calm amongst the chaos

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Andi had an away volleyball game the other day and her team was winning yet again. Her 8th grade team is undefeated and they are killing it this season. I was not paying the greatest attention because the littles are obsessed with the bleachers and they were running up and down them like the wild hyenas they truly are. The 3 of us finally compromised on the very top row of the bleachers while my desire was to sit with the rest of our family on the bottom row. You know compromising with two 2 year olds is a little more yin than yang. Whatever, it’s them telling me where to go and me crying please if you just sit there you can have my phone and all my money and all my gum. You can have anything in the world if you just sit here and let me watch a few minutes of this game.
I’m sure you get the gist. Toddlers are a gift to us. Eat them up.

So we are ahead by a large gap and all of the sudden the other team gets some momentum and one player makes a great play and scores a point. The girl is cute in her reaction, but in my head I was thinking a little over the top for a team sport. It was just one point. Then they have the ball and serve, we get it back to them and this girl makes a great dig and scores again. She then puts her hands over her head like a ballerina and spins and then waves and jumps around like she just won the game.

Then we got the ball back she rotated out and we won. Game over.

Here is what I was thinking as a grown woman sitting high up in the bleachers.

Well she is really annoying and way over the top.
That was a little over dramatic for a team sport.
I couldn’t be able to be her friend.

I’m A GROWN woman. A Grown woman (almost 40, don’t want to talk about it) who loves Jesus and tries to live her life making him proud.

And that was my internal dialogue.

Right.

Bothered by my own thoughts I had to dig around at my issue. Where is this stemming from?
I saw her mom and sister in the front row smiling and clapping with her and they looked so genuinely proud of her, why wasn’t that enough? Why isn’t that enough to say, oh I see, that was for them.

That wasn’t enough.

What was my problem?

And it dawned on me. Humility. She showed no signs of being humble. And that bothered me.
I lived my whole life downplaying everything I have ever done and I’m sure ever will do.
It’s never going to be perfect. Anyone can do that. I really didn’t do anything special. I am definitely not that special.
Humility is my jam.

I sat stone faced one day in 9th grade when my teacher wanted me to explain to the class why I was gone for an entire week. She knew where I was, the absence was excused, she wanted me to tell the class. I said nothing. I sat red faced, stone walled. “I was away”. “Where?” “No where”. I know I looked like the biggest brat in that moment but what that teacher was doing to me was excruciating.

I spent the week in St. Maarten modeling for Self magazine. She probably thought I would want to share such an exciting adventure. But she was so wrong. She probably had no idea that I had just recently had an article written about me in the school paper about my modeling career and let’s just say the overwhelming mumbling from my school was “she isn’t that pretty without makeup”. Or how about walking into the courtyard one day to witness a large group of girls using my photo from the article as a target and writing bitch all over it and punching holes in my face. I had never met one of these girls ever in my life. I am sure none of them knew my name prior to the article.

So no Mrs. Felix I would rather be chained and tortured than brag to this class that I was modeling in the Caribbean for the past week.

So when I am humble maybe it’s not a God given trait. Maybe it’s a self preservation coping method.

With the truth giving me a reality left hook I am trying to understand more.

Know me more.

I take pride in my humility. How’s that for messed up? I will cling to those who are humble and shy away from the prideful. Yet here we both are with pride. Mine is just hiding behind humility. And I imagine their humility is hiding behind their prideful mask. Because we are all weak. We all cope in ways we learned to cope.

When you google “verses about humility” you will find a bunch of them. God opposes the prideful and exalts the humble. Most are of this flavor. But where is this humility coming from? If it’s our hearts then that is exactly who he is talking to.

But I am realizing my humility comes from fear and we all know anything that stems from fear is not God given. God is gracious and kind and wants us to take leaps when fear only allows us to take baby steps. God wants me to stand on a ledge and step and not look down. Everything in me is saying no way, I need a safety net, and he says “Dummy! I am your safety net”. And maybe he actually doesn’t call me a dummy.

So my prayer is this, Lord help me work for your good. Let my humility be a gift from you, but help me to see my achievements as gifts from you as well.
And when I see a young girl who got a point for her team, let me celebrate with her. She is yours. Just like me.
Let me teach my kids that yes you need to walk humbly, but also celebrate those gifts that make you shine. Don’t hide your shine! Give that Glory to God!

Let’s be proud of who you made us to be and celebrate that in HIS honor.

Also keep calling me out on my crap so I can dig into why I react the way I react and dig deeper into who I am meant to be.

We are all designed to shine for his glory. Let’s start shining!

