Author - Renae Adelsberger

1
The Empty Closet: Life After Our First Placement
2
Seven Times a Day
3
Yolk of Slavery
4
When Love Wasn’t Loving
5
More than a Foot Disease

The Empty Closet: Life After Our First Placement

An empty closet.
Clothes hangers without clothes.
A gap in the pews.
A booster seat in the trunk of the car.

I’ve cried at the sight of each of these items over the past two weeks. Our foster placement lived with us for 380 days. Today is day 16 without her. We’re still emotionally rebounding from the way her time with us ended – not in celebration of reunification or adoption but in grief. In a gut-wrenching hope that the pain from her placement with a new foster family will bring the help and healing she needs.

There’s a pain mingling with our holiday celebrations this year. And as I looked around the pews at church this past Sunday morning, I was reminded we weren’t alone. There was pain all around me:
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Seven Times a Day

I praise You seven times a day for your righteous judgments.”
    – Psalm 119:164

What do I do seven times a day? I’ve really been thinking about this question lately. Some days I eat six times a day. You know, like a hobbit! There’s breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and, of course, the mandatory sweet snack after successfully putting a child to bed!

I don’t mean to be impolite, but I probably use the restroom seven times a day. I’m not sure; I haven’t ever counted before.

I wash dishes once a day. If a dish is missed, I leave it for the next day! And, as much as I love my husband, I’m not even sure that I tell him “I love you” seven times a day.

On a typical day, I’m awake from 5:45-9:45. That’s 16 hours. 16 divided by 7 is 2.28 (*shout out to my calculator*) So if I were to act like the Psalmist, that means I would praise the Lord for His righteous judgment every 2.28 hours that I am awake.

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Yolk of Slavery

I was teaching Sunday School to the middle school girls. We were in a deep discussion about being enslaved to sin. The girls were following along carefully and seemed to be understanding that when we practice sin, we get better and better at sinning. And sin will take control. That’s why Paul uses the imagery of a yoke.

Galatians 5:1, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Our yoke to is sin. It leads us into more sin even if we don’t want to go.

The looks on the girls’ faces suddenly seemed blank.

I backed up and started again. Nods. Nods. Then, suddenly, blank stares when I got to Galatians.

“Do you guys know how yokes work?” I asked them.

“Yes.”

“Okay. Why don’t you each act out a yoke so I’m sure we’re on the same page.”

The first girl cupped her hands. The second put her hands around either side of her neck with her elbows pointing out. The third put her head between her knees and wrapped her arms around herself.

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When Love Wasn’t Loving

That’s not love. That thought has been on repeat in my head ever since we accepted our first foster placement 11 months ago. How do you explain love – true love – agape love – to a child who has mostly only experienced selfish “love.” I can barely even bring myself to say “selfish love” because, if it’s selfish, is it really love?

So, here we are, trying to teach a person how to love. It’s hard. Because love, much like C.S. Lewis continually teaches, is a choice, not a feeling. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve never had to fight very hard for love. Kevin and I have had a fun-filled marriage and drama-free dating relationship. I love him easily every day. In fact, my love for him has grown over the past year. But when the Lord adds a person to your house, even temporarily, love is a choice. I have to choose love even when told I’m hated. Because, as the refrain in my head goes, most of the love that was shown to her wasn’t loving.

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More than a Foot Disease

 Hezekiah did this throughout all Judah. He did what was good and upright and true before the Lord his God. He was diligent in every deed that he began in the service of God’s temple, in the instruction and the commands, in order to seek his God, and he prospered.
        -2 Chronicles 31:20-21

Over the past two weeks, I got behind on my daily Scripture reading. I would love to point my finger and blame the start of school – we’re still trying to figure out what the new routine with ALL THIS HOMEWORK looks like. But that would just be me passing the blame. I haven’t made it a priority. I’ve chosen sleeping in over reading, watching videos over meditating, and monitoring everyone’s schedule over my relationship with God.

I’ve failed to read my Bible daily. But God is gracious and we’re getting back in our rhythm.

Many thanks to the Bible app which reads Scripture to me. I have enjoyed spending the morning stretching (rather than snoozing) while the app reads to me. I have even spent a couple morning drives to work with Psalms and Proverbs being read to me. It’s a a delight to hear God’s Words out loud – to encounter them in a new way.

So over the past three days of catch up, I have been listening to a lot of 1 & 2 Chronicles. This morning, I got to 2 Chronicles 31 where Hezekiah was described as “good,” “upright,” and “diligent in every deed.” (see Scripture at the beginning of this post)

It struck me how beautiful a legacy this leader left for the people of Israel. I began to reflect back on several recaps of kings that I had heard read to me over the past couple days.

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