Monday, March 18, 2013

Craving Easy

I sit here in tears as I type, feeling inadequate and exhausted. I am weak. Sometimes God calls us to thinks that leave us feeling overwhelmed and unequipped. Lately I have been feeling that he is calling me to things I am not capable of doing, things I am scared of and truly I want to run away and take a vacation somewhere, secluding myself with only my immediate family. While my heart wants to obey and say "Here I am Lord, send ME! Use ME!" my flesh screams "Uncle" and wants to give up.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24

Then I read this verse...I probably need to write it in sharpie on a wall or something, God calls us to follow Him...not to do what feels good or go with what comes easy, but to DENY ourselves and follow Him. Denying myself isn't something that comes easy to me. I look at my actions over the past weeks and I see selfishness, pride, lack of patience, misuse of words and insecurity. I've been ready to throw in the towel. God called us to fostering and I'll be honest and say I had no clue what I was in for. I figured it would be fun to take care of a baby for a while and love them while I could and then I could go back to my comfy life. The trouble is that once our eyes have seen...there is no turning back to a comfy life.

The trouble is that it is breaking my heart. I want to run for the hills when I see the brokenness of this world. I want to find a place to hide and be safe and stay there. I want to run from the discomfort and heart ache and yet God keeps calling me back to that very spot. He is breaking my heart for what breaks His and that is what I've prayed for. I knew of many of the issues birth parents deal with in foster care but I had no idea it would personally affect me so much. Addiction and abuse are real. They are ruining lives and causing so much hurt. I want to be mad and shut that out of my heart blaming the addict or abuser, and yet God calls us to extend grace...the same grace He extends to my short tempered, hot tongued, prideful self.

When I share my feelings and struggles, people are quick to say, well, give her back and focus on your is okay to do that...and for some people, maybe that is. The trouble is that I KNOW full well that God has called me to this very place...this place of heartache and struggle. He is holding me here and I have been wrestling with all I have in me. I look at the things he has placed before me in any given day and I just want to vomit. I feel overwhelmed and inadequate and attacked. I keep fighting it and praying for easy...and last night as I prayed something became pretty clear...something I have KNOWN but have overlooked many times...

”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9

Everything feels like a fight for me, I feel like it has been beat out of me and I just don't have any fight left in me...and here is where I've been going wrong...I am trying to do it all...I am hard on myself when I fail and when I can't meet the expectations I have set for myself. The problem in that previous sentence is the repeated use of "I". I am trying to do much so that I've forgotten that I can do all things...THROUGH HIM. I am weak, but He is strong...His grace really is sufficient...He has proven this to me time and time again and yet somehow my flesh takes over and I fight until I am so tired I just cannot fight anymore. I come to the end of myself and only then do I hand it over.

Taking care of five kids is tough stuff...especially when two are babies and fully reliant on me for all things, I need to rely on my Father more. I need to stop fighting and just let go and enjoy. I need to stop with the expectations of myself and the pride and the martyr attitude and seek his peace and choose joy. I have lost sight of what I am doing here and denied the magnitude of what I am doing through Him. It seems like changing diapers and wiping noses all day is mundane and meaningless stuff, and that is a lie straight from Hell. God has brought each of these dear children into my home so that I can be His hands and feet to them...the has brought children from my own womb and children from the womb of other hurting women so I can pray for them and love them and be Him to them...children and mothers...I cannot change them or force change upon them...all I can do is love them the way he loves the broken me.

When things spiral out of control it is important to remember who holds the control. It isn't me. That is for DARN sure. While my flesh wants to justify giving up and taking a season of easy, my heart knows that sometimes residing in the brokenness and pain is where God calls us, and he calls us to find joy even there and it is hard to do and easy to forget. Sometimes though in order to do what he has called us to...change has to occur...and I am feeling that here...I have got to be more gentle with myself and with my family...I have got to let go of having a perpetually clean sink and let the dishes pile up sometimes...I need to get myself into my Bible and immerse myself in TRUTH each and every morning to arm myself against the lies that come at me all day long.

