Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm A Fixer

It is my personality to want to fix things, especially when it comes to my children. Kids having problems? I'll take care of it. Friend needs some support? I'll be there. Laundry is out of control? I've got a system to handle it.

But I can't fix this. And He is teaching me that I shouldn't be trying to put every piece back together in any broken situation all by myself. He is the One that restores. He is the One that heals. And He is the One that makes sense of the storms.

Goodness, this has all been a tad consuming. I feel like I spend a lot of my time praying, "Lord, is it your plan for us to keep these girls? Or are You planning to rebuild their bio family? Should I do this? Should I do that? PLEASE GIVE ME AN ANSWER!"

Ahem. Sorry. Clearly my patience isn't great.

C has been struggling. Its just plain and simple. She is sad, and I can tell that her little 5 year old thoughts are elsewhere. She has been here almost 3 months, she is confused about her mom, and she wants me to make the hurting stop. She wants me to explain why she never comes to see her, and she wants me to fix it. But I can't - and I hate that.

So I stand in this confusing space of wanting to reach out to the mom and show her grace, and wanting to come across the table at the her during our next visit. Just being honest.

I can tell that C wants to love me, yet she keeps me at an arms length some of the time. She needs me, but she's not sure she can trust me. We have this constant power struggle, I want the natural relationship to be there, but the bottom line is that it just takes time. All things that are worth while take time. Our foster worker (who I love) told me something last week that keeps haunting me...

"She's waiting for you to leave."

That's a sobering truth for me. So this past week I have spent a lot of time reassuring, and I have spent a lot of time tucking her in and saying, "you know I'm here for good, right? I'm not going anywhere." We are making progress, but I must confess that having a child reject your love and ask for a woman who has basically abandoned her has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with.

(I know it's all part of foster care. Feel free to jump in here with all the experience that you might have with attachment problems)

I can't fix it, but I know He can in His timing. Even though its a mess right now, I can also say that it has been the biggest lesson in unconditional love for me. I can hate the mom all I want, but the bottom line is her sin is no different than my sin in the Lords eyes - hers is just more public. There are not only kids that need homes, but there are families that need hope.

We are supposed to see her today, it will only be the 2nd time in 12 weeks that she has come. I can already tell you that C is going to feel abandoned again, and that it will be a hard day for her. So please pray for her little heart, I would really appreciate it!

I want to put all the pieces back together, but that's not my job. My job is to love unconditionally and try to share Jesus in any way I can while we have them. His promises aren't empty, He will bring beauty from ashes in all of this - that is about the only thing I'm currently sure of :).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Are More

than the cook...

more than the chauffeur...

more than the referee...

more than the cleaner...

and more than the lady chasing her kid down aisle 8.

A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31: 10-12)

You are more than a number...

more than a size...

more than an exercise...

more than the latest trends.

and more than the worlds pressure to be perfect.

Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31: 29-30)

You are more than a soccer mom...

more than a pto volunteer...

more than a field trip chaperon..

and more than the one who's always pushing a stroller and wearing a baby while cheering her kiddo on.

She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (Proverbs 31: 15-16)

You are more than the sock sorter...

more than the lunch packer...

more than the math teacher...

more than the cupcake maker...

and more than the one who tucks their shirts in, wipes their faces off, and sends them on their way.

 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet. (Proverbs 31: 20-21)

You are more than the potty trainer, bath giver, and the crumb cleaner.

You are His.

Living in His sweet grace.

Clinging to this giant role.

Bringing up these little treasures that call you mama.

You are sought after, chased down, cuddled up next to, kissed on, waited for, and adored by those He's entrusted to you. You have the most important job with the greatest benefit package.

And today is another day to embrace that gift...this calling.

Enjoy it, it's fleeting.

(Just a re-post today...because I've had to remind myself of these things this week. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In The Motherhood

Motherhood is beautiful. And fun, and exciting, and adventurous. It's also really rough sometimes. The day in and the day out has gotten to me lately, and before I know it, I'm crying over the stove while I stir macaroni and cheese. You know those moments. The kids are crazy, dinner isn't ready, you're still in your workout clothes from that morning, and the husband just called and said he's going to be late.

