Take one step inside the Watson residence and you will see evidence of life in the midst of chaos. There are tiny socks hidden strategically in corners of my living room and dog hair tumbleweeds in the dark and forlorn corners of the entertainment center. Take a walk through the kitchen and your shoe might stick to the tile if you encounter an isolated area of unidentified stickiness.
Actually, you don’t even have to make it in the door to detect that small children of some sort live at our address. The unmatched shoes and random happy meal treasures abandoned on the front porch are a dead giveaway. (Just for the record, no, this doesn’t match my housekeeping ambitions in the slightest…)
It has been over a year now since we answered the call to foster. We opened up our home to rigorous inspections, visitations, and best of all, a brother-sister pair. Two little toddlers full of life and in need of our love. We have come a long way since that day, but I still find myself bewildered by the way our lives have been flipped upside down – in mostly good ways. 🙂
Before these two little additions it was just my husband, Joe, and I, and our two dogs. We had just settled into our sweet little home-for-two as first-time homeowners, and we were ready to expand our family. We had been trying to do so for a few years prior, and reluctantly realized that it must not be in God’s timing for us to start a family organically at the moment… a story for another day.
While we were caught between trying to make our house a home, work, and other commitments, we couldn’t deny that the yearning to parent was so strong for us we couldn’t ignore it any longer. Through much soul-searching, moments of quiet meditation and prayer, we felt the call to foster… separately. That’s right. Without even having a conversation, Joe and I were feeling the same nudging toward opening our home to less-fortunate children.
We sat down for dinner one night and I was venting as I often did about the stresses of my current job. Through streams of hot tears, I shared my dream with my husband, hoping he would want to take my hand on this adventure. Making this dream a reality would require a lot of change. I decided my current job was too demanding to manage the doctor’s appointments, the sick days, the visitations, the training and the intensive parenting that would come with loving traumatized children. I was proposing the biggest leap of faith we would take as a couple thus far.
So there we sat, my words spilled out into the evening air. I perched on the edge of my chair and waited for a response as he looked at me with a knowing expression. After a short pause he opened his mouth and said, “I’ve been thinking about this too… lets do it.”
I was relieved and elated as it became evident that God had been imparting the same calling on both our hearts. This is the God we serve. A God that is always at work behind the veil of our circumstance. A God that already had this all figured out, He was just waiting for us to join the party. A God that brought us two beautiful children to love just two days after we obtained our license to foster.
And as if we still weren’t convinced God was at work, when the social worker arrived in the dark hours of the morning, she introduced us to a little boy with the same namesake as Joe’s father who had passed away just weeks before our wedding. She handed us that sweet little guy right there in the driveway and we shared a bewildered look as tears swelled to the surface and our lives as we knew them came to a crashing halt.
I’m sharing this story today to remember. To transport myself back to the time when we made this decision wrapped in all the “magic” and “fairy dust” we felt when we took the first steps in the right direction.
I’ve been home all weekend with a sick little girl and in just a few minutes we’ll be leaving to see the doctor for probably the third time in two weeks (not just for her, her brother was sick last week too). Not my idea of a good time.
Today I’m writing from a place of weariness that isn’t foreign to mother’s everywhere. The guilt that swoops in under the guise of human emotion and leads to a depleted spirit.
My sweet husband, who works so hard to provide for his family, is a bi-vocational family life pastor. So, apart from his demanding full time job, and being a wonderful father, he also has time he dedicates to his ministry at the church weekly. On top of that, he is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in ministry online so most nights after the dust settles from our daily routine, he is spending hours on homework. Needless to say he’s a busy guy.
Confession: Sometimes in the busyness of parenting, I miss when it was just us.
*Adds another heaping scoop of guilt.*
I miss when one of us would have a bad day so we’d go for a late night drive among the stars and talk. I miss going to the beach to watch the sunset on a whim. I miss spontaneity. I miss him.
I realize that this is just a season that we’re in. But add in a grieving heart (I lost my mother just 3 months ago to an ugly battle with cancer), and these emotions have a way of crashing down on you pretty hard.
After I bathed little miss sick girl and set her in her room with her beloved Mickey Mouse cartoons, I retreated to my room on the other side of the house. As I was getting ready for the day I heard the sweetest sound over the baby monitor. A little voice struggling through congestion to sing “Jingle Bells.” A smile crept across my face as I stopped what I was doing to lean in and listen close.
There it was, Christmas in the Summer time. Joy that surpasses understanding as a sick little girl sacrificing valuable breaths of air to sing the song in her heart.
I live for moments like these.
Moments that make our life among the mess of busyness and chaos oh so worth it.
Thank you, God.