So, it seems these little “chapter synopsis‘” of our fostering journey are hitting home with a few folks. These silly little looks into our snowglobe are teaching and encouraging others in the journey they are on…fostering or not. Isn’t that just like God? Speak to others as He is instructing one person. What a great, multi-tasking, fun teacher He is! Well, here are some more lessons and tales from our lab. Enjoy.
Chapter Nineteen: Just making sure
Mentally and physically exhausted, I fell into bed one night. I had just enough energy to ask this one question … “Honey, don’t read into this … but … if you die, how much money is in your life insurance policy? (cue crickets chirping) “I just need to make sure there is enough to hire someone to get me through three oclock until bed time. I love you. Really, I do.” #iamnotgettinganyyounger
Chapter Twenty: Dog Hair
I should have fostered first. When you go through home visits and inspections, you work your tail off to have it all perfect. Every plug covered, binders sorted, not a stray dog hair in sight. And then they come to inspect and they not once do they look in your china buffet to see all the forks perfectly lined up. No one notices that the socks are perfectly paired. Not a comment is made about the lack of dog hair in the far corner. You know why? It doesn’t matter. It. Just. Doesn’t. Matter. It took me about six months to realize that. Now, I don’t pick up before the therapist or case worker comes by … I just open the door and welcome them to the chaos … because that is real life. I don’t try to bribe our kids into behaving, I just hope it happens. And when it does ‘t (as it usually doesn’t), hopefully I redirect them in the moment and we all learn a bit. (but that’s not a guarantee). In our “first round” of raising young kids, I worked hard and having it all together (or the appearance of such). Let me tell you, it is much easier letting the chaos show.
Chapter Twenty One: Always room.
I was given a darling number 7 to hang on my wall. I loved it. Right away, I began to think of a million places to hang it. And then my heart sunk for a bit. What if? What if the boys don’t stay and there isn’t 7 of us? What if we remain 5? I wrestled with it a while and then remembered Easter lunch just two days prior. (lessons aren’t learned easily by me) We had seats for thirty knowing that twenty six were coming. Four extra seats … just in case we came across someone to invite to join us. (we would just pray that the whole fish and loaves thing would work for the food).
It hit me. It isn’t about the number. It is about having room for more. If we stay at five people in our family, that darling 7 will hang on our wall forever and a smile in my heart will remain as we wait to see just who will fill the extra room in our hearts. I pray deeply that there is always extra room at our table and in our hearts.
Chapter TwentyTwo: Out of the box.
Do you know that once you become a Christian … you will not automatically begin to drink sweet tea and delight in Southern Hospitality? Nope. You won’t. I am quite embarrassed that I think I truly (subconsciously) thought that. Eeek. It’s Crazy. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. But, I think because I have met some really fun, saucey, out of the box Christ followers as we have stepped out of our box in this journey, that I must have thought that at one time. I know, it’s a “duh” moment … but man, the body of Christ is made up of some amazing, cool and different people that are all about Jesus. I am so grateful to know them now and let them shape me. I am also so very glad to realize that sweet tea and good hospitality will not get you to eternity.
Chapter Twenty Three: Our new Mantra
Jase and I sat down to read about one of our campers, Ben, and his cool story. You can read the full story at TBarM Camps. This excerpt from the article sums it up …
When you ask Ben about his attitude toward his legs, he answers quite clearly, “Well, my legs aren’t going to grow back. So why not have a good attitude about it.” His legs won’t grow back. My family dynamics won’t change. The one you lost to cancer won’t return. The broken world we live in right now won’t change until we see Heaven. So, why not have a good attitude about it? Why not take the example that Ben sets … find something else to be glad about? Find a reason to smile and encourage others.
Fast forward three hours later (or six months back). Jase was feeling worn out with “sharing his world” with our two new ones. He and I sat down after dinner and started working through some of the legitimate things he was feeling. There were tears, hugs and basic surrender to Jesus that this is the right thing to do even though it’s hard.
And then life had to start happening again. I went to conquer the dishes, and noticed that he went to help our three year old with his bath … without being asked. He came and sat down in the kitchen when done. I told him he didn’t have to do that … he truly doesn’t have to be “on” all the time.
He looked at me and said, “it’s the life God gave us. Let’s make the best of it.” … and with a wink and air quotes “Our legs won’t grow back”. And as you can imagine … more tears. This time because we are getting it.
We are understanding, for just a moment, that it is better to honor God in all we do. It’s hard. And it. is. good.
Chapter Twenty Four: Showdown
I sure hope my neighbors weren’t looking as I scooted inch by inch on my bottom in the rain from our curb to the middle of the culdesac to get eye to eye with a five year old that wanted to “run away”. I am quite certain that everyone in Chili’s noticed as I took a lap or two trying to catch the three year old that ran and hid under tables from me. (yes, tables that people were sitting in). I have dreams/nightmares about people watching me try to keep my cool while keeping children alive in Walgreens. All real occurances, all with varying degrees of me being mortified. No other way to put it. I was so embarrassed. And well, I don’t have a lesson for it yet. And sometimes, we just don’t. It will come in time, the lesson we need to learn, He always lets us know. (though it sure seems like these are a lesson in humility!)
Chapter Twenty Five: The End
Recently, I have watched two stories unfold that have reminded me of a truth that gives a Hope that we can not shake.
A couple separated their own ways in their marriage as empty nesters. It was confusing to see. He finds out he has cancer. That is all it took. The couple draws back together to care for one another … in sickness and in health, for better of for worse. It was the end, where the reconciliation and the really sweet time has taken place.
A daughter and her two childhood friends have prayed for her dad’s salvation for thirty plus years. Thirty plus years. His heart is failing and he is still not trusting. Until one day in the hospital, the daughter’s daddy places all his trust in Christ … and then dies five days later. It was in the end, when the reconciliation with Christ happened and the really sweet time began.
We do not know what “the end” is with these boys or how the story will finish with their parents. Heck, none of us really know exactly what is going on in our lives … and we may not know until the end. But I do know, it is worth it to trust and talk to Jesus about it until the very end.
…But not the end of the cliff notes. To be continued …