** let me say I already feel silly for posting these photos. I have been so brain washed by my fears to never brag about my modeling, but I feel like showing these is a good step in saying yes this was a cool opportunity I had in my life and although I feel a little like Al Bundy reliving his Polk High days I’m still going to post these and shine this light**

Photos from Self Magazine 1994

I only allow myself to do this once, one time a year. One time and not on her actual day. I am allowed to cry. I am allowed to just get it all out. I can have my fit, wash my face and move on and celebrate. But it seems like August 27th every year is the day I just want to punch life in the face. 
I know the gifts I have been given. I thank God every day for another day with Lily. Always. 
But birthdays are hard. And friends… 16. 16 is like a punch in the gut.
16 is the year I always seemed to referenced when I would think of the nevers. It always seemed to be more focused on the big things. Driving, boyfriends, prom, college visits… gah. The place we expected and the place we are now. 
We went camping this weekend. If you know me that is not a sentence that flows freely from my mouth. I like the outdoors. Actually I love the outdoors. I just don’t like the sleeping in them and I certainly don’t like being the mom of all the people needing to be feed. We had such a wonderful day sitting in the flowing creek enjoying the weather and water and having such a great time. Then they all started to get hungry and I was like why is no one offering uber eats out here? 
But anyway it’s weekends like this where our families uniqueness really stands out and I am grumbling half the time at how difficult it all is. I did give myself a time out and made myself breath and not be a joy sucker and thank God I was able to turn the ship around. And we actually really had a nice time this weekend. 
But our sweet Lily, did she? I don’t know. She had some tummy troubles and I hate to post that about her since it’s embarrassing but she went through about 8 diapers Saturday, all blow outs. Messes everywhere. Changing her in the dirt near a creek. Changing her in a small camper where 8 of us were staying. The smell was tough to handle but the kids knew better than to complain about it. We don’t mess with Lily. She can’t help it, do not say it stinks. It’s a rule. 
Getting her down to the water was a lot of jiggling her around and physical work on Andrew’s part but I know he would do it any day, all day and we do think she enjoyed the serene spot in the shade. 
We had planned another swim day on Sunday but when it came down to it, our energy tanks were empty and nothing sounded better than home sweet home. 
Had we had kids able and ready to hop in and out of the car themselves we probably would have spent the day there. Had I not had to worry about special meals and medication for Lily maybe bringing food for everyone else would be easier for me to manage. 
Worrying about poop is an honest fear now. I am prepared now wherever we go. But being prepared and dealing with it are two different things. 
I just find myself exhausted and I hate that. I hate that a family vacation is just not the same for us. It just isn’t. And I get jealous of those who it is. And I am not a jealous person.
I think of Lily with maybe just one tiny piece of her DNA that went right and I think of that Lily. Would she have been annoyed with all of us this weekend. Would she have demanded we spent her birthday weekend doing something different. Would we have been practicing for her drivers test. Would we be watching her play volleyball, or dance or acting on stage. Would she have been studying for a test because she takes her academics seriously. Would she hate us for a billion reasons. I would rather the silent treatment than a life time of silence.
I would have rather slammed doors literally than all the figurative ones we knew were shut for good.
16 is so close to adulthood. So much stretching and growing and learning and figuring things out to eventually spread your wings to fly. 
But Andrew and I are doing a delicate dance with God pleading not to outlive her but also not for her to outlive us. Who else would love and care for her like us. 
These thoughts are dark and I would rarely ever say them out loud but I think them and maybe it’s my job to put light on them.
I am an easy going, happy go lucky woman. I feel I was given a beautiful gift of being easy going. I love that part of me. And I can usually make a joke on a whim about anything and most especially when things are hard. That’s when I do my best work. But today. Today it’s Monday, I’m up way before everyone and it’s still dark. My coffee is good and the silence is welcoming. My heart is aching a little bit and I am going to choose to tend to it. I am going grieve my losses. I am going to cry my tears and I am going to finish my coffee, wash my face and go wake up my beautiful 15 year old on her last day of being 15 and get her ready for school and say her morning prayers and fix her gorgeous hair and kiss her and send her on her way to school. I will be thankful for the gift of being able to serve her today and every day I get the opportunity. 
I know she is my gift. Every day. Even and especially on August 27th.

August 1st 2018 our family officially grew by 4 feet! Nordy party of 5 became the Nordy party of 7 and we are blessed beyond measure to have added Alfonso Maxwell and Isabella Rose to the Nothdurft family forever.

Thankful to my friend Ashley for these incredible shirts!

