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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advocate Wednesday: Relentless Joy

 I used to dream, as a little girl, of that time when I would proclaim to all “Oh, everything is so perfect. My kids are perfect. My marriage is perfect. My desires and goals are all on schedule. Perfection. I am on top of this life. I have found JOY in “my perfection“.

Then as time goes on, and life really unfolds I have grown empty and unfulfilled striving for joy, in perfection. Those ideals have disappeared and my eyes have been opened into a world of hurt and pain. A world covered in sin and darkness. As I spend time, snuggled in the truth of the Bible, it comes alive. I am moved from the deepest parts of my soul, to “see” there is a much deeper way to live beyond “self.” The desire for perfection becomes less, and the desire to live for Christ, and as Christ did, is what I long for. The feeling of true joy is found.

God shows me that my own strength is of no value now, but only by his grace and power ,I become less and he becomes more. I have learned that true “JOY” does not come from perfection, but comes from embracing and allowing God to lead you through trials, suffering, and bearing one another’s burdens.


In the past seven years, my husband and I have been an active part of our county foster care system. Through the last seven years we have opened our home and hearts to six amazing lives through foster care and adoption. And God has blessed us with the responsibility of raising seven beautiful children. This year, 2012, we were able to finalize the adoption of our one -year-old son James. This also completes our family for the time being, as we raise seven children nine-years-old and younger. “Relentless joy” are the words I would use for our journey.
Relentless means to be steady or persistent. When I entered the realm of fostering to adopt I quickly understood, that developing a “relentless” spirit, was the only way to survive . Foster care involves 100% selflessness. There are no guarantees to what the future holds. The course has so many up and down moments. Court dates, judges, caseworkers, therapists all hold their entitlement to the “case”. You want God’s will to be done, yet the powers of evil seem to be waiting around ever corner. My eyes were forced toward Jesus during the unknown. You hold, and daily nurture, a soul or souls, this child or children. You help give them life and stability, as the future goes unknown. Relentless love.


Joy can be described as an emotion evoked by achieving or getting what one desires. Adoption day was joyous! So blessed to say we have seven awesome kids. A desire came true. But, there is a greater story behind that. A deeper journey God took my husband and I through, to see and feel that joy.


For me, joy came as God has walked me through caring for my son, born with cleft lip and plate. The late nights of special care, the doctor appointments, the over night stays in the hospital, and giving without knowing 100% if I would ever call him my own. God showed me true joy as I laid down my rights, to care for his needs. It took fifteen months before we knew he would be ours. 


Joy came, as we cared and fought for our two little girls for three years. Three years of protecting and giving it “all” so they could be saved from more physical and sexual abuse. Now a lifetime to recover and to plead for God to heal them, as we all see the effects of those first years. Reactive attachment disorder lingers in our home, but we still cling to the hope of healing, as God is our ultimate physician. God has allowed me to see “joy” in my circumstances.

Our Ben didn’t come home from the hospital on schedule, when I thought he should. We waited four very long months to see God move and make way for his arrival in our home through foster care and then adoption. Those four months, I would wake and come downstairs, a bundle of tears praying for God to keep him safe in the “unknown.” Joy comes in the morning. (and Ben literally came into our home at 6am from the police station.) And my two other little bundles of “joy” came from a world of drugs that resulted in low birth weight and a fight for survival.


Nathaniel came into our world a beautiful 4lbs and stayed for six months, two days before Christmas 2010, we were told he would be leaving us and taken to another state, to a “kinship home”. After bonding and loving him for six months that was an unbearable feeling to live with. For two long months we waited, until in court they decided we were able to keep him in our home and then adopt him. 

Our little man James was the surprise of a lifetime as I was already caring for two young babies. At one pound, he came into the world and needed “us” along with our other six children. And God gets the glory and gave us true “joy” as we spent more time at the hospital in the evenings as our other children slept. His needs were great, and my husband and I, were able to see joy through the trails of caring and meeting the needs of our family.

True joy comes through the trails and hardships in life. When we choose to give of ourselves for another there will be hardship. We have to desire more of Jesus Christ in our lives, and less of ourselves. I have never felt the closeness of my Savior, as I have in the past few years, as I have fallen to my knees as “a mess” because perfection could not be found. The biggest blessing I found in my mess was true “joy”. Thank you, Jesus for showing me, relentless joy Thank you for finding me where I was at and showing me who you are through salvation.

May you see and feel great joy this season and pass it on relentlessly!


---
Krista 


Krista is a wife and mother to seven children ages 9 to 15 months. Her and her husband are passionate about adoption and helping the "fatherless".Their eight year-old-daughter is their "belly" baby, and their six other children were adopted through the state foster care system. They have adopted three sibling groups on their journey. Krista and her husband have seen the need and importance in keeping children together. The last six years of their lives have been filled with compassion and a "burn" inside to help. Stepping out to hold, love, and touch a child who has been orphaned due to circumstances beyond their control, allows for an opportunity to see a "soul" and "value" given by God. Krista and her husband have seen the needs of their community and it's foster care system and it is "much". Their desire is to see God move in their area
as He leads us to help and love on the least of these.


See local needs in Northumberland, PA



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