Category Archives: Bible study

Feeling Like No-one Really Cares

Have you ever noticed that your adopted or foster child seems to have held onto orphan thinking? Orphan thinking can lead to choices, statements and behaviors that are troublesome. I’ve learned about seven specific indicators of an orphan spirit or orphan heart (there may be more). Yet these indicators can be found not only in orphaned children with traumatic backgrounds, but in each of us. We are all born with an orphan heart and may display one or more of these indicators. How can this awareness help you? I’m glad you asked!

We humans tend to distance ourselves from those who behave in ways that upset our sense of self, preferring to see ourselves as somehow beyond that particular risk. But an awareness of the orphan heart in each of us and in ourselves opens us up to more and deeper potential for connection to our children — children who may have disturbing thinking and behaviors which on the surface may seem bizarre and difficult to understand, even beyond understanding.

One of the seven indicators of an orphan heart that I have learned of is the following:

  • You struggle to trust that God cares about your cares; that he is working things out for your good.

Does this describe you? Your child?

My children with orphan thinking may think or talk about me as their enemy more than their loving parent, refusing to trust my love and care. This is more than the typical eye roll as a teen gets into that stage of feeling like their parents are out of touch with today’s reality and living in the dark ages. Rather, it is a deep-seated doubt springing up occasionally or constantly near the surface. It’s a doubt that says, not only does your parent not understand you, but they really don’t care, or care enough, about you – – regardless of the evidence to the contrary. It causes them to mistrust and misinterpret the parent’s motives.

But what about you? I want you to do a little investigating. Notice any time you think or talk about God as your enemy. You may not think you ever do this but pay attention. Do you ever talk about how angry God would be if you did such and such, or how he must be mad at you since such and such happened? Do you ever express fear of God’s punishment or reluctance to share your needs with God, refusing to depend on him to meet or even care about them? For example, praying minimalistic prayers like “Oh God, I’m not asking for much and I know you are too busy for me; I’m just asking for a few crumbs and I’ll get by”. Or “I don’t want to bother you God with these needs over here; I know I should take care of them myself”. Do you think you have to do certain things to stay on God’s “good side”? Take a week and notice, writing it down, anytime you catch yourself speaking or even thinking things that express doubts that you have about God’s care. Dig into why you have those doubts and see what God’s Word has to say about it.

If you do notice yourself doubting God’s care for you, you can repent. You can also understand a bit more how your child may be inclined to doubt your care for them. Think about how you feel. You might want to journal about it. Another thing you might do is to regularly repeat an affirmation based on God’s Word that will help revise your thinking.

Affirmation:
“God cares about my cares!”

Cast all your cares [anxieties] on him, for he cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

Write down the affirmation and the verse in your journal. Also write the affirmation where you’ll see it daily and recite it aloud to combat the orphan thinking and doubt of God’s care that you’ve noticed in yourself. Ask God for a change of heart and thinking. How can you reflect this change in the things you say? Write down alternatives beside the items you wrote down earlier that indicated your doubt and orphan thinking.

I hope this helped you understand how our orphan hearts are more the same as our children’s than they are different. The more we can identify with our children the better we can empathize and connect with them.

I plan to share the other seven indicators in follow-up posts. But to get my list of affirmations corresponding to all seven indicators of an orphan heart now, click the button below. Also, I’d love to hear about your experience using the affirmations! Get the Orphan Heart Affirmations list with the blue button below.

Self-Care Parent “Bucket List”

How do you get your own bucket filled so you can pour into your family when you’re feeling like there isn’t much left to pour out?

 

Below I share a few ideas for quick pick-me-ups to help when you’re running on empty.  But I am fully aware that there can be such a deep dark pit that it takes more than just a few quick bucket-filling ideas to make much difference.  Please do not give up hope and do not give up searching and reaching for the help that you need.  It’s there.  Keep looking and keep looking up (to God and his help and ginormous love for you)!

