Friday, January 17, 2014

PRIDE Classes

We decided to sign up for the PRIDE classes, which are the mandatory classes offered by the state of Connecticut for those interesting in fostering and/or adopting through the state. It's a bit of a time commitment for us, and those watching our kids - 5 hours per day for 5 Saturdays in a row. I was feeling very undecided on whether we should go or not, because we were doubting whether this is what God wants for us, but we have yet to receive definite confirmation either way. The classes are free, so we decided it wouldn't hurt to go through them and see if it leads us any closer to the right choice.

I'll be honest, I am feeling very negative about the idea of adopting through the state. I have heard many, many more negative stories than positive ones. If we foster to adopt a child age 5 or under, our bedroom has to be on the same floor as the child's, which would mean we would need to move our bedroom upstairs and one of the kids bedrooms downstairs. I am not at all comfortable with having any kids on the bottom floor of the house alone, and it's a huge hassle for us to be moving everything around. I don't want to deal with court dates, and birth parents, and not being able to go away for a weekend, and the very real possibility of falling in love with a child only to have them taken away and reunited with their birth parents. I don't know if I can handle that emotionally.

But wait...

It's not about me.

Mmmm yes, back to that. This isn't about me and what's comfortable for me. No, I do not know if this is the right path. But I know I need to be open to WHATEVER God has in store for us. I can't pray "Your will be done, unless you want me to do this, because I don't want to deal with it."

Classes start February 1st. Prayers are appreciated as we continue to find the path God desires for us.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The god of our society

Our country has it's own god. We worship him every day. It is evidenced by the millions of dollars spent as offerings. This god can cause people to become physically aggressive, rude, and self-centered. He offers no salvation or long-lasting benefits, but can give you some short-term satisfaction.

We, as a country, worship the god of materialism.

Do not think I am exempt. I always loved to shop. I used to be able to spend hours weaving in and out of stores. I never had the bank account to support my habit, so I became highly skilled in the realm of bargain hunting. To this day, I can smell a clearance aisle from a mile away. I love that I rarely make purchases for items like clothing without them being deeply discounted. It saves us a bunch of money on the things we need.

Key word being, things we need.

There is a flip side to my shopping ways. I have a difficult time passing up a very good bargain. I can usually talk myself into making the purchase because "it's something we will use." I am a fairly practical person, but many times, the "things we'll use" are not the same as the "things we need."

Once God started turning my heart towards the least of these, my perspective on shopping and money completely changed. Instead of debating whether I should spend $12 on the item I believe I will use, I remind myself that the same $12 could feed a family in a third world country for an entire month. I suddenly saw how meaningless material possessions can be. I once watched a documentary filmed to create more awareness of the horrors of orphanage life. It broke my heart to see a beautiful little girl reduced to skin and bones, in severe pain due to her obviously broken leg...and she received no medical treatment. Through my tears, I looked up from my laptop and around my living room, saw the photos on the wall, the curtains, the decorations, and all I could think to say was, "none of this matters."

That, I believe, was the moment I truly understood the heart of Jesus. It is like my eyes were opened and I finally could see everything from His perspective. How could that not change me?

I see the changes everywhere I go. Today, we visited one of many shrines of materialism - a shopping mall. We don't normally go, but we wanted to get out of the house, and weren't interested in being outside in the single-digit temps. Walking down the crowded aisles, there were store windows full of expensive advertisement campaigns, all aimed to get consumers into stores with their wallets wide open. Uncluttered stores decorated with pillars holding up $650 purses. Display cases with thousands of dollars worth of diamonds. Racks upon racks of clothing in every color and style. I used to go to malls all the time without a second thought. I walked around for hours, tried on clothes, and enjoyed myself. This time, all I felt was a mix of disgust and sadness. Disgust at how much money is spent every day on things people do not need, and sadness because many consumers do not see that physical possessions do not bring any sort of lasting happiness or security.

Am I saying that shopping is evil? Of course not! Unfortunately it's just so easy to become carried away and sucked into the realm of materialistic thinking. It's difficult to avoid when our entire society doesn't see it as a problem. But it IS a problem. I see it as a problem when people purchase a $650 purse while in the meantime, somewhere in the world, a mother is watching her child die of hunger or a preventable disease. We need to stop focusing on what we can acquire with our money and figure out what we can spent our money on that will have a lasting, positive impact for others.

I write this in an effort to create awareness. I believe people simply do not realize how desperate the situation is. When we do not see the pain and suffering, we turn a blind eye and end up with an 'out of sight, out of mind' philosophy. I know because I used to do it. I felt powerless to help or change anything, and so I did nothing. I pray that someone reading this would take the initiative to find a way to help. Sponsor a child. Give up getting coffee for a few days and donate the money to a worthy cause. Pray. Go on a missions trip. Create a care package for the homeless man holding the sign in the Walmart parking lot. The possibilities are endless, just get out and do something.

I do not believe money evil, not at all. Money is a tool. The love of money is the root of all evil, but when seen as a tool, can be used for good. Today, choose to use some of it for good. I bet it will feel better than buying that new purse. <3