Friday, April 22, 2016

But I'm Not Done Yet! : A Harder Lesson on Trust

Just a couple weeks ago I poured out my heart about how I'd been learning to trust God in uncomfortable and unwelcome situations. My heart, my home, and my arms were full and my trust level was reaching an all-time high. Everything seemed to be perfect.

And then, boom.

Out of nowhere, completely unexpected and all-too-painfully sudden, my babies were taken from our home. There was no warning, no preparing our hearts... They were just... gone.

I'm not going to lie, for about 5 minutes I let the anger and confusion of my flesh win. I questioned why God ripped so much good from my life. I was irritated at the way it all happened. I thought we were supposed to get some notice. Why did it have to be so hard?

After those 5 minutes were up, I realized my actions and immediately asked God to help me trust Him in one of the darkest times of my life. His peace wasn't far behind. Still, my emotions were all but "okay." I couldn't walk into their room and see the toys over in the corner without feeling sick. When a tiny sock fell out of a mound of towels I was removing from the dryer, I felt like I was losing my mind. I couldn't stand looking at the highchair in the kitchen, so we moved it upstairs and out of sight. When I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably, I was numb. Completely numb. Hours would go by and I'd realize I hadn't moved. It was by far the worst experience I've yet to face thus far in life. It felt like death, honestly. It was so quick... So unexpected... So unfair... It was very traumatic. I still have a hard time understanding what happened and why.

Needless to say, after several days passed, I realized I couldn't continue on in the state that I was currently in. Aaron went outside to work in the yard, so I used that time to start de-cluttering the house... again. I walked into our bedroom and when I saw the empty space where the bassinet used to reside, I lost it again. I cried aloud to God, "Why did they have to go? Why did You let them take them away?" My mind traveled back to the very first and last post I wrote with the babies in my life and I said, "I was in my highchair, Lord! I waited for You to set down the plate. And then You took it before I was even finished. God, I'm not done! I wasn't ready! I'm not done! ... ... ...

I'm not done."

I wept and poured out every last drop of emotion in my heart to the God I'd trusted my life to. I just didn't understand. I was hurting. I was confused.

Not long after that, I got a random text from my mom. She'd been periodically calling or texting to check in and that's what I assumed this text was about. But, when I picked up my phone, I saw these words:

"Don't forget we dedicated those boys to the Lord. He's got this. He'll take care of you and He'll take care of them. They're His babies."

I felt a wave of that peace that passeth understanding flood my heart at that moment. I knew, once again, God was going to take care of it all in the best way possible. I made myself look back over my life and remember every other difficult trial I'd faced. I started recalling all those moments that were so hard it became nearly impossible to breathe. Memory after memory passed through my thoughts, image after image imprinted itself inside my brain. It didn't take long before I realized, He's always pulled me through dark nights. He always made the sun rise again in the morning. Never once has He failed to provide whatever comfort I needed to survive a devastating blow life threw at me. This one didn't startle Him either.

The tears were still flowing down my cheeks, but I started croaking out my favorite Lauren Daigle song:

When You don't move the mountain I'm needing You to move-
When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through-
When You don't give the answers as I cry out to You-
I will trust, I will trust in You-

You are my strength and comfort-
You are my steady hand-
You are my firm foundation-
The Rock on which I stand-
Your ways are always higher-
Your plans are always good-
There's not a place where I'll go-
You've not already stood.

After several half-sung, half-sobbed takes of this, I looked straight up to the sky.

"God, I really do trust You. I know you love those little fellas more than I could ever dream. I want You to guide their little steps and protect their tiny hearts. Let them know they are loved intensely and never let them doubt that. Keep them safe in all things. Protect them in every way. Right now I ask that You already begin molding everyone that will have a part in their life. Let every one encourage and support them, be there for them in the ways they need, lead them by example down a good path, teach them right, love them sincerely... God, please. Lord, please. Just... please."

I felt a little better, but my heart was still breaking into a million tiny pieces. I pulled up the photos on my phone and looked at every picture, watched every video, and then I came upon the Dedication Service. With tears streaming rapidly I let out a very heavy and weak, "God, I miss them so much. I want more hugs. I want to give more high fives and knuckle touches. I want to hear that, loud 'Muah!' sound C1 makes when he gives me kisses. I want to hear him call every dog Aubrey again. I want... I want..."

And I was done again. I lost it. My heart was racing, I was creating my very own river, and the pain was so deep it became something I physically felt. But, just like that, I felt God speak to my heart.

"Kristi, I know you're not done... And I assure you, I'm not either."

And all of a sudden those painful tears turned to tears of joy. I knew God had this situation under control. I understood that He had a plan for us all. And I saw just how possible it was to still trust Him when life was at its darkest. I can't explain it. I don't have a step-by-step strategy on how to accomplish this in your life. All I know is that He provides it. I've had several people shake their head in disbelief at my reasoning for still choosing to serve Him when my life has already ventured through some rough terrain.

It's because I trust Him. I really do. He's never taken something from my hands without handing me something even better. It's pretty impossible to grasp that when you're first facing loss, but give it time. Your hands will be full again.

 And in this situation... I know He's not done working. I don't know what He has up His sleeve, but it's gonna be good. It always is. Do I miss those boys? OMG. More than I could ever say. Was I disappointed in how things worked out? For sure. Do I still cry sometimes when I think about the precious memories we made? Quite often, actually. Do I know what our future holds? Do I know how theirs will turn out? No. Was I finished with them? Absolutely not. But, you know what?

He's not either.


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Little Glimpses of Our Little Humans

So, by popular demand, I present to you some of my favorite photos we have thus far of our beloved C1 and C2. Because of laws and regulations, I can't show their faces just yet... (And oh! Do they have the cutest little faces!!!) Still, I want you to feel a little more apart of our lives, and I think sharing images of these memories will help with that! Hope you enjoy!!

And boom! One day we had the opportunity to love some amazing little boys...


Aunt Sissy and C1. This is their spot... Not sure why... But it is.


He was trying to be a big boy today...

C2 twinning with Daddy Aaron...
Started off being hard to get C1 in the tub... now... you can't get him out!


Baby C2 rolled over for the first time! Yay!


Little C1 got to visit the ice cream truck for the first time!


C1 loves to swing!

Took a trip to Missouri to meet Mawmaw and PawPaw Benfield!


C2 has Nana Crystal wrapped around his tiny finger!


Both boys love time with Mamaw and Papaw Troy!


C1 took a break from wrestling to pose with Poppy!


Uncle J sure has a blast with these little guys!


This was only Day 2 - and I was already in love!

These babies will never know just how much they've already impacted our lives and imprinted our hearts. I sure hope we do the same for them. Love them more than they'll ever know...
And I guarantee we always will...
Pray for us all... Wish us luck... and join in our fun by keeping up with this blog!
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Monday, April 4, 2016

10 Seconds in the High Chair : A Lesson on Trust

Wow! It's been a long time since I've had a moment to sit down at my laptop and write to my heart's content. A little over two months ago, Aaron and I became parents for the first time. Yes, we're currently just foster parents, but parents nonetheless. Two amazing little boys have brought so much joy and fun to our lives, but they've also added countless new responsibilities and obligations. They've become priority, their needs come first, and making sure they have incredibly fun days has been our focus. With time as fleeting as it is, that doesn't leave a working wife and mom much time for herself. Sacrificing my own personal time just comes with the role. Still, it's a different type of rewarding knowing you're teaching a little human how to grow and survive in this world. Takes your breath away sometimes when you sit down and try to let that thought sink in. My whole life I've only wondered what this would be like, and now... Well, I know!

I'm not going to lie, it's much more difficult and tiring than I imagined... especially the foster care side of things. Things haven't been impossible or anything... There's just a lot of emotions and unanswered questions that will linger over you until you get answers. And that's just it... You won't get any answers until the day you get them all. Needless to say, you walk blindly through this journey. That doesn't set too well with me. I like situations to have security and structure. Control over what happens next, especially in my life, is something I have a hard time letting go. Knowing that I have pretty much no say in how the next year of my life will play out could drive me crazy if I let it.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't trade this part of my life for anything. My heart is full of love, hope, and anticipated promise for these babies. Whether they remain in my life forever, or play only a small role, I sure am grateful for every second I get to invest encouragement, support, and prayer into these little guys.

On days I have time to type out a few lines, you'll be getting all kinds of access to the days we have around here. Today, though, I can't get this one thing off my brain. So, the writer in me has to put it in a post.

As I've mentioned in earlier entries, I've grown a lot when it comes to trusting God to work things out for me. I still have a tendency to fret about uncomfortable situations, but with each one that comes my way, those worrisome moments become less frequent and much shorter-lived. These past couple of months I've honestly felt and noticed even more of a growth in this area. Our pastor preached some incredible timely messages on "Transferring Trust" and I gleaned so much knowledge and wisdom from him during that series. God didn't stop there, though. Just a week or so ago I put the oldest boy (I can't say names on social sites, so I will reference him as C1 and the baby I will call C2) in the highchair while I was preparing his food. After a mere 10 seconds of him sitting there without anything in front of him, he began to cry and become convinced he wasn't getting anything. I tried talking to him while heating up his food and pouring his drink, doing all I could to assure him food was close at hand. It did no good. Less than 2 minutes later everything was ready to go and I sat down to assist him eat. I looked at him and said, "Bubby, I will always feed you. Haven't you learned that yet? I'll always take care of you and you'll always get what you need." I chuckled a little and thought, Sheesh. After 10 weeks, you'd think he'd have learned to trust me a little more than that. And just like that, I felt God give me that look... You know... That look.

Then I started carrying on a conversation with myself inside my brain. I wonder how many times God says that about us? After being provided for every day of our lives, we panic when He doesn't set the plate down in front us the second we're in the highchair... You know what I mean. We get up at 6:30 am, say a prayer, and by 9:00 we're at work frazzled that the answer is still not visible to us yet. Time after time we witness Him taking care of us and getting us what we need, and we still cry and throw tantrums thinking He just forgot us over in the corner somewhere. I was able to view Him as a parent... as a Father... a little more clearly. Immediately my mind went to Matthew 7:7-11.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then... know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?"

Although the last two months of my life have been the most stressful, tiresome, and emotional (and yes, still very much enjoyed), I've had more peace than I can express. Each day I've reminded myself to just trust Him and enjoy the ride. He wants what's best for us, the boys, and their birth family. He will protect their future just as much as He'll shield our hearts.

He's a good, good Father.

I can't help but smile, because I know if I ever sense myself becoming impatient during a situation in my life, I'm going to immediately envision myself in a highchair watching God at the microwave. It'll only be a little while before He sets the plate down in front of me.

You can find this blog linked up to some other incredible sites: The Time Warp WifeCornerstone ConfessionsTeaching What is GoodA Bowl Full of LemonsA Peek into My ParadiseRosilind JukicProverbs 14 Verse 1Women with IntentionGiving Up on PerfectDucks 'N a RowI Choose JoyA Handful of EverythingBusy Being BlessedEssential     Thing Devotions, and many more!

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