Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So Much More

His face was so weathered.  I could tell there was a lot of pain held in that crippled, broken man.

My daughter walked up to me and said two simple words "he's hungry".  Those two words carried a huge weight of responsibility and I felt it instantly.  I quickly turned our growing brood around and we headed back inside to buy this man a meal.

Suddenly a stranger was walking up to my daughter and handing her $20 to pay for his meal... God see's his broken.

We bought him his meal, took it to him and quietly walked to the car.  All of us a little shaken and sad... we had seen one more side of this broken, hurting world and it touched us all.

A few weeks ago I began to see a side of my daughters heart that aches for the hurting, homeless, broken, poor and abused.  She cannot stand to see someone hurting and not do something about it.  This instinct has challenged me in ways that honestly make me squirm a little.

God and I have had one sided discussions where I ask "We're already doing a lot right??"  "We're already loving your orphans right???" The answer really was the silence of a loving Father who looks at his child with laughter in his eyes.  I could feel the gentle laughter of my Father.  It wasn't a joyful laughter.. more of the chuckle of one who can't believe they've really been asked that question... do I really think there will be a point where I'm done???

I'm beginning to understand there is no end to the pain, hurting, loneliness and suffering of this world.  The only way it gets better is with Jesus and SO many don't even understand who he is.

I'm beginning to see a stirring in our hearts... a desperation to not live a life that simply settles to be a little "extreme" in how our family looks... but instead to be sold out, over the top, pouring ourselves out until the only thing left is a spirit that is finally beginning to understand just a little of what suffering for His name truly looks like.

I want to be poured out.  That terrifies me and brings me to tears as I'm writing it.. but in the midst of our crazy, painful, chaotic life we are very aware that this life is meaningless if it's even "mostly" about the jobs, money, cars, church functions, partys.. the list goes on.

There's nothing fanatical in this heart.. just a girl who has seen a glimpse of this Jesus and who desperately wants more.
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where Do You Fit In???

I watched her walk to the car as slowly as she could.  I've heard this from other people, and am learning it in my own life, that kids who've had so much control taken from them their entire life will seek out ways to take it back.  She could control making me wait for her and so she did.

I calmly waited for her, even acted like I didn't see her.  She got in the car, put her headphones on and sat silently.  I sent bullet prayers up to the heavens... you see in 45 minutes we had one of the most talented women I know coming to shoot some pictures of our sweet girls.  This woman had donated her amazing skills and at that second I was seeing it all turn into a colossal failure.... then she told me she just wanted to wear her JROTC uniform for the pictures and the prayers became more frequent.

We got home and I went in side while she played on the driveway with little A.  I paced, I fretted, I worried and prayed some more and then I got my answer... teach her what it is to be a girl... teach her what it is to be feminine... simply be willing to teach.

So I took my ipad out to the front yard and asked if I could show her something.  I quickly pulled up past pictures this friend had taken and showed her just how special it was that she was willing to come and do this for us.  As I talked about their clothes and how much we wanted to celebrate her turning 17 I could see the frustration and stress of the day slowly fade.  I asked her if I could curl her hair and help her with the makeup (she's just starting to get interested in that), she said yes and my heart lept! This was progress!!

45 minutes later she was pretty in pink, posing in front of the mirror  and ready for her picture to be taken.  My heart melted as I watched her just be a girl for a few minutes.  There was no worries about the future.  There were no court dates, dr. appointments, therapists, social workers or case workers fogging everything up... she was just A and I loved every moment of it.

My friend Kristen from Like a Dream Photography came and took her and little A's pictures.  She even took a few with the four of us and it was a very special and much needed moment of peace in the middle of this crazy, chaotic life that we lead.

I have been thinking back to the days leading up to bringing our girls home.  During the months of preparation people would say things that made it clear how much fear there is surrounding foster care, adoption and taking in the orphan in any capacity.  I remember strangers telling me foster kids would destroy my life.  I was told that we just needed to never take a child older than 5.  I was told a lot of things....

I guess what I'm trying to say is there is nothing easy about loving the unloved.  There is nothing easy about bringing a child into your home that is so close to adulthood but who has very few life skills.  There is nothing easy about helping someone raise a child who has no idea what a toddler needs... but I come back to the truth that we, the children of God, the heirs with Jesus, are called to nothing less than the hard, dirty, painful reality that is loving the unloved.  I would NEVER go back to the life I had before... even the hard days where I find myself asking what we've done.

I am slowly getting to glimpse the reformation of a life that was broken, unloved, forgotten and cast aside.  A life that was told over and over that she was worthless.  I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus in her life and show her just how much she is loved and cherished...

We, the church and bride of Christ, should be doing nothing less.  I guess I'm asking the question.. what is your hard thing?  What is it that scares the mess out of you but also thrills you to no end because you know that in that scary, messy unknown is a beauty and redemption that is only found in completely and utterly depending on him.

I believe we're all called to minister to the orphan and the widow.. this will look different for every believer in Jesus... but we're still called....  What is your role???
Monday, October 8, 2012

Nothing Less Than Our All

So many emotions have blasted their way through this house in the last two weeks.  I'm learning Foster Parenting is similar to adoption in the fact that it's hurting children who need a family to love on them unconditionally but that's really where the similarities end.  Foster care is ever changing.  Our kids have case workers and social workers and a whole team of people behind the scenes that help decide every move. EVERY thing you do is documented. We have to update about emotional well being, acting out or not acting out, discipline.. the list is never ending.  In the end we can love on these little ones and have them as our own but we don't have final say in what happens to them... and that took some getting used to.

I honestly have really come to appreciate A's case worker and social worker.  They are both wonderful women who love the Lord and really care about what happens to A.  We approach things totally different but it works because it provides a really well rounded team.

I'll be honest and say the last few weeks have been HARD for this mama.  A and I have been working out what it looks like to both be mothers and yet have me as the final say in matters. There have been some pretty rough moments.  There have been moments where I just went upstairs and sobbed.  There have been moments where I questioned if this was and is really the path we're supposed to walk (the answer is yes btw!).  BUT with all that hard stuff we are seeing real, lasting change take place.  I'm seeing a young girl begin to understand what it is to care about her appearance (getting to play with make up with her is FUN).  I'm seeing a young girl grow more and more into a mother.  I'm seeing a young girl learn at the same time that it's ok to be a kid.  The evidence of how far we've come is the fact that at this moment A is in the kitchen washing dishes (a consequence for something) and instead of a surly child, she's in there singing at the top of her lungs!  It does this mama's heart good to hear.

All in all things are good.  I have my moments or days that are SO isolating because I take care of little A during the day and she has some serious attachment issues.  If someone isn't touching her then she won't sleep most of the time.  I tried to just change this in the beginning (rookie move).  I've since learned that it's just what she needs right now.  It's frustrating at times and makes me want to scream at others but its for a season.  So I will sit for 3-5 hours a day and simply hold this sweet, sweet baby.  When I feel lonely or sad I just try to remember that there are so many of you that are praying for us and it's felt.  Those prayers mean so much to us!

So that's the update on the foster front.  We are falling more and more in love with our girls each and every day.  It's not easy... not even kinda easy.  It's the hardest thing we've ever done BUT I'm learning that serving Jesus requires nothing less.

Be Blessed!

And on a totally different note:  Hop over to our Etsy Shop and enjoy 10% off for the month of October with the coupon FALL2012!!