Episode 273 Transcript (Stephen Hogue)

Episode 273 (Stephen Hogue)

Podcast Intro: [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where He teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m gonna give it my all.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:00:39] Hey guys. Welcome back to dadAWESOME. Today, episode 273, I have Stephen Hogue joining me. I met him about a year ago, and then all of a sudden I realized I was like, Man, I think Stephen is from the same area of Florida that I’m currently out with my family on this dadAWESOME RV tour. So I looked up and sure enough, him and his wife Sandra and their ten kids were like within 20 miles of me in Ormond, Florida, Ormond Beach, Florida. So I was like, No way. So we got together as families. It’s so fun. I brought my four girls, my wife over, their ten kids. We jumped in the pool, we rode the zip line. They’re family, they’re they’re amazing. And they have given the last decade of their life to helping churches help foster care families. They’re going to tell their story in today’s episode. I am so thankful for Stephen and Sandra, and I want to just rally you guys to be praying for them, for the Ministry, OneFamily, but also let’s be prayerfully open to the unexpected path that might be foster care, might be being a wrap around family, helping support someone who’s doing foster care, might be helping in your local church support and serve these foster care families that already exist or get a foster care ministry started. You can find all the resources in the show notes. We’ve got links to Sandra and Stephen’s ministry, OneFamily. But guys, this is my conversation, episode 273 with Stephen Hogue.

Stephen Hogue: [00:02:07] So I met my wife, I think around 95, we married in 97. So we’ve been married for 20, 25 years. My wife Sandra is a wonderful woman. People ask me how how we raise all of our kids, which I’ll get into that, I always point up to Jesus and then over to Sandra, she’s an incredible mother and wife. But we’ve been married 25 years and then when we decided to have children, we were actually children’s pastors, deciding to have children and found out she had major infertility issues and she never conceived, even one time. We, she had two surgeries, many treatments, over seven years we tried to conceive not even once in any way. So we were that couple that one day we would adopt, we’ll have some of our own, then we’ll adopt, that’s the kind of couple we were. So we kind of reversed that, put adoption on the front burner and then one thing led to another and she signs us up for foster care classes because we heard it was free to adopt through foster care and, which we didn’t have money at the time and next thing you know, we had four kids in our home just within 15 months.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:11] And to step in for a second, your heart, you’re loving kids, you’re you’re leading in a local church, you’re helping kids, you’re watching all these parents have babies and…

Stephen Hogue: [00:03:21] Kid’s pastor’s without kids.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:03:21] And you’re just prayerfully, seven years of waiting, trying, spending money on surgeries.

Stephen Hogue: [00:03:26] Believing, praying, confessing and never happened and had to deal with that. You know, and fertility can really hurt, every month you’re like, why isn’t happening? And then when we realized, okay, of course, years later, we realized what what was up, that God was really giving us a heart for adoption, but, you know, in the moment you can’t see that. So we just decided to go and start foster care classes. We, in the process, we got our home study done and then we found out about a little boy who was, a private adoption, and he was born in Orlando. Somebody told us about him and we said, Yeah, we’d be interested, let us know. Well, they were a couple ahead of us, and if this couple said no, they would call us. Well, I happened to take kids down to a kids camp that summer on Monday down in Lake Wales, you know, south of Orlando. My wife is here in Daytona. And two days later, she gets a call from the attorney and says this couple backed out, do you want this baby, he’s eight days old enough, and if so you need to come right now. Well, I’m in I’m in Lake Wales with all my kids. So she calls me in a panic and says, you’ve got to leave right now. So we both met in Orlando, we walked in, this is a true story, we walked in. Now we have no kids and we have no money and she just started a brand new job that Monday. So this is Tuesday and we walk in, the little baby was eight days old, but he was 3 pounds 11 ounces at birth.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:04:46] He was born early.

Stephen Hogue: [00:04:46] Yeah. He wasn’t born early. That’s what was crazy. He was full term. He was little. They they didn’t know what was wrong with him. They thought he had dwarfism. They didn’t know what was wrong. Mom gave birth, signed the papers and left, so they had no medical history. They didn’t know anything at all. He had no name. Sitting in the NICU for eight days and we walk in, this little, he was the smallest one there.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:05:07] And you hadn’t pick out a name yet? Right? Because you didn’t know, this was all last minute. 