 

Absolutely adore this chalkboard by my friend Lisa Chalked up Charm

My heart exploded the day we met each of them as it did when we met Lily, Andi and Oliver for the first time, but I also tried to hold them at a distance as I knew they weren’t “ours” as we knew for a true successful foster care story the end game results with the kids going home to their rehabilitated parents. On paper this makes perfect, beautiful, redeeming sense.

In this mamas heart that idea was excruciating.

Yet we supported and encouraged and developed relationships with the kids bio parents and even when we started to realize they would probably never be raised by them, we respected and supported them. Well bio mama. I’m gonna be truthful here. Not so much their father. Details unnecessary. Truth is we supported mom. But respected both as biological parents that loved their kids. We don’t doubt for a moment they don’t love their kids. I don’t doubt that they did all they could with the tools they had, unfortunately though, it just was not enough. That doesn’t make them bad. That doesn’t make us bad. Foster care is a broken system with broken people.

This was the hardest thing we have ever done.

AND WE DO HARD. Andrew and I have done hard from the beginning with our first born baby having seizures at 3 weeks old. We do hard. We freaking swim upstream in hard. This was almost too hard. Breaking everything hard.

But here we are officially Nordy party of 7 with 5 kids we love so much we would face any extreme obstacle for. I cried harder meeting a 3 day day old Isabella than I did with any of our bio kids. I grieved for her mom who left the hospital with an aching body, breast full of milk and empty arms. I grieved for the baby girl who craved that mama she grew her perfect self into for 9 months. I hated what Alfonso went through 9 months before we got the wonderful pleasure to have met him. I hate what he went through before he came to us. I hate that he was taken from the only family who knew, albeit unsafe, it was all he knew. I hate the trauma they were unwillingly born into. I love them with a veracious love that will do anything to protect them because I know their start was not one of organic foods, baby showers and Pottery Barn nurseries. They landed unexpectedly in their forever family’s home supposedly temporarily. It’s not fair, their start. But my God these kids are loved. The love is not different. The love is fierce and wild and intense and it is so real. I never ever want them to ever doubt our love for them because they are not our flesh of our flesh. They are so much more.

They will always know their worth. They will indeed have doubts and questions and experience grief for the losses they endured at fragile tiny ages, but they will know they are loved. They are worthy and they are family.

Ohana Officially and Forever.

Our family is full. Our home is full. Our hands are full. We have decided we will close our foster care license for now. We also know that window in our heart for foster care will always stay cracked and when God says it’s time to open it back up we will be obedient.

I have learned so much these past two years and trusting God is my biggest lesson learned. I struggle with fear and I love the song Fear is a Liar because dammit he is. But God is bigger than my fears and he held me on days I was sure they were leaving and I couldn’t get through folding their clothes without sobbing. He was with me as I prayed over their Christmas stockings while I put them in a special box that I planned on sending them with when they went home. The nights I cried myself to sleep. The people I desperately sought comfort from. The experts I bombarded with questions. These two years I loved like there was no tomorrow since tomorrow wasn’t given. We know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any one, but this was a whole different level of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. But we still loved hard because they deserved it. They deserved to be loved fiercely no matter what tomorrow brought. And this experience changed me. Molded me. Made me.

I look a little older. I feel a lot a bit older. I am seasoned and a bit fried. But we are a family and I’d go to hell and back again and again to keep it that way.

On adoption day we heard a few ” I have never” and it makes us proud. Our sweet licensing worker said “I have never seen so many people at an adoption hearing before” and that is because our tribe rocks and every single person that was in that room that day holds a piece of  my heart. They witnessed one of the best days of our lives and deserved to be there because they were there through it all from the start and they knew the turmoil and stress and they love these kids as if I birthed them myself and they rock. Truly! We celebrated lunch out afterwards with more very special people who couldn’t make the hearing but are just as dear to us and we celebrated. We laughed and just breathed a sigh of relief. You know your tribe is your tribe when they hold their breath for you. We all deserved that sigh of relief. Thank you my people. Life with you is what it is all about.

One other “I have never” was said and this one still gives me chills. This one makes me cry to remember. This one will always change the kids adoption story forever. This “I have never” means this adoption was supported by someone no one in the world thought would support it. “I have never seen a biological mom at an adoption hearing”.

That my friends is because one word.

God. 

