About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Breaking News: Food is Love

A favorite Thanksgiving Picture of the Boys 

"You know he would be coming home this weekend, if he were still here." I said.

Carlos nodded.

"I wonder what Mark would want me to make...Stromboli? Ribs? Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes?" I asked. "I know I would be running around like a giddy school girl getting ready for him to come home."

And then in the moments of missing him, our thoughts turn so often to heaven.

"Do you think God will have our favorite foods in heaven?" I ask my husband, the pastor.

"He prepares a table for us, a banquet...so sure," says the Rev.

How awesome is that.  God prepares a table for us. (Psalm 23:5) Isn't that a little beneath Him? I mean, isn't He busy doing the important work of keeping the planets aligned and the tides on schedule? Yes, He is.  But He (at least in my opinion) is running around like a giddy school girl getting ready for me, for us!  So as you enjoy the festivities of the day with your loved ones and maybe miss those who aren't with you, let your daydreams rest on The Banquet Table being prepared for us, where we will all celebrate together with no one missing and where all is right.
photo credit: huffingtonpost

Monday, November 23, 2015

How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Part 2c Foster a child...a Father's perspective

Mark Rodriguez had a huge heart for the orphaned and oppressed.  Since it is National Adoption Awareness Month, we will take a few posts to talk about the many ways one can help address the problem of children who are living without families. 

When I first met The Wiedmaier family I was struck by how well their family worked together.  In fact, they loved each other so well I actually thought two of the four kids were foster children...not because they were treated differently, but because they were all treated the same! I thought this for an entire year until Sam (their 7th grader) looked at me like I was crazy when I asked how one of his sisters was doing adjusting to the new home.  He said "um...she's fine.  I mean she has been with us her whole life."  Well, I feel silly!  Seriously though, it is a testament to how this family completely embraced and loved their foster child.  Not easy, but absolutely beautiful. JD shares his experience below:
The WiedmaierFamily
How did you know your family was supposed to foster a child?
Sandi and I had contemplated fostering for years and then the Lord gave us a nudge...Sandi volunteers at a small school in Norfolk that works with at risk kids. One of the little girl's home fell apart and she became a ward of the state as a result.  The administrator of the school asked Sandi and I if we would consider becoming the foster family for this little girl. We had ongoing discussions with our kids about the prospects of fostering and went through the city's vetting process to become foster parents while all along seeking God's lead through prayer. 

What has surprised you in the process?
Kids really are quite resilient. With love, structure and discipline they can turn it around. You would think once a child heads down the wrong path for too long it would be next to impossible to turn around but that is not necessarily the case. A hopeful future can spring out of a dark past with God involved.   

What has been the most positive thing? Or things?
We want our kids to grow up and have a heart for helping "the least of these". What better way to give them experience than to do it as a family. Really helping people takes sacrifice and hard work, but in the end it is all worth it. Seeing our kids start to get this principal and develop a heart to help is beautiful. We also want our children to understand that all people, regardless of color, culture or status, are beautiful creations of God. 

Our extended family has also been amazing! Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have all loved on our foster child. In addition to leaving a parent(s) when removed from their home, the child is also leaving grandparents, cousins and friends. It has been sweet seeing other family members embracing this child as a true member of our family. Sam, Meredith and Morgan also have great friends who have included her in many activities. Other adults speaking words of encouragement and offering grace when it was not due has been truly wonderful. Having someone say “She just fits with your family” has been very rewarding. 

On Easter Sunday 2015, our foster child asked us to lead her in prayer so she could ask Jesus into her heart. As a family, we sat on the bed and asked her questions and then prayed with her. We all wrote a memory from that day in her journal. 

What have some of the challenges been?
A foster child, just like our foster child, needs lots of attention to get on track. When a child has lived in an unstable structure for several years, they are hurting in many ways and it manifests itself with poor behavior. It takes a lot of parenting energy to help the child get back on track. At times, Sandi and I feel like at least 75% of our parenting energy is poured into the foster child and yet we have 3 biological children that need attention as well. 

Our vision going into this was one of community. A community of teachers, friends and family coming together to provide a safe environment. While most of our neighbors were welcoming and loving to our new family member, our family did receive some unkindness towards our foster child. Negotiating the relational challenges this created, has been part of the journey. 

What would you tell people considering being foster parents?
Imagine what it might be like to be a foster child. Your home is unstable. You might not have food, clothing or shelter. Maybe you are mistreated and then removed from everything you know.  How scared and confused would you be? Who is this family that is going to take me in? This child does not need judgment, she needs love, grace, instruction and a chance. 

If you could tell your Foster child what you most want her to remember from her time with you, what would it be?
You are a beautiful child with amazing potential. The only way for that beauty and potential to continue to rise to the surface is to seek and honor God. 

Wiedmaiers...You are the Super Good of God in the world.  So blessed to get to watch your sweet foster child blossom in your care!