Today a friend and I drove up to the north side of the city and attended a seminar on foster to adoption. Since we first met Ty and I have talked about adopting and the past 6 years or so it has been in regards to the foster care system. We had wanted to find out how it worked here in our new state and when I heard about this seminar it seemed to be a good thing. So my friend and I went. We had great worship. We saw pictures of children right here locally who are waiting to be adopted-We heard different perspectives of the whole process-from an adoptive mom, an adoptive dad, a man who grew up and wasn't adopted and aged out of the system, a young woman who grew up and was adopted even though she was labeled "unadoptable" because her age and siblings, two case workers, and a girl whose parents had foster/adopted children so she was the sibling of adopted kids. The stories were all of hard roads, long long long processes, and learning and faith. And what also marked all of these was the hope for all orphans. Each one is a person. Each one is a child. A child of human birth but also a child of God. We all were challenged that even if we cannot adopt, we can support those who do. We can volunteer or even do respite foster care. And we can pray. We can pray for the thousands of children all across the US who go to bed afraid each night because they do not know where they will be the next day. We can pray for their safety, for food to eat, for safe sleep, for the chance at an education. We can pray for their families. We can pray for their foster families. We can pray for their case workers. And we can pray for their forever families. My friend and I are not sure our next steps. But we are sure of this. We will pray. Will you consider James 1:27 for yourself today? "Pure religion is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress and to remain unstained by the world." What will you do with this?
Today I basked in the sun-70* sunny and enjoying the beach at a lake nearby with new friends, it was a much needed afternoon! I've been in a bit of a funk this week, feeling like so much is hanging over our heads. Fighting the temptation to just stay home all day, I had my neighbor and littlest over for lunch then me and the kids packed a picnic and headed to the lake. It was about a 50 minute drive to this really cool area that is free in the winter. Let me tell you, today did not feel like winter! All of the kids ran all over the beach, out in the water, climbed trees, scootered around, ran all over the playground, and I got to just hang out. As I was. Funk and all. I cannot tell you how amazing it has been each step of this journey to travel alongside others. Today was the same. Talking with people who also are all transplants, some from half a world away, reminded me I am not in this alone. I mean, sure God is with us and I know that in my head, but I've found nearly always he also sends us with fellow travelers to share the journey. Talking about everything from homeschool ideas to different regions of the world to weather to theology to fundraising to dinner plans in a hurry. It was so nice to just live life together and be who I am. And I remembered that God really does give us the means to handle what he allows us to go through. I am blessed to be surrounded by such great examples, all of whom struggle just like I do! While I miss my girlfriends from afar, I am so thankful for these new women in my life who I can learn from. You should come visit sometime and meet some of them-God has done and is doing some amazing things! And the sunshine and awesome spring weather certainly was one of those things too!
As we settle in to a bit more "normalcy" we are starting to make friends. Really, it's not much unlike creating art. We all existed but prior to us living here knew nothing of the other people's existence. Our lives were not at all connected. Then we met, people were nice and helped us out or had us over because we had just moved here and then the creating started. Some days, it feels forced and the creation just doesn't seem to be turning out at all. I wonder, will that person ever be someone I can relate to or share with or hang out with? Sometimes there are longer stretches of no creating, where I imagine what will be but am not working toward it at all. Then, there are the times where friendship is created and it is beautiful. The moments where a friend realizes I'm in the area and can join a group for Spanish lessons and invites us. The moments where a friend calls me up to watch her daughter the day of because she knows we really meant it when we offered. The moments when I call a friend to go for a walk because I saw her post on fb and she says yeah come on over. The moments where a friend saves info about a grocery program because she knows what it is to be where we are and she thought of us. The moments where a friend says we need to meet for lunch tomorrow to check in on how you guys are really doing. And in between those moments are also the beautiful reminders of friendships we are not physically close to but still love us nonetheless. Messages asking for our new address, messages saying they read the blog and were missing us, phone calls saying how they missed us because of this or that. Friendships are like art-when poured into they are a beautiful thing, interpreted by the participant as feelings, experiences, memories, laughter, emotions. Our lives are so rich for the beautiful friendships we have and we cannot wait to see what masterpieces come of these newer ones! To all of our friends all over the world-thanks for being such a part of our lives, we love you all and thank God for you!
I did laundry today. Lots of laundry. I made french toast for the kids and skyped with our dear friend Jill 3 times throughout the day. I got about half of our school room unpacked and organized and I put together a box and 4 drawers from Ikea-let me tell you that took a while! I promoted Unishow to a friend and I took out and helped pick up crafts several times throughout today. And I laughed at my kids a bit too. They were outside riding bikes in the pouring rain and apparently crashed into each other going flying into very wet grass and dirt. They both came wailing up the driveway J in front and El about 20 feet behind. They were dripping wet and covered in wet ground. They weren't hurt, just very wet, a little cold and I think El was a little freaked out by Jax's wailing-making her wail too. It was pretty funny actually! I got their clothes off outside, started another load of laundry, and sent them to warm baths followed by hot chocolate. Then life was all better. For them anyway. My brain hurts. I am not an organizer and detailer, or maybe I am a detailer just not good at making it happen efficiently so when I take on a project like the school room today it physically hurts my brain. And tonight I'm supposed to work on getting stuff organized for taxes. Which is the same kind of thing. Days like this are always interesting. I got a lot done but the house looks completely undone and my brain feels as foggy as it was outside earlier. Tonight will definitely be a time I'll long for the quiet of spending time with our Lord. I'd write more but we're off to hang out with a friend's son while she takes her daughter to a school thing. Stay dry! We're definitely not
This morning I was a bit overwhelmed and at one point got all choked up. Ty thought it was out of overprotection of my family (which may be something I tend towards...) In that moment he made the comment "What?! It wasn't that big of a thing"
Upon waking up today, Jax came into our room with his wallet and the $22 still in it (from his spending money he had taken shopping the other day).
Me: "Morning J-what are you doing?"
J: "I've been counting my money mom. Here, I don't need it. We should give it to kids who need it. Let's give it to someone in the meeting this morning who might need it (we were going to a prayer meeting). All the money is folded up in my wallet."
Wow. In that moment I saw into our Father's heart. It blessed me and it challenged me.
Then, while feeding the kids breakfast I read an email my little sis had sent a couple days ago but I just had a chance to read. She's had a rough go of things the past few months and it was a bit of processing through that in light of a scenario where she was able to meet someone where they were in that moment. Double Wow. In that moment I saw into our Father's heart. It blessed me and it challenged me. And if you are up for the blessing and challenge shoot us a comment-I'm going to check with her to see if I can forward it along to you.
This morning our family went to prayer meeting at work. In just over an hour I didn't see a glimpse of our Father's heart. I saw a huge gaping section. I saw His heart for the nations, for his people, for the hurting, for those who are blatantly rejecting him right now. Wow.
Wow. I was blessed and I was challenged.
As a co-worker prayed he described God's love in terms of a well within us, that as we give it away it may run low so God just keeps digging it deeper and deeper so it will never run dry. Rather than just filling us back up He goes farther and farther toward the source and in doing so gives us even greater capacity for loving others with His love.
As I realized just how much of the Father's heart I had seen this morning, I thought back to Ty's comment in that moment about what he thought was sisterly concern. The truth was, it is a big thing though. When we are given the privilege to see into the Father's heart it is a very big thing. May you be blessed in that same manner today, and then may you go share his heart with others!
Carolyn & (sometimes) Ty