Stephen Hogue: [00:05:09] We didn’t even know this was going to happen. So this is a true story, the attorney met us and she gave us information in about 5 minutes and then she looked at us and said, The baby’s right through those glass doors, you have 15 minutes, I need a yes or a no. So, you know, when you do pros and cons, the cons were way more than the pros. She just started a job, we have no money, we didn’t expect this, and this little baby sitting there, we walk in and the presence of God came in that NICU. We got permission to hold him. He was screaming inside his little NICU. She picks him up, she puts him on her, her chest, and she says, Are you my baby boy? She asked him. He immediately stops crying and then she looks at me and my wife is a pros and cons person, she goes, What do you think? And I said, What do you what do you mean? Why would we say no? This is what we’ve been praying for. And so I do want to stop and say there’s something so powerful about your yes. Because what we’ll do is we’ll say no out of fear, out of those pros and cons, out of conventional wisdom. But the Lord, the peace of the Lord came in and we knew we were supposed to say, yes. Well, that’s my serve for Silas, he’s 18 right now. I can’t wait for you to meet Silas.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:06:20] 18 years ago.

Stephen Hogue: [00:06:22] But what you don’t know about Silas is God gave us his name seven years earlier, gave us the name Silas. And so when we got him, that day, he was eight days old, he had no name. They didn’t even have a name to call him. We named him Silas that day, so but we had his name for many years earlier waiting for this this boy named Silas. Anyways, that was the beginning of our journey. Within a year, we got two foster kids and then another three months we we got a girl. So we had four kids in 15 months. Then we fostered about 18 kids total that came and went, but eight of them were able to be adoptable, that means their parents rights got terminated. So we never planned on having that many kids, but you know, you take them in your home, you love on them, then they come become adoptable and we realize, you know, we’re not going to send them back into the system, we’re going to adopt them. So we ended up adopting eight kids out of foster care, two private adoptions. So my youngest was a private adoption from from the hospital, that was the one from Arkansas and the birth mom gave her up. So ten kids over a period of about ten years. So their ages 10 to 23 right now.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:07:24] And now we’re going to come back around to talking about on the home front just what God showed you about dad life and the the unexpected like joys and some really hard that that I mean, because all of us dads have both sides. But I mean, with ten kids and with adoption and foster like yes we’ll come back to that. But the the journey of from kids pastors, you know, pastoring a church to what you do now. I think it’s just helpful as a fly over, first, how are you helping? In fact, I’m just going to quick, your mission. When the family flourishes, the community flourishes, OneFamily. So God’s giving you this vision that you now you’re ten years into, maybe longer, ten years of full time, I believe.

Stephen Hogue: [00:08:07] Yeah. 2013.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:07] Yeah. Would you give us a fly over the vision? The heart?

Stephen Hogue: [00:08:10] Yeah, sure. So we were children’s pastors, and then in 2008, we started what we called an orphan closet at our church in our kids center, because we found out when you’re in foster care, you can get a phone call for a child they’re going to bring to your home. You got to have you got to be ready for a baby in 45 minutes. I mean, most people have about nine months or for a child.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:08:32] You don’t have the stuff that.

Stephen Hogue: [00:08:32] You don’t have the stuff. So we knew that we were connected to some families, so we we took a closet and we we made it the orphan closet. So we had highchairs and diapers and wipes and strollers and clothing and shoes and all these things. So when families needed something, they could come there. And then then we opened up our church to the local agencies to use our facility. We started getting invited to speak at different things and advocate and really got a burden for the system and how broken it was. And one thing led to another we got so burdened for, and then we started getting invited on Sunday mornings to preach at churches, of course we couldn’t because we were children’s pastors. And then one day the Lord says to me, you can do more than what you’re doing. Now, at the time we had about 300 to 350 kids on a Sunday that’s 0 to 12. We had over 100 staff, you know, volunteer staff. We had just a big church running this big kids ministry, right. And I was just maxed out. It’s a very driven, event driven church. I was maxed out and I had eight kids at the time. And He’s telling me I can do more. So I’m like, how can I do any more? I can only do more if I step down, which I would never even consider in that, because there is security in the paycheck. We had free, we have a Christian school at the church, free school, free daycare, insurance, 401K. I mean, security and the Lord was pushing me to step out. So in 2013, here’s a funny story I tell, I said I had this conversation with Lord, I don’t recommend this. But I sat down with Him, almost like a business meeting, and I crunched the numbers with Him. I said, Look, are you telling me to do this, this is what I make, like You didn’t know. This is what, I’m like, I literally wrote it down like I had a business meeting with Him. And I said, This is what I make and if you want me to step, you’re going to have to do a miracle here and provide this money and then I’ll step down, I’ll give my notice, and I’ll do what you called me to do. And then I use an object lesson because I was the kid’s pastor. So I used an object lesson talking to God for God, which again, I don’t recommend it. And I said, Remember when Moses was standing before the Red Sea and God’s going, What do you mean, remember I was there, of course I remember. Anyways He’s so patient with us. And I said, Remember how they were at that place where they were stuck and you did the miracle, then they walked through. That’s what I need you to do. Open the Red Sea and I’ll walk. And then the Lord just so gently goes, do you remember when the children of Israel were at the Jordan River? I said, Yeah, it’s just like that. Yeah. It wasn’t till the foot of the priest touched the water, then the waters, you want me to do the miracle in your step, but what I’m telling you, this is God, you step and I’ll do the miracle. And I went, Oh, man, that’s not what I wanted to hear. So we put in our notice. We stepped down. After the last paycheck came, I had three months of no income at all with eight kids, ten people in the family. God supernaturally provided. There were days where kids needed clothing. We didn’t have the money and Sandra would say, We need clothing for this kid, that kid and that kid. And then the doorbell would ring shortly after and there’d be a bag of clothes with those exact, I mean, that kind of stuff happened on a regular basis. The Lord sustained us through that. And then we we ended up becoming full time foster care missionaries and then started a nonprofit called OneFamily. Now OneFamily, as we’ve been going through, basically what we were called to do is, is we see this incredible broken system of foster care, child welfare, $170 billion a year and it’s a broken system. And these kids who need homes, these families are broken and then you drive down the streets and there’s a church in every corner, sometimes two or three, right. Where is the local church when it comes to this? Well, what we realize is the government obviously doesn’t really do anything very well. Plus, it was our job, not theirs. And somewhere, somewhere along the line, we relegated that to them and let them do it and they don’t do it well. So we realized we need the local church. So I stepped down and started, our ministry is to engage, equip and empower the local church because, Paul says, to equip the Saints for the work of the ministry. And we have all these ministries in our church, kids ministry, men’s ministry, women’s, worship, and there’s resources and there’s ministries to help those ministries. Well, what if you want to do foster care? What if you want to help fulfill James 1:27, caring for orphaned, widows in their time of need. What do I, where do I go? At that time, there was very little church based foster care or adoptive ministry. Dennis Rainey had put something out at the end or around, I don’t know, 09, 08, How To Start An Orphanage Care Ministry In Your Church. And that’s the first book we read, the DVD we watch, and we started there the ten steps and then and then we went, we went for it. But OneFamily has is a three fold meaning the Lord downloaded this in my heart there is power in one family saying yes to a child who needs a home temporarily through foster care or permanent adoption. There’s power in your yes, for that family to help that kid who is an orphan. Secondly, the body of Christ is the family of God and our churches are divided. We have denominations and factions and separations and walls and territories and all this stupid stuff. In Psalms, He says how blessed it is, as one of the brethren dwell together in unity, that’s where I command my blessing. I don’t suggest it, I command it, right. So when churches get together and unify, it’s wonderful. The Lord blesses that, right? Well, how do you unify churches? You get in a conference room with a bunch of pastors from different denominations and try to unify over theology. Not going to work, right. Okay. So how do we unify? Well, if a church, a Jesus believing church, can’t unify over the least of these Matthew 25 or the orphan and the widow, then you shouldn’t be doing ministry anyways. So what we’re finding is we’re helping unify these churches. So we have almost 20 trained churches that are doing orphan care, foster care ministry. Every denomination, non-denominational, everything you can think of, the whole spectrum and they’re working together. It’s awesome. So that’s a family, the family of God is unified. And then the third meaning of OneFamily is the spiritual orphan coming home to the Father, because the Bible says all creation is eagerly waiting for the children of God to be revealed. So when we reveal ourselves to the world as orphans, as insecure, performance driven, not worthy of God’s love, orphans. And that does not reflect on that Father very well. We need to go out there as confident, secure children of God and children get an inheritance. You don’t become a king because you won an election, you become the king of who your Father is, right. And so we are children of God, we have the keys of the kingdom, the Bible said we have authority and we need to go out there and reveal the Father because we’re his children. So my, I reflect who my Father is. I reflect, my last name is my dad’s last name, so I I am the son of William Hogue, that’s my father and I reflect him and how I was raised. I mean, you look at how someone was raised, and you can say that father wasn’t in his life, he wasn’t raised by good parents. You can tell, right. Or you can say that kid was raised by good, good father, right. So we should be reflecting our Father. So that OneFamily meaning is to bring the spiritual orphan into the family of God. And that word adoption, really, if you break it up, add in the option. It’s if you flip it, it’s the option to add somebody to your family. I tell my kids, I said, you know, you were, you weren’t just born into our family, you were actually picked because out of all the kids that needed to be adopted, I chose you. And it’s amazing because rejection will try to come on them, that they were rejected and abandoned. No, no, no, you were chosen. You were picked. You are you are plucked out and put into this family because God saw you and there’s value in that. A lot of people, even believers, believers are some of the most unbelieving people and until you believe what God says about you. So that’s where OneFamily came from, it’s a nonprofit ministry. Our calling is to equip the local church so we go everywhere, we talk about foster care, adoption, the family, and really, honestly, if if the family is healed, the community’s healed, and so broken families are really what we want to see healed. And I believe with all the revival talk going on, if every home had revival, each home, then you’d have revival. So I call it family revival. And that’s my heart is to see this next great awakening be a family revival, a turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children, so that we don’t we’re not stricken with the curse of fatherlessness and broken homes.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:17:21] Wow. Stephen, as we’ve traveled for two years now in the RV and have met with so many leaders of amazing ministries across the country, like as I have spent the last couple of hours with you, learning more and more of what God has done the last decade and beyond. It is like, I’m thrilled that we’re connected and I like and so filled with hope for this region and so far beyond of like, look what God is doing, has done. And those three parts of of OneFamily on the home front, with families, at the church and then in our hearts as sons, I actually want to dial into the third one for a little bit and then we’ll come back around to the others, I’m sure. But the you pulled out two birth certificates when we were sitting at the coffee shop, and it was just so powerful to like think about the process of what happens when you because it kind of ties with both on the home and as a spiritual son that that is the process you were handed and new it’s actually ripped up the old birth certificate because we’re adopted and because your son was adopted into your family, he had a new one. Could you explain that picture?

Stephen Hogue: [00:18:23] So most of my kids have two birth certificates. It’s the one they were born with, and you’re identified by your birth certificate. So identity is so big nowadays, right? People can identify as whatever they want, which it’s really getting out there. They’re identifying as even non-human things, you know what I’m saying? So identity is such a big thing and we have the right to identify as whatever we want and No, no, no, no, no. He made the male and female, he made us in the image of God, we don’t get to choose who we identify as, but we do need to know who we are. So who am I and why am I here? Identity and purpose is the two questions that have to be answered to walk in any kind of victory. And so my kids have two birth certificates, so their first one, they’re on all of them, it’s actually not everybody in everybody’s case, but most of the time you’re identified by your biological father’s last name. Okay. And so that’s what’s on their birth certificate. And the one birth certificate I was referring to earlier was from a Texas, a county in Texas, it’s an official legal state document. That document would identify that particular child. Everywhere he went when he got married, when he got a job, he got a passport, he needed his birth certificate for one reason to tell people who I am. Okay. So then his father isn’t the father he should be. He was addicted, he had all kinds of issues and the court legally removed his right to be parent. It’ss called termination of parental rights, TPR. You cannot adopt a child unless they’ve been TPR’d. You first have to terminate the parental rights, then they become an orphan or a ward of the state, then a family has to come and say, yes, jump through every hoop to do that and then go to court and then they finally get to be adopted. And so that’s literally what happened with with my kids, is they is they became orphans, they became wards of the state, a family came up, which would be us, said yes to that child. So after home studies and after all the preliminary stuff that you have to do, we’ve we end up going to court for, let’s take this one particular child, actually, it was him and his brother together. And so we’re standing before Judge, TPR had already taken place and you know you’re in court and they ask you financial questions, they ask you about your finances and a lot of stuff, we had to do a financial background check before that to make sure we could afford to take care of him. After that was done and the home study and all those things, then the Judge approves the adoption. He literally hits the gavel down and says this, This is now your child, as if naturally born to you. Then from Tallahassee, which is our state capital in Florida, a couple of months later, this new birth certificate comes in the mail. So you have both, ones from Texas and ones from Florida. They’re both, they were both official legal documents, but because of TPR, the first one no longer works anymore. Now, what’s a birth certificate? Identifies you of who you are. Now, he’s identified not by his biological father’s last name, but by my last name. And he gets my inheritance and he becomes a Hogue under my family. And he got to do first, he actually got a new first and middle name, he got the whole a whole do over, right. Start over fresh with a new family. And he was abused. He was he was he told me stories, he remembers being thrown against the wall, not having food to eat, seeing stuff he should have never seen. He gets a new family, a new opportunity, a new chance. And one day I’m sitting there and I’m realizing adoption, the spirit of adoption, the legal aspect of adoption is a picture of salvation. And so believe it or not, I mean, if you think about it, Jesus went to court, stood before the Judge of the universe and said, Here’s an orphaned planet that I want to adopt. Oh, but here’s another thing that we forget, when you adopt, you have to pay a price. Every adoption costs money. Now, if you adopt to foster care is free for you, but the state pays the price. There’s no adoption that’s legal, that doesn’t cost something. If it’s not legal, it’s probably not, I mean, if it’s not free, if it’s a free adoption, it’s not legal. So you have to pay a price. There’s court fees, there’s all that, yes, there’s a cost involved. And so you have to prove you can care for them, then you have to pay the price. And so Jesus stands up before the judge says, I’ll take care of them according to my riches and glory. But then the judge says, Well, what about the price? And that’s when He died on the cross. So we have to understand is when he died on the cross, he terminated the devil’s parental rights, because in John chapter eight, he is considered the father of lies and even the Pharisees, he said, Your father’s the devil, He’s a liar, he speaks his native language, the language of lies. But in James, we see the father of lights. So the question is, what father are you listening to? What’s the most important role of the father? Is it providing? Is it protecting? Is it teaching? I would submit the most important role of a father is affirmation. So if you had a father that said, I’m proud of you, son, I love you, you’re amazing, you’re going to do great things. That is a huge blessing to have. There are guys I know that are millionaires that would pay millions of dollars to hear that again, but their dad has passed. But if the dad says, you’re worthless, you’re nothing, you’ll never amount to anything, I wish you were never born, that kid’s slammed on a label on your forehead and it messes with you until you get a revelation of who your Heavenly Father is. And we see our Heavenly Father often through the way our earthly father treated us. Three, three typical dads, good dad, bad dad, no dad. And that will affect you. Good, bad.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:24:03] What you think of God.

