Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Journey of Finding Courage

I did not know two and half years ago when God was placing that little seed of possibility in my heart sitting in my home in South Africa, the full spectrum of emotions my heart would have to overcome.

It went a little something like this:

What about foster care?
What about making a personal, life-changing difference in the life of a child?

Yeah! Let's do it!

Okay. But first things first. Step down from full time ministry for an indefinite sabbatical. Pack up and move back to the Northern Hemisphere. Process. Take a much-needed mental and emotional time out. Spend time with a counselor friend. Process. Process some more.

Make small lifestyle changes to attempt to get healthier. Rest ALOT. Process. Search houses to purchase for a year. Find out where to begin with the foster care journey. Attend an informational meeting. Process. Sign up for training classes. Put in an offer on a house. Wait for closing. Process.

Attend training classes for EIGHT LONG WEEKS. Think about adoption for the first time in my life. Take a lot of deep breaths. Wait longer for closing. Process. Graduate from training classes. Consider an ADOPTION case presented on graduation night!!! Wait EVEN longer for closing. Pack in faith. Process.

Finally close on house. Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint. Move in. Process. Begin foster care home study. Fill out LOTS of paperwork. Open up home to more and more inspection. Bare soul to social worker. Process. Attend a family informational meeting about said adoption case. Feel a little overwhelmed to adopt teen mom. Back away from case.

Go to Haiti for ten days. Process A LOT. Come back to a broken water pump. Get a call for an emergency placement of grade school child. Say "no"... for now. Process. Spend summer with family.  Continue to prep home for foster care certification.  Attend another family informational meeting about grade school child. Process. Plan with current foster mom to meet child.  Meet little girl and foster mom's bio children. Have doubts about bringing child who is happy where she is into a childless home. Process MORE.

Co-plan 40th anniversary of marriage and ministry for parents. Spend time with out of town guests. Get last minute call to take same little girl short term. Have melt down. Realize I am still not quite ready. Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt trip myself. Process. Process. Process. Hear God remind me that not all faith-steps look the same. Go with my first instincts. Prepare to begin with respite. Finalize last minute certification details. Rest in the baby steps. Trust in God's timing.

We should be certified within the next couple of weeks for foster care and be accepting cases at that point. Next week, I am planning to freshly paint and fun deco the designated room, with some help from great friends. {Pictures when finished} It has been a hard, LONG journey to get to this point but I have more peace amid the thousand butterflies still fluttering inside of my stomach, head, heart... Eternally posessed with a mind that questions and analyzes, I constantly snatch at peace when it passes my way.

And then quotes like that Maya Angelou one up there just stop me in my tracks

My journey has prepared me to be brave {or at least try} .... for them.
To say NO when I knew I was not ready even when I felt others judge me.
Even when I have judged myself.
Even when I still struggle to understand my hesitations along the way.

But I do know this.
I am stronger.
A little more courageous too maybe.
And I see how He is expanding my heart, my mind, my voice to stand in the gap for those whose voice is small or have no outlet to speak out for themselves.

Also, today I am honored to be featured over at Must Love God for their 4x4 September Reset, sharing on the mental struggle to just hold on to Jesus for all you are worth. Please come over and show their space some love. It is an amazing home/ministry to reach women physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally right where they are at, with the writers sharing from their own daily journey through grace.

Also linking up with these great communities....

Life In Bloom
Mama’s Losin’ It


Kati Woronka said... Best Blogger Tips

Way cool! I admire foster parenting so much, dream of perhaps doing it someday. It's great to read of the journey it has required.

Ms. Kathleen said... Best Blogger Tips

I have so learned over the years to listen to my "gut feelings". I remember jumping right in the water and getting burned a few times and then wondering why Lord? God gave us powerful instincts and so many just ignore them or get "guilted" in to doing something they shouldn't or are not ready for. God is so preparing you for many wonderful things. You have such a wonderful future ahead of you - REJOICE! in His goodness :)

Tara Porter-Livesay said... Best Blogger Tips

when the time is right you will be an AMAZING foster mama!!!

Jennifer Camp said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes, it does take courage to say 'no' and trust that He has you, has good plans for you and for the child that comes into your home. Keep leaning in, friend. Love how you are patient, processing, waiting on Him. Glorious.

Emily Wierenga said... Best Blogger Tips

i am proud of you girl. and on behalf of all of the children who need a solid home, thank you.

Mimi said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, that's amazing. God has been preparing me and my youngest boys for change and you know, it's been a journey of processing and will continue to be for the next several months! Courage dear sister in Christ! Stopping by from Mama Kats! =)

Waverley said... Best Blogger Tips

As a foster parent for over 10 years, you should congratulate, not guilt, yourself about saying "no." Being a foster parent is an enormous job. You must be ready. Good for you for knowing yourself well enough and listening to yourself with God's guidance to be able to know the time and situation were not right for you. Good luck in your journey.

Vicky said... Best Blogger Tips

I grew up with foster children in my home. My parents had really big hearts and were always willing to take in a new child. Saying "no" was the hardest thing to do. You showed great courage and insight by doing that. You will be great at fostering! God bless you and the children you will be touching.

Caroline said... Best Blogger Tips

My husband and I fostered for 4 years and adopted our 2 children out of care. Fostering is a humbling, refining, and rewarding experience. May the Lord bless you on this journey and may He use you to minister to children and families in need.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Caroline! It is so encouraging and rewarding and EXTREMELY helpful to talk to others who have BEEN THERE! I look forward to getting to know you more as, I too, embark on this journey!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Vicky, for this insight! It has been hard to WAIT for HIS timing but I know it has been right and good even in the hard.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Waverley! Do you have a blog or a way that I can connect with you further?

It has been a hard choice to wait, even more, but as you said, it is hard and I knew I needed MORE TIME. I want to be fair to the kids God will send us as well as to myself.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Mimi! May I ask what changes you are embarking on? I truly appreciate you stopping by from Mama Kat's!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Emily! You and Cara are such examples to me in this endeavor and the way you write the REAL and TRUE helped me to brave enough to know when to step deep and when to step lightly. I appreciate you both for that and for the encouragement!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, was so, so, so hard to come to that be brave...but now I have more peace than ever before, trusting the Lord has a timing and a plan, not to overwhelm me and for the right children that need to be in our home.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Aww...thank you, Tara! And how well you know the journey, eh? I truly appreciate your encouraging words!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Ms. Kathleen! I needed that reminded from my older sister in Christ. It breathes courage into my bones! I appreciate you!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Kati! It has been a hard road JUST to get to this place AND I know that there will still be other challenges to come but I have more peace now that I have taken things step by step. Wow! I hope you will let me know should the Lord ever lead you down the fostering journey...!

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