Tuesday, May 20, 2014

God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle...

...and for me, He's done it so I would HAVE to ask for help, accept help, aka lean on the body of Christ.
The above excerpt was from my Bible study I'm doing and it explained what The Lord is doing in my life without me even realizing it. Our current situation has left us in need. We are planners, savers and a family who "might" pride ourselves on being pretty prepared regardless of circumstance. But add a couple kids to a crew that was already under some hard financial and emotional times and viola we are "needy".

I have struggled hard since becoming a Momma with control issues of ever admitting a need for help from others. I can admit easily that I need Jesus and His help...but the help of fellow Christians, umm, that's for weaker women;) Or women with waaaaay serious problems. Ha! Turns out I'm both.

While running this morning I MET with Jesus ya'll. Like felt like my face was gonna be shining when I came back in the house and not just from sweat. Hand raising, tears streaming, can'thelpmysmilin', kind of coming to Jesus party and I loved it. Maybe one day I'll write a post all about it...but for now I'll discuss the portion that applies.;) God was affirming in my heart something I "knew", that I could invite others to join me on this mission He is calling me and it wasn't about weakness, or need even, but about serving Him and being OBEDIENT. 

A year ago my baby girl got real sick and I wrote a post or two about all the ways the body of Christ pitched in. But I failed to mention the most memorable one to me (ok, one of the...) 
For Mother's Day I got a dress. The type or color don't really matter...what matters is that a few of my friends knew I wanted it...and it appeared wrapped and beautiful in the hospital waiting room on Mother's Day! You see, the few friends called other friends and they all got together, pitched in and bought me that dress. It was about so much more than cotton or Matilda Jane. It was about a momma who had been in a hospital room on days unending and a dad who'd been keeping the night watch. There wouldn't have been a Mother's Day gift without the help of my people and they saw a need and made it happen. Everytime I wear that dress I think about those girls; some of whom I'm not even aware; saw a way to be Jesus and they were obedient. 

It's been no different this go round (coincidentally or providentially a year to the date from the aforementioned situation) "my people" have arrived right on time. The clothes, shoes, breakfast bars, prayers, cash, grocery cards, hugs and helping hands have come from all directions. I have people that I didn't even know were "my people". It is an awkward place to be, accepting help from others and being a recipient of their undeserved graciousness. But I'm grateful for it, because the very thing I don't want to admit is that is exactly what I need. I am learning that it is a privilege to serve God, not a hardship, like I initially anticipated. My people have seen a way to be obedient and they are simply doing the same. 

Chances are if you are reading this, then you are apart of "my people"...to you I say I can't say how grateful I am. Your obedience to The Lord and His call to help the "orphaned and widowed" is overwhelming. If you are a random follower then I challenge you to find someone to serve. God is blessing the Harper 7(for now) in ways we never knew possible while we choose to lay our lives down and do the same for these babies under our care.

You'll never know the power of being Jesus to someone by simply being "their people". 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

God stuff.

I'm well aware that if you believe in Jesus give your life to Him and begin a personal    relationship with God almighty, it is indeed ALL, "God stuff". But for the sake of no better terminology I wanted to share how amazing God is in preparing, meeting and changing my heart when He decides it's time to refine/stretch/challenge me in a particular area. 

This whole bringing 2 little people into our home was not something I'd term "easy" nor has it been all sunshine and roses. At. All. But I can see a teeny tiny part of God's great big ole plan and I'm already, somehow feeling privileged to be apart of it. When it began, a few short weeks ago, that was not my primary feeling.

Here's some background on how cool my God is...
- I've been praying in the last month or so for our family and ministry. We've got stuff that Mick and I do. We have areas the kids are involved in and we talk about living life for Jesus. But lately I've felt this overwhelming sense that as parents we weren't doing enough for them to "get it". You know, the great commission, Jesus' commands to help the poor, just being Christlike in general. We'd catch a glimpse in giving to a homeless person or giving money and praying for someone in need. But I had started to pray for a way for ALL of us to have an opportunity to serve. I was making a list of food pantry's. God had bigger and better plans.

- One day recently riding in the car with SB I was praying/singing/screaming "oceans" to Jesus. I was overwhelmed to sobs over the line
"Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander..." 
The sheer magnitude of opening myself up for His plan, without MY initial nudging both moved me and frightened me.

- Another car ride realization (notice all my alone time is courtesy of car seats and 5 point harness separation, I used to have these thoughts in shower/bathroom time, but that is no longer sacred:() While I was driving to Target, I began praying for my kiddos and I took the following to heart:

-Lastly, I have been getting a wee bit of alone time and feeling sortof dare I say, confident in my own abilities as of late. I've been playing tennis, doing a few of my own things and just generally getting a little comfortable with life. Thursday before we added our blondes to the Harper 5, it occurred to me while driving home that I sortof was enjoying this "suburban" life I was living. Maybe I'd get a spray tan and get ready for summer by the pool. Yeah, I'd look up the stuff about the food pantry later.

Then Friday morning comes and our life is shifted. I'm faced with an opportunity to truly show my kiddos servanthood in a whole new way. So much for my plans. At first I was anxious and scared and a little bitter that our family would get to learn in this way. Telling Micah (my hearts twin) our plan shed true light on the matter. His first response was fetal position tears and complete resistance. I'm an adult so this kind of behavior would have been unacceptable for me in response to the current situation but it took some restraint for me to not follow suit. Truth is, I've got 3 kids, whom I love dearly. I was good. Had my cup full. I like things neat and tidy, black and white. Grey areas are not my friend. Grey isn't in God's vocabulary anyways...but when I can't decide direction, things seem grey. Taking on 2 more kiddos is one thing, but my sister's children? Surely that's too complicated for us. Better not go for complicated, even God couldn't work this situation out...wrong!!

I'm now 2 weeks into whatever this is God is calling our family to...but the point is, He has already given me encouragement and affirmation that this isn't about me at all. It's about Him. Deny myself. Take up His cross. Turns out, all the worrying about my kiddos "getting it" should've been applied to my own life as well. Granted our family is learning and growing in ways we never could have otherwise. I'm not saying a weekly trip to work a food pantry wouldn't have had the same end result...or maybe I am. The point is, God knows exactly what we need, even when we are kicking and screaming we disagree, or when we are begging Him to do something big. We've got our own ideas, but He is the one who leads/directs/controls our paths. It's the same lesson for me, but brand new at the very same time. I honestly do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. He's showing me (again, in a new way) that's all I need. Truly can't wait to see what He does next. Trusting Him for grace for each moment. 

PS. I have nothing against tennis, spray tans, swimming or living life where God has planted you. In fact I hope to continue with as many of the aforementioned as possible. In light of, not in place of my current situation. It's just that those things are just things and I needed to loosen my grip on things like that...hope you hear my heart per usual here.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Where to start...

Our lives got rocked to the core a little over a week ago. I got a morning wake up call that my sister had been arrested for drug possession. For those who've been with the blog for the duration, you know this drug problem has been around a long while. We thought she had gotten better. We were wrong. Bad wrong. I have so many thought/emotions swirling through my head even after a week but for now I just want some release as I record what's transpired this far. A jumping off point to see how far and how great God's plan is in a really hard, ugly situation. 

My sister has custody of her last 2 babies. A boy, who is 4 and sweet little girl who is 2. As soon as I heard the news I knew I had to go get them. Weeks before Mick and I had discussed the children's current situation and didn't think it was healthy. We weren't sure how to help the kiddos or if our concerns were valid enough. But we both agreed we probably weren't capable of taking that task on. But there I sat on my bathroom counter crying knowing God was calling us to rescue those precious children. I called Mick after the fact as I was literally driving to pick them up. There current living arrangements were so disappointing and I was immediately ashamed I hadn't seen this coming nor done something sooner. The transition to Aunt Steph's was amazingly easy... for everyone whose last name is NOT Harper;) The 2 littles just hopped up in my car and said, "let's go!". I was both thankful and tearfilled at their eagerness to go with someone they only see at Christmas and a few other times a year. The 2 year old girl has severe exzema and was covered in rash/bumps/dry skin. I only wish I had a picture if their current condition. But I guess part of me wants them and me to forget that part of our little journey so far. 

Right now the only thing for sure with our situation is...nothing's for sure. For those who know me you know that regardless of the fact that 5 kiddos under 6 is a wee stressful...the unknown is what overwhelms me most. I like plans, scenarios, back up plans and backup plans for the back up plans. To that God says " I am." Yup, that's what He says. I know, right? 

This blogpost is more for record keeping, prayer begging and lesson recording...but I needed a little therapy in there too.

We have temporary guardianship for now as an emergency plan and have all sorts of whatifs playing themselves out day to day. My sister is facing some major charges and consequences for the first time in her life. And quite possibly for the first time in MY life I have no desire to fix it for her. I want to see her well, being a Momma to her babies and living a "normal" life. But my focus is now on littles and what is best for them. The Lord has redirected my eyes to where He wants them and in trusting it to all work out. I am laying...no, I'm throwing this at His feet...begging Him to show me/reveal to me His plan purpose and my role in it. Prayers are greatly appreciated as the Harper 5 adds 2 new blondes to our mix for as long as He allows.