The Awakening

Don’t worry about the title, I’m not going to talk about Star Wars. I’m talking about myself (shocker). Throughout my foster care journey I’ve stood in front of two child abusers, a murderer/child abuser, and a wife beater. I stood to help the children in my care. I stood shaking sometimes, but still I stood. There have been circumstances in my personal life where I’ve not had ground to stand. To be there for those closest to me. I had to stay silent and seethe in anger only to myself.

Life happens and now I have a voice for those two. The first few days I was scared. I was nervous. I was anxious. Then I realized, this is what I’d prayed for. To keep them safe, to let their voices be heard. To be their voice. Suddenly, late one night, a force awoke in me that I didn’t know existed. God had kept this small portion of my spirit tucked away until it was needed. Now is the time it’s needed and the force has been released. Gone is the anxiety, the nervousness, and being afraid. In the mirror is a woman I don’t recognize, but I’m quickly growing to love. A small town wife and mother, finally given a voice. A fierceness to protect my family and all those who dwell in my home. A platform to speak and be heard. All these have been awakening in me.

This is the right thing to do. This is what I was created for. To be a wife and mother with no regrets. What my husband and I are doing, it matters. It matters to hearts of two small children. It matters to my kids. It matters to my family.

The timing was always God’s. I can see that now. Now it’s my time to roar. And those standing against my God’s will are going to be deaf by the end of this.

I went to Women of Faith five years ago. The wonderful woman leading our trip had put a post card with a verse on it for me. I’ve saved it in my wallet all these years. I’d forgotten about it. I saw it today and this was the verse. Psalm 37:4-6

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

I have assurance the my cause, their cause, will shine like the noonday sun. This whole experience has awaken my faith in a whole new way. I’m seeking God and seeing His signs, hearing His voice, and trusting in Him. This was the catalyst that threw me into His arms. This is the catalyst that released the new me. And I know it will be good.

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Look at the Birds

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Welcome back to my little corner of the blogosphere. It’s been awhile my friends and I have much to tell you. Something happened today that sparked my fingers to blog, so I’ll start right here, with this morning.

But first a little back story. Years ago when I first started attending church the father of one of our Sunday School member passed away. I didn’t know him very well at all. After his father’s funeral, he stood up in the front of the church and told a story. He said it was tradition to dig family members graves themselves. He and his family had dug the grave the day before the funeral. The morning of the funeral he went out to the grave to make sure everything was okay, he was understandably very sad. He asked God “I just need something, a little something.” Then he said “God put the birds in the trees for me.” Now it seemed like a great story, but being new to church, I did not understand the significance of that story. Later, during an anxiety ridden awful part of my life, I read Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds. They don’t play or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” and the following verse “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” That was when I understood our friend’s story. The birds were put there to remind him that God is with him and he’s more valuable to Him than anything.

That story always stuck with me. Maybe because it was my first time hearing a story of God speaking to someone. Someone that I knew in real life. It wasn’t just a neat story on the internet. Flash forward three years. I had just returned from a doctor’s appointment that turned our world upside down. Carlee didn’t just have Autism (which was our hope) she had intractable epilepsy, irreversible brain damage, Cerebral Palsy, Rumination, and a Sensory Disorder. The dreams I had for my daughter went out the window. I gave myself one night to mourn. To grieve the loss of the daughter I’d always wanted. The next day I would get up, brush myself off and fight for her. I like to think I’ve done just that. Sure, there are still moments of grief, but I’ve turned into a fierce mama bear and fight with all my might for her. But that first night, I was a mess. I didn’t want to be around anyone or talk about it. I went to buy ingredients for pizza pasta  (my comfort food). There in the Wal-Mart parking lot, I heard the nearly deafening sound of birds. I could not see a single one, but the noise was so overwhelming that I stopped dead in my tracks. My friend’s story from a few years earlier popped into my head. I knew these birds were singing just for me, straight from God. He was telling me “I’ve got this, I’ve got her, this isn’t the end. Stop worrying.”

He was true to His promise. It wasn’t the end. I don’t have the little girl I’d dreamed of, but I’ve got the most amazing little girl. I’ve got a fighter and a lover. I get the privilege of fighting for her and defending her. I get to see her grow and change. I get to see her world bloom and watch her bloom right in front of my eyes. I get to see a living breathing miracle every day. And I always smile when I see birds, never forgetting God’s promise to me on that day.

So those two stories lead us to what happened today and what I had to get down into words the moment I got home. We’ve had our foster baby for 15 months. His Facebook nickname is Bluebird. He got it for a number of reasons. One, he had teeny little bird legs and bright blue eyes. Two, I have grown to love birds. Three, I had recently read the verse “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wing you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4. I thought it was a perfect verse for my Bluebird. It’s been 15 wonderful months that God has given us to raise and love this adorable little boy. We prayed he’d stay in our family. But we always prayed for God to have His will done and do what’s best for Bluebird. God’s will and my plan didn’t align this time. Bluebird is leaving our home in a few weeks. His new family is crazy amazing. I feel very very lucky that he’s going to such an awesome home. They are Christians and very family oriented. They have two younger sons, so he’ll still be surrounded by big brothers. The very best part is that both his new family and his mama are insisting we stay in Bluebird’s life. We’ve stayed involved in our other babies lives, but they aren’t local. Sweet Bluebird is only going to be 15 minutes away. We’ll get to see him often and watch him grow up. I couldn’t be more thankful for this whole situation. It’s truly the best I could have hoped for.

This morning I took him over to his family’s house for a day visit. As I was driving down the long dirt road to their home, I kept seeing birds diving in and out of the fields. I smiled to myself. Then, I turned the bend and came upon a field, out of the field flew hundreds of black birds. A huge cloud of them, straight from the field where they were hidden and into the air. Just for a moment, long enough for me to exclaim “Look at all the birds” and then back they went, hidden amongst the grass. The birds, placed right there for me to see. God’s promise for my Bluebird. He’s got this, He’s got him. It’s going to be okay.

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In the Middle of the Night

Carlee’s seizures are showing themselves tonight. She wakes up in tears. That wakes me up. There is nothing to be done. There is no help I can give. I can only stroke her head and rub her cheeks until they pass. I do have one thing on my side, on her side. The name of Jesus. When I’m so upset, so angry, that my baby girl has to suffer, I can’t even pray. But, I can use His name. It’s the only thing I cling to, in the middle of the night.

We talked about healing today. I talked about it with a fellow foster mother. The topic came up later in my evening Bible study class. God has the power to heal. Anyone. There’s a fine line between what He can do and His willingness to do it. It sounds harsh. If He can heal her, why doesn’t he? I don’t know. In the waiting, in the darkness, I can pray for her. I can beg on her behalf. I can hope for a miracle (look at what He’s already done). My friend said she told her daughter “Jesus will heal you. It just might not be on this Earth”. I agree. Jesus will heal my girl. She’ll one day run and laugh and talk until she’s blue in the face. I pray I see it. I pray it’s here on Earth. Here in this world. But, I know it might not be. I can’t explain why. If I could explain God, what kind of God would that be, if a measly human could understand all His way?

So in the mean time, I call on His name. When I can’t form a prayer. When my hands shake in fear and anger for my daughter. I call on His name. I still pray for her miracle. I will never stop praying for her miracle. But, I know He has a plan for her, and I can’t wait to see what it is.