Roots, Fence Posts, and a Random Rock

I’m not even gonna lie. Love hurts.

In fact, I’ve had moments in the past few days where I’ve lamented through hot, messy tears that love “isn’t fair,” and it feels like a “gamble,” and like “a pile of no guarantees,” and like “a pit in the stomach and a punch in the gut.” And I’m sure I’ve uttered a few other overwhelmed, Eeyore kind of sentiments, but I can’t remember them all and probably shouldn’t.

To be perfectly honest, that drive from the agency to the metro park was a blur–a blur of tears and a blur of emotions.

I can’t share all of the details, and I have no desire to…but suffice to say: Yesterday morning, we were reminded again that we may not get to forever love the little soul we now hold in our arms.

I’m pretty sure the words sounded jumbled as they tumbled from our case worker’s mouth. It sounded like slow-mo, if you ask me.

“There is a possibility that a next of kin is interested in custody.”

I felt the breath leave me.

Sure, we always knew this was a possibility. And sure, we know we signed up for this. And yet…it still hurts. Why? Because the knowing doesn’t prevent the “ouch.”

We’ve loved this soul for exactly two months, and it’s been a fierce kind of love. The kind of love that leaves a hole when it’s removed; the kind of love that makes your heart ache and your arms heavy. The kind of love that can’t hug enough, hold enough, squeeze enough, or take enough pictures. The kind of love that day dreams and prays real long. It’s been that kind of love.

And yet…we always knew this was a possibility.

So as we meandered our way through bumpkin’ roads that resembled more of my Pennsylvania roots than that of the suburban Ohio roads we frequent, I asked God to meet us in the middle of our hurt. I didn’t utter the words out loud, and I didn’t close my eyes; I just prayed them in my heart.

As we got out of the car to hike a new metro park, two text messages popped up from two different friends on the face of my black screen.

One read: May today be yet another fence post moment of your story and your trust in Him.

Another read: Praying you will continue to live your lives rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6 

More tears pooled in my eyes as I thanked the Lord for dear friends who encourage with the Truth.

And then I moved on.

Walking the wooded paths, lined with wild, pink lilies, scared deer, and a babbling stream streaked with morning sun, I found myself calmed. Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, I had this recurring thought: If I can trust that He made all of THIS, then I can trust that He knows all of THAT. 

Plodding on, through what felt like a Secret Garden of sorts, we stumbled upon butterflies, moss-covered logs, stone overpasses, and this GIANT tree.

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As we drew closer to the tree, I found the following sign:

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Growing since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Over 241 years old. WOW.

I started to think about all the tree had endured in its lifetime.

Obviously, it endured a flood (as noted on the sign post) but what about storms? Lightning strikes? Excavation opportunities? Changes in soil? Bug infestations? Too much sun? Not enough water? Kids obsessed with peeling bark?

As I pondered, I marveled.

ROOTS. 

What incredible roots this tree must have!

And as I looked to very top, where the sun was shining, I was overcome with the way the Creator had provided for this creation over the course of its many, long years.

And just as quickly as that thought came, the content of one of those texts stumbled into my mind.

Praying you will continue to live your lives rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness.

Rooted. In what? In Him.

Strengthened. How? Though faith.

Overflowing. With what? With thankfulness.

Because we are rooted in Him, we can be strengthened through these faith-building moments. These moments of unknowns, gambles, and no guarantees–these moments that don’t feel fair and certainly not fun. We can be rooted in His character–steadfast, immovable, and faithful to His promises–because He is a good, good Father who cares for His creation through all weathers and all wearying moments. And when we find ourselves rooted in Him and strengthened through faith, we can be thankful.

Thankful? Thankful for what?

Thankful He knows what’s best for this little one. Thankful He knows what’s good for our family. Thankful He knows what will grow us and change us the most. Thankful He knows the future, our fears, and our frustrations. Thankful He is faithful to His people and to His never-broken promises. Thankful for the hard.

Thankful.

And just as quickly as those reassuring thoughts were marinading, the content of the other text barraged my mind.

May today be yet another fence post moment of your story and your trust in Him.

FENCE POSTS. 

What are they for; what is their purpose?

To ground the fence.

They must be sturdy, steady, and straightened correctly. They must be set correctly and spaced appropriately.

Why?

Because if your posts aren’t set correctly, your fence will fall and your posts will rot. And when your posts rot and fall, your fence is not only susceptible to inclement weather, but it’s also vulnerable to all kinds of unwanted animals.

