Adoption (Based on a True Story)

October 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Mollie Bond –

Stacy clamped onto her new adoptive mother and stared as the van gained speed down the mountainside. She didn’t cry as Colombia passed into a memory. She crusted into a stoic two-year-old. She didn’t say goodbye to her birth mother who dropped her off at the orphanage frequently. Then she would return again after a week or two. This time Stacy wouldn’t be at the orphanage.

Stacy couldn’t stop crying. After being in the United States six months, she stopped as quickly as she started. It was as if she put her anguish into a box, and hid the grief for fourteen years.

Now, a shattered Stacy sat with her parents on one side of the table; a representative from the adoption agency sat on the other side. The previous night she and her adoptive parents tried to determine what was best for Stacy’s illegitimate daughter. It came time to sign away her rights.

Stacy’s father began the meeting. “Fourteen years ago, a woman made a difficult choice. She gave her child something she couldn’t provide.” Stacy’s body went rigid with the overwhelming memories. She leaked a tear that became a rush of emotion. This anguish wasn’t satisfied with stuffing the emotions back into the depleted box. This pain refreshed her and her decision. In a moment, Stacy realized that her birth mother loved her, and that her mother did a very brave thing. She also saw the significance of her adopted parents, and their unconditional love because she now felt that same love for her new daughter. Healing began that day. Freedom brought relief from crying.

We too must grieve our former lives and realize we now live a better life under God’s care through adoption. We can welcome freedom and love as we see others being loved. Sometimes giving up circumstances or people frees us, and them, to enjoy a new situation.

Are there changes at work? Is a friend moving? Is there someone unforgiven in your life? Who in your life needs to be released? Give up treasured people so you can receive treasures from others. Hand them over to their adoptive Heavenly Father, who has a much better plan for them than you can provide.

PRAYER: Father, I’m glad You’ve taken me in as Your own. Help me to release those people and situations to You so that they can be taken into Your family. I grieve what I wanted, but know You will give something better in return. Thank You for being my Father.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV).

Home

October 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

I used to wonder if it was possible to have a relationship with a building. An inanimate structure. Four walls made of brick and mortar. They don’t move. They don’t feel. They don’t respond. Or so I once believed.

But now I know better.

Home. If anything, the past four years have taught me that ‘home’ is one of the most powerful words in the English language. Home is the last place our family resided together. Home was the place the friends of our kids gathered with an open invitation. Home was the place we grew up; learned to be a family, let our guard down to renew our strength to face the challenges of each day.

Defined as ‘the physical structure where one may live; a house or apartment, I realized that when painted with laughter, love and cherished memories, ‘home’ becomes much more than a physical structure. ‘Home’ is a point of reference reserved in the heart that means completely different things to different people. This is proven by the countless songs written about the winsome nostalgia and belonging of ‘home.’

None of these are more powerful than the recent hit by Miranda Lambert entitled The House That Built Me. She tells the story, perhaps her own, of a person who has left home and longs to make one last visit to her childhood home.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.

If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothin’ but a memory
From the house that built me.

We have lived in two different apartments since we left our home behind. And those have been fine. And to be honest, God has used this entire experience to sever my ties to things, and for that I am thankful.

But still, there are moments that my heart hurts and I truly miss it. I miss the harmony I felt when I walked through the door. I miss the way I thought it was part of the forever plan for our family. I miss decorating it for Christmas or baking chocolate cakes in the kitchen. I miss the friends who would drop by unannounced.

And then I remember Heaven, and how no structure here on earth was meant to be a permanent dwelling anyway.

How wonderful that home will be for all of us.

Are You Growing Up To Be A Scoundrel Someday?

October 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Michelle Lim –

A few weeks ago my family cruised through town in our mini van on the way to church. Okay, so you can’t really cruise in a mini van, but we can always remember our imaginary jaguar.

All of us were packed in and relieved that the Sunday morning dress-up drama hadn’t eaten us whole. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean. If not, well, blissful ignorance can be a good thing.

The typical morning chatter filled the van until my seven-year-old told my four year old, “I think you just might grow up to be a scoundrel someday.”

My seven-year-old beamed while trying out last week’s school vocabulary lesson that included the word scoundrel. He had noticed my younger son’s grumpy disposition that sent him headlong into mischief that morning.

I concentrated on the horizon and covered my smile with my hand. Kids say the funniest things. But then I thought about a great truth wrapped up in seven-year-old terms.

Our day to day choices build the framework for who we become. Each choice matters. Each behavior has a consequence, whether good or bad. Each action makes up a brush stroke on the tapestry of our lives.

My seven-year-old understood that his younger brother’s behavior could form a pattern that, should he choose to continue to follow it, would make him grow up to be a scoundrel someday.

Thankfully as parents we have many years to help our children grow up to be God-serving adults. But we can’t take these small moments for granted. Consistency and loving discipline are a must.

What about our Christian walk? Bad habits and behaviors are not unique to children. We must choose to live a Godly life. If not, may we hear the truth in the words of a seven-year-old.

Are you growing up to be a scoundrel someday?

QUOTE: A child who does not think about what happens around him and is content with living without wondering whether he lives honestly is like a man who lives from a scoundrel’s work and is on the road to being a scoundrel. ~Jose Marti

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy” (Romans 13:13 NLT)

Surprise Sally

September 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

“Eating words has never given me indigestion, and I never felt discomfort in my abdomen after I chewed and swallowed,” Winston Churchill once said.

I have to agree. Some of the sweetest words I’ve ever eaten were, “I will never have a dog live in my house.”

God spoke to my heart in July 1996, and this non-puppy person had an overwhelming desire to surprise my son, Eric, with a Basset Hound on his 15th birthday. We chose Sally from a litter of ten adorable puppies who tripped all over their ears as they ran and played that sunny, summer day. We brought that trembling puppy home with us, and my maternal instincts kicked in. I held Sally close to soothe and comfort her, and surprisingly felt my heart being soothed and comforted in return. Looking into brown puppy eyes, I discovered what I’d missed over the years by not having a pet to love, and a pet to love me.

Sally was the wonderful distraction my family needed as my beautiful daughter, Emily, dwindled away from us and into an eating disorder. We tried to maintain our lives through counseling sessions, doctor’s visits, and extended hospital stays. But the days were long and dark as Emily’s condition deteriorated. Sally, with her heart-shaped spot, loved and comforted us through those difficult days that turned into weeks and then months and then years.

Many changes occurred in our lives over the next twelve years. But this dog, who I thought was for my son, turned out to be my faithful companion. Sally eased the adjustment as our family moved across the country. She stayed close by as my children left home for college. Sally comforted me through many long and sleepless nights after my mother passed. She helped me transition as we moved back to North Carolina where she lived out her last years. Sally taught me how to love in a way that I never had before.

Sadly, the day came when Sally had taught me all that I was supposed to learn from her. When the vet picked up Sally’s lifeless paw, placed it on the ink pad, and then pressed it to the keepsake paper, my heart ached and tears streamed down my cheeks. But I knew Sally had left this earth having fulfilled her mission. Sally left her paw print on my heart, and taught me many lessons on unconditional love.

QUOTE: A pet is someone who listens with their heart, speaks with a look, and teaches with love. (Seen in vet’s office)

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you…In God’s hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7 and10).

When Thank You is Not Enough

September 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

After the last of the three hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, my husband and I opened our home to our neighbors – a family of seven plus a cat and a dog. Their home was uninhabitable with water damage throughout. They were so appreciative and couldn’t thank us enough. We didn’t see what we did as anything special. In our eyes it was a no-brainer. We had the space, and they had a need we could fill.

Last week I also read the account of a man who was just released from prison after 18 years when DNA evidence proved he was innocent. As I read today’s scripture these two unrelated stories suddenly united to illustrate a question that is difficult for us to comprehend. The question? How do we thank someone who has done something so incredible, so gracious, and for which thank you doesn’t seem to fit?

God has provided that answer for us in the parable below. Like the servant in the parable, we have been given an incredible gift. And like us with our neighbors, God saw our need and without a second thought, He gave what He had, forgiving our debt with His own blood. And like the attorneys who fought for the innocent man, God went to battle with Satan to rescue us from life in prison. How do we repay such a gift? The parable says we are to go and do likewise. We extend that grace to others and give our blessings away.

“When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart” (Matthew 18:23-35 (33-35 above) CEV)

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the incredible gift of my debt erased by Your grace. Help me receive that gift by extending the same grace to those around me today.

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