Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful for spiritual growth

It is certainly not finished, but I look back at the past two and a half years, and I am thankful for how I have grown spiritually since starting to foster.  I just told someone tonight that there is no clearer time in my life when I was called by God to obey and knew what it really was to answer His call.

Songs of worship that were nice from my privileged life are now desperate cries over the future of my foster children, the future of their family members.  Tearful prayers over my own circumstances have gradually shifted to tearful prayers over devastating circumstances of others.

God has refocused my eyes on what is important, especially what is important in parenting.  I really think I drifted from God as a young parent with all the answers, or at least seeing that other parents had all the answers, and clearly I just needed to do it the right way and I'd be a good parent, too.  I needed to be re-educated.  I needed to learn the basics of living out God's love and compassion with my children.  I needed my pride chopped down and to be open.  And I need to keep learning that.

Foster care is not a spiritual science project of mixing in foster children to our lives and we become more holy.  But when God called us to do this, He knew what He was doing, and not just so children were safe and loved, as crucial as that is.  He also knew we would serve everyone better in love the rest of our lives if we obeyed Him in this way.  We are forever changed, and not because we are special people, but because we are ordinary people used by God by His grace.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful for children

I shrugged off the idea of daily proclaiming what I'm thankful for on Facebook for a month, but as I read through these link-up posts, I was convicted.  I've been working on memorizing Psalm 34, and I've realized "His praise will always be on my lips" is not true in my life.  So, maybe it's not a month, but here are a few posts of thankfulness for different parts of foster care.  Today I'll focus on how I'm thankful for the children.

Oh how I've loved the baby time.  Sniffing their warm little heads, snuggling them in a carrier.  And that the door is not shut on possible future baby time.  And there is nothing like the joy on Dinosaur's face when we had a new baby to hold and love, even if it was just for a week.  They work so hard on the little things they do: holding their heads steady, grabbing that toy, rolling over.

And the toddlers.  The two we have had the privilege to foster have been bold, joyful personalities, amazing me in their strength, speed, and independence.  It honestly just makes me marvel at how quickly tiny humans learn and grow.  I am thankful for their affection, their determination, and their funny little ways.  They are the reason I have lengthy conversations about pee in the library and that just keeps me from taking life too seriously. 

You get to redo traditions over and over, and in different ways, and watch them find comfort or joy in those traditions.  I've sung the same songs to many different little ones, and I've sung a new song that is just for that child.  I get to witness the joy over the first snow of the year, the first mug of hot chocolate after playing in the snow.  I get to learn their strange little phrases and be their interpreters when no one else knows that "swim" actually means "swing."  I get to watch them learn what to expect here, to learn the routine, to learn that they are safe and cared for.

Lately Crocodile has especially touched my heart in the way that he comes across a toy that he knows is a favorite of a foster brother, then grabs it and runs it over to that foster brother, eager to give it to him.  He is a very loving little guy, and his sweetness inspires me to be more loving.

P.S. I'm sorry for my weird string of empty posts!  I intended to start this series and save drafts of potential topics, but apparently I published them all.  Oops.

Monday, November 2, 2015

First Day November 2015 - Sunny Sunday after Halloween

You don't see a lot of foster care in these pictures, but it's still there.  On this Sunday, it was there as I thought of parents of my present and former foster kids in the words of the preacher at church.  It was there as I wondered if future plans my parents were making would include Crocodile.  It was there as I posted pictures of my Halloween kiddos but had to find ways to avoid showing his face.  It was there in the baby bibs, blankets, etc., that could be stored because we currently don't have a baby.  And in the box those things were stored in, which has a Pampers baby that once reminded Dinosaur of one of our foster babies.

Overall, it was a nice family day, with some candy, some outside time, and some reorganizing.

And a bonus photo from the night before: