The Lenhart Family

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dear Drew, Ashlyn, Jedone, Jackson, Jimso, and any future Lenhart children

(adapted from

Recently we were told by people whom we love and respect why they think we should reconsider our plans to continue fostering at this time. It's something we've prayed about, discussed as a family, and sought the lord's will over for the last several months. Six kids in one household is never what we imagined or planned but God has a way of wrecking OUR plans and asking us to do what we swore we would never do. But his plans are always better. And somehow He gives us the ability and the passion to do that which we thought we could not. 

Confession time: I remember being pregnant with Ashlyn wondering how I was ever going to love another baby as much as I loved our little Drewbie.... But the human heart surrendered to Gods will can grow in unimaginable ways. Then before adopting I doubted I could love another woman's child the way I loved my own. But one look at Jimso (and Jedone and Jackson) and my heart grew bigger than the grinch's on Christmas morning. As that to say beyond physical room in our house,  I am confident there is room in our hearts for another fatherless baby.

And we come to the conclusion that the sweet girl sleeping in the room next to me right now is worth it. She and any other child God might bring into our crazy family is worth getting our hearts broken over again. She is worth being exhausted. She is worth sacrificing a lot of things we have asked you to sacrifice because God is using us to rewrite her story for His glory.

And guess what else?! We love you to the moon and back but don't give a rip about making you "happy"

That's right.... Your smiles and giggles still make our hearts melt but your happiness is not our goal.

"Maybe you'll resent us. I really hope not. But maybe I should tell y'all now why your dad and I have decided to keep doing what we are doing.

I know you're going to think I am going off topic (I do that a lot) but several years I saw a story on a TV show about how the latest trend was for parents to give their daughters boob jobs for high school graduation (I don't know what they gave their sons.) When interviewing one of the moms, she said, "I just want my daughter to be happy." And as I tossed a throw pillow at the television, this really huge thought occurred to me: I don't want my children to be happy.

My goal as your mom is not your happiness,  In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. 

So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.

There are two things I desire for you, precious loves. There are two things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying cultivate in you. Happiness ain't one of them. (This means, sorry, no boob jobs for Ashlyn)

The first is, I want you to be content. 

Being content is so much different from being happy. Being content is not based on your surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.

Being content and grateful leads to consistent joy.

As you know, because I've told you lots of times, Paul talked about being content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos, really rotten.

How could Paul be content whether he was in prison or if his life was literally a shipwreck? Because Paul was constantly seeking to be in the will of God instead of his own, was constantly sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of the gospel, and was constantly being confirmed, strengthened, and blessed by God because of his obedience. He was given a supernatural power - that means something kind of like magic, God magic - to do things that most other humans could not do. And guess what? The bible tells us (in Ephesians 1) that God will give you the exact same power! If you want it!

Which leads me to my second desire for y'all.

I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

This means you may be poor, 'in want' as Paul said, and that's okay. It will never, ever be okay with the world for you to be poor. So you'll be up against the world. But not your dad and me, loves, because it was never our goal for you to be wealthy - at least not in the way that the world considers wealthy.

Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command us to make our children happy.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

But I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers."

Mommy and Daddy