Thursday, January 17, 2013

We're Saying YES {in a new way}!

So, as I was saying here, our family has grown!  A new chapter has begun.  One that we are absolutely cherishing.  I know we'll all have growing pains as we move along, but oooooooo the BLESSINGS we have already received!  For you Mommas deep in the trenches of matchbox cars, diapers and sippy-cups ... what you're doing right now MATTERS DEEPLY.  Invest each day into that little heart which God has entrusted you with.  Someday it will be time to let go and you're gonna want to arrive at that place with no regrets.  Oh, you'll have messed up many a time ... but if you invest WELL into these years ... you will be able to lovingly let go and send out with blessing!

I've joked multiple times this year that my kids all ganged up on me.  I really do think it's true.  A wedding, a senior, a new high schooler with driver's permit, a spunky one with learning challenges and my baby starting Kindergarten {while Momma turned 40!}.

Seriously, look at that threesome to the right - you can see they are just up to something! My high-school boys LOVE teasing me that I am getting older. {I don't mind a bit! Their hugs make up for it all!}

What I did not know though, was that God would choose this year to transform my heart and lead our family in a direction I never thought would be our reality.

For those of you who receive our Christmas letter, you might have wondered what was up.  We had a few ask if we were headed to the mission field.  And while I said "no", rethinking it - I suppose we should say YES.  But not in a foreign field.  No, God is calling us to serve radically right in our own backyard. So before you mistaken me for someone I'm not ... the process over the last several months went something like this:

God: Continually prompting me about the needs of those without a voice.
Me: I'm to pray more! - and help those who are fostering.
God: Putting people into my life through speakers and writers to challenge me to the CORE.
Me: There are SO many others out there - why don't they listen and hear and respond?
God: Piercing my heart with the reality of my flesh. Relentless, yet tenderly.
Me: Come up with 101 excuses of why NOT!
God: Using the Word to convict.
Me: Realize there is MUCH at stake in this obedience.
God: Caring for me like only He can while reminding me He paid it ALL for me.
Me: Taking many steps toward surrender.
God: Confirming through the leading of my husband, which was strong and powerful
and left me feeling very shallow in my excuses.  :)
Me: Spending much time confessing that this season would look far DIFFERENT from
what I had envisioned the next 5 years to be.
God: Bringing about others in the adoption/fostering community to model what this kind of surrender and service looks like.  Each family unique.
Me: Building new friendships and asking my inner-circle of friends to pray hard.
God: Stripping away my desire to please man {including our own extended family} and helping me remember WHO I AM TO AIM TO PLEASE.
Me: Learning that sometimes worship is spent in surrender and letting go of some things
I was hanging onto with a really tight grip.
God: Comforting me when I felt so alone and wondering if some would
realize we'd nearly lost our minds for good.
Me: Learning He loves me so deeply and WILL TEACH ME HOW TO LOVE in a NEW WAY!
God: Piercing my heart with more conviction through our Sunday School study and prayer.
Me: Confessing what I've known to be true all along - I have one life to live
and I want more than anything to live it WELL.

You see, it wasn't pretty.  This is so very different from our two adoption journeys.  Yes, this process has had me deal with my selfishness and control and fear.  Last November we went to hear the Block Family share their testimony of working in Guatemala.  The Lord used that night to shake me up good.  The room was full of amazing families - many looking very similar in diversity to ours.  What a JOY it was to see so many families who had chosen to step out of their comfort zone and say YES to the Fatherless.  I had no idea that God would use the worship and message of that night to speak so deeply to my heart.

Lord, why foster care?  I'm an adoptive mom, not a foster mom.  Do you love Me?

Lord, but our oldest is getting married ... we're in a busy season in our lives.  We've already said YES twice.  Two in high school, two just starting grade school ... surely this isn't for real?  Do you care about what I care about?

Lord, you've led me to serve and encourage adoptive/fostering families - isn't that my role in this season?  Partly - do you care about the rest?

Lord, we've worked so hard to raise our family, does it really need to be our responsibility to help those who have crumbled often by their own doing?  They are MY children too, I VALUE them - I can work through you.

Lord, many in our extended family likely will not understand and you know how deeply that always hurts me.  Child, you are first and foremost in My family and my love is ENOUGH.  Just TRUST Me.

The oldest has moved out.  One bedroom is empty.  With completely surrendered hearts and with a new sense of JOY we will now transform that space into a "Haven Room".

Haven: a place of safety or refuge.

The Lord has so faithfully been directing our steps.  Tonight we're off to a CPR class with some dear friends who just completed this whole process.  Next week we'll meet with an agency who seems to be a good fit for our family.  They'll help us map out our plan for getting our foster license.  We anticipate it being next fall or so before we have a placement. We aren't sure of all the details or exactly who God has planned to come into our home and find a place of refuge.  A place where they'll be valued.  Be nurtured.  Be accepted.  Be cared for.  Be loved.  What we DO know is that as a family we have much to learn.  With arms and hearts wide open - we're ready for whatever He has for us.  Why?  Because He is GOOD and His plans are so far better than anything we could ever come up with on our own!

Yesterday I was feeling a wee-bit low and anxious of what others would think.  {Just keeping it real!}  I heard my phone and looked down and received the sweetest text from our new family member.  {That son chose a good woman!} Her words brought comfort, love and encouragement. Have I mentioned lately how utterly blessed we are?    

YES, Lord.  YES to YOUR plan.  YES to learning to LOVE in a new way.  YES to the unknown.  YES to the hard.  YES to Your children.  YES to You.  We want to see you face-to-face on that glorious day with NO REGRETS.

Does any of this resonate with you?  Do some of the above conversations sound a little familiar?  Does God have you in a place of surrender in your life?  He is trust-worthy.  He is patient and kind. And I am so glad.


Check out our 31 Nuggets of Hope site where we offer resources to adoptive and fostering families.  

15 comments:

  1. Shelly I am so excited for your family as you begin this journey! I believe you heard the Lord clearly - he loves these children and families too! Here's a post I wrote not long ago about how we were led to the foster care journey - http://www.wordfromthewallaces.blogspot.com/2012/11/i-was-wrong.html

    Blessings to you!

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  2. Amen. God will use the Roberts family to impact more children!

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  3. I love your example of obedience, Shelly!

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  4. Just found your blog via a link shared on FB...We said we would NEVER do foster care, but we were licensed in order to be matched with a child already available for adoption through the system. God had other plans, & we found ourselves fostering a preemie & then 2 more siblings along with her. The siblings were only for a time, but the baby ended up being our daughter after 2+ years. God used that time to grow & stretch us in ways I could have never imagined, teaching me to love & serve those that society wants to judge & deem unworthy of grace. God spoke to me over & over that my only job thru it all was to love. Period. When I surrendered to that, what a blessing b/c where there is love, there is no room for all the other junk. It was definitely hard, but God taught us so much about total surrender & trust in Him alone, which I truly believe laid the foundation for where the paths to our next children led us (which was all over the world). We gained much courage through that journey. Be blessed as you walk forward in obedience! XO

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  5. Shelly, I am excited for you family to embark on this journey. I could relate to so much of what you wrote. For some reason God doesn't like His children growing comfortable. He loves to take us deeper into His heart, into dependence upon Him. It's a wonderful and terrifying place to be! :-) We are confident He will supply everything you need to provide that place of haven for His precious children. Praying your home will burst full of even more abundant light, and that every child who enters will be transformed by the power of Christ and the love of your family.

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  6. So excited for your family!!!! Love the work the Lord has done!! Praying always. <3

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  7. Hi Shelly,
    Just yesterday I heard the story of how some Christian foster families made a lifelong difference in someone's life. Praise God that those families not only said, "Yes," but they went the distance by God's grace and strength.

    To answer your question: Yes! God's been asking me challenging questions, too. He's been speaking to my heart and giving me a sense that He's changing up how He wants me to serve Him. He's opening my eyes to where His heart breaks and my heart breaks, too. Not sure what this is going to look like down the road, but I see Him directing my path and using me in new ways already.

    Praise God for leading us into places that shake us up and give us opportunity to trust Him in new ways—into relationships that force us to depend on Him fully. I love that He reassures that where He leads He will be with us, showing us how to truly love like Jesus.

    Letting go and embracing God's new plans has revealed areas where I get "shaken" too easily, He's patient and causing me to look to Him for approval and not other people's "Good job!"s.

    "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." —John 12:24

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  8. Woo-hoo! Inspired by your obedience, and your heart. Can't wait to see what the Lord will do! :)

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  9. Hey girl - this would be a really neat post for WAGI. :)

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  10. You asked for related blogs:

    www.familybydesignadoption.com

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  11. Beautiful! So happy to meet another adoptive mama who God is encouraging to do foster care! Beautiful. You are such an inspiration to me. aebrunk.blogspot.com

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  12. bless you. i know that fear and i also know that love that overcomes that fear. that love that is stronger than death! :)

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  13. You know I love this!!!
    www.knowingnotignoring.blogspot.com

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  14. Hi, I'm visiting from the link up at the Ordinary Moms, Special Kids group. I appreciate and relate all to the questions and answers and fears you have shared. I think it's awesome that you are following where God is leading even through all the uncertainties.

    http://5heartsonefamily.blogspot.com/

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