I am thankful for this role, but honestly, sometimes, it can feel all consuming. I feel like I'm often just coasting in on fumes by bedtime.

Have I truly become that woman who lost herself in motherhood?

That is the age old question of the mother who's in yoga pants, with her hair tied back, breaking up a fight, and carrying a laundry basket down the stairs while a crying child hangs on her leg.

(Good news, though. Even when we feel lost in motherhood, He still sees us.)

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mom. I've wanted to grow bundles of joy in my womb and I've wanted to have little arms to hug my neck. I asked, and He answered, 6 times over. And now He is letting us love on kids that need a family.

I will forever feel undeserving of these amazing kiddos, and I will also forever say that they are living proof of His grace in my life. Walking, talking, growing, and snugly grace.

Goodness, that's a lot of weddings right there.

But even though motherhood is nothing short of miraculous, it's easy to feel consumed and burnt out. You know what God is teaching me, though? It's ok to feel burnt out.

It's ok to feel like you want something for yourself, it's ok to feel like you need a break, and its ok to feel like you might run screaming from your house. God knew us moms would feel these things, none of those feelings surprise Him like they do us.

My people pleasing instinct is to paint this pretty picture of a life that is always filled with beautiful pictures of the kids and I sharing ice cream cones and braiding each others hair. But that is not real life. Real life is me breaking up arguments over who is looking at who, kids crying because we're not buying something out of the dollar bins at Target, floors that desperately need mopped, and a mother that often needs the biggest chill pill YOU'VE EVER SEEN.

Just being honest.

Sometimes I don't like to say all this out loud...cause that makes it real.

After all, what good mom gets burnt out? What good mom admits that she feels totally consumed by the day to day routines? What mother says she is just tired of being tracked down every second of the day? And what good mother admits that some days she just wants to get in the car and drive away??

Hi, my name is Kate, and I'd like to admit those things - along with the fact that I sometimes feel swallowed whole by motherhood.

And while we're admitting things, I sometimes tell my kids that I have to use the restroom when I don't. And then there's those times when I walk at a glacier pace to return my shopping cart to the cart corral after I get my herd in the car. And ok, I'm not really resting my eyes, I am trying to catch a quick nap but I can't because A CHILD KEEPS POKING ME IN THE FACE.


The responsibility of motherhood is heavy - you have to reach a point where you realize it wasn't meant for you to carry alone. He wants to listen and help. I think the magic moment is when you see and believe that every season and every journey is part of the bigger plan to make you who He wants you to be.

So ultimately, this mommy journey isn't just about the kids, it's about God doing a work in you as well. We are a big part of the picture even though we're often covered up by sweet little loves and buried beneath embarrassing amounts of laundry. Behind the cute kids and the perfect family picture is a mom running the household ship all day until she lays her head down at night. We are stronger than we think, and oh are we cherished by Him.

"The days are long, but the years are short." I can't remember where I read that but I know it's true. So I'm taking every seasoned parents advice that "this time will go so fast" - even though it doesn't feel that way some days.

I don't have much "me time", and my days are about serving others - and because of that, I think I'm starting to see myself clearer. I'm starting to see that motherhood is about me too, that my heart and my passions matter to Him just as much as the kids matter to me.

He's not just our God, but our Father, remember? And a Father cares about His child.

It's all grace. Messy, consuming, but amazing grace. I see now that He's using them to help mold me, as I try to mold them.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Mommy Quiz

After having half of a poptart thrown over the shower curtain this morning while washing my hair, I decided it was time to take the motherhood quiz again.

These are the questions of our lives. Or maybe just my life. You can decide.

1.) You go out for a morning run and upon arrival home you have 4 minutes before you need to wake the children. Do you...
A. Brush your teeth
B. Take the worlds quickest shower
C. Wait 5 minutes till the baby starts screaming then shower with him on your hip.
D. Wait till all the children are up and available to stand in the bathroom to confirm you have no privacy.

2.) Breakfast is over for the kids and now you have 90 seconds to eat something before the first fight of the day breaks out over who holds the remote. Do you...
A. Eat the leftover scraps from the table.
B. Eat the half eaten granola bar that's in your pocket from yesterday (yes, you have the same pants on).
C. Pray that Starbucks has started delivering breakfast to moms across the nation at 8am every morning.
D. Eat Cheerios out of the no spill bowl that you poured for your baby while one child hangs on your leg.