What did she say?

May today be yet another fence post moment of your story and your trust in Him.

And yesterday was.

Another moment and another part of our story–a story that God is writing and a fence that He is building for our good and His glory. A fence that will not fall and will not rot. A fence that can be TRUSTED; a fence that can weather the storms and stand the test of time.

Yes. He is THAT kind of Father.

We may not know what tomorrow holds, or if our arms will be wrapped around this little soul we hold today, but we can know this:

We follow a Father who ROOTS us–a Father who SECURES us–a Father we can TRUST through every event and through every storm. 

And if those text messages, and that tree, and that walk in the woods didn’t grab my soul in a tender, fast way, well…I don’t know what else would. Except this.

As we finished the last leg of our walk, I happened to look down. There, in the middle of a little cove of flowers, lay this rock. It was a painted rock from the “Ohio Rocks” movement–started in Northeast Ohio that has spread all over the state. What’s their purpose? To make people smile as they hide painted rocks for others to find.

Boy, did they fulfill their purpose!

Not sure how this rock got planted in Southwest Ohio or who hid it but looking down at that rock, it was as if Jesus planted it there Himself.

Live and love in the moment, Jessica…for however long or short that may be. Because love will never, ever be taken away. 

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Not EVEN Super Heroes

As of late, we’ve been receiving LOTS of affirmation for our willingness to foster. We’ve heard a whole heap of lovely encouragement and a whole boatload of beautiful words. On social media, in conversations, via texts, through e-mails…we’ve been receiving a lotta lovin’ from a lot of you.

We’ve heard things like:

“You’re saints!”

“We so admire you.”

“We think you’re wonderful.”

“You guys are beautiful.”

“God is using you.”

“The world needs more people like you.”

Just to name a few.

And though those words are incredibly supportive and even “wind for our sometimes  tired sails and weary souls,” I want to set the record straight: We do NOT believe we’re Super Heroes. Not EVEN for a second. 

Now hear me.

I’m not suggesting that encouragement is wrong…because it’s not. And I’m not suggesting that being a supportive cheerleader is “not okay”…because it is. Truly and sincerely, to those who have been supporting and encouraging us along the way…we need you; we appreciate you; and we thank you.

But here’s what I’m saying…

The Buczek fam isn’t trying to be awesome. We’re not trying to earn a badge. We’re not trying to earn jewels for our crowns. We don’t think we’re tiny-saviors, and we don’t believe we are mini-messiahs. We don’t believe we’re better than those who don’t foster, and we don’t believe we are “more godly, more spiritual, or more anything else” than anyone who isn’t living the journey we’ve chosen. We don’t think we’re “cool,” and we certainly aren’t on some millennial quest to check off some “ministry quota.” We don’t believe we wear capes, gowns, or hats of honor. We don’t believe we are “really good people,” or “extra special souls,” or anything else that would put us in a place of superiority or in a position of praise. We believe God can use ANYONE and doesn’t need to use us to do His work.

We don’t believe any of that.

But here is what we do believe about what we are doing.

We believe we are ordinary people who have been loved by Jesus. We believe we have a safe home and willing hearts to care for little souls who need safe love. We believe there are a million and one ways to follow Jesus, serve Jesus, and worship Jesus–fostering being just ONE of those ways. We believe we are called to help, not save. We believe we are equipped to care, not rescue. We believe we are broken, imperfect people who love in broken and imperfect ways. We believe we have been called to open up our home and extend our hearts until God says, “Follow me a different way.” We believe we were following Jesus before fostering, and we believe we can follow Him without fostering. We believe we are flawed followers attempting to follow a perfect Savior in an earthly life that offers a million and one opportunities to follow well. We believe God’s love for us has not increased since we started this process, and we believe it won’t decrease if we stop doing it. We simply believe we are broken vessels that God is graciously using to do His work.

And if there is anything praiseworthy about anything we are doing, then praise be HIS NAME!

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

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Deep Waters, Transitions, and the God of Rescue

sI can’t explain all that these last six days have been for our family but suffice to say, “We’ve been at not only a beautiful place of abundant joy, but also a place of complete and utter dependence.”

When you receive a newborn on a Friday afternoon, nothing adequately prepares you for all the changes that come alongside that diaper bag and that car seat. Nothing. There is no wading in and getting your toes wet. There’s no slow saunter from the shallow end to the deep end. No. It’s just a cold, hard, fast jump from the high dive into the deep waters.