Stephen Hogue: [00:24:04] For the rest of your life until you see Him for who the Lord says He really is. And so He stood before the Judge. He said, I am, I’ll pay the price, He died on the cross, the devil’s rights were terminated and then Jesus had an opportunity to adopt us. Now, with our kids that were older, we asked them, Do you want to be a part of our family? And they said, yes. He asked you, Do you want to be adopted? We have to actually receive the spirit of adoption. So then you’re old the certificate, your old way of sin, because if you think about it, when Adam and Eve fell, the enemy became our father because we were born into sin, identified by our father’s name, the enemy, the devil, Satan. And then when we receive Christ, we’re born again into the family of God. That old birth certificate becomes null and void. But what happens is people will wake up in the morning and the enemy will shove the old birth certificate in their face and say, Remember that this, remember that that you did that, you did this, you did it. You can hold up the new one and say, No, I’m a child of God. And the Bible says again, All creation is waiting for the children of God to be revealed. So adoption is salvation. So I didn’t know that when I first started. And I started preaching and sharing that and people would come forward in services and get saved and I wasn’t even do an altar call, and I realized, oh my gosh, this is salvation. And so we’ve seen a lot of people get saved that aren’t even care about adoption or foster care, but the spirit of adoption is salvation. So it’s just wonderful. And a lot of men walk in insecurity, they walk in a performance spirit and a men will identify with what they do. So what if you’re a plumber? Okay, What do they say? I’m a plumber. That’s who I identify. Well, what if you get laid off? Then what are you? I’m unemployed. No. You were a son all along. You are a child of God all along. You’re not a plumber. You’re a son, first and foremost. And that’s what a lot of guys don’t realize.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:25:56] And getting that right of understanding Sonship, adoption, understanding inheritance allows us, as dads, to bring love, not perfectly, none of us are bringing it perfectly to our kids, but to model and to bring like this is my heart is a loving father that’s not tied to conditions of your performance or how you behave. And I’m so grateful that God just keeps loving because I keep stumbling. That’s who I am. I’m going to stumble. And he keeps loving, He keeps loving. He does, we don’t lose our sonship. But I know with my four girls, I know with your ten kids that like, there’s moments of like, man, I can’t bring the perfect love in this situation and I wasn’t prepared for the situation. And yet you keep they’re still your kids and you keep loving. How, you know, maybe take us into a little bit of your journey of adoption of a foster of these kids are now your kids they have your birth certificate. How what were you prepared for and what were you not prepared for?

Stephen Hogue: [00:26:55] I wasn’t prepared for any of it, to be honest with you. I really didn’t even know what we’re doing. And what we’re doing now with families is we’re really helping prepare them, because think about this, I had I had ten kids. All of them came from some sort of trauma background or generations, at least one, two or three of addiction. The generational past of my children, the generational line addiction, homelessness, incarceration, domestic violence, homelessness, I mean, on and on and on. And I can I could go on and some I won’t mention, but it’s pretty intense stuff that’s in their generational past. Okay. So the enemy had these families two, three generations, okay. Then the kids come into our home, we point them to Christ. We want our home where Jesus is the banner over our home and and then we we tell them to live for the Lord, to love the Lord, to serve the Lord so that they can raise their children and grandchildren to love the Lord. So you’re shifting in a generational line towards Christ. The enemy had them for all those years. Do you think he’s going to give them up without a fight? So what I didn’t know is that the spiritual fight. So we prepare families now, I have literally seen foster families get divorced, I’ve seen the kids get returned, I’ve seen that just tear them apart because they weren’t prepared. Adoption is really cool. Going to court is cool. People will pat you on the back and say, It’s awesome what you’re doing, you’re a saint, you’re better than I am. And then all hell breaks loose because you’re fighting, you’re fighting the enemy on behalf of these children. And I realize, oh my gosh, I’m in this for the fight. And I had to learn, I dealt with passivity for so many years. I dealt with this just just go with the flow attitude and the Lord’s like you, are you going to stand up and are you going to advance the kingdom by fighting for these children? And I learned quickly on that we had to be marked by prayer and fasting for our kids. I’ll get up in the morning to have breakfast and the kids always ask this question, Are you eating today, Dad? Because I’m fasting and I don’t like the fast flesh, of course doesn’t like the fast. I joke around is why is it called fasting, it goes so slow. It should be called slowing. But you you got to be willing to fight for them. And so I wasn’t prepared. We’ve had two families over the years, one of them a little more intense than the other, basically come to us and say, You made it look easy and we did it and it destroyed us. And because they weren’t prepared, what I used to do is something called a column point where I go to churches and I would say, you should foster, you should adopt, no, go sign up. You should foster, you should adopt, go sign up and never really fully equip them. I didn’t understand it. So now we don’t do that. We don’t encourage anybody to foster to adopt until you have wraparound help from your own church, you have somebody supporting you, spiritually praying for you, and then we give you actually some preparation. How’s your marriage? You know, how is your prayer life, all that stuff. So that’s what we’re doing now more than ever to prepare families. There are three types of families doing foster care and adoption, the one starting which you need to prepare them, the ones in it, they need support in the ones in crisis.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:29:57] Is there any just even broader doesn’t have to just fit within a family who’s adopting or fostering or or within the category of being an adopted son of God, if it just broadly practical dad wisdom. If you’re sitting around talking with some young dads, you’re like, Oh, I put some extra focus here, or Here’s a tip that would help your young family flourish. What would you want to speak to the dads?