3.) There are 47 loads of laundry to do and only 24 hours in the day. Do you...
A. Pack the washer way beyond capacity and hope the water reaches every piece.
B. Drag it all to goodwill and start over.
C. Eat a donut.
D. Ignore it and wait for your imaginary cleaning lady to show up.

4.) 3 of your kids have soccer. The oldest has soccer at 5:30 and the middle 2 have soccer at 6pm. They all need to eat 1 hour before and will want to eat again within 1 hour of being home. Then all 8 need baths before the 1st bedtime at 7:15 and the 2nd bedtime at 7:45 which is basically impossible. How do you go about this without losing your mind?

Explain your answer & show your work.

5.)  "Me time" is now defined as...
A. Sitting in the car by yourself during soccer practice.
B. A root canal on a sunny afternoon.
C. Walking to the mailbox.
D. All of the above.

6.) The FedEx guy rings the doorbell during naptime and WAKES THE BABY. Do you...
A.) Punch him in the face.
B.) Kick him in the shins.
C.) Make him trade jobs for a day now that he's made yours harder.
D.) Take deep breaths similar to those while in labor to cool down before opening the door.

7.) You were just ripped from your sleep by (please note that the offender is subject to a don't-wake-mama outburst followed by a heartfelt & half-asleep apology)...
A. A child who has peed in their bed
B. A child who has peed in your bed
C. A child who has thrown up in their bed
D. A child who has thrown up in your bed

8.) When driving alone in the car Dora the Explorer comes on your Ipod and it takes you how long to change it...
A. 5 seconds
B. 10 seconds
C. 15 seconds
D. Before you know it, you realize you are at a stop light with the window rolled down and you have sang along to the whole song. (You know you don't know any adult songs anymore.)

9.) You tell the children to sit at the table quietly, but it translates into kid language as...
A. Run around the table till someone falls and cries.
B. Act like your sippy cups are bowling balls.
C. Say you aren't eating what is cooking before you've even seen it.
D. Start making fake crying noises cause mom hasn't heard enough actual crying and whining today.

10.) 67 is...
A. The amount of times someone yelled "mom!" in the past 10 minutes.
B. How many diapers you changed this week.
C. The amount you spent at Target after going in for only 1 thing that cost $3.99.
D. The amount of times you've said this week that your car should have one of those dividers that can go up and down like in a limo.

11.) You can't get anywhere on time. For this you blame...
A. Shoes that won't tie themselves.
B. Someone inevitably always has to go potty the moment you're ready to walk out the door.
D. Not being able to find your car keys that have been clipped to YOUR OWN belt loop for the past 20 minutes.

12.) While on the phone, one of the children is saying, "". Their important question is...
A. How tall are you?
B. Can turtles jump?
C. Is Ohio a country?
D. Can you flush a barbie doll?

(insert me banging my head against the nearest wall after that last one.)

13.) You still have 45 minutes till the husband gets home. 3 children are fighting, 3 are crying, and 2 have the tv volume turned up to 84. You...
A. Consider scheduling a tubal.
B. Consider scheduling a vasectomy.
C. Eat another donut.
D. Call your mom and apologize for anything you ever did as a child.
*Bonus option!*
E. All of the above.

14.) While changing clothes, with all the kids in your room of course, you hear...
A. Total silence. Just stares, wide eyes and looks of confusion and wonder on their face. You might get an occasional self esteem boosting, "you're really big" or "what is that???". (please note that the test administrator decided there was only one answer for this question)

(Its shocking that mothers get out of bed in the morning sometimes, isn't it?)

15.) You're life is...
A. Busy, but so blessed.
B. Completely exhausting, but fulfilling.
C. Chaotic, but packed full of sweetness.
D. All of the above.

Sigh, what would I do with all my extra time if I didn't have to answer these pressing questions all day long :)?

Your life is filled with these same questions, right?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

When The Hard Stuff Becomes The Good Stuff

We're 8 weeks old today. How can that be?

It's been a crazy ride so far. It's almost funny to think back and see how things have progressed. So for my records, here's an honest look at the journey so far...

