Tag Archives: marriage

Baby H

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John 11:35 Jesus wept

Last summer, on my way home from target, I answered the phone.  It was our licensing counselor.  There was a baby girl, born five days before, that needed a place to go.  We said yes.  Three hours later I drove to the back of the office building to meet a case worker holding a tiny little baby wrapped in a hospital blanket wearing only a onesie that looked to be two sizes too big.  She handed her to me. Then Kaitlyn and I put her into a car seat. I signed papers and grabbed the hospital bag and a suitcase and we left.  Just like that our world changed forever again.

I don’t think that you ever get used to the feeling when a new child is handed over to you. The weight of the world is placed in your hands wrapped in a beautiful human gift.  You are excited and terrified.  Falling in love is easy. The case will have you feeling raw and like your insides are hanging outside your body with no protection.  You will fight hard for the child who can’t fight for themselves.  You love them as your own even knowing they aren’t. It’s how it goes. Every time it is the same, every time it is immensely different.  

This time we had it on good authority that this baby wouldn’t be with us much longer than six weeks. She was supposed to go to her paternal grandmother and then very quickly back to the parents who loved her, wanted her, and were going to fight hard to be able to bring her home.Through the course of the next few months we soon realized that none of that would  happen.

Meanwhile she grew and developed and got fatter and fatter and cuter and cuter! We loved her and she loved us.  It was so much fun to dress her up and I carried her everywhere wrapped to my body. She was safe and warm and loved beyond measure on our side. On the other side of the case was feelings of abandonment and frustration with the way everything was being handled. We had very little say in any of it.  Being home and in our every day world was a sanctuary to bury ourselves in to rest after venturing over to the other side fighting hard for the protection and rights of this child we loved. 

Three months in we began to believe that she would eventually be able to be ours forever.  Even though we knew things could change at any moment. They did.

We learned that her maternal grandparents had been searching for her, begging anyone that would listen to help them connect with her.  They would complete their home study and we would see what would happen. 

We were encouraged to get to know them and to keep in contact with them during the process.  I was petrified.  As we began to get to know them, their love and care for her was glaringly evident.   We began falling in love with them too, just like we did with our Baby H.  We sent pictures and updates and facilitated visitations.  We formed quite a bond with them. Soon we were fighting for all of us not just the baby. Fighting for a chance to know she was safe. We knew she would be safe with them and loved and she would have everything she could possibly need.  

She was seven months old the day I packed all the little things for her that she would be taking to her new forever home.  She looked up at me and smiled as I changed and dressed her.  For all she knew it was just another day.  I knew better. I fought tears all morning. I didn’t want to upset her. I was glad for the preparations that needed to be made. At least there was work to focus on.  Every snuggle and kiss meant more than ever before that morning.  My world was shattering, there would be no more sanctuary.  I dreaded coming home knowing she wouldn’t be there. 

John asked to feed her before work that day. We just wanted to savor every precious moment we had left.  I’ll never forget him sitting there silent tears stealthily inching down his face as she reached up and grabbed his finger while he held her bottle for her.  

Two hours later I handed her to her grandparents. After hugging all together and kissing her good bye I walked out of the DCF office empty handed. I sobbed all the way to the car and all the way home.  Memories flooding my mind from the past seven months. Pushing back the fear that she would feel abandoned by me and that she would need me and I wouldn’t be there for her. That I would never see her again.  

“You signed up for this Rach….you have no right to hurt like this…suck it up and move on….you knew she wasn’t yours…this is your job…no one is going to feel sorry for you…you chose the foster parent life.”

Then I read John 11:35 Jesus wept. In that passage we learn about Jesus finally going to where Lazerous had lived and been sick. He came knowing Lazerous was dead.  He stood at the tomb and prepared to perform a miracle. Before he did so, he wept.  He wept for the pain of loosing a friend. He wept for the pain that his friends felt who had been left behind. He wept for the betrayal his inaction had caused Lazerous’ sisters to feel.  He wept.  HE WEPT? He knew that Lazerous’ death was temporary.  He knew it because he was God and he would be the one to raise him from the dead.  But in his love for his friends and in his humanness, he felt the pain that death caused and he didn’t want that for anyone, including himself.   When I read that I realized: we all make choices in life out of love for others and love for ourselves.  Just because I signed up to be a foster parent doesn’t take away the pain of saying goodbye. I didn’t weep because of the injustice of it all or out of surprise that my baby was taken from me.  I wept because I miss her. I wept because I would have given anything to be with her. I wept because of the pain I saw in her grandparents eyes as they watched their family be torn apart and the joy when she was brought home to them safely. I wept because she was mine and because she wasn’t. I wept for the pain in my husbands eyes when he held her that last time and for my children who would miss her too.  I wept. And it is ok because Jesus wept too.  

