A Day at a Time

Friday was a week of having our new foster baby! I forget how it is having a new born in the house!

Most of you know James and I were licensed as foster parents a couple of months ago.

So Friday December 29th the weather was FINALLY ok to let the kids go outside to play. I just laid back in the hammock to relax when my phone rang. It was our social worker. She said “Mrs. Reardon, we have an 11 day old baby and wanted to know if you would like to foster her?” I immediately said “YES!” We were told that she would be released from the hospital on Sunday. My first thought was, “Ok I have a day to prepare and get things ready to bring home a new born.” I drove to sign some paperwork, and by the time I got there, things had changed. “Mrs. Reardon, you can actually go pick her up tonight.”

Ok, so I’m not gonna lie. I sorta freaked out. Ok I do not have a day to prepare to bring home a new born. I have maybe 3 hours! If you know me at all, then you know I’m a planner. I like to have things organized. I like to have a plan.

I have quickly learned over this past week that I can’t really plan. I have to take one day at a time. I have fallen in love with this sweet baby! I pray for her. I pray for her situation. I pray that my heart will align with God’s will and not my own. This week has been a roller coaster of emotions. But I must say, I have seen God all over this.

We get home at midnight. We try and settle in the best we can. We wake up the next day, and y’all, we have people bringing boxes of clothes, diapers, formula, and meals! We have had calls and texts of prayers going up. I am so thankful for believers who realize it is our duty as children of God to be involved in our foster care system.

As I take a step back and realize I cannot plan this out, I have to take one day at a time. I am reminded that I have to depend on God each moment of each day. I don’t have to have it all planned out. I just have to wait upon the Lord and be willing with my hands out and my heart open. Let’s step into 2018 to be stretched and willing to be used by God!

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Reflections

Can you believe we are ending 2017?!? Where does the time go? As I sit here reflecting on 2017 and dreaming of 2018, I am in awe of what God has done.

2017 didn’t start out too great for us. In February little Oliver made his appearance. We were grateful God allowed us a few hours with him before bringing him home. I am thankful I was able to take some time off from work in order to heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Through Alex and Oliver God has called us to start a ministry (you’ll find out more very soon)!

In April we were so excited that we were able to take the family to Disney World (our favorite place)! We had a great time being with one another. I loved seeing the kids laugh and experience a magical time.

In July we were able to spend a couple of nights in Destin, FL with MeMe and Pawpaw. The kids loved seeing the “clear” water and even seeing a shark!

This summer Sallie and I took the kids to Ship Island. This was our first time there. It was fun! And we all were burnt! The kids enjoyed exploring and playing in the sand! They loved the boat ride and seeing all the dolphins!

James and I went to Waco, Tx with good friends. We had a blast spending time at The Silos. We were able to get a behind the scene tour of the place and even sat in Chip’s office. We tried out an escape room for the first time…sadly we did not escape in time!

James and I completed our foster license to become foster parents. This is a scary adventure but God said do it and here we are. We are waiting on our first placement but ready for what God has in store for us.

Halloween was fun! Chloe was Moana, and Grayson was Buzz Lightyear! We went trick or treating with good friends and of course got lots of candy. Grayson loves “scary” things so he really enjoyed it!

We were excited to host Thanksgiving again this year. James got a smoker for his birthday, so he smoked our turkey which was delicious!! I love being around family.

December we were blessed! We had our Bilbo Christmas. I cannot believe how much the grands are growing!

It also SNOWED! Yes snowed! The kids and even us adult kids had the best time playing in the white fluffy stuff!

James had the amazing opportunity to baptize Chloe!! That was an unforgettable experience! I can’t wait to see all that God will do through Chloe.

We had a good Christmas. The kids loved all their gifts and have been playing nonstop!

As I sit and reflect on all that we were blessed with, all the sorrow and grief, all the good and the bad, I am grateful.

Some of my goals for 2018 aren’t big or out of the box. I want to grow closer in my walk with God. I want to challenge myself to read more. I want to find a healthy lifestyle. I want to invest more in people. I want to disciple my children better. I know I keep saying “I want” so what I really want is that I will align all my wants to Gods will. So that, in 2018, I will not miss an opportunity that God has placed in front of me.

Warren Wiersbe said “It’s not ability God is looking for but availability.”

I encourage you that when God calls, go. When God asks, we will say, “Yes.” When God says “No,” we will say, “Ok.” Let’s not give excuses to why we can’t when all we need to be is available in 2018!

One less stocking…

Christmas is and has always been one of my favorite holidays. Christmas seems to bring out the good in mankind. People are (usually) in the holiday spirit. The pretty decorations. The lights. The awe and wonder in the child’s eyes. Celebrating the birth of our Savior and King. I just love it.