 

I found some things were not so helpful before things began to be noticeably different.  Some things were helpful, but it took a while.  If you are interested in more of what helped me rise up out of the deep, dark pit I found myself in not too long ago, please reach out.  I know not everyone’s situation is the same and there will be different needs.  So I don’t presume to know exactly what your situation or needs are.  I’m certainly not a medical person so nothing I say here is intended to diagnose, treat or cure.

 

But I do know everyone needs Jesus.  And he is the great healer.  He can use all manner of resources or none at all!  That said, here are some quick and easy ideas for bucket-filling on days you need a little pick-me-up.

Self-care “Bucket List”

Dawn’s TOP Ideas for Re-filling a Poured-out Parent’s Bucket

As a mom of seven, I am familiar with the constant need for parents to pour themselves out for their families.  I’m also familiar with the feeling that you are running on fumes. That bucket is feeling pretty dry at times.

 

We sometimes tend to feel like we are being selfish to do something for ourselves that is more than tending to basic needs.  I’ve felt that way myself at times. But I’m learning that I am my own best resource. And taking care of me as a good steward of my resources is necessary to offer the best I can to those I hold most dear.  When taking care of yourself means taking better care of your family, I don’t think that’s selfish or self-centered.

 

What exactly is Stewardship?

 

“stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all-encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves.”  ~ Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics    

 

When our self-care is from a motive and perspective of stewardship rather than selfishness we can then understand that taking good care of ourselves is our responsibility.  As a Christian, I know that I am not my own. I belong to God and have a responsibility to him to do the best with what he has given me. If I am an emotional wreck or sleep-deprived shell of myself, I may need to do some adjusting.  

 

Without further ado, here are a few of my top ideas for getting that parent bucket filled.  You can use this as a jumping off point to add more ideas of your own that will likely be even better as they are personal to you.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

 

#1 Connect with a (non-judgmental) friend.

If you can do it it’s great to connect face to face; otherwise take a few minutes to connect in the best way you can whether that be a call, text or video chat.

#2 Let something go so you can get more/better sleep.

However you do it whether you go to bed a bit earlier, sleep a bit later or slip in an afternoon nap it’s ok to get some rest!  Do you know that sleep time is very important for certain hormone production?

 

At night, I like to use essential oils to help me relax and get some shut-eye:  One of my favorite sleep blends is Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Lavender together in a diffuser or roller bottle topped with a carrier oil like olive oil or in a bedside cool mist diffuser.

 

#3 Read or watch something lighthearted.

Laughter is good medicine and can be just the thing to lighten your perspective.  Watching a fun movie with the family can be a good way to soften built up tensions with a shared experience.

 

#4  Indulge in a special snack.

It doesn’t have to be the most calorific snack or anything guilt-laden.  But just as a snack can diffuse the “hangry” in kids, it might help us too!

 

#5 Deep Breathing.

At one point, during a particularly stressful time, I set alarms on my phone to take a few moments and do some deep breathing throughout the day.  . . . In 2, 3, 4 . . . out 2, 3, 4 . . .

 

#6 Take a luxurious bath (or at least a long shower break)!

Self-care may be getting back to the basics if you’ve been in survival mode.  Using delightfully scented soaps, shampoos, and bath salts and following up with a light lotion or skin oil can make you feel pretty pampered.  

 

I like to use toxin-free soaps and shampoos infused with essential oils.  

 

#7 Get Moving!

Perhaps it’s not resting you need as much as to get moving.  Exercise, even just a little, can be a good pick-me-up. Plus, as an added bonus, exercise can even help you to sleep better —  provided it’s not too close to bedtime.

 

#8 Drink something.

Even slight dehydration can get you feeling yucky.  So drink water or another hydrating beverage to stay hydrated. *One of my favorites is Ningxia Zing!  

 

#9 Go Outdoors!

For eons, parents have known to send their kiddos outside for better health all over the world.  Guess what? It goes for adults, too! Fresh air and the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) are necessary for each of us.

 

#9 – Listen to Happy Music!

Alone or better yet – – with the kiddos – – listening to music (and even sing and dance along) is a great way to bring on the smiles.

 

#10 Take time to read a Bible passage and pray.

