DANIELLE HARTLAND!!! YOU WON!! This is especially exciting because they just announced that they are adopting and I will be working with her to have Noonday as a part of their fundraising! I was so surprised and thought "oh no, this is going to seem like I rigged the votes! Ha"
I will email you Danielle! So exciting!
So, I mentioned that the Lord gave me another promise in my last post so I wanted to share that now.
I have another story to share with you too. I will post that tomorrow. But I wanted to share this one first. Also, I wanted to say that I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't say, even though its easy to share all of this, I still have a ton of insecurities posting and sharing our stories a long the way. Insecurities like - the mean world of the Internet is going to rip my thoughts and heart to shreds and analyze and critic everything I write. Or that one day I will look back and read this and ache with the ignorance and innocence I wrote these things with. Or that 'its just easy for me to write out all this hope I have because it hasn't been crushed yet' or I'm not jaded or bitter yet .. It feels easy to share them since we aren't in a season of pain or mourning or trials but my hope is that if there is ever a season that I am - I can shout from the rooftops just the same - how good our gracious and loving Father is.
I don't mean to make it sound hard to share. I just mean that in the back of my head I always question how its coming off and I digress ...
Last week Freeland & I were laying in bed talking about everything that was happening and how all the sudden we were at this point in our journey where a child could come in to our home really soon. It feels similar to when you're pregnant and think "oh my gosh - wait this is actually about to happen - I should do something like pick out bedding or finally put the car seat in the car". I sat and shared with Freeland how I felt like there was some disconnect in my heart and I was realizing that I was believing lies and operating (in some areas) out of fear.
Occasionally it sinks in the reality of what we have said yes to. The reality that we are choosing to say yes to our comfortable lives possibly becoming really messy and no longer comfortable. The reality that we could get hurt and the reality that we will have no control over what happens. All things that don't cause me to change my answer .. but it does happen where I remember those things and have a choice to believe God is good enough or live in fear.
So Freeland & I were talking about all that and I shared how I started seeing areas in my heart where I was afraid my heart wasn't ready or that I wasn't going to love this child right when I saw them. I realize this isnt true and that I'm not disconnected .. really I just have no idea what to expect. (not that I want to idealize or put an expectation on what I'm supposed to feel right when I meet every child who comes in to our home.. I digress)
Anyway, I kept thinking how it is hard when you have no idea what age or gender child is about to come in to your home. How do you prepare your heart and connect and love a child that you have no idea who they are? You just get a phone call and all the sudden "surprise! its a 2 year old boy!" (which the surprise, I'm sure will be really fun too!) So somehow in my heart I was thinking .. if I at least had a picture or an idea if it was a girl or boy I could connect "more".
Freeland pointed out a lot of things and helped me see where all that (probably normal) crazy was coming from. We talked for awhile and I worked through it. I know it will happen. I know my heart is tender and ready. I know the Lord is the one softening my heart and preparing it - and I can sense that - I guess I just had some other idea of what it would look/feel like. Realizing why and where I am at helped me realize I'm in the right place and not to believe some lie that because I feel one way or the other, its because I'm in the wrong place or need to do more. Not sure if that makes sense .. but there it is.
(side note: I do have a feeling of who the child will be that is placed in our home! So - seriously, all this is ridiculous and all over the place)
Overall, this isn't where my heart was, but I had realized over the last few weeks that I had the reoccurring thoughts and deep in my heart there was still some random fear. Not a ton of fear - but it was there. I sat and continue to share those with Freeland. I also shared how I realized I kept having this other reoccurring thought too. I kept looking at Chapel and realizing how much joy she brought to our family and thinking:
"how could another child bring this much joy.. what if I don't feel the same amount of joy again"
I have to stop and clarify: this thought is not because we're adopting. Ive had this thought every time we have had a child .. "what if I don't love them the same .. what if its harder to parent them or connect or what if they act this way or that way and its not the same or what if its not what I expect or what if something is wrong" so please know this was not a fear over loving an adopted child or that adopting wouldn't bring us the same joy. Its just a fear that plays out with each child we have in our family.
