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We Needed Her 

We Needed Her by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life

Sometimes I want to throttle the two year old in my house.  Not seriously, but when I find Cheerios in the oddest places, when she refuses to take no for an answer, when she floods the bathroom after distinctly being told not to touch the faucet, I am amazed at her audacity. Her logic often alludes me, her capacity to forget a simple request and her willingness to get sidetracked by baby sharks and paw patrols leave me frustrated, snappish and tired. 

And who wouldn’t be tired when being jarred out of sleep after finally getting the baby down by a little voice demanding Apple Juice or wanting to, “Get Out” of her bed.  Her needs are apparent and they extend beyond the basic needs for life. She needs lots of hugs, she does not like to be left alone, uncertainty makes her nutty and she is a true attention hog.  Typical for most toddlers, but imagine the typical turned up to the tenth degree. We don’t know much about her past, but we pray over her future and try to love her hard in the present. 

When things get hard, when she frustrates me to the point of anger or I’m tempted to say the wrong thing I remind myself she is two and she’s survived things I can’t even imagine – most foster care children have. I ask myself what would Jesus do and try to rethink my approach while applying the easy answer, the self-righteous answer, the answer that makes me the savior and she the one in need of saving.  The answer… she needs me, I can’t forget, she needs me. 

Then just a few days ago, when she had been banished to bed for some rude transgression that had pushed me to the edge of sanity, I walked into my bedroom and was just about to reiterate to my husband how much she must need us since we were in the middle of another test of patience that required unlimited compassion and love. But I had fallen short and sent her to bed thirty minutes early. 

And the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me at the moment – “You need her just as much as she needs you.”  

I needed her? The more I thought about it and prayed over it, the more I understood that I did need her. I knew I wanted her, any woman who has struggled with infertility and wants a child more then anything understands that wanting. No, I needed her, it was well past wanting, I needed her, so that I could become more like Jesus. 

I need her remind me that Christ loves me no matter what silly transgression I commit. That He expresses this love regardless of what I or don’t do, that no matter what happens He blesses me with grace and compassion. And that I have to learn to love like that as well, not out of obligation but out of joy. 

I need her to illustrate how Jesus never gives up on me, even when I forget to do what He told me to do, when I get sidetracked on the way to accomplish His will for my life, when I make a bad choice and have to suffer the consequences. 

But no matter what… Jesus is there, with a big unconditional love that never fails and my toddler pushes me to that standard every day.  Because after getting in trouble or making me nuts, there she is ten minutes later with the most beautiful smile, big eyes on me full of trust and love. I need that. And my promise to her, her brother, and even her biological mother is to give her big unfailing love right back. Just like Jesus.

#fostercare #adoptionstory #fostertoadopt #toddlermother #learningtoparent #lovinglikeJesus

The Joy Challenge! 2019 

The Joy Challenge 2019 by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life

#storiesoffaith #findingjoy #joyfulliving #lifeofjoy

I'm on a mission to bring more joy to my life. I have a habit of worrying to much, forgetting to live in the moment and letting go of things I have no business hanging on to. So for the next few months I am starting a grand journey, launching off into the deep to hear the laughter of Jesus... I am trying to learn to live in the pleasure of the Father.  

That means more then just doing things that are fun and make me laugh.  Learning to live in the pleasure of the Father means sometimes doing the hard and scary things like being a witness, serving in areas that are a challenge for me, being bold in sharing the gospel.

It means reaching for deeper intimacy with the Lord, immersing myself in His Word, seeking His face and finding refreshing in prayer, in learning to discern that still small voice again and moving quickly to do what He has called me to do.  

And it also means being downright silly, sometimes eating the ice cream, rejoicing in the love of my husband and playing tea party with the toddler who has taken over my home and heart.

Life is short and I don't want to live it worried about how long we'll have these children in our lives, if my liver disease will take me out, wishing I spent more time reading my Bible, sharing His word and singing His song. 

This month I commit to resurrect my joy, like Christ resurrected from the grave! And I'm going to start with picking things off my list - 100 Ways To Find More Joy In Your Life to try to bring a smile to my heart.

This month, I commit to doing at least 10 things on the list to the right of 100 Ways To Have More Joy... this is only the first page, but I'd love to share all 100 with you!

So, I'm on a journey to joy and I expect it to be a wild ride. I'm rolling with Jesus and I'll be documenting the journey with pictures, videos and blogs. Who wants to roll with me?

I'd love to hear your comments or questions. And if you are interested in following along or going on this journey with me email me simply saying, I want to go on the journey! Journey To Joy Sign Up

Want a copy of all 100 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Life?

Get your digital download here:

100 Ways To Have More Joy! 

If It Breaks 

The Foster Files - If It Breaks, Let It Break… by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush

I am enraptured by him, so totally captivated I’d give him the world if I could.  And when she turns to me and calls me Mommy with those large, haunted eyes, my heart seizes and I could cry from contentment.  And I inquire of the heavens, is this forever? Or is this only for a moment? And if it is only for a moment, how do I fight against feeling like this is a cruel joke when my mother’s heart and arms have been empty for so long? 

It’s been no secret that I’ve struggled with infertility and for whatever reason, the Lord has chosen not to answer our prayers for a child in the conventional way in this moment.  We had always planned to adopt, Jon was adopted and even as a little girl, I always knew my love would be big enough to encompass children that I had not birthed.  So as the years went by and we got older, we moved forward to start the foster to adopt process in Florida – and then the call to Louisiana, where we started the whole process again. 