It’s been beautiful, friends, and it’s also been overwhelmingly NEW. And QUICK. And DEEP.

And with that NEW, and that QUICK, and that DEEP has come some serious re-orienting and re-adjusting to not only our home and our family life, but also to our schedules, our capacity, our goals, our expectations, our routines, our sleep patterns, our eating times…our EVERYTHING.

And though a majority of all the adjusting and changing has been smooth and sweet, it’s still been a transition; it’s still been a change. And I don’t know about you, but for me…transition requires trust. A whole lot of needy, dependent trust. And though I would like to say I have flawlessly trusted the Lord and relied on His all-sufficient power, I can’t say that. I just really can’t.

So as I was reading through some passages in Isaiah yesterday afternoon, I was struck by the situation of God’s people.

Quick summary: God’s people are in trouble, and they are looking for help. 

See, I told you it would be quick.

And here is what some of the people did when they found themselves in this place (paraphrased passages from 30:1-2, 16; 31:1). 

They carried out a plan, but not God’s.

They made an alliance, but not with the Spirit.

They went down to Egypt without asking for God’s direction.

They took refuge in the protection of Pharaoh.

They sought shelter in the shadow of Egypt.

They fled upon horses.

They went to Egypt for help.

They relied on their horses.

They trusted in their numerous chariots.

They trusted in their strong horsemen.

And here is what God said to what some of them did (paraphrased passages from 30:7,15; 31:1). 

Egypt’s help is worthless and empty.

In returning to me and resting in me, you will be saved.

In quietness and in trust, you will have strength.

Woe to those who don’t look to the Holy One.

Woe to those who don’t consult the Lord.

The Egyptians are man and not God.

Horses are flesh and not the Spirit.

Now, trust me, the judgment upon God’s people and their looming-dooming destruction is NOT anything like receiving a newborn on a Friday afternoon. I get that. I admit that. But here’s what rang similar in my heart and soul as I read these passages.

When I face change, I can either run to Him…or I can not. 

I can rest in His provision, or I can clamor and rely on that much-needed nap.

I can seek the shelter of an 8-hour night of sleep, or I can rest in His strength.

I can search for that schedule stability and battle for that secure routine, or I can safely dwell in His all-knowing omniscience.

I can trust in my ability to multi-task, or I can consult the Lord with my plans.

I can run for the approval of others, or I can turn my face heaven-ward.

I can reason in the recesses of my logical mind, or I can trust in the sovereignty of His almighty, perfect plans.

I can find security in the temporal, or I can find salvation in the eternal.

I can find rest in the finite, or I can find rescue in the infinite.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS have two options. 

And though there is nothing wrong with naps, routines, logic, and supportive affirmation from others, I cannot depend on finding true peace, quiet security, and forever rescue in those things. I just can’t.

In fact, Isaiah 33:2 summarizes my current need in such a beautiful and concise way that I want to pen it all over my mirrors, and all over my walls, and all over my arms.

I’ll personalize it for me, and you can do the same.

“O Lord, be gracious to [me]; [I] wait for you. Be [my] arm every morning; [my] salvation in the time of [transition] and trouble.”

Friends, I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but here’s what I do know:

We have a Savior who can be trusted in ALL times, in all transitions, and in all troubles. 

Praise be to His name for He truly is our quiet peace, our secure dwelling, and our resting place!

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Every Child, Every Step

On May 15th, 2016, we made the decision, as a family of four, to walk through the door of opening our hearts and our homes to another soul. When we started the journey, we really had no clue where it would take us, how long it would take us, and to who it would take us (we still don’t know that).

We didn’t know the challenges it would involve; we didn’t know the frustrations that would come; and we certainly didn’t know that it would lead us to a door of more and more unknowns.

All we knew is we were opening the door of our hearts and walking through a possibility.

At t he time, we weren’t sure if the door would lead us down a path of a private adoption with a private agency, adoption with a big-name organization,  or fostering through our local, county agency.

One step in front of the other. One prayer after the other. One call after the other. One prompting after another. One conversation after the other. Walking, walking, walking; we have continued to put one foot in front of the other, leaning on our Savior and trusting Him for every step of the way.

Some steps have been clear and some have been not-so-clear. Some steps have been easy and some have been hard. Some have been fun and some have been scary. Some have been fast and some have been slow. Some have been in a straight line and some not-so-much.

