It has been so long since I wrote here, or anywhere else...too long.
It's just, Satan's whispers of doubt and deceit have been ever so loud.
So, I kneel at my bed, quoting scripture, singing hymns of praise with my family gathered around...NOT.
When the warfare ensues, I'm so quick to drown out the battle cries in my own strength, before ever glancing to the One who has promised to fight for me and already owns the victory.
I am a fool.
Instead, I hurry, I plan, I run and fret. I make sure to never sit still before the One who invites me to be still as He cradles me to His chest, rejoicing over me with singing so wondrous, the lies cannot exist.
It's not until I crash, I collapse, I mentally come to the end of myself, that I even recognize His invitation sometimes. Sadly, it's then I realize by even trying to do it on my own, I've allowed myself to entertain the arrows of lies and death, when a first glance at my Savior and His righteousness would have launched, fought and ended the battle that I allowed to flail within.
I was Facebook talking with some of my Forgotten Initiative friends this week. The question was posed to us how we react when we, as foster parents, are challenged with the idea that this is just glorified babysitting and then kids are returned to their "real" family, and sometimes the situations are dark.
Something in me snapped. I think since J, that haunting lie has harbored and docked deep in my heart. That I did something anyone could do, and then parents came home, and my time was up.
Additionally, no lie, when I say that since the week of Thanksgiving we have continually had between 6-10 kids in our home nonstop. I love it. Some have been past children, some have been their siblings, some have been friends, and children of other foster parents' who just needed to breathe. We relish in the chaos, but with elevated comings and goings, it's so easy to let the babysitter mentality kick in.
First of all, in brutal honesty, I pay my babysitter more for a succinct date night than what we are reimbursed for a week...or even two of foster parenting. If it is babysitting, it ain't glorified.
Two, and this is what I seriously unloaded on my sweet friends...so sorry :) And this is totally uncensored:
"The reality is when we sign on to saying yes to the child, we did not go through a training to rescue kids. We went through a training to hope for an entire family. It's so easy to silently wish for sabotage. It's so easy to dream or fake myself out to think I know what is best for that child, or that family. It's so easy to say one thing but inside truly think that is the end of the momma and daddy's story and that child "deserves" a new beginning with me. It's easy for me to dangerously tread to think that economics and education are the answer. It's easy for me to expect perfection.
I sometimes want it clean. Every time a child has gone home, I've crawled in a ball and told Jamie I just want something finished. I want to adopt. I know that's not the full reality of adoption, but with foster care everything is untied....forever sometimes. Jamie gently takes me back to Isaiah 58 where God moved us from adoption, and called us to be "repairers of streets with dwellings" and the "restorers of generations".
I believe truly that God sees our hearts, and I really believe there will be a child (or more:) that we are the called family for long term, but only after all other resources have been deemed unhealthy. We are the last resort. That hasn't happened yet. But I keep challenging foster parents that it doesn't have to be us or them. It's a partnership. That mentality is best for the child, best for the parents, best for us. We are a family together. It's not pretty. It's not easy. And nothing is tied up. But, the beauty that comes with the process, is the gospel.
From the beginning with each family, we tell them that when their child got placed in our home, they (Momma and Daddy) are getting us too, and we won't go anywhere. That family is our family. This has resulted in us having weekend visits once a month with every single child that has gone home. For the one who is out of state, the grandmother sends all the other kids in her home instead. But we have to die to what we think is best, and meet them where their greatest needs are...for one family is helping with tutoring, for another it's food, another is clothes or Christmas. For all of them it's prayer and listening. But each one is willing to allow us to still be in their lives, and they know what we stand for and where are hearts are. The truth is that is what Christ does for us.
The hard thing is it's so easy to say that...very different to do it. When Baby J came this last weekend, Jamie and I were overwhelmed at the change in only a few weeks. His insecurities were blaring, even at two years old. We loved him hard for the weekend, and then wept again when we sent him back. But his family saw our hearts. We were transparent, and slowly chinks are happening in their own walls and armor, and that must happen to have things rebuilt.
I don't have the answer. Satan's lies are so very loud. I want quiet and peace. But I lay my hands on the wall where everyone's measurements are, or I lay my hands on their artwork, or I lay my hands on their pictures, and I realize I was chosen from all the earth to stand in the gap for their family. I was chosen to intercede. That is so precious. And for my 10-year-old, she recently came to me and said that nothing we've given her or done for her has spoken true love. No activity or outing. She told me the greatest way she knows we love her is that we never gave up on her momma, even when everyone said to. And she said she knows we will never give up on her either. She made Jamie promise he would be the one to walk her down the aisle one day. After almost two years, the girls will go home soon, and it will be messy. But that is treasure."
That I even have friends who would be willing to read through that entire spill, counts me as blessed...
I mentioned this on Facebook the other day, but I am learning more and more that the defined term of "family" doesn't necessarily refer to the blood that is shared or the stamp the judge gives. However, I am so incredibly blessed by mine and Jamie's immediate families, and I praise God for adoption.
But the truth is, my family is so large now. Nothing is tidy or contained. But my girls are beautifully content to play with J's dad and grandparents, and the girls' mom is ridiculously happy to help me out with Cinderella when she's losing control. And my boys do life with the marginalized. Doing life together can only expose our need for the Gospel, and the depth of Grace that has been exposed to us.