Faith in God

All of my life I had faith in God. I am one of nine children and I grew up in a loving and close knit family. My mother was a born again Christian since before I was born but my father didn't give his life to the Lord until we were all grown. Mom raised us to care for those less fortunate than we were. My Dad was like Job after he got saved, in that he was "a perfect man and one that eschewed evil", and loved the Lord with all of his heart. All of my brothers and sisters were raised in the church and I don't remember experiencing lack when I was growing up, and at the same time I don't remember us being over indulged either. So with all that going for a family, what causes one out of the bunch to stray? One of my sisters succumbed to peer pressure early in her life. When she was 15 she had her first baby and at 16 she gave birth to her second child. She got married at 16 and began to get involved in drugs. Both her children were thrown into this environment which seemed to be the beginning of a downward spiral for our family. The marriage ended in divorce with both my sister and her husband basically abandoning their now ten and eleven year old children. My parents took in the oldest child and the other grandparents took in the other child, which was the beginning of the gulf between the two girls. The oldest child got pregnant out of wedlock at age 19. By the time she was 25 she was giving birth to her fourth child. This is the story of those four children.
My niece never mastered parenting skills, and consequently, the pressure of having to care for four children with no husband, no job, and only a high school education, led to a lot of physical and emotional abuse to her children. My husband and I are both born again Christians and we frequently tried to get my niece to receive Jesus in her life because we knew that He was the only chance that she had. However, the enemy had a stronghold on her that she didn't fight her way through. On April 29, at about midnight, we received a phone call from a family counselor stating that my niece had attempted to commit suicide, was in the hospital, and her four small children would be placed into different foster homes unless a family member agreed to take them. What a decision to be faced with when we had our own two children in college. Our oldest daughter was about to graduate in 2 weeks, and the youngest was a freshmen. But after much prayer and conversation with other family members, we decided that it was the right thing to get these children. We talked with the counselor who told us that the state (Maryland) would provide some financial assistance to help to care for these children. At that promise we sort of breathed this sigh of relief.
Only, there was no financial assistance. Once we got the children, the state of Maryland said we didn't go through proper channels and no financial assistance was forthcoming. Apparently the counselor never put the children into the care and custody of the state, but made arrangements for the children to be cared for by a friend until we arrived in Maryland to get them. The state said "sorry there is nothing we can do, now that you have them, they are your responsibility". Well after one look at those 4 sad, abused, but beautiful faces, there was no way we could abandon them again. That's when real faith kicked in. We believed that no matter what happened, the Lord would make a way. The first thing we had to do was find child care for the youngest, ages l 0 months and 22 months. Then we had to try to enroll the oldest, ages 6 and 9 in school. The Lord began to touch the hearts of men and we just were amazed at how God was working. My neighbor agreed to keep the 2 youngest for nothing, she said, just give what ever you can whenever you can, and 3 years later she is still saying the same thing. Our co-workers gave us cribs, dressers, clothing, pampers, and anything else the children needed.
The children all had different problems that we had to deal with. The 10 month old had to be constantly held because, we were told by the counselor, that the mother would never hold her, not even in the hospital. The 22 month old didn't speak. We weren't sure if it was because he couldn't or if it was because he wouldn't. As it turned out, all of the children were left alone most of the time, even over night, without adult supervision. The 9 year old would get up in the mornings, prepare breakfast for herself and her 6 year old little brother (when food was available), then try to find the cleanest set of clothing she could, for them to wear to school. She'd leave a crib full of bottles for the 2 babies hoping that would hold them until she got home and could maybe fix them some oatmeal or something. School was a giant playground for the 6 year old, who at this point was totally unruly, undisciplined, and quite carefree. While on the other hand, the 9 year old, with all of her adult responsibilities, was an honor student - but she had lost out on her childhood. I began to feel overwhelmed. That's when my children decided to make what to me seemed to be the ultimate sacrifice for someone just beginning to live. My daughter had just graduated from Georgetown University with a physics degree and she said ''Mom, I'm going to come home and help you out with the children for awhile". My son, away in Flint, Michigan studying for an engineering degree at General Motors Institute, said, ''Mom, I believe I'll transfer to Clemson, so that I can be closer to home to help out when you need me". At that moment I realized how God had blessed me with everything that I asked him, that my husband and my children be saved! Then I looked at those 4 children the Lord had given to my charge and I prayed to God for strength, wisdom, and understanding to bring these children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And I especially thanked God for a husband that would take in 4 children after being a good father to his own children and who was enjoying the empty nest that we had obtained.
Shortly after getting the older children in school, the teacher began to complain about the 6 year old's behavior. He was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This was all totally new to me and I didn't know what to do. The pressure began to get to me. My blood pressure went up and I was put on medication. The school was threatening to place the 6 year old in the learning disorder class ifl didn't do something. I gave in to the pressure, against my husband's wishes, and had him placed on Ritalin and put into therapy. We went through this process for about a year, but during this time, I was filling my heart with words of faith and way down on the inside I could hear the Spirit saying "with His stripes you are healed". I stopped taking the blood pressure medication and from that moment had normal bloGd pressure readings. After about a year of building up my faith, I heard those words again, "with His stripes you are healed". I decided to take the child off the Ritalin, stopped his therapy and began to minister to him and let him know that over 2000 years ago, Jesus went to the cross for him and all mankind and that "with His stripes we are healed". He has not been on the medication for over a year and is doing better with his behavior and attention than he has ever done - Praise the Lord! To this day when he begins to cough or get a case of the snifiles, I say to him, what does Isaiah 53:7 say? His response is always, "with His stripes I am healed". And that would be the end of the coughing or whatever the enemy tries to attack him with. He believes the word of God!
We were riding in the car together one day and after a lengthy discussion about heaven and hell,he looked over at me and said ''Mom, I believe I'm in the Book". That one statement let me know that this calling the Lord had placed on me was sure and every sacrifice we had to make could not compare to watching the Lord perform a miracle in all of these children's lives. The 10 month old is now 3 and has become comfortable enough to trust other adults now. The 22 month old is now 4 and talks incessantly. The 6 year old is now 9, Ritalin- free, and full of faith in God. And the 9 year old is now almost 12, still an honor student, and finally enjoying a childhood. Most importantly, they are all actively involved in our church and love the Lord. To sum things up - one day about a week ago, we were having a very hectic morning and nothing seemed to be going smoothly. The 4 year old and the 9 year old was rushing out of the door to catch the school bus when the 4 year old suddenly ran back in the house and said ''we have to pray"! And I immediately was mindful of my 4 beautiful little charges that God had given us. We are in the process of adopting and the Lord continues to provide even when it seems impossible, because we have come to know that God is our source!