Last Monday, I picked up the phone as I bustled about cleaning up the lunch of our four busy children entirely unaware of how life was about to change. "Hi, Kristy! I was calling to let you know that we have a little girl coming into placement and I was wondering if you and Howard were available to take her." My heart sunk and ultimately I knew I could not give her an answer without talking with Howard. Unfortunately at the school where Howard teaches, he gets NO cell phone reception and does not have a phone in his room so it can be tough to reach him. I was getting packed up and ready to head to his school anyhow so I figured I'd talk to him when I got there.
We talked and reviewed all of the pros and cons and fears and hopes and ultimately we knew God had called us to this. I called back and said yes. I can tell you that for ten days we had a precious baby girl in our home. We looked into her beautiful eyes and saw a priceless gift the Lord has blessed this earth with. She's lived a tough life and we can only pray the future for her is much brighter.
I learned a lot in the last ten days. My heart has once again been transformed and molded by pain and tears and I am so grateful. This sweet girl brought to our home gifts I will never be able to thank her for. She was our introduction into the foster care world. We'd done respite for a few families but she was our first "placement" and my heart bursts with gratitude that the Lord chose us for her even for just a little while.
With five little ones in the house I learned to be a much better steward of my time. It has become abundantly clear to me that the things the Lord wants me to do, will demand much of me, but that ultimately He will provide all of the resources, time, money, patience, knowledge, to accomplish them. If I run out of resources, I was likely not a good steward of them, and I am often guilty of this. I learned that I have GREAT kids (not that I didn't already know this, but really, they amazed me) I watched as my children loved, shared everything they had with and prayed for this sweet baby girl. In the hours after we learned she would be leaving us they held her and prayed over her with hearts that just poured out to Him. They snuggled her and cherished every moment and praised God for allowing her to be with us even for a short time. My heart still swells as I summon those memories.
I have learned that the system is broken, that sometimes decisions are made that we just don't understand and that it is frustrating, but ultimately after holding that sweet girl and looking into her face I can tell you with certainty that it was worth it. She is worth it, our children are worth it...sometimes because we live in a terribly broken world, children need a safe place to go...it may be long term or it may be very short, and likely we will get no say in how the whole thing goes, but we can serve. Turning away because the system is broken surely won't fix it. We can enter into their pain and just love them for as long as we are able. A good friend and mentor said to me as I learned of baby girl's leaving. "Remember how you held Isaac and Asher and loved them for as long as the Lord allowed? You loved them as best as you could and gave them all you could cherishing whatever time God gave you. That is what this is...we love and we let go and it is hard but it is what He has called us to." She is right. Another friend endured incessant calls from me just listening to me vent at the perceived injustices I was seeing all the while reminding me that this WAS in fact what I signed up for. I have learned that supportive and authentic friends are a rare gem and I cherish every one.
I have learned that it is going to hurt. I had no idea how I would grow to love this tiny person in just over a week, but I sure did. I felt confused, angry, frustrated and disheartened when I knew she was leaving, but God called our family to this very place and he worked out a story so beautiful that His hand is abundantly evident. In our culture we want a quick fix. We want to avoid pain at all costs. We want to spare ourselves something...and I think the greatest lesson I have learned in my lifetime has been that when we spare ourselves that pain, we are really denying ourselves something better. Avoiding pain is not what God calls any of us to. He calls us to enter in to the pain of those around us and love them right there. To truly allow our hearts to be broken for what breaks His, to weep along with them and for them, to be His hands and feet. It hurts, tears flow, hearts break and he puts all of those pieces back together into something even more beautiful.
It has been a crazy whirlwind week. The funny thing is I have always longed for normal...I have always longed for the mundane and I am learning day by day...that is just not us. I am so very grateful for the journey he has us on...as we step outside of our comfort zone, as we truly allow our hearts to be broken for what breaks His, things just become so much more clear...praising Him for that clarity tonight...