Last week I mailed out Christmas cards. (Which for the record were only really early because we were housebound for a solid week with sick children during Thanksgiving.)
After contemplating how to accurately represent Christmas with a temporarily blended family, we settled on a comical approach which caught up out-of-town, non-facebook friends on our expansion and ended with "there is truly no more room at the inn--or in the Suburban."
As my phone was still dinging with text messages from friends who had received the clever card, I got a call--a time sensitive request to host the youngest sibling of my two current foster daughters for a bit. My statement that we were 'full' was being put to the test.
Ya'll. I already have FIVE kids under 12 and a very busy husband during his most stressful month of the year. (People prefer to have elective surgery when they've met their deductible/before plans change January 1/with the holiday vacation to recover.) School is about to be out for two weeks. Kids are getting hyped up on Christmas. Basketball has started. I have two kids who are still running fevers and we just had to deal with lice.
After seven months of foster parenting, we were finally in a rhythm and routine with our current load and were now being asked to consider a four year old.
I called my husband. We sat in silence. We wondered what in the world God was up to. We talked with our bio kids who had very mixed responses. We counted the cost. We prayed. Then we slept on it (although it was a restless night of little sleep.) There was a long list of defensible reasons to say no. But when we woke up, we knew what we were supposed to do.
“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.”
― Francis Chan,
We didn't feel brave or particularly qualified, but Friday, with the help of our amazing supportive friends, a bed was moved in, our pantry was filled, clothing was gathered, we were covered in prayer as we welcomed a precious little firecracker to our chaos.
There are some truly incredible, almost unbelievable, threads that God has woven together in the last few days--complete and total confirmation that this was right. If I am ever able to really tell the whole story it will blow you away. For privacy reasons I cannot share any details--which is torturous for a communicator like me--but I will never forget.
As I asked God how I could tell this story I felt like He told me that sometimes the details are just for the person living the story. I was reminded of a time in the Bible when Jesus actually requested the person He healed NOT tell anyone. He is a God of detail--but my details aren't particularly relevant to your situation. What does matter is that He sees. He knows. He cares. And, most importantly, He is at work in His time.
Another lesson I am learning from this particular situation is that we didn't get our signs and confirmations until AFTER we stepped out in faith. We had to literally step out into what felt like a blind freefall before we felt Him catch us. It is the scariest decision I have made in a long time. But like Peter stepping out of the boat, you don't know the Lord is trustworthy until you really have to trust.
And make no mistake, this is still CRAZY. The laundry for 8. The school stuff for 6. The meals for 8. Oh my word, at the shoes and socks! Meshing these personalities. Trying to connect with every little (and big) heart. It is difficult, but it is happening. I feel like God is making time and space in miraculous ways.
God doesn't promise that His path will be easy, only that He will not leave us. Friday I was a deer caught in headlights as we anticipated her arrival and this weekend it shifted to a hamster running full force on a wheel, but the girls are overjoyed to be together and I absolutely feel God's presence. Peace that transcends understanding is truly guarding my heart.
I am tired, but I do not doubt that this is what we were called to do in this season and this particular situation. His grace is sufficient. I can say this with confidence, because I am living in the middle of it.
“But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.”
― Francis Chan,
There are so many kids.
Three car seats and boosters.
Nails to trim, bellies to fill, details to remember...
Our whole family cannot even ride in one car together anymore.
Big kids stay up late and little ones get up early.
We have Playdoh, Frozen and craft supplies all over the house again.
There are lots of tights and giggles.
Even more drama and tattling.
But, wow, at the growth, the stretching and the peace.
And the story God is writing isn't even close to being over.