Suffice to say, it’s been a journey filled with lots of steps…with only more to come. 

On May 15th, 2016 we walked through a door. And today, almost exactly a year later, we walk through another. On May 17th, 2017, we can officially say, “We have been dual-licensed to foster and/or adopt!”

We have no clue what is behind this new door, or where this path will or will not lead, but here’s a few things I know and choose to believe.

Every child is worth the paperwork.

Every child is worth the hours.

Every child is worth the sacrifice.

Every child is worth the money.

Every child is worth the appointments, the meetings, and the emails.

Every child is worth the changes.

Every child is worth the renovations.

Every child is worth the questions.

Every child is worth the awkward conversations.

Every child is worth the exhaustion.

Every child is worth the tears.

Every child is worth the fears.

Every child is worth the wait.

Every child is worth the walk.

Every child is worth every single one of those steps.

Because every child (biological, fostered, or adopted) is worthy of being loved, protected, and nurtured by hearts that are willingly open to be broken and changed along the way.

Every child, every step. 

To God be the glory, great things He has done… and great things we believe He will continue to do.

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Foster-to-Adopt: Filling an Empty Crib with Love

We haven’t even received our first placement and our kiddos are already struggling with the idea of sharing and caring with a new “sibling.”

We haven’t even received our first placement and our kiddos have already shed tears over this “brother or sister.”

We haven’t even received our first placement and yet, the change is already happening and the kiddos are having to make all kinds of “extra room” for this new soul.

Rewind to about a month ago when we first set up the crib…

There was a new crib (a real, bona fide crib) complete with a crib sheet and a blankie. And all of a sudden, things got real.

The kids were pumped–absolutely pumped!

There was all kinds of talk about the age of the child (baby or toddler), what the child would look like (fair skin, brown skin, black skin, or something in between), and if the child would be a “brother” or a “sister.” Honestly, I think they could really care less who or what, they are just super excited to have that crib filled with ANOTHER SOUL.

But then daddy broached the subject of the empty crib, the one with no stuffed animals and no lovies and all of a sudden…the fist-pumping seemed to dissipate and a few tears were shed.

The thrill had simmered.

Why?

Because daddy had suggested that there was a little boy and a little girl who had a plethora of pandas, polar bears, and penguins and scads of caterpillars, cats, and cuddly bears filling their comfy beds. They had stuffed lovies in every nook and cranny of their beds, many who haven’t been cuddled and loved for quite some time.

“Caden and Evie, have you seen this empty crib?”

Heads nodded.

“I was thinking that maybe you guys could look through your stuffed animals and maybe pick out several that you could share with the new baby.”

Heads sunk and the protests started.

“But I use all of mine,” our son insisted.

“NO. I not want to share,” our daughter proclaimed.

“I understand that, but how do you think this child would feel if they were removed from their home, taken away from all of their special things, and were placed in a home with an empty bed. How do you think they would feel?”

Immediately, tears pooled in our son’s eyes.

Hearing the conversation from a room removed, I entered the room and empathized with the difficulty in sharing and caring for a soul they’ve never met. I normalized their feelings and suggested the following:

“How about you guys think and pray about giving up some of your animals and when you feel like it, you can take them upstairs and place them in the crib? How does that sound?”

They both nodded their heads and we moved on…and so did the Spirit.

But later that night, when we went to tuck in our littlest, there was a white polar bear and a soft, brown puppy sitting in the middle of the crib.

And then a few days later, when I was putting away clothes, I noticed that our oldest had placed a rainbow-colored caterpillar.

We didn’t say anything; we simply smiled. The Spirit was moving; hearts were softening; and the crib was slowly being filled. 

And then, about a week later, I spied a blue lovie with a monkey head; it was placed by our daughter.

And today, when I went up to empty wastebaskets, I found our son’s stuffed, green frog squatting between the puppy and monkey.

Again, my heart smiled and my face beamed.

Exclaiming from upstairs,”Oh my goodness!!! Have you seen this crib?!?! Look at how much love has filled this crib!!!”

Immediately, little feet were storming the stairs and tumbling into the little, yellow room.

As I affirmed their kindness, thanked their generosity, and pointed out their softened hearts, two sets of eyes were beaming beside the crib. And then our daughter spoke.

“I give them my monkey because they gonna need it.” 

Immediately, my heart filled with another burst of love.

