Posted in faith, foster care

What Jesus Feeding the 5,000 Taught Me About Fostering

We haven’t been fostering for very long. Our first placement came to stay with us in December 2017 and left the following November.

Of course, that’s the goal of foster care – to help keep families together by providing the guidance and resources necessary to make that happen…

But it doesn’t make life any easier or hurt any less when the children who’ve become a part of your family are no longer there. It almost killed me to say goodbye.

Time to grieve.

We decided to take some time to heal and mourn our loss after that first placement left.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop workers from contacting us to take in another placement. I couldn’t get upset or blame them. In our state (and many others) there is a severe shortage of foster families willing to take in foster children.

As hard as it was to say no, we just couldn’t open up our hearts and our home to another set of kids. We were still too broken.

The emotional roller coaster I went through during that time is incredibly hard to describe…

I deeply desired to take in every child they asked us about.

I missed having a house full of children running around all the time. It was way too quiet and the silence sometimes felt as if it would swallow me whole. I’d heard that phrase before, but it was the first time I actually understood it.

At the same time, I couldn’t imagine other children sleeping in the kids’ beds, playing with their toys, wearing the clothes they’d outgrown. And I knew I’d be comparing the “new” kids to the “old” ones, which wouldn’t be fair to any of us.

So we continued to turn down placements, convinced we were “doing the right thing.” And that saying no was “for the best.”

WWJD?

Our logic seemed infallible.

But as I sat alone one day, having my quiet time and reading the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Matthew, something changed. I saw something there I’d never noticed before…

If you’re not familiar with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, it goes as follows:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 

I’ve read this story more times than I can count. I’ve heard it preached on Sunday mornings, listened to podcasts, and watched videos on it.

To be honest, I’ve read and heard it so much I tend to gloss over the miracle part of it. Like, yeah, Jesus fed a bunch of people with just a little bit of food… it’s Jesus. He could do things like that.

But this story has never really hit me in a way that I could relate to. As a disciple, it’s not one I’ve drawn strength from or looked to for guidance — at least, not until now.

If you notice, the beginning of this story starts with “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” That’s important as to what took place in my heart that day reading this story and having it hit me like it was the first time I’d ever heard it…

What was it Jesus had heard happened? John the Baptist had just been killed. He was Jesus’ cousin and friend. He was the one who’d baptized him! Jesus loved him deeply and fiercely.

Jesus was in mourning.

He took a short time to grieve and pray, but he didn’t shut down or shut people out. He could’ve turned the crowd away. Everyone would’ve understood if he had.

But he didn’t.

He took care if them, providing for their physical and spiritual needs despite his grief. If it was me, I wouldn’t have had any desire to care for the twelve apostles, much less some huge crowd I knew was gonna turn on me soon!

I wasn’t doing the same. I was wallowing in my own pain and grief and not willing to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth in the way He called me to be.

But were we “ready”?

I was already feeling the urge to take in more kids despite my heartache by this time. I felt a little lost and incomplete. Fostering is the one thing I’ve known, without doubt, that God has called me to. I felt selfish taking a break before my “WWJD” revelation.

But my husband didn’t feel the same. Neither did our kids.

Each time a call or text would come through, I’d start preparing in my head for new arrivals. Then I’d talk with the rest of the family about it and realize…it’s just too soon. Not only were we still dealing with loss, we had other issues we were also dealing with and taking in more kids during this time just didn’t make sense.

I think there are certain moments that the Lord just puts everything in place and softens hearts to bring him glory. The day I had the above heart change, He did just that.

I talked to my husband when he got home from work about accepting the next foster placement…and he agreed! This might not sound significant to you, but believe me, it was!!!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re currently blessed with a new foster child in our home. She’s been here for about 3 months now and we’re enjoying every minute of having her here (even during the late night screaming parties).

I wanted to share this because I found it funny when I thought about it later. Jesus providing for 5,000 over 2,000 years ago led me to see past my own pain and provide for someone in need now. And out of all the passages in the bible about caring for orphans, widows, the least of these, etc., the one that pierced my heart never mentions them.

What do you think? Have you ever been surprised by what you’ve gotten from a seemingly random piece of scripture? Let me know your thoughts below!

Posted in faith, Uncategorized

So much hate.

