tell you that. It has been for me a time of quite literally trusting God with this day alone. Trusting him with the things that absolutely must be done today to give me the strength to endure. And, especially trusting Him with the things that are not necessary for today and can wait…trusting that the world will not implode if I put off laundry for one day.

In fostering, I am amazed at how our territory of influence has grown. We have a list of people all new to us that we will now see on a regular basis. No longer are we in our “comfy” church friends and family only bubble. We have government workers and doctors, social workers and receptionists, biological family members, volunteers, case managers, attorneys and so many more who we now have the privilege of meeting. And in listening to the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit, in time we can have those moments to speak into lives that otherwise might never have known the love of God.

What a beautiful thing it is to remember that none of this is about me. Not the middle of the night diaper changes…not the bottle washing…not the appointments…nothing. It is about the love that God has poured out over us that we get to pass on to a little one who needs love right now. It’s not about the accolades from others who are proud of us. It’s not about facing the doubt that different people share as they wonder why we’re doing this.

It is about one more open door. It is about being open to God leading us through this day, equipping us for right now. It is about giving. And in giving, we have received so much in return! We have received slobbery baby kisses and the opportunity to see our bio kids smother this one in love. We’ve received a wonderful compliment from a CPS worker who said it was such a pleasure to see foster parents enjoy being foster parents. In remembering that this is not about us, God has given us a peace each day where we don’t have to live in fear of wondering where this precious one will end up. We are a chapter in this life. God knows the end. And for now, He has entrusted this gift to us.

Will we have this little one forever as our own? We just don’t know yet. That isn’t important right now. Today is the day the Lord has made. He will equip us for today and we will trust Him with tomorrow. But the giving of love today, we trust, will not be in vain. Giving love to another never returns void.

 

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There is such an incredible need for foster and adoptive families! I challenge you, rather than just giving an immediate excuse as to why this doesn’t apply to you, to sit with God and your spouse and pray about God’s heart for children who need a temporary safe place or a forever family. Ask Him how you can be a part of this incredible opportunity to love on some amazing kiddos. There are so many ways…become a foster/adoptive family, volunteer as a CASA worker, volunteer as a respite worker, take a meal to a family who is fostering or newly adopted, watch bio kids for the parents who are getting licensed, donate clothes and other baby or kid items to a closet benefiting foster/adoptive families and pray, pray, pray for those families…there are nearly endless ways to help. We couldn’t have done it without the help we received and we are so very thankful to each and every person who has freely given their time to help us get to this place.

You may also like: Room for One More and THE Question Everyone Asks

 

If you’re a foster/adoptive family or are considering it, visit Chosen Ones!  God brings special families together and this amazing ministry provides support and encouragement to make these families successful.  They have immensely blessed us in our journey and I can’t imagine having walked this road without them!

Categories
Adopt | Foster Now Found Blog

Room for One More

Pixabay-baby shoes-505471_1280

Years ago, Steve and I discussed our shared vision for adoption. I haven’t included this in my bio or posted anything about this subject up until now, I suppose, because this is still an “in the works” heart’s desire. But in the midst of our preparations for our lives to change, I felt a need to share our heart for foster care and adoption.

We get the question “Why?” a lot…sometimes in words, but usually just through people’s eyes.

Why go through the hassle to open your home to kids you don’t know, possibly face danger or hostility and be inconvenienced like that?

Why, when you have two amazing kids already…why do you want more?

Why, when you’re homeschooling and your schedule is already so full?

Why, when you aren’t overflowing with wealth and have to watch your spending very carefully?

There’s some truth in those honest questions: it won’t be convenient…we are content with the kids we have…our schedule is full…we are very prudent with our finances and don’t often get “extras.” But when God spoke to us, His voice of invitation trumped all the objections.

He gave us a desire years ago for a house full of kids…not really a specific number, just a bunch. He also gave us a clear vision statement for our family: There is always room in our home and our hearts for just one more.

One more child…one more friend…one more family member…one more son or daughter-in-law…one more grandchild…one more person who is searching or lonely…one more.

So, where are we at in this process right now? We are at a place where we are unable (aside from a healing miracle from God) to have more biological kiddos. We have kids who are amazing helpers and love babies, who are intelligent and caring. We have completed the classes, the required reading, most of the forms. We have a few hoops to jump through before we are certified to be foster parents, as our agency assures themselves of the safety of our home and the character and readiness of our family.

The kids ask several days a week, “When will a baby come?” And I reply, “Soon…just a few weeks…whenever we’ve finished our requirements and God says ‘It’s time.'” Soon…

So, why? Because God has adopted us. He is willing to deal with our messes and be inconvenienced. He is our Provider and isn’t concerned about what money is or isn’t in the bank at this moment. He knows that kids aren’t a burden in life, but a blessing. He is our Protector and will keep us safe in every situation. He has given us the calling to homeschool our kids as well and He will give us the strength and wisdom to adjust our other commitments as needed. Why? Because He loves us. He has invited us to partner with Him in loving those who have been neglected and abused, forgotten, and cast-off.

“Religion [A spiritual life] that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

Perhaps He is inviting you in some way too. Maybe He’s asking you to say that you are willing to be inconvenienced…to trust more in His power than your own…to set aside the plans you have that make perfect sense by the world’s standards and be open to His plans that are beyond your own logic. Maybe we can turn our “why’s” into “why nots”. Just a thought.

 

You may also like: Overflowing Love and THE Question Everyone Asks

 

If you’re a foster/adoptive family or are considering it, visit Chosen Ones!  God brings special families together and this amazing ministry provides support and encouragement to make these families successful.  They have immensely blessed us in our journey and I can’t imagine having walked this road without them!

 

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