Monday, November 21, 2016

Little M is back!

Our hearts are heavy (because things aren't going super well at his home) and at the same time happy (because we love him so much and enjoy his presence) to tell you M has been placed back in our care. We do not know for how long but are asking for your prayers for swift justice for him. He was placed in our care as an emergency placement for a week about 2 weeks ago, then sent back to his mom, and now is with us again. So there is some unsteadiness going on right now. We can't go much into detail as to why, but ask for you to rev up your prayers for little M, and us all as we adjust our hearts and homes all together again. We love him and are so happy to love on him again!

Us all together after daddy preached yesterday! 
 
I'm pretty sure him and L remember each other :) 


Sweeties!!!!!
Definitely loving having him back! 

Thank you for your prayers!!!! This is all a roller coaster but we're leaning into Jesus and just thankful for the oppurtunity to care for him again! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Love Fosters Hope Run 2016

Was one of the best mornings of my life. Why you ask? ... This blogpost will give you the answer.

But first, For those of you who do not know yet, we found out Oct. 19th that we are on track to adopt Little L! We have had her exactly half of her life (we got her at 14 months, and now she's 28 months).  Kalen and I were shocked because this process has been so unpredictable and such a roller coaster. But I could not help but cry with joy when sharing the news via FaceTime with family! Everyone says it's not official  until the papers are signed, so we still aren't 100%, but is life ever predictable?...We are just thankful we are headed in a good direction! 


I want to share more about how trial went, but I will wait until after I post about this beautiful morning. 

So why, why was this such an amazing morning? Why am I still sort of soaking in the moments before/after the run? Because it stands as a type of spiritual symbolism that is hard to put into words... but I will try! 

Foster care has felt like SUCH a race of endurance to me. In my darkest times I wanted to give up, throw in the towel and just let go. I've seen the ugliest parts of me in foster care. I didn't think I was fit to be a mom; learning the ropes of motherhood + loving someone else's children was such a battle for me, especially trying to keep within the mercy Christ has offered to me. It felt like a tug of war and a race, that I would never finish. Never complete. Never see victory. God had given me such a love and compassion for both our foster children's mom's so I was at constant battle with my desires and  the desires of the bio mom. I knew the only safe place to land was pray with all my heart for healing and restoration for bio mom, but yet pray for justice, vindication and L's best. Such a tug of war, and then dealing with my own desires, can you imagine!? Lol. 

One of the ways I dealt with my stress during the tough season was going on a run. I literally became faster and stronger this past year than my two prior years of running. Needless to say I was running off steam and running on a prayer. God spoke encouragement to me on my runs during the hard parts of foster care. He spoke conviction and truth too. I would always come back from my run renewed in spirit and mind, ready to love well like Jesus has loved me. 

So running throughout all of our season of foster care was already a sense of relief for me; symbolic to the season of learning endurance and perseverance I was in. 

Around 2 months ago, I heard about the annual Love Fosters Hope run raising awareness for foster children. I was so excited just thinking about it; running for my foster babies! Yay! It motivated me to push even harder during my daily runs- and I trained really hard after signing up for the 10K race. This would be my FIRST race to run, and my first 6 mile one at that! I was going all in! 

In the midst of all this training and excitement, we had 4 different set trials for L's case. Yes. 4. I will not get into all that right at this moment but all I knew was that by the day of the Love Fosters Hope run we were either going to have L in our arms heading toward adoption, or packing her bags to send her somewhere else. I was leaning on the scripture in proverbs 3:5-6 "trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." So I was going to run that race no matter what... for my babies... because nothing is wasted!

So the day gets here with the news that it's headed toward adoption! Yay! By Saturday (the race day) I still felt like I was shocked though, uncertain in a sense. Foster care teaches you many things. 1. That you are not in control. 2. You  cannot rest your heart on any outcome because situations / circumstances change daily! So, I did not know where to rest my heart because it's been so tossed and turned, feeling scared about what's ahead. With the possibility of an appeal happening, we were just not sure if L was going to be really ours. But my heart just longed to know. That gut feeling... That God maybe would just give me a heart glimpse....


And... He did... 
 

When I crossed that finish line after running 6 miles at a 7:40 min. Pace on the beautiful crisp morning of October 22nd... All I wanted to see was my L. When I found her I embraced her and at that moment I knew she was my baby. I knew in my heart that God had sovereignly given her to us, moved mountains, made miracles happen, covered us... and gave me the desire of my heart, to be a mom in the most unpredictable way possible. 


 

 

I crossed the finish line guys. I ran the race with endurance by God's amazing grace. Jesus got me through and gave me strength IN my weakness. I crossed the finish line not only in victory but with a huge blessing to hold afterward. Of course I do not know the future, but something spiritual happened in this moment crossing the finish line and there aren't many words to describe it. 

Foster care is spiritual warfare. Adoption is spiritual warfare. But if Jesus got us through this foster care process, He will get us through the adoption process. 

Here are some pictures of the morning with my sweet family: 

 
 
I ended up getting 1st place in the women's category for my age group - 20-29! It was such a miracle and testimony to God's faithfulness! 

After the race, my parents took L to a birthday party and I got to go into the woods with Kalen and just literally spend some sweet time with God... Praising Him for the heart glimpse He gave me for L. Praising Him for the struggle. Praising Him that even in my fleshly, selfish prayers He still had His sovereign way! His steadfast love is GREAT above the heavens and His faithfulness reaches to the clouds! 

 

 
My seat while Kalen was hunting. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ
 

Even in the darkness of the season, God's light has dawned - GOD is merciful, gracious and righteous! 
 
It was such a sweet, special morning + day and we look forward to what God has in store for our family this next year! Thank you to all who have been praying for L and our family! Many blessings to you! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trusting God = Putting all your hope in His steadfast love

 


The eyes of the Lord are ON those who fear Him and HOPE in his UNFAILING/STEADFAST love. Psalm 33:18 

Other versions say the Lord DELIGHTS in those who... 

Let's rewind for a second; these past few weeks leading up to Trial number 2 have been interesting to say politely. My emotions have been all over the board, at one minute hoping for one thing, the next minute hoping for another thing. Then the next minute crying about everything, LOL. Just being real here. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot trust my feelings. I cannot even trust my "gut", for this process has my heart going through the wringer for sure! In a moment of desperation to the Lord, I cried out to Him. A few scriptures came to my heart: 

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children,”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:13-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God is fully aware that I am but dust... That I have no ability in myself to muster up the strength to endure this crazy season. For I am here today like the grass and gone tomorrow. But yet, this reminded me that He has compassion on me. He knows my frame. He knows me. He knows my heart more than anyone, and I find so much comfort in this! 


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

Here the Lord is telling me to trust in Him, which obviously means by NOT leaning on my own understanding of this current situation. It is obvious and clear that there is no way I can trust in my feelings. He knows that. God knows this! Ha! What a revelation!  His word really is life - and bread - and water - to us. It's meant to feed us and nourish us spiritually, and boy do I need it. 


“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:25-28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 


This scripture was brought to my attention by my sweet momma. She encouraged me that I can't even expect myself to know how to pray and endure without the awareness of the Holy Spirit helping me in my weakness. Not only do I battle my flesh and feelings, but this is warfare with a spiritual realm. Also, Because there are so many lives involved in this situation with L, I sometimes don't know how to pray. If I pray for adoption, that means bad news for bio mom who is currently trying to get her daughter back. If I pray for bio mom to be able to have her daughter back, then all of us who love L deeply (and let me tell you - there are a LOT of people other than Kalen and I who have invested in her and love her so much) lose a sweet person they love. SO, the safest place to land is to pray for God's will and TRUST that the Holy Spirit is filling in the gaps that my emotions can't contain! And then we have Romans 8:28 which is the PROMISE that all things work together for the GOOD of those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose. So... No matter what happens, I can trust God that it is good, even if it hurts. 

Now back to the title. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper and he said, "Trusting means putting our HOPE in God's unfailing love." Let that sink in a little bit. For me, this is a pivotal truth, because it's easy to think in one outcome or another for trial on Thursday that God's love may lack if it turns out a certain way. But that's absolutely wrong! Trusting is putting my hope in His steadfast love, no matter which way the trial turns out! My hope needs to rest in His steadfast love, not in a certain outcome. 

I used Psalm 33:18 as the theme for this blogpost because it says God looks upon, or other versions say, Delights in, those who put their hope in His steadfast love. God is good! Those are the ones He is gazing upon, delighting in! He is a GOOD Father and wants us to put our hope not in certain outcomes, but in the HOPE of HIS STEADFAST love! I mean as a parent, isn't it our greatest delight when our babies trust us? When they know we love them and so they rest in our desicions? Man, it all comes down to me resting in God's love for L, God's love for us, God's love for all involved. 

