Anchored Joy

Joyfully bringing healing and wholeness to our adopted kids

Spiritual Warfare in Adoption: Keep Yourself Filled

Tracee WagnonComment

A couple days ago I wrote about the adoption being spiritual warfare and how God had told me to fight for our daughter's heart.  Today I want to share one of the most important tools we use - keeping ourselves filled.  

One of the most important things foster and adoptive parents need to practice is "self care" - making their own needs a priority.  Most foster and adoptive parents we know really suck at self care.  Why is this?  

Self care feels selfish.

It's true... we have this idea that taking time for ourselves is somehow selfish.  How can I possibly leave a child who struggles to trust me, with a stranger?  (This is when a good support team is crucial, but that's another blog post in itself).  How can I take a small nap while the kids are napping, when the dishes are spilling over the sink and Mt. Laundry is starting to block the laundry room door?  How can I spend time with Jesus when there's so much to do and so little time in the day?

Self care is very important but today I am only going to touch on one aspect of self care - Keeping yourself filled with the Holy Spirit.

I think the fastest way the enemy takes a foster family out is by making them too busy for God. Foster and adoptive parents give and give of themselves constantly every day.  It isn't just a child they are gaining into their lives, but also case workers, lawyers, CASA, possibly bio parents and other bio family, therapists, etc.  They are also bringing into their home all the hurts and trauma the child has been through, working hard to help kids overcome very deep fears and establish a trust based relationship, which is extremely difficult when just about every other adult in their lives has let them down.  

Every day foster and adoptive parents are pouring parts of themselves out into the lives of these kids.  Waking up to a new foster child screaming because he doesn't remember where he is. Pour. Taking 45 minutes to sooth and coerce a child that has been sensory deprived to put on jeans and a t-shirt.  Pour.  Getting to the CPS office for a visit and then parent doesn't show so the devastated child screams and kicks for 30 minutes before he finally goes back into his seat. Pour.  The worker calls and mom can meet tomorrow so the day must be completely rearranged. Pour.  Learning that the child you've had in your home for 9 months will be leaving in 2 days to go to a family member that has stepped forward.  Pour.  Finding pee on the carpet in the corner of the bedroom.  Pour.  The mad 2 year old that doesn't understand he needs to be safe so he constantly tells you his granny, who neglected him, is going to beat you up.  Pour.  

And soon you're just completely empty.  You have poured and poured and poured and you're so busy pouring you've completely neglected to refill again.  Maybe you refill on Sundays, but even if you're not a foster/adoptive parent, or even a parent at all, filling only on Sunday is never going to sustain you through the week!

When we are in the midst of the spiritual battle of foster care and adoption, we must be constantly filling ourselves.  We must be (and I'm preaching to the choir here) in constant communication with Holy Spirit, allowing Him to fill us and pour out of us as we go through our day.  Some days it isn't even enough to get up early and spend time in the word.  We may be empty again before noon!  We have to learn to live with the Spirit flowing through us minute by minute, a constant connection with Heaven.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  {emphasis mine}

Read that again.  This is the will of God for you!  He wants to fight this battle for you.  You are the vessel He will use to fight for your child, but you need to be in constant communication with Him to keep the vessel full!  Jesus called the Holy Spirit the "helper" (John 14:26) and in this battle we need The Helper to be ever present.  

I love how Jason Johnson says that we are not the heroes in foster care and adoption, Jesus is. When we are giving of ourselves, out of ourselves and not allowing Holy Spirit to flow through us, we are essentially casting Jesus aside and putting the expectation of "hero" on our own shoulders.  When we allow the Spirit to flow through us and guide us, keeping ourselves filled to overflowing, we not only are allowing Jesus to be the Hero, but we are also showing our precious children that they too can count on Jesus in the tough moments.  We are modeling trust to them.  We are showing them that there is no fear in the Kingdom.  These are things the enemy truly does not want our children to know.  When you are filling yourself to overflowing, you are fighting for your child!  When you're too busy to fill yourself, it's really not possible to use any of the other tools either because Jesus is needed in every tool we use against the enemy.

How do you keep yourself full every day as you battle for your child?

Join me next time (hopefully tomorrow) as I talk about the next tool - Standing on God's promises.