Thursday, December 17, 2015

Encouragement for Christian Adoptive Parents who need Strength in a Time of Despair

Yesterday I shared some struggles that we have been having with Smalls. It has been a very hard road to adopt an older child with special needs, harder than I ever could imagine. I have seen more negative behaviors from one tiny human than I have seen from 10 big humans. It is saddening to me to see the hurt and pain that Smalls is going through. Her behavior affects the whole family. I am slowly learning to not let my daughter's behavior affect me spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I need to be stable for my family and I am slowly learning how to do that. I think this is a lesson that I will continue to learn throughout my life.

This morning I was listening to a great sermon by our former pastor. Click here for link. It was exactly what I needed to hear this week. Pastor Chip has a couple of main points that I wrote down. They were a huge encouragement for me in this difficult time and might be encouraging for you too.

Text: Joshua 1
Background: Joshua takes over after Moses died. This was a hard time for the Israelites. This was a time of despair (sounds like me right now and maybe you too). They had just lost their leader, who brought them out of slavery. God tells Joshua to go over the Jordan and into the land that He has for Israel. God does not tell Joshua about the river being flooded during this time of year or any other trial/tribulation that he will face by obeying Him. He just tells him to go.

God tells Joshua 3 very important truths that he can know during this difficult time:
  1. Joshua can know that God is the Author of his life. Joshua had seen God's work and power all throughout Exodus because he was Moses' assistant (Joshua 1:1). God told Moses to commission Joshua as the next Israelite leader (Num. 27:18). 
  2. Joshua can know that God will be with him. He can have the assurance of God's presence (Joshua 1:5).
  3. Joshua can know the Word of God. God's Word will make us prosperous (Joshua 1:8). Prosperous does not mean money or a nice house, but a life that is well spent for God's glory.
At the end of the sermon, Pastor Chip gives 7 Biblical passages on how you can know God is your strength:
  1. Psalm 139. God is the Author of my life. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
  2. Matthew 1:23. God is with me. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (which means, God with us).
  3. Ephesians 1:13-14. We have the Holy Spirit. He gives us the assurance of God's presence with us. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
  4. Philippians 2:13. God is working in me. For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
  5. Psalm 1. God is life and I will prosper in Him. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
  6. 1 Peter 4:10-11. God supplies my abilities. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorifies through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
  7. Joshua 2 and 3. We should obey God and His commands to us. Joshua was commanded in chapter 1 to go into the land that God has promised (Joshua 1:2-4). In chapter 2, Joshua obeys and sends two spies into Jericho. In chapter 3, Joshua crosses the Jordan.
God told us to go and adopt a little girl named Smalls. He did not tell us all of the details about her neglect or her behavioral problems. We got some information before we said yes to the referral, but we did not get any specific details on what our life would be like after we had adopted her. We did see happy pictures of adoptive families. We did hear the "happy endings" from adoptive families. Subconsciously, I thought that would be us-one big happy family. We listened to God and our lives are suppose to be easier, right? No, that could be further from the truth and is a lie. We must obey God no matter the costs. God will give us the strength to get through the hard times. He will be our happy ending and we will have that one big happy family when He comes back.

I don't know where you are in your adoption. You might just be starting out or have been home with your child(ren) for years. No matter the ups or the downs, God will always be with you. You can have assurance in His presence and in His Word.

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