So, in 2 days we have trial. We find out if we're adopting L or if she starts the process to go back to bio mom. But, I won't be putting my hope in any certain outcome, I will only be putting my hope in God's steadfast love... For that love has brought me this far, and it will bring me Home. It will get me through whatever happens. His steadfast love will get us all through this process who have loved L so well. Will you join with me? In hoping in God's steadfast love? He delights in seeing His children put their hope there. 

Thank you to everyone who has walked this crazy road with us. Thank you for everyone who's cried with us, rejoiced with us and prayed for us. Please don't stop praying. His grace through your prayers are steadying our hearts! We love you all, 

In Christ! 
Lindsey๐Ÿ’ž



Monday, August 1, 2016

It's Been One Year Since Licensing...

Today is August 1st 2016, and on July 30th 2015 we got licensed to be foster parents! I can't believe it's been a year since we became official foster parents. Oh what a year it has been. The ups and downs. The joys and the sorrows. The heartache... the darkness... but oh the glorious light of Jesus piercing through.

On August 19th of this year, we will have had L in our lives for a year. I was sitting in her room rocking her the other day and remembered the preparations we had made just a year prior. I was thinking about how I prayed for her, how I longed to be a mother to her, and then looked down and saw that she was here with me. The many hours I spent painting and decorating her room. Oh, how we anxiously waited to hear that phone call to care for her. Thinking upon these things was a good reminder of God's faithfulness. You know, we could have gotten a room prepared, but never got the opportunity to have a little love sleep in there. But now, this little one that we got at 14 months old, is now almost 26 months. She has definitely enjoyed her room, and has bloomed tremendously. I've loved watching her grow here in our home.

Because we are hitting the anniversary of becoming foster parents, I thought I would update with some pictures from just over a year ago. Below are pictures from my foster baby shower. It was such a sweet day hosted by my sisters-in-love Kalese, Brittany and my friend Ashlee.



I remember being just amazed by this scripture: "Whenever you welcome a little child like this on my behalf welcomes Me!" That's Jesus speaking. I LOVED being reminded of that, and it's hanging in L's room today. It's one of those staple scriptures to get me through rough patches.





All the gifts -and L has enjoyed each one! So exciting to think about!

And the moment I lost it because Diane bought me a "Born in my Heart" charm that I didn't tell anyone that I wanted it...


My sweet family, friends and sisters in Christ!








I love reminiscing back on this day; The way the ladies treated this shower like a "Real baby shower" blessed me so much. Because you know... these kids in foster care are real children... and even though we're not promised tomorrow with L, because of this shower - she's had so many sweet gifts and comforts to help her bloom this past year. God is faithful.

:)


Now onto the preparations for the room: 
We bought this beautiful crib at a resale shop for less than 100 dollars! We painted it white - that you will see later! 

We painted the room yellow and grey... For "gender neutral" purposes :). 
 
The finished crib and a bassinet I also found at a resale shop! (little M slept in the bassinet his first few months of life-- tear!) also, a little background on the wood sign. For years when I went to hobby lobby, I would pass by this sign and get teary-eyed with the thought of the meaning behind the words "all of God's grace in one tiny face". Now I see it every day as I sing amazing grace to L before bed. Amazing grace. L has been such a gift of God's grace to me. 

 
I painted this dresser that my sister-in-law gave me too! 
 
Added some scripture in there later :) 
 
Here is the room all lived in now :) 
 
As you can see, here's my feet :) - I spent many days up there praying for whoever would enter this room! And here we are - a year into it - with our little L. And we're still praying. Praying for God's perfect will for this sweet girl. We want what's best for her. Right now, we are struggling to know what that is. We need your prayers! Trial for L is supposed to be in August; which will tell us if we're moving toward adoption, or another 6 months with us until her mom gets better. We truly are a peace with God for His will for L. Of course, we love love love her. But we must stand still and watch Him fight for her good, and His glory. We had no idea foster care would be this hard, but in the hard - we see Jesus light shine ever-so-clearly. We are leaning on His promises!  Psalm 23! Please join with us in prayer. I will try to write more to keep everyone updated! 

