Steph – living on purpose

My name is Steph. I’m an artist, wife to Dave, mama to 2 beautiful boys we adopted through foster care, and a foster mom waiting on our next placement call. I’ve been set free from the weight of depression and am living every day in new hope.

Fear and shame keep me from running the race God has set before me. Every time. That tag-team of lies spent many years embedded in my mind. There was a daily running loop of : “I’m not good enough, smart enough, talented enough.  I’m failing as a wife, I’m failing as a mom, I’m alone in this.”  For me, operating from that internal commentary was incredibly stifling.

I’ve always felt a strong pull toward God’s call for me and His truth in my life. Without the years I spent fighting to hear that truth above the lies I was telling myself, I wouldn’t have followed the call to foster care — the path that led me to my silly and wild boys. I wouldn’t have tried to make my artwork public — a career that has funded mission trips, helped us buy our farm, and has given me such joy through the years. I wouldn’t have trusted God to prepare and equip me for the race He called me to.

Thinking I was alone in my negative thoughts and thinking there was something wrong with me that was outside of God’s plan and healing, held me back for years and years. I learned how to be an adult under the umbrella of depression, fear, and shame. So my “normal” wasn’t healthy. Now, learning how to be an adult operating out my new life and new truth is hard! I have to tell myself (literally out-loud sometimes) “you’ve been transformed by God. You can do this.” But making the choice to live out of the new normal is hard work.

Our last foster care case was the hardest thing my husband or I have ever done. We had four brothers (ages 2, 3, 4, and 5) added to our two sons (ages 2 and 5). Six boys under 6 years of age is not easy. Six boys under 6 who have experienced such trauma was heartbreaking and impossibly hard nearly every moment of every day. I wanted to run away and hide in a hole. Old Steph would have. But I knew without a doubt that God had called us to those boys at that time and He equipped and made us able when we felt so unable. I can’t even count the number of times I prayed, “God, if this is what you want from me, you’re going to have to carry me through it.”

Ignore the lies. Replace the trash you’re hearing from the enemy with God’s truth. In the moments when you feel the cycle of lies starting, I’d encourage you to pray that you’re aware of what’s true and what’s not. When I feel the lies creeping in, I say, “Lord, this is not from You. Help me hear Your truth above the enemy’s lies.” It works. Just naming it as not from the Lord is huge for me every time. Knowing that — whatever it is — is false stops it from sinking in. Knowing I’m loved by the God who perfectly loves is something I try to be aware of every day. I’m constantly surprised by what I’m able to do when I’m following God and I “lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Where God leads, He equips.

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