He Did It Again

For the first time, I gave God control of a situation. I don’t mean I said I gave it to Him and then kept trying to take it back by worrying about the outcome. I mean that I told God what I would like and then said it was up to Him. It feels so freeing!

You would think I would have learned to do this by now. All the times God worked everything out the right way, and I would still try to make it happen to my standards. What do I know about the future and all the moving parts that need to fit together? Nothing.

When I first moved to the Atlanta area after college, I wanted to work in sales. In the meantime, I decided to get a job at a hotel front desk. I drove around the area all day with my resume. On the way home, I passed one more and decided to go there the next day. The next day “happened” to be the day the newly hired manager and several other important people were visiting there and I was hired on the spot. I worked there for 2 years.

When that job wasn’t working out, my father in law called his friend at the publishing company he worked for on the day when the sales and marketing assistant “happened” to give her 2 weeks notice. I went for an interview and started on her last day. I was with that company for 5 years.

Three years ago, I decided to get a job again after being home for years. The day I stood on my driveway telling my best friend my intention, she “happened” to have heard about a job that morning. I had an interview the next day and was offered the job.

Never think God is not in the details. Never think He doesn’t care about your life.

A few months ago, I posted on Facebook that I was hoping to find something that I could do from home around my kids’ schedule. Any time I would think about it, I got excited because I KNEW God would come through. I KNEW the right thing would fall into my lap, because God had done this before. I wasn’t going to chase around the wrong things and worry about the future like I have done other times.

The years between my jobs were fraught with fruitless searches and being told that I was overqualified or wouldn’t be happy in those jobs. I didn’t want that again. I wanted to trust that God has a greater plan for my life than anything I could dream up myself.

My girls started school August first, and I got a message the night before from a friend. She remembered me saying I want to work from home and asked if I would be interested in being her assistant. She is a real estate agent and started my training today. I will help her with leads, scheduling, and any other office work she needs me to do so she can be out in the field.

Once again, God knows what is best for me. When I get out of His way, He has room to work big. If you let Him, He will do the same for you!

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Life Happens While We Wait

I haven’t forgotten y’all, I promise! The last couple of weeks have been eventful, so I thought I would catch you up.

The summer flew by and the girls have been in school for 2 weeks already. It may still be hot for another 6 weeks here, but they will be inside learning. Here are their first day of 5th and 7th grade pictures. Time needs to stand still for a bit, so I can get used to them not being little anymore!

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Last week the “baby” turned 10! We took her to a cat cafe, where you pay to play with cats who are up for adoption. Since Kaitlyn thinks she is part cat, she called this her natural habitat. On Saturday evening, we invited her friends over for a team cat versus team dog birthday party. We had a relay race and another game where they ate Jello out of bowls using only their faces. There was also pizza and cookie cake. I think they all had a good time and slept well that night!

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Then Sunday morning the 4 of us were on stage at church. We were the first family to be dedicated as a foster family. Hopefully many more will be up there in the years to come, having the church pray for them. It was such a privilege to be up there, but I was so nervous until it was over!

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Yesterday my husband started a new position at Home Depot that seems to be made for him. He is excited and I think it will be a great challenge that his career has been preparing him for in the last 17 years with the company. Last night we all went to dinner to celebrate his achievement.

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As for me, I am at home for now. We have no foster placement yet, but I know it could be any day. The right child is there who will need us. In a few weeks, I will begin working from home as an assistant to a realtor who lives in our neighborhood. I will get to work around our schedule, whatever that may be. There will be more details on how this came to be on a later day.

God is good and truly works everything out for our good and His glory. If you needed a reminder of that, here it is!

View from the Chair

This summer is flying by and the girls start school August first. Yeah, I know. I wasn’t planning on writing, but this has just been on my heart for days. I woke up today and knew I had to write.

No, we still don’t have a child placed with us. Since we want a school age child, it may not happen until after school starts. Often at that age, it takes a teacher to notice something is off with a child for a problem to be reported. This breaks my heart: the thought of an innocent child being neglected all summer. They are probably hungry, lonely, and think no one cares. We care. So many people care. Here we are with so much love to give and an empty bedroom.

