Five year old: “Why are those plates hanging on the wall?”
Me: “Just for decoration”.
Five year old: “Why do you hang that circle on your door?”
Me: “Um. Decorations”.
Five year old: Why there so many pictures in our house?”
Me: “Um…well, they, um. Are … just to …. look at. You know … decorations.”
Me: ( in my mind). Why do we have so many decorations? (dang perspective)
Chapter Twelve. Karma.
In another life, I was on staff at a church as children’s director. I wasted a lot of energy totally frustrated with kids that didn’t behave. Kids that hung from the balcony in the sanctuary. Kids that didn’t listen to adults. Kids that …. well, I could go on and on … but I can’t … I need to go find my kids that are running through the restaraunt. #whatcomesaroundgoesaround
Chapter Thirteen. I think they are catching on.
We went to see our town’s theater perform “Best Christmas Pageant” (yes, the irony of taking foster kids to see kids on “welfare” is … well, I don’t have words). In the first scene, one of the characters sat on the couch eating a bag of chips. Our five year old yells, (yes yells), “Hey, we aren’t supposed to eat on the furniture!”. I called that progress and gave myself a pat on the back.
Chapter Fourteen. Forgiveness.
I lost it one night … at the kids … all of them. It was midnight and it had been a long stretch of many “midnights”, and I lost it. (Note: I do not resemble a Christian between midnight and five a.m.) The next morning, I apologized to the kids. I asked for their forgiveness and the fourth in line said, “no.” I asked again at breakfast, and he said no. I asked once more on the way to school. No.
It occurred to me … it is hard to forgive someone when you have never realized what forgiveness is … on earth and most importantly from heaven. I pray deeply that these boys (and so many other children and adults that we bump up against) will see Jesus’ forgiveness through us.
Chapter Fifteen. Out of my box (and maybe my mind)
The thought may or may not have gone through my head when looking onto the chaos of an adopted family, “um, you knew what you were getting into when you adopted. I can’t help you.”. Yep, it’s ugly. I know. And now I eat those words. What situation in any of our lives do we really know 100% of what we are getting into? Yes, we (and countless others) “signed on” for this. And understandably, there just really isn’t a “ton” anyone can do to lighten the load of the hearts that are given to these kiddoes. But, I will tell you … the littlest of things … an encouraging text, a happy hour drink (sonic of course), taking a moment to visit or help with dinner … those are like honey shipped in straight from heaven! It has caused me to look out of my box and see what situations in others’ lives seem like there is no way I can help out … and not be afraid to offer just a little something.
Chapter Sixteen. Your story. Own it.
Words like CPS, foster parent, jail aren’t ones that would just roll of my tongue. I would cleverly find a way to twist them into “more acceptable” phrases. But not our guys. They don’t know it’s different or hard or something to hide. Because it’s not. CPS, foster parents, jail are part of their story. It is what is shaping them. I pray their story and their parents’ stories don’t end with those words in them … but I am so glad they speak them outright. They teach me to do the same thing. Our stories and the good and bad in them are for a purpose … an intentional purpose from the Lord. It’s not up to me to twist parts, hide details and change it. It is up to me to embrace it … every detail.
Chapter Seventeen. Refilling their hearts.
Our surroundings indeed shape us. Instead of flipping us off, our three year old now finds a good strong thumbs down gets the job done. I hear his brother saying, “Oh My Lands” … and I giggle. He is a far cry from a southern gal, yet he is beginning to sound like one. But the most precious is … when in a swing in the backyard, totally unprovoked, you hear a sweet little voice singing “Jesus … Jesus .. Jeeeeesus, there’s just something about that name.” Be still my soul.
Chapter Eighteen. Broken Decorations.
I got frustrated one night … okay, mad. And I closed a door hard … okay, I slammed it. And one of our “decorations” (see Chapter Eleven) fell to the floor and shattered. And so did I. My heart fell and my soul shattered. I am beyond unequipped for this. 100 percent unequipped when I do it on my own. But when I walk with the Spirit, I am equipped. Equipped with love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness , faithfulness and gentleness and self control. All of those are at my fingertips, are abundantly in my heart … when I breath them deeply in. Even if it’s just for a minute, and oh so often it is, it is good to know I am equipped from Heaven Above. (Note: I haven’t filled the place where the “decoration” was … as it serves as a reminder of lessons learned)
Chapter Nineteen. We are a part of you.
When our five year old gets mad … or perhaps protective of his heart … he declares to me “I. am. not. a. part. of. this. family.”
Then I catch his gaze and whisper to him, “well, this family is a part of you.”
It’s hard to be rejected. I have felt it … you have felt it. No one likes the feeling of rejection. We quickly build walls to protect ourselves from it. We don’t know what to do with the feeling of not being a part of something we desire. But, I have found that if we replace rejection and defensiveness that the world gives with acceptance and unconditional love that the Lord gives … those walls are not needed.
Can’t you just see our sweet Savior leaning down to catch our gaze when we are pouting at how the world treats us and saying, ” I am your family and I am a part of you.” Rejection won’t stand a chance.