Thank you so much to everyone who has invested so much in us and L. I know the seeds planted in her heart will grow, grow, grow no matter what the future holds. That truth brings me peace! 
Love to all in Christ,
Lindsey



Monday, February 29, 2016

Echo into Eternity: Redemption in Foster Care

"Let this year or so that you have the kids Echo...into...Eternity

Those are words that shook me and brought me to my knees during a quiet time in late November (3 months into having the kids). This was around the time God began changing my heart from wanting to receive the kids, to wanting to give for the kids.

As I thought about those words, "echo into eternity" I wept. And those words still to this day shake me up a bit. This was a word/phrase of hope for me from my Father God. My papa in Heaven. It was Him telling me that even if we don't get to keep the kids forever on earth, the seeds we plant in their hearts (and later- the hearts of their families) can and will echo into eternity... Where we can truly be together forever. ❤️

So, this is where the story of REDEMPTION began, not just for the kids, but for their momma's. Their biological families. 

I began to ask Jesus, beg Him... For salvation to fall swiftly upon M and L and for their specific family members. Because it wasn't just about the kids knowing Jesus anymore, it was about their bio families too. God put this on my heart. These thoughts did not stream from my heart. No way Jose. These were God's thoughts. Streaming from His redeeming heart. 

So I began asking Jesus, what does this look like practically other than praying? I then thought about the fact that Christmas was just right around the corner; aka - a perfect opportunity to bless M and L's moms with a gift. And of course, what else would God have me give other than His Holy Word that has the power to save? The power to redeem.... For eternity. 

So here I am (with the help of a godly man, David O' Farrell, and his ministry to get Study Bibles engraved with people's names on it) with 2 Bibles; one for each momma (both dads are unknown). 

<<side note: It's kind of awkward/hard to post this for me because I feel like it's such a holy offering to God and one of those things you just don't share... You know, You don't boast about things like this, because it's God's idea. But, I feel the freedom now to share, with hopes that maybe Jesus will spark in my fellow Foster mommies hearts of redemption for all involved in your case! That is my prayer and hope in sharing>>

Well, December/Christmas visits came around and it was time to give the gifts! 
Each mom got her Bible and of course pictures of their babies. The most beautiful thing about this was that my heart was settled on the matter. God had shown my heart so heavily to "set my heart on the things of Heaven" that it truly felt like a joy to give these gifts to them. Even though I love these kids like nobodies business! It was just beautiful to feel God's heart for these moms, too. 

Fast forward a few months later ---> as you know if you have followed our story that M went back to be with his mom January 7th, 2016. When he left, we felt the sting of what felt like a death, even though God had already encouraged my heart that this will echo into eternity, it didn't take the immense pain away. We wept and mourned, but not without hope because of the hope that the seeds of God's love and word would grow into salvation... Aka... Echo into eternity. 

Then 3 long, hard days later, we got the news that mom wanted us to be apart of M's life. Not only that, but we would be his God Parents! :-D! We have seen M 4 times since he left.❤️ His mom is doing so well that she's phased up in the program and is in her own apartment now; which enabled us to meet at the park and love on our little love bug and his sweet family. 

Such a gift to snuggle him again.
Good for my soul to see them together. 

M's sweet momma, brother and sister:)

This. Is. Redemption.... This is the story of the Cross. God redeeming the world and bringing them into fellowship with His son Jesus Christ.  Foster care with Jesus is about Redemption. Redemption for the kids. Redemption for the families. May our lives shine His redemption. May all we do "echo into eternity". And maybe (haha just maybe? Of course all things are possible with Him), God will go over exceedingly and beyond all we can think or imagine ... Even on earth! ๐Ÿ’ž



Love in Christ, 
The middle mom/Foster mom/God mom... Lindsey ❤️


P. S. A question to ponder... 
What if foster care is more about showing the love of Christ to a broken world than any other possible thing? Jesus, we are your hands and feet. You are the hero of Foster care and we need you! Thanks for rescuing us in our sin, and using us to be a place of restoration and safety; ultimately rescuing others from their sin by pointing them to You! The great Redeemer! Your will be done. Your kingdom come. In Your name we pray, amen. ❤️

Friday, February 26, 2016

The good news of Christ...

It never gets old. Relish it, friends! 
Lyrics from "How deep the fathers love for us" hymn!