Monday, December 07, 2015

Making Room (especially when it feels like there is none)

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 cried.

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 ChanForgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

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 ChanCrazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

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.
It's noisy.
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.


Pam said...

How I adore the glimpses into what God is doing in and among y'all. He is so good, and as one who has this same calendar year had to step out before the stair was in place -- I can relate to the free-fall feeling that comes in those moments and sometimes days before God chooses to catch us. Yet, in retrospect, I can say nothing is more exhilarating than the strengthening of a faith that can never be torn away from me. You are so right in saying the story is far from over -- for any of us. May we continue to eagerly await the moving of our Father's hand in all of our lives as we travel this journey toward home next to one another.

Morgan's mom said...

you are amazing!! God is even more amazing! prayers for your strength, your health, your joy.

Cheryl said...

I don't know you in real life but I am so moved by what you all have going on under your roof. It made me sad to know there was another sister and they weren't all together. How special for them to be reunited! Know that prayers from afar are being said for you all. God Bless.

LeighAnn said...

My parents were foster parents for a brief time when my younger sister and I were in elementary school. Your story brings back many memories to me as the bio child who lived this experience....Prayers for you and your family...God bless each of you.

Lois said...

So grateful you are helping those little sisters be family again. All of you will be blessed by our gracious Father. Sounds as if you are doing a marvelous job! Keep the faith!

Meggie said...

Thank you for sharing what God is doing in, through, and with your family! Your testimony and faith are amazing and so encouraging. I'm so glad you keep sharing. =)

Lari said...

Thank you for sharing your journey through this. Praying for you and your sweet family.

Bernice said...

God bless you and your wonderful family. Having raised five children I can completely understand the messes, the tattling,the different feeling/emotions of each child,and what you must be going through. You,your husband and your beautiful triplets,are to be commended for not only taking in the two sisters,and now bringing the youngest sister into your home
. You all are a great example for all of us to follow.
Thank you sharing.

dee said...

Those girls must be so happy to be together. What a heartwarming tale of family; thanks for sharing!

Debra said...

I love reading your blog, and truly feel it is ministry at its finest!!
I want to share something funny... when I first started reading and saw your "name" jyscott, I must have been reading too fast, because I thought your name was Joy. I know now you are Jennifer, but I still always think of you as JOY! (in all caps and with the exclamation point). Your house is full and busy, but think how God is using all your great organizational skills and LOVE.
One of my favorite quotes is: "The love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, love isn't love til you give it away!" another quote I love from Winston Churchill: "We make a living by what we get. We make a life from what we give." I think your family exemplifies both of these!!! XO

Brittnie said...

Thank you for taking all 3 of those girls. I can't imagine the turmoil they've been through, but the safety, security, grace, and faithfulness they are receiving from your family is incredible, even if they don't know it. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to the, when they need it most.

Denise Ross said...

Wow, I'm so glad you did take in the littlest sibling, how beautiful. God shows himself at his finest when we can rely on Him only. I know the free fall feeling and God catching me over and over into His arms and holding me close. We are going through a challenge that we didn't for see. I do not know how it will unfold, but I do know that when I keep my eyes on Jesus and let Him unfold it all, I feel and know that we are safe. When I look down at my circumstances I've no idea and I panic. But I choose to look up and rest in Him, his strength, His hope, His rest! God bless you x

Karen said...

From one foster mom to another...yes, there is always room at the table for one more even when I really don't think so :) Immersing you in prayer...