He Knows My Name

“Now this is what the Lord says — the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel — ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.'” Isaiah 43:1

On Friday night we sat in a circle with several other foster families and soaked in the wisdom of those much further along and with many more miles in their journey in Foster Care. It was a sweet night of learning and feeling encouraged. Over and over we were told to find a sweet community of foster families — and I am so thankful for One Heart.

As we sat there and questions were asked…stories were told…I was caught up in this Truth. The Lord delights in me. He delights in every couple or single mom in that circle. He delights in each kiddo accounted for by these families whether they are together forever or for a bit. He knows us and He is kind.

Not only does He know us, but He is never changing, so when the system isn’t consistent, He is. He knows us and our needs in each moment. When the behaviors of our sweet kiddos catch us off guard, He knows us and He cares for that moment. When babies are crying and there is no apparent reason…He cares! I’m so grateful.

After these realizations, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

He knows the birth families, too. He cares for them, even when trauma or dark situations get in their way of caring for these children. He cares for them. In their darkest day, He cares. In our darkest day, He cares. We are no different. He delights in each of us.

“…God delights in every detail of [your] life.” Psalm 37:23 NLT

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This morning I was convicted by something my husband said. We were on our way to church, incredibly late, after a sleepless night and a long morning of tears and general fussiness.

“I wonder sometimes, if our hard moments are God trying to speak to our hearts and remind us that we can’t do this on our own strength, and we are trying to.”

Those were true words. That’s exactly what I’d been trying to do.

A little background information for those who don’t know me:

I like order. My classroom is a better representation of that than my t-shirt drawer, but nevertheless. When there isn’t order in places I feel like I should have control, I become frazzled, and when I am frazzled, doubt creeps in.

We know where doubt comes from.

So this morning. I doubted. I was frazzled.

“Why are they crying? What am I doing wrong?”
“Why won’t she sleep? What am I doing wrong?”
“Why are we late? Why couldn’t I get us together faster?”

The truth is this. When I doubt….When I question myself….I am putting the spotlight on me. It’s not about me. It never was, I never want it to be….when I pause from the frazzle and think about that, I remember. My strongest desire is for this journey (all of it, not just the foster care part) to be about Jesus…for the kiddos with us to experience His love through me.

Here’s to extending myself grace. Frazzled or not. So that I won’t get in the way of Christ in us, our only Hope.

He Who Promised

One minute you are folding tiny laundry…and the next minute the Lord impresses words on your heart and you have to share. Enjoy.

A week ago was our first time to go to court. First placement. First court. Nothing really prepares you for sitting in the room with a judge at the front reading through papers describing the tragedy that brought you into that room. As I sat there listening to the legal-ese that was spoken I found myself feeling overwhelmed. I think other foster parents would agree.

I can easily say that this was the most overwhelming day of our placement. The first day when we were handed these two babies was less overwhelming for me in a lot of ways.

As we sat in that courtroom we heard our babies story re-hashed without emotion….without attachment. That was hard. I tried to write this blogpost right after we got home and my words were empty. In the past week I have been able to process and spend time in quiet thinking about WHY it hit so hard.

As parents, it is so natural…so expected to become attached. As foster parents that is absolutely true, too, but the rate in which this has happened has been unreal.

Two months ago I didn’t know these 2 babies existed. Today they are two of my greatest treasures. It happens quickly. There isn’t a warning, but it is so sweet. It feels like these babies have been in our home for far longer.

And I think that is why it’s all so difficult. There is so much unknown. How much longer will they stay? How many more hugs? How many more early (so, so early) bottles? How many more loads of tiny laundry? No one can answer that question and that’s when I become overwhelmed.

But, I can’t. I can’t be overwhelmed. Instead this reality has hit. Embrace each second. It’s so sweet that the Lord keeps reminding me of His faithfulness throughout this season. He has sent meals…and people…and financial support. Sometimes I am surprised and then I slow down enough to remember that He promised to love me and care for me…and He who promised is always faithful.

I am so grateful for the giggles, the tickles, the early bottles and sweet snuggles. This story Jesus is faithfully writing for us is so sweet. I feel so unworthy…but He promised and He will be faithful to us. So, we trust as He writes each word of our story (all 4 of us and Beau the Border Collie).

Excitement

I (Clara) read something today that stopped me in my tracks.

As excited as you are to be foster parents, the kids aren’t excited to be a foster kid.

I’m learning through the wisdom of others, that it can’t be my personal excitement that drives my desire to be a foster parent. Jesus drives my desire, because without Jesus, I’m confident I’d fall flat. My personal excitement can’t carry me very far. The unfortunate reality is that the only reason I am even able to be a foster parent is because some absolutely awful event has happened to get us here. There is brokenness in the midst of this all, and where there is brokenness there is heartache and there is pain.