This is important to me as a Christian.  The Holy Bible is God’s Word, his messages to us.  I speak to him through prayer and he speaks to me through his Word.  

 

Would you like to know more?  I’d love to share how you can become a Christian and have this personal relationship with one-on-one communication with The God of all Creation!  

 

And if you are interested in finding out more about how you can get started with essential oils and related products, let me know.  The ones I use and recommend have the Seed to Seal commitment that is an important quality control measure that puts them head and shoulders above the rest.  

 

See my Virtual Business Card for ways you can contact me for more.

~Dawn

 

ALL My Needs

“All my needs” . . . what does that cover?

ALL is the sum total, leaving nothing out. And “my needs” includes financial needs, daily food, shelter and clothing. I think it also includes the needs I have for relationships and belonging, purpose and value.

The Bible verse I have on our kitchen wall tells me that all my needs will be met (provided for) by God. Not my husband, my child, my friend, my pastor, my parents, my government or my local church.

Philippians 4:19 New International Version (NIV)
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

I think it is important to understand that while God can use any or all of these people and these avenues to meet our needs as he chooses, that’s the key phrase, “as he chooses”.

I copied a quote from one of the older Bibles we have, the WOW Student Bible article “The Twelfth Man” on the tradition of Texas A & M University football (a good read, but I won’t go into that here). This led to the story of Melchizedek, Biblical Priest and fore-runner to Jesus, the perfect 3-in-1 LEADER – – Prophet! Priest! King! Each of these, the Twelfth Man, Melchizedek, and Jesus arrived in an uncommon way.
And here’s the quote:

“Help doesn’t always arrive in the proper uniform.”

Of the many ways that this quote may be applicable, it has reinforced something that has been driven into me in my life recently. God has allowed my expected sources – – people I have counted on to meet some of my needs – – to dry up! Leaving me flipping out like a fish out of water, I had to settle down, breathe and wait for God to show me what my next move needed to be. Talk about HARD!

But my God came through as he always does and showed me that leaning on him – – and him alone – – was the answer. And enough. Because he has the solutions to whatever I need. He has the solutions for you as well.

Another hard thing was recognizing that all my flipping and flopping like a dying fish was prolonging the agony and keeping me away from the solutions he had waiting. I needed to focus on him and be ready to take the next step when he showed it to me.

Help may look different than what you expect and if you aren’t careful you might just miss it – – or delay it – – while you keep trying to wring help from the dried up sources you are holding on to.
God can use anyone or anything for his purposes. He seems to delight in blessing his people through unexpected sources. (When’s the last time you saw water coming from a rock, or saw a burning bush that was never consumed by the fire?)

I implore you, open your eyes, your heart, your mind and prepare for God’s unexpected blessings in your life. Get ready for the next step. He is more than able to meet your every need.

____________________________________________
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.

I have begun using some fantastic essential oils and other products that make a big difference in helping some of my family members with often overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus better.

Hit Reply (if you are reading this in e-mail) or Contact (if you are on the website) above or below to learn more about our toxin-free natural plant-based personal care products and dietary supplements and how they can help you and your family, too.

Yes to God’s Plans

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.

 

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:

EZRA

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.)

  1. 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.)

  2. 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.)

  3. 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.)

  4. 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.)

  5. 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.)

  6. 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!)

  1. Altar built first – – before the other work began.
  2. Regular times of worship were held as well as special celebrations – – Times of worship and refreshment are necessary!
    1. Regular sacrifices were made, despite fears about dangers from surrounding people.
    2. Holy Day Celebrations were held.
    3. Praise Celebration was held at 1st milestone.
    4. 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.)

  1.  Time for planning and preliminary arrangements.
    1. Chain of command was established.
    2. 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.)

  1. Extreme opposition
  2. Lengthy delay
  3. Perseverance
  4. 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
  1. Bravery to obey God & resume the work
  2. Tactful honesty to authority & trusting God
  3. God’s Favor
  4. 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.)  

 

RECAP:  

*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

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
– – Proverbs 16:3
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.