Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Because Of And In Spite Of

As Baby Boomers, we have been blessed to see our children grow up to be responsible, caring, faith-full adults with loving spouses who have given us the greatest grandchildren in the world.  Okay, I might be a bit prejudice, but in all seriousness, we are so very grateful for who they are and Whose they are!  Children of the King!!

There are plenty of things we would have done differently in raising our kids, but we tried to instill in them a love for God and others.  We can look in the mirror and know we were good parents most of the time, and even though our role has shifted, we continue to try our best to be parents and grandparents that make our kids proud and grateful.

It was not all a bed of roses growing up in our family.  We have raised seven children (2 birth and 5 adopted) and also did therapeutic foster care at one time.  Some of our children came into the family carrying a lot of baggage. I was dealing with a mysterious debilitating illness that turned out to be Lyme and co-infections, and we were a pastor's family, which usually meant living in a fish bowl of some sort!

Our three younger children came older with too many challenges to name.  Our youngest daughter has made some important changes to her life, surviving a difficult past. Our younger two sons are gone......one from a virus that attacked his heart and caused his death at age 25 and the other from chosing a life of violence and abuse that made boundaries necessary. As an adult he eventually returned to his family of birth.

Joel and I used to wonder if the atmosphere in our home would turn our healthy kids away from our lifestyle.  We prayed it would not and it seems it has not.  Because of and in spite of it all, our four older are active in church and making sure their children are being raised to know Jesus.  They have a compassion for hurting children and those in need.

We also moved a lot, first as a military family and then as a pastor's family.  We went through a very traumatic extended time of stress when Joel's life was threatened by a dysfunctional man in one of our congregations.  Having the police guarding your home with guns drawn and whisking us out of town escorted by 6 police cars is not something children get over easily.  We stood firm through ongoing threats and concerns for six years and our faith was tested and strengthened.  As I said before, it was not always an easy life.

I do not want to sound like we are bragging.......we are just very thankful for the people our children have become.  They have not had perfect lives and they have each in their own way struggled at times like the rest of us.  I guess what I am trying to say is that God weaved His own plan into their lives.  And the trauma they went through as children, the ongoing difficulties with struggling siblings and a sick mom,  the moving around the country and across the world, seems to have helped shape them into being strong believers and people with purpose. Thank you Jesus.

We all have stories to tell of surviving and thriving.....because of and in spite of.  God is our strength!   He alone is our place of safety.  He has a plan for our lives that is for good and not for evil.  He hears our prayers and invites us to step out on the water with Him for a life of adventure and promise. We survive and we thrive......becoming strong believers and people with purpose.

Because of and in spite of.


Lisa Buffaloe said...

Oh Renee, I'm so grateful for your testimony. Thank you for sharing how God worked in your life and in the lives of your family.

God's abundant blessings to you all (and a BIG cyber-hug for you!).

NanaNor's said...

What a wonderful testimony of His grace and hand in your lives. Thank you for sharing His blessings with us today. I know how hard it is losing a beloved pet but pray that time will ease the pain.
Hugs, Noreen

Ginny said...

This is definitely a beautiful testimony to you and Joel and your love for the Lord. It's nice to see good things and Godly decisions in your children's lives.

Renee said...

You are welcome Lisa....I look back and think, ONLY GOD. Even when we are not perfect, even when life throws us challenges God works things out.

Renee said...

Hi Noreen.....God is good isn't he! Thanks for your prayers.

Renee said...

Hi Ginny
We do feel so blessed to have children who love The Lord.

Gayle said...

I can't even imagine all you have been through. I admire anyone who takes on foster children. Raising your own at times is hard enough.