Since then we have gotten updates and pictures from her grandparents. They let us know how she is. She is doing great!! Growing and so loved.  It is such a blessing!! 

#beafosterparent #youcantdoit #icantdoit #Godcan

Real Men

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Ever wonder why movies and tv shows always depict the hero without a shirt?  Or why heroes change into a costume to signify their great alter ego? Well I figured it out!!

You might say it is sex appeal, or to show off their strength, but I say no.  It’s because they are imitating a real man.  I know, I know, now is the point where you say I am crazy and stop reading.  You can if you want but I am telling you, I  FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!

Like many, if not all, of our fantasies,this concept begins with a real life scenerio. Then moves on with a bit of unrealistic details.  Right? Ok well let me tell you a little story.

This morning I turned on our garbage disposal only to be greeted by an aweful medal on medal slightly muffled grinding sound.  Then I felt a gush of water at my feet.  Upon opening the cabinet under the sink, I discovered, to my horror, a half inch of water mixed with bits of slightly ground up food everywhere!

So, I texted John to alert him to my mega crisis and he said “I’ll be right there!” He left work to come home and deal with the offending appliance. He came in and began the work/clean up process and I stepped out to talk to Kaitlyn who was playing in the water hose outside.

When I came back in,  I handed him a bowl to catch some of the dirty water still pouring from the pipes. I noticed that he had taken his shirt off.  It made sense, he didn’t want to get his dress shirt dirty, I  just had not seen him remove it.  It struck me.  Not just because my husband without his shirt is exciting to me-it is- but because in those moments he was my knight in shining armor, my super hero, my sparkly vampire, and my warewolf all in one.  He is my husband. The man I love.  The man who can fix everything. The man who will drop everything to come home to rescue me from a mega crisis.  And suddenly it all makes sense.

These super hero stories really are rooted in real life with a little bit of fantasy. The “unrealistic details” are really just manifestations of the feelings we have for the men (and women) we love when they do things for us and are there for us whenever we need, and really when we want them.  And real men do things that require them to take their shirts off.  To deal with the unpleasantness of life.  They also have to change constumes like putting on their work clothes to go to work every day to provide for their families.  They are willing to do ordinary things and that makes them extraordinary.  That is what makes them real men.

A poem I wrote about depression: for my husband 

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 Please don’t let go of me today

I’m afraid if you do I will float away.   

You’re reaching out, when I can’t see

Holding me up to the one who can carry me.

I hear your words, soaking in the sound of your voice 

But I can’t speak, so you don’t know my choice

Don’t give up, keep holding on

If you don’t I can’t go on.

I know you take a lot of abuse

My desire is not for you to feel used.

My response, to you might feel fake

But please know I’m fighting for loves sake

I need your love, your prayer, your help

Because right now all I can see is myself

All this time you’ve been right here

Through all my doubt, through all my fear

My faith is growing, you gave me the seed. 

So I am taking a step, I’m taking your lead

I want to honor all we’ve been through

Step by step I will walk with you.

Be still…yeah right

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As a mom, more specifically a homeschooling mom, I am with my children twenty-four hours a day. I love my children and love being with them. However, every once in a while my brain begins screaming the need to be alone. When I am with my kids, every moment is subject to interruption. Their needs, desires, and safety are on my mind constantly even on the “off” times when they are not asking me for something. So, when the opportunity arises to have some “me” time I immediately jump at the chance for the house to be quiet and to do whatever I want, when I want.

The first thing I plan on is sleeping in, having my coffee in peace, complete control of the remote, and cleaning with the music blaring with no threat of having to pause or censor it. Then maybe a date night with my amazing husband. Inevitably, the emptiness in the house gets to me and I begin to unwind and relax. The next thing that happens really throws me for a loop. I begin to think about all the things that I am not doing that I should be doing, then all my shortcomings, the fear of rejection from my husband and my children for being unable to be all that I want to be as a wife and mother. The vicious cycle continues as I try desperately to pull myself together and act against my feelings of insecurity. I struggle to remember what is true and build on it.
This morning, as I began to drown in my “me” time I felt the Holy Spirit say to me: “Be still”. My reply, “Yeah right. God I am supposed to be all these Proverbs 31y things. You called me to be a good wife and mother, you commanded me to walk in truth. I can’t do that so I have failed you too! I mean, really, I am pretty sure my panic is valid.” Again he said “Be still”
Frantically I went to my bible program and searched the words “Be still”. I found Psalm 46. The entire thing is a song, describing the victory God gives his people over various trials and enemies and near the end this small verse: Psalm 46:10 be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the Nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

