When You Leap!

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Feet planted, toes push close to the edge but not over. Knees bent, a slight bounce as my body sways first forward then back. Jump or no?  That is the question.

In April, my husband and I stuttered through conversations, one after another, that waited for the other to say “go.”

A series of God ordained events led us to the edge of a cliff. God spoke. We obeyed. 

Deep breath! “Jump!”

We made a leap. 

Long story shortened, we decided to place our 17 year old adopted son in a treatment facility for boys in hope that he would get specialized help needed to overcome some deep issues and unhealthy brain patterns. In truth, it was our last hope to save his life. (and we have a long history of suicide attempts, hospital visits and therapists to confirm what may sound like an overdramatized statement.)

The leap was in part the group home but  in full it was the price; a hefty sum ALL out of pocket. 

A recent summer day found me, mid-air, with wavering faith. Won’t ask for money, but friends made a point to do it for me by way of a You Caring Crowdfunding site. Pride made me resistant to the idea, but love of my friends made me cave.

“God, this is hard and humbling and somewhat embarrassing to accept money from people who I know struggle with their own finances. Forgive me, though, for not embracing what seems to be your will. If it is your will, then please let money come from those who won’t have to sacrifice to give.”

No more than 5 minutes passed after those words left my lips before an email popped up. I cried at every word. Here’s the nutshell version.

“Teresa, I have a trust account set aside for donations. Right now we are sending $2500. No need to thank me.  It’s from God and my parents, who left me the money.”

I sat stunned. Ecstatic at the evidence of God’s involvement yet a bit ashamed at my surprise of it.

Q: At what point in our decisions process should the possibility of success outweigh the possibility of defeat or humiliation or failure?

A: The moment God says “jump!”

Faith is to believe God’s faithfulness, provision and omnipotence will meet us at the same mid-air moment a skydiver pulls the cord and releases the parachute. Then and only then, does He take us higher and further than possible to imagine.

Psalm 3:4 “I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.”

The Lord’s work began when our human effort ended.

On a more remarkable note, our son is thriving. His therapist wrote, “Good news! [Your son] continues to do very well! We are very proud of him. We have not had any issues of defiance, has been a GREAT leader and peer and has been very productive in therapy.”  

Six years of therapy and hospitals and our unconditional love could not do what this home has done in 4 months. 

God had a plan for healing that involved a leap of faith on our part. We are still hovering with wind below but are confident that God, who called us to jump, will be faithful to sustain us and complete what He started.

At what cliff do you find yourself paralyzed? Is God saying “jump?”
cliff-diving

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When God draws blood!

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Signed in and seated, the magazine pages that passed through my fingers held no interest. They were a poor distraction to the room that beckoned my anxious attention. Not my first, nor will it be my last blood draw. Yet my heart pounded at the not yet seen needle that awaited.

“Run away. Don’t go through with it,” were my thoughts.

My name rolled off the lips of the phlebotomist as a question. Has she had experience with people who bail at the dreaded image of the needle or the vials of blood that get sucked through the syringe? Maybe her inflection was to ask if I still remained in the waiting room determined to follow through.

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Stuck in the Middle of the Storm!

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On one hand – Hands shook and heart pounded as I ripped through the glue on the envelope. Hope absent, but adrenaline still raised anticipation. Not bolded, but the words drew my eyes, “Your request for SSI has been declined.” The long list of disrders diagnosed, hospital documentation, school records and Dr. reports could not overshadow the pay stub of my husbands “too large of income.”

On the other hand – My heart surged with hope. The voice on the other end related to every struggle with our adoptive son with RAD. Treatment options that resonated with what we believed our boy needed, what we needed in respite care. Six years of fumbled treatment, dead end counsel and unapplied tools proved we, as parents, could not provide what his mental health required. A slight exhale of relief escaped, all to soon. “Our program requires 12 -15 months of treatment at the cost of $9,000 a month.” A brief elevation of hope dropped to the pit of my stomach. 

We aren’t low income, but we aren’t Bill Gates either. 

“Sorry, your income exceeds our requirements for assistance.”

“Quality treatment costs money to keep the patient to staff member ratio low. The benefits are worth the price.”

We are stuck in the middle class conundrum. 