After almost eight months of classes, paperwork and training we were told that it would be the end of February or March before we would even know if we were finally approved to foster.  And so I packed up the second week in February for a week of touring and as I got further and further from home I got a sinking feeling in my spirit.  Something was about to go down, I didn’t know what, but the Lord sure was letting me know it was coming down the pike. 

The babies arrived before the letter from Social Services saying we were approved to foster arrived – by two whole days. I promptly turned around, canceled the rest of my events and came home, no man has Momma powers and we all knew the two year old little girl needed me.  We instantly fell deeply in love and have watched them go from wilted to blooming in the span of just a few weeks. 

But here’s the issue. We shared with social services we only wanted to take in children who were ready to be adopted, and somehow, someone missed that in our file and delivered to our door two children with a mother who has insisted that she has every intention to bring them home.  That’s not what we bargained for.  

It would be easy to be increasingly selfish at this moment, to pray that birth mom does not get her act together and we get to keep them.  We could justify it by saying that we will raise them in the way of the Lord, provide them with a stable home and give them material things that they may not have otherwise. 

 I want these children as my own… but more then that… I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. 

So, I pray for their mother.  I pray that she would have a supernatural experience with the Lord, that she will become a mighty woman of God with the ability and resources to raise these children in a manner that pleases Him. That I hand them back to her having been well loved and well fed both spiritually and physically. 

And I choose today to love them with my whole heart, not to guard it or hold back from them any drop of love that they deserve. And they deserve the best, they deserve all of me.  And if the moment comes when we have to pack them up and send them on their way, I will do so with tears and pain and a lack of understanding. But I will be able to stand before the Lord and say I loved them so fully that it shredded my heart to pieces to give them back and they knew in this place they were safe and they were loved.  

I choose today to give these babies my heart, and if it breaks in the giving, then so help me God, let it break. 

I'd love to hear your feedback, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message.  And if this blog blessed you, please share it with someone who might benefit from it. 

#fostermom #adoptionstories #foreverfamily #adoption #fostercare 

 

Picking Weeds... 

Picking Weeds by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, Refreshing Life with Naima

When I was a little girl, I thought that dandelions were the most beautiful flowers in the world.  Every spring they would pepper the project grass plots and I’d climb over the little chain link fence to pick a few and hand them as an offering of love to my mother. Bless her heart, my mom would take them up to our stuffy New York apartment and put them in water.  Can you imagine how hurt my feelings were when I discovered that those perky little yellow buds were not flowers, but in fact weeds? 

Life is like that… it’s all about perspective when you think about it.  What do you see when you look at the wide world and the life you are blessed to be living? Do you see your life as a garden overgrown with the white wisps of future weeds? Or do you see flowers that spread like wildfire with the ability to express the sacredness of love? 

I have always lived by the mantra that, “What you call it, it will become.” 

If you call a child stupid or ugly or unwanted long enough, they will listen and believe what you say and act accordingly.  If you call yourself stupid, or ugly, or unworthy, then pretty soon you’ll take on the false attributes of these titles. Even though the Lord has never called you any of these things… 

What if we took the ugly bits of our lives and began to call them great things, what if we called them God things? What if instead of us always complaining about our bodies, our eyes, our voices, our jobs, we began to call ourselves fearfully and wonderfully made?

What if we started looking at life and instead of thinking nothing will ever change, we started thinking about the promises of God – that all things were working together for our good? That we could cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us, that we were fearfully and wonderfully made? 

What would life look like if we started seeing flowers instead of weeds? 

And what joy would we have if we gathered those weeds and handed them as an offering of love to the Creator of the Universe? 

April 5th is National Dandelion Day… (Seriously) what are you going to do about it!?

I'd love to hear your feedback, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message.  And if this blog blessed you, please share it with someone who might benefit from it. 

#nationaldandelionday #findingmorejoy #joyonthejourney #fearfullyandwonderfullymade

Let Go of the Weight 

Let Go of the Weight, Guest Post by Alicia Terry

Some years ago I wrote a blog post titled, Get Rid of Those Keys. I referenced a key chain I carried that had a lot of keys, but they no longer gave me access to the doors, vehicles and anything else they unlocked. So, why did I continue to carry them? Good question. At the time I thought for sure I would get rid of the keys after I published the blog post.

But, I didn’t. I continued to carry them out of habit, a sense of nostalgia and being comfortable with the weight. It wasn’t until the other day when the leather strap to my automatic car door opener tore and the keys fell that I had to acknowledge the weight had been too much. Years ago I knew the weight was too much, but ignored it until things broke and I found myself picking up the pieces.

Have you ever done this? Are you doing it now…carrying weight that serves no constructive purpose and only wears you and things out over time? Let’s stop doing this to ourselves. We have the power to live in and from victory and accomplish what we’ve been put on earth to do.

Hebrews 12:1 says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (NLT)

You and I, we can do this. The Bible is full of stories of people who serve as examples for us. They are the great cloud of witnesses, who, by faith, dropped the weight of their circumstances and moved forward with great focus and determination. The lighter load enabled them to endure to the end and win the race God intended for them to win.

We can experience this too. Let go of the weight. Run with endurance. Complete your race!

 

As the owner and founder of Idea Haven, a communications and training practice, Alicia Terry helps entrepreneurs, teens and women clarify the message around their mission so they can attract and connect with the people they are meant to serve. You can learn more about Alicia at aliciaterry.com and connect with her on Facebook. She is a frequent writer for the Refreshing Life Blog.

#crushfear #overcominglimitations #nolimits #Aliciaterry #livingalifeofjoy

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