The Lenhart Family

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


What I Want You to Know About Being Disabled(or living with chronic pain)

Today has been a rock bottom place for me. There is this adorable little girl dressed up as the cutest Minnie Mouse and I have begged God for weeks that today would be a "good" day and I could take her trick or treating for the first time in her life... But today I'm stuck in bed, on medication that makes me sleep, and trying to find beauty even on the ugly days.

Many of you know that my back/ spinal injury has caused my health to be up and down since I fractured several vertebrae back in 2006. Two spinal fusions, three operations, numerous epidural injections, countless physical therapy sessions, 2 pricey TENS units, hours and hours of massage therapy, and lots and lots of prayers has brought to a place right now where my bad days outweigh my good ones. Where hopelessness has unfortunately taken root and I'm literally holding on and claiming the promises of God because that is all I have.

So why write a depressing post? Believe me the last thing I desire is your pity or to be THAT negative person but what I do desire is to be UNDERSTOOD. 

I want my kids to know when you look up in the bleachers at your football game and I' m not sitting next to your dad, there is NO place I'd rather be than cheering you on (because I am and always will be the biggest cheerleader in you life both on and off the field). I want you to I miss being your taxi driver, because if I could get those dang head phone outta your ears, we always have the BEST conversations in the car. 

I want my baby to know it breaks my heart to not be playing on the floor with you (building blocks and crashing them down, playing with your little people farm, playing babies or having tea parties with you)! It rips my heart to shreds that when you come home from your day with daddy that you run into our bedroom "Mommy! Mommy!" because you know that is where I'll be. It also hurts more than I could have ever imagined when I have to shut my door because we can't play right now, and you wiggle the knob/ bang on the crying for me, shouting "MOMMY!", holding whatever baby or toy you've brought us to do (seriously THAT is the hands down hardest part). 

I want my husband who fasts and prays and picks up the slack that "appreciation" doesn't describe what I feel!! That I'm sorry when I lash out in anger and I'd give anything to have our lives back.

I want my best friends to know that every time I can't follow through with a lunch date or a promise to babysit your kids, IT KILLS ME! I want you to know we would love to have dinner, a coffee date,  or my personal fav a game night but "good days" are usually spent loving my kids first and foremost. I want you to know whether it's been weeks/ months/ or years since we hung out I love you dearly. True friends can pick up right where they left off no matter how long it's been since you've seen them (we just have more to talk about to catch up). I need my friends more than I ever have before and yet they are because of my inability to "do stuff" are more distant than before.

I want my church and the people who I minister to that parts of my soul feels deadened because I can't do what I love, be as connected in your lives as I want, and serve to my greatest potential in the role as pastor's wife right now. Truth be told, I cringe when people ask how I'm feeling because telling the truth makes me feel like a Debbie Downer or Negative Nelly... That's not who I am naturally so avoid the question or put a positive spin on it when I can.

I want my nursing students to know I miss them like crazy. They have all the potential in the world to make amazing RN's and I will be there to see them walk across that stage receive their diploma and pin them! (I also miss my paycheck but God is teaching us dependence on Him like NEVER before)

My family, my friends, my church family deserve more than I can give in this current season.  

Jake and I have always embraced a transparency in our ministry and we will never ascribe to a fake it til we make way of doing "church" .... 

So I have to confess that right now I feel like an epic failure and like I'm constantly disappointing people and not being faithful to my commitments. I have never struggled with depression and hopeless like this but part of my healing means bringing into light that which has been in darkness.

I believe that there is a spiritual element too to it all. The enemy wants to make me ineffective and unable to accomplish what God has for me. 

All this to say.... God is faithful and we are already praising Him for the healing that we know is coming. We are fighting to get our life back. Please in the meantime, be praying for our family and be patient with us and the "new normal" we are trying to adapt to!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where else do you get court side seats to see lives changed?!?!?!

I know I've said it a hundred times but after investing decades into youth ministry... It make my heart burst to see former students live their faith out loud in adult life!! Right now several of them are training to be missionaries, some are at bible college training to into vocational ministry. One of previous young ladies is a senior literally counting down the days until MCC's move in day. She is oozing excitement about the next chapter in life!!

What started out as an Instagram comment on a picture of her standing behind a pulpit... Turned into this blog post because the last thing I am is brief and to the point when it comes to writing. Who knew that there were word limits on the comment posts?!

So here is my advice to her, to other soon to be bible school grads about to begin their careers, or even those currently in vocational ministry but in a funk! This is my Instagram completely unsolicited advice column/ post: 

1. It's not "my" pulpit, your pulpit, or anyone else's but God's. God loves his beautiful bride the church, regardless of who is the pastor, elders, etc... God's the head, foundation and the center of the church and everything in it.

2. If He gifts and chooses you to share the word, understand the immerse privilege and responsibility of that always. Don't take it lightly, you may he the only 'Jesus' some will ever hear or see. 

3. Those in full time ministry have great influence. That puts a huge bulls eye target on your back. The enemy wants YOU because if he get you to stumble and fall so will those you are influencing. 

Vocational ministry is hard, exhausting, can leave you typing resignation letters that never get sent. But it is the most amazing "job" you will ever have (we would work for free shhh don't tell the elders).... 

Where else do you get court side seats to see lives changed?!?!?! 

4. "You can not give what you don't possess".... In other words, if your own relationship with Jesus isn't on fire/ thriving/ growing, you can not FAKE it on the stage or your platform. No depth in your relationship with God= no depth to your teaching.  

Get fired up on stage, yell when you need, cry when you need to... Not to force emotional decisions but to show you're not afraid to be PASSIONATE

5. Teach genuinely and with vulnerability out of the well spring of your own current walk. Everything you experience is a sermon illustration waiting to happen. (Once you have a family get their permission FIRST before using an embarrassing story about them for your sermon illustration)

Speaking of having families and being in ministry... remember they are FIRST. God will hold you accountable for how you led them. You are the ONLY mommy, daddy, husband , or wife that you loved one has. Love them. Don't make them a make priority make them THE priority! 

"No one's opinion of me matters, if my children do not think I am genuine, no amount of success in ministry will make up for my failure at home."

"My desire is that the people who know me the best respect me the most."

 6. Gods word is alive and active! You don't need awesome programs or flashy entertainment to bling out the story of Jesus. The gospel stands alone, no fluff needed. 

7. Preach with complete humility. One the most passionate preachers /teachers I know will not take to stage/ platform/ step up to the pulpit without falling to their knees FIRST (begging God to show up and show off because if He doesn't we all might as well go home). Spend as much time (OR MORE) praying about your lesson or message as you do preparing for it!

 "As a Christian minister, I have no right to preach to people I have not prayed for." (A.W. Tozer)”

8. You are just the vessel or the messager. The message is always the same even though of methods of delivering that message might change.

9. Be ever in tune with the holy spirit. Let it be Gods words, not your own. His agenda, not your own. You will fail (maybe even bomb) a lesson or two but God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Hang in there.

10. The best lessons/ sermons are CAUGHT not TAUGHT! People will more about who God by watching you rather than listening to you! Is your life radically different than those around you because you have been CHANGED by the love of Christ?

I'm been a pastors wife for almost 15 years... Have heard more messages than I can count. And I can name less than a dozen that really stood out to me. That's not because I'm sitting under forgettable mediocre teaching....


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou

Love well! God has big plans and I'm so blessed to see them fulfilled! Keep you're eyes on the prize!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Make the most of every moment"

For the last 17 months I have had the absolute honor of parenting and being "mommy" to one the most amazing human beings on the planets. Since the day we said "yes" and the case worker brought her into our homes (most importantly our hearts) one late Friday night in June, I can not count the ways she has made our lives so blessed.

From day one she has been a constant source of sunshine and joy  (even as we quickly approach the infamous "terrible twos").

People talk about people who have this illusive smile that magically lights up any room in which that person walks into. Before I met her, I thought that it was some cheesy cliche people use to describe overly happy people.... Now I know better.

She has a smile that melts hearts of stone and makes women's uterus' leap. It is physically impossible to be in her presence and be in a bad mood! IMPOSSIBLE! Her laughter is the sweetest sound I have ever heard and when she says "mommy" my heart physically with swells with so much pride and love, it could physically burst! Needless to say I'm beyond smitten and completely head over heels with this precious baby girl.

 I guess I'm a lot like most mommies... I think the sun rises and sets in my daughters eyes. I have an indescribable bond and connection that words fall short in explaining the depth of my love.

But unlike other mommies, I daily live with the reality that although God has called me to be her "mommy" for a season that forever and ever probably isn't in our cards. Unless something unexpected happens, I will not be there to hold her hand as she starts her first day of kindergarten. I will not seen her hit her first home run, rock her ballet and hip hop dance classes, see her giddy with her first school girl crush, dry her tears when she gets her first broken heart, prom dress shop with her, see her walk across the stage to receive her high school  and college diplomas, visit colleges with her, or even see her walk down the aisle as the beautiful bride I know she will be as she marries the Godly man I have praying for since the day she stole me heart.

I am a foster mom. Although if you were to open my heart, you would see no difference in the amount of unconditional love I hold for her or my other children (both adopted and biological).

Daily I am reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed! DAILY!

This reminder drives me to live in the moment. Cherish each precious moment I have. Smell her, lots!!! Memorize her beautiful face and the sound of her giggles and the way she says "mommy"! Watch her sleep (goes back to the memorize her face). Put off "things" to create memories. When she asks me to read the same book that we've already read 36 times today, read it again. Blow bubbles (even inside on rainy days). Forget the mess. Sing. Sing. Sing. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Go to the park. Look at rocks, flowers, and bugs. Play in the dirt. Paint her toenails. Teach her the importance of shoes. Talk about Jesus as much as I can. Love her tummy mommy (biological mommy). Watch "yo gabba gabba" and  "tangled" as many times as she wants to. Ignore well meaning people who tell me to let her "cry it out" at bedtime and not rock her to sleep. Kiss her more times than humanly possible to count. Whisper "I love you" in her ear all day long. And pray that even when I am distant memory she will KNOW to the core of her being that she has value and is loved more than she can ever fathom.

 Experience and heart break as a foster mom painfully reminds me that one day my lap will be empty (as will some places in my heart). One day I would give anything to watch "Tangled" one more time with my baby girl cuddled up on my lap. Whether its because you are a foster mom, due to unexpected loss/ death, or an unforeseen medical hardship around the corner.... Life is lived best when we are ever mindful that each day, each moment, is a gift!!! Unwrap every beautiful one you've been given... Before its too late.

 In the wise words of Ferris Buehler, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Tick tock hear the clock countdown
Wish the minute hand could be rewound
So much to do and so much I need to say
Will tomorrow be too late
Feel the moment slip into the past
Like sand through an hourglass
In the madness I guess I just forget
To do all the things I said
Time passes by
Never thought I'd wind up
One step behind
Now I've made my mind up

Today I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
 'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it
 Today I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
 Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late
One day too late
One day too late

Tick tock hear my life pass by
I can't erase and I can't rewind
Of all the things I regret the most I do...
Wish I'd spent more time with you
 Here's my chance for a new beginning
I saved the best for a better ending
And in the end I'll make it up to you, you'll see
You'll get the very best of me
Your time is running out
You're never gonna get it back
 Make the most of every moment
Stop saving the best for last

Friday, July 20, 2012

things I've learned lately

One would think after being a foster/ adoptive mom for over 7 years that I would be a veteran and that my heart would have certain truths engrained on my heart by now. But every placement is different. Every family is different. Every day is different. God continues to teach me so much about loving people and loving Himself on this journey. I continue to make mistakes, take on more than I can handle, spend nights crying for the brokenness of our system (and our world), and yet there is nothing more I'd rather be doing.

Ive heard it said that “The two most important days of your life are the day you that were born and the day that you find out WHY." THIS is my WHY. Being a mommy to my foster babies, adopted children, and even my home grown biological children is IT.

Here are some of the other things I've learned lately:

~ Hands down the hardest prayer to pray HAS to be for God's will to be done EVEN IF IT MEANS.....(fill in blank). There have been more nights than I can count lately that I've cried rocking a certain someone to sleep and praying for the unknown future ahead of this precious girl that has been such a HUGE blessing to us since the day she came into our home over a year ago. There are decisions being made about her future that I have no control over. But I've learned that "I don't have to worry about WHAT will happen when I know WHO is in control."

~ "God is bigger than the pain I might suffer in loving a child and then having to return that child to a mom/dad who has successfully reunified.”
There are lots of things in this world that can leave us broken-hearted. There isn't a more worthy cause this ... loving a foster child as my own ♥

~ There's a huge difference between knowing ABOUT God and knowing Him... To risk and know Him is to willingly place your life in the hands of an unseen God and an unknown future, then watch Him come through. He starts to get real and you start to KNOW Him when you live like that!

~ We care for orphans not to earn favor with God..but as a natural outflow of the favor we have with God through Jesus.

~ When Jesus said that whole "love your enemies" thing, I think he REALLY meant it. Trying to LOVE someone you don't really LIKE is very difficult. Start with praying for them... it's impossible to hate someone you are praying for you. "Look into the eyes of the person most difficult for you to LIKE and see the one you LOVE."

~ "No" is a complete sentence and my people pleasing self needs to say it more. We are too busy. But when I evaluate our busyness, I can separate into two categories (related to my calling or not) to determine if it is worthy of our time. I think being busy isn't bad if a large part your " busyness" can be contributed or traced back to your calling! I am first and foremost called to be a follower of Christ(love God, love people) then wife /help mate to my husband, and then mom to my children and foster children, then ministry/work. My time, energy, focus, and resource delegation should reflect those priorities. "Servicing God and convenience often don't go hand in hand. Sometimes I think God smiles when our plate is already too full of so many things we call important - things that tie us to busyness and leave us little freedom to fulfill our calling, purpose, and destiny."

Well there it is.... the most random hodgepodge of a blog post I ever wrote. But it is characteristically perfect for the current season of my life (where thoughts are swirling, things are crazy and changing, but God is constant).

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity, sweet Jesus Christ my clarity...

Monday, February 20, 2012

I saw what I saw and I can't forget it!

There are days that I wish I could live naively comfortable again... Days when I wish my eyes had not been opened to the injustices that surround us, before the faces of poverty were burned on my brain, and before one orphan had ever sat in my lap/ held my hand/ nor wrapped their tiny arms around my neck.

Instead of pursing the American dream that  I once thought would bring  "satisfaction"... I'm haunted at night. I wonder if I'm doing enough. In a world "well done" always triumphs "well said"! Can I be doing more? 

 I find myself praying for bigger vehicle/ transportation and a bigger home so that there might be "one less" child going to sleep tonight without a momma to tuck them into bed. One thing I've learned is there is always enough love. But is love really all you need?

And is it true what mother Teresa said "How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers."

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know and holds us responsible to act…” Proverbs 24:12

Monday, January 30, 2012

"that's what mother T said"

With six kids and extremely "busy" and difficult season due to various health issues in our lives... My blog has pretty much fallen into the stack of good things but not important right now. Almost every blog lately has somehow turned into a version of "that's what she said" but I'm ok with that because #1. It means I'm still reading and nourishing my souls and #2. Putting together a comprehensible yet alone inspiring thought right now just isn't in my immediate future nor on my priority list. So here comes yet another plagiarized installment of "that's what she said..." enjoy!

"People who really want to make a difference in the world do it, in one way or another. And I've noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold unshakable convictions that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren't determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they are satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they transform cities and nations, and yes, the world." ~Kisses From Katie

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

"We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do."

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” ~mother Teresa

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I have a dream of a church....

"I have a dream of a church that is once again called great, even by our skeptics, because our works of mercy can not be denied. I want no part in a movement that is deemed great because we've adopted some exceptional qualities admired by the top.

I don't want to be admired for a great band.

I don't want to be recognized for a great marketing campaign.

I don't want to be praised for great programs.

I don't want to be applauded for great theology and scholarship.

I want the church to be great because we fed hungry momma's and their babies. I'd like to be great because we battled poverty not just with our money but our hands and hearts. I desire greatness that comes from not just seeking mercy but for justice for those caught in a system with trapdoors. I hope to be a part of a great movement of the holy spirit, who injects supernatural wind and fire into His mission. My version of great will come when others are scratching their heads and saying, "wow, you live a really different life." " ~ Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted 

"for he who is least among you all- he is the greatest." - Luke 9:48

Love this sermon from a couple of weeks ago... Watch the end when Jake casts a vision for his dream for THE church

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our song to "little miss sunshine": all of me by Matt Hammitt

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away
And I'm so close
To what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start

I won't let sadness
Steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I'll share with you

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start

Heaven brought you to this moment
It's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me
You're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you
Even if I bleed
You're worth all of me
You're worth all of me

Saturday, January 21, 2012

That's what she said... "All of me"

The last week, there is a song I have found that has spoken volumes to my fears about fostering again and yet the reality of loving this precious baby "little miss sunshine" as if she were flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. I have played the song continuosly on repeat and wept over what the lyrics mean to me at this present season of our lives. Please take a moment to listen to this powerful song and hear the lyrics before reading on:

Today's version of "that's what she said" is a hodgepodge of quotes and blogs that comes from a couple different sources (a fellow foster mom's blog I follow and a foster mom's memoir I just finished reading reading titled "The Middle Mom"). Both resonate within me so much. Both are as if the orginal authors opened my chest, read my heart, and articulated that which I could not! Hope you are as blessed as I reading these words....

