“Now this is what the Lord says — the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel — ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.'” Isaiah 43:1
On Friday night we sat in a circle with several other foster families and soaked in the wisdom of those much further along and with many more miles in their journey in Foster Care. It was a sweet night of learning and feeling encouraged. Over and over we were told to find a sweet community of foster families — and I am so thankful for One Heart.
As we sat there and questions were asked…stories were told…I was caught up in this Truth. The Lord delights in me. He delights in every couple or single mom in that circle. He delights in each kiddo accounted for by these families whether they are together forever or for a bit. He knows us and He is kind.
Not only does He know us, but He is never changing, so when the system isn’t consistent, He is. He knows us and our needs in each moment. When the behaviors of our sweet kiddos catch us off guard, He knows us and He cares for that moment. When babies are crying and there is no apparent reason…He cares! I’m so grateful.
After these realizations, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
He knows the birth families, too. He cares for them, even when trauma or dark situations get in their way of caring for these children. He cares for them. In their darkest day, He cares. In our darkest day, He cares. We are no different. He delights in each of us.
“…God delights in every detail of [your] life.” Psalm 37:23 NLT
This morning I was convicted by something my husband said. We were on our way to church, incredibly late, after a sleepless night and a long morning of tears and general fussiness.
“I wonder sometimes, if our hard moments are God trying to speak to our hearts and remind us that we can’t do this on our own strength, and we are trying to.”
Those were true words. That’s exactly what I’d been trying to do.
A little background information for those who don’t know me:
I like order. My classroom is a better representation of that than my t-shirt drawer, but nevertheless. When there isn’t order in places I feel like I should have control, I become frazzled, and when I am frazzled, doubt creeps in.
We know where doubt comes from.
So this morning. I doubted. I was frazzled.
“Why are they crying? What am I doing wrong?”
“Why won’t she sleep? What am I doing wrong?”
“Why are we late? Why couldn’t I get us together faster?”
The truth is this. When I doubt….When I question myself….I am putting the spotlight on me. It’s not about me. It never was, I never want it to be….when I pause from the frazzle and think about that, I remember. My strongest desire is for this journey (all of it, not just the foster care part) to be about Jesus…for the kiddos with us to experience His love through me.
Here’s to extending myself grace. Frazzled or not. So that I won’t get in the way of Christ in us, our only Hope.
One minute you are folding tiny laundry…and the next minute the Lord impresses words on your heart and you have to share. Enjoy.
A week ago was our first time to go to court. First placement. First court. Nothing really prepares you for sitting in the room with a judge at the front reading through papers describing the tragedy that brought you into that room. As I sat there listening to the legal-ese that was spoken I found myself feeling overwhelmed. I think other foster parents would agree.
I can easily say that this was the most overwhelming day of our placement. The first day when we were handed these two babies was less overwhelming for me in a lot of ways.
As we sat in that courtroom we heard our babies story re-hashed without emotion….without attachment. That was hard. I tried to write this blogpost right after we got home and my words were empty. In the past week I have been able to process and spend time in quiet thinking about WHY it hit so hard.
As parents, it is so natural…so expected to become attached. As foster parents that is absolutely true, too, but the rate in which this has happened has been unreal.
Two months ago I didn’t know these 2 babies existed. Today they are two of my greatest treasures. It happens quickly. There isn’t a warning, but it is so sweet. It feels like these babies have been in our home for far longer.
And I think that is why it’s all so difficult. There is so much unknown. How much longer will they stay? How many more hugs? How many more early (so, so early) bottles? How many more loads of tiny laundry? No one can answer that question and that’s when I become overwhelmed.
But, I can’t. I can’t be overwhelmed. Instead this reality has hit. Embrace each second. It’s so sweet that the Lord keeps reminding me of His faithfulness throughout this season. He has sent meals…and people…and financial support. Sometimes I am surprised and then I slow down enough to remember that He promised to love me and care for me…and He who promised is always faithful.
I am so grateful for the giggles, the tickles, the early bottles and sweet snuggles. This story Jesus is faithfully writing for us is so sweet. I feel so unworthy…but He promised and He will be faithful to us. So, we trust as He writes each word of our story (all 4 of us and Beau the Border Collie).
