Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God is Good; Our BIG family

I was finishing up my lesson for Bible study this week and, again, was hit in the face with some good things! I've been really struggling with discerning God's will for us and this house thing (that's the decision I was talking about last time). It's been frustrating because I've never had this much trouble before with discerning. Bridges talked about trusting God for who you are and also the will of God. He says that we do have a responsibility to make wise decisions, but God's plan does not depend on us "finding" His will. He points to Psalm 23:2-3...
"He leads me beside still waters...He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake"
This makes you think of a Shepard leading his sheep, not waiting for them to find the right path home. Bridges states,
"We think so much about our
responsibility to discover God's will in a situation or to make wise decisions
in life's choices, but the biblical emphasis seems to be on God's guiding us...I
am where I am today, not because I have always made wise decisions or correctly
discovered the will of God at particular points along the way, but because God
has faithfully led me and guided me along the path of His will for
Dr. James Packer said,
"God made us thinking beings, and He
our minds as we think things out in His
In response to Packer's quote, Bridges says,
"This does not mean that we put our
minds into neutral and expect God to guide us in some mysterious way apart from
hard and prayerful thinking on our part...God does guide."
Think of the words to Fanny J. Crosby's hymn "All the Way My Savior Leads Me". He leads me! One last quote from Bridges...
"We can trust God to guide
us. He will lead us all the way. And when we stand before His throne we
will not be singing about successfully discovering the will of God. Rather with
Fanny Crosby we, too, will sing 'Jesus led me all the way.'"
So, what God hit me over the head with tonight was STOP IT! He will guide us in this decision. Period. The end. That doesn't mean we stop praying and talking and figuring the "logistics" of this decision, but it means that through all of that, God will guide us where He wants us to go. Hallelujah!!!
Okay, now onto our BIG family :) Most of you know that we have "foster" kids from the college. We have 4 this school year (plus a fiancee and significant others here and there!). 3 of them are my cousins. This is our ministry as a family. I absolutely love it. We've had foster kids our entire married life. A lot of them have been cousins, but we've also had some non-family kids. As I look back, it's been such a blessing. We've formed some great friendships and reconnected with family along the way. I would have loved a foster family in college. Someplace to go do laundry, get away from campus, and have a "home away from home". I got adopted into Aaron's foster family after we started dating. It was fun. I digress, though! These kids are great. We have family supper once a week (there are usually 10 of us!). Anna & Jacob love all of them and they love Anna & Jacob! It's crowded, but it's so much fun.

We have to bring a little table in from outside for Anna and Jacob...there's not enough room at the big table for them (there's barely enough room for all of us!). On the left side is our foster son Adam and his girlfriend Bailey. Adam plays baseball and Aaron used to sell wood to his Dad (that's how we came to know Adam). He's usually pretty quiet, but can bust out some pretty good zingers! :) Seth is at the far end. He is a cousin and plays football (you're surprised, aren't you?). He's just a big teddy bear:) It took Anna quite a while to warm up to him! Next is Ben (cousin) and his fiancee Karin. Ben finished classes at semester and will graduate in April. He coached football and now works temporarily in the admissions office at the college. He's been a babysitter a couple times when I'm in a crunch (since he doesn't have classes and a full time job yet). And he has a thing about making bizarre (and sometimes creepy!) faces in pictures. Next is dear, sweet Addie (cousin). Anna adores her and for a year called her Abby! She just couldn't get the 'd' in there! Addie likes to come over and "play house" when we're gone...which I LOVE b/c I get a clean house/laundry/whatever needs done!! We love these kids! It's been a blessings being a part of their lives for this season and we'll miss them dearly when they leave.
Jacob and his computer:) He'll find it, carry it over to me so I can open it for him (it latches shut), then find a spot to lay down and play. It is hilarious!!

Anna is very good about letting him play on it and likes to help out occasionally.


Abby said...

Glad to know your "situation", I was a little worried there for awhile! I can appreciate that not knowing feeling, we still aren't 100% on where we only have 17 weeks left in Florida!

I hope we can be foster parents someday, I didn't use mine too much in college (had Mark's house to go to) but I loved having their support and friendship.

Jaime said...

Ah! I remember some of those faces. That is so cool.

Are you guys looking at other houses or what?

Janet said...

Great post! You put into words what I have always thought about discerning God's will. I fret about making the right decision and God already has it covered. I've come to the conclusion that we make the best "educated" decision and he will bless it. Pray and trust that God is leading our thoughts.

I think, too, that sometimes he gives us choices. There isn't a right or wrong choice, he just is allowing us to have a choice.

Love your big family!! Memories that all of you will have for a life time.

Beth Wheatcroft said...

I love that you guys are foster parents. I still cherish Jan and Don and the role they played in my life during my 4 years at Sterling and then beyond when we were in KC together. Those kids will cherish who you are to them for a long time to come besides the fact that some are cousins. I wish there was a school I could get involved in a foster family program like that because it is such a sweet ministry!

I will be praying for you guys as you wait to be led. It stinks sometimes to have to be the grown-ups and have to make the grown-up decisions. I can't tell you how many times I've told Brett I just want to call one of our parents and have them make a decision for us!

Jennifer said...

Jaime, we've looked at the "manse". The new president wants a bigger house (he has 4 kids), so the college is selling it.
Janet, thank you for the encouraging words! In Bible study today, one lady said her husband always says "Marry the pretty one!" HA! Meaning, if both choices are biblical choose the one that makes you happy. I just thought his way of putting it was hilarious.

Teri said...

I appreciate your post, some wonderful wisdom there! I will keep your family in prayer as God leads you through this time.

Jennifer said...

Thank you all for praying. I finally do feel peace about it...still don't know what will happen, but that's okay!
Yes, Beth...I really wish sometimes I could just say "Mom & Dad, you make the decision!" Unfortunately, they won't do it! ;)

Anonymous said...

Well as Jennifer has said before, why are you willing to give advise about my children but not about a house?? Hahahaha, and I don't have to answer her.

And don't let Aaron talk you into thinking that since you have this "big family", you don't need another one of your own... Dad