We have shared our life and our home with our girls for the last sixteen and a half months. I think back to those first few months, when it was so hard and I kept telling myself this is just a season. They will not be here forever. It did get me through, but it wasn’t actually the outcome that we would have. God has done amazing things in all of our hearts to prepare us for this future life. My friend Leslie said something about Nat and her 6 kids in a message to me on Mother’s Day. I can not believe that I have six children that rely on me. Especially after Cobe was born, Allen and I decided that we weren’t going to have any more children. hahahahahaha!!!!
Growing up, I always wanted to be a mommy. I always have had a baby to play with since I was 5. My nephews and my nieces were my first children, I could play with them whenever I wanted. I got to play with them, feed them and change them. I dressed them up, I burnt their heads with curling irons, I rocked them to sleep, I had sleepovers with them, I carried them out of church when they were noisy. I have always loved them so deeply. I have been so blessed to be the “baby” of our family and the roles that that position has opened up for me.
After Allen and I were married, we waited a few years for babies. We didn’t want the responsibility right away. We were kind of scared of the commitment, we loved our time and our lifestyle of doing whatever we wanted. However, we have been so blessed with our boys. They have shaped us into who God has called us to be. Once we became parents, we knew this life was much bigger now, we had dependents and we wanted to offer them the world.
We got lost in trying to be things for them that we thought they needed at times, but now we know this life is about who we are raising more than most other things. It is about raising young men who can have a big impact, once we realized and put into action that we had to lead them by example our perspectives began to change…and then once God opened our eyes to the foster care system…the four of us have walked through this road together.
If any of you know our story, you know that we thought we would be bringing a young child in our home, but no more than 2 kids. I mean we couldn’t manage any more than 4 kids total. And they must be younger than Cobe, we have just heard too many stories of mixing up the age gaps. Well on our very first call ever, we said yes and broke all of these “rules” we had laid out before ourselves. They were our own personal ideals, not God’s. He is bigger than our measly check lists. And what we thought we could handle for 6 months is turning into a lifetime commitment.
What if: we would have said no, because the first call didn’t fit into our “ideal placement”?
What if: we would have said no to 4 homeless girls. Who would have won the citizenship award last year or who would have won the perseverance award this year? Who would have built them up into who God has called them to be?
What if: we let the age gap scenario interfere? Who would have blown out candles with them on their last 2 birthdays?
What if: we didn’t say yes and we denied ourselves all of God’s blessings?
Life is so much about obedience in the moment. A lot of the times, we want to have it all figured out. We want it to always go in our favor, well that is just not how it goes.
The last 16 months have been unbelievable. Allen and I have been stretched, I feel like “stretched” should have 62 letters in it. We have been pulled in so many directions, our hearts have been flipped upside down, pulled out and even stomped on a bit. We have had to have hard conversations with each other, with our boys and even harder ones with our girls. When I think back to our conversation in January, when we had to try to help explain to the girls that their parents just weren’t going to be for them who they hoped they would be….that was so tough….and then for their parents to tell them that that was a lie…then for us to have to live the last 4 months together in this limbo stage (again) where we all know what is going to happen, but the girls still believe their parents and still believe in them. We just have to keep going day to day, praying for them to get better, when it looks like God is going to answer that prayer differently than they desire.
I will be honest, I don’t understand at times how they could all be so blind to the reality. I have used harsh words at times to try to get them to see, only to put a wedge in between us. That shaping and bending was hard, and in some ways I am still trying to mend that fence. We can give them the moon, but their parents can give them an empty promise and it is more valuable than a safe home, food on the table and clean clothes in their drawers. They hang on their every word. I have to deny my flesh and just love unconditionally. There are simply some things that we aren’t meant to understand.
You would be so shocked to hear how casually we talk about their futures, it is wild to me at times. We can be talking lunch desires and then how they feel about living here together forever all in the same breath.
I have recently become so aware of how heart wrenching this is for me and I can not imagine how their little hearts must feel. I am their third foster mom, I am not even their longest placement. Their future is so unknown, although we feel pretty confident about what is going to happen, they have no idea. We have to wait for a court to tell them for them to believe us, so we all wait.
We have began to open our hearts back up to them. That may sound cold, but it is a weird defense mechanism. When they attack us, our boys and our credibility, the first reaction is to close up and withhold our love. I still love them, provide for them and comfort them but it is maybe a bit superficial because I am protecting myself. It sounds so catty, typing that out, but it is true. I have prayed about it and I am now opening back up to the type of love that Jesus gives to me. It brings so much peace into our lives, I just wonder if any of you do that as well? It seems right to protect our hearts, but at the same time we have to remember that the ultimate goal is to mimic the life of Jesus and he keeps loving and forgiving even when it doesn’t make sense. So, here we are loving and giving our hearts away again. Knowing that when we are giving our all, God will meet us with the rest. We just have to keep being obedient and let God do the rest. I have to remember my role, God doesn’t ask more of me than I can give. That is my sin; trying to be for people who I am not called to be for them. I do me and God does Himself, sounds simple to say, but living it out requires discipline and a sound mind.
So, here is my update, we are still in limbo, but we are allowing God to transform our hearts and minds during this time. Knowing that He will prevail and all we have to do is live a life of obedience to what He has called us to.
Prayers to all y’all trying to navigate this time in life, keep doing you and let God do His part and the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus.