It is well

But blessed are those who trust in the lord and have made the lord their hope and confidence. Jer.17.7

For 7 months we have lived as a family of 6.  We have worked and loved and weaved our lives together.  That face behind the heart has become one of ours and we are his family.  We have taken on the burden of his story and made it part of our own.  This week court has ordered that we begin a time of transitioning him to a family members home.  We are so happy for him to have someone who has stepped up and can give him a good place, a future and a loving family.  The reality of saying goodbye is quickly approaching.  For the last 7 months I have known he was safe because he was in our home.  I knew he was getting what was best for him.  I felt in control.  The reality of it is that we are not in control of any of our children's lives.  I must let go.  I have no choice with this one, I have to let him go and I have to trust that God loves him even more than I do.  Do I really trust God to hold his life dear.  When we are faced with that reality it is hard to always say yes God, I trust you.  So for now we take it one day at a time.  Today I will say yes to trusting my God with his life and with all of my children's lives.  Hold them close Jesus.  
God calls us to sacrifice.  In fostering we are called to love deeply, knowing we may loose those which we have come to love.  They are worth it.  This boy has known love while in our home.  Every child will know love that comes into these doors.  Christ loved, so we are called to love.  
Today I let go and will trust in Him and I will sing It is well.  It is well.  It is well.  


We are not foster parents.

We are not foster parents.  Strange.  We have said that we are before, but we know the truth, we could not do it without our star players on the team.  Meet my A team, 1st string, all stars:

These kids know what it looks like to love.  They have let their lives be altered in a moment, they have served, they have given their hearts, they have welcomed children in like they were one of our own.  These three have done it well.  They know hurt, they know frustration, they know a bit more of reality than most.  This is our team.  To think that it is a calling just on us, the parents is not accurate.  We are not foster parents, we are a foster family.


How He loves us.

Oh how He loves us Oh.
Oh how He loves us.
How He loves us all.

We sang this song in church on Sunday and its words hit me like never before.  Everytime I sing this song I am so amazed by Gods love for me.  I want to sing this in grateful praise that God would love me.  I am a follower of Christ, I strive to live like Him daily, but I will always fall short.

As we were singing my mind went to our little foster boy and again, I was hit with the gratefulness that He loves this little boy so much and that He has a plan for his life.  This boy who has done nothing to deserve the life he has been handed, and that God would pick him up and love him.  He is His creation.  We do not know if this little guy will stay in our home for much longer, but I know without a doubt that His Heavenly Father loves Him and will care for him no matter where he ends up spending his earthly days.

Then the Lord brought me to my knees.  I love her too.  I heard the words so clearly while the song played.  The woman who put her son in the position to be placed in our home.  The one who made the wrong choices and cant seem to make the right ones.  The one who is lost and doesn't seem to want to be found.  I love her.

I cannot even fathom that love.  A love that can cover the span of all those people and love them the same.  She is His creation.  That little boy is His creation.  I am His creation.  I truly pray that I can look at others and see Christ's love for them, to see them as dearly loved.  The only thing that sets me apart is Christ - nothing about me - just Him.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption be the grace in His eyes.


What they deserve.

Lets be honest here - sometimes I can be selfish.  Full honest - Often, I can be selfish.  
I don't think I deserve the type of day I am handed.  Why must there be more dishes, another load of laundry, another mess, for goodness sake keep the pillows on the couch... all thoughts that rush through my head daily.  It is usually moments after I have those thoughts that God gently brings me back to examine, what do I really deserve.  None of this.  I deserve none of it.  I am gifted the ability to live a healthy life, to worship the creator of it all, to mentor and train the children that God has loaned me, to walk with Him on this journey that will only last a short time in history.  I did not earn that, I was gifted that.  

So what do they deserve?  

To be loved.  To be safe.  Those two things alone would break your heart if you think about the number of children who do not have them.  To have someone to call their own.  
To be known.
To know Him.

Days when I want to throw in the towel, to say I deserve a more peaceful calm day, I see these precious moments and I am quickly put in my place.  To trade a clean home for a child who has a place to lay their head.  To sing praise songs and teach them of the God who knows their every thoughts and every needs.  A hug, a mother figure, laughter.  They deserve more.  

May we be encouraged to continue on in the walk that God has put us on.  May we live hard to serve Him, may we not stop short of His calling on our lives, whatever it may be.  He has the power to work wonderful things in and through us - I love that I will not fully grasp that until the day I see Him face to face. Until then I do not want to live blinded by my selfish desires, may God strip those away and let me see the beautiful lives that He has put in my hands to care for.  
What a blessing!

‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’  Matt 25.40


His story

This is my story
This is my song
Praising my Savior
All the day long

Lately I have been thinking a lot of our sons story.  How I will someday soon tell him of his story and why we have no baby pictures of him.  About his birth family and how he came to be adopted into our family.  
Jaden was adopted.  Was in the past tense because it is complete.  It is finished.  He is our son.  But still - his story is unique from our other two bio children.  My prayer is that he will grow to embrace his story, to live his life to the fullest, and to praise his Savior through it.  He may not have the start that all children have, but he is loved greatly and I truly believe God is going to use his story to impact lives around him.  
What a story and a picture of Gods goodness.  When I think of Jaden I think of Gods promise in John 14.18 - I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.

I cant help but think of the many children out there who have a story of their own.  How does God want us to change that story to one of hope.  My story has changed as a result of opening my home to these precious little ones and I will certainly praise my Savior for how He has opened our eyes and hearts to this incredible need.  Some parts of our story we cannot choose, some we step out in faith not knowing where it will lead us.  
Either way it impacts our lives and makes us who we are today.  If you have ever considered adoption I would love to talk with you more about it.  Alone we cannot change the world but God can change a few through my family - and possibly yours... 


A Chapter Ends

It is never easy to end a chapter in ones story, but it is equally exciting to see what the next step holds.  This season of our life has been a particularly significant one for our family.  We walked through the ugly cancer that took my mom home to our Lord, we added two incredible blessings to our family, we watched our children grow, we journeyed through fostering, we grew as a couple and individuals, we even learned to love the country.  As a wife, I watched my husband serve and pour himself out into a ministry.  He put in long hours, endless effort and much sweat leading others to Christ - well done Matt - I could not be more proud.

So we come to this week, our last week at camp and in the beautiful Hill Country.  We have been in camping ministry for 9 years and often it is hard to imagine anything different.  During our time here though, God has been molding our hearts and preparing us for where Matt is to serve next in his vocation and where we are supposed to serve as a family.  

This fall Matt is going to be joining the staff at Midland Classical Academy and in just two shorts weeks we will be calling Midland our home.  We are excited about this next step.  As we are preparing for the move and shift in ministry God has laid this verse on my heart:

"Look around at the nations; look and be amazed!  For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it." -Habakkuk 1.5

We look expectantly at this next chapter in His story of our lives and are eager to see how He wants to use us.  We will forever be grateful for the relationships that were made, the changes that came in our lives and the growth that God brought us through as we walked life here.  We know more is to come.

Prayers for the next few weeks:
-for our kiddos as they adjust to the change and the new house
-for moving details, organization and smooth transition
-that our house here would sell
-that we would continue to feel confident and follow His leading


The word no foster home wants to hear...

Let's go ahead and get it out there.  
It has been a year since we travelled through ours and I hope our story can encourage those who are currently in one, or are scared to be found in the mix of one.  One thing we learned, if you are a foster home it is not if, it is when.  So just prepare yourself.
One year ago Jaden and I were recovering from his spine surgery and having some good quality time together.  He chilled on his stomach for 5 days and I talked to him, watched his sweet face light up with he got to hold a ball, and... we slept a lot.  It was an interesting week.  I was spending my first days away from my other kids to care for a boy who had only been in my home for a short time.  We loved him and we were prepared to adopt him into our family if things moved in that direction, but we did not know him or have that deep connection with him yet.  
So - moving forward - a few days after being in recovery the doctor wanted to do an X-ray of Jadens' lungs just to make sure all was doing well.  Shortly after the x-ray they let me know of an abnormality on one of his ribs.  Shocked, I called his case worker to see if she had known of a prior injury at a different home.  
Insert investigation. 
The doctors could not date the abnormality since he had never had a prior chest x-ray, so they could not tell if it was a current injury or an abnormality he has had since birth.  
I will never forget the phone call, the heart wrenching phone call that brought me to me knees.  He cannot come home with you.  What?!?  This sweet boy of only 1 years old has already been moved from home to home, just encountered major spine surgery and you are going to place him in a strangers care.  I was broken.  Not for me but for him.  I felt attacked.  We discovered this, we got him this care, we have given him all that we had to offer, we were under investigation.
Two days later I carried Jaden to the car of our case manager and watched them drive away.  I then started the long 3 hour drive home.  I prayed, I sobbed, I called close friends and somehow I made the drive home safely.  I held my two children for a long time that night and Matt and I cried together.
We felt helpless.  We were in a fish bowl.  We had people come to our house, we had to document every appointment that we had ever taken him to (which was a ton), we spent a few days/weeks not knowing what was going to happen next.  
After the fog cleared we began to work through it all.  It boiled down to this - they had to wait 30 days to do another x-ray and compare the two.  That would show if it was an injury or something he was born with.  So we waited.  It seems that in that waiting, in the place when we cannot do much, we hear God speak truth and light into our lives.  

1 Peter 1.7
These trials will show that your faith is genuine.  It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.  So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

We got to walk through a trial and trust God.  We got to see how God fights for us.  We got to see how precious each little life is.  
We also gained some perspective as we move forward in fostering (yes we are still fostering even after this crazy ride!) CPS is not broken.  They are people working in a broken world.  They had to take these steps because sadly enough, it is why children are in foster care in the first place.  That have seen things that I could never dream of.  They must protect the children, and for that I am grateful.  We had an incredible case worker who did all she could to get him back into our home. We got to visit often, she brought him out to our house, she got his state attorney involved... which is where the fun part of the story begins.
Court - state attorney, case worker, another family wanting custody, case manager, judge, us... intense.  She gave the facts, he granted that we go pick him up that day.  Two days later a second x-ray was done showing no change, proving no injury.  Our boy was home.  Investigation closed.  No words could say how full we felt but also how much we had grown.  Every time we walk through something like this we learn and we grow.  Now looking back on the past year sometimes it is just a distant memory.  Sometimes my heart aches and I can find myself right back there.  But what a place to be, on my knees.  

So thats our investigation.  God worked and we saw another way that he loves us all.