Friday, April 26, 2013

Sometimes I Want to Run (But I Don't Run) ;)

When we decided to go into foster parenting, we went in full steam ahead, knowing that is what God was calling us to. Then Jacob came along, and threw an unexpected and amazing wrench in that plan. After we got him home and things settled we were still both feeling the pull to foster. We figured we'd do it for a few years at least and be His hands and feet to as many kids as we could. We signed our contract in September of last year. We've provided a home temporarily for four little ones and had several respite kiddos. While it is truly one of the hardest things I've done, the foster shoe has seemed to fit. I feel like we are tangibly doing exactly what God wants us to do and I have truly never felt more at peace in my path even in chaos.

I have been more of a homebody than ever lately partly because taking five young kids out is a lot of work, partly because naptime is sacred, and largely because I am still working on that part of me that cares too much what others think. We've had more than our fair share of rude and condescending comments while we are out and about and while I know I should just let them go, they bother me. It bothers me that people think we are out of our ever loving minds to do this and that they somehow have the right to ask personal questions about how so many kids, the last two being so close together, came to be in our family.  I crave normal. I want to be just the regular girl next door, and the funny thing is that I have never been and likely won't ever be her. Following Jesus is radical and I know I am told to expect the criticism and stay focused. That said, it is still hard and I still struggle.

I look at my three older kids. If I had stopped with them, we'd be done with diapers, bottles, and all the baby gear that has engulfed my home. We'd also be being disobedient and likely just struggling somewhere else and we'd be missing out on the amazingness of Jacob and our foster daughter. I think it is human nature to crave easy. I won't lie, there are moments in the middle of the night when I am up for the sixth time with two babies who tag team me all night long that I think of or dream of how "easy" my life would be if I had just stopped with Hope. The thing is, it likely wouldn't be easy because if it weren't foster care it'd be something else. The thing is, this is where God has called us. The thing is, Jacob is a challenge for sure but is the most amazing kid ever. He has taught me so much, has humbled me in ways I have NEEDED and opened my eyes to so many things.  The thing is that God loves these children...and He expects US to love these children.

Foster care has wrecked me, broken my heart and made me want to run screaming for an island somewhere to lock my family in a bubble. The thing is...we are changed. Once we see the brokenness, it cannot be unseen. We can't turn away. We can't run away, if we try, it will find will haunt us. Foster parenting has opened my eyes to the fact that all that junk we see on the news and try to shield our kids is happening...for real people...affecting REAL kids...addiction, prostitution, abuse, neglect, violence, sexual predators, they are all for REAL, they are breaking people every day and once our eyes are opened to this reality, we cannot run from it. It becomes a part of our hearts.

Today, we live with not just the awareness, but the intimate knowledge that not all children are fed, loved and cared for the way children should be. We have always known that this is the reality but now our eyes have truly been opened and we cannot look away. Once you’ve seen the face of abuse so horrific you’re sure you yourself wouldn’t have survived it, or have held a tiny child who has not had even some of their most basic needs met let alone been appropriately interacted with, you cannot turn back. It burns in your heart and in your mind.

Our family has been blessed to be able to love and hold a few children in our nine months since we’ve been licensed and our lives have been forever changed by them. Survivors in their own right, these kids are absolute miracles, but nobody has told them that. We get to. We get to love them and feed them and rock them to sleep at night assuring them that they are safe and secure and the next meal is sure to be served. There is a chance our current foster child will be our last for a while seems God has more in store for our family than we bargained for! Guess I won't be running away anytime soon. :)


Erika said...

love your heart! ((((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

I have my book out A Flower in the Rain currently on and hopefully soon on Amazon. I think it would help you even if you read one word a day (I know you're busy). It's my story. I have mentioned it a few times on your blog, but I used to live in a foster home. You are doing an amazing job.

Anonymous said... There is the link to my book. I hope you are blessed by it if you decide to read it. I'm praying for you always.

Unknown said...

Yes. What you said about just struggling with something else if they weren't here and missing out on them is SO true!!!

I love being in this same season with you!