Lost Dog The Cold and Hungry

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This past Friday night around 1030 pm this beautiful dog came up to our back patio door  scratching and begging to come in.  Hesitant to let a strange dog in I had hoped it would run off back to its home, but she just kept on looking at me through the glass and laid down along our back step.  Our dogs were going crazy as well as two of our three kids were getting all gaga over this bundle of furry sweetness.   Our most dog crazy daughter was staying at a friend’s home for which I was so thankful.  The drama of the begging “can we keep her?” would have earned her an Oscar I am quite certain.  My first step to help this sweet creature was to take to Facebook.  We started with a picture of her scratching at the door and sent out the plea to hunt down the owner.  There were comments, likes, and shares of the post, but at first no sign of the owner.  Eventually I felt safe trying to let her in much to our yellow lab’s disgust.  She was not a fan.  It was getting late so my oldest just took her downstairs with her to keep the dogs separate.  Our oldest daughter was totally in love already.  In the meantime we got this much nicer photo of the sweet girl’s face.

Eventually we were able to sleep.  Early in the morning I had gotten a message that it potentially was the messenger’s neighbor’s dog.  Through back an forth messages and more photos we were both confident this dog indeed was her neighbor’s.  About eight hours of her showing up on our door step she was riding off into the sunrise with her rightful owner.  The power of social media was a grand thing that day.  That same sweet face looked at me from the truck’s passenger window as she rode off.  She seemed to say “Thanks for letting me crash here!!”

My posts to search for the owners continued to be shared far past the reunion of dog and master even with stating in the comments that she had made it home and making a “Nala’s home” separate post.  My husband suggested that I just delete them so that the post would stop, but part of me was just too curious.  My curiosity won out and the posts remain.  Part of me really wanted to see how many people would try to help a dog.  Part of me wanted to see what kind of judgmental comments there would be on the shared posts.

One of my posts had at least 227 shares and the other with the better picture had at least 98 shares.  Far from viral, but impressive to me.  There were comments from people I didn’t know that leaned toward judgmental that we should “let that poor dog in!”   In fact we did let the dog in.  With the hypocritical thinking of our society, I know exactly the kind of judgment I would have rendered had the dog attacked one of my children.  “What kind of idiot lets a strange dog into their house!!!”   “She got what she deserved, you don’t let a strange animal in your home!!”  “What kind of mother is she?”

As the story goes all was happy and a sweet ending.  My children are bugging me that much more for a third dog now.

One thing that amazes me about our society/community/world is the extent people will go to for an animal while there are human beings that are cold and hungry.  Also the extent that people judge each other.  Recently I watched a video about an adopted redhead.  The video showed a young redheaded little girl that “annoyed” her adoptive parents and the end of the video shows the dad taking her to a country road getting her out, throwing her doll, the girl chasing it as the dad drove off in the car.  The end of the video shows him looking in the rearview mirror and the red headed girl was actually a dog.

Believe me I am huge animal lover and I certainly don’t want to see any of God’s creatures mistreated.  My point is that I post about foster care and hurting children all the time and these posts essentially are ignored.   My question is what would be the help or judgmental comments had the living being knocking on our back door been a child?   What would you do if a cold and hungry human being came to you for help?   What are we all doing to help the cold and hungry in this world?  This has just been such a strong burden on my heart after seeing the response I had for this dog.

1 John 17-18 ” If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Matthew 25:35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Love Brings You Home Our Foster/Adoption Journey Continues

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About a year ago my mom and I were shopping at Hobby Lobby to find some items for a few projects.  Our foster care licensure process was nearing completion and one project was to add finishing touches to our spare bedroom.   A year ago before our journey began when I walked past this picture and read it the tears immediately started to flow.  This one little sentence seemed to sum up our call to foster children in need in the most perfect way.

That day I did not buy it as I had no clue who would fill the room and I was trying to just keep the décor simple and as gender neutral as I could.

When I wrote A Whole New Kind of Grief in January I had no clue why and what God had planned next.  Grieving someone’s potential to such depth was new to me.  As I write now I have had so much more of God’s plan revealed to me.  As I write now I am in greater awe of His amazing attention to detail on every life.  As I write now I am even more deeply humbled and thankful to be a part of His great plan.

