Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where I've been...

I’ve been…absent.
Truth be told, it’s been an interesting and life-changing few months.  While I desperately wanted to blog and share our journey, the right words never seem to fit.  You’ll remember this post when I shared how we were translating the “love others” message into our own lives.  Shortly thereafter we received a call.  We were not ready to be called (quite literally---we hadn’t finished our paperwork even & our spare room was still very much a storage closet)  Yet, three days later we welcomed a new friend into our home & became parents to a 17 year old, a few months away from being out on her own.  It felt crazy…I’m sure it appears crazy…and yet, it also felt like this is EXACTLY what we were supposed to be doing. 
“The room isn’t ready, we don’t have a mattress, our bank account is already empty, she’s seventeen, I don’t feel well…”
(I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that I found out I was pregnant the morning we picked our new friend up. )

But, we still said yes.  We rented a storage unit and emptied her room in rapid speed.  We had a mattress within hours of posting the need on facebook.  We stepped out in faith.
With a preschooler & toddler at home & a baby in the belly---we’ve been on the fastest learning curve ever for raising a teenager.  We navigated school, relationship issues, behaviors, planning for the future—and have moved on to helping her find an apartment, furnish it & enroll in college.  To say it’s been a whirlwind few months is an understatement.  To say it’s been easy & fun would be a lie.

She has been a great addition to our family---our children adore her and she is sweet & kind.  And yet, there are frustrations, and differences in personalities & history that we didn’t create & cannot fix.  There is a future we must help prepare her for & so little time to feel like we can adequately equip her the way we were equipped by our parents.  And so again, we step out in faith…and pray a lot.  At the end of the day, we have to trust that somewhere down the road something we have said will have stuck---and not because they are words of our mouth, but that they are God’s truth. 
I’m a parent of 2 (almost 3) & yet I feel like I’ve “grown up” in the last few months.  A few years ago I was touring apartments & learning about lease terms & deposits with my mom by my side and now I’m in the driver’s seat at these appointments asking the questions a parent asks.  And it stings.  Things are not as they ought to be.

And yet, in the midst of the pain & frustration we have seen beauty like never before.  Our church community and friends have blessed us (really our new friend) in ways that have humbled me and brought me to tears.  When I mentioned a need for clothing we had bags of nice clothing immediately brought to us.  When I put out a request to help furnish an apartment, many came forward with items they no longer needed.  When a friend asked me in a parking lot one night how things were going---she blessed me in a way I don’t think she even could have realized…allowing me to share what it has really been like.  When my husband’s car bit the dust for good, a family in our church loaned us a car as we work to make other arrangements.  And when we had a new family member, they were greeted as if they had always been a part of our family….and that was perhaps the biggest blessing of all.
As I mentioned earlier, we discovered we were pregnant a few hours before we met our new friend.  I’ve been sick, tired, moody x 3.  Part of it is third pregnancy, part of it is added stress, part of it is no real time to rest with two little ones and a bigger kiddo with a full schedule.  We are about out of the first trimester and I’m hoping to feel much better in a few weeks.  I’m taking B-6 3x a day & Zofran as a back-up.  Things could be much worse & we are so thankful for this sweet baby that we will meet in June.

There have been many times in the last few months that I have questioned why God would bring this opportunity before us.  And then I ask why things continue to go wrong (broken car, dryer, messed up bills, etc..)   Why?  Why now?  Why us?  I don’t have answers…though some of it is pretty straightforward.  Kids need homes.  While we don’t have excess income & each month is a bit of a struggle---we DO have an extra bedroom & the knowledge to care for another child.  Why now?  Because there is never going to be a perfect time--we will likely never have “enough” money, “enough” time, “enough” energy.  The “why us?”---I’ll never have an answer there.  I feel so ill-equipped to be a parent and handle raising my biological children that I will never understand why we feel so strongly that God has asked us to do this right now.  All I know is there is no way we would have made it this far if operating under our own strength.
There can be beauty in the brokenness…. And if our new friend only leaves with learning one thing from us, I hope that is it.