We’re still here… and better than ever. I know it has been a while and I’ve been meaning to say something but life is full and my waking hours are limited but mostly filled with feeding little faces and trying to keep up with a certain sneaky 3-yr-old.
Some of you have been a part of our story from the beginning, some of you joined along the way, and some of you have no idea what you’ve just gotten into…. but I stand here on what feels like the other side amazed by God’s faithfulness and grateful for each one of you that have walked with us. I am truly humbled by your love.
It has been three years since we were first licensed and started receiving calls for placement. Three years since I first felt all these conflicting emotions, wondering if I had what it takes to be a mom to children in need, wondering what it’s like to walk with a bio family through the hardest things they have faced, nervous that we were getting into a system that we heard was broken but couldn’t imagine and giving up what felt like all control and privacy we thought we had. Opening up our life, our home, and our whole family to an unknown world – but I think we will all stand here and say it was worth it – hands down.
Every tear. Every laughter. Every step. Every child.
My friend Shauna Niequist wrote me something the other day. By friend I mean – she doesn’t really know me, and by – wrote me something – I mean, there’s a devotional she wrote that I happen to read…. but who’s worried about details like that? I totally follow/stalk her on facebook so we’re legit. Anyways, the other day her admonition went something like this:
If you want your community to be marked by radical honesty, by risky, terrifying, ultimately redemptive truth-telling, you must start telling your truth first. from Savor
Something in this stirred my heart. The thing that got me started on this storyofagirl was a desire to be real – even when we’re attacked by a stomach virus or blown away by God’s incredible provision… heart-broken by missed expectations or over-the-moon to give our girls new names. Every bit of our story has been a desire to share openly and honestly what God is doing in our lives and I thank each of you for being a part of it. It’s a pretty crazy ride. And I have this sneaky suspicion that our story isn’t over yet.
However, over or not, I do feel like we have a break in the chapters. Praise the Lord! We are in what feels like a respite. For three years we lived in the depths of the unknown, clinging to the hope and an almost unbearable wave of waiting… and waiting…and waiting some more. But we have jumped into 2017 fully knowing that God’s promises are true and celebrating being settled into our new home that just so happens to fit this family.
Recently at a family fun event, we made a new friend who recognized us even though we had not ever met… it was a sweet moment where she shared that she had heard our story and had always wanted to meet us. This always blows my mind to hear of people that we don’t even know that prayed with us, followed our ups and downs and celebrated the good days. This friend, though, she could see things from the other side, she had actually had her children in foster care and overcome incredible challenges to successfully reunify and is thriving! She was so thrilled to meet us but I was blown away to hear how God had saved her from addiction and brought redemption to her story. Well done friend, I celebrate you!
It’s hard to capture the past 3 years in a post …. but as I have been reflecting lately on this period of calm there are a few things that I want to share that I have learned along the way:
- God’s promises are true… every time. It might not always look like you thought it would, it might not come as fast as you would have liked it, but he is forever faithful.
- Hope is not what I thought it was. Hope is not believing in an outcome but rather believing that no matter the outcome, God is enough. Even if things don’t turn out like I want I can cling to the hope that even in the pain, God will be there.
- Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving forward despite the fear. Courage looks a lot like saying yes even when every bit of your rational self says, this can’t be good. Courage is not giving up when things look hopeless. And sometimes courage is simply getting out of bed one more day.
- You need people – call it your village, your tribe, your small group, your circle, your fellowship – whatever you call it, build it. We are not meant to live life in isolation. I would not have survived the past 3 years had I not had people speaking truth, carrying hope, claiming promises and pouring me some wine. People make life so much richer. Build your fellowship and invest in them. You need each other.
- I’ve heard about terrible two’s but let me tell you, two has nothing on three. truth. I’ll write a book after we make it through number three being three. Lord help us all.
- Vulnerability is risky but worth it. Being honest about where you are, your fears, your feelings and wondering if you even have what it takes might be scary, but I have found that it invites others in and allows authentic relationships. You might even find that you aren’t alone in your thoughts and feelings. We’re all trying to figure this out together.
- God can do a lot with a little. A mustard seed of faith, the last drop of oil, a few fish and loaves of bread or even a soft-spoken “yes”. Obedience is better than sacrifice, you obey and God moves.
And lastly, (for now), I want to encourage you to capture your story. One thing I’m so thankful for is the ability to go back through all these crazy posts and see the hand of God in our lives. To know that I have captured these pieces and will one day be able to share it with our girls gives me hope that they will themselves see God’s hand of redemption. And as I tell them about their first mommy and her love for them, knowing one day they will want to know the story behind our story, I can trust that God’s pursuit has not ended here. His love will meet them there, even in the painful things.
When they open their mouth and an Alabama accent falls out I can certainly laugh knowing that came from me – along with their love of shopping. But when they laugh so deeply they can’t breathe, fight so hard I can hardly stand, sing so passionately that you can’t help but be moved – I give credit to the one that loved them even before me – and I’m ok with that… because this is what makes our story beautiful, every piece of it. A crazy, beautiful, broken and redeemed story.
I want to leave you with this from the Psalms,
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14
I have seen it – that goodness. I have experienced his faithfulness. I am resting and trusting that he didn’t bring us this far for nothing. And for now, I savor these things as I look forward to the rest of the story.