Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thought Provoking Day

It has been a very good day. In the midst of a fun day, my mind has been spinning on some events of the last couple of days. I knew when we took this position that God would be using this to make me more like Christ. The last couple of days I have been remembering the way Jesus interacted with people in the Bible and have been reminding myself to emulate him. So, please permit me to sort through my thoughts in text. I'm not sure if it will flow well or make much sense, but I wanted to share this with you.

One of the boys in our house turned 12 today. His mother had to call us to ask permission to take him to lunch. I can't imagine having to ask someone else permission to spend time with my child. It's weird being in a position where Taylor and I have the ability to tell a parent no if we feel that is best for any reason. We did not need to do that today in this situation, but it is humbling to be in that position.

This morning to wake him up we went into his room and sang Happy Birthday to him. We hung streamers from his bedroom door and wrapped his chair at the table in streamers. He was SO excited. By just a few streamers. That really put in perspective for me how materialistic society has become-I was worried a few streamers wouldn't be good enough of a celebration. I was terribly wrong. After breakfast this morning, I made his cake from a mix. He walked into the kitchen while I was doing it. He asked if I was making breakfast for tomorrow morning. It was heart breaking to me that this 12 year old has had so few birthdays celebrated (if any) that he couldn't guess that I was making a cake for him.

Later on tonight I found myself wrestling with a little anger and the feelings of not knowing how to handle a situation. We had invited his mother over for dinner. He had asked us to make steaks (after days and days of telling me he'd eat anything I wanted to make I finally got him to tell me he'd love steaks), and so we invited her to join us to help him celebrate. I'm not sure she has ever celebrated a birthday with him. I was nervous. I was nervous about whether or not the evening would be awkward...if we'd have anything to talk about. And I was fighting the urge to be angry with this woman who has treated him so poorly yet is now working to repair that relationship. There is a part of me that wants to tell her she's not allowed to. She's hurt him too many times that she doesn't get any more chances. He is deeply hurt because of her. In fact, I am not even describing my anger correctly because I can't divulge anything else about his situation.

BUT-as all of this was running through my mind the thought that joined all this was, "She is exactly the type of person Jesus would spend time with." Tonight we invited a broken woman who has done a multitude of wrongs to all of her children to sit at our table and enjoy a normal birthday meal with us and her son. We talked together. We laughed together. We celebrated her son's life together. In fact, we wouldn't be blessed with his sweet self in our house if she hadn't had him in the first place. Often times the way God works things together towards His will doesn't always make sense to me. This boy is a huge blessing to me. I'm learning much from being his foster mother. But, I would not have had this opportunity with him if his mother had not really messed up and had to put him here.

I came face to face tonight with the reality that God sent us here to minister to the parents as much as the children. I think some part of me ignored that part. I was coming to show Jesus to these children that have endured more in 5-17 years than I can even imagine in my 30 years. But, in truth, their parents need to see Jesus from us as well. Many of our children are placed here by their parents not by the state so we have regular contact with them. It is VERY difficult to sort through my feelings in order to allow my heart to be touched for the parents as much as for the children. And tonight God gave us an opportunity to sit and just be Jesus to our 12 year old's mom. Jesus ate with those that others would not so that he could build a relationship with them. Tonight we added another layer to our new relationship with his mom. I'm still scared for him...about what happens if she doesn't continue putting forth the effort to be a mom that she has just recently began exhibiting. But, that's not for me to control. My Father above is working all of that out. He has placed this child into our home to love and minister to as he tries to just be 12 and let go of his rough past. He is allowing us to have a relationship with this woman who is as much His daughter as I am. Who am I to spend time in fear when He can use me in these lives right now.

At the end of the day, our brand new 12 year old declared this to be "the best birthday he's ever had." Knowing what I know, I think that was the truth. It was simple and effortless, but the fact that his birthday was remembered and celebrated at all made it the best ever.

I'm thankful that he is now resting in his bed peacefully feeling as important as the Lord created Him to be. I'm thankful that the Lord opened my eyes tonight to how He is working and using us in this home, in these children's lives, and in the lives of their parents. I pray that my eyes continue to be opened to how I can grow more like Christ every day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So I Don't Forget

While in the shower this morning I was thinking about some of the things I've observed/learned since the boys moved in on Saturday. I wanted to write some of it down so that I don't forget and thought I'd share it with you at the same time.

1. Boys eat - A LOT! I knew this, but watching it in action with my own cooking is quite something.
2. Children who have experienced hunger at some point in their life will thank you for ANYTHING you put on their plate-often times before they even eat it, then again while eating it, and then again at the end. Even if it's been years since they went hungry.
3. 17 year old boys will still laugh at things you do to make 9 year old boys laugh, but they don't want to admit that they also think it's funny.
4. Boys think baby monitors are really cool, but are bummed out that you can't make noise back in them the opposite direction like you can a walkie talkie.
5. Having two washers and dryers is a life saver!
6. Sitting down to eat dinner together can be one of the most fun parts of the day.
7. These children in my house have an instinct ability to be safe and gentle around our baby. They also make sure I know EVERY time Carter cries. :)
8. When the dishwasher is out, and you are cooking for 5 the dishes quickly take over the kitchen in a way that can be very scary. ;) This leads to the feeling of spending ALL day in the kitchen washing dishes.
9. 11 year old boys sometimes find nothing more fun than going to help out the handy man on campus.
10. Rori LOVES have little boys to play catch with and to cuddle up with on the couch at night.
11. Sometimes it's okay to have a good cry as I adjust to our new life. I've had a few of these (usually while sitting quietly nursing Carter), but am realizing that it really helps me release the emotional and physical exhaustion of this transition. Afterwards, I can come back out to the rest of the family, focus on the kids, and know that tomorrow is another day one step closer to a good routine.

And, this is just the beginning!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Memory Verse 16

Yes, I missed memory verse 15. Somehow I managed to stay on top of my memory verses through Carter's birth, but not through moving to Albuquerque. Oh well...back on track now.

The day before we left Dallas, some sweet friends came over to say bye. They brought a gift for Carter and in it they included a book called Promises from God for Parents. It's a great collection of verses that are grouped by different categories. It's a wonderful resource to grab if I want to look at several verses surrounding one subject. The other day I was reading through the section on Commitment and this verse was listed. It is very appropriate for where I am right now. I am experiencing wide ranges of emotions as we settle into our new home and new life. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord orchestrated for us to be here, and I am so thankful for this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. But in moments of exhaustion while feeling unsettled I have found myself questioning if we made the right decision. This is simply a question born out of emotions (and probably hormones). My mind and heart know this is where we need to be. I'm finding myself clinging to the Lord more strongly than I perhaps ever have. With all that said, my verse for the next two weeks is from Galatians.

Galatians 6:9 NLT

"Don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."