Lessons From "The Middle Mom"

"if not you, who? If not now, when?"

"when people find put that I am a foster parent, they inevitably say 'I could never do that! I'd want to keep every single one. Don't you get attached?' I know they are well meaning but I must admit it kinda drives me crazy. I want to say 'no duh!' but instead comeback with a more gracious statement like this 'yes it is extremely difficult to let a child go that you have loved and cared for, but the lord has shown me that that is EXACTLY the person that needs to be caring for these misplaced children. If I could separate myself from loving and attaching to the child and just feel like I'm babysitting rather than being a real mother, God would have never called me to do this. So maybe YOU are actually the perfect person to be a foster parent!'"

On communities of foster/ adoptive parents:

"we carry each other. We carry each other through the joys, the craziness, the profound sorrow that is foster care. No one understands me like they do because they have lived it. They know me well. They know I take on more than I can handle sometimes, and often, it's not pretty. They know I love to shop for baby clothes. They know I'm passionate about my family, my ministry, and about foster children specifically. Together they form a live boat that has carried me home safely many times. I love them dearly and am so grateful that we are sharing this journey together."

"I feel strongly as believers it is not necessarily our job to fix or change the broken system (DHS, SRS, CPS). It is our job to serve and love the children and the workers within that system to make a difference in their lives because Jesus made a difference in our lives. I guess what I am trying to say is that a broken system is no excuse, no reason, to neglect intervening on a child's behalf; it only makes God's provision for that child so much sweeter."

"this is what I was born to do! It is unbelievable to think that the Lord would choose to use me, someone who is so fallible, inadequate, and unworthy, to care for these children that He holds so dearly.

I have been overwhelmed with love, joy and excitement, and been flung down with grief. I have been amazed at the support of those around me and been astounded at the prejudice that still exists in the world today. I have watched my own children nurture, comfort, fall in love with,and pray for each little child that is "ours" for a time. I have realized my weaknesses and the Lords strength.

I know that there are many sacrifices in foster care that come in various forms. There is lack of sleep, lack of quality family time, lack of intimate time with my husband, lack of time for myself. There are friends functions we can not attend.

And finally there is the unexplainable grief, the deep feeling of loss, the death of a relationship and the worries that accompany the grief. Will this child be safe? Feed? Have clothes to wear? Be loved and protected? Achieve their God given potential? Know that God loves him/her? Come to know Jesus? Will this child ever know how much I love him/her? In the midst of all these questions comes the penetrating truth that God is in control. He is able. He has a plan and is sufficient!"


"I just couldn't do it, I just couldn't give them back."

I hear that VERY often when I tell anyone I am a foster parent.

It is like, by saying that, they are excusing themselves from the feelings that they feel when they find out someone else stepped up and did this sucky foster care thing and they didn't.

Obviously, fostering is not for everyone or right for everyone...

BUT to all you people that say this to me, with out any honest good reason,

(like you have already lost a child, have been there and done it with a relative placement, are having issues with fertility, ect.)

I just have to say...Shut up.

You have no idea who you are talking to, what I have been through or what you are even saying.

Do you think I felt like I could give my first daughter back to her mom without dealing with the grief of it every day for the rest of my life?

I can't do it either. I just do because it is either do it or go to jail basically.

What you don't understand is that I knew the risk and decided that my kids would be worth it. Period.

And they have been. Every single one of them.

What you don't realize is that by me deciding to take care of these kids and love them like my own even though in the end I am the one that looses them I am taking every bit of pain off of them that I can and even then they still go through more than any child should. Ever.

That is what I have to offer them. I keep them safe. I stand up for them (even though I am ignored on a regular basis). I feed them. I play with them. I make them smile. I kiss their boo boos. I put them in their comfy beds. AND IT IS MY HONOR TO DO IT.

And what do you offer? Nothing. You offer an off hand comment that excuses you from any of this, including helping any of them, because you would "love them to much to let them go"? And for the record, that makes us feel like you are saying we are so cold and heartless that we can actually even do this in the first place.

So, "you love them so much" from afar while they end up in crappy foster homes who only do it for the money.

Way to show your love.

If you can't foster, don't.

But, if you are the "We couldn't let them go" people...consider helping someone who HAS put themselves right where you DON'T want to be.

Pay special attention to the kids when you see them.

Babysit for the family.

Offer to pray AND REALLY DO IT!

Bring a meal when the family gets a new placement.

Help with the kids when you see foster mom has her hands full.

I would say for every comment I get like that I also have one person in my life that doesn't foster, but truly loves my kids and blesses me like crazy. I don't think everyone should foster and I don't think ANYONE should foster out of guilt, but quit making excuses for yourself and just do what God called YOU to do...and stop talking to me about why you couldn't possible do what I do...'cuz it makes me want to tell you to "shut up".

Coincidence? No such thing!

Loves how God orchestrates things that our little minds can't even begin to comprehend!!

Recently I noticed.... On the EXACT day little miss sunshine was born... I wrote in my prayer journal that I felt God calling us back into foster care and that our family wasn't complete (crazy considering we had 5 kids at that time) Coincidence? Nope! God ordained that our home would be reopened and ready to receive her the very day she was removed from the custody of her mom. Can not imagine our lives without her! She bring so much joy and laughter into our lives.

Lesson learned: the next time God calls you to do something that seems "crazy" or "foolish" to the world, pursue it and obey even if it doesn't make logical sense at the time! Or might miss out on one of the biggest blessings of your life!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,"declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NIV)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wedding day wonders

This weekend we attended a beautiful wedding. Being a hopeless romantic, I love weddings. Since I gave birth to my daughter 13 years ago, weddings mean even more. I can't go to a wedding without getting a bit nostalgic thinking about the day I will witness my beautiful baby girl marry the man that I have been praying for since the day she was born.

Blame it on the hormones or the breath taking entrance of the bride but a thought crossed my mind and my heart literally causing it to break. Holding our precious 10 month foster daughter "little miss sunshine" my eyes welled up with big tears as I leaned overed and whispered to my husband "will be there? When this precious baby gets married will be there? Will you be the one walking down the aisle? Will have the privilege of seeing her try on dresses? Will we even be invited?"

Seven months with "little miss sunshine" has flown by so quickly. To date her case is not moving along quickly but still a reunification case. Although I could not love her more if she were grown in my tummy (not my heart) I know one day I may have to say good bye. I might lose one I have grown to love intensely and bonded with in ways that can't be described. I am thankful that I have a heavenly Father who understands on much larger scale what it is like "to lose a child". I pray that if that day comes, God will give me the grace to let her go. I can not count the ways she has made my life so blessed. Our lives are so enriched for having had her in it and for that I am truly grateful and humbled.

My to do list is full of well meaning resolutions. But one I am committed to is ministering to "little miss sunshine's" biological mom. In the not so distant past, I have secretly wished the biological moms of our foster children would fail. But I see the way they interact and it is evident that she genuinely loves baby Z! She is a lost 16 year old foster child herself. She is an innocent victim of the system. She has no blueprint or example of heathy motherhood. Most of their own mothers have been absent, or they would not be in foster care. Even a teenage mom
with the best intentions will often miss the mark and follow in their mother's footsteps. After they lose their children, they feel depressed, defeated, hopeless, helpless, and alone. Many are raised by addict mothers and fathers by name only. So many of these girls need a mother. And I just happen to be a stellar mother (in my own biased opinion but dont ask my teenage chimdren) The Lord is challenging me to love on her. To be the nurturing mother she never had. To be Jesus with skin on to the person who gave birth to one of the biggest blessings on my life.

Please pray for me in the coming months as we wrestle with the possibility of saying good bye to "our daughter" and try to love our way into the heart of a 16 year old hurting "baby momma"

Foster care isn't easy. Nothing about our callings usually are. But I am so thankful for the sojourners (fellow foster moms) God has placed on this journey with us, our church and biological family that love and support us, and our God who empowers us to do that which we thought we could not!!!,0,3701095.story

Wished we lived in a state that better cared for the children in its custody

Wished we lived in a world where the CHURCH didn't leave caring for the fatherless up to the government. "if we get down to the nitty gritty truth, it's not the governments job. The government isn't commissioned, the government isn commanded, the government isn't equipped , and the government isn't empowered by the One who made it all to care for His children. The church is. We are the people that God has instructed to be different and to make a difference."