We are just slightly over a month into this new adventure. It’s mind-boggling to consider all the changes in such a short amount of time.
- There are baby gates everywhere in our home
- Thanks to baby-proofing — no one, including adults, can open any drawers in the kitchen
- All door knobs are harder to open with kid-safe handles
- We sleep very lightly thinking every noise is a kiddo waking up!
- Dad has gotten to be a master of getting two kids loaded and unloaded into the truck for school
- Mom is master of being two steps ahead of any possible kiddo meltdowns
- Cookies & kid snacks are hidden in all bags, coats, car, etc…
- There really is no such thing as ‘free time’ anymore… or staying up late!
- And SO many more…
And every one of those changes is totally worth it. Because these kids are a gift, a treasure to take care of and love well. For now, whether forever or not, we are their family, their Mom & Dad, their home.
I am convinced, even after a month, it is incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to really love kids the way they need to be loved without getting attached. Kids need the reassurance & confidence of a home, family & unconditional love — and it’s difficult to give those things and keep the children at a safe distance where you (and the kids) don’t get attached. You could give them a safe place, bed and food — but if they do not feel safe, supported, affirmed, loved & that they are home — it is lacking. Kids need to know they are home. But that means you AND the kids will get attached, because that is what home does to us — it draws us in & makes us safe — we want to abide & remain.
I say all of that (and it’s wordy…) because it is incredibly tough to live in the anguish & torment of a VERY unknown future. Now of course we all know that nothing is guaranteed and each day is a gift — but rarely do we really live that way. But with our kids future so full of uncertainty, we are faced with that terrible in-between every single day. We don’t know if the kids will get to stay with us and we don’t know what their Mom’s future holds — but we do know they are a gift. They are a gift from God, a treasure that we are to cherish & love as long as we can. If that is for a short time (which is a painful thought) or if it is forever (hard for different reasons) — we promised to love those kids and raise them in the Lord for as long as the Lord had them in our home. It is painful to consider the outcomes (for a lot of reasons), but we will lean on the Lord & trust His will — because we want to, and because honestly, we have no other choice.
There is a song, by Andrew Peterson, that you would do well to listen to — it’s called “You Can Always Come Home”. It’s on one of the kids albums I have downloaded on my phone and it is excellent. I can’t listen to the song & sing-along without tearing up. Here’s a link to go listen (it’s a random video of someone’s kiddo, but the song is excellent:
You Can Always Come Home
6 days ago we got our first placement call. I can honestly say that pure excitement took over and the logistical side fell to my husband. If you know us, that probably doesn’t surprise you. The response to our first placement call was a very loud yes. The Lord was so kind to us in how he wrote this part of our story as foster parents. It just felt (feels) right and I would say yes 10,000x’s over.
As I would imagine most placements go, the first few days are a whirlwind. There are times you aren’t sure which way is up, yet it’s so so sweet. As I reflect on my first 6 days a mom (although, arguably I have been ‘mom-ing’ 4th grade kids for 8 years now) I am humbled, and the last 6 words of Esther 4:14 ring through my mind…“for such a time as this.”
Being a foster mom was not in my plan. My husband was the first of us to approach the topic and I was apprehensive at best. The Lord softened my heart in a way that only He can, and I am grateful.
If I had said no my husband and I would have missed out on an opportunity to love these kids. To share our Hope with them. I believe that can be accomplished even when your kids are 2 under 2. God doesn’t need me to be the ‘savior’ to these kids that are coming from impossibly difficult situations. I don’t want to be. God’s the savior and His name stands without me speaking it — but do you know what is so special about all of this? God has invited us here. We are joining in His work. Not for His sake, but for ours.
Much the same as we have been invited to love these kids, God invited Esther to join Him in saving the Jewish nation. If Esther had refused, God would have still saved His people. If my husband and I had said no, God would still be putting people in place to love and save these babies, but we would have missed this opportunity. This is our opportunity…”for such a time as this.”
God’s providence the past 6 days has been sweet. His timing has not been a mistake. I can confidently say with such confidence (between yawns and cold coffee) that we are placed here, and the kids are placed here, now, and …”for such a time as this.”
So friends, enjoy the ride. There will be hot coffee later.