📸 cred: https://harleyjayphotography.com I wrote this for an Instagram post for a ministry called Freedom Movement September 2018. It was interesting having only a certain number of letters allowed to fit in the post. I could’ve written many more words … Continue reading
So, we have been back on the foster placement list since after Thanksgiving. It took a lot to work up to the moment when we said yes again but now surprisingly we haven’t had one call since then and here we are in 2018. The extra room became Santas workshop during the holidays, and as a result got a little trashed. The other day I went to work in there cleaning up and preparing for the ever present reality of a seventh entering our home at any time. Put all the Christmas wrapping paper away, swept it, tidied up, and then I noticed it. I noticed that in the laundry basket there was one last load of laundry from Little Miss Mercy. Then I looked on the dresser where I’ve kept all of her things that we found, all of her our projects that got handed to me, and her photo book that I made all in the hopes that I would see her again. That we would get to stay in her life. I took a big breath in, a breath of I’ve got you girl, my ways are higher than your ways. I scooped up all of her special stuff that I’ve been saving for the past four months and put it into the top shelf of the closet. I grab the laundry basket and washed her clothes as quick as I could, but not before I sniffed her sheets to see if I could smell one last lingering memory of her. My younger kids will say all the time that they can smell her. I wanted to see if I could too. But I sniffed and sniffed, like a weirdo, and it was gone. I pulled it out of the dryer yesterday. Maybe it was the fact that her mom let me talk to her last Friday for the first time in 4 months, maybe it’s the fact that it’s a new year, or maybe because I was encouraging myself with my letter board message (haha), but in these moments I felt strong. I felt ready for Love. Yes, a sting of pain but the hope that comes from trusting in the one that loves me.
I folded those sweet memories and put them in that empty room ready to make more. As ready as I can to face the next adventure knowing that all of our past placements are in His hands just as much as we are. And that’s the best place we can be!
“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 63:7
Empty bed, full heart.
Moving forward is hard. But that’s our job. Our job as a foster home is to create a stable loving home that feels like family. That’s what we did. The pain is the proof of that. Words can’t explain what my heart feels like. If you have seen a foster child leave your home you can understand. The pain that I feel is a mixture of pride for a job well done and pain with the loss. The job of loving her well has not been on my and Matts shoulders alone. My sons have shown unconditional love to a hurting little person who has pulled their hair, slapped and punched them, bit them, spit at them, rejected their hugs and kisses and screamed at them. Their resilience and commitment to loving her (and even moving forward to take another placement) shows me so much of what love is. They have reaped the reward as she has learned what love is and reciprocated those kisses, hugs, and I love you’s. They have watched a fighter turn into one who knows love and stability too. If you’ve seen them talk her down from a fit you would know how much they have stolen her heart. Reminding her to take a deep breath to calm herself, reasoning with her, giving her two appropriate choices, telling her they love her forever. I’m so proud of them. My extended family loving her so hard and showing so much grace. My entire church and community close and far, stepping in to shower her with gifts and hand me downs, the offers of babysitting, dinners, and especially the tears, concern, encouragement, and prayers. Thank you all. Job well done. But today I grieve.
For the past almost year I have documented, observed, watched, shared, every detail of this person’s life and now I have no idea how she’s doing. I have no idea what her room looks like or what she ate. I have no idea if she’s crying for me, her dad, or her brothers. I have no idea where she’s going to go to school. Basically I have spent so much time energy, money, thought, heart, loved and fed and loved and held, like I’m supposed to, and now it’s just supposed to end. It’s really strange. Being that I have four boys, it’s also hard to gauge how they’re feeling. I’m sure I will see some behavior issues and the next months with my little guys as a result of their heart not being able to communicate in words how much they miss her besides the occasional, “I wish G___ was still here.” And just when we get that settled down we will probably be ready to introduce a new adventure to our house.
As I drove away with my precious little thing crying for mama dada, my heart shattered into 1 million pieces but I had to stay strong, at least a little strong, for the other four kids in my car. Strong but vulnerable so they can see the loss but feel secure. The four kids that are my forever kids. The four kids that no one can take from me. One of my wise children at age 7 said that Faith is trusting. Today I find that so true. Today I have to have faith that there is a bigger plan from a good Father that I can’t see. A plan that includes her not living with me but still thriving. I pray that this plan includes me being a part of her life as Auntie Mama. A plan where she is a game changer, a voice, and an advocate in a place that I can’t reach. A plan so much bigger than what my heart can see. This is Faith. Thanks for lending your heart to journey with us. Well done and my heart is full from a heart of love. Love that cost me something.
