Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ready for Soul Fest... and for soul-rest.

Amy's working tonight so I'm just finishing some final packing for our trek to Soul Fest tomorrow!  All of us are so excited to spend four days with thousands of 'friends'- spending time with their own families and and worshiping God together.

Last night I completed my next assignment for my online class so I wouldn't have to worry about trying to submit any assignments while at the festival this weekend.  -- Which reminds me...

I remember last year trying to carve out time during the kids mid-day naps - I had to get a term paper done and submitted...what a project... what was worse, I came down with strep throat that week too.  That was ridiculous.

Anyway, the #teamzipf camper is ready to roll and we're ready for some R n R together.

I'm also looking forward for the time away to pray and reflect with Amy too...  I'll be looking to make some connections for ministry opportunities in the region as well.  At this point, I'm grateful for the connections and encouragement that God has provided so far.  I"m sure God has just the right fit for us... but He's not yet made clear where that will be.  We'll keep pushing on doors and praying for guidance, none the less.

We know that God has our best interest in mind and we know that he has led us through the experiences that he has for a reason... The refining process isn't easy, but what we do know is that God is leading.   want to use the best of what we have to minister here in New England.

We don't know yet where God will place us, but we will continue to trust that He's leading in that direction even now.

Meanwhile, we will continue to " in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge HIM... and trust that He will make our path straight.  (from Prov. 3:5-6)

Friday, July 19, 2013

HELP NEEDED for hurting 7yr old male. bn. in Ethiopia. Gotcha Date: 02.23.10

I've noticed his anger and inappropriate reactions off and on the last couple years.  Even still, whenever Ashebir has reacted disrespectfully or in a spiteful way, we've tried hard to be consistent with addressing each incident with appropriate consequences.  However, I've honestly felt like the issues he's exhibited he'd either learn from or grow out of.  But I've come to grips with the fact that we need outside help to lead and love Ashebir well.  We would appreciate your prayer for us on this journey.  

We have been referred to some good counselors, and are in the process of determining which will be the best fit for our family.

At this point we think some of his issues are related to Reactive Attachment Disorder  but some of his struggles could be related to developmental difficulties as well.  Some may understand how difficult this is to write because I can't stand labels.  I dislike putting "labels" on anyone especially kids - which often just excuses inappropriate behavior that should be dealt with through appropriate love, conflict resolution, affection and consequences.

That said, Ashebir did not have a healthy beginning... he's got a lot of baggage.  All I want to do is love my son and help him through the struggles he's unable to navigate in a way that other children are able to.

I wish I would have been more intentional before, so I've got some catching up to do.  That said, I am determined to find the help we need.  Amy feels the fact she has wanted to seek professional help for Ash for some time now but the magnitude of especially the last several months has contributed to putting this off - no more excuses.

A couple years ago, I wrote a letter from Ashebir to me... all the things that I wished he could say.  I believe that someday that we will be able to have those interactions I wrote about, but I want to walk with him one day at a time, one step at a time.  Wherever we get, it will be together.

At this point, Amy and I are trying not to feel so discouraged... We just feel like we've not made the kind of progress with him we would like. In fact we feel like we've plateaued and are not sure how to help him get through whatever anger and trust issues he has.

This past year in Kindergarten Ash had his moments, but did make a lot of progress.  For that we are incredibly grateful, but there are still some things we can't seem to over come.

Our troubles with Ashebir are related to almost any direction that Amy or I give him. Whether it's the options of cereal for breakfast, a choice of a toy or game to play with, what shoes to wear, what crayon to use, which entree to select or what seat to sit in at dinner time... It doesn't seem to matter... he's wants something completely different.  Also, he seems to have a difficult time with any change or transition - regardles of what or where it is.  I realize that some kids have issues with healthy perameters or acceptable choices, but this is different and we feel at a loss.  

He is often belligerent and seems to go the opposite direction from various instruction he's given. Also, he doesn't seem to understand or exhibit remorse for his wrongdoing (hurting his siblings during play time which may result in an altercation) Further, we've tried a few different forms of discipline and nothing seems to be very effective.

On a more encouraging note, Ash has developed very well physically.  He's a strong and coordinated athlete and dancer.  We know God has great things in store for him... and He we are confident that God will use Ashebir in some incredible ways as he matures.  

As I've been pondering these things especially over the last several days, two verses have come to mind.  I trust that they'll be equally encouraging to you as you may be dealing with your own heartaches...

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth he did so to admonish, challenge and love them..  The Corinthians were being disobedient and Paul refused to allow it to go on unaddressed.  So he gave them a lot of firm and loving counsel, but in 1 Cor 2, he quotes from the ancient prophet Isaiah (64:4) and says, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1Cor. 2:9)

A few years later, Paul wrote an encouraging letter to the Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi, and in chapter one he said, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)

This is my prayer for all my kids... and especially for Ashebir as we walk through this with him. I know God has big plans for Ash because of God's promises - not because Ash (or anyone one of us) deserve God's Grace, but because of how Great and Awesome God is, even through the trials we encounter along the way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"hey, that'll kill ya..."

during a work out the other day, I ran by a younger guy who was smoking... and I quipped, "hey, that'll kill ya."

Now.. as a caveat... let me say first, that I'm an advocate for LIMITED Government and I believe our Political Leaders need to focus on spending less to eradicate the egregious debt they've amassed, concentrate on protecting our nation while creating an environment for business to flourish instead of tax us to death.... ok, that's it for the political rant.

I didn't stop and get in his face, I didn't quote a bunch of stuff from JAMA and I didn't say what I did secretly hoping that more laws would be passed to prevent him from smoking.

I made a quick remark in passing... and I guess I just started to think a little more about what I said, how I said it and most importantly why I said anything at all.

To get right to the point, I understand some of the consequences.  There are several directions we could go here philosophically including discussions on many other "bad habits" which can be detrimental to one's health... Just suffice it to say that in the moment I was concerned and I expressed my concern. 

Truth be told, we all have habits that aren't very healthy... but when I ran by him I felt compelled to say something because I was concerned about his well being... and more importantly his heart.

Jesus is most concerned with our hearts too - our spiritual hearts.  It is true that we should be concerned with our actions and behaviors, but our actions and behaviors flow out of the condition and position or our hearts.  Let us pray that God will move and work in us to surrender to Him as he  shapes our hearts and lives, to bring glory to Him and bless others in the process. 

For further insight check out -- Mt. 19:16:30