In a mere six days, I've questioned, doubted, rejected, feared, and have been moments away from making the phone call that ends this trial. I have laughed, joked, played and listened in joy to the sound of a God-granted family as seven children play happily together. I have shouted in frustration, poured out words of wisdom I didn't know I had, and cried in fear that I have taken my family down a potentially damaging path.
One thing is very obvious to me in the above statement. Satan's forces have launched a full frontal assault on this family. But I know I have my King, my rock. And lately my rock has been Romans 8:31: "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Our God," by Chris Tomlin has become sort of an anthem for Carrie and I. I haven't connected emotionally with music in a long time, but this song brings the tears every time. I'm so encouraged when I hear it because even if my own endeavors fail, I know my God is with me and that no person not even an army of Satan can stand against us.
The seeds of Satan's deception have been deeply planted in our new four. That is easy to see now. And in some of them, that seed is has taken root and begun to overtake like a suffocating weed. But our God is greater! Chris Tomlin writes: "Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise." All of our hope rests in this. With massive doses of prayer, morning, noon and night; With supplication from prayer warriors around from all around us; In some shape, form or fashion, we will rise out of the ashes. What rises up from this will be for God to show us when He is ready to reveal it.
Like in any family, we had worldliness to contend with before the new four. We now have a new worldliness to contend with that I don't think all of the preparation in the world would have actually prepared us for. This is two fold as I can see it right now. Being in the foster system forces kids (not purposely I concede) to learn an independence that no child should be forced to know. Over the years this false independence can grow into an unhealthy self-reliance, mistrust of people in general and a serious rejection of authority. The second fold of this- and I want to tread very very carefully here, is a cultural worldliness. While I am not naive by any means to what I will call the street culture, I'm not going to lie here and say that I [we] understand it all. Which puts us at a bit of a disadvantage. Please hear me completely, this is not a black vs. white cultural worldliness difference. This is a culture that hass permeated all color barriers. It's a culture of fatherlessness, an absence of Godly families, an acceptance of drug and alcohol abuse, physical violence that has become a proper way of resolving disputes and an acceptance of verbal and sexual profanity, and foulness and perversion, that has corrupted entire generations, past, present and sadly to still to come. Take these and add on what mainstream America says is good and right: the next coolest gadget, the fastest longboard or sick new pair of Jordans and you get a picture of the fight we are up against.
Lastly, teens. Do I really need to say anything here? Yes, yes I do. I need to say I'm sorry. On behalf of all adults in the world and to my own parents, I'm sorry for being a teenager. Whether you were the ideal teenager (what that looks like I'm not certain), or you were like me and tried in my own strange way to be a rebellious freak, I'm sorry. There you go Mom and Dad, your prophecy of "Just you wait until you have your own kids"has been fulfilled. Ages 14 to 16 and all rebellious in their own ways. One I might blame on my own bad parenting. The others because of nothing more than that forced independence I talked about earlier. But I suppose if a little teenage rebellion is the worst we have to deal with, I'll take it!
The support we have received from the Church, family, friends and readers, has been so overwhelming thus far. The blessing of gifts from family and friends has been amazing and we are beyond thankful. What we need now more then ever is prayer. Please keep all nine of us individually as well as our family as a whole in your prayers. We ultimately leave this family in the mighty hands of God and pray that he will quickly deliver us into his ultimate will!