It is raining here again. This is a big deal. Although, we are still in dire need of more, it has been raining a lot. Things around here are looking lush and green. I heard an older gentleman saying he woke to frogs chirping, something he hadn’t heard since the mid 90’s. Come to think of it has been a while since I heard that sound.
It occurs to me how grateful I am for this abundance of moisture. I have a four season soul but am destined to live life in a two season state (summer, summer, winter, summer.) Texas oh Texas, how did I end up here? Ah yes, love. I fell in love with a real Texan, wranglers, boots, he even has a big green tractor. And now I have bore 4 more Texans, adopted another, and house “up to two more aged below 5 years.” These humans, who are welcome here, are Texans too. I guess I am Texan by default. Given the perfect opportunity I would live somewhere else. Perfect being, all the people I love, jobs, commitments, basically this life, would need to be transferred to a perfect location.
And perfection isn’t reality.
Recently, my hotty Texas husband and I, spent an entire Saturday at our yearly Foster care training. FYI, if you are questioning your worth in the world, if you believe you are not needed, if you are struggling through a hard season or if you need to be inspired to be different, you should attend one of these. 4 – one and half hour sessions with anecdotes about the saddest, most horrific, demonic, and terrifying things that can happen to a child will completely cure you of your issues. The next time you are frustrated that the WiFi is down or Starbucks gave you a carmel machiato when you specifically said Chi tea latte, you can just think of 6 year old Winny and how her 3 and 4 year old brothers have developed obnoxious tactics to distract their step dad, until he’s too drunk, to molest their sister. This usually involves them being brutalized themselves. But they are a well oiled machine, they’ll do anything to stop him.
How’s that carmel machiato now?
Honestly, since we attended, I can’t swallow. I have been wandering the halls, mind blown, by the suffering. It is happening right now. This minute. Everywhere. And I am sad. I said this to someone the other day and she replied “but you are helping!” But I am not helping Winny and her brothers. I am not helping the millions of others who are suffering, alone, hurt,hungry, and scared. But, it is not about me.
A wise and seasoned foster mom said this to me recently. There is a wealth of ludicrous things that people say to foster families, mostly harmless; although I almost went Bruce Lee on an older woman that “Hphmmed!” at me one day in the grocery store. I questioned her and she snottily replied, “What kind of message do you send young girls when it is so obvious that your babies all have different daddies?” I patted her and said “Foster care is a blessing, fool.” I said the fool part in my head. But most people have harmless remarks, “I could never do that,” or “your ahhhmazing!” my wise friend said her blanket response it “It’s not about us though is it?”
This is hard for first world humans to comprehend. Everything is about us. Everything is about our comfort and luxury. Everything is about our political views and our feelings. Everything about what we believe is being blogged, tweeted, or Facebooked… look at me doing it right now! And I am downcast about our society and “Our needs” being so readily met. I rarely go more than a few minutes without my cup being filled. I am 3 clicks and 48 hours away from nearly anything I need on Amazon.com, shipped for free, to my doorstep. I love them for this.
In the midst of modern conveniences there is still grief. There is suffering and hardship. There are horror stories. And, I am coming to learn, being sad about these things is good. Being down is good. When I am down looking up it is the scratch to my itch. Without thirst where is the joy of ice cold water? Without illness where is the wonder of healing? Without hard work where is the triumph of a pay check or scholarship? Without drought where is the thanks for abundant rain? And without rain where is the rainbow? Without the crucifixion, there is no Resurrection. With out the brokenness there is no restoration?
Tonight as I wait in my car for a kid to come out of an activity it is still raining but the sun is shining. I am reminded of God’s providence. I need Him so much. I would not change a single hurt. Each hurt draws me closer to Him. He did not promise me perfection, as a matter of fact He said, “…in this world you will have tribulation.. (John 16:33 ESV). But He will not leave us, He even offers us peace in our trouble. My mind is bogged down with horror stories from the certification process and I cannot shut them off – and I am inspired. This inspiration moves me to pray for Winny and her wonder brothers, and all children, everywhere. It encourages me to fight the good fight, even just for “”up to two more aged below 5 years.” There is room at our table. We can stand in the gap between the broken and the lost because The Lord is for us. Make no mistake, I am not a sugary sweet human with “Babies written on my heart..” I basically am barely getting by. But I stand waiting for Him to use me where I am needed, help me off my knees when I am down, fill my cup when it is empty, add laughter where there are tears, and rain where there is drought.
I boldly ask you to consider being uncomfortable. I pray your heart is stirred to step out where He is calling you. Someone asked me the other day if I recommended foster care. I was rendered speechless… Can I recommend it? And like a flash “It’s not about you…” And I recommended it. It is hard. I am scared. The paperwork alone is a huge job. The injustices… I have no words. But He didn’t promise you a rose garden. If you ask me if I thought you should have children, could I recommend it? Well, it’s a lot of work, something bad could happen to your child, babies turn into teenagers, but teenagers turn into adults, that are your friends. You may not get to sleep (ever again,) and you’ll probably be broke from now on… it isn’t going to be comfortable. You’ll sleep sitting up in a recliner, you’ll be vomited on, and you’ll get poop under your fingernails.
And yet, I highly recommend it.
“LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing, You guard all that is mine.” Psalm 16:5
Need a laugh? Watch this video on what not to say to foster families!
Want to be inspired? Check out Health guru and wonder foster-adopt success Drew Canole! Inspirational… like nothing you can fathom. Drew Canole