Wow. What just happened? I took my eyes off my God and put them on myself. “Me time” shouldn’t revolve around me. It should revolve around my relationship with God. No matter when I look at me I will see things that scare me. What could be happening that I don’t know about? What if my husband doesn’t love me anymore and is just pretending? (I know how many times I don’t have everything perfect, so to me anyone not wanting to be with me is reasonable). What if I am screwing up my kids life by homeschooling them, or just by not being the worlds best mother? But when I look at God, non of those things matter. I can be still because he is God. He can give me the motivation I need to do better. He can take care of me if any of my feared scenarios come to fruition. But most of all he will teach me to walk in truth because he is God. He will take me through whatever he has planned for me and will take care of it all! Looking at him doesn’t change who I am, but it sure changes the way I feel about who I am!
If you ever feel the need to escape for a bit of “me” time, remember this. Maybe it will help you avoid the deep waters that can overwhelm you when the quiet brings fear instead of fun.

School girl romance

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I have recently been reading books from the YA genera. There are some excellent titles out there and series that I have really enjoyed. One thing I like about that particular genera, is that many of the books have the same elements of more adult books with out all the explicit details that even adults should’t be reading. In other words, They are safer. Reading has always been a passion of mine, since my mother placed the first Nancy Drew book into my hands around the age of seven. I savor each adventure reveling in the ability to enter other worlds and hang out there. The departure from reality is exciting no matter my real-life circumstance. Sometimes, the differences in the worlds,my own and the book’s, astound me and I appreciate them. Other times, I find the characters’ experiences bring me back into my past and I am allowed to re-live feelings and events in a hind site is 20/20 way and I can be happy to have been there and come through able to look back with peace and happiness. My favorites from YA, are when I am taken back to highschool with a character and I realize that I still feel the same giddiness that the character expresses, and that my life, though very different, still shares the same elements, with the added benefits of wisdom and adult privileges. This happened to me today. My husband is finishing up a very difficult class in his quest for a master of divinity degree. He stays up very late working. That leaves me with a lot of time to read. This is nice actually because we have worked out a happy existence each sitting side by side working and reading and having a continuing conversation about life in short spurts throughout the evening. We are always together, always available to each other, yet able to engage in other worlds in between. Currently I am re-reading a series for the third time. My husband asked me, “Why don’t you just watch the movies?” My reply, “Because this way, I get to spend way more time in their world, and since I have read them twice already it will take me longer to read them. This way I get to spend days or weeks in the other world instead of just hours with the movies.” Yes I’m that much of a nerd, and guess what, I Am A HAPPY NERD. The main character of these books is in high school at first and falling for a boy. It takes me back to the days of having a crush and being excited to go to school just to see him there, even if he doesn’t know you exist. Those days when the torture of love is the best torture in the world. It’s the beautiful agony of finding out he likes you and knowing you have to spend hours apart. The anticipation is killing you, but it is also your best friend because it keeps you company while you are waiting. The fantasies of what it will be like to be with him again, what he looks like, the sound of his voice, how he smells…..yes those were the days. Then it hit me. This is my life!!!! As a stay at home mom, I go through this on a daily basis. I am in love! The feelings of the main character are relatable because I go through them every hour of every day. I get to be with HIM for a few short hours a day, then we are separated and I miss him. I live for the moment he walks in the door at night and I get to see him, hear is voice, drink in the smell of him, and just be together. We have our spats occasionally and they cause me the same consternation as her’s did. I have been married now for close to twelve years and I still feel the same way. I love him, I am excited for every possible moment with him. I love the sound of his voice, I love the way he smells, I love the way he looks, I love being with him and sharing my thoughts with him. I love sharing our burdens together,our life together. I love everything about him. We have adventures together like having babies, and taking trips and sharing everything. He keeps us from danger and lets me help. I can be a damsel in distress, or the heroin fighting by his side. It’s all included in this life that I love. This is why I love books, they remind me of my life and why I love it and why I will fight for my family. It’s not always easy, it doesn’t have to be, it’s all part of the adventure! I guess I’m just a silly little school girl, but I’m so glad he likes me likes me!

The Man of My Dreams

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Around the age of fifteen, I believe, I made a list of things that I felt I needed and wanted in a husband. It’s funny because most of that list included superficial things. Not just “I want him to be cute” but things that don’t really contribute to the relationship past the first few dates. Anyways, I got the man of my dreams. He fit every description except one: he doesn’t play an instrument. The tall dark and handsome thing though:NAILED IT! Eleven years have passed. Even though I am thankful for those “list worthy” qualities in my man, I am astonished by the things in him that I never considered or dreamed could be so amazing and meaningful. Things that contribute to our life together in epic ways. I realize now that while my “list” was helpful, God’s list was perfect and extensive, and as we continue to grow in Him I realize: it’s growing too! Here are some characteristics that I see that I would like to share.