Jeremiah 29:11 MSG I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
The whole Starlight Bethel Album has really been so good for me but this song keeps tearing up my heart.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.”James 1:5-8 MSG
This really hit me this morning. I am so glad that I have a plan when I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing! Two weeks ago a couple besties and I had nice cry sesh over a text thread about somethings going on and how we had no idea what we were doing. And the constant questioning whether or not we are failing our children. We were all encouraging eachother in the fact that we are all just trying our best, that we don’t know what we are doing, it’s hard, and that the Lord has enough grace to bless our strengths and cover our shortcomings.
Last week I had a hilarious and so nourishing vent/comedy hour with some of my sisters and mom after a meeting at church. It had been a trying day and the weather was so hot making anything hard harder. As we stood out there in the cool air of the night we all confessed hilarious laugh/crying moments from the day or just motherhood. As we stood out there showing our worst, we all felt so great as we walked away knowing that we are okay, we aren’t failing, and we aren’t the only ones. As I thought about it that’s reason that I started this blog. My life has gone in a different direction by adding foster kids to it so time for this blog has not been possible but my heart for this connection is still there. I know there’s plenty of mom blogs out there but it’s so nice to have a channel to express myself. So I’d like to open up the invitation again to any moms having a laugh it or leave it thoughts to share, victories or disasters, Pinterest fails and DIY domination, whatever it it stirring your heart.
Remember we have someone we can go it when we don’t know what we are doing and your doing a great job!
The hubs said that my blogs start with downer stories but I’m just being real people. But sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard to just get out of bed bc it’s early and everyone is sleeping. Sometimes it’s hard to get a shower so you feel human. Sometimes it’s hard to get the dishes done so that it doesn’t look like a cafeteria with nobody working. Sometimes it’s hard have motivation to put away the laundry or even wash it. Sometimes it’s hard to be consistent with the little ones when all you want to do is look away and pretend you didn’t see whatever they did. Sometimes it’s hard to drive to a visit knowing how it will be. Sometimes it’s hard to make all the appointments knowing that I’ll be driving 2 little kids all day. Sometimes it’s hard to not think about how life was before we opened our house-fantasizing how easy it was. But that’s all that was just a fantasy because it was never easy. Sometimes it’s hard to think what will happen if she leaves our home. Sometimes it’s hard just to make it through the day with any patience left. Sometimes it’s hard to have anything left for my hubs or meetings at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s hard to do personal or spiritual growth because I’m so busy or just tired. Sometimes it’s hard to love! Sometimes it’s hard to think of others. Sometimes it’s hard to clean at the same mess you’ve already cleaned up three times in one day. Sometimes it’s hard to know if I’m doing all this well or messing it up. Sometimes just it’s hard period!
So I heard this song today it spoke to my heart to keep fighting. Keep fighting for what is right, for what is true, for love. I want to be fearless in my love for Christ and the knowledge that it IS splashing over to others. I want to be fearless and pushing away the lies they tell me that I’m not good enough, that I will fail my kids or hubs. I want to be fearless in my daily surrender.
Anyway, I guess I am already fearless. I’m guessing you are too. When I choose peace in the midst of chaos, I am fearless. When we purposely walked our family into Foster Love knowing it would be hard and it would be messy and it would hurt – we are fearless. When I choose joy in the midst of stress I am fearless. When I suck it up, make a healthy dinner for my family and clean it up, I am fearless. When I brave the parking lot to try to get a parking space 1 minute before the kids get out of school, I am fearless (ok I’m joking about this one). When I make a new friend when I’m actually almost too tired to talk, I am fearless. When I stand up for all my kids, I’m fearless. When I pray over each of my children at night for protection, guidance, wisdom I am fearless! I carry the love of the ultimate Father and He is love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love cast out fear…” 1 John 4:18a
It’s time for me and you to own this. I am Fearless because the creator of all of this my friend, my Father, and my comforter. I’m not sure what you believe, you’re entitled to your own opinion but that knowledge is what makes me fearless. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”Proverbs 31:25 NLT
I’m an extrovert so I usually love the fast pace of the life that we have. I love all the different experiences my kids get to have as we journey through this life navigating all of the twists and turns but there’s something about an easy-paced-pajama-wearin-chalk drawin-cloudy-Lauryn Hill listening-playin-with-a-box-kind-a-day that makes my heart swell.
Ecclesiastes 3 :1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven