Be carful what you ask for…

Standing in God’s will looks different for each of us, depending on where He places us. Ben and I are in a season full of blessings and love, but also sleepless nights, crazy tantrums and a open house full of social workers and therapist. We feel so called and yet somedays so inadequate to withstand the calling placed within our hearts. As I am up so often every night comforting our baby that because of her start in this world, sleep has never been a big part of her life, another that is often up crying for reason that right now only God knows why, and an immune system that seems to have forgotten how to work, I question if I am enough for these children, if my body can keep this up. If others not walking this path would even understand if I talked to them about it. We are normal folks, we love sleep, lazy days, date nights and all those simple things, but this season is different for us, it’s hard at times and I find it can be a lonely road because, talking with most people I find myself wanting to explain so much in hopes that they will see a glimpse of the reality in which I am describing.
Last night after I tucked in one of our littles who is a sweet, bossy and very independent little person, I found God working on my heart to see her as He see her and to have the kind of patients for her as He has for me. This was a few hours before I walked into her room and found her not wanting to sleep but, instead wanting to play. “Funny God, I get it. I wanted more patience, so you gave me a beautiful opportunity at 1:30 in the morning to practice using this gift I asked for.” This was all while we were still up with a very fussy baby that didn’t want to sleep, which isn’t unusual at all but after the patience test, i had to laugh in order to not cry. Shortly later I found myself laying in bed with our beautiful 9 month old princess, who was breathing very heavy while squirming with what seemed like pain on my chest. I hummed softly in her ear and that’s when she did it, when she reminded me how crazy love is, she laid her arm across me and patted my chest until she finally feel asleep early this morning. Even though I was dead tired, I laid there in that exhausted moment and thanked God for this kind of love and humbleness in my life. I don’t always like the dirty parts, but I will never be caught saying, that I don’t love this season because, Ben and I, even though today are completely dead tired, have still caught moments of looking in each other’s eyes and both saying the same thing with a look, “we are so thankful for all of these children that are teaching us more about love and getting out of our own wants than any other thing has ever done. Oh, and that we should take turns getting a nap in today.” 😉
I was guiltily once upon a time of thinking people that were walking this path were just being to hard, to strict and that all they had to do was give a little more love. Love does win and it will cover a multitude of sins, but it isn’t all that is needed in putting very broken children back together. They are fragile, they have sharp pieces of glass that can cut and hurt us all over them. They are younger mentally then their age and yet know so much more then their tiny amount of years should know. I was wrong for thinking I got it, I was wrong for doing anything more then being a good friend with two open ears. I was wrong to say, love is all you need. We need patience, endurance, Jesus and a few good friend that even if they don’t get it, understand enough of what a phone call or text of encouragement will do for a very tired soul. Thank you to my few that some days are what God uses to carry us through. ❤

Bent low

This quote is beautiful and couldn’t be more truer than true. We are tired and stretched thin, but we are happy and closer to His face than ever before. If being bent low puts us in the dirt with the KING of kings, than there is no other place I would rather be. If you are a parent today to one child or fifteen children, remember, what you are doing matters and it is the hard work that one day will make all the difference in the world. So as you bend low today remember you are in the trenches with greatness. IMG_2308

Do you do it for the money?

I can admit that prior to becoming a Foster parent myself, I always wondered why so many Foster folks had such large families. Was it the money or maybe they had a Mother Theresa complex, because it’s so rare to see a small foster family these days. Whenever you watch television they are great at sending a false message of what foster families look like and maybe I was a little guilty of believing things I knew nothing about. Why couldn’t I and others see these folks as having a heart for children, a heart to serve, a heart to help while stretching outside of themselves. Why are we so quick to pass judgment on people and their lives? I am part of a private Foster parents page and so many are sad or struggling with the loss or judgment from family and friends. So often they are not asked to participate in outings or events because many of the kiddos they are loving on have pains and issues that are hard to deal with, especially in public situations. I also hear many feeling isolated by family because, well, ‘they did it to themselves,’  because, really, they did. They didn’t have to help this child or add one more to the mix, they could of stopped and let someone else take care of this child. So when they are having a hard day, who do they vent with or ask advice from when the ones that should be their support are busy judging. What if they didn’t do it to themselves, what if they don’t do it for the money, what if Mother Theresa is a saint many would never try to even compare their lives to.

Lets start with how they did it to themselves. They did cause less sleep for their life, less alone time, less money to go around and less adult time, but, lets stop and think what they really did when they brought that last baby in to their home. They added life to a family, extended their hearts to love more, they chose love over comfort, they chose to take the bible and Gods command to love all orphans as literal and not just some old ancient words. If you are a parent of any number of children, by birth, adoption of fostering you know it can be hard and exhausting and every parent has their days where they need to vent. That need doesn’t change because they are not biologically there children. Be an ear, bring a meal or share a glass of wine with the Foster parent in your life. They just like before, have days where they still need YOU.

I love Mother Theresa, that lady will always hold rockstar status in my eyes, she didn’t own much of anything, spent her days in poverty, served others and only asked for Gods sustaining power to carry her through. She was one of a kind and not many folks are like her and not a single foster parent I have met is trying to be her. They all have things like; t.v’s, cars, homes, clothes, go on some kind of vacations, whether big or small. They are just regular folks that have seen the need and how desperately children in our own backyards need us all to help them. So they stepped up and did what they can, even if that looks different to you, don’t judge them, because trust me, what they are doing isn’t always easy and they don’t do it for the kudos, they do it for the love of the child. I know that a small portion of foster families are bad and have unclean motives, but don’t let that small one percent, cause your taste buds to turn sour over what your friends or family next to you are doing. Join them, invite them over for a BBQ, hear their stories and share in their passion. Encourage them it will mean the world to them.

They do it for the money I bet. I was someone that thought this notion prior to becoming a Foster parent myself, that money had to be at least a small motive, because how could anyone open their home and lives to multiple children that are not their own, if it’s not about the money, right? For the average foster child in Arizona it breaks down to a whopping 63 cents per hour that the Foster family gets. That is 63 cents an hour to be a full time taxi driver to multi doctor and therapy appointments and also pick up and drop off at visits each week with the child’s bio parents, where once you pick that child up, you quickly turn into a therapist to their broken and confused little hearts. Your ability to transition into a Dr. happened often also as you have to take care of immune issues, lice, abuse, fears of showers, cars, the darkness, bed wetting, tantrums and you quickly learn you could make double the money part time, at minim wage and have nights and weekends off and not spend your nights holding a crying child that is scared of God knows what. Then you feed them and my Lord do these kiddos eat, I mean eat. One of mine gained four pounds the first 10 days he was in our home. The real fear of starvation is a strong force so many of these kids have, which causes them to never want to go hungry again, so they eat, gorge, hoard and are always looking for their next meal. Oh yea, did I mention they also usually come to your home with just the dirty clothes on their backs, rarely with even shoes on their feet? So these families get a child and run out to a store to get the basics that day of what they will need. So yes, they do need the money, because I know for so many they couldn’t do it without that extra help, but it’s not what they do it for, because 63 cents an hour just doesn’t cover all they do. Next time you have a bag of hand-me-down kid clothes, maybe instead of Goodwill, you could bless a Foster family in your life with them, because they will be used and so greatly appreciated.Roll-of-money

I am sure Ben and I have people that we don’t know about casting judgment our way, but we have way more casting love our way. I am so blessed, our life is full of people that are supportive and encouraging, from church, to family and friends, but most Foster families do not feel this way. Lets change that. The next time you catch your self wanting to judge or roll your eyes at the momma with many kids in tow, don’t, instead, lend a hand, a meal, encouragement, love and just watch and see just how far that love will go. #lovewins

You are worth it

Loving a child through their pain and brokenness can be hard. You don’t always get to see the end result, the reward of your hard work. Sometimes you are just a stepping stone in their journey, a small but mighty ripple in their ocean. So often what people are doing to help broken children is an invisible act of love not seen by others but remember it’s always felt by the child.

To the teacher that brings in extra food for the child she knows hasn’t ate a meal in days, the neighbor that always invites the ‘troubled child’ over to hang with her family so often she feel like she has an extra child or the foster/adoptive parent that are in the trenches picking up the pieces to their child’s broken past. Thank you! You may not hear that from the child today or see your seeds of love growing in them just yet, but one day it will happen. The next time you’re having a hard time walking in love towards this child, grab them by the cheeks, look them in the eye and tell them they are worth it, because they are. Once upon a time I was worth it and I am forever grateful to all the people that looked me in the face as a broken child and said, “you are worth it, Nicole!”  Today, I completely agree with them, all their endless acts of love were worth it. So please don’t give up the fight even when it seems overwhelming. Broken children, have broken hearts, but when someone tells a child they are worth it, watch and see the broken become whole again.