Monday, October 27, 2014

Even Jesus uses Craigslist

This past week I set out to encourage others.  I decided I would write letters to some fabulous ladies and just tell them they were appreciated.  I didn't know the week would end with me on the receiving end of a huge encouragement myself.

The week was tough for me.  Our kid's bathroom has been torn apart since the beginning of September.  We had a leak in our plumbing behind the wall so we had to tear out all of the old tile and wall and replace all of the plumbing.  The plumbing itself wiped us out financially so we have been patiently waiting to be able to drywall and replace the tile or put in one of those tub surrounds. So for about 7 weeks now all 7 of us have been using our bathroom that is the size of a coat closet.   I've been okay with it.  Really.  I mean we have a bathroom with running water and we've all worked around it and it's been fine.  I've been to places where this bathroom would certainly be a luxury. We can do this.  Then the toilet in the good bathroom cracked.  I don't even know how but as I'm cleaning it I notice a huge crack that is going to be a real problem if it grows anymore.  It's fine, I tell myself.

Well after a 4 day unrelenting headache, nothing seemed fine.  I was worried about when and how we would be able to fix the bathroom.  Worried about the toilet.  Worried about finances. God has ALWAYS provided for us, ALWAYS.  I struggled the entire week with just lifting the burden to God and trusting Him to provide.  I kept handing it over to him and picking it back up.  Then on Saturday the dryer broke.  Wouldn't do anything.  Dead.  We had wet clothes hanging all over the house and the back deck.  Worry crept back in.  I kept checking the list in my head of all the things that need to be fixed around here.....the toilet, the shower, van needs tires, the roof, the carpet replaced, our tv is still broken, and now the dryer!!!  Everything else we can manage with out but this dryer thing in a family of 7 presents an urgency.  I honestly didn't give it much thought though because I couldn't.  It was one of those times that denial is a coping mechanism and I would just sit and cry if I gave it another thought.  I text my parents and asked them to pray for my attitude and for God to provide. They say when it rains, it pours, but this is straight up monsoon season.

On Sunday, the sunshine was bright and the birds were chirping.  The kids were all filthy from playing hard all day in the beautiful weather on the last day of Fall Break and our water heater broke. So now, the one working shower we have is a cold shower.   I raised my hands in a you've-got-to-be-flipping-kidding-me-frustration and cried. I thought about texting my parents and saying their prayers stink;)  I felt angry and ganged up on and tired of it all.  I was trying to give it all to God but instead He got my attitude.  It was one of those moments you just think what does He want from us?!! Why does it always have to be something?!!  The rest of the weekend I spent cruising Craigslist and garage sale sights for a dryer that would work for our family and we could afford.  My husband watched youtube videos to figure out the water heater.

This morning I woke and tried again to leave it at God's feet.  I emailed the craigslist ad we were interested in and asked if they would accept $50 less.   I was determined to find joy in my day. I prayed about it all again and got the kids ready for school.  The morning had the devil working overtime to deter me. Our oldest text me from school because the update I had done on her school issued Ipad had resulted in her losing her project that she was supposed to be presenting the next hour.  The devil loves for us to feel defeated and robbed of joy. He loves for us to keep tallying up all of the things going wrong.

I pulled in to work a few minutes early and checked my email.  This is what I found:

RE: GE washer and dryer

Yes, they are both electric.  I have to admit I caught your blog address and find you a fellow writer and journier with Jesus as well..... If it would help you, I'd like to give the washer/dryer to you.  My 4 children and I have been blessed beyond words since my divorce 2 years ago and our move to Carmel first then to Noblesville has been one of ups and downs but I can't imagine how money could exchange hands when God brings us what we need.  Let me know when you'd like to come pick them up .....

Tears.  Massive tears roll down my face and ruin my ready for work mascara'd eyes.  The words fell over my soul like the laughter of my children.  How good is our God?  How absolutely amazing is He?  Do you even understand how much He loves us?  He is so much bigger than we can ever imagine.  So much greater.  He loves us immensely.  That He, the King of Kings, would care about my dryer.  He is that good.  That of all the people on Craigslist....that answering an almost one month old ad...that the seller would click on my blog link that I have forgotten is part of my automatic signature....that the seller would answer yes to God's nudge....

Blinking through my tears I respond:

You have no idea how your words have encouraged me today.  God loves to humor me;) I usually handle things pretty good but this weekend has been a hard one for me with financial worries and I kept handing it over to Him and picking it back up.  He always provides and is always good.  Thank you so very much.  I pray your generosity comes back to you tenfold.