We started out this adventure in what I like to call the "newborn fog". We didn't have babies but they were still new to us. I didn't know what I was doing, C & A were smiling big, and our bio children were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over their new foster siblings. This is so fun! We can fix anything! Go God! Woohoo!

A couple weeks passed and the ooh-ing and ahh-ing was replaced by "gimme that back!" and "the new girl just hit me in the face with a Barbie!". The laughing at bedtime that I initially thought was so sweet went from cute to go-to-sleep-before-mommy-turns-into-crazy-mommy. Things from the past started to surface with the girls that concerned me a good amount, my eager spirit starts to get anxious, and I basically felt like I had a billion kids at my feet all day long.

Fast forward another couple weeks. I'm a little mad at life. Good feelings are dwindling fast. I'm full of doubt. We see that A is hurting a good amount, and all the joy has basically turned to worry. Our bio children are staring with wide eyes as we push through some stuff with the girls, I am not attaching to them the way I dreamed I would, and I am begging Eric to magically come up with a solution or a reason as to why we did this.

I missed my family. You know, the old and predictable version of us.

It wasn't that I didn't love our new additions, I do love them very much, I was just having trouble making sense of it all...and it was draining. But He is changing me. He is changing us. And slowly but surely, our family is taking on a new shape. It's still hard. But there is a new and fresh wind blowing, my friends.

Something sweet is happening. There is relief, and a new normal, and a different love for C & A. We are all adjusting in a new way, A has a lot to be addressed but is the sweetest little thing, and we are seeing that God IS IN THIS. I can feel people praying. Grace is surfacing from the hard, and light is shining through the ugly.

Pushing through the hard is bringing in the good.

I remember telling my husband after a long foster class about struggling and hurting kids, "We won't have to worry about that...we're not taking a child that age...we'll get a little one before they experience a lot of bad." I'm embarrassed of that now, because that statement came from me wanting to be comfortable, not from me wanting to step outside my sheltered bubble of "on track" children and healthy babies. 

Look at her. No seriously, look at her. Isn't she sweet :)? Even though I can't show her entire face, I want you to see those innocent eyes. Look at her and know that the things she is dealing with are not her fault, she didn't ask for it, and she didn't deserve it.

Look at her and try not to love her, try to say it's too hard, try to say you can't love and let go. It's impossible.

This child and her big sister are not what I had planned. They have stretched me out of my comfort zone, and they have rocked my comfortable little world. But oh have they changed me forever. He has used them to focus my eyes back on Him, and they have reminded me that He is the ONLY one with the answers. None of this crap makes any sense without Him.

The hard stuff has become the good stuff. It has become the stuff that is changing us and molding us. It has become the stuff that is drawing us closer to Him.

He knew I didn't need easy, He knew I needed a little storm. I needed to be reminded that in my weakness He is strong, and that I can't do or fix it all

Yesterday was a good day. Sure, we had our moments but who doesn't? Their story has impacted me on so many levels, I've even felt pulled lately to reach out to their bio mom. I'm excited to see what He has in store here...for them and for us.

There is hope and grace for each new day, and for now, I really couldn't ask for anything more than that :). 

Friday, February 1, 2013

He's The One...


He's the quiet one, the one who lives with all these women, the one who gushes over his little boy, the one who kills the bugs, the one who loves to work in the garage, and the one who doesn't love to be in pictures...

He's the one I don't write about enough, the one who wrestles with the kids, the one who tells me to take deep breaths, the one who reminds me of God's grace, the one who can build anything, and the one who can't get enough snuggles with our new babies...

He's the one who keeps me grounded, the one who deals with my "fly by the seat of my pants" personality, the one who has worked through the hard stuff with me, the one who has taught me to trust, and the one who acts crazy with the kids so I can just do dishes inside by myself :) ...

He's the one that sat next to me through 4 deliveries, the one who held all the babies first, the one who is most reserved, the one who thinks things through, and the one who tells me not to worry.

He's the one who said "lets love as many kids as we can, for as long as we can" when we started our foster care process, the one who tells me to love them fearlessly, the one who tells me to take it a day at a time, and the one who reminds me that God is always in control.

He's the one I married 10 years ago today.

He's the one.

Happy 10th anniversary to the guy who takes such good care of me :). Here's to many more!