Saturday, December 29, 2012

Loving when you know it's temporary

'For what is seen is temporary....'

This Christmas was quite different from the Christmases we've had in the past. There were so many times when my emotions were so big that it would be nearly impossible to articulate them. I don't have the words to describe what it was like to hold Diego in my lap while we rode through Fantasy in Lights at Calloway Gardens or to watch all 6 of 'our' children tear into their presents or to hear Dora squeal with excitement over her very own set of "polish nails" or to dance with the whole family in the cleared out basement. To say my heart was full would be a gross understatement. It was a beautiful time, and at the same time, it was in a sense almost tragic because I knew that it would be the only time. I knew that this would be the only Christmas these two children would spend with us. Things are different when you know it's temporary. I think theres a part of me that loves harder and is more patient knowing that they will soon be gone. Theres a part of me that soaks up every single moment. I say things like, sure you can go outside and play in the rain or absolutely you can wear those leggings that don't exactly match your outfit or why not have one more [little] cookie. Because when the time is short, some things just do not matter.  
Should that not be the same with all of my children though? Even my bio ones? I'm not promised the rest of the day with *my* children and yet so many times I act as though I am. I'll put off sitting and playing trains because well, there will always be another chance to do so. I'll tell Rach that we'll paint our nails another day because well, there will always be another day. I'll make IZ go change clothes because well, we just can not possibly go to the park and Chickfila in an orange shirt and red shorts. 
No, I'm not advocating throwing out all rules or manners or sense of decorum or anything like that. I'm just beginning to see that maybe one of the reasons that God has placed Dora & Diego with us is to teach us or remind us that the future is most definitely not certain. We are not promised the rest of today, much less tomorrow. Our time with our children and our time here is so very short. And perhaps in view of that, there needs to be a shift in my parenting priorities. All that truly matters is His glory for His glory is the only thing that is promised to endure. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Good Day?

'If God is our greatest good, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God.'

Today has been (is continuing to be) one of "those" days, a day when I am living for bedtime. I know that really and truly I have no room to complain. Life could be a whole lot worse. What I am dealing with pales in comparison to most of the rest of the world's problems. But I'm whining right now. 

My day has been compromised of:

~ an Isaac tantrum to beat all tantrums. Seriously, he could have won tantrum of the year award. Crying, rolling on the floor, screaming, kicking the bunk bed at one point. What brought on this lovely display of sinful emotion? He did not want to wear the sweater that Rach had picked out for him. 

~ an all-around fussy Jojo. He's just well enough, after a bout with strep, to not be contagious, and he's in a foul mood. Nothing made him happy today except for sitting on my hip or sucking on a lollypop. Yes, I caved to bribing my child with candy. Don't judge me.

~ a breakdown by Diego over having to switch car seats. The seat belt in the one he had been using is really too small especially when he's all bundled up on a cold day like today. Jared is the seatbelt guru in our house, and he's at work. Jojo's seat is much easier to adjust so I moved Diego to that one and moved Jojo to Diego's. Diego was not a fan.

~ a stand-off between Diego and me at the library. It was time for us to leave, but Diego wanted to stay and play with the trains some more. No fear, I won the stand-off....just earned a frown of disapproval from the librarian. (A fellow mom in the corner however gave me a silent smile of congratulations.) 

~ another tantrum, this one by Jojo, who did not approve of me folding laundry. More rolling on the floor, crying, screaming. 

~ doling out some corporal punishment. Isaac decided to unbuckle his seat belt and climb out of his car seat to retrieve a toy he had dropped. I *hate* spankings. 

~ squabbles over who got more goldfish at snack time and who worked harder at cleaning the school room and who got to ride what scooter for how long and who got to choose the show at TV time and whether or not a car is red or orange and on and on and on until everyone lost their words while Mommy walked away and screamed into a pillow. 

You know, that kind of day. At one point, I started to think about a blog post I read last night. (Go read it ---> I started wondering, you know, that blog quoted the verse in Psalms that says, 'those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing.' I can think of quite a few 'good things' that I'm lacking at the moment, like peace and quiet, for instance, or obedient children, or a lowered blood pressure. 

Then again, if I did have those things today, I wouldn't have been crying out to God constantly for His grace and His patience and His long-suffering and His love to flow through my brokenness.  So I guess perhaps this truly has been (is) a good day after all. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

My heart is truly filled to overflowing....