Two weeks to the day of God giving such a definitive answer of “NO”  to my prayer “Do we take the next step toward adoption?” I got a message from a friend’s husband about a need.

You see with our first child we could have no other placements probably never had we adopted.  I had resolved to this was the one and only child God had planned for us to help, but as usual I was so very wrong.   God gave us two weeks to digest all that had happened and then I get a message from a friend’s husband to call his wife about a need.  We were not yet on the market as a foster family.  Our bed capacity still was showing zero as I hadn’t even gotten to fully communicate with our license worker.  As I listened to my friend tell me the story of the need I could feel my heart swelling with love and compassion once again. When asked do you know of a family that can help, all I could think was “all I know of is us”. God had opened our room up and it was specifically for this very need in this very perfect time that it was needed.   Separately speaking to Mike and the girls I watched as each of their hearts did the same as mine.  They all turned into a puddle of compassion.  There are not strong enough words to express how proud I am of their willingness to love and follow God’s call in this ministry.

It has been amazing as we have been able to open our hearts and home to another.  There has been a community of people to help this one life and that is exactly how it should be for a child in need.   It indeed does take a village.  Another amazing turn in the story is that our family gets to remain a strong support in the life of our first child.  Of course I can not share too many details, but God provides the most amazing paths when our hearts are open.

This brings me back to the picture above.  A few weeks ago I found myself at Hobby Lobby again.  When offered to get some new décor for the room our newest family addition only requested a chalk board.  While shopping along I again see this picture that I saw a year ago.  This time I bought it!   Our sweet new member of our family was more than happy to have it hung in the room.

There has been nothing in this life that has brought me to a deeper understanding of God’s love for us than this calling to love this hurt world through foster care.  Our broken lives take us to so many unexpected places, but God’s plan through Jesus is to bring us all home.   Jesus is the only source of true love and our home is our eternal home with him.  As a child I always thought of “God’s Will” to be what job, career, who I would marry, if I would have children, etc…  God’s Will is to completely open my heart to Him.  There is no way I can love unconditionally the way that I have on my own.  It has purely been opening all of my soul allowing God to completely love through me.   Of course my own human nature has gotten in the way from time to time, but He continues to teach me how to rely on Him fully.   God’s will for my life is to love others in such a way that they feel truly loved and  “home”.  Whatever amount of time, capacity, platform, or tool God gives it is all just a way for God to work through me.   My life is to be a channel of God’s love to direct others to Him.  He is our true source of love and our true home.  God’s wish is for all of mankind to come back to Him.  He is such an amazing God that He gives us a choice.  He cares so much about the details of every life that He will provide opportunity after opportunity even in a life of tremendous pain to see His love.  It may be a complete stranger offering a word of encouragement.  We get to see God in small doses throughout our life and it is up to us to accept Him.  As a follower and totally sold out to Jesus I get to be a part of God’s plan to reveal His love to our hurting and broken world.

Home doesn’t always mean to live in the same house.  Home is knowing that you have at least one other person that loves you unconditionally with their whole heart.  Home is knowing you have someone cheering you on in life.  Ultimately home is knowing that there is a God in heaven that loves you in a way that no other can love you.  Ultimately home is knowing that God planned you, wants you, has a purpose for you, and wants to spend all of eternity with you.

John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 3:16 “For God so Loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

Unsung Heroes

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Names are not being shared due to privacy and this blog is public.

This past year and a half one of my life long friends has been on the front lines in the war against childhood cancers.  Her son at age 13 was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer.  From the side lines I watched this family that I love go through one of the very hardest trials I can ever  imagine having to face.  It seemed that with every doctor visit, treatment, test, surgery all they ever received was more bad news.   Helpless is the only word I can think of when it comes to something as devastating as this.  For the parents the feeling of helplessness not to be able to fix and make things better for your child.  For the grandparents helpless to not be able to make the hurt for their children and grandchildren go away.  Helpless is the word for the aunt who went above and beyond caring for the younger children of this beautiful family. Helpless is the only word for the friends and family in the outer circle of support wishing there was something that could be done to make it all just go away.

