It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry If I Want To

 

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Do you ever feel fragile?  Like a dam holding back water, just so that everybody can function?  Like you are the only one holding everything together, so you better straighten up buttercup?  Dig deep and slap a smile on your face?

That’s how I feel right now.  I feel this pressure often as a stay-at-home mom.  There’s no cracking under the pressure.  I tell myself that I can’t fall apart, lest my entire family comes tumbling down with me.

The truth, however, is that it is my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.

Sometimes as women we see crying and emotions as a sign of weakness, but it’s actually just a sign that we are human.  We love.  We care.  We feel.

Plan A doesn’t work out, so we’re reeling from having to move toward Plan B…

A friend seems to have it altogether, and you don’t…

Your husband’s job is always changing and leaving you guessing…

Your kids are fighting, and you are tired of disciplining…

Your dreams are just that at the moment…dreams…

You’re so exhausted, but your child gets sick…

The county schools are closed down…for the week…

All of the above have happened to me recently.  As the captain of the ship, a SAHM, I persevered and moved past my sadness and anger, but is that healthy?  I don’t think it is healthy.  Even Jesus wept…because he cared deeply for his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35).

Life is full of ups and downs.  I’ve learned, however, that it’s okay to crumble, to not be strong.  Life is not always a beautiful Instagram photograph.  There are days when I just want to retreat, to cry, or to just be solemn.  It might mean that I give my children more free play time and less structure.  It might mean that I color in my adult coloring book.  Sometimes it looks like walking outside to get the mail and breathing some fresh air.

There is “‘a right time to cry and another to laugh, A right time to lament and another to cheer’ (MSG Ecclesiastes 3:2-8).”

It’s also healthy to pick yourself up again.  Lately, I keep hearing the whole, “count your blessings,” in my head.  Honestly, it makes me want to roll my eyes.  I cannot really explain it except that I want to wallow in my mud.  Nobody else is walking in these shoes.

Exactly…nobody else is walking in these shoes.

In the end, I’m the only one who can do anything about the ups and downs.  To that end, I cannot allow a bad day or unfortunate circumstances to nail me down.  I’m the only one who can essentially get unstuck from the self pity, which is what it oftentimes becomes.

So go ahead and cry.  Retreat.

But get back up again…and perhaps dwell on those blessings in your life.  Don’t just count them.

“‘God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left’ (MSG Lamentations 3:22-24).”

 

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Letting Go in the Name of Love: A Goodbye Story

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“You are special.  You are loved.  Always know that no matter how loved you are on planet Earth, God loves you even more than that.”

Those were the words I whispered while holding back tears as I put one of my foster children to bed in what would be her last night in our home.  She held my gaze for a second as I said those words, and her eyes told me that she was sad too.  I then prayed for her and went to her sister’s room to do a final tuck in as well.

When we dove into foster care, we always intended for our home to be the “last stop” for a child, or children, in our case.  I’ll never forget, however, the conversation several weeks ago that changed our minds.

I had just gotten up off the couch after having a very serious conversation with my husband, one that impacted us and others in our lives in big ways.  It was the kind of talk that leaves you exhausted.  In my heaviness, I almost fell back down onto the couch after I got up to go to bed.

Were we really going to do this?

Yes.

If you’ve read any of my most recent blog posts, you’ve read about our life-changing year last year and how we took in two foster children last fall.  You’ve also read about how we felt called into it, obeyed God in this calling, and struggled throughout the process.

In the past four months there has been lots of love and laughter, but there has also been pain, stress, and frustration.  To take two children whom you haven’t raised, whose foundations have already been poured, and to then build onto that cracked foundation is quite a task.  One that is bigger than us.

We had discussed transitioning the girls to another foster home for several weeks now. The catalyst to this “final” discussion was a Sunday evening of chaos, which stirred us up more than usual.  One of the children we fostered was becoming a challenge, and one of our own children was not handling our situation very well.  The two of them were like oil and water.  While this is not the only reason we decided to transition the girls, it was the main one.  Our own family had to become the priority.  Also, we concluded that we could no longer give these girls what they needed, especially the oldest of the two children.

It wasn’t working.

And that was hard to say, believe me.  I tear up just typing those statements out.  And the determined voice inside my head fed me with shame and guilt.  If you could just wait another day, another week, one more month.  But we couldn’t delay the inevitable. Their situation to reunite with birth parents does not look promising, but we are not their forever family.

Sounds harsh, right?  Not if you have been on your knees for months asking God about this decision.

Here is what I know at this very moment: I won’t regret this time being their foster parent, nor will I ever forget about them.

I went to the store weeks ago and bought them Bibles.  I put a lot of thought into the perfect Bibles for them.  One is purple with butterflies and the other is pink with flowers.  I decided to have their names engraved on them.  When the sales associate brought them to me, I was an emotional wreck, choking out a quiet, “thank you” through tears.

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Some might question our decision or be disappointed in us.  That’s okay.  I said this same line in a previous blog post, and it is as true today as it was when we took on the two foster children in the fall:

This hard thing is the right thing.

I feel a little like Abraham at the moment.  He obeyed God…to the point of walking up that mountain to sacrifice his own son.  Can you imagine the journey he took?  The agonizing decision to obey God to the point of killing his own flesh and blood?  Out of nowhere, however, just as Abraham began to make the sacrifice, a lamb appeared.  God provided.  The sacrifice was no longer Abraham’s sacrifice to make.  It was God’s.

We will miss our two foster girls, and our own family will have to push through some heavy emotions.  In some ways, it might even feel like a death in the family.  The five months that we were foster parents stretched us in unimaginable ways.  I learned so much about myself in this process.  Perhaps the largest takeaway, however, is a new appreciation for my own three children.  I’m so proud of them for allowing us to flip their worlds upside down for a quarter of a year.  They arose to the challenge and while there was plenty of turbulence, they grew up during that time as well.  I hope that they look back at this time and are thankful that we served God in this way by taking in the poor and neglected.

So in the end I’m letting go and resting in God’s release from this.  This is not an exit from foster care forever, but when we do jump back in, it may look different.  God’s timing is always spot on, and we are trusting His leading in this if we ever become a foster family again.

To those of you who prayed for us, encouraged us, and supported us along the way, we cannot thank you enough.  Your kindness saw us through the ups and downs.  You directly and indirectly impacted the lives of these girls through serving us.  Prayers, meals, and childcare were huge helps.  Seeds have been planted.

In this situation, letting go is in fact loving them and everyone else involved.  Our worlds have forever been changed because of these two girls.

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.  Philippians 1:3

 

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The Heart Stuff: Foster Love

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I feel like vomiting…with my words.  There is so much I want to say about the subject of foster care.

It’s hard and exhausting and frustrating and confusing and sad and happy and troubling…sometimes in the same day.  Did I mention that it is hard?

The only thing I can compare it to is being the parents of a newborn.  You are clueless.  It’s baptism by fire.  All of those adjectives in the above paragraph could describe that first year of parenting too.  You can attend training and read books.

NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU, THOUGH, UNTIL YOU ARE IN THE THICK OF IT, DOWN IN THE TRENCHES.

Last night was harder than usual.  I had this dreamy evening planned in my head. I canceled everything.  We had a meeting as well as a church program to attend, but I had decided that I wasn’t getting in the van one more time or running to one more scheduled thing.  Our foster children had a supervised visit with their birth parent.  I know these are necessary, but I dread them.  Those evenings are hard.  Just when I’m feeling pretty good about our new normal…just when I’m feeling liked, maybe even loved a tiny bit, by these two children, they come home a mess of emotions.  This makes me angry and frustrated and confused…probably no more than they are in those moments after spending time with their parent.  It’s those evenings, and the ones after scheduled phone calls, that I have my fists clenched and my heart hardened.  And then I remember something.

This is not about me.

I want it to be, though.  It’s my time.  It’s my schedule.  It’s my house.  It’s my children.  It’s my family.  It’s my love and emotions.  It’s my sacrifice.

Why can’t these foster children understand this?

They might never understand this.

In the same way, I will never fully understand Christ’s love for me.  I will never quite grasp and understand His sacrifice through Jesus Christ.  Does he ever look down and shake his head and withdraw his love from me?

Absolutely not.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

His love is unconditional.  There are no strings attached.  If I turn away from him, he continues to run after me.  If my pride interferes with my purpose, he continues to pursue me.  He desires a relationship regardless of how connected I am to him.

My role as a foster parent is to do just that…love unconditionally despite my sacrifices.

I’m not sure how long these two children will be with us.  Perhaps weeks.  Perhaps months.  Maybe even a year.  What I am sure of is that I was called into this moment in their lives.  My family was called into foster care.

“You might be temporary in their lives.  They might be temporary in yours.  But there is nothing temporary about the love or the lesson.” – Tonia Christle

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14 Things I Know About Marriage (After 14 Years of Marriage)

MarriageGreg and I celebrated 14 years of marriage in July!  This is a long time, folks!  We have seen a lot of life during that time.  To use a roller coaster analogy, there have been a lot of ups and downs, twists, and turns.  So today on my blog I’m going to share 14 things I know about marriage after 14 years…

14)  Teamwork is key.

This word is very fitting considering our lives.  Greg works in collegiate athletics and is also the President of the Knox Youth Sports board here in town, so we do a lot of sports.  We were a team before children, but I can honestly say that if we didn’t work together as a team with children, our family would fall apart.  During the school year, we are running all over Knoxville, and we often have to drop off and pick up kiddos from different locations from each other.  We each pitch in to make it happen.  We help each other to be victorious in our individual roles.

13) Don’t go to bed angry with your spouse.

This little bit of advice came up numerous times in our premarital counseling.  I really didn’t get it until we were in the thick of our marriage.  So what if we have a little argument and hold a grudge about it when we lie down at night?  We are probably just tired and need to sleep it off until the morning.  It is a big deal, though, especially if you want a peaceful night of sleep!  The Bible says, “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (Ephesians 4:26 MSG)  One of us in our marriage cannot stand it if there is a rift between us and will not sleep until it is hashed out…here’s a hint…it’s not yours truly.  Ha!  I have really had to work on this one, but it is so important.  Thankfully, in all honesty, Greg and I don’t fight that much.

12)  Love requires sacrifice.

If you would have told me in 2001 when I was a junior in college that I would eventually be a stay-at-home mom, I would have laughed and questioned your sanity.  Seriously.  I had big plans to practice public relations in a high-rise building in a big city.  I wanted to wear suits and high heels to work every day.  Staying at home sounded boring and beneath me.  Fast forward to 2007 when our first was born, and my husband and I made the decision together that staying at home was the best route for our family.  With that being said, I left my fun and fulfilling job at the university to stay at home and change diapers all day.  Much to my surprise, I fell into a routine and enjoyed staying at home.  It was a sacrifice, but I made it because I loved my husband, but more importantly, I loved the family we were building.  Financially, it made sense too.  There were some tough days (still are!) where I wanted to ditch the yoga pants and spit-up stained shirts to look like a human again, have adult conversation, and sign off on a contract.  After nine years of staying at home (with a very part-time job in between), the sacrifice I made was worth it for our family.

11)  Date your spouse.

Dating is however you define it.  Think about when you dated your significant other.  Yes, typically there was a physical location where you ate a meal or watched a movie.  I think, however, that dating can evolve into whatever fits your family and  your schedule.  There are weeks where we can’t find a babysitter or don’t have the funds, so we simply pour a glass of wine and flip on Netflix.  Dating could also be calling your spouse in the middle of the day just to check on him/her.  Sometimes I text him encouraging words, quotes, scripture, or crazy emoticons.  Think flirting!  This simply lets him know that I’m thinking about him.

10)  Physical touch (and no, I’m not just talking about the ultimate act) is important.

I’m about to blow your mind with this next statement.  Are you ready?  Men and women are different.  Whoa!  What?  While there can always be exceptions, men are triggered by physical touch more than women.  Men just need that hand to hold, that kiss on the cheek, or that massage on the shoulders.  Women need this too, however.  I think that for me as a mother, I have physical touch all day long (kid on a hip, tapping on my shoulder to get my attention, etc.), so when I do see my husband in the evening it takes extra effort to be affectionate.  I know how important it is, though, so I try to be cognizant of what I offer when he walks through the door.

9) Get to know your spouse’s love language.

This one ties into the above for me personally.  My husband’s love language is physical touch.  Mine is not.  I have to work extra hard to make sure that I’m being affectionate with him because it just doesn’t come naturally to me.  My husband and I both love to be loved by spending quality time together, so that is why it is important for us to get away one to two times a year for little getaways.  We reconnect in this way, and it re-energizes us to come back and plug into our busy and active family.

8) Be your spouse’s cheerleader.

My husband has had several things go on this past year career-wise where I really had to get my pom poms out and cheer him on in his endeavors.  It is because I stay at home that his career becomes mine.  Does that make sense?  I want him to succeed.  Our family needs him to be successful and happy with what he is doing day in and day out.  As with any job, there are good, bad, and ugly days.  I have made it my job to cheer him on no matter what kind of day he has had.  His success is also mine.  If I’m not supporting him and encouraging him, who is?  He is my cheerleader as well and has supported my writing 100%.  I was elated when he gave me the green light to go out of town for five days this past spring to a writing conference.  Thankfully my mom came down to help him out with the kids.  His support and encouragement make him even more attractive to me!

7) Communicate…and then communicate again.

Women tend to be better communicators than men.  Once again, however, there are exceptions.  I have found that over the course  of 14 years, sometimes I need to check and double check on things.  We are a very busy family, and Greg’s work schedule can get hairy, especially during football season.  With that being said, we like to sit down at the end of the weekend to go over our schedule for the week.  Once the week gets here, though, I shoot him texts to double check on things.  Sometimes his meetings or trips get cancelled.  Sometimes an event gets rescheduled.  This way we are in constant communication and not missing a beat.

6) Give your spouse grace.

I’ll never forget the one day prior to our wedding where I totally flipped out about something Greg had done.  My mom just listened and then looked at me and said:  “He is not Jesus, Lyndsey.”  I have never forgotten that statement.  No, he absolutely is not Jesus.  He is imperfect, just like me.  We will both make mistakes and probably disappoint each other at times.  In those moments, however, we need to extend grace and not criticism.

5) Compromise is not a bad word.

Oh my goodness, compromising is important.  Marriage is give and take.  Greg and I are very similar, but we also have differences.  This is never more apparent than when we sit down to choose a movie to watch.  I know this might sound silly or petty, but it is true.  Sometimes we have to compromise in what we want to watch.  I’ll agree to watch a sci-fi thriller one night and he’ll agree to watch a rom com another night.  Obviously, compromising can be much bigger than this, but you get the picture.

4) Pray for and with your spouse.

I know this is important.  I really do.  It has to become routine, and I’m working on that.  Unfortunately, sometimes I get to the end of my prayer and forget all about praying for the most important person in my life underneath God.  At night, Greg and I have good intentions to pray together, but exhaustion gets the best of us, and before we know it we fall asleep without praying together.  Perhaps we need to pray as soon as we put the kids down for bed, before we lie down on the couch and succumb to sleep.

3) Take an interest in what your spouse is interested in sometimes.

I can’t remember a trip that my husband has planned (Yes, he plans all of our trips!  He should be a travel agent on the side because he is that good at it.) that has not included something that I absolutely enjoy, and he just is along for the ride.  I’ll never forget being tourists in L.A. several years ago, where he booked a bus tour of the stars’ homes.  He knows how much I love reading all the celebrity gossip (since then, I have lost some interest), and he planned that special day specifically for me.  Even though checking out homes of the rich and famous in Hollywood was not something he probably wanted to do, he knew it was important to me.  Likewise, I have taken an interest in Florida State football because FSU is his alma mater, and it holds a special place in his heart.  Whenever they are on, I either sit down and cheer them on with him OR entertain our kiddos on another floor of our house so that he can concentrate on the game.

2) Solve problems together.

I joke around that Greg puts out our fires.  He is so good at it.  Perhaps it is a strength that has been developed throughout the years in his job (believe me, he has had to put out some fires!).  It is important, however, that we solve problems together when it comes to our family.  For example, if we have an issue with a child, we have to come together on a united front in how we handle the situation and discipline the child.

1) Always come back to placing Christ at the center.

Greg and I are both Christians, and our faith is very important to us.  It is how we are raising our family.  Although our priorities can easily get misplaced, we always try to come back to Christ first, spouse second, and children third.  Even when we are at odds with each other or have a family issue, we have to remember to pray about it before going to a family member or friend.  In the center of our wheel, Christ should always be the center where all of the other spokes are attached to Him.  We don’t do this perfectly, but we have a perfect God who helps us in the process.

There you have it!  We do not do all of the above 14 things all the time, but those are the lessons we have learned about marriage in 14 years.

Giveaway Winner 

Thank you to all of you who read my book review for Breaking up with Perfect:  Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You.  The winner of the giveaway for the free book is Dana Roark.  Congratulations, Dana!  I’ll be in touch with you soon.

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Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You Book Review and Giveaway

Perfectionists rejoice.  Help has come for those of us who rearrange the dishwasher after it has already been loaded or those of us who add items to our to-do list after they have been done just to cross them off.  You will love this book if you have ever tried to fix something that wasn’t really broken or put your tasks before people and relationships.

But I don’t know anybody like that…okay, maybe I do.

In Breaking up with Perfect:  Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You, by Amy Carroll, I found a treasure trove of chapters that hit the nail on the head for me.  She gets right to the heart of what it is like to attempt to live a perfect life, which is impossible because NOBODY IS PERFECT.  There is only one who is:  God.

Amy breaks down perfectionists into two categories:  “Good Girls” and “Not Enough Girls.”  She defines “Good Girls” as those who strive to follow all the rules and seek the praise and approval for doing so.  She defines “Not Enough Girls” as those who work and work to push past wounds from the past.  Both of those “syndromes” keep us from really living the life we are supposed to and finding true joy in God, our creator, the one who provides our needs and so intricately designed us in our imperfectness.  I absolutely loved her analogy of “breaking up” with perfect like we would an actual relationship.  This quote  by Amy sums up what it is like to run this perfection race:

“What looked like love begins to be a burden, and as the initial infatuation wears off, the relationship begins to grate on us.  It wasn’t what we thought or hoped for at all.  Finally, we start to realize that what seemed so wonderful is actually destructive.”

The copy of the book I just read is very colorful right now, as I have underlined and highlighted on almost every page.  Despite everything I learned about letting go of perfectionism, it all comes down to this:  No matter how hard we try to be perfect, orchestrate perfect, or see perfect, it is Christ in us who is “beginning a good work in us that will be carried on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  This life-changing verse is found in Philippians 1:6.  I absolutely love how Amy weaves and connects stories of the Bible into the lies and truths of perfection, found at the beginning of each chapter.

Finally, Amy is authentic and real.  She doesn’t hold back in this book.  I love that she is passionate about helping others to understand that living the perfect life is impossible, exhausting, and destructive.  I encourage any church, women’s group, Bible study, or book club to grab a copy of this book and go through Amy’s “Transformation Points” at the end of each chapter.  She also offers a “Going Deeper” section for further study and discussion at the end of the book.  Speaking of book clubs, she has one that begins this Monday, August 1, and you can learn more about it on her blog here.  I realize that it begins shortly (and that I’m just now writing the review and giveaway), but even if you are not interested in the club, definitely check out her blog and resources.

I can assure you that I will re-read this book in the future and revisit key points that I have highlighted.  It has impacted me in a major way.  One of my favorite parts of the book is her list of 50 ways to begin letting go of perfect.  I think I’ll start with not making my bed today…perhaps I’ll even jump on it! (#40).

Giveaway

Hopefully my review has sparked your interest in this book.  Believe me, you need this book, especially if you wrestle with perfectionism!  Lucky for one of you, I’m doing a giveaway for one free copy of Breaking Up with Perfect:  Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You!  To enter, leave a comment on my blog or on my Facebook post with this review and giveaway.  Also, you can “like” the post on Facebook with this review and giveaway for an extra entry.  The contest will run until Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at midnight.  I will contact the winner on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

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Walking Upon Waters: A Story of Obedience

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I’m sure many of you have heard Hillsong’s beautiful song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).”  If you have not, you’re missing out on a beautiful song with lyrics that hit the heart hard.  In summary, this song talks about having a strong and unwavering faith.  It encourages the believer not just to wade into the water but to walk upon it.  It reminds me of the very definition of faith, found in Hebrews 11:1:  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

That song and the above verse are my anthem right now in this season of my life.

I’m walking upon waters toward something I cannot see.

Even as I type this, I have to pinch myself because what my husband, my children, and I are about to do is truly incredible.  If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that we would be opening up our home to children in need, I would have stared back at you speechless.  Perhaps I would have laughed or corrected you with a, “Well, some very compassionate and ‘called’ families do that, but we wouldn’t consider it.”

I could sit here and tell you all about how God tugged at my heart and my head one afternoon when a sibling set who needed a forever home came across my Facebook newsfeed and caught my eye.  I could sit here and tell you that we have scrambled like crazy to fill out paperwork, attend training classes, and rearrange rooms to make space for foster children. But I’m not going to tell you all the details.  What I want to tell you about is this:

Obedience

Believe me, there have been days where I have looked up to the sky as if I was staring God in the face to say that this idea was completely crazy.  You see, we have three beautiful and healthy children whom keep us very busy.  My husband’s job is fairly demanding.  I’m fortunate to stay at home and manage our household.  Our plates are pretty full, though. Our biological kids are a handful.  Why on Earth would he want us to pursue foster care? Isn’t there somebody else who can do this work?  Isn’t there somebody else who can step in the gap and offer a loving home?  His answer during these conversations is always a resounding, “No.”

I want to be like Jonah in the Bible.  In so many ways I want to flee from this calling, like Jonah ran away from his assignment to go to Nineveh, and ask that God give us something else to do to further His kingdom.  Can’t we just support financially a ministry that serves children in need?  Couldn’t we just go on our church’s family mission trip to Mexico next spring?  God has said, “No.”

I don’t want to be like Jonah, however, insomuch as he disobeys God and gets swallowed by a whale.  God got his attention, and it wasn’t exactly pretty.  This story reminds me that God takes our obedience seriously.  His plan will always prevail, and we can choose to obey or not to obey.

We are choosing the former.

When God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, he didn’t tell him that it would  be a walk in the park.  God didn’t promise him immediate success with very few hiccups.  Likewise, my husband and I know that this calling to foster and possibly adopt down the road will not be easy.  Fostering and adoption are rarely easy.  The process is complicated and messy and exhausting.

Obedience is sometimes doing the hard thing.  It requires us to dig deeper than we thought was possible.  It requires sacrifice when there is little visibility ahead.

This reminds me of when Jesus obeyed his Father by dying on the cross…the ultimate sacrifice.  When he went to the Mount of Olives to pray before he was arrested, even in his obedience he asked for a way out of sacrificing himself:  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42).  He still questioned his obedience, but he knew in his heart that the hard thing was the right thing.  The second part of verse 42 says, “yet not my will, but yours be done.”

