Littles Don’t Keep

It’s the night before 1st grade and the thought that keeps running through my mama head is…

Littles Don’t Keep. 

Wasn’t it just yesterday I was on bed rest, waiting for this little boy to arrive? Wasn’t I just crying on the recliner because I couldn’t figure out the whole breastfeeding thing? Wasn’t I just sitting in the doctor’s office, worried sick because he wasn’t gaining weight and wasn’t following the stupid “curve.” Wasn’t I just having a panic attack over his refusal to drink milk…like from a bottle or a boob? Wasn’t I just laying on the floor, coaxing him to roll over and sit up? Wasn’t I just filming his first steps? Wasn’t I just a basket case over having to leave him and go back to work part-time? Wasn’t I just pureeing squash and washing poop-stained onesies? Wasn’t I just following him all over the park, watching him waddle and stumble, climb and jump? Wasn’t I just elated-screaming over his first, spoken word? Wasn’t I just moving him from his crib to his “big boy bed?” Wasn’t I just teaching him his ABC’s and 123s? Wasn’t I just freaking out and googling things like, “Why doesn’t my baby want to cuddle?” Wasn’t I just playing “fireman,” running around the house and putting out fires? Wasn’t I just helping him navigate his frustrations over having to leave his “blankie” in his bed during the day? Wasn’t I just teaching him how to manage his emotions, rather than roaring like a wild beast or screaming “No way, no way, no way?!?!” Wasn’t I just soothing his tears over his bike riding fears? Wasn’t I just signing him up for his first preschool, soccer league? Wasn’t I just building train tracks and making Duplos buildings?

Wasn’t I just doing all of these things…like yesterday?

Seriously. Littles don’t keep. 

And as I have spent the past few days mulling over memories and thanking God for the past six years, the good and the hard, I had this overwhelming desire to write and encourage you, mama (whoever you might be).

Maybe you’re a mama who is in the trenches of sleepless nights, teething babies, and toddler tantrums.

Maybe you’re a mama who is fretting over weight gain, discipline issues, and the decision to wean or continue.

Maybe you’re a mama who is smack in the middle of eating battles, potty training accidents, and repeated cup spills?

Maybe you’re a mama who is feeling lonely, defeated, and overwhelmed with the routines, the day-in and the day-out.

Maybe you’re a mama who is baffled by the whole “schedule thing” or fed up with the whole “vaccination thing.”

Maybe you’re a mama who is battling guilt, dealing with postpartum depression, or raging with frustration over your little one’s refusal to sleep, eat, and obey.

Maybe you’re a mama who is prying scared hands off your legs and anxious fingers off your arms.

Maybe you’re a mama who is begging for patience, a break, a cup of coffee, and adult conversation.

Maybe you’re a mama who is questioning your abilities, your discernment, and your role as mama.

Maybe you’re a mama who wonders and worries if this season you’re in will last forever.

Mama, I don’t know what you’re facing today and fearing tomorrow, but I do know this…

Littles don’t keep. 

So, mama, whatever age you’re in and whatever stage you’re walking right now, I pray you’ll remember that even if tomorrow holds the same, the next years probably won’t. And though you are absolutely entitled to have the feelings you have today (this mama won’t tell you how to feel; I blogged about that one time), I pray you’ll find beauty within the hard and lovely in the midst of your difficult. I pray you’ll hold fast to these fleeting moments and make memories in the midst of it all (good, bad, and ugly alike). I pray you’ll cherish the precious, pray over the hard, and praise Him for these sweet, ever-changing moments. And I pray you will hold those precious souls tight, and maybe even a little longer than necessary, because mama…

Littles don’t keep. 

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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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Hiding with Doritos in the Basement

A couple weeks ago, I found myself huddled in the basement, beside the dehumidifier (it’s cool and makes soothing, not-whining and not-yelling noises; don’t judge) with a snack-sized bag of Doritos.

Why?

Because I was hiding from my children.

No, really.

I was hiding from my children.

It was 4:15 (T-45 until Daddy dawned the porch steps) and Mommy needed a time-out. Mommy needed a breath of quiet air and a space of rest. No whining. No requests. No drama. No needs. No messes. No nothing. Mama was toast.

With a bag of cheese-dusted triangles and the humming of a dehumidifier, mama took a moment.

Because let’s be honest…parenting can be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually grueling work.

There are those days weeks seasons when our backs are tired; our nerves are fried; our hearts are overwhelmed; and our souls are weary.

Teaching, admonishing, encouraging, and shepherding is hard, repetitive, sanctifiying work!

Yes, our children are a blessing and yes, our children are a gift. And…our children are also TIRING!!!