Throughout the 18 months there was always something common with each conversation shared with my friend.  The most common topic that brought brightness and hope was always his nurses.   My dear friend and her husband (also my friend)  would always perk up as they mentioned the nurses  by name.   I saw a sparkle in their son’s eyes when he or his parents spoke of them.  From the sidelines I witnessed how the healthcare providers for pediatric oncology not only did their jobs they became family to a hurting family.   They were the ones that were there with each gut wrenching blow of horrible news.  They were the ones doing all they could to help the pain and nausea.  They were the ones praying as they hung each medication that this would be the treatment that would stomp out this thief of a disease.  They were the ones that would sit by his bedside and play games.  They were the ones that sat by his bedside and took the time to know who this child really is and not just know his disease.  They were the ones laughing, crying, hugging, and sharing in the anger at the unfairness of childhood cancer.   They were the ones he chose to go on his first date with as one of his final life wishes.

The words “he chose his nurses” are words I can not speak or type without tears flooding my face.  As one of his very final wishes he chose to take his nurses out on the town.  The pictures of this event show the brightest smiles on all the faces of the nurses and the face of this sweet boy.   His nurses were his heroes.  His nurses made his final painful days brighter.  His nurses made him feel important and not just like another patient.   He chose to leave this life in the place that had become another home with the healthcare workers that had become an adopted family.  His nurses were there alongside his mom and dad sharing in their pain and grief.

Of course I have a special place in my heart for nurses, but now I believe that pediatric oncology nurses are truly the most heroic of all.   To open your heart and step into the lives of children and families going through the hardest of all life’s battles.  These beautiful souls are doing so much more than trying to kill cancer cells.   To open your heart to love even when you know you might not have the ones that you love for long shows the quality of true angels of mercy.    These are the unsung heroes that walk among us.

 

 

Do you Want a Women’s March With a Guaranteed Impact?

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As I watch all forms of media explode over the women’s march I keep hearing many different reasons for marching.  There doesn’t seem to be one specific right that all women are standing united on. Nor have any women’s rights in America been taken away. It is an assumption of  what might happen that has been  fed by mainstream media.  It is not my place to judge each motivation behind the march only God can see into individuals hearts.  This blog is not being written to agree or disagree with this movement.  I will say there have been some things I have seen with this march that have completely embarrassed me as a women and for my young girls.

I can’t seem to stop thinking about women, the brokenness of this world, what the true needs are,  where true change needs to happen, and the rights we do have as human beings.   As my mind is racing and praying about this issue a true world changing vision of a march has flooded my mind.

Do you want to make a lasting impact?  Do you want to do something truly inspirational? Do you TRULY want to help women?

1.First you could provide encouragement to all the women in your life.  Build them up.  Tell them they are beautiful, special, smart, and strong.

2.If you have any young girls in your life be a part of building their self esteem.  Help them realize that they can work hard and succeed.  They can choose the career they want as long as they work hard.  Nothing is free and we all have to work hard.  When the young girl in your life fails encourage her to pick herself up and try again.  Failure makes us stronger and helps us learn from our mistakes.  By speaking hope into a young girl’s life you may very well prevent the next young mother who chooses her drug addiction over her children.  You may prevent the next domestic violence victim. Help elevate a young girls self esteem and teach her how a woman should be treated.  She can then avoid or escape abusive relationships because she knows she deserves better.

3. Be a mentor and support system to a single mother.  March down to local shelters and build up mothers who have lost everything. Women that just need opportunities to provide for their family.  Provide childcare, education, provide jobs, do laundry, what ever the need is SEE IT and take care of it.

4. March down to children’s homes and DCFS offices and learn what you can do to help in the world of foster care.  You could be the one caring adult to completely alter the course of an abandoned little girl for the good.

5. March to the nursing homes and hold hands with women who have lived long and hard.  Hold the hand of a widowed women.

6. Help women who have been widowed or abandoned of all ages.  Mow their lawns, make home repairs, and again provide child care to help her rest.

