Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peace & Pigtails

School's out and Summer is in. As if someone flipped a switch, backpacks and tennis shoes vanished to be replaced with flip flops and damp towels. Grateful for the break, no one is yet crying boredom. My days are filled with sunscreen, swimming lessons, bicycle helmets and ice cream.

Eleven days into being a Mama of five and I am not just OK, I am truly peaceful. This feeling is inexplicable apart from the Lord. I am less stressed with five than I felt with three--largely because I know I can't handle this without Him. I am letting go a bit of my need to manage and embracing laughter, chaos and laundry.

For the next month I will be dropping off and picking up my "big kids" at their respective Summer camps, while enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood Summer with the little girls who have dived right into the mostly happy chaos of my home. I have no choice but to simply tackle one day at a time.

We have had some adjustment bumps, but thankfully they have been minor and expected. My bio kids are discovering the joys and challenges of younger siblings. My foster kids are experiencing simple things for the first time. Last week they had their inaugural Chic-fil-A meal and finally asked "why do you keep putting dishes in and out of that oven?" Dishwashers and drivethrus...I am giving them such a cultural experience! Ha.

I keep questioning how smoothly this is going. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We had a call about a placement before this one. It was only one child but it was complex. We knew him and had a sense of the challenge involved. After prayer, counsel and gut checks we felt led to decline...and I felt like a failure.

My pride wanted to take him, but wisdom told me we were not qualified/equipped to meet his needs. My impatience with being on the bench wanting to serve needy children grew as two weeks of quiet passed with empty beds despite our willing hearts. Or could I even call us "willing" after saying no? During that time, I wondered if we had made a mistake.

Then we got these girls--and it has felt like God's plan. Peace is the only word I can use.
As they learn to ride bikes and swim, I am experiencing the refreshing reminder that obedience is not always hard.

Letting go of my agenda? That was difficult.
Entering into the unknown with thoughts swirling of all the 'bad' things that might happen? Challenging!
Choosing faith even when I was fearful? Gulp-inducing.

But, right now, I feel "peace that passes understanding." I am writing this down to remember...when we wait on the Lord instead of trying to write our own story and pull our own strings, there is peace. It is worth the wait.

Four decades of life have taught me that the comfortable place is not drink it in while I can. There will be bumps on the road ahead, no doubt.

I already LOVE these girls. I am pushing away thoughts of telling them goodbye eventually. But I KNOW God brought us here and I KNOW He is trustworthy for all the chapters that come after this.

Yesterday afternoon as the sun was setting and we were walking home from the pool I heard laughter and looked over to see well-dressed people sipping wine on the country club porch on a glorious Summer evening. It was picturesque--right out of a lifestyle magazine.

I was sweaty and rumpled, carrying a soaking wet eight year old I could hardly hold (at her request). I glanced at the beautiful people on the porch and had a flash of resignation...that's not my life now. This choice has me on a divergent path.

And what of the spontaneity of roadtrips and adventures that classically mark our Summers? I can't cross state lines without permission...and I have 5 kids now!

I started to self-examine: Will I miss that life? Am I OK with the trade-in? And then I glimpsed the braided pigtails of one of my little charges, exhaled and allowed a soft smile to take over my face. This is my portion and my cup for this season...and it really is good.


Cathy said...

You so inspire me. We've been empty nesters for several years now, but there's a little empty space in my heart that I feel could be filled with another child. I'm not sure if that is God's plan for us but thank you so much for sharing His plan with your family. You may never know what a blessing your are to those little hearts, but you are definitely seeing it in their faces. May God Bless you and your family on this journey. You are an example of Christ's love to us all.

Denise Ross said...

Magnificent post JMom. I so love your words about giving up and letting go of our plans for Gods plans.
I love how you've noticed the different season and way of living you're in now and which you've traded for. Fostering, adoption and the thought processes you've mentioned here have crossed my mind also. Unless God shows me otherwise, I don't feel were in the right place to help others, especially children, or elderly, that would need time, emotional and loving investment. But that is not to say that God won't open us up to this in our future. I love and admire you and your husband for choosing to follow Gods calling. I pray for strength, joy and peace in your hearts in this season.

Beth Cordell said...


Bailey's Leaf said...

I declined a placement, too. I understand where you are at with that. These girls seem to be meant to be with you and your family for as long as the Lord means them to be. That is a good thing.

Keri said...

A beautiful post about a beautiful stretching of your faith and your heart!

The Doster's said...

Rebecca Doster here, Trip's wife. I am so proud and inspired by your obedience to God and your willingness to give up some comfort and ease. What a testament to your faith and trust in God! Press on!
"I am doing a good work and I can not come down" Nehemiah 6:3

The Doster's said...

Rebecca Doster here, Trip's wife. I am so proud of your obedience to the Lord and for being willing to give up some comforts and ease. What a testament to your faith and trust in God. Press on. " I am doing important work, so I cannot come down" Nehemiah 6:3