Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baby Steps

My husband often reminds me at the end of a bad day to look back further than the present situation and to look at the big picture.  He helps me keep my perspective when the going gets tough.  If I look back beyond the moment, I can see more clearly.  In the moment we are either making progress too slowly or losing ground.  In the moment the many baby steps are not as noticeable as they are in hindsight.  In the moment I often want to bang my head against my pillow and cry, but if I take the time to look back and see the big picture, I can see how far we have come.  Baby Steps, he reminds me, Baby Steps. Progress is made in Baby Steps.

After only a month of having been a foster family, I can’t see the big picture yet.  I don’t know how far we’ll go.  I think we are making baby steps in the right direction, but I can only hope we’ll reach the destination we seek.

After only a month as a foster family I am already exhausted physically and emotionally.

After only a month as a foster family, I’m not sure if I want to do this again. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

After only a month as a foster family, I feel guilty for wanting my life back.  My uncomplicated, easy life.  We never realized how easy life was before taking two broken little ladies into our home.

After only a month as a foster family, I want to give my kids their life and their house back.   

After only a month as a foster family I can’t believe how much our lives now revolve around the little ladies. Their appointments.  Their counseling sessions.  Their parent visits. Their… Their…Their…   We have not even gone out to eat as a family in a whole month.  The girls are just not ready yet.

After only a month as a foster family I can only hope and pray that what we are doing will be worth it. 

The paradox at this point in our fostering journey is that this past month has probably been the healthiest, happiest and safest month of the girls’ lives.  Who wouldn’t want to serve to give them that? We have given them more security, food and fun than they have probably ever known consecutively.   We have given them their own beds and clean sheets.  Meals AND snacks AND dessert.  We even  gave them their own toothbrushes! (Yes, something one of the girls told me was “Mommy, I have never owned my own toothbrush before, Thanks!” )  Whose kid thanks them for letting them have their own toothbrush?!

When I feel like we are barely getting by each day in the midst of laundry, laundry and more (peed on) laundry I just want to cry.  When I feel like we are muddling through teaching the meaning of “No.” I wonder when we will ever get around to practicing numbers and reading.  

When I feel like all I do all day is say “no” ~ “No, you can’t play in the road.” “No, you can’t eat that, that’s trash for the garden.” “No, you can’t hang on and pull on your brother’s clothes.” “No, you HAVE to use toilet paper…every time.” No, No, No! I feel like a drill sergeant!    

When I feel like we are barely getting above teaching the most basic functions, one of the girls will say something like, “Mommy, you’re the best at cooking!”  “Mommy, you’re the best at crafts!” “Mommy, you’re the best…”  “You’re the best…”  My heart melts and I remember all of my dreams about what I wanted fostering to look like!   

When we are driving in the van and the girls ask for “That Newsboys song about the ‘King is Coming’" I know they are curious about the God we serve.  And then they ask who the King is and we get to tell them!  Then they ask if they might get to go to Heaven and meet him some day and we get to tell them about heaven!  And then they ask if heaven “is only for adults or do kids get to go too?”  We get to tell them how much Jesus loves children!  And then, only 2 days later they sing Newsboys as loudly as they can!

2 days later there were still peed on sheets to wash.  2 days later there were still tantrums to absolve.  2 days later there were still the emotional parent visits to conquer.  But, 2 days after asking who the King is, they told their older sister (who lives with a different foster family) at their parent visit that she can meet the King someday too if she gets to know Jesus! 

So, after only a month of becoming a foster family, is it worth it?  I think so.  Do I want the ease of my old life back?  Yes.  Do I want more alone time?  Absolutely!  Do I want to wash less peed on and pooped on laundry?  Um, YES!  Do I need adult, mom time desperately? YES!  But is serving in this capacity worth it?  I have to admit that it is.  I also have to admit that I have to ask myself this multiple times a day and hash my emotions out in prayer.   I figure that if God has asked me to take this on, he can handle my emotions over it!

I have come to the conclusion that our new normal is that of being missionaries in our own home.  We didn’t need passports to serve; God brought the mission field to us. I bet missionaries feel a similar sort of loneliness that I am now feeling. A loneliness that stems from  leaving behind what they once knew for what becomes their new normal.  There is grieving and excitement all at the same time.  Serving no matter the cost is always worth it.  It is worth it but not easy or glamorous. I have to remind myself that only God sees the big picture.  He knows how these little ladies are like sponges soaking in all kinds of love and security.  And, it is just delightful when we see them soaking up the “King.”