Stephen Hogue: [00:30:20] Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself. So if you don’t have a clear view of who you are, many of us fathers walk in insecurity. What that means is we take everything personal. And what I found is my joy, the thermostat of my life, the temperature of my life was based on how my surroundings were. So my kid, my son, one time he said, when you come downstairs in the mornings, we don’t know if you’re going to be happy, if you’re going to be mad. I said, Well, it depends on you, if you’re doing your chores, if you’re obeying me, then that’s how I’m going to be. And I realized I needed my kids to act a certain way for me to have joy and peace. The Lord convicted me of that when my kids, one of my boys left, I was so angry, I was so upset and I and I was just mad at them. I mean, we did all this for you and the self-pity, don’t listen. And one morning I couldn’t sleep, I was up early, I was driving through the streets of our town. Yeah, I don’t recommend this, but what kind of yelling of the Lord? I don’t think that’s, yeah in the car, you know, I’m sure no one’s ever done that, raise your fist at Him, that’s not a smart move. But anyways, I said, Lord, I’m so tired of being fake. Somebody asked me, How am I doing? I have to lie to them and say I’m doing good or I can dump on them all this mess I’m going through and they don’t want to hear that, so I’m lying to them. And the Lord said, He said, Am I good? So sweet? And I said, Yeah. He said, Am I inside of you? I said, Yeah. He said, Then you’re good. You don’t need your boys to be good. That was it. That was a revelation. And when I realized that, when I come down the stairs, I’m good. If they hadn’t done their chores, if they if they talk back to me, if they’re mean, we have you know, people have come to our house, that have worked in group homes and they’ll look at our house, and be like, this is a lot like a group home because you have, you know, 12 people in the home. Chore charts, all these things that we do, order and it’s it can be chaotic in there, you know, it’s we want peace as much as possible, but you have that many people, it’s chaotic. I come down the stairs, I’m a son, I’m confident and I’m good. And I always want fathers to know if you walk in confidence of who you are, if you stay unoffended, if you stay confident in who you are, then those little things won’t trigger you, the little things that happen. And what happens is, is we easily get triggered and it’s the insecurity coming out and the performance spirit and having, you know, I don’t wake up hoping I’m good enough for God’s love. I don’t wake up a slave. I don’t wake up hoping I don’t mess up today, hoping I don’t blow. I wake up a child of God, confident in who I am and who he’s made me to be. I have a purpose. And by the way, sin loses its power when you really know your purpose because you don’t want to compromise. So I want to encourage, man, I see insecure, easily triggered, not confident men. And what God’s calling us to be as men is not arrogant, I heard this word, Godfident, it’s confident in who God made you to be and secure. Secure is I don’t even need my wife to to be who He is and that’s the principle that has changed me. I don’t need anybody. Not a president, not a politician, not my wife, not my kids, not my pastor, no one to be who He is. If I’m good with Him and I know who I am and who He says I am, no matter what you do to me, it’s not going to take my joy because I’m already good.

Jeff Zaugg: [00:33:50] Thank you for joining us this week for dadAWESOME, Episode 273, with Stephen Hogue. Guys, all the conversation notes, the link to their ministry, learning more about OneFamily is all at dadAWESOME.org/273. Guys, thank you for listening, thank you for being a part of this dadAWESOME community, thank you for pursuing the hearts of your kids, bringing your full presence, bringing your full heart, bringing your prayerfulness, bringing your fun to the dad life. I’m cheering for you guys. I’m praying for you guys. Have a great week.