Question: Are you attempting to live out YOUR PLANS for your life or GOD’S PLANS?
If your own plans, then why would you expect God to honor them? . . . Really.
At least are your plans in accordance with his Word? If not, perhaps some re-evaluation is in order.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and depart from evil.” — Proverbs 3:5-7
If GOD’S PLANS . . . how are you doing?
Ephesians 5:15 tells us “be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise” and the entire theme of the little book of Haggai is repeated again and again in the phrase, “consider your ways”.
As parents, we sometimes give our children warnings of what their behavior may lead to if they do not change it. Obviously, this is not a doom and gloom prophecy of the future, but an attempt to have them consider their ways and the likely outcomes SO THAT they will change their ways before it’s too late to avoid negative outcomes.
Correction is hard for us to take as humans. Some of us take it harder than others. It may be that with our adopted children especially, they need some careful building up in order to not be crushed by correction, or hardened by it.
O.Bible.org, in their lesson on the Ministry of Correction from the series on I Timothy, says that
“as a rule, the most effective correction takes place when the other person knows from experience that you love him.” (See the full lesson here.)
I think this is true with corrections from people as well as from God, himself! When we know and feel like we are loved and accepted, correction may sting but we will be less likely to ignore it or rail against it!
With adopted/foster/stepchildren (and sometimes even biological children) there may be a lingering question in their mind as to whether they are fully loved and accepted, at least at times. And so correction may feel more like overt rejection to them!
God gives warnings and consequences in order that we will consider our ways – – not give up thinking we have no hope – – but consider our ways so we can course-correct while there IS HOPE! With my children, I need to help them understand that correction is just that, an invitation and an opportunity to course-correct given out of love. And I need to accept God’s correction with that same understanding.
The book of Ezra gives us a ministry model and an example of how to continue God’s work under pressure.
I’ll share my outline with you, hoping it helps you as much as it is helping me in a variety of areas not the least of which is parenting when it is difficult:
I. God directs the outworking of God’s plan.
(Whether your ministry is rebuilding the Holy Temple as here, building a ministry for orphans overseas, or your ministry role in your own family.)
God moved the heart of the King.
(He can move hearts of those – – whether Christ-followers or not – – who have earthly authority in our lives.)
God moved the hearts of his people.
(He is the one who moves hearts, not me – – not you. We must not think we are the ones who are responsible for another person’s heart or resulting beliefs and behavior. We are responsible to God. He moves their hearts. I am no-one’s Holy Spirit and I must not become a stumbling block for them.)
God built the team.
(I don’t have to do the job by myself, nor do I have to stress over the needed help, and neither do you! God can bring just the right partners at just the right time.)
God provided the resources as the people acted in steps of obedience.
(We don’t have to have all the necessary resources in our possession to begin. Steps of obedience show faith in God’s provision on an as needed basis.)
God brought team unity.
(When there is dis-unity the work is thwarted. God is the great mediator and can bring conflict resolution when we submit to him.)
God provided housing accommodations, plus time to settle in.
( He provides for our basic needs so we can relax and fully depend on him, trusting that there is enough time and enough for our basic needs to be met in order that we are able to move forward in the work in the place where he puts us!)
II. God is FIRST! He is to be honored in first place above all.
(My family or other ministry or work is not first – – God is!)
- Altar built first – – before the other work began.
- Regular times of worship were held as well as special celebrations – – Times of worship and refreshment are necessary!
- Regular sacrifices were made, despite fears about dangers from surrounding people.
- Holy Day Celebrations were held.
- Praise Celebration was held at 1st milestone.
- Dedication and Celebration at the completion of the work.
III. Work is done orderly.
(While people, kids, even I may balk at rules and routines, it is the orderly way that wins the day.)
- Time for planning and preliminary arrangements.
- Chain of command was established.
- God gave discernment of whom to partner with.
IV. Opposition to God’s Work – – Expect It!
(I must not be surprised at opposition or let it dictate my course! Kids will push back! So will others. I must be prepared and focused on my goals – – God’s goals for my work, whether it’s parenting my special needs children or other work.)
- Extreme opposition
- Lengthy delay
- Patience with readiness and Attentiveness to God’s Guidance (not always apparent to outsiders)
V. God Turns OPPOSITION into OPPORTUNITY & BLESSING on His People & His Work
- Bravery to obey God & resume the work
- Tactful honesty to authority & trusting God
- God’s Favor
- Work completed with God’s Favor & blessing (Yes! There is a time of completion awaiting and this work will be a done deal. Another phase of life will open up. The long-range view can help with perspective on days when you feel bogged down.)
*God directs the outworking of HIS PLANS!
*Honor God FIRST!
*God is ORDERLY and his work is to be done orderly.
*EXPECT OPPOSITION to God’s work.
*Remember, God turns opposition into OPPORTUNITY and BLESSING on his people and his work.
Gods Plans – -> God First – -> Godly Order – -> Opposition – -> Opportunity & Blessing
KEY: For us to stay in this trajectory we must continue to take steps of faithful obedience all along the way. What is God asking you to do in faithful obedience today?
You may not feel prepared, ready, eager, or confident. You may not have a clear path. There may be obstacles and opposition. You may feel fear and trembling! You may not understand why God has “allowed” something that seems way out of line to your way of thinking.
Take the step anyway. — Trust Him. — Then . . . CELEBRATE! Celebrate when you look back and are able to see more clearly how HIS plan has been set in place and fulfilled.
I hope this peek into my Bible study has been helpful to you. Parenting is hard. Parenting kids from trauma backgrounds is extremely hard. We can work hard and feel like we aren’t making any progress. Or worse, going backward.
I encourage you to #1 make sure your plans are God’s plans, and #2 consider in what ways you may need to course-correct. Then #3 take a step of obedience – – Today.
Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools. We have begun using some fantastic natural products in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.
Hit Reply (e-mail) or Contact me above or below (blog) if you want to learn more about our toxin-free natural-based personal care products and dietary supplements and how they can help your family, too.