#adoption, the pain is different but the euphoria is the same

**we have special pictures of us with bio mom I am not sharing publicly here, but will be cherished by all of us, especially the kids**



We so do promise to tell the truth!
Our Licensing worker Robin who saw us through A LOT


 

 

 

 

 

Judge G. saw our case through from trial to adoption

 

I played basketball all the way though Jr High and High School, it took years to be semi decent at it. I was always yelled at by coaches to be “more aggressive”, to “be a tiger”, but it was hard for me to do that. Aggressive is not an adjective used to describe me. As I got older and more experienced I got better at basketball and although offense was definitely an easier side for me to play, I did get better with my defense. I got stronger, I learned how to box out and I have an enormous reach making blocks one of the best skills I had. It was fun, I played with my best friends and I have nothing but awesome memories of the sport. I still remember so clearly however one day after a game I was red faced, sweat slicking my hair back and I was talking to a friend who said “I just love watching you play, you are so graceful”. I was like what? Did you see my points? My blocks? I was hustling all over that court and you thought I looked graceful? I still chuckle thinking about it because in my head I was the tiger out there I was trained to be and yet from everyone else’s vantage point I was a giraffe leaping around the court.


I am not complaining. It’s not like she compared me to a bull in a china shop. Being accused of being graceful is not an offensible crime. But I didn’t want to be seen graceful. I wanted to be seen tough.


This is still my lot in life.


I have called my blog Calm Amongst the Chaos for many many years because it’s what one person said I was while I was wrangling my kids and I liked it and the name stuck. At the time I was pushing Lily in a wheelchair, probably arguing with Andi Jane and holding a baby Oliver on my hip. This also makes me giggle because in my head there is no calm. And that chaos is mine. She is saying I am bringing with me a whole lot of chaos, my chaos, my kids, my monkeys, my circus and I’m just walking through it calmly. I am so not. I am an anxious person. I have strange neuroses. I am not calm in my brain at all. Yet I seem to give an appearance of calm. Again. I’ll take it! But for the years it has been kind of a silly name for my blog when in all reality I’m lying. I’m not sharing with people how to remain calm amongst life’s chaos. I am just going along with what I look like I am. If you asked me point blank, Kim how do you remain calm amongst the chaos? I’d laugh and say “I don’t”.


I have never been diagnosed with anxiety. I actually only recently have been able to understand what it is. My whole life I have been nervous, scared, driven by fear. I fidget obsessively and I worry and obsess about all the ways things can go bad. I’m an over thinker and can never just take things as they are. I never understood when I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin, or when I can no longer be in a place I was just fine in a few minutes ago that it was anything more than me being me. Yet I also consider myself an extrovert. I laugh, make jokes and smile a lot. I love people and genuinely care about them. I thrive on being social and need to be around others. Unless I get a weekend to myself in a hotel room. Then I’ll take that. But I wonder if my ability to socialize in public with my circus of crazy swirling around me is how I get dubbed cool and calm amongst it all. But I really feel anything but calm.


I think it is all because I am tall with long limbs. I guess giraffe’s never get accused of being anxious, but I bet you there is a mama giraffe out there with maybe just a few too many kids that are getting into giraffe naughty business and she is stressed out and tried, but does she look it, no.. she’s a giraffe! She is tall and graceful and munches shoots of trees. She is doing her business all gracefully, but I know in her head she is saying “they can’t go there, they shouldn’t be there, what did Greg eat for breakfast, did Gerald drink any water? Did Gerry poop yet today…”


My point for this post is this… I do not feel calm amongst it all. But I crave it and I want it and I strive for it. And when I want it, by the power and GRACE from God, I can achieve it. But it is not a given. It is not natural for my mind to be at peace at any given time. I have to be intentional in my seeking of it.


April was an intense month for our family. Well the last half especially. We were busy nonstop. We had two out of town volleyball tournaments for Andi, one being in Vegas. With two littles. It was a lot. A LOT. We had a trial and might I add we are STILL waiting for our judge to rule on our case. It was not a month where I was able to be sitting still in my storm just praying for peace as it passed. I was a tasmanian devil running from disaster to disaster making everything more of a mess. I was still for the most part digging in my bible and doing my morning devotions but half the time I forgot what I read just moments before. I am struggling to even get into my book club book this month because my mind is filled with too much stress to focus on the things that bring me peace. Even while trying.


I hate this place I can find myself stuck in. I hate the negativity is spews. April was also fun. I never want to be that mom that can’t find the joy in the moments because I’m too stressed. Yet I find myself there often.


So it’s May now. It’s summer hot here in Arizona and some parts of our world are starting to maybe slow down a little. Maybe. And even if they don’t, my focus is still going to be that calm. That calm I brag about in naming my blog. The calm that everyone sees in me, yet I never see in myself.