Because I love Him so much, I know it is worth it to deny myself and follow Him. I know that while I am SO not capable of doing all that is before me, that with Him I can do all things...and the miracle of that starts with choosing joy. Today, I WILL choose joy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A little update

As I am sure you can guess, being a mom to five kids doesn't lend itself to being able to blog the way I'd like, but here is a quick update for those of you who are still reading!

Well, we made it through February. This year February was filled with birthday celebrations, excitement, sickness, puking, fevers, coughing, Asher missing, swimming, Build a Bear, and grace...lots and lots of grace. I can't say I am sad to see the calendar turn to March. I'd like to say that dates like my mom's birthday and Asher's birthday pass with ease, yet I found myself in tears even this year. I can't help but wonder what my sweet five year old would be like, what kind of cake he'd choose and what his prized gift would be! We took the kids to Build a Bear and made animals for his birthday and we found sweet Hope grieving the most as she never got to meet her other red haired brother. I still find it tough to get through February without thinking of where we were five years ago to the date...the sonograms, the tests, the hospitalizations, the results, the heartache, the joy, the grace, the love, and the tears. I am just grateful that we can continue to grieve with hope.

We are looking forward to spring and summer and getting outside more. Jacob is oh so close to walking and I know he is just going to love all of the activities that come with summer. He is coming into his own and his Occupational Therapist believes as of May he will no longer qualify for her services! This is great news, but we will miss her. He started speech therapy this past week and it was really intriguing. I wasn't sure what speech therapy for a one year old would entail but it was pretty cool!

The boys are chugging along with school work and exploring and using their imaginations like I'd never imagined they would without school. They are growing and becoming such amazing little men. I am so grateful that I get to be home and witness their lives. They are such a help to me!

Hope is as spunky and sweet as ever, she loves being a little momma to the babies and giving her older brothers a tough time...she is trying to figure out this world and what is "true" and "real". She is writing her name and drawing up a storm.

As for foster girl is still here. It is unclear if she will be here beyond her court date in May, but such is foster care. I find myself infuriated with the "system" most of the time as it is broken and often doesn't do these dear ones the justice they deserve...all we can do is pray for her and her family and know that God is sovereign over all if it.

All that to say, it is exhausting. When the stomach flu starts in this house it takes a full week to work through everyone and by then we've started on fevers, coughing and the next illness. I spent the afternoon yesterday, soaked in puke waiting for chest xrays for baby girl. Four hours in the hospital followed by insurance drama at the pharmacy had me ready to throw up my hands! As I expressed my frustration to my sweet husband, he gently reminded me that THIS is why people "could never do this" night after sleepless night, germs, foster care frustration and insurance drama aside, I am still confident this is where God has placed us. It is so easy to just want to throw my hands up and say, "I quit, this is not my problem", but then I am reminded that it IS my problem, it really is all of our problem. Quitting isn't going to fix anything, and God surely never quits on me, so we will press on.

Truthfully after a little quiet time, I realized what a privilege it was to GET TO sit there with that sweet girl in the hospital making sure she got the care she deserved. Someone has to fight for that precious child, and I get to be that Momma. I have no idea what the future holds for her and that is really hard, but I know right now, today she is safe, and loved and cared for, and truly, that is all I NEED to know.

All in all we are hanging in there, by the grace of God. Some days are merely about survival, others I fail miserably and others yet, I feel a sense of great success. By and large we are more blessed than we deserve to be and are really enjoying life as a family of seven and trying to live in the moment instead of always looking so far ahead, that is one blessing of foster care, you kind of have to adopt that view or you probably go crazy. :)

One of my greatest struggles though is getting dinner on the table during the that hour of chaos when everyone is home, hungry and full of energy. I am finding my crock pot is a very useful tool to beat the chaos...what are some of your favorite crock pot recipes?!