I love love love this time of the year. As I type this post, I am sitting at the kitchen table at one of my most favorite places in the world. My Mom's house in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. Her home comes complete with a view of Elephant Butte lake and lots and lots of sunshine. When we got here she had pre cooked a bunch of food for us. The fridge is stocked if we are hungry all we have to do is heat something yummy up to eat. The babies are loved on, the kids have their own "grandkids" room. Decorated in a space theme. They cannot wait to come to Grandma's house, what a true blessing she is to us. I am so blessed by my Mom and her love of her family. Her home is comfortable, fun and loving. As I type she is laying on the futon with Josie reading to her to take her mind off her hiccups that are bugging her. The kids adore her. Grandma is a pro at making sure each grandchild understands how important they are to her and her heart. What an awesome Mom I have who loves my children so much. I am so thankful for her love and her example.
My heart hurts. I literally is in pain. When I look at this picture of all of these children my heart is so achey and yucky. These are babies with no Mom or Dad. These are little children who do not have a family to call their own. These are babies that do not know specific love. They are in organizations that give "general" care. Where people "generally" care for them in a very basic way. I am burdened for the orphan, for a couple of reasons. In the past four years God has been revealing to me little by little how important the orphan is to God's heart, and also to my own. God loves children. The joy kids bring to people I KNOW that I know is so much of who God will be to us when we meet him face to face. When I see my baby girl Josie's face light up with a smile as people coo and smile and love on her, I believe that warm fuzzy feeling you get from babies is a piece of God's heart. God revealing himself to us through children.
I love being a Mom, it is the greatest joy in my life. The other day I was sitting in Josie's nursery, laying with her on the bed listening to G and T play in the living room and I was overcome with unbelievable joy. It just flooded me. Believe me, not all days are like this. But seriously my heart and life is so blessed by my children I cannot even put it into words. They are gifts, true gifts to me and my heart. I see my faith was built by them and is continued to be built by little instances in my life. So I think to myself... if my faith was built by these wonderful babies God gave me with my own body... what a cool adventure would it be to watch God work in an adoption journey. However that may look.
I was adopted... so I understand how cool it is for someone who isn't related to me biologically (sounds so lame and scientific) to come into my life and love me as their own. My Dad and Mom were married when I was five years old. Very shortly afterward, my Dad "legally" adopted me in the courts. What an awesome thing he did...then he spent the rest of his life taking care of me, teaching me things, loving me the best he could and giving me an awesome life I never would have had. He loved my Mom and was opened his heart to loving me and my brother. What a huge cool thing. It impacted my life forever.
So when I see pictures like this I am blown away. I sit here in my cozy Colorado home. I have an awesome husband. We feed and nurture and love our children. We take them to gymnastics and karate and on bike rides. We laugh and play... and in the meantime... there are 147 million children all over the world without one ounce of what we could offer them. Children like these babies who's basic needs are taken care of but what about their specifics, what about their hearts, who "knows" them. Who can nurture them? Who is listening to them? I heard our pastor say one time that praying a prayer that says, "lord, break my haert for the things that break your heart is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Because when God reveals it to you... be ready for something that will change your life. Transform you. I have prayed that prayer. And it these beautiful babies break my heart. What is my response? What does God want me to do about it? I cannot sit here and just say... oh well, I guess that's just the way it is. Right now legislation is in place in Canada halting all adoptions from Africa. There are parents there who are in the midst of adopting a baby who cannot take them home because of a law. Yuck. In the Bible it says that true religion is caring for the widows and the orphans. What am I doing in response? Matthew 25: 31-40
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
I cry as I type. These cribs are prisons, these children are strangers, these children need clothes and food and love. It breaks my heart. It just breaks it in two. Bill and I have talked about adoption. We met with our sweet pastors to learn more... we are prompted by God to help. Before Josie was born we filled out an application to adopt from China in about 20 minutes. It was literally a 20 page document that I was able to complete very quickly. I was ready and excited about the thought of adoption.
BK and I prayed and prayed... we wanted to make sure this is what God would have us do at that moment. We really wanted to make sure we were walking in God's plan. Not some impulsive thing we decided to jump into without some specific prayer. BK has alwayw wanted four children. After praying and talking with Bill, we really felt we should try for another baby and then we got pregnant with Josie.
So now I ask myself, what do we do now. We are blessed. We have three beautiful children. We live in a nice home in a beautiful mountain town with awesome church family. We don't have a lot of money but after talking to many people who have adopted they assure us that God's heart for the orphan is huge. He will be the provider. How to we respond to such an incredible need. Lord, what do you want me to do in response to knowing what I know. I will pray... I will listen and I will talk with Bill. But I challenge all my blog friends to do the same. What is your response to what you know? What are you doing for the "least of these? Please pray and ask God what he might have you do. Then listen. So much needs to be done. peace. - jen
Wow. Here I am Josie is 4 months old. Before I had this beautiful bundle of joy I worked out a lot. I prayed with my prayer partner that God would help me in my workouts. I prayed that I would have the desire to take care of myself. I think if I am honest with myself... that in my own way after my miscarriage, I wanted control. I was hoping that if I was more fit, skinnier in better shape I would be in a better place to get pregnant. Like if I was more fit, God would see it and bless me with a baby. Like God was saying... "let's see what you can do Jen... then I'll bless you with a baby." Duh. I'm such a dork! God does not manipulate. If I weighted 300lbs God would have given me Josie... or if I weighed 119 pounds God would have blessed me with Josie. It's God plan not mine. (Can someone please give me some kind of lobotomy or something so I get that? PLEASE?)
Anyway, my reason for this post is that today I was working out at the gym. I am treating myself to 3x a week over my lunch hour... a one hour cardio/interval strenght training class. I LOVE working out. I really do. I just have a hard time fitting it into my schedule. I have a hard time making myself a priority. But when I do... man does it feel GOOD!
As I worked out I prayed. I was praying about priorities about how proud I was that I actually got to the gym 2x this week (kiddos were sick on Wednesday so I couldn't go). I was asking God to reveal to me how he saw me.
I am a visual person so he showed me a picture of a woman who was fit, she had kids running all around her she was in the middle of some type of an event or activity but she had energy, she had joy and it was obvious she loved God. He whispered to my heart..."this is who I want you to be. This is my plan for you." I was like.. really? A super fit Director of Children's Ministries in Durango. OK... guess I have my work cut out for me! Because let me tell you folks... I am no where near being "fit". I have some pounds to lose and some muscle to chisel. Plus a 38 year old metabolism.
Now, who I saw in the mirror at the gym was very different from the picture he put in my mind. I will keep working out until my body resembles that awesome woman of God. I will make time for him in prayer while I workout. I will watch what foods I throw into my body. Not because I am manipulating God, but because I know his plan for me is good and he wants that kind of life for me.
I don't have to perform for God, I don't have to do everything perfectly. All I have to do is pray and listen to his still soft voice and know that as he guides me through my life I can be confident in ALL that I put my heart into.
Anyway, I had a blast working out. This teacher busted my buns... but it was an amazing time of prayer and a conversation with God.
Thank you Lord for speaking to me in the times I least expect it. Thank your for your good plan for me and my body. May what I do with it always glorify and please you. AMEN? AMEN!
I've done it before so I'll do it again. Thankful Thursday on Friday.
I am so thankful for so much. This season of my life it is so good to remember how much I am blessed with. I am thankful for Josie my precious baby girl who brings me more joy with her squinty smile... she lights up my heart. I am thankful for the little girl Grace is becoming... a girl who is beginning to understand who she is, what she can do and the special gifts God has given her. I am thankful for Toby and how well he is doing in Kindergarten. How he is learning amazing social skills about how to treat others. He follows rules, loves the structure and schedule of school and seems to be thriving. I am thankful for my husband. Whew... BK... who is working a part time job as a ref... who is so supportive of my new job and has agreed to go on this adventure with me. I am thankful for the friends we have made in our Connect group, people I am getting to know. Who come to my house weekly to hang with us, share their hearts, and begin new relationships. They are truly awesome friends and a blessing to me and my family.
I am so thankful for the staff at church. My new co-workers. We are all getting to know each other in a work environment. It's a safe place to do that. I work with some of the most dedicated, loving wonderful people on the planet. People who want the River Church to be a safe loving place for people in Durango to come to. A church that can be proud of how we treat people. A church that goes out into the world telling people about Jesus and most of all being His example in the world of love and kindness.
I am thankful for my blog friend Cari and all my blog followers and fellow bloggers. All of your hearts are amazing. You inspire me, you make me think differently, you challenge me and you ask me to pray. What an awesome community and place to share our hearts and lives. I am truly thankful.
I am thankful for my family. My Mom and Dad... my brothers (and B and Al). Bill's family who we know support us and love us even though we left the Midwest to pursue this Colorado dream. I know from having my family move back to the midwest... how hard it is to watch your family leave and support them even though it hurts not to have them around. I am so blessed to have a family that gets it and loves us even with the distance.
I am also thankful for God's grace and love. Without God I am a wreck. With Him... I am a confident courageous bold woman who knows the plan he has for her is good. A woman who understands the importance of eternity over this world. I woman who wants to leave a legacy of love on this earth. A woman who's prayer is that the generations of Klines that come after us will be warriors for Christ, missionaries, good people who understand how to love others and who give all the glory to God.
This week was crazy. My life before full time job working out of home was at such a slower pace. I feel like I am constantly going going going. I get home wind down and when I finally am able to relax all I want to do is go to bed. Please don't feel bad for me. I am motivated by the fact that God is refining me and teaching me, he is doing a new work in me. I've blogged before that I do not want to be the same my entire life I want God to transform me. Well let me tell you sister... my prayers have been answered! lol. I'm totally babbling here, so let me get to my blog topic.
I've been thinking a lot about my kids. Things have changed dramatically now that I work out of the home and both of them are in school. Josie is with my awesome nanny 3.5 days a week and it just all feels and looks very different. I have this uncomfortable feeling and I have been trying hard to pinpoint it. I've been concerned about the amount of time I get to spend with my kids, the quality of that time. Am I ministering and loving them as much as I want to minister and love other kids in our church? Do I do enough to train them in what the Bible says... who is influencing them? Do they love them? Do they I give them Grace? Do others? Do I discipline them enough? Is it working? Is Josie getting ripped off? Do I need to spend more time with her? Am I a workaholic? I've noticed that G and T are interested in relationships outside of Bill and I. Grace has a teacher at church she calls her "big brother." Toby is wrestling with and being taught by some awesome youth (Children of other members of staff). They want to play with friends run around and talk to other people, they are becoming a little more independent. I have to rely on so many other people and trust they have G and T's best interest at heart. Can I do that? I don't feel ready to do that. But during this season I have to. I have to trust that the poeple God has put in my life for this time and this season are going to be as good as they can be to my kids. I need other people in my life to "assist" me in raising and loving my children. I always say there is no bigger blessing to me that someone genuinely loving my children and wanting the goodness I want for them. There is no greater compliment than someone telling me how cool they think my kids are and meaning it. They are my greatest gifts in life. My heart swells when I think about them. Please don't get me wrong. They are not perfect children and I don't expect them to be. But I am just in awe of how tender my heart is for my kids and other people's kids. I think it is because kids take you at face value. They want to see Jesus reflected in people and when they don't it is more of a disappointment than we could ever know. G is at an age where she wants you to be impressed with her independence. She wants you to know what she is learning... it's a normal part of her development. Toby wants attention. For people to see him. For people to notice what's special about him. I notice that in a lot of the kids in our church at the ages my children are as well. These are all normal things that kids their age want and need. But can I trust that my community will know that? I guess I just needed to write about the fact that a part of me has to give up some of the control I want over my kids. But as much as I want to do that at the same time I need to allow other people to speak into their lives, I need other people to love them, care about them and even sometimes disappoint them. I need to be able to ask for help when I need it and admit I cannot do it all. My spirit will seek out those who genuinely want to come alongside me to raise up awesome little Kline kids who people know love the Lord and are amazing examples of that love. People who can do it without judgement, without criticism, without high expectations. Again... hard stuff. I think we all want this as Mommies. People to care about our kids as much as we care about them. Truly... it is the biggest blessing. Do you have a village? Was it hard for you to give up control? Are you trusting God to do help? What about the disappointments? Just curious!
God is good. I am writing this blog to reflect on how that looks in my life, I am a Mom a sister a friend and a wife. And above it all I am a child of God. How awesome is that? I started this blog to be able to reflect on what that journey looks like. God has big things in store for this family of mine. I am just here to share my story.