Christmas also brings a sadness to many. Each year as I fill out my list of people for which I’ll buy Christmas presents, it always stings a little when I no longer put mom down on that list. Or when I’m buying for Chloe and Grayson my heart hurts a little as my mind wonders to Alex and Oliver. As I hang my kids stockings, my heart aches not having 2 extra stockings hanging. I can’t help but think I’m not the only one with a sad heart during one of the happiest holidays.

If that someone is you, I pray you will find hope and joy in our Father…our King. Levi Lusko said something in a sermon that has stuck with me: “Stop focusing on your pain and fix your eyes on something bigger…when you do it makes your pain feel small.” Friends, how true is that?! When we gaze on our Creator we aren’t focused on the pain of our suffering. Our pain has purpose. God is using our sufferings to bring glory to His name. He is weaving our pain throughout our story. If we focus on the pain, we will never see the purpose. So I encourage you (as I encourage myself) this Christmas season that as you stare at that one less stocking you will remember we serve a mighty God. I pray you remember that there is purpose and power in this season of pain. May we always fix our eyes on something bigger…on God himself.

Let’s

One of the best indicators for deciding who’s the leader comes down to this word:

Lets.jpgWho says the word “let’s” most often in your relationships, in your business, in your school?

That’s the person in charge.

For example, the word let’s is a powerful word that presidents use. A quick search of presidential speeches reveals that they use the word more often than not. Take President Reagan’s Berlin Wall Speech, given June 1987, where he uses the word four times to bring about leadership through change. Or President Bush (HW)’s inaugural speech, where he emphatically says, “Let us produce,” in 1989. Or President Obama’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, where he leads us to the future, saying “Let us reach for the world that ought to be.”

But it’s not just with presidents, is it?

Leadership in our relationships matters, so you’ve got to figure out if your the leader or not.

But even more important than just our regular relationships is our marriage relationship. God calls a man to lead his wife and to lead his family. In fractured families, the usual culprit is that a man isn’t leading well, which stems from multiple issues. It could be that you, as the husband, aren’t worth following. I’ve been there. Those phases in our lives, as a man, happen because of sin or selfishness, keeping us away from reading and studying God’s word. Less often, but also related to sin and selfishness, is a man’s inability to lead, usually through ambivalence or lassiez faire attitude of “Eh, the wife will take care of it.”

I cannot more emphatically state the following:

Men, it is up to you to lead your wife and family well.

You may say, “I’m leading. People follow.” But are they following out of freedom or out of fear? Husbands and dads lead best out of love.

Let’s think of ways to encourage our wives and children towards love and good deeds.

Let’s lead well, guys.

If you loved/hated this post, listen to Ask Pastor John for more information on loving your wife well.

Dew

Sometimes I have bad days, and sometimes I have good ones. 
Sometimes people make dumb decisions that don’t honor the Lord. 
Sometimes I make dumb decisions that don’t honor the Lord. 
And then I have a weekend like this weekend, that refreshed me continually moment after moment…

It all started Thursday, although if I’m being transparent, Thursday needed the two weeks before this one…

Two or three weeks ago, I had a whirlwind of a time, and it wasn’t good (What whirlwinds are?!?):

  • Professionally I had been belittled by colleagues in another state. 
  • Vocationally I had seen the enemy succeed in causing confusion and continued distance. 
  • Academically I had struggled with a hurdle in my apologetics class. 
  • Personally, well, all these things crumbled around, causing a rough couple of weeks (I even had to take Prilosec for crazy chest pains and grew a few more gray hairs). 

That was two weeks or so ago. 

Yet, Jesus is faithful as always, encouraging me through His word and the wisdom of others. 

So Thursday morning this happened:


Grayson and I got to go the pumpkin patch together, where I met a few dads and got to talk about life, parenting, and faith. The Lord even gave me an opportunity to share the moral argument for the existence of God with an atheist. Poor Grayson’s shoes and socks were soaked from the dew! But it was fun!

And then Friday Mary and I got to go to the wedding rehearsal of a couple that had been in our small group for over a year before moving further away. And they had some great BBQ, my love language:


After that, my friend snagged us some floor tickets and backstage passes to a date night at the Newsboys’ Big Church Night Out (its been awhile since we’ve been to a concert, just the two of us). 


Afterwards, we got to meetup with Brock and Auny, a couple who have poured into us some over the years. 


Saturday morning, we continued diving into small group life with attending a pretty cool Halloween birthday party. It was complete with dry ice and floating ping pong eyeballs!

Saturday evening we attended the wedding of that couple from Friday night, and their outdoor location was a beautiful fit for their beginning in the journey of marriage. 

When reflecting on how refreshing this weekend has been, these verses come to mind:

19 My roots will have access to water, and the dew will rest on my branches all night.

20 My whole being will be refreshed within me, and my bow will be renewed in my hand.

21 Men listened to me with expectation, waiting silently for my advice. (Job 29:19-21)

Sometimes we have bad days, and sometimes we have good ones. 

Just remember: the Lord is faithful to refresh. 

When the refreshing dew of the Lord rests on you, it will impact others, positively, leading to growth and strength.