Lately I find myself thinking of the chair in the corner of the room. My Grandma’s rocking chair. Even though we aren’t getting an infant, will a child still sit on my lap late at night? A child who misses their parents and siblings and who doesn’t understand why life is cruel? Will I have the heartbreaking gift of being the one who takes them from body shaking sobs, to cries, to moans and then sighs as they fall asleep? Will I be able to show them stability and teach them to trust night after night from this chair?

The other night I kept thinking about this bedroom and the chair and all they will come to mean. I cried myself to sleep for this child I have never met. I pray for him or her and wait for a call. This is where I am right now. Raw and trusting the fact that God will bring us the right child at the right time. He loves them even more than I do!

A Coke and a Smile

This post feels like one of my more personal ones, because God got all up in my emotions and false truths. He had to reveal how off I have been. Maybe you can relate.

Our local Christian radio station had a contest where you could create the fish logo however you want and post it on social media with a certain hashtag.  If they called your name at 3 specific times per day, you had 10 minutes to call the station and claim a $100 gift card. If you did that, you were entered to win the $10,000 grand prize at the end of May.

Well, I made a fish out of Coke cans. It took me a few minutes total and my name was mentioned 2 days later, so I called back and qualified. It was so exciting! It was fun to think about how great the grand prize money would be, but I almost didn’t want to win. The idea of winning when so many people need it more would have made me feel really guilty.

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My 12 year old was the one who reminded me that it would help with fostering needs that will come up soon. I nodded along as she talked. Yes, yes, I will need to devote more time to appointments and helping with homework than a job. Her words didn’t sink in too deep, but I didn’t want my guilt to rub off on her so I agreed.

Now, I am on the launch team for Kelly Balarie’s new book, Battle Ready, and happened to read a sentence that leaped off the page at me the night before the drawing. THE NIGHT BEFORE. God knew how badly I needed this. It said, “What if you actually started to believe God has good gifts for you because you are His beloved daughter?” The moment I read that I knew it was for me.

In my mind, I don’t deserve good things. Sometimes it is because others need it more. Sometimes it is because I don’t think I have earned it. I struggle with letting God give me a gift out of His love for me. I have a hard time thanking God and just being happy and feeling blessed.

Looking back, I started saying, “But wait. When James has gotten good raises or promotions at work, I am happy and not guilty. This must not be true!” Then I realize that in those times, I am proud of my husband for his hard work. It wasn’t up to me. When it has been something of mine, I feel unworthy of receiving.

Just to let you know, I didn’t win. The woman who won the $10,000 is pregnant with her seventh baby, and I am pretty sure she is happier than I would have been. God always blesses the right person at the right time.

What I am now working on is learning to receive graciously whatever God wants to give me. He loves me! Don’t we all enjoy giving gifts to those we love? He knew I wasn’t ready for this one, but I want to be ready next time.

Battle Ready is available for presale and comes out July 3. I have taken so many notes from it, but I can tell I will go back to it many times for more. It will be an amazing resource and refresher when God has a new message for me. If you want God to work on you and grown your faith and pull you closer, you need this book!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Summer Days

Summer is here! Wednesday was the girls’ last day of school and I finished my job last week. Starting next week, we will be babysitting a neighbor for 4 weeks and possibly watching staff kids at church other weeks. At some point, there may be a foster child added to the mix. Yes, my summer is going to be filled with kids!

We have already been to get ice cream Wednesday and to the neighborhood pool twice yesterday. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to head up to the pool in the evening for a little night swimming. It is cooler, and James can come with us. There is nothing like relaxing with a breeze!

While there is lots of craziness going on, and probably some adjusting, I may not be writing much between now and August 1. When I have updates or something to say, I will pop back in. For now I feel there are different areas that need my attention. It always feels strange to stop writing, but when it feels the strangest it means I am definitely doing the right thing.

Bring on the fun and the laughter. Bring on the sun and the exhaustion that inevitably comes with the heat. Bring on summer!

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Linking with Holley Gerth

How Cartoon Characters Shaped Me

We all love Disney. They make the best kid movies. (Well, maybe not if you are a step mother. Those are always portrayed as evil.) Growing up, I pretended I was CinderSarah when my Mom made me do chores I didn’t like. True story.

Certain movie characters stick with me, even in cartoons. As soon as I saw Eeyore as a young girl, I loved him. He was so sad all the time while everyone just went about their day. Didn’t they see the poor guy suffering? At least that was the way my young brain saw it. I wanted to make him feel better, to comfort him. When Eeyore would come on the screen, my heart went out to him.

The same year Finding Dory came out, my girls and I were babysitting several families to raise money for Food for the Poor. One family had us watch their fostered and recently adopted 2 and 4 year olds. Yes, those little ones required a lot of energy, but we could take care of them together.

For many years, I had dreamed of either fostering or adopting, but it never seemed to be the right time. We didn’t have the room. The girls were young. I kind of hung up the dream. Then we moved to a house with a guest bedroom and time still didn’t feel right. I began to daydream that we would foster teens when our girls were grown, but that too sounded far fetched.

Once we babysat and I saw the girls’ ability to help and their enthusiasm to care for kids, I began to see Baby Dory in my mind. Her huge eyes stuck with me. She was separated from her parents in the movie and scared. Once again, I found myself just wanting to help a cartoon character.

It began to occur to me that this was the time to help other kids. There are Eeyores and Baby Dorys out there who need comfort and love, and we can give them that.

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In case you are wondering, these stuffed animals are mine. They sit on my dresser as a reminder of my purpose and of the fact that I have been preparing for this next phase all my life. I will have the opportunity to comfort a child who has felt unseen. I will keep that child safe in the absence of their parents. I will love them and guide them while they are in our care.

Our family would love your prayers as we (finally) have been approved for foster care! This summer we may focus on respite care, and giving current foster families a break when they need it. We can ease in and see how it is done, and hopefully get a more permanent placement in late June or July. It is exciting and scary, but we can do it together. If I have learned nothing else from Disney, it is that things work out the way they are meant to.

Linking with Holley Gerth

What I Want Them to Get From Me

Last Mother’s Day was difficult for me. After 15 years without my Mama, a rough couple of months snuck in. This year has been a blur, so the sadness hasn’t had a chance to burrow back in. I am not sure what made this difference, but my life definitely has a new focus.

With us beginning foster care, I am looking forward to future Mother’s Days with kids I can be a Mama to, maybe even one permanently. It is exciting to be able to step into lives and love on sweet children who just want a stable family.

Well, Wednesday night I dropped my oldest and her BFF off at youth group. (They call it something different, but it will always be youth group to me!) This gave me over an hour to wander around Target alone. I bought myself this shirt as a pajama top, because it called to me.

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The shirt made me think about what I got from Mom and what I want to give my kids: Jesus. Our kids are going to learn good and bad from us as no parent is perfect. My parents weren’t perfect and neither are my husband and I. There is no need to even try for perfection.

What is attainable is a strong love for Jesus and faith to get them through life. Kids need to see their parents cultivate a relationship with Jesus and crack open their Bibles. There should be discussions about their faith and questions answered honestly. My girls have seen me reading the Bible, listening to God, and sometimes saying verses out loud as I memorize them. What I do will have much more of a effect than what I tell them to do.

There are many things in parenting that I am not great at, but they don’t matter as long as I teach my kids important ideas and practices. I want my girls to learn traits like kindness and forgiveness while they are in this house. I want to lay the foundation for a life long relationship with God that stands when tested.

Teaching children doesn’t happen without planning and without first showing them how to do it. Whatever is done most is going to look most important from the outside. If you are reading this and don’t think you are showing your children what is most important to you, there is good news. You can always start fresh. Today even. Children are resilient and more observant than we give them credit for. They will notice the changes and slowly start emulating you. It is never too late!

Being a parent is a great responsibility that brings much joy. If we take it seriously now with our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, we will later have the knowledge that we did our best. There is no greater gift I can imagine giving our kids than Jesus.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us moms doing our best!

Linking with Holley Gerth