Saturday, September 27, 2014

Six months ago...

Six months ago today, a little person unexpectedly came into our lives, leaving a big mark on our home and in our hearts forever.

We are so glad that we've gotten to know her, and have had the privilege to love and care for her.

And yesterday I realized that we no longer think of or refer to her as "foster child"....
we just think of her as part of the family.

It's been a little over a year since we received our foster parenting license. We've had 3 respite cases come our way and one long-term placement. I am so glad that we listened to God's calling, took the leap of faith and did this crazy thing called foster care.

We could have easily missed this opportunity. I could have ignored the tugging in my heart, the dreams and specific things that God put on my mind and brought into my life. I could have given up on the whole idea of adoption when Mike said "no" in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011. We could have stayed in our smaller home, could have remained comfortable with three children, could have been complacent and apathetic. We could have left it up to someone else, expected that someone else was going to take care of local foster kids, not us. We could have given up the first or second time we were bumped out of training classes, two years ago.

But we didn't.... -I- didn't!
I didn't give up. I kept praying and searching.
We were obedient in this calling.

And we pushed on, even though at times it has been difficult, unconventional, inconvenient, even heart-wrenching. Foster parenting certainly has its rewards and challenges. It has stretched and grown each of us in different ways, enlarged our hearts for foster kids and orphans, and grown our family closer as a whole.

I am so glad we said "yes".
And now I am waiting in expectant hope for whatever comes next.

Friday, September 12, 2014

dirty windows

To be honest, cleaning windows is something that I don't do very often.

I'm not great at scheduling household chores on a daily or weekly basis (or scheduling in general, for that matter. But that's another story). In fact, last week I swallowed my pride so that friends could minister to me by cleaning some of the more neglected, harder-to-reach places in my home. I thought it would be insanely uncomfortable, the idea of a friend coming over to clean my house.  ("I mean really, what does that say about me and my housework?! How will these people view me if they REALLY know how dusty and dirty it is under the stove?! Oh no, she is wanting to fold my laundry! She might see someone's undies! How embarrassing!!" etc. These were the thoughts in my head.) But despite my doubts and misgivings, I let them come over and help clean my house. It was like a cleaning party! All the kids helped too, wherever they could reach. And it wasn't really awkward or uncomfortable at all. It was good, all of us working together. Plus, I don't remember the last time my bathrooms smelled so nice :)

Anyway, back to the windows. My kids have special window markers, and we let them color all over the windows at our house. I have been known to leave their drawings and window stickers and other artistic tendencies up on the walls and windows for months or maybe a year or two at a time. But yesterday, I cleaned the windows and wiped off their artwork. Except... I just couldn't erase this one window pane.





The particular little person who drew this has made a big impression on me, and I can't seem to erase it until I know the direction that God has for them in the next chapter of their life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day

I know several people with birthdays at the beginning of September.
My MIL has one. Mike's brother, one of the kids' uncles, has a birthday this week.
MIL was telling me how it took over 48 hours of contractions before labor really got started.

And it made me think of my own birth stories. I love how each of our children begin in different ways, right down to the day and hour and manner in which they are born.It is just another way that proves how God is in the details of our lives, both big and small.

Sometimes I need to just sit still and remember all the details that He has orchestrated for me.

If you have a Labor Day story (or more than one!), I'd love to hear it.
You can reply here or send me a message.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It should be illegal to get up before sunrise.
I am running on 3 hours of sleep today.
I'm afraid I'll turn into "Mean Mommy" fairly quickly.
All month Ive been praying for more patience.
I have the feeling I might use up my reserves of patience today.

Any tips for getting through a sleep deprived day with 5 little people?

I'm all ears.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Isaiah 1:17

Isaiah 1:17  (NIV)

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

This week, I am working on memorizing this Bible verse.
I thought I knew almost every verse in the Bible that had to do with orphans.... and yes, I know a few. But earlier today, I realized that I don't: primarily because they are not usually called "orphans". In the Bible, they are most often referred to as "the fatherless." In our American culture, being "fatherless" is much more commonplace than being "an orphan". This seemingly small nuance changed the message in my mind somewhat.

The above verse also reminds me of Micah 6:8, which says

"...what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God."

That is the verse I think we most often see, on tshirts or cutesy bags or even etsy necklaces. I've seen it on missions and/or adoption fundraiser t-shirts as well. It is a good reminder of how we should live, and how we should think, talk, and act. 

So, as Christians we proclaim it - there's even a song written about this verse by a popular contemporary group - but is that really the way we live? Are we humbly walking with God every day? Are we just and merciful to everyone we meet, without bias or discrimination? Is this truly how others see us?  I don't know. I would hope so. But I know that I fall far, far short of the expectations set before me. That's why I'm so appreciative of God's grace and mercy.

I don't know what I was trying to say here.... just my random thoughts.