Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Wake of Tragedy

I am having a hard time watching the news. This happens every time a tragedy hits that involves a school, teachers, students. I wasn't able to watch the footage of the most recent school shooting. Now I cannot bring myself to watch the new coverage of the Oklahoma tornados. Why? Part of it is the fact that I tend to become hyper focused on things like this and they seem to take over my life. Another part is that I usually struggle with survivor's guilt. It could have been me. It could have been us. How can I continue to live my comfortable life when someone else's life has just been ripped apart and changed forever? I can't continue to go on with day to day activities... I need to be there helping. In the midst of the pain and suffering... Trying to make things better. 

Because of this, I have made the conscious decision to not purposefully watch news coverage of this tragedy. I know what's happening. I grieve for those who have lost so much in such a violent act of nature. I pray for the families who have lost everything and especially for those who have lost loved ones. 

But these types of situations always make me start thinking... What would I do if this were happening here? What if it was my school that was threatened by a gunman who wanted to take the lives of my students? What if it were me and my students huddled in a hallway listening as the tornado approached and threw our lives into chaos and terror? I can tell you what I would do... I can tell you what ANY teacher would do... We would fight for those who look to us for protection. I would throw myself in the line of fire to save the life of a child. I would shelter those students that God has placed in my care, even if it meant that my life would be at risk. And I would pray. Hard.

As this school year comes to an end, marred by such an incomprehensible tragedy just a few hours drive away, I ponder the calling that has been placed on my life. The calling to teach. The calling to protect. The calling to love. And I thank God for it. I thank Him that He chose me for this. He called me to be a teacher. I love it and it defines part of who I am.

So here is the challenge that I am laying out there. I will take it on... Will you?

**Pray with your child for their teacher(s) every night.**

How much more respect and admiration will our children show to their teachers if they're praying for them daily? How much strength and confidence will our children's teachers feel if they know that they are being lifted up to the Father everyday by the ones they have been called to teach? How amazing will it be to see our children learn to lift up the people that God has placed in positions of authority over them? How incredible will it be when our children begin to see the results of their answered prayers??

We will be starting tomorrow at my house. Join us.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Not Sure...

I'm not sure that I've ever been quite this excited about hearing that somebody will probably get a new apartment in a few weeks.

I'm not sure that I've ever been quite this disappointed upon learning that somebody didn't pass their driver's test.

I'm not sure that I've ever put so much effort into coordinating schedules so that two little girls both have birth family members attending their graduation and music performance, that just so happened to be on the same day at the same time.

I'm not sure that I've ever been quite so pleased as when a six year old little girl walked into my bedroom at 6:20 am on Mother's Day just to wish me a Happy Mother's Day before getting back into bed after a trip to the bathroom.

I'm not sure that I've ever missed a cartoon theme song quite as much as Wonder Pets. 

I'm not sure that I've ever been this exhausted and satisfied at the end of the day.

I'm not sure that I've ever been this positive of God's calling on my life as I am that he has called me into foster care ministry.

I'm not sure that I've ever been this blessed.

It's funny how God knows me so much better than I know myself... I've always known that foster care was in my future, but what I didn't know was that God would change ALL of my other plans I had for myself so that right now, for this time, for this day, He would have me exactly where He wants me to be... Living life with two little ones who need me right now and and their Mama who needs me too.

 Not deserving, but blessed and highly favored. 

I blog with BE Write

Monday, May 6, 2013

Non-Mother's Day

Can I be honest? If your answer is no, quit reading now.

So I'm hitting a few milestones this month. One is my one year anniversary of being a foster mommy. I received my first placement, Little Man, on May 25, 2012. It's been a year of many firsts, but this Sunday brings about a first that I am honestly dreading...

What is Mother's Day to someone who is not Mother?

I will wake up this Sunday having spent everyday for 6.5 months caring for two precious little girls. And for me, it will just be another day. Another day of wiping snot. Another day of making sure that sibling rivalry doesn't turn into sibling beat-uppery. Another day of getting two children dressed, ready, hair done, matching shoes on, and out the door in a timely fashion. Another day of worrying about whether or not I have enough money in the bank for the things that they need for school on Monday. Another day of listening to the fits when they go into time-out for disobeying or pinching their sister's arm. Another day of spending two hours driving to take them to a visit with their Mom...

Their Mom...

We will spend a good bit of this week shopping for Mom's gift and making her something special so that the separation between mother and child will not be quite as painful on a day that celebrates mothers. We will spend Sunday afternoon in the car driving to go see Mom and Grandmother and take them out to eat. We will give her gifts and hugs, spend time loving on her, and telling her "Happy Mother's Day." Then I will bring them back home where we will eat a quick dinner, take a quick bath, and then get to bed to start another week of school.

Am I a mother? Yes, I perform the duties of one. Am I Mom? No. 

In my heart, I know that I chose this. I chose to stand in the gap for children when it isn't possible for them to be with their birth families. I chose to be the one that is not, and never will be, the one that they love the most. I chose to be a single mother of children who are not my own and will only be with me for a season of their lives. 

When I was choosing, though, I didn't really think about the moments that make this an awkward and painful place to be. I didn't think about the moment in church where moms are asked to stand up and be recognized, but yet I don't feel like I have the right to stand, because I am not Mom. I didn't think about the little part of my heart that yearns to be the one that is thought of first on Mother's Day. I didn't think about how hard it would be to see all of those stupid Mother's Day commercials that show a daddy helping his child give Mom a gift while knowing that this will not be anywhere on my schedule this Sunday. I didn't think about how hard it would be to see all of my friends with their families without feeling a pang of jealousy. I just didn't think...

To be utterly transparent, I never imagined how much I would dread this day and wish I could hide under a rock for the duration of it. But I'm glad I didn't think. I'm glad those things that cloud my mind with dread right now weren't a part of my thought process when I was making the decisions that needed to be made a year ago. For where would I be without my Little Man and the many lessons he taught me about love and laughter? And where would I be now without my two spunky little girls who seem to teach me more everyday of forgiveness by forgiving me of my many, many shortcomings? 

So to all other non-Mothers out there... Happy Mother's Day, from me to you.

I blog with BE Write