One of the advantages to not having cable or regular television is that I don’t have a single news channel.  (To be completely honest, I seldom watched the news when I had access to it because it was generally depressing and made me feel small and powerless. )
Unfortunately, my not watching the news doesn’t mean that horrible things don’t still happen in the world or that I get to just ignore it.
I was saddened when the alert came over my phone to tell me about the shooting  that occurred in Orlando on June 12th. My heart broke for the families of those dead and injured and I immediately began praying for them and the family of the shooter before I even read the article.
While the shooting upset me, I was more horrified by what I learned yesterday evening.  After the attack, a pastor actually preached in his sermon that the only tragedy that had occurred was that more people weren’t killed in the attack.  He called those in the night club perverts and pedophiles.
My first thought when my cousin told me about the sermon was that it must’ve been those Westboro people and I kind of shrugged it off.  When he told me it wasn’t them, I didn’t really believe him.  So, of course, I asked the Google fairies…
My eyes were so full of tears I couldn’t even read the whole article.  Google had confirmed that not only did a pastor in Sacramento preach this hate-filled sermon, but that he continued to defend it and called for the government to murder a large portion of our population.
No matter what your personal beliefs are, that night club was filled with people.  They were/are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles… and I believe God loves each and every one of them.
I wish this was just an isolated incident, but there seems to be so much hate growing in the hearts of people.  It’s beyond my understanding and I struggle to control the anger that it ignites in me, but I refuse to let it get the better of me or harden my heart against humanity.
Some of the worst moments of my life ended up bringing me some of my biggest blessings.  That wouldn’t have been possible had I let my rage and hatred continue to fester and take over my thoughts and actions.   It would have tainted everything.
In the same way, if I let the words and actions of those who have chosen to let their hatred rule them affect the way that I look at the world,  I would do a disservice to myself and everyone around me.  I can’t help but wonder, how disappointed would the God I claim to love be with me then?
Instead, I choose to not only continue to pray for those who are persecuted against, but for their persecutors.  May God soften and change their hearts.  And I ask that others join me in consciously fighting against the instinct to hate the hateful and instead, show love to those we feel are undeserving of it.
 

Posted in about me, faith, family, Note to Self, Uncategorized, While I was Away...

Note to Self: You're failing miserably at…

So I basically suck at blogging.
If you found this blog when I started it last summer, then you may have noticed that I went from posting almost daily to  being almost eerily silent.  You may have also noticed that I’ve occasionally changed a background or something, but haven’t bothered to even post a quick “hey y’all, how’s it goin’?” since November .
Of course, it’s more likely that you barely noticed I’ve been gone at all – much like the tabs on my page that I just discovered disappeared at some point during my tinkering.
Oh, before I forget…

Hey y’all!  How’s it goin’?  
And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post…

No excuses, no reason, I’m just failing at being a blogger.
It’s not for lack of trying, or for lack of something to say.  (I’ve always got something to say!)   It’s just that I can’t stay focused on writing a post.  I start, then stop to browse other themes, then start on a completely different post, then move on to whatever in my real life requires me.
The number of unfinished drafts I have saved on my laptop is actually a little embarrassing.

But it’s not just blogging.  I’m really starting to think I may be failing at life in general.  (Yep, that’s right — you get a grade for this life thing.)
So let’s start with the last thing I posted about…  NaNoWriMo.
I won!  YAY!  I didn’t fail at writing a novel in 30 days!  I’m so amazing…
After finishing the first draft of my novel in November, I tucked it safely away in it’s little Scrivener folder and moved on to my next unfinished project.
Much like this blog, I’ve visited my NaNo novel many times and even done some editing here and there…  but that’s as far as it’s gone.  At this rate, it might be ready for a first reader somewhere around the year 2040.
So “F” number #1 goes to…  failing miserably as a novelist.
Let’s move on to “F” number #2, shall we… Continue reading “Note to Self: You're failing miserably at…”

Posted in faith, family, Remodeling

Note to Self: It's OKAY, just breathe.

So the bathroom I told you all about last week is still not done.   I’ve ran into quite a bit of unexpected issues…  the latest of which, I’m pretty sure almost caused a nervous breakdown.
Our house was built in the 1950’s so there are a lot of things that were made sometime before my parents were born.  One of these things…  the light/heater/vent in the bathroom.  Apparently, they stopped making that particular model in 1958.
I was starting to feel like I’m never going to get the bathroom done after realizing we can’t even get replacement parts for the stupid thing and the wiring is all bad and needs to be replaced.
This wasn’t even what prompted the almost breakdown!  It was walking into the living room and seeing that this has happened: Continue reading “Note to Self: It's OKAY, just breathe.”

Posted in about me, faith, family

How Can I Keep My Sanity and Enjoy My Life? By A Power Outside of My Own.

Warning:  Today’s post is not going to be funny or upbeat.  I’m about to be serious (for once).

Mauerbauertraurigkeit – n. the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.
I saw this word on my Twitter feed today.
My husband and I were sitting at the table this morning talking about this problem I have.  He went downstairs, I checked Twitter, and there it was.
I had no idea that this word existed…. But I should have. (I also wasn’t sure it was a real word when I read it, so I looked it up here.)
When I was in the 8th grade, a close friend died.  Almost every year thereafter, until I was in my late 20’s, I lost another friend.  At one point, I attended a funeral every month for 5 months… none of which were for anyone over the age of 24. Continue reading “How Can I Keep My Sanity and Enjoy My Life? By A Power Outside of My Own.”