There are lots of good things in that chaos. There are a lot of really challenging things, too.
Our schedule keeps shifting and changing. The last court date added visit hours for the baby, and with a vacation coming up, we're also trying to cram in a lot of extra visit hours so that we won't be running to catch up after we're home. (By the way, birth parents are within their rights to ask that children remain in the county and go temporarily to another foster home during their foster family's vacation. It's a huge blessing that Baby S will be allowed to come with us for a whole week of "normal" family time and that Birth Parent is willing to work with us to make up visits.)
We're so grateful for all of your prayers leading up to our last court date. So many people followed up with us after and it's very encouraging to hear again that we're not alone in this. Thank you for standing alongside us! (If I missed getting back in touch with any of you, I'm so sorry. Just reach out again and please forgive me for not following through! I promise I appreciate you and your kind words!)
Court will be held again tomorrow. Court dates two weeks apart is pretty tough, and each court date is very draining for our family. There's a lot of drama surrounding court dates, and a lot of uncertainty leading up to each one. Please continue to pray with us leading into tomorrow. (If you missed our post on specific ways to pray for foster families, you can check it out here.)
So how are we doing, day to day?
Emotionally and spiritually, it's a battle. There are a lot of challenges right now. Just parenting two active little boys is a lot. Parenting them and balancing almost all of the household chores and responsibilities (so that Josh can be fully present and able to invest in the boys when he gets home - because they need Dad time) is already a lot, and we're still learning what it means to be a family with a ministry job. And then, you know, just throw in the whole foster care thing, and sometimes life just feels like it's spinning out of control.
But there's order and peace in the chaos. I can only find that in Jesus. I think it's surprising and incredible to find that the more my life requires me to have big-time faith, the more I feel totally unqualified. Maybe I thought faith-growth would be a forward progression. Maybe I thought I'd need Jesus less the closer I was to him, or that I'd start to earn stars and badges for my super faithfulness. But wow, sometimes I'm just back to the beginning again, taking a lot of deep breaths and just reminding myself that I believe God is in control, and God is good, and God is in control, and God is good...
I just keep running to Jesus. I just keep reminding myself that I need the cross. People are telling me that I'm a superstar/good person for being a foster mom, but can I tell you something? From where I stand, I'm a very broken person, struggling with sin issues like anger and unbelief and distrust, and I feel less "religious" and more "I just really need Jesus" with every passing day. This is good for me. And it's very humbling. I'm spending my days trying to live like Jesus in front of my boys, and my nights praying that somehow, by God's grace, he would help them love Jesus despite all of my daily failings and struggles.
I'm becoming familiar with the idea of suffering. I'm realizing it's not going away any time soon. My struggle has been largely in feeling the weight of this suffering and wanting to escape from it. But I am trying, instead, to just pray that God would use it, and realize that I don't have to carry the weight of the suffering, even if it's not going away.
I need Jesus.
And I need to fill myself with good things when I'm empty (which feels like it's a lot, sometimes), because I see that I am pouring out buckets of whatever I'm filling up with. Sometimes, if I'm filling with negativity and anger and complaining, it starts pouring out. But I crave God's goodness and I long to pour out love and mercy and gentleness. So I'm trying to more faithfully fill myself with these good things, knowing that whatever I put into my heart is what will come back out.
Reading reminders like this goes far:
"But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:20-24)
There's so much I love about this. There is so much for me to lean on when I'm trying to figure out how to respond to my circumstances. Can I just note here that Jesus was put to death under the authority of a corrupt human judge? But still, he trusted himself to God as the ultimate judge, recognizing that God is in control even when people are not good. I need to have that kind of belief, too, that God is in control - even over Baby S, even when there's a lot wrong with the system that is legally deciding his future.
So how are we doing? Well, we're hanging in there. We're just trying to follow Jesus' awesome example and remain thankful for the many good gifts God gives us every day. Thanks for praying with me and my family and loving on us as we learn.
We need Jesus!