7. March to a children’s hospital and friend a mother whose child is dying of cancer or kept on life sustaining machines while waiting for a heart transplant.  Be there for a woman who has lost a child.

8. March to the magazines and medias that make women a sex object.  Who make false images of what beauty is.  The medias telling us we have to be a size zero with big breasts, have round butts, and big puffy lips to be truly beautiful.

9. Provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on to the woman who desperately desires to have a child and hasn’t gotten pregnant.

10.Stop judging each other.  Women are the worst at cutting other women down.   The march might be keeping our mouth closed if we are going to gossip or cut down another.

11.If you don’t want to be a sex object then be careful what you wear, where you go, and what you do.  Respect yourself and you will get much more respect.

We are women of all colors, shapes and sizes.  Women with all kinds of talents. God created women with a specific purpose and plan.  We are amazing nurturers.  We have specific qualities that God gave us with a perfect purpose and plan.   March to a bible and read about very significant women God has used to fulfill his plan you will be amazed.

We are beautiful and valuable.  Lets encourage each other and march where it matters most.  March to the places we can make a lasting difference.  Rights of humanity don’t rest on a president’s shoulders.  Rights of humanity depend on human beings making a difference one life at a time.

 

 

A Whole New Kind of Grief

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One never knows what a new year will bring.  This year has brought a whole new level of heart broken.  This picture is with puffy sad eyes of a turn of events breaking this momma’s heart.  Praise God for a sweet sensitive family pet that knew exactly what I needed in the moment. Sunday morning during our pastors sermon I had a short little prayer “God is it time to move forward with adoption…should I ask Mike about it again?”   The answer to my prayer was practically immediate and not what I ever dreamt or thought.  To protect privacy I can not write about the behaviors of our child that ensued immediately after our church service while we were still at church.  It was more of the tough stuff we have been enduring the last nine months with great intensity.  The afternoon improved and Mike and I once again were given apologies.  Once again we forgave without hesitation and then it seemed that what had become our “new normal” family life resumed for the rest of the day.  That night our child made a very dangerous, pre meditated and planned choice.  It was a choice that greatly endangered our entire family.  The realization was overwhelming that God was protecting us in a mighty way that night.

With prayer and consultation through the proper channels of foster care workers it became very evident that the next layer of healing would not be in our home for this young one.  God had answered my prayer with a big NO regarding adoption.  Not what I expected.  The message that followed was “you did exactly what I needed you to do and now it is time for the next step in the plan I have”.

This Sunday morning I sang the special music at our church.  It was a song that I had heard weeks prior that grabbed my attention in a powerful way.  As I listened to the words I thought “oh my this is my prayer that I have been praying through our journey!”  “These are the images of Jesus put to words in a song that have been sustaining me moment to moment.”  The song is “Abide With Me” by Matt Maher.  As my life journey continues my relationship with Jesus is deepening, but nothing has required a further growth and complete reliance on Him as our foster parent journey.   One of the images has been the image of Jesus on the cross carrying the burden of all the sin of all mankind.  As we have carried the weight of the EFFECT that sin has had on just one young life the understanding of the magnitude of Jesus’ love has blown my mind.  The burden has been so heavy and I have not been able to even carry one person that has been so sinned against without Jesus’ love.  The next image has been Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He prayed alone, abandoned by His sleepy disciples.  He prayed with great anguish knowing the magnitude of the weight he was about to endure.  His anguish was over the burden of sin and separation from God the Father more so than the physical torture.  Now with this week’s events there is a deeper level of Jesus’ pain that is becoming more clear.  Not only was he giving the ultimate sacrifice for those who would choose His healing.  He was fully obedient to carry the weight of those who would completely deny and reject Him.  This was something I knew, but haven’t had the depth of understanding as I now have.  To pour every ounce of love, energy, and sacrificial giving into a person who may not ever choose healing has been very eye opening.

God goes to extreme measures to reach each and every human being.  He will place people in the paths of others so that everyone has the opportunity to know the truth.  The workers are so very few.  (Matthew 9:35-38) As a follower of Jesus I feel so gracious and honored to get to be used by Him.  To understand that there is so much work to heal this broken world and that God would use someone so inadequate as me to touch the life of another humbles my soul.  God continues to provide a peace that nothing has been in vain.  That His purposes are eternal and we may not know on this side of heaven what work He has done through us.  If we went back in time to the day we got our license to foster the answer would still be “yes” to our first call.