I am going to get more intentional with the things that get me there. Focus. Intention. Joy. If I focus on it, pray on it and seek it, I know it will be found.
And most of all Philippians 4:4-8, my most favorite verses in the entire bible, will be on repeat inside this messy head of mine.


4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

I love the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding. I am pretty sure I saw it in the theater multiple times and then on loop on VHS. I love the characters, the actors (hello! Julia, Cameron, Dermot and Rupert), the humor, the music, the story line. It’s just chick flick perfection. Of course the Oscars weren’t calling their name to stand up and accept an award in 1997, but all of us young women dreaming of our futures cared and that what mattered.

The very opening (pre Julia) scene is a bride and her bridesmaids singing the classic Wishin’ and Hopin’ in a cutesy 50’s style fashion. The bride is basically saying you won’t get a man just by wishing and hoping, and thinking, and praying, planning and dreaming each night. Oh no, you need hold him, kiss him, love him and show him that you care. And how you show him that you care is by wearing your hair just for him, and doing the things that he likes to do. Then you get the ring and hook, line and sinker. Ha! It’s so cute and silly. And then song gets stuck in your head in a very serious way.
I haven’t thought about the movie or that opening scene in a long time, but lately we are in a huge waiting period of our life and sometimes I will be humming.. Wishing and hoping, thinking and dreaming… and it gets in a loop. I kinda wish someone in a cute dress will sing to me and tell me how to get this wait over. Like maybe if I dress a little nicer. Pray a little harder. Maybe if I stand on my head and wiggle my legs. Just tell me and I will do it.
Yet we wait.
I wanted to wait for a ruling from the judge before I mentioned anymore about this journey, I like to be able to wrap things up in a bow. I always want to share my story after the fact. I want to grapple and wrestle with my life then come and say tada! I survived and here’s how. But my heart is saying write. Share. Spill it. My brain is saying not yet. The story isn’t over. My heart says the story won’t ever be over so share.
And guys as always my brain loses to this ridiculously bossy heart of mine.
We are in a period of waiting. And it SUCKS. For real. Like for real.
I know we are not the only ones in this time of waiting. We all have these moments. These hard moments in life where one phone call, one email, one spoken word can change the course of our entire life. A ruling, a test result, an upcoming appointment. Sometimes life flows and sometimes life rages. It’s raging right now and I honestly hate it.
But I did give it to God. I wrote that piece last month and I truly made confessions and I handed that over to God and let it go. And guys… the peace! The peace I was granted is worth more than any amount of anything anyone can give me. I was able to breath through March. We were able to breathe through 2 days of trial and God held us up the entire time. I saw him work in me in ways I would never ever imagine. He changed my lenses. I saw people I once saw intimidating; human, kind even. I felt a trust in people I questioned previously. I felt peace and heartbreak. I felt compassion that overwhelmed me. I sat in a courtroom wiping my eyes and nose in my sweater because I had, well no tissues, and no control over how my heart ached.
We listened to hard stuff. They spoke about the future of these little lives that don’t deserve to be talked about. Little lives that are so woven in every fiber of our family. Little lives the courts shouldn’t have ever even knew they existed. They deserve so much better. But there we were listening to their history with their future in the balance. We sat helpless, yet filled with peace. Peace I sought after so hard and found it in the only place it could ever be found.
I share that with you all because I know so many of us are seeking that peace. I found it in the hardest easiest place. Surrender. The hardest easy thing you’ll ever do. And I don’t even feel I need to explain what I mean by hardest easy. If you know, you know. Surrendering, laying it down. Once it’s done, it is done. You feel like it’s being slowly pulled from your tight grip, then you let go and you are free. I’m praising God for that experience. I know me. I know my crazy. This was the kindest gift that has ever been given to me.
But we are still waiting for the outcome from those trial days. We have been told what the outcome would be by many professionals that have spent way more days in court than this Dateline addict. But still we wait. Because until I hear it, see it, know it. I know nothing. I need knowing. Not speculation.
So we wait. And even with the peace it still sucks. It’s still a daily practice for me to continually hand it over. Each morning, each and every one. I seek him and I talk, and talk and talk and he is so so good to me I don’t even think he rolls his eyes even a little at all my talk.
But this is what it is. It’s seeking him in this time. It’s never relenting. It’s not letting my crazy sneak in. It’s intentional daily. And maybe that’s why it’s on my heart to share this. Because I know we are not the only ones in waiting. So many of us are wishing and hoping and waiting. We are thinking and dreaming and waiting. We are seeking this time to fly by, yet I don’t think he wants that. We need to push forward, draw near and fill up. Seeking his face purposefully and intentionally.
I am excited to share that story with the bow around it one day. But I am glad to share the story of right now as well. As the bow always looks pretty, but the person wrapping it, especially me with no artistic skills at all is a disaster and watching her tie the bow together is probably quite humorous. And sad. And hilarious. Because amongst the crazy, the frustrating and the sadness I like to dance. And sing. And be all kinds of silly and so that’s what I am looking like right now trying to wrap this bow that one day I’ll look back on and see it’s beauty but not so much in the bow itself but the process that put it so nicely together.
Also friends if you haven’t listened on repeat singing your heart out to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury in your car, you should. That and the Greatest Showman. You may want to catch a ride with someone else. It’s pretty ridiculous.