She was right; sooooo right. Whoever occupies that bed, is gonna need some love. ALLLLL. KINDS. OF. LOVE.

Now I realize that they didn’t give their favorites and their most-very special (aint’ nobody gettin’ “Baby Bear” and “Charlie”) but it doesn’t really matter.

Why?

 

Because giving anything at all was both a BIG DEAL and a LITTLE STEP.

And to us, LITTLE STEPS are part of the journey when choosing to live a life of BIG LOVE.

And when choosing to live a life of BIG LOVE, there are many, many, many moments when sharing and caring is a SACRIFICIAL CHOICE. 

And sometimes, those LOVING CHOICES look like shared puppies and gifted monkeys from kids who have shed a few tears along the way.

So as we wait and pray for this child (the one who will be surrounded by the comforts of a frog, a puppy, a caterpillar, a polar bear, and a monkey) we covet your prayers for softened hearts as we make all kinds of “extra room” in both our home and in our hearts.

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Fostering, Adopting, and Messy Messes

I am not the most persevering person; I know this about myself.

I am not the most patient person; I know this about myself.

I am not a person who likes messes; I know this about myself.

I am not the most persevering and patient person when things get messy and long; I know this about myself.

So this past weekend when my hubby started whacking out plaster to make room for a new door (for a new soul to move into our home), I got a little overwhelmed by the mess and the length of the mess.

Originally, we estimated that it would take about two hours to cut out the round-shape hole for a rectangle-shaped door. I knew there would be mess because that’s what happens when you get out tools and then hand them to men. I figured as much, and I was ready for that.

But when I heard a loud bang, and then a loud crash, and then heard, “Are you kidding me?! Jessica, you gotta see what’s under here,” I wanted to run for the hills. For the easy, clean, no-demolition hills.

Tentatively, I poked my head up the stairs to not only find a large piece of plaster smattering our hardwood floors, but I also saw a bunch of metal hanging from the top of the hole in the wall. Not only had plaster fallen onto the upstairs banister, giving the wood a nice blow and a pretty scar, but there was plaster dust EVERYWHERE. On my walls, on my pictures, on my wood floors, on my hubby, and on my lungs. EVERYWHERE was the dreaded, white dust of home improvement. Oh, and there was METAL hanging from the hole in the wall. METAL. Like hard, metal lathe…stuff that you make castle, prison cells out of…benches found on Alcatraz…weird, modern art monuments found in big entryways of glass lobbies….THAT kind of stuff. THAT was what was hanging from the doorway.

Ugh.

I could tell from the look on my hubby’s face that this was no longer a two hour job. Nope. Not happenin’. We had just moved into the land of “indefinite, demolition time.”

I managed to grimace a weak, supportive smile and then said, “Babe, you’re awesome,” and then I made a beeline for the kitchen where I hatched a plan to make a second cup of coffee.

As I waited for the coffee to brew while simultaneously flinching every time I heard a bang, fall, or crash, I breathed a tired sigh and had a martyr-like thought.

Why is nothing ever easy for us? 

You ever had a thought like that? Like the kind of thought where for several seconds you believe that you are the first and only-ever person who has ever experienced a tumultuous moment?

Yep, I was there. Again.

And then the Lord brought my mind to the blog post I had literally written 14 days prior to the door drama.

Isn’t this what you committed to? Isn’t this what you were resolute that you wanted to do in 2017? Isn’t this what we “talked” about? Open and out, right? Or was that not what happened that afternoon at the sink? 

Gah. True, true, and true. It was.

And God, in His absolute kindness and grace, is loving enough to give us opportunities to practice the things we pray for and preach.

Open and out…when things gets messy, hard, long, unexpected, and frustrating.

Open and out…when the wall is rigged with metal lathe.

Open and out…when your upstairs is being covered and caked with powdered dust.

Open and out…when your banister gets a gash in it.

Open and out…when your husband will now spend seven hours of your Saturday doing a project that was supposed to take three.

Open and out…when things don’t go as planned.

And since that Saturday, a few weeks ago, God has continued to provide a few more of those “open and out” moments. 

Open and out…when the new door and trim increases another $100+.

Open and out…when the new door takes longer to order because it needs a special jamb.

Open and out…when paperwork is taking longer to complete.

Open and out…when the CPR training for your license went from free to NOT AT ALL FREE.

Open and out…when the CPR class was supposed to be four hours but is actually turning into 6 1/2 hours.