He loves The Lord: ok ok that was an easy one for my list. I wanted to marry a Christian because of the whole unequally yoked thing and because my Daddy taught me that it’s important for a man to lead his family spiritually. You know what though? Through the years as I have seen this in action especially in the hard times, it’s so much more intricate than I thought. To lead spiritually my husband has had to stand by me in my darkest times pointing me back to Christ and having faith when I lacked and supporting me even when it caused him pain. That isn’t just being a Christian: that’s being a man of God and loving someone with Christ’s love, not selfish love.

He puts family before work. I see him put tremendous effort into making sure he is awake and there for our time together. One thing he has always done is when he comes home for work at night, he is 100% there mentally and physically for his family. His kids know that he will drop WHATEVER he is doing to play with them, listen to them, teach them, and love them. He also stays connected with us throughout the day via phone calls, texting, and video chat. He may not always be awake with me at night or not working, but he is AlWAYS there for me and always looks for ways to connect in other times. His priority is his family and I have never doubted it. He makes the most of his time with his family. He may only have a few minutes to call during his work day, but he calls, and he makes sure we know how loved we are and how much we mean to him. He doesn’t have to have hours and hours to make us feel important, he can do that in less than a minute. There have been times also when he has taken his lunch hour to take one of the kids out just to have a heart to heart talk with them. I know his work is important to him, but he also makes time in his schedule to be there for sports events, recitals, and anything else that our family is doing that means so much to me! Its not about having lots of time together, it’s about taking the time and making it count. For my part, I want to make sure that in the times I am lonely or feeling resentful that other things take so much of his time, I remember all he does to make time for me. He listens, he holds me, and he takes me on trips, he makes the most of birthdays and anniversaries, and any time he can to be close to me, even if it is sleeping on the couch with his head in my lap. I love him and I appreciate his hard work, at work and at home!

His word and his character are important to him. John is a very loyal person. He loves and commits with everything he has. He is the same guy no matter where he is. The same guy at work, at church, at home, with friends, everywhere. He is steady. He is strong. He is honest. He learns from his mistakes, and imparts wisdom to others whenever he can. It means something to him to be called a leader, a man of God, and he tries his best to be a good example. He understands that good leadership does not require the allusion of perfection, but rather an honest view of oneself and the power of God on a life, and the sharing of your experience for the glory of God not self. I look up to him and love that my kids can follow securely in his footsteps. It reminds me of a picture I saw one time of a child taking a bath in a dinosaur footprint. Not only can you easily follow the footsteps, but they are big enough to securely hold you when you need to rest. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but it’s pretty special in my head.

He is funny. Laughter is the best medicine. I can’t think of anyone else that makes me laugh like he does. I have actually been trying to return the favor for years. I’m just not as funny as he is. When I get a chuckle out of him though it makes my whole day. I then laugh for hours which is probably why he laughs hysterically at me all the time (on the inside). Anyways, his humor has brightened my life for almost 13 years now and I am thankful for it!

He works hard. Work is definitely high on the the list of important things. Johns commitment to his work includes a commitment to excellence, loyalty, and giving everything he can do do a good job. He inspires others to do the same. This part of him spills into the other kinds of work in his life as well. John learned from an early age that work is important, doing it right and well is important, and teaching others how do do it right is important. He had many good examples of this from his family. His parents (both of them) and his grandparents on both sides as well has aunts and uncles who have all been great examples to him of excellence in work and in life. Through all he has learned he has become something of a jack of all trades. He can do many things well, and he is an excellent teacher.

He is not afraid to ask for help. This is huge. To me his example is this: be good at what you do, be proud of your accomplishments, and know that it’s the power of God and the help of others that brought you to where you are. Surround yourself with people who love you, seek advice only from people who are qualified to give it. I love this about him. Asking for advice doesn’t me you can’t do it on your own, it means that you understand that what you bring to the table tastes better with side dishes. Together they make a balanced meal. Hehehe I know a weird way to put it but it’s true. He is not afraid to seek counsel from the men in his life, our pastor, his dad, my dad, his closest friends who are godly men in their own right (that could be a section on its own), and others who have contributed as well. I love him for it!

There are many more things that I could go into, some would not be appropriate for this post. My point is this. If you are not married, make sure the things on your list are things that will be important your whole life. If you are and you feel like your list wasn’t met: reconsider. What are the things about your spouse that you deeply appreciate. Chances are they are more fundamental and helpful than your original list. And if you are like me and you feel like the marriage God gave you is more than you ever even could have hoped it would be, praise God for it. Let your spouse know that the things you see in the person that they are matter to you, that you appreciate them, and why. My list was so basic it almost provided an unwritten disclaimer. A free pass to my heart. If you check all the boxes, you are in. Praise God for HIS list, and Praise God for a man who loves me, even at my ugliest, and loves me with the love of Christ always showing me the way! John you are a man in full! Thanks for your tremendous contribution to our wonderful life together!