I knew the answer to my question. But I realized I was still having that same thought here and there. Its not a fear that I was believing or consumed by .. I just acknowledge that it kept popping its ugly head up here and there and shared it with Freeland. We talked about it and talked about how we wanted to spend the rest of the week praying through those things.
I went to bed thinking about JOY and committing the week to praying over the fears and lies I knew I was tempted to think. I went to bed telling Freeland I just wanted/needed to root myself in truth and I knew the Lord would graciously cover those lies with His truth and His promises. As I fell asleep I knew the underlying thing was joy.
I went to bed and had no idea He would speak truth to those in the middle of the night though!
At midnight I woke up to Wylder crying. I went in to check on him and calmed him down (because he was so upset that he wasn't tucked in.. serious stuff) and came back to bed. I grabbed my phone so I could see what time it was (please don't be 5:00 in the morning and I only have 1 more hour of sleep!) I saw I had a message on facebook and that it was from a sweet girl I knew back when I was in high school .. and she was much much much younger. It started with her introducing herself so I was so curious! (she was young enough that when I knew her.. she didn't remember me.. which makes the story, I believe, that much sweeter)
With her permission, here is what she wrote:
I know this is very very random, especially since we don't know each other. But I was just about to fall asleep and literally out of no where The Lord put you on my heart. ?!?!! I saw a picture of you just with your children and being fulfilled as a mother. So since it was so out of the blue I prayed for you. That The Lord would just pour excellence over you as a mother and cover you with His riches.
Then I saw another picture of you holding one of your babies. It was one that you haven't had. As you held this baby in your arms, it brought you so much joy! You were belly laughing and really really happy.
I wanted to share this with you! Because it was about you. You can just take it for yourself however you'd like!
Hope all is well with you - God bless you and keep you!
You guys. I mean. First, she sent that not realizing I know her (and love her and her sweet family!) and obviously not knowing what was going on and clearly she had no idea the conversation I just had with Freeland. It was only a few hours prior to this that I spoke out loud for the first time the fears I had were centered around joy.
How sweet is that yall?
I share all that to share the testimony of how sweet the Lord is. He didn't have to do that. So many times its looked so differently (I'm so thankful there is no formula to Him) but I just sat weeping right when I read it. It spoke to me in such a more profound way than I can explain.. since it was the Lord speaking that over me, through her, I just crumbled as I read it. I woke up Freeland and told him and He immediately started praying over her and thanking the Lord for His word and her obedience and boldness to share it.
It is another promise I'm holding on to in the midst of this.. a picture of Joy to cling to as we walk into an unknown territory of life with 4 kids and life that now will involve case workers and city employee's coming in and out of our home as they please! A life that we will have very little control over.
The thing the Lord keeps reminding me in this season (through our journey of becoming foster parents and other areas too) is that I keep wanting to put my hope in myself but I cant. My hope is in Him. This entire post was so focused on how "I" cant or what if "I" do this or that. The Lord so graciously keeps reminding me to put my hope in Him. Its a sweet place to be.
The day of our last final training is another story I cant wait to share. I have it all written out and will post it tomorrow. I'm thankful to share our journey and write out all the different ways the Lord is intervening along the way. (there are so many different ones I could write.)
Freeland & I, if you know us in real life, are an open book and probably over share too much (cough, cough, Freeland) we probably blurt things out too often and are way too opinionated and process out loud when we shouldn't.. we argue in front of people at times too (gulp. its true. and its awkward) Thanks to all of you who continually extend us grace as we grow. All that to say, I think sharing my life on our blog for everyone on the interwebs to read seems normal somehow and doesn't freak me out (seriously, I've been blogging since we were engaged - in a sense.. our entire marriage is on this blog.) Thanks for always trucking a long with us through our wedding, our moves, our family growing and mostly -us- growing over the last 8 years!