Open and out…when your kids are sobbing as they brush their teeth at 9:20 PM because they “miss you” and are tired of the weekly and now bi-weekly training classes.

Open and out…when you just feel tired, and weary, and OVER IT.

Lord, it’s been only 20 days since I wrote that blog post. Were you planning on this “open and out thing” being a daily occurrence?!?! 

As I sank into a tub of steaming bubbles last night, I held out my hands. Open, extended, and with tears pooling in my eyes, I asked the Lord for the grace to keep them “open and out,” trusting Him with ALL THE THINGS.

And ya know what I felt whispered deep into my soul?

Jessica, you can’t make room for a new, little soul and expect that things aren’t going to hurt? You can’t expect that as you create doors in your home and room in your heart that you aren’t going to get a few “gashes,” and feel a little “dust,” and run into some “metal lathe.” You just can’t. Keep trusting me to help you; keep trusting me to provide the tools and time you need to make these “openings” in all ways. I got this.  

As the tears pooled and then ran down my cheeks, I felt like my heart was running…running right into the hard hills of mess. And as I envisioned myself running with my hands open and out, I found myself thinking about sheep.

I started thinking about sheep that make a choice to trust in their Shepherd. I started thinking about a Shepherd who guides His sheep through valleys dark, mountains high, and messes wide…a Shepherd who helps us follow when our hearts get scared and our faith gets weak…a Shepherd who leads us beside His still waters and into His green pastures even when the path takes us places that our feet didn’t plan to walk.

And as I thought about those messy paths and that faithful Shepherd, I felt God’s grace covering my proverbial “hands,” empowering them to remain open and out as He makes ALL KINDS OF ROOM in our hearts and home. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your they comfort me. Psalms 23:1-4

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MLK: More Than a Meme, More Than a Monday

I went back and forth yesterday over whether or not I wanted to share anything on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and for some reason (too long to explain and probably not even necessary), I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  My heart struggled in a way it hasn’t before.

And though there is and was absolutely NOTHING wrong with the millions of people that took to Twitter, FB, and Instagram with their posting of memes, quotes, and other thought-provoking sentiments and challenges, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I just couldn’t.

“Why is this such a struggle for me? Heart, why won’t you act?”

And as I thought about this struggle of mine and why my heart ached throughout the children’s museum we roamed yesterday (side by side with brothers and sisters of all colors and cultures), it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that it hit me.

I struggle with celebrating a day without living it all the other days. 

And though there are tons and tons of people that posted yesterday AND live out the mantras and memes they shared and liked, I wonder how many of us (myself most definitely included) freely share on days like the third Monday in January without freely sharing all the other ones.

And as I reflected on that yesterday afternoon and into this morning, my heart felt challenged and my soul felt convicted. And because of that, yesterday, I couldn’t and didn’t share.

Why?

Because I wanted my heart to take a silent stand, making a thoughtful and committed promise that in 2017, I want to share on all the other days that aren’t so glamorous…on all the other days that aren’t so publicized…in all the other moments where no one else sees and where the rubber meets the road of our memes.

I want to share in the grocery aisle as I pass someone with different hair.

I want to share in the library as I rub shoulders with someone who has different skin tones.

I want to share in the restaurants as I stand in line with someone with different clothes.

I want to share in our church as I worship with someone who shares a different culture.

I want to share in the places I walk and in the places I live with all the different people my feet may meet.

I want to be a bridge builder, a gap-closer, a peace-maker, and an open hand on all the other days.

I want to be a safe place, a kind face, a thoughtful space, and an arm of grace on all the other days.

I want to live my life on all the other days asking, learning, reaching, and growing.

I want to live my life on all the other days ridding myself of my notions, my assumptions, my fears, and my close-minded blind spots.

I want to share on all the other days of what it means to be in relationship with those who don’t share my piece of culture, my piece of skin, and my piece of experiences.

I want to share on all the other days, in both my words and actions, that my arms and heart and mind extend beyond the confines of my white, suburban, middle-class culture.

I want to share, teach, encourage, and help our children understand, appreciate, and value all kinds of others on all the other days.

I want to live life and share love while humbly learning (Lord knows I have a lot to learn) what it means to live with open arms and an open mind on all the other days.

I want to share love and support on all the other days when no one else sees and where no one else likes.

Why?

Because there was an earthly man and a Heavenly Man who sacrificed their lives so that we could live all the other days learning how to love HIM and embrace ONE ANOTHER. 

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