We do need some time for “self care”, healing, and to pour love into our daughters.  We are not going to quit and still feel the call to open our home to children who have been hurt by this sinful broken world.  There are so many lessons that are priceless.  I will always love this child that is still learning how to receive true love.  Any child that has been in my care will always be one of my children.  This young life will remain in my prayers.  My hope is that one day I will be reunited with this young one in heaven.  I pray he will choose goodness, love,  and healing that only comes from Jesus.

Here are the words to the song “Abide With Me”.

I have a home, eternal home

but for now I walk this broken world

you walked it first, you know our pain

But you show hope can rise again up from the grave

Abide with me, abide with me

don’t let me fall, and don’t let go

walk with me and never leave

ever close, God abide with me

There in the night, Gethsemane

before the cross, before the nails

overwhelmed, alone you prayed

you met us in our suffering and bore our shame

Abide with me, abide with me

don’t let me fall, and don’t let go

walk with me, and never leave

ever close God abide with me

Love that will not ever let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

You never let us go

And up ahead , eternity

we’ll weep no more, and sing for joy, abide with me

 

Chaotic Souls

It has been a while since I have written about our journey as foster parents.  It remains a journey with extreme ups and extreme downs.  There is a challenge and spiritual battle nearly everyday. There are also amazing teachable moments and victories nearly every day.

Today was an unplanned foster son room major clean up.  These have been required anywhere from every 2 weeks to monthly.  In preparation for Christmas today was my last chance to get the house in order before all the holiday festivities.  We now have a house rule that bedrooms and personal belongings around the house need to be picked up before computer time can be granted.  During school  homework and violin practice needs to be completed as well. So our foster son went into his room to clean to earn computer time.  At one point a bed was moved out and our son was sweeping all the toys and clutter out from behind it.  This initiated exuberant praise from me.  “Yes that is how to truly clean!!  Great job!!!”   Moments later when our child said he was done the time spent did not match the task at hand.  As I went in to inspect I noticed that trash that I had noticed on the floor as the child was sweeping was not in the trash can.  The wrappers I witnessed were nowhere in plain sight.

Then it happened. I discovered that a room that appeared and had been appearing pretty clean on the surface was not truly clean at all.   I began moving furniture and emptying drawers.  There was hoarded food, dirty laundry (I had wondered where all his socks went), pieces to games, trash, legos, chewed up wads of gum,  you name it.  In a mind that thinks like mine it requires far more effort to shove stuff behind and under furniture than to just put it where it goes.   There was some role playing to help the child see why mom’s mood went from happy to grouchy, having the child to look me in the eyes as we talked to truly connect,  there was teaching yet again on where things go, everything has a place, etc…  With each discovery of stashed messes our child became more and more angry with me.

Finally after moving the night stand and finding another huge chaotic mess words came from me that I had not had time to think of on my own.  Pointing to the mess I said that is what we look like on the inside before we ask Jesus to come in to clean us up.  We hide our sins, stash our pain, our trash, all our junk into the deep corners of our soul so no one else can see it.  God sees it though and that is why he gave us Jesus.  Jesus is the only one who can find our clutter of junk and clean it out.  Your room is not truly clean until all the junk stashes are sorted out.  Our hearts are not truly clean until we ask Jesus to clean us.  We can’t truly feel joy until our stash of trash in our hearts are cleaned out. There was a lot of tough love and firmness going on  as I have had to learn to be much harder than ever before.

With tears of frustration being shed by our child during this process we did finally reach smiles and happiness upon job completion.  Mom was also told “I’m sorry I had a nasty attitude.” and forgiveness was granted by momma.   For a child that is from hard places there is much more meaning behind the chaos of a messy room.  The control of things because that is all that a traumatized child could have any control of.  The hoarding of food because it has not always been readily available or possibly used as a punishment.  So much happens in lives of children from a hard place that we just never even really know about.  Often the child can’t even remember the trauma let alone make the connection of past experiences effecting behavior choices.  On so many levels we have had to start from the very beginning with teaching, socialization, and emotional development.