No one is excited about heartache and pain. No one desires heartache and pain. Through it all we do desire good to rise out of the bad. We do desire beauty to rise from the ashes.

Through Jesus’s strength we will walk along side a kid or two…or more! And it will be challenging. It will require us to do whatever it takes to bring healing to the situation, and I’m confident it won’t be easy and it won’t always be fun, but there are days that will.

So, instead of being excited, I want to choose to celebrate this season. I want to celebrate that we have the ability to open our home to a child and offer them something they may not have experience in a while…or ever…and that is the love of Jesus.

He offers His love so freely to us, and so as we are wrapped so tightly in His love, we will share that with whatever kiddo He sends our way.

Because of His love for us, and because we can share that love with these children, we will celebrate.

In light of a heavier topic, we thought we would include a few pictures of the kid room. At least how it stands right now. 🙂

Final Homestudy — Check!

Tonight our Social Worker came for our final homestudy. It’s so hard to believe that we are on the downward slope of getting licensed! We are feeling so many emotions, but excitement is at the top of the list!

As of right now, we are looking at being licensed and ready to take in children by the first of the year. We are excited about that timing. It’s hard to not be anxious and wanting everything to happen faster, but we are resting in God’s promise that his timing is perfect. In 3 weeks we will finish our classes and celebrate all that the Lord has done in us with the other 17 people in our class. I️ love how he brought the 19 of us together to walk through these classes together. I love that soon there will be TEN Christian homes ready and willing to usher children into their homes on some of their darkest days. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at times when I️ think about that! One of the couples from our classes live near us, and the husband went to Central, where I️ teach!

Another couple has adopted 6 kids and is ready to bring more kids into their home. The husband is a handyman and will be able to help Brian do small repairs in one of our bathrooms and help him replace the bathtub! It’s so neat how the Lord connects us and brings us all together. It doesn’t hurt that Saint Louis is such a ‘small’ big city. The Christian community has a lot of fun connections! It has been so sweet to share life with this group of people.

We are still feeling so loved and supported by all of our friends and family. Thank you for joining us on this journey and for loving us so well by touching base and asking us how things are going. It really means so much.

An Update!

Brian and I have been overwhelmed (in all of the best ways) by the outpouring of love and support we have received in the past month or so since we shared where we feel the Lord is leading us. So many of you have asked really great questions that have spurred this update! We never intended for this blog to be a place to share updates, but with all of the love and support we have been given it seems foolish to not share what God continues to do in and through us along this journey.

This isn’t the most glamorous of updates, as this is a pretty long a drawn out process…

So, here are the updates:

    • We chose a Ministry to take our foster certification classes at. One Heart Family Ministries has a lot of really fun ties for us, and we are excited to learn from them!
    • Our classes begin on October 2nd.
    • Our home study process should begin soon. For me, Clara, that makes things seem even more real! As many of you know this is a pretty invasive and tedious process…so here we go! 🙂
    • So many of you have encouraged us in really tangible ways with different resources, blogs, and people you know who have walked this journey. It has been really cool to see the good and less good/fun parts of this journey that some of you have already walked through.
    • We have also learned of so many of our friends that are walking through a similar season to us. We are so grateful for the dinner/lunch invitations and the openness so many of you have come to us with. We are grateful for this support system that is growing!

Thank you for the prayers! Hopefully we will have interesting updates for you soon. 🙂

A Balancing Act…

484 days ago I started my most favorite adventure. When my husband and I began this adventure I added a new title to my repertoire…we both did. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister and a friend. I am a teacher. I am a leader. The lists of who we are can be a mile long. We are constantly being pulled in various directions. Time feels so valuable and also so so short.

It’s a balancing act to manage it and manage it well.

And the trickiest part of it all is that some days I don’t feel like I am balancing it all…at all…and some days I have a pity party of 1 because obviously everyone else is managing to balance it all and they balance it so well…

Except they don’t.

And His grace…His grace is enough and it’s so, so sweet. So I take a deep breath, because it is well with my soul.

Balance is different each day. There are the floating days…the easy days…where time feels like it has been multiplied and I have more than enough time to do all.of.the.things. It’s easy to forget His grace on those days…

Then there are the days that feel short. There is seemingly no time to be spent on things that feel so important. There are tears and unfinished tasks. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by His grace on those days…

I am learning that balancing all of my hats is so different day to day…incomplete tasks are ok…resting and abiding in Jesus is the upmost important thing. I must trust Jesus in the undone….

I must rest in the Truth that Jesus is committed to me…and to my emotions…and my ‘not enoughs’ (that aren’t real)…He’s got this…my worth isn’t in being the best wife…teacher…daughter…friend. My worth is in Jesus…

And it is well with my soul…

|Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. || Psalm 62:5|