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Widen Your Tent Stakes

I am lucky to have been blessed with two beautiful children. Looking at them I am continually reminded of what a miracle they are. If I had to count the number of surgeries that I’ve had that dealt with my reproductive system, it would take two hands to count them. After one of my surgeries my doctor said, “I hope you believe in something bigger than you because there’s no way you should’ve carried one child, let alone two.”

When I had to make the critical decision of having a hysterectomy at a young age, the reality of never having another child came crashing in. We had toyed for years with the idea of adopting and when the hysterectomy became a reality the thought of adoption came back to mind. My children began saying, “Let’s adopt.” The idea of adopting sounded like such an awesome thing to do but in my heart, something didn’t feel right. I pushed back to God in prayer asking for Him to give me clarity.

Early one morning, I took a jog while I was serving at a YoungLives camp. Holding baby after baby while I served on the childcare team pulled at my heartstrings. The idea of adopting a baby had my emotions all discombobulated. During that run I asked God, “If You want me to adopt, put it on my heart to the point that it’s so overwhelming that I can think of nothing else. And if You don’t want me to adopt, remove the desire from my heart and show me what You want me to do.”

During my time at the camp God removed the idea of adopting from my heart and He reminded me of a scripture I had read in Isaiah. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2. The verse is in reference to Israel having so many children that her tent will need enlarging. God put it on my heart to widen my tent stakes and be a mother to others, as in teens and young adults who needed a safe adult they could talk to. I said yes, and God began to bring youth to my door asking if I would pray with them or asking me for wisdom. Before long I would be called Momma Chaffy.

As the years went by, youth came in and out of my life. Some of them I am still walking with while others just needed a moment to talk to someone. One Sunday in particular as I sat in church, my attention was drawn to a young adult who was new to my church. Each weekend I would find myself looking to see if she was at church and one day I said to my husband I think God is going to bring another young woman into my life to be a mom to. The very next weekend she approached me at church. Her name was Laci and she asked if we could go to lunch.

Over lunch Laci shared with me that she had told our pastor she needed a mom. She had a mom, but her mom was in no way active in her life. My pastor encouraged Laci to pray that God would show her who to go to. After praying, Laci felt that she was to come to me. That day would be the beginning of my relationship with Laci.

From the walks we’ve taken together, the long talks we have had, to the chick flicks we’ve watched and our many dinner and lunch dates, a very special relationship has grown between us. Laci graduated from college and I was thrilled to be sitting with her family during that special day. When I have volunteered in her classroom, she introduces me to her students as her mom. I can honestly tell you that watching her try on wedding gowns in the fall of 2017 was an honor.  Laci has met an awesome man and she will become his wife in August of 2018.

I have been given the color that Laci would like the mothers to wear. I will wear a dress in that color with pride as I watch Laci say, “I do”.  I am so excited for the wedding and also my husband has been asked to marry them. Laci has an amazing father, but she wanted to make sure that somehow my husband was also included in their special day.

As I said before, I cannot look at my children without seeing the miracle that they are. “With what’s going on inside of your body I don’t know how you carried one child, let alone two”. In man’s eyes, those words seemed so final. But in God’s eyes, those words just meant I have another plan.

Last summer my son was married, and I gained a beautiful daughter-in-law. This summer Laci, though not my biological daughter but the daughter of my heart, will be married and I will gain a new son-in-law. Someday I will get to plan one more wedding when my daughter finds the man of her dreams.

Children do not need to be your biological children to take up room in your heart. Laci is a perfect example of that.I know that there are many women out there who long to have a child and medical issues have stood in the way.  Take it from me there is plenty of room in our hearts for children that are not ours biologically. There are children to be adopted and there are teens that need someone that they can trust to speak into their lives or fill the void of a missing parent.

Programs like YoungLives need women who can mentor teen moms. Many of the youth that God has put in my life came through the youth programs in my church or my kids would ask me to reach out to a child in their school. With Mother’s Day around the corner I know that there are many women who are hurting. How painful it must be for them to watch other women celebrate the joy of motherhood every Mother’s Day.

If you are reading this and you understand the pain that I am talking about, please ask God to use you in a child’s life and be willing to widen your tent stakes.  You just might be the mother figure someone has been praying for.

For more information about use this link — YoungLIves to watch a video and learn more about how you can get involved with YoungLives.

Looking for more daily encouragement?  Order a copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

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The World We Live In

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner.

Join Cassie each month for a new heartfelt post.  To read more of her writing go to the Cassie’s Corner link on the side of the page.  

Blessings, The Midlife Domestic Goddess.

Insanity: the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. Extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.

We live in an insane world. After graduating from college I entered the CassiesCornerButtonwork force as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) Parole Assistant. My case load consisted of Level 2 and 3 Sex Offenders, young men aged 15-18, who were deemed the highest risk to re-offend. All I could think was, wow, when did kids start hurting other kids so horribly. I had taken numerous classes during my four years at the university but nothing prepared me for the real life events that I reviewed in the case files of the youth on my roster. When I started with the JRA I thought I had arrived at my dream career position and I was so excited to be able to start in the field I had always wanted to be in. That excitement was cut short when my job soon turned from trying to help these youth change their lives for the better, into trying to catch them doing something wrong, so I could locked them back up. After only three short months, I was able to determine that the JRA setting was not my dream job but a sad system setting kids up to repeat bad choices and make them feel like no one believed in them.

My second post college job was at a secured drug and alcohol treatment center for 12-17 year old boys. They were all locked in rehab as their last option, it was rehab or a juvenile institution. I loved that job from start to finish. The young men I worked with taught me so much about life and what it meant to be a real person. It was there I learned how fragile todayʼs youth really are. How the choices we make as parents form and shape the choices our children make. To those boys the definition of insanity was doing the same behavior over and over and expecting different results. I always thought that was such an interesting view on life because to me, if I made a choice and didnʼt like the outcome I would just make a different decision the next time. Each young man I worked with helped to shape my view of the world as I walked out my life from behind the fence that kept them inside.

As I prepared to leave that job and transition into another branch of youth social services, I began to pray and ask God to examine my heart and desire to work with At Risk Youth. I was loosing hope in the desire to have my own children due to the pain and anguish I saw so many kids and parents going through over ten years while working in my desired occupation. I prayed constantly for the kids that I worked with, petitioning God to save them and show them who He was through me. Alas, after getting married and becoming a mother in 2006, I decided that I needed a break from full-time work as a Youth Care Specialist in 2008.

Fast forward to the present; I am now a college educated mother of two that holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I now pray for my own children to know who they are in Christ and for what purpose they were created. I find myself struggling to separate my knowledge of how insane the world can be from being a fun-loving person who welcomes new people into the lives of her children. I send my daughter to school praying that there wonʼt be a mass shooting or some sort of attack. I observe every person who is waiting for a student to be released from school as a potential offender or threat to myself and my children. I am constantly aware of who is around me, what they are wearing, what car they are driving, and all the other aspects of my surroundings.

I am not paranoid. I do not live in fear. I live in the here and now, the realistic part of life and what may happen at the blink of an eye.

I have so much information in my brain that in the natural is overwhelming to think of or comprehend. The experiences that I had working with At Risk Youth have forever shaped me into the person I am today. As a mother I use those years of experiences to help protect and shield my children from the insanity of this world. I am proud of the time I was able to serve caring for other peopleʼs children, it taught how I wanted to love my own. I believe with all my heart that God allowed me to see just how horrible life can be, so that I would be prepared to be a parent in the world my children now live in. For that, I am forever thankful.