'You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.'

I saw an internet meme making the rounds on Facebook a little while ago. I'll butcher it if I try to quote it. The gist of it was: 'you only think your boyfriend is is coming home to find your husband doing the dishes.' I'd like to one-up that little meme. Hot is hearing my very caucasian husband saying 'muy bueno' to our precious little Diego after brushing his teeth.  :-)

The time we have spent with Dora & Diego has been an absolute delight, truly a sweet, albeit chaotic, several days. My heart smiles every time I hear their little, heavily-accented voices excitedly yell, "DADDY!!!" when Jared comes home from work. I wish I could bottle that emotion and sell it. We'd make a fortune!

I know from experience that this fostering journey we are on is not always this joyful. There are some seriously messy and hard times, times that make me want to scream, times that make me wonder if we've made a huge mistake in saying yes. A day like that could be just around the could be today! I'm just so thankful that God sprinkles in these happy, heart-bursting times to encourage us to keep pressing on, to keep fighting the good fight. It IS worth it. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

For when I am weak...

'He never promised that the cross would not get heavy,
and the hill would not be hard to climb. 
He never offered our victories without fighting, 
but He said help would always come in time. 
So remember when you're standing in the valley of decision, 
and the adversary says give in, just hold on. 
My Lord will show up, yes!
 And He will take you through the fire again.'

'but He said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'

Last night it got to me. It wasn't just the fact that we have six children to care for now in our home. (Although unless you're, say, the Duggars, I'd venture to say that that alone is enough to cause a bit of stress.)  All I could see in front of me was this looming mound of responsibilities and obligations that all had to be met. Nothing seemed to be 'optional.' And I just crumbled.

Jared found me in a ball on the floor, crying, praying, and pleading for God's grace. Let me take this opportunity to brag on my husband for a minute. God has showered his grace and mercy upon this man and is forming him into such an incredible, godly husband and father. He is my rock. He is so faithful to lead and protect our family. Anyway, so Jared found me in this borderline panicked state and immediately prayed and reminded me of God's love for us and His gracious sovereignty over our situation. Then, he said that he would take a half day from work today to help get everything done. SO thankful for him! And for his employers that are so gracious and supportive of what God is doing in our family. 

Today is another family court day....a bit unusual that we would have a second one in such a short time, but again Dora & Diego's case is a bit different. 

I just have to share a story from last night. This was our family leaving the church playground: Jared was carrying a screaming Diego; he does not handle any kind of transition really well at all. I was carrying Jojo and 2 diaper bags and had IZ by the hand who was also screaming. He had scraped his foot on the slide. The 3 older children were running ahead of us, racing to the van and acting like hyped up children who had just left a playground. Who should walk out of the church at the same time but our pastor? Ah well... authenticity and transparency are what we're after, right? Pastor David had a good laugh, especially when Jared said, "are you sure you don't want 6?" Then he wished us an awesome night. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hola Amigos!

'And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,'

Dora (6) and her little brother, Diego(2 1/2) came to us Thursday night. They have truly been an absolute joy! 

Diego speaks no English, although he has picked up a couple of words already since he's been with us...yay and Jojo. I think he may have tried to say Noah in the car earlier today....Noah was the first to get a smile out of him. Dora speaks enough English to meet us halfway. It has been lots of fun! She has had more than a few giggles at our attempts to use what little Spanish we know. 

Surprisingly, even though there are two of them, the house is still calmer and quieter than when Princess Petunia was with us. I don't think I realized just how much energy that little girl had! 

I don't think that Dora and Diego will be with us for very long....their case is a little different. I honestly think that the language/cultural barrier played a role in their being brought into care. As far as we know, there was no history of bad choices with mom...the children are obviously loved and cared for. We'll see though. If there is one thing we've learned in all of this, situations can change at a moment's notice. We'll just love them like crazy while they're here and trust for His moment-by-moment grace. 

*sweet moments* 
Family Worship time the past couple of nights have been so very precious. Listening to Rach & Noah jump in and share the gospel with Dora & Diego blesses my soul. Jared was telling the story of when Jesus was arrested, and Noah turned to Dora and said, 
"yeah, He just put the man's ear back on! He can do anything...He really can!"
Yes and Amen!