So when I read the words of Psalm 84:5 a few days ago, my mama heart resonated in a new and fresh way.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” v.5

Did you catch that?

Not only are we to draw our strength from Him, but our hearts are to be set on a journey!

Mamas, friends, and everyone in between (because mamas don’t hold the corner on tough and hard and certainly aren’t elevated above the rest)…we are on a journey, a pilgrimage.

“As they pass through the Valley of Baka…” v. 6

What was the Valley of Baka? Simply put, it was a place without water. A place of dryness, a time of difficulty, a journey of hard, and a road that involved suffering.

I was so struck by the use of the word pilgrimage and the command to set our hearts toward pilgrimage (even in the valleys of dryness) that I started researching some information about “pilgrimage.”

Here is some of what I found, summarized in my own words.

  1. Pilgrimage in Psalm 84:5 is translated into the Hebrew word for “highways.” “Highways” were a thoroughfare, a viaduct, a staircase–a causeway, course, highway, path, or terrace.
  2. A person who makes a journey is called a pilgrim.
  3. In the OT times, travel was a major part of life.
  4. In the NT, travel narratives make up a large portion of the Gospels.
  5. A pilgrimage in Bible times could be dangerous–bandits, bears, and beastly lions.
  6. To make pilgrimage from Nazareth to Jerusalem via Jericho, it would take 97 miles of travel.
  7. It is estimated that Jesus walked over 15,000 miles in His earthly lifetime.
  8. A pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place.

So what does all this mean for you? For me?

  1. There are many pilgrimages (highways, paths, courses) we will take and that God will use in our lives. What “highway” is God using in your life?
  2. We are pilgrims. What kind of pilgrim are you? Persevering? Faint-Hearted? Weary?
  3. Journeys are a part of our lives. What journey are you trying to avoid?
  4. It took a journey to spread the GOOD NEWS. How are you using your journey to share the GOOD NEWS?
  5. Pilgrimages are not guaranteed to be easy and/or safe. What are the obstacles in your journey–the places in your path that God is using to refine you?
  6. Journeys aren’t meant to be short and quick. What shortcuts are you trying to take on your pilgrimage?
  7. You are going to “walk” a lot of miles over the course of your lifetime. How are you walking yours?
  8. And lastly, journeys have an end destination. What’s yours? Who and what are you walking toward?

And as I’ve reflected on these questions and pondered over the beautiful and surprising Truth of Psalm 84:5-6, I’m reminded again of the importance of journeying with the ONE who provides the Strength.

Because as you read on in Psalm 85, you also read the following words:

“They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” v. 7

Did you catch THAT? From strength to strength. Implying that God will not just supply strength for one part of the journey, but rather He will continuously provide strength after strength after strength for each and every part of our pilgrimage.

Till when?

“Till each appears before God in Zion.”

Zion–the place of worship, the temple, the place where God dwells, and the world to come.

Friends, I don’t know what pilgrimage or “highway” God is using to draw you to Himself; I don’t know what obstacles you’re facing, how many miles lay before you, how dry or barren your path may be, but I pray you will rest in knowing that His strength will accompany you every step of the journey…until you meet Him on His holy hill for the rest of eternity.

So whether you’re a tired pilgrim-mom hiding in your basement with a bag of Doritos by the hum-drum of your basement dehumidifier, or a fellow sojourner walking toward Zion on a different path, I pray you will rest in His strength and set your hearts toward pilgrimage. 

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Stuck Places, Growing Hearts

Our little boy has developed some new fears, and it’s been hard.

It’s hard to watch your kids struggle. It’s hard to watch fears take root in their little minds. It’s hard to watch the naivete leave and the difficulty of life settle in over their young hearts. It’s hard to watch them battle distorted strongholds and false lies.

It’s hard to watch them get stuck. 

We’ve been there over the past two months, and it’s been hard.

There’s no real value in sharing all of the nitty-gritty details of how we got here and what triggered this fearful-stuck place, but in a nut shell: Our little guy has started to fear failure.

I guess I always knew this day would come at some point (for at least one of our children), but I guess I didn’t know it would come so soon, and I certainly didn’t realize it would hurt this much.

Well, it’s here. Age 6. And it hurts. Lots.

Like I said, it’s not fun to watch your little loves struggle.

And in the past few weeks, we’ve had lots of bed-side chats and a whole lot of couch conversations. We’ve talked about his fears; we’ve challenged his fears; and we’ve worked on changing his fears. We’ve cried, and we’ve had our fair-share of frustrating moments. We’ve spoken truth; we’ve prayed prayers; and we’ve claimed the need for Jesus to take charge.

