Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emotions bubbling up...

Today I had the privelege of taking our little guest to visit his momma.  In all honesty, it didn't feel like a privilege at first and I argued with myself most of the day about going or not.  I had tons to do and wanted to reschedule and maybe sorta kinda would tell myself that I was already doing enough by watching her child, did I need to do transport 45 minutes one way and stay for a 3 hour visit too....yes, I know, it is ugly but true.  Remember, I lack a filter.  Turns out the little angel on my shoulder won today and I decided not to reschedule and off we went. 

We pulled up to a duplex with a broken window on the top floor.  Next to it is a vacant lot with weeds above my head.  It was in a rough area and for a minute I even chuckled to myself a-what-the- heck-am-I-doing-here-by-myself.

His momma is very sweet.  They were excited to see each other and affectionate and playful.  I took them to the arcade at Circle Center and they played almost the entire time, stopping only to eat some dinner.  I left for part of the time to just let them be together.  For many reasons the day brought up lots of emotions for me.  All of the visits and unknowns and everything we went through with our kids.  Maybe it was because I was in their old stomping grounds.  Maybe because the situation feels similar in someways....I don't know but it took me by surprise and I was glad to have a moment to myself to just try and process it all.  She is smart and funny and very easy to talk with.  There wasn't a single moment of awkwardness.  Felt like meeting up with a new friend.  I really liked her. 

She is a young momma that has had some tough breaks and a few bad choices and is working really hard to get her feet under her to make a good life for she and her son.  On the way to the car we were passing a group of young homeless people and one of the girls asked if that was "D" and said our little guys full name.  His momma hugged her old friend and introduced us and we all walked to the car together; me, momma, her sweet boy and the homeless lady.  I'm sure people passing were trying to figure it all out.  It was a sobering moment.  One of those moments when you wonder why my path has been what it is and why their story is so different. *sigh*  He didn't cry when we left which made it easier on all of us. 

Part of the day was filled with the crazy drama story of her family and I remembered again how different P&L's life was and how their mom wanted to break that cycle for them and the huge sacrifice she did to ensure that.  I am thankful.  Humbled and thankful and a wee bit sad. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

From 5 to 6.

I'm plumb tuckered out.  In a good way.  On Wednesday of this week we got a new placement from Safe Families that will be staying with us for a few weeks.  He is the sweetest most polite 5 year old.  You can tell his momma's done a great job. So we went from 5 to 6 and all is well.   I am again reminded of how easy it is....to open your home to a child.  I've been posting about it on Facebook and some have commented such kind words about how great we are to do this.  It makes me a bit uncomfortable, honestly.  We don't do this because we are so great or special in anyway.  We do it because God calls us all to care for the least of these and we just try to obey.  I often hear people say they don't know how I do it...The truth is, God does it.  I simply open myself up to His love for us and it comes oozing out to others.  I believe firmly that if God calls us to something, He equips us to handle it.  He gives us the energy, the funds, the love, the patience, the willingness, the courage.....that's what His holy spirit is all about it.  Thank goodness we don't have to depend on ourselves!! 

I share about our stories not to hear praise or get a pat on the back but to show how easy it really is.  To show that if we can do it.....a crazy, unorganized, totally run of the mill family....that anyone can do it.   And I wish we all would.  We don't have an extra room for these children.  One of ours simply sleeps on a mattress on the floor while they're here.  I'd rather that than this child be on a park bench with his momma.  We don't have extra money, God provides it.  Sometimes they don't have clothes.  My friend unknowingly dropped off his perfect size seconds before he arrived.  She was pulling out of the driveway while he was pulling in.  God, y'all.  All God.  Maybe it isn't Safe Families....maybe it's another step God is asking you to take.  My point is, that when we step out in Jesus' name, in faith, and DO what He is calling us to do, we have His power to call on.  He is our strength.

We are still human, sure.  Tonight I am so tired I fed my children fruity pebbles for dinner but the blessings we have gotten in just the few short days our friend has been with us are many.   I have been able to see my children welcome another child into our home and comfort and encourage and engage him.  I've seen this beautiful little guy go from screaming on the top stair of the pool to running around in it up to his neck and practice blowing bubbles all in one day.  I got to experience his first movie theater experience with him.  I have been able to comfort him when he cries for his momma and hear him tell me he loves me.  I have been blessed to watch my husband love on this little boy and show him an example I'm sure he has never seen before and it makes me fall in love with him even more.  I love to watch my sisters and parents and nieces and nephews welcome him in to the family as if he hasn't missed a day and pour out love on him.  It has given me a wonderful view of Jesus in action....through all those around me.  I promise you, when you step out of your comfort zone, God will knock your socks off.  Yes, having a safe family for her child to be with is blessing this mother, I'm sure.  And yes, this little guy feels loved to the tips of his toes and that is a very good thing.  But our family is blessed abundantly through this.  In amazing ways.  The most beautiful place in the world to be is used by our Heavenly Father.  It's addictive....smack dab in the center of His will for your life and being His hands and feet.  There is simply nothing greater. 

To whom much is given, much is expected.
God tells us when we give our lives away for Him, we find life.
In Matthew He tells us that when we welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and offer drink to the thirsty, we do it for Him.
God calls us to defend the widow and care for the fatherless.  He commands us to love our neighbor.

I am currently reading a book called Surrender: The Life-Changing Power of Doing God's Will by Fr. Larry Richards.  I read this last night and sat straight up in bed and woke Trevor up and read it to him.  Exactly!!  Exactly this!!

On average 24,000 children die everyday in this world because of poverty realted illnesses.  What are you going to do when you stand before God and He asks, 'How come in your lifetime 24,000 children died of starvation?  I gave you abundantly so that you can take care of them.  But you went and took care of yourself first.'  What are you going to do?  Look at Him and say, "Well, they weren't my kids."?  He'll say, "No!  They were mine."