 

 

Dear God,

Thank you, please, please, please, please….

please , please, please, please..
In your holy precious name,
MY will be done.
Amen.

Oops I mean your will. Your will be done.

But God, can you please, please, please match yours to mine?

I don’t actually really trust your will. Your will scares the s*#t out of me. I’ve seen your will. I’ve seen it go seemly really bad. I think if you just see this from my perspective you will see that MY will be done is a whole lot better than yours. I mean, just this time. OK. Please.

Amen.

Living in fear in Arizona


Hi… I am Kim and as much as I love Jesus I have realized I don’t trust him very well.

This revelation has come to me, thankfully, steered by a good friend who isn’t all about chicken soup and snugly blankets. We had a recent conversation and it went a little like this.
“Kim, what do you know”, “I know God is good. He loves me. He is protective of me. I am cherished. These children are his and loved and cherished and protected.” “OK Kim, so why don’t you trust a God that you know all that about” “because trusting him doesn’t mean things will end how I want them, I mean look at what we’ve gone through with Lily” “So knowing all you know about God you think your will is better than his” ….. “Uh…” And it went on from there. From a place of love and a place of a different perspective we continued to talk.
Tears pooled my eyes as I began to understand my distrust with my God. MY God. Whom I love. Whom I crave his closeness and grace. Whom I hate missing a morning coffee with. I don’t trust him. Because he had done me wrong.

I spent years begging at his feet for a different outcome for our baby girl. His will was different than mine.

15 years later my prayers have changed for her and of course our acceptance of her is clear as a bright sunny Arizona day, but my heart will always be scarred because of her. Because her life is hard and I hate that. Because her life was not how I envisioned it being.

My will for her was not met.

But God’s will was/is. And it is good.
 
But if we had this talk 15 years ago I’d punch you in the face. I would have at least really wanted to. Because I was supposed to trust a will that leaves our daughter unable to speak, walk, feed herself, and be reliant on us for everything she needs. That she would have to undergo awful procedures and surgeries and diets and take disgusting meds for her entire life and that is a good will of God. That doesn’t sound good. Or fair. Not cool, at all, in the least. But it’s his and it is good.
 
And as the years have gone by and we watch Lily’s growth and know her and love her and we see the lives she has touched and changed, ahem most assuredly the ones closest to her, i.e. me, we see a goodness that shines through her. We know we weren’t punished and Lily had to suffer. Not at all, we are able to shine God’s love through a girl who is clearly blameless in all ways. We have come to love and honor that we get to serve her. Care for her. Silence our own selfishness for her. Because she is worthy of it all. She didn’t become who we planned. She became eons more. She is a gift and we are the lucky ones.

God’s will was done and it is good.

As I have been in this waiting period and spending time in deep reflection on our life with Lily I have had two out of the blue moments with her. I got a facebook message the other day from someone who taught her Sunday School in the 5th grade. They moved away and she said she always has Lily on her mind. How Lily was such a blessing to be a part of their class and she just wanted to know how she was doing. She’s great, I wrote, and thank you for reaching out and reminding me once again how she is a life changer.

And yesterday, at Oliver’s skate competition, Lily was being pushed by Grandpa Steve and a homeless man wearing a suit with slippers and looked like an arty professor, clean and kind, and carrying all his belongings in a cart on his bike came over to Lily and Grandpa Steve with tears pouring down his face he said “God bless you and her”. He said his son was killed in Afghanistan and he used to serve in the Navy and he wanted Lily to have his Navy key chain he’s been carrying around for many years. Guys! Grandpa Steve said his tears were just pouring out of him. We gladly put that key chain on her backpack and will always think of him and his son and again be reminded that Lily is seen, her presence is known and God’s will is good.

Will it take me until eternity to fully grasp his will for her? Yes. There are days I want to just talk to her and I can’t, and that will always hurt. Reminders like, for instance, that she should be getting her drivers permit this month, sucks. Always. So even on my best days I am working with, and will always be, a scarred heart.

God’s will is a hard pill to swallow when we have seen it at work and not appreciated it fully. And might not until we are no longer on this earth. There is only so much we can see from our perspective. I look forward to that day I can see it from his.

People still get cancer, people so very close to me get cancer, so many children are in foster care, babies sometimes die even after we all pray with intensity that his will does not take this precious baby from my sweet friend.

So much on this life we will never fully understand or comprehend until we are face to face with him. The king of all kings. The alpha and the omega. I picture his big, gentle hands on my face and explaining to me my life. The ways my road went, some sweet, some too hard, and see it was all good. His will was good.

But until that moment I still have to live and love and flourish on this earth, I want to slay these years, not merely survive them. So how do we surrender our will to his. Even knowing it’s good. But also knowing it may not be ours? That’s the struggle.

I never used to have a problem going to the dentist until one day he put that Novocaine needle right into my nerve and I almost flew out of my seat. I thought I heard and saw the color red (yes that is what I said) and I would never be the same. Do you think after that I can sit in a dentist chair and get that shot without my heart palpitating? Heck no. I’m like a panicked goat. Please don’t hit my nerve, please don’t hit my nerve, I beg. Out loud. Like a panicked goat. One panicked goat that can speak. Did my tooth go numb and he fix my tooth? Yep. Do I hate going to the dentist now? Abso-freaking-lutely. Once bitten twice shy, right? I do not trust anyone with a needle in my mouth. I don’t. It’s created an anxiety in me that’s hard to go to the dentist now. But the Dentist ain’t God.

God is not the dentist. God gives us promises that are true and we can cling to, like for instance in Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He promises us good if we trust in him. And so we try to trust him. And everyone says, trust God. So I try. But I am so often left unsure of what that truly looks like. How do I hand him this heavy burden and walk away from it? Like it’s easy to say thanks, here you go, but then a few minutes later say Umm… I’ll take that back. You really aren’t able to control the situation like I am in my head. Like a raving lunatic. That’s working better than trusting you on this. Actually God I choose my crazy over your peace.

What? Why?

And that is what I am practicing right now. Dropping that load off and walking the eff away. Sorry. I just need to walk away and throwing a little good girl with a rebel spirit “eff” in there feels better.

My friend Bob encouraged me to confess my rebel spirit.. And I have to be honest, I liked that I have a rebel spirit. I like that I stand firm and I have a lot of strength and it takes a lot to get me down. I am thankful for that rebel spirit I was given, but I also have learned it is a weakness in my relationship with God. I can’t rebel against him and his will and still say I trust him. I have to be all in or not. So while I will keep this rebel spirit, thank you very much, I will also continue to learn to where it is best used. Fighting wills with my God is not where it is best used. So I, as I was also encouraged, spent some time cuddled into God’s lap and confessed all this to him. I told him about how I don’t really care much for his will sometimes. Even when I KNOW he’s good. That I struggle with trusting his will and that I choose to trust him anyway. I am sorry for my disbelief. I am sorry for my inability to give it to him and leave it with him. And he listened. And I was finally able to take in this enormous peace that I have been begging for and unable to receive lately.

I have been asking for peace and answers and have spent a great amount of time in prayer these past few months. I even fasted for a day to try to clear my head. But I was so overwhelmed by my fears of his will that I heard nothing but the Tasmanian devil running rampant in my head. Of course I couldn’t hear him amongst my chaos. I couldn’t hear my own kids yelling for me to look at them. How could I hear a tender whisper from God?

So I went seeking for guidance in this waiting period of our life. A huge waiting period that at the end will determine so much. It’s not a small thing. This is a big thing. And that guidance took me on a wild adventure in my own head and heart and relationship with God that I thought I had and that I thought was good. I am learning to trust God is not just a thing people say and you just do. It’s a practice. A practice I am allotting myself a lot of grace through, it is saying here is this burden and letting him have it and repeatedly throughout the day when I start to take it back from him I say NO and often out loud, I am sure I am all kinds of crazy, but I say NO! I say thank you for this time. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for these sweet chubby hands we are responsible for right now. Thank you for the food we have to feed them. The diapers we have to change them. Thank you for all the funny things they say and do that give our whole family joy. We laugh so much in this house. Thank you for that.

And repeat.

