The Lenhart Family

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."