Too much for state or government programs yet my husband’s income falls too short to pursue treatment plans that could pay the monthly mortgage for 10 families.

Frustration and desperation led to prayer, as it often does. And as He often does, a revelation brought light to the dark cycle of “too much, not enough” and being stuck in the middle. 

Perhaps being in the middle is the breeding ground for God to cultivate His glory.

One the one hand, we can’t rely on state or government and on the other, we can’t rely on ourselves.  Who’s left? 

Who indeed. 

Just like Peter! Jesus called Peter out of the boat. Too far for the other disciples to pull him back, not far enough to grab onto Jesus or he would not have panicked. He had only one choice when the waves grew stronger, when he began to feel the water rise. He shouted, “Lord, save me.”

God called my husband and I to adoption before we even said, “I do” over 20 years ago. We stepped out in faith with knowledge of storms that could rise on the journey.

We knew our adopted kids could have disorders from alcohol in the womb or early life in an orphanage. Yet God called us, so we jumped out of the boat, not knowing where it would lead us. 

Here we stand, in the middle between stepping out in faith and not yet reached the destination of healing and wholeness for our son. The waves are crashing as we tread the waters of Reactive Attachment and mood disorders and learning disrders. The storm surge of suicide plagues our son. We are desperate as we feel the water rising and weariness as we fight to keep our head above the waves. 

Our journey finds us in the middle of surging waters. The boat behind us and the end too far, yet to see the calm. 

God is still before us. “Trust! Have faith! Come to me.”

Peter couldn’t help himself, only the one who called him would be faithful to lead him to his destination. To be his rock, unmovable by forces that surround. 

Maybe your in the middle, between honeymoon and restoration not yet seen. The new born cry and the dream unfulfilled for your adult child. The last meal and the next. The last bill and the next payment. The foster placement and court papers signed.

You’re out of the boat.

Know that God has called you and He stands firm in the rushing tide. Shout as Peter shouted!  Jesus is there, the calm in the storm.  The voice that controls it. Stand firm and keep moving toward Him. 

  

MY Yoke is Heavy!

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Weight!  So much gravity to responsibility. My teens and their life, literally, and future, their character and growth. My husband’s relief and support and this thing called marriage. The women and young ladies I serve who ache, are lost, hopeless or even simply eager to learn. The angst of my friends who battle giants. My own character development and faith walk. The hands on the street stretched out while the other holds a cardboard sign. Money, possibly, the heftiest of all burdens for many. I work, more hours than I rest, put have no income. Short list not all inclusive.

A lightened load I seek. God says, “then lay down what I never asked you to carry. I ask that you become like Me, not that you are Me.

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Heaven’s a little Brighter!

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My eyes, glued to the scene. The dust of the debris invaded my nose. My hands wanted to prevent the sounds of the sirens and the cries, but I couldn’t move. 1,700 miles away from Oklahoma City, I was there only by the waves of the TV, but I had walked that place, breathed the same air as those people.  “Oh God, no!” 

Floors dangled, wires sparked, glass fell. “Did I know, by name or face, anyone in that building?” 

Oklahoma City Bombing 1

Often, I reached for the phone but fear would not let me dial. So I stayed, stared and mesmerized as reality sank in.

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The Gift of Pain!

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The aftertaste of sorrow lingers. Still existent but no longer all consumed by its grip I manage to gasp for breath. Moments at a time, life begins its return. Coffee with a friend, here. Date with my husband, there. An unforced smile manages to break through on occasion. The thickness of grief prevented it before. But Light has broken and darkness is not so black as it was. Deep gashes and slashes in the soul begin to merge together again. Because this place is not foreign to me, I have confidence that time will heal. First one step, then another, each stronger than the one before. Though a sense of “why” may never be made, purpose will be found.  He promises it. I trust. It’s faint, but there. This pain will be a gift.

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When Surrender leads to Victory!

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 Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

More times than I can count, I have asked God to “take this cup from me.” Change my path, decrease my burden, ease my suffering. No rest for the weary as the saying goes.

I find solace in the fact that, even Jesus, bowed before His father and begged him, not once, or even twice, but three times, to change the plan, redirect the path he was to tread. (Matt 26:44 “So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.”)

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