Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea

Happy Birthday to one amazing little girl!
You have a heart full of compassion.  You love to make us laugh and hate it when we cry.  You are happiest outside and on the go.  You're mommy's shopping buddy and Daddy's little rough houser.  You have brought joy through the toughest times in our lives.  You blow us away with how smart you are.  We love to watch you figure out life.  Your laugh is contagious.  You bring out the best in us both.  
 We love you and are so happy to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hearts Willing to be Broken

Lifesong for Orphans recently had this as their facebook status....

[We] asked [a] foster family how they guard their hearts. [Their] response; "we don't. Every child deserves to have some one love [them] enough to have a broken heart."

Tony and I recently found out about a family in need of temporary emergency housing.  Of the nine kiddos we said we could take two.  Mom is in jail and Dad was pretty sure he was going- the next day.  The next day we were able to work out with our contact, Kelli, to meet these kiddos.  However, she also informed us that an aunt had come forward from Texas to say that she would was willing to take the seven youngest kids (the oldest being able to take car of themselves).  

We went into that meeting knowing these kids probably wouldn't be coming to live with us.  The girls Kelli had planned for us to take were 8 and 9.  We spent less than 2 minutes with them (total).  Before we left the 8 year old gave me a hug and the 9 year told me "if we don't go to Texas I would love to come live with you." 

The car ride back to Tony's work was pretty quiet.  See these girls had done something we hadn't expected, they had captured our hearts.  It didn't seem possible to have fallen in love with two complete strangers in less than 2 minutes, but we had.  

We arrived back at Tony's office and we realized that Kelli may need a place for the kiddos to stay until they went to Texas.  Both of our hopes soared thinking that maybe, just maybe, we could have them for one glorious weekend.  Oh boy what a weekend we would of made it.  

However, we left town that night empty handed.  There weren't two giggling girls in the back seat.  No catching fireflies, popping popcorn, painting nails, buying them a small gift to take to Texas, swimming, and enjoying our yard.  For some reason I knew that even though our house was going to be the same as when we left that morning, it would seem abnormally quiet.  

You see God let us see something so special that day.  He let us see Himself through those girls.  He put a challenge up to us- these are my precious children, they need you, now what are you going to do about it?  I've seen the orphan before, but God has not revealed Himself to me the way He did that day.  

God looks at us and says, "What will you do now that you've seen me?"  This may be in an orphan, a father in prison, a homeless woman, a teenager caught up in drugs and gangs, a couple going through a nasty divorce, a elderly woman who just needs companionship.  Whomever it may be do you think they deserve enough love to have your heart broken?  God does.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No Room

"God gave us four bedrooms for a reason.  I don't think they are suppose to stay empty."  This was a comment I made to a friend recently when she had brought up our decision to begin Foster Care.  She quickly replied with a comment about how many spare/guest rooms there were in the this and what would it be like if people were willing to give them away.

A dream.  A dream to see children with no bed, fill one of the many empty beds across America.

This really got me thinking about what we "have room for" and what we "don't have room for". So often in America we "don't have enough money" or "enough time" or "enough room."  I know I'm guilty of that many times.  But I wonder if the real issue is there isn't enough room in our hearts.  Are we opening up our hearts to what God truely wants or are we looking at the world through American Christianity. 

Everything we have is not just from God.  It IS God's.  But what does that look like in our lives.  I think if we were truly able to view things as God's and NOT ours the world would look a little different.  God has blessed us with SO much in this country.

Watch this video by the Miniature World project and let some of the numbers sink in.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Glimpses of Grace: Smashed Fingers

Tony and I have what we call, "Blessing Rocks".  They are rocks that are things in our lives that only God has orchestrated.  The other day I was unpacking them and reading through a few when it dawned on me--most of those rocks are BIG items.  Yes, it's quit obvious that our daughter, my protection after her birth, Tony's numerous jobs over the years, and this house could only be done by God.  However, what about the little things.  What about those day to day ways in which God shows us His face (such as locking my keys in the car).  Since, then I have been on the look out for God's day to day glimpses of his unfailing Grace in our lives.  Yesterday, he answered that very clearly.

Tony had just left ten minutes earlier for work.  I was working on peeling old paint off the walls in Sweet Pea's new room (after Sweet Pea requested that we do the "WALLS").  Sweet Pea had gotten bored with helping and was standing next to me looking out the window.

Our windows.  Oh our windows.  They are old (as in 95-old).  Some are pulled up by a visible pulley system (like modern day windows had except bigger and much more obvious).  Others those very old cords have snapped, so they must be propped up to stay up.  Still others have rotten bottoms and we try not to touch them at the moment.  Our windows are also heavy.  Our glass is thin and rattly but our wood is super heavy and they are HUGE, making the windows heavy.

Back to the story.  This window had a broken pulley system but would stay up with some propping.  Because we were stripping wood in that room Tony had done so with a thin metal rod.  Both of us were thinking of ventilation, not safety.

Somehow Sweet Pea had knocked that rod and the window came crashing down, onto her little fingers.

Her finger's a couple of hours after getting smashed.  They continued to get worse for a couple more hours before the swelling started to subside.
Worse, they sat under there for an eternity about 30 seconds because I could not get the window to go back up.  She ended up yanking them out herself.

Through out the day we had the debate, doctor or not?  The nurse said because we couldn't get in till later the day to wait it out and suggested IB Profen (which I think everybody but I thought to do).  The swelling went down and by the evening you would think nothing happened to the child (unless you studied her hand closely).

When he got home, Tony and I took a trip up the room.  The whole day I had been concentrating on whether her fingers where broken or not.  When I revisited the window my focused changed.  I realized that the reason I had not been able to get the window up was the the bar had fallen towards the room and lodged itself at the bottom of the window.  It ended up taking the bulk of the weighty window on itself.  If it had fallen backwards, to the side, or completely out Sweet Pea's fingers would of taken the whole weight on themselves.

Tony lifted the window to half the height had been and let it drop.  It made a rather loud thump sound.  I about burst into tears.  God had been watching out for my little munchkin.  As unpleasant as seeing her hurt was it was nothing compared to what would of happened.  She would of definitely had broken, if not shattered fingers.  The ledge and the window are not flush and would of bent her hand at an unnatural angel and that heavy, heavy window would of been resting its full weight on the tops of her little fingers.

Yes, God could of kept her fingers from being smashed all together.  But would I of even realized it?  Would I have given Him credit for it if I did realize it?  Probably not.  I would of thought, "that was close" on our ways we would of gone.  I know there are a million times in life that He doesn't receive the glory and credit He deserves.  Sin, hurt, sadness, pain are all a part of life but God uses them to help us better see and understand Him.  I pray that you see the glimpses of Grace he has for your life today and give Him praise for it.