We just keep repeating and repeating teaching, loving, and tough loving.

I too had to have my heart cleaned by Jesus.  I have to cry out everyday for Him to purge the messes in the corners of my heart.   Sometimes it hurts I cry and get a little angry.  Once the junk is purged my eyes are opened to my nasty attitude and I can ask my Lord Jesus to please forgive me.  Once the chaos of my soul is clean I experience true joy and contentment.  Thank you Lord for showing me tough love and grace.

 

A Sixteen Year Old Daughter Teaching Mom Lessons on Vanity and Pride

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A few months ago my oldest daughter, Michaela, expressed her desire to participate in the St. Baldrick’s  fundraiser.  This is an event where the participants raise money for childhood cancer research then have their hair completely shaved off.   My youngest daughter, Cora, and I looked at each other with looks that were mixed with shock, reservation, and uncertainty.   The thoughts and feelings that flooded over me in that moment are embarrassing.  It is amazing who and what God uses to reveal the nasty parts of our human nature.  My first thoughts were “Oh that hair is so beautiful, she has prom, senior pictures, etc…”  Pure selfish prideful thoughts were my initial response.   How nasty and foolish of me.  During her elementary school days it was mom that encouraged her to donate her hair to “Locks of Love” a couple times.  The last time was in fifth grade.    Going to a “Bob” haircut for fast growing hair was apparently reasonable for my  prideful heart.  We later learned that those wigs were charged for and not donated to children with cancer with that organization so I stopped encouraging the drastic haircuts.   In the mean time her thick beautiful locks have grown and grown.

As parents we often don’t realize the impact our conversations and prayers have on our children.   Our lives have been heavily impacted by children with cancer in the area we live.  A year and about four months ago my life long friend since the fourth grade’s son, Collin,  was diagnosed with bone cancer.   He and his family have been in the brutal battle with cancer since the day he was diagnosed.  They have had blow after blow yet continue on taking one day at a time.   They have to continue living life one treatment, test, and surgery at a time.  There is another family with a three year old daughter, Lexi, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer this last year.  I watched Lexi’s mother grow up from the church youth group into a wonderful wife and mother.   Lexi has now completed her treatments and we pray the cancer stays away.  There are many other families impacted by childhood cancer just within our small area.  So as I have talked about and prayed for Collin and Lexi specifically Michaela was listening.

She felt a passion to do this in honor of Collin and Lexi.  Her selfless reason to give her hair made my initial thoughts and emotions that much more embarrassing.  The next thoughts were “It is just hair, she is beautiful with or without hair, SHE DOES NOT HAVE CANCER ANITA!!!”   Dear God please forgive my pride and vanity!!  God there are so many families impacted by childhood cancer and here I am so very very selfish!!!   She is alive and healthy!  Her hair will grow!  Her body is not poisoned by healthy cell devouring cancer.  Her body is not poisoned by the treatments to fight that atrocious disease.  This painfully shy child at age sixteen is willing to have her head shaved in front of her classmates.  This painfully shy child is willing to walk around with no hair for months as it grows back. This child who has no job is giving what she can, her hair, to help someone else.

This humbled momma continues to learn so much and most often through my own children.

The high school she attends does this fundraiser annually.  This year there were 33 students that participated and they raised over $20,000 toward childhood cancer research.  We can learn so much from the ones that are tomorrows future!!

Our children are listening even when we are so far from perfect ourselves we should watch what we do and say.  We are shaping the future of tomorrow.   Sometimes they shape us, in spite of ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Crossing Bridges Foster/Adoption

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Right after our first foster placement came to live with us construction was started to rebuild a bridge on one of our main roads to town.  First the shoulder was repaved on one side so that the bridge could go down to a single lane.  After the shoulder was deemed drivable drivers could  cross on the narrow side as the other half of the bridge was torn down.  A stop light was set up so that two lanes of traffic could safely go down to the one. This at times added at least three minutes to our commute.  Our new family member has been the one to openly voice the most complaints about this inconvenience.  After months one side was finally completed then it was time to open the new side and tear down the old half that remained.   This project has taken seven months.  Both lanes are now new, smooth, and much safer to cross over.

The bridge has been very symbolic to me of the bridges we have been crossing as a family.  As we cross bridge after bridge with this life that has been so wounded it has been hard, narrow,  felt a bit scary, has taken a lot of waiting, has taken patience, and with each cross to the other side there has been relief for all of us.   It is amazing that as the bridge of this road neared completion we were finally starting to really see progress with this young life.  It has started with the mom relationship first.  Now as I give instruction and guidance I am not met with all the resistance.  There is not the scary feeling of walking along and the bridge is just going to completely crumble beneath.  As the foundation was laid for this new bridge structurally there has been a foundation being laid relationally in our home.

The relationship and understanding between the child and I is now trickling out to the rest of our family.  There are more glimmers of hope that this wounded person is starting to heal and gain control of the chaos within.  We are seeing more and more of who the real child is.  There are more and more opportunities to praise, compliment, and encourage. We are getting to see the awesome potential that God placed into this human being long before he was even born.  We have many, many, MANY more bridges to cross.  Winter is coming and the actual bridge might get icy.  With the child there will be slippery times ahead as well.

No matter what the future holds with “forever family” status.  We are now all forever in each other’s hearts.  There is a strong foundation that has been laid.

Family and relationships are tough no matter what.  Being a parent is tough no matter what.  My motto has now become cross each bridge with care and confidence.  God does provide the way to cross and there is blessing on the other side.

The cross Jesus died on for us was the toughest bridge ever to be constructed.  God made a way between us and Him.  The cross is the bridge.  Once we have chosen  to trust Jesus and cross over that bridge there is tremendous blessing and relief on the other side.

There are always bridges in life to cross, but with the foundation of Jesus they are secure and we can move forward with confidence.

Some days There is Just Nothing Left

tears-of-jesus

There are days as a wife, mother, foster mother, and nurse I really just want to quit.  Everywhere I am there are demands.  Everywhere I am everyone else’s needs must come first.  I heard myself saying the other day that I am just content if I get some decent sleep and actually get to eat a meal.

God keeps impressing on my heart to just be real.  To share my failures, my hurts, my pain, and His victories within me with the rest of the world.  Or at least whoever it is he leads to read.  I keep finding myself at deeper all time lows.  Sunday night I was at the point that all I felt I had left to give on this earth was my very breath.  I seriously was at the point not of self harm, but at the point of Lord I really just want to come home with you.  Can you take me now?

Our family continues to get attacked by Satan himself.  We have never had this much bombardment since moving forward with our foster care license last year.  It has only doubled since we said yes to our first placement after being licensed.  Each and every family member has been hit by these attacks.  The devil himself does not want our family to succeed.  The devil wants nothing more than to destroy this young one whose life was literally snatched out of his grasp.  The devil wants nothing more than for our family to split and be destroyed.  He wants our lives to only make an impact on others of destruction not hope.

This morning on the radio one of my favorite Christian artists and his wife were actually live in the studio.  Chris Tomlin sang one of his newer songs “Jesus” live on air.  The tears just started streaming as I focused on my Savior Jesus and what He did for me, for my family, and for the whole world.   No matter how much I give up and give in.  No matter how much I forgive.  No matter how much life seems unfair.  Nothing can compare or even come close to what Jesus gave.  I can not out give Him.   So I need to stop and just keep looking to Him.  When I feel like EVERYTHING is on me and my shoulders.  When I feel so taken advantage of.  I need to stop and look to Jesus because no one carried a greater weight.   No one has ever been and continues to be so taken advantage of.   Jesus, my Jesus, my Lord, my weight carrier.   Jesus you love me like no other.  Jesus you put up with so much from me.  Jesus I take you so for granted and slip into  the “only looking to you when I really need you” pattern.  The truth is I need you every moment and with every breath I breathe!!!   Jesus is my sustainer!  Jesus is my victory!!  There is no one like you Jesus!!