This is how I want to answer God in this moment when I am plowing through the fostering process with my family, unsure of how life will look like a couple weeks from now, a month from now.  I am letting go of my fear, my selfishness, and my control and asking God to prepare me to love more children.  I look at this new adventure as “losing a little to love much more.”

We are not sure of what God has in store for us, but we are holding his hand tightly.  We are obeying him in what he has called us to do.

This hard thing is the right thing.

We are walking upon waters.

 

 

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Unscheduled Summer

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Some days I wake up and feel like the worst mother ever, like I just can’t get my act together.

I’m not sure what it is exactly, but this summer has just been weird so far.  I’m usually on the ball, but there is no ball rolling thus far, and it is the end of June.  I’ve pinned all the cute little summer schedules on Pinterest and have had the best of intentions, but you won’t find any of those hanging up on our fridge right now…not even a chore chart.

So basically I’m slaying it at summer.  Please read on to see how this particular morning was rolling:

6:40 a.m. – I wake up and wonder what on Earth today will look like.  I head for my coffee pot, read a Proverbs 31 devotion on my phone, and scroll through my Instagram feed.

7 a.m. – Kids are all awake.  There are no more Tootie Fruties (thanks grandparents for that sugary cereal!), so there is a lot of staring into the pantry and fridge in a dazed and confused manner.

7:30 a.m. – Oh hey…I have bananas that are about ready to turn ugly.  Banana bread sounds like a great idea….better than working out, which I had already looked into and decided…meh (on a side note, I have hardly worked out in two months…insert a three-year-old with separation anxiety and a mother who is just exhausted from dealing with it).

8 a.m. – Kids are hungry again (BIG surprise!)

9 a.m. – I warn my three that they can watch one more episode of Paw Patrol (Marshall is getting on my nerves.).

9:30 a.m. – Chore time.  Let me confess here that my hubby wrote down chores on a piece of paper while eating his cereal this morning (It looked slightly like a ransom note, but I translated.).  I usually just tell them what they need to do, BUT the hubby was on it.  Apparently, there is something exciting about crossing off a chore on a piece of paper, perhaps a sense of accomplishment.

9:31 a.m. – Grumbling, complaining, and gnashing of teeth about chore time.

10 a.m. – Kids are hungry again (but doing chores!) and ask what we are going to do today.

11 a.m. – Randomly stare at my computer and decide that we need a plan for the day…Chick-fil-A for lunch sounds like a good starting point.

11:18 a.m. – We load up in the van, complete with a bag of clothes to go to the dry cleaners, and head out for lunch.

I won’t bore you with the play-by-play of the rest of the day.  Almost every day ends with an afternoon at our neighborhood pool, so there.  #winning

If we could rewind back to the spring, the summer was not coming together exactly as planned.  Life circumstances had pressed the pause button on making plans, so we were in limbo.  The end of the school year got here fast, and I still didn’t really have a set plan. Sure there were a couple vacations scheduled but nothing big.  WE DID NOT EVEN SCHEDULE IN THE BEACH THIS SUMMER.  PLEASE GASP ALONG WITH ME.  HOW WILL WE EVEN SURVIVE?

Also, since the end of May, we have had a grandparent(s) here in our house.  I don’t need to explain that this presents a challenge in the structuring department.

So here I am staring July straight in the face and still feel like every day I wake up and just wing it.

Here’s the beauty of it, though:  I CAN

Colton at Pool

This kid is totally capturing my chill attitude about summer:  just relax and let it go!

The kids have gone to camps, and there are still a couple camps ahead of us (just signed up my oldest two because they need another one!).  We have gone to the movie theatre.  We have registered for our summer reading program at the local library.  There have even been some playdates.  There hasn’t been a ton of sitting around.

So bring it, July!  I’m ready for you.  You don’t intimidate me, and if I don’t have a set schedule by the end of the month, I won’t fret.  I’ll count this summer as a success if a) we still like each other by August 8 (first day of school) and b) the kids have created fond memories.

Now excuse me while I type up a chore chart for tomorrow morning.

 

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