It’s been intense.

So last night, as my boy and I headed out for our nightly walk-ride (he rides ahead and I sweat to catch up), I was struck by the beauty of the image in front of me.

See, on August 18th, 2014, I blogged about our boy’s initial bike fears and on April 6th, 2015, I talked about his leftover “fear residue.” And until last night, I had kinda forgotten about those moments.

But as we were rounding the corner and hitting the last leg of our last mile, the Lord hit me square in the heart as I watched our boy pedal confidently ahead.

Jessica, you see your boy? You see how he’s riding with such confidence and bravery? Remember when he was scared  to pedal? Remember when he was terrified to try? Jessica, he’s not in the same place as he once was, and he won’t always be where he is now. And neither are you. 

I swallowed hard as I thanked the Lord for that timely truth.

And as I continued to walk, I thought through the fears and growth in my own life.

  • Recovering “people-pleaser”: used to be addicted to the approval of others
  • Recovering “boundary-less soul”: used to say “yes” to everything and “no” to nothing
  • Recovering “blood-pressure freak”: used to have a panic attack every time I had my blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office
  • Recovering “bang-wearer”: used to wear ginormous bangs to cover my chicken pox, scarred forehead
  • Recovering “scared blog writer”: used to fear that I would offend, isolate, alienate, or wound someone by my writing
  • Recovering “embarrassed skirt-wearer”: used to worry that others would think I was weird because I preferred skirts over pants
  • Recovering “symptom-checker hypochondriac”: used to google every single body sensation that felt weird, strange, or potentially scary
  • Recovering “parent explainer”: used to have to explain and justify to others why my children thought, felt, and acted in the ways they thought, felt, and acted
  • Recovering “legalist Jesus follower”: used to fear not pleasing Jesus enough

Honestly, I could probably add to the list if I took some more time to ponder the changes in my own heart and life.

The hard-fast reality is…

People grow, situations change; fears fade, courage builds; we aren’t in the same place forever. 

And though I guess I know that to be true, I needed to receive the truth again.

Why?

Because our boy’s fears might not always be his fears. And even if some fears remain the same, it doesn’t mean he’ll handle them tomorrow, how he’s handling them today.

 

As we parked our bikes in the garage, I reminded our little boy of his old fears, and I pointed out the growth in his life. I shared about his changes, and I celebrated his victories. And then I said the following:

“Buddy, I believe there’s a possibility that you won’t always be scared of what scares you today.” 

And with the biggest smile ever, he nodded his head and simply said, “I think that’s good, Mommy.”

How about you, reader?

What fears have changed for you, and how have you grown?

What place are you no longer in, no longer walking?

What fear has you stuck today that might not have you stuck tomorrow?

Friend, I pray you will find hope (no matter the place, no matter the fear) in trusting the One who holds today’s fears and tomorrow’s change.

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All the Feelings

First, let me say the following five things:

  1. I am a therapist.
  2. I like feelings.
  3. I think feelings are a good thing.
  4. I think we need to be aware of our feelings.
  5. I think feelings can sometimes help, protect, teach, and even guide us.

And then let me say a sixth thing:

6. I think feelings can be dangerous when they get a hold of the steering wheel.

Though I believe feelings can be wonderful passengers and helpful navigators in our “life vehicles,” I believe they can be rather dangerous, very unhelpful, and incredibly misleading when they are in charge.

I don’t feel in love with her/him anymore. 

I don’t feel like forgiving them. 

I don’t feel like being honest. 

I don’t feel like dealing with this conflict. 

I don’t feel like providing for my family. 

I don’t feel like serving. 

I don’t feel like controlling my desires. 

I don’t feel like God loves me…like He’s here…like He sees. 

Let’s just shoot straight.

Sometimes we don’t feel like a whole lot of things.

Sometimes it feels like it would be a whole lot easier and whole lot better to give in, give up, and run away. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to let things slide, to avoid, and to deny. And the reality is, it probably would be.

And yet…

Is it the best? Is it the healthiest? Is it the most God-honoring?

When we let our feelings drive our choices, we can wind up in all kinds of places and in all kinds of positions we’d rather not be and really shouldn’t go.

Rewind to this past Wednesday…

We had pushed through some tears on Monday, and we had addressed some fears on Tuesday, but on Wednesday…our son had decided that he couldn’t and wouldn’t be going to his third day of Art Camp.

I was encouraging; I was challenging; and I was gently pushing. But when push came to shove, our Jr. Color Explorer would not be attending.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I immediately heard a gush of sobs.

“I’m sorry, Mommy. I’m sorry.”

