Hard Pressed

I am pretty sure there’s not a momma out there who hasn’t at some point felt a bit used or better yet ‘used up’. I surely have.

Those are the times when we are desperate for some relief. Those are the times when we wonder if all our efforts are pointless. Those are the times when we are hurting and worried that we are failing.

#takecourage

Stephanie Rodda

There are going to be times when we feel hard pressed. I think it must be a matter of seasons. Seeds are planted, vines, trees, orchards are tended, fruit begins to appear and then ripen until it is time for harvest. That’s when things get mighty uncomfortable. That’s when it’s time to be used.

Whether we are ‘pressed’ to release the oil within or ‘crushed’ to produce a new wine, the process can leave us feeling perplexed and perhaps even persecuted. It is at that moment that we are tempted to squirm out of this place of enormous pressure and find relief. At times, it is not us ourselves in the hard place, but someone we love. It is at that moment that we are so tempted to rescue them and give them some relief.

But, the fact is, relief doesn’t produce in us a new anointing. Relief doesn’t release…

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Easy

What a beautiful reminder! I think I’ll dub this a Faint Not Friday post.
Anyone else out their a bit weary from the battles of this week? Frustrated at the apparent lack of progress? Concerned that difficult days are soon to be faced?
Difficult days, difficult people, difficult relationships, difficult lives. As in hard, perplexing, arduous and requiring much labor. But not as in impossible. Faint not friends!

Stephanie Rodda

Life can be fun and fulfilling and fabulous but, I’ll tell you one thing it isn’t, it isn’t easy. Even though our struggles may vary, the struggle is real. You know why? Well, lots of reasons but, the one that’s on my heart today is this. Life isn’t easy because people aren’t easy. It’s the truth.

Whether you’re the mom of a toddler or a divorced woman feeling alienated from your friends or a foster-parent or the caretaker of your aging parent or a public school teacher or a nurse or a struggling college student or any other station in life! People aren’t easy.

I’m the first to admit I’m not easy. If you’re honest you’ll admit the same about yourself. We all have our quirks and our faults and failings. We have our moments and our moods and our issues. People aren’t easy.

And that means, relationships aren’t easy…

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A Determined Love

Nine years ago this month, I saw three of my children for the first time. After all of these years of healing and growing and loving each other, we still have rough moments and moments of discouragement.
If you are a foster or adoptive parent, maybe even a step-parent, who is struggling to build a relationship with a child who has faced trauma and learned to be cautious with trust, read this. Pass it on to others who will benefit from it. Take courage, you are not alone.
I wish I could tell you that after nine years of consistent trying (although not perfectly executed) the issues have been 100% resolved. I can not. What I can tell you is that we are still trying, stumbling and getting back up and yes, we have progressed far down the road from where we began.

“Adoptive parents try to hide struggles as they feel particularly scrutinized as well as wanting to shield their children from being labeled.”

Stephanie Rodda

Seven years ago this week we saw three of our children for the very first time. Two little girls, sisters, who were 6.5 and 7.5 years old as well as their little brother who was three. I had been expecting them for a full six months. I thought I was prepared. After all, we had been fostering for nearly fifteen years and they would make 45 foster children that had entered into our care. I had pretty much seen it all, after all. We had determined to love them through difficulties,that surely would be faced.

When they came we knew the plan was adoption and we were committed to be their family. Having already adopted one older child (one of our sons came to us at age 8)in addition to three others who had come as infants, we didn’t expect things to be easy. What we didn’t truly grasp however…

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Stranger Danger

We need the Good Shepherd now if we have ever needed Him before. There are so many voices and some of them speak so loudly. It is a challenge each day to filter out the hate, the distorted. It is hard to know who to trust.

“He understands all about the other voices that haunt and taunt. He can love those who haven’t found their courage to love Him back in like manner.”

Stephanie Rodda

As an adoptive mom of several older children, which means they weren’t infants or toddlers when we adopted them, I had no control over the first years of their lives. By the time they legally became ours, there were some deep seated attitudes, beliefs and hurts.

I could say to them that they were beautiful, valuable and cherished. I could say to them that they were safe and would not be rejected or abandoned. I could say to them that they could trust us. But, they didn’t recognize my voice. In the beginning, I was just another stranger and that meant danger.

Now, the voices that were familiar to them were the ones that reminded them to trust no one, to keep a safe distance, to manipulate and lie, to be afraid, to be cautious and on guard.

When you adopt an older child, there is often a lot that…

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Dangerously Different

So, today this blog entry came up on my memories, I wrote this three years ago.

It may seem a strange thing to say your own writing moved you to tears, but in this case it is the simple truth. Of course I was carried on the wings of memories to precious moments from the past. A small portion of Jesse’s adoption story is included. It’s such a beautiful example of how God has formed our family so lovingly together.

I’ve recently spoken to a literary agent about the possibility of writing about our adoption stories. I’ve hesitated to do so because, well, they are so personal. Reading this blog myself today afresh and anew has given me the courage to try.
They are such stories or love conquering the very things that want to tear us apart and using the very glue of adversity to bind us together.

Stephanie Rodda

Having been born in the Deep South I have a heritage steeped in both immense pride and terrible shame. I was born in Louisiana, lived in Texas and Georgia, graduated high school in Mississippi. I have close family in Arkansas and am raising a family in Alabama – I get it, I truly do. I get what our unique culture offers, good and bad. I have experienced it.

My friend and pastor often says that a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. This is so true. I have experienced a unique and sometimes dangerously different way of life that can’t be argued away. It doesn’t matter one bit if you refuse to agree or refuse to see, my experience will not yield to your arguments.

Twenty years ago I would have just turned thirty and have been feeling quite grown up…

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Perfect

One year ago today I penned these thoughts. I could have easily written these words today.

Y’all, if we don’t learn to step back from the perfect chaos, we will never find perfect peace. Avoid the #peacethieves and guard your hearts and minds.

I hope you’ll take a few moments and read this and then pass it on. Our state of well-being is under attack and the price is high.

Stephanie Rodda

Practically everyone I know has, at this precise moment, a perfect opportunity to be anxious. If it isn’t a personal matter like your marriage or your children or your health or your bank account, there’s plenty to be concerned about in our society. Senseless murders, tragic disasters and alarming events continue to happen daily and then flood our minds and hearts with images of sorrow and fear.

As a matter of fact it is perfectly understandable that more folks suffer from anxiety than ever before. The world is a scary place and due to social media in part, we are barely able to catch our breath before the next bad news is upon us.

The pressure on families to face the demands of life and not only keep afloat financially but, raise your children to be decent people with a decent education and a decent character are enormous and the…

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The In-Between Dad

Happy Father’s Day!
We don’t have to have the perfect dad to celebrate this day!

Stephanie Rodda

There will be a few of you who read this who have a dad that the greeting cards describe. You know, the perfect dad, the dad who was always there, the dad who supported you, the dad who protected you, the dad who didn’t traumatize you, abandon you, come late into your life, impact your life negatively in some manner or tear your family apart. I think that is amazing if you do. I truly do. But, then there’s the rest of the world and their experience isn’t quite the same.

So, what do you do when it seems the whole world is celebrating and you have nothing to celebrate? I honestly don’t think anything has quite the same impact on a person’s life as a broken or strained or abusive relationship with a father. It is a unique kind of pain and can cause trust and relationship issues enormously…

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