After work she responds:

Trust me, I do know.  God has always been faithful to me and I can't imagine not being a part of His "God winks" to others.  We are blessed because we hold loosely to the things that don't matter and tightly to the things that do.  Don't forget that.  God has you in the palm of His hand and hasn't forgotten what you need.

God uses Craigslist.  God uses a stranger on Craigslist to love on me, to meet our needs and to speak words of truth to my heart that only He can know I need to hear.  He is good all the time.  He always provides.  Even more than the working dryer.....He knew I needed the words she shared with me...He knew I needed the encouragement.  He knew I needed today.
I tucked the kids in tonight and we prayed prayers of thanks for how much God loves us....for providing for us...and we prayed for the Craigslist seller...that she was willing to be used by God and that He would provide opportunities for us to be a part of His "winks"  in the same way and that we would answer those nudges with a yes.

I share this lengthy poor me story to encourage you.  Our God loves us.  Love us more than our earthly minds can fathom.  He loves you the same.  I needed that reminder today.  I needed to feel that love.  I needed to remember that in the big and the small, our God cares.  I needed to remember that He is with us.  Always.  I needed to be reminded of how He uses the body of believers to encourage and lift one another up.  I am so thankful for Who He is, for who we are in Him.  I am so thankful Jesus uses Craigslist.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

4 years forever home....Forever family.

In November of 2005 and December of 2006 my children were born to their first mom. Too much of life happened to them between then and the time they were placed in to our hands in May of 2009.  It wouldn't be until October 12th, 2010, that the courts finally caught up with our hearts and they were forever home.  I had to look up the year the adoption was finalized because I couldn't believe it had just been 4 years.  There are ways it seems so much longer and life before P & L is hard to remember. In another way it was a bit refreshing to think it's only been 4 years and that we've come a long way in a short time.  It's no wonder some of the struggles we have gone through in the past year and I am once again reminded of the pain and grief that the redemptive story of adoption is birthed from.

There is not a single thing I would change.  I read back over the blog and the emotions gurgle to the surface of the back of my throat and my eyes sting with tears.  I am reminded how hard we fought for their momma to be their momma.  I am reminded how sad it made me that she felt she couldn't and how angry it made me that she didn't have the skills to be. I am reminded how deeply it hurt that the system had failed yet another. I am reminded how much I loved and respected her and how it conflicted directly with my all too human judgement's at times.  I remember my inability to understand that her life experiences could have only led her here. I will always be thankful she chose life for them and selflessly broke the cycle.  I am reminded how small P & L were, how brave, how open and willing to accept our love. I am reminded how scared and mad and filled with an intense sadness they were that it seemed to seep from their souls. I am reminded how immediately I loved them as my own.  How much the originals welcomed them in and protected and embraced and hurt for them.  I am reminded how very much in love I was watching my husband father the fatherless.

Becoming a mother to two grieving children is the hardest thing I've ever done.  Stepping in to the place of a mother they loved....they still love.  Truthfully, sharing their love with her has been hard.  I often tell them they have enough love in their hearts for both of us and they do but it's only honest to say that their are moments that has stung a little.  The juggling of emotions that comes with this journey never ceases to surprise me.  One moment I can be crushed by the weight of the burdens they've carried and yet others felt normal frustrations at the fallout that creates in their lives.  This journey has brought me the greatest moments of joy and taken me to the bottom of a cavernous pit I didn't know was there.  Our adoption story has made me feel utterly alone at times and others surrounded by God's love for us, often shown by the amazing friends and family in our lives.  It has left me questioning the brokenness of this world and in amazement at it's beauty and grace.  It has given my children a family at the loss of their first mom.  It has given me more than I could ever measure.

I had no idea what to expect then.  I still don't.  I have a sign that hangs in the kitchen that states "never a dull moment" and it's obnoxiously true.  Each stage of development greets grief differently. But at the same time, each new day is one more day they know the security of a family, the gentleness a father should bring.  The hard has been so so hard but the alternative isn't an option. She was their first mom but I am their last.  Lord, help me be the mother these children need me to be. I am incomprehensibly thankful that we gave our yes to God...that when it made no earthly sense at all...when the finances weren't there....when we already had a full house with 3...when we were in the middle of facing a layoff... that we just trusted God to have us.  I am so thankful that this time I didn't blow it and let my fears win or my intellect or my feelings of self doubt.  I am so thankful for stepping out in faith, for giving Him our whole yes and for jumping feet first in to the craziest ride of our lives. Happy Forever Family Day, Family.  

What an honor it is to be their mom. All 5 of them.