Taking a deep breath and trying to summon an extra measure of grace and patience for this very “new-to-us-experience” (a problem that caused issues at VBS last month and is now an issue every single Sunday when I drop him off to Sunday School class), I simply said, “Buddy, I’m not angry with you, and you have not sinned against me. You don’t need to apologize. Am I frustrated? Yes. I’m frustrated because I feel like you’re letting your feelings drive your car.” 

It was silent in the backseat.

“I’m frustrated for you, and I’m afraid you’re missing out on some really awesome things you love and enjoy because sometimes you have scared feelings. I’m worried that you’re letting your feelings dictate your choices.” 

Again, it was silent.

“Buddy, it’s okay to have moments when you miss me and times when you feel scared about new experiences, but I guess I’d like to see you push through those.”

It was quiet…again. Knowing our boy, I decided to let the challenge marinate and move on with the rest of our day.

When he brought it up again, five hours had passed.

“Mommy?”

“Yes?”

“I think I want to go back to Art Camp tomorrow.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I think I need to stop letting my feeling carry me away.”  

My eyes welled with tears. I absolutely LOVED the way he had taken my challenge and made it his own.

He was right; feelings can absolutely carry us away…to all kinds of distorted, broken, confused, wrong, and empty places.

“Buddy, I think that’s a great idea.”

And guess what?

Today, he went back to Art Camp.

And though he reported having one moment where the tears showed up (tears are perfectly acceptable), he was able to acknowledge them, push through them and enjoy his stained-glass art project.

Like I say to my clients and will continue to preach to my children (and myself)…

We don’t want to deny our feelings, but we certainly don’t want to give them permission to dictate our lives, destroy our joy, and determine our paths. 

Any feelings got the steering wheel of your life?

Friend, take the wheel back and put your hands on His!

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Pink in the Darkness

I love car ride conversations with my kids; I really, really do. And I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again…

The best talks happen when those littles are buckled in the back!

Today, as we made our way downtown, Evie was announcing the color of everything her little eyes spied.

“Green!”

“Red!”

“Blue!”

“Dark Black!”

As she continued to name the colors of cars, condos, and coffee shop window fronts, I posed a question to my little one.

“Evie, who made all the colors?”

Without missing a beat, she exclaimed, “JESUS!!!”

“You’re right, girl. He created all of the colors out of nothing at all! Isn’t that awesome?”

She was quiet for a second (which is kind of rare these days) and then proclaimed with gusto…

“Out of the darkness, He made pink!” 

I smiled from the front seat.

“You’re right, sweet girl. Out of the darkness, He made pink!”

And the more I thought about this truth as I made our way over bridges, under tunnels, and alongside graffiti-covered cargo trains, the more I became enamored with this beautiful thought.

She was right.

Out of complete and utter darkness, He shed light and created color. What was once dark, formless, and void became a kaleidoscope of colors, a rainbow of beauty. And though I’m not sure pink was the first color He created (though I’m sure our little girl could make an argument for this), He splashed His canvas with all kinds of color–pink included.

As the songs played over the radio, I kept mulling over this lovely thought.

“Out of the darkness, He made pink!” 

And as I continued to think on this, I found myself reflecting on the character of God.

Isn’t that just what He does? Isn’t that just who He is?

The God who takes the ugly and makes it beautiful.

The God who takes the broken and makes it whole.

The God who takes the dead and makes it alive.

The God who takes the empty and fills it.

The God who takes the impossible and makes it possible.

The God who takes the unlikely and does the unimagined.

That is HIM; our daughter was right.

He is the God who makes pink out of darkness!  

And guess what?

He’s still doing it.

He’s still taking the yucky and the hard and making it beautiful. He’s still taking the messed up and the screwed up and making it whole. He’s still taking the rejected and the dejected and making it new. He’s still taking the junk of our lives and the dead in our souls and making it full.

He is.

Isaiah 43:19 says, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” 

Do you see it, friend?

Do you see the little changes, the small growth?

Do you feel that tiny movement, that wee success?

Do you hear the bitty sprouting, the modest maturing?

In your heart and in your life? In your mind and in your soul?

In their soul and in their lives? In their speech and in their deeds?

In those situations and in those circumstances?

Do you not see it?

Do you not believe it?

Can you not see the hues of pink springing forth?

Do you not sense the softening?

Friend, God is still making PINK! 

I don’t know what you’re facing today and what area of your life needs a shade of pink or two, but He’s still in the business of redeeming and restoring. He’s still in the business of resurrecting and renewing. He’s still in the business of making PINK out of darkness.

Pray for pink;

Look for pink; and

Praise Him for the pink.

For our God is a God who wants to show us pink!

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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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