And as my friend Bob says, “turn your worry into worship” and I am. I am each and every day. Many times a day and it is working. God has filled me with a beautiful peace. He’s also reminding me that his will for Lily is good. He knows me. He knows that is my Achilles heel and he is so tender with me and these reminders are like honey from the sky. Minus the bees.

If you are struggling with a big waiting period right now I deeply encourage you to also hand it to our big God for real. Like hand it the eff over. And practice over and over again leaving it with him. He’s capable and wanting and just waiting for you to do so. Fear can so easily drive us straight into a wall and we crash and burn. Over and over again. Fear gets us nowhere. And hurts. Peace from him gets us everywhere. And it’s peaceful. Precious God given peace. I’m choosing peace.

So my last post was in anticipation to a huge life change and somehow that change has come. Actually 6 weeks ago.
I outta post more often.
So before we were even licensed to foster I got an email asking if we’d take in a 9 month old baby boy. I said, (with my heart beating out of my chest thinking it’s too soon) “sure, but we aren’t licensed” they said they knew and we’re working on it. That was a Thursday, the following Monday I had our licensing worker inspecting our home and meeting us, Tuesday we had our license and Wednesday we had baby A. in our homes stealing our hearts at first smile.
He wasn’t an abused baby, he didn’t come with lice or ringworm, he was actually Gerber baby squishy delicious and has a heart breaking smile that I know will tear us all apart.
What are we doing? How can I not ask myself that question every day as I rock him, feed him and stare into his almond shaped eyes. Every day that he throws a fit and demands the only cure is me holding him. Every moment he yells his sweet baby yell just because for 2 seconds our household isn’t totally focused on him.
What are we doing?
Multiple times a day I am told by others “I could never do that, I would get too attached”.
Funny thing is, we’re attached. We are doing this and we are attached. Probably too attached. Like so many fear. We were attached the moment the doorbell rang and I opened the door and my heart and we were all goners.
We are all attached and he is attached to us.
In the past 6 weeks he has grown and learned so much.
In the past 6 weeks we have grown and learned so much.
I’ve learned about his parents. I have learned about a broken system. I have learned, even more so (?) just how important it is to advocate for children who have no voice.
I watch a lot of reality TV. My favorite is the Bachelor and Bachelorette. I’ve watched since Alex. If you know who that is fist bump.
As I watch that show I listen to them whine about how they hate to open up, how they don’t want to get hurt and so many are sent packing because they didn’t open up during a group date with 8 other girls vying for one dudes attention (ok maybe not the best example of where I am going) but the point is people sign up for this then refuse to give into the process because they are so scared to get hurt.
I don’t like to get hurt. I am the most cautious person on the planet. I like fun as long as it’s safe. But I can’t refuse to do the things I am asked to do because I am afraid of the heart break I will experience. I can however refuse to jump out of a plane because I like my body in one piece.
Would we keep baby A if it came down to it? 100% without a shadow of a doubt! But his case plan is reunification and we respect that. We understand if his parents can show they want their child back and will take care of him the way he deserves then we will support that. That is what we signed up to do.
We are to be a safe harbor for the child while their parents get safe.
But our safe harbor has lots of feels though. It’s not a place of robotic mechanics. It’s full of hugs and kisses and giggles and snuggles. And unfortunately in living that way we are setting ourselves up to be hurt. We know our hearts will be broken. Does it make it easier? Maybe. Maybe if those contestants on the Bachelor went in saying I want to have fun, let my guard down and be prepared for the hard landing, maybe they wouldn’t be in the limo sobbing that they will never love again because it hurts too much. (And PS they will try to love again when they are asked to be the next bachelorette OR get to be on Bachelor in Paradise and when those don’t pan out they will go back to their old college flame, get married and have a few kids). So being prepared may help? I don’t know.
I don’t know anything. I just know for now we have baby A. in our home and in our lives and it has made our home a happier than it already was home.
I know that I pray and sometimes I have to remind myself to pray for the best outcome for him. Not for us. I pray for his parents. I want them to be safe and healthy. I also pray that if they can’t be, let him stay with us. It’s hard to remind myself to stay out of the lane of my own selfishness. Remind myself that we want the best for baby A. We want his life to be fulfilled with happiness and most importantly safety.
I constantly pray, “God you know us. You know our hearts. Protect us and guide us”. It’s all I can do when I find us in the middle of a big ocean and the waves are rocking us side to side. God placed us in this boat. He will hold our hands while we rock. He will comfort our fears so that we can enjoy the ride for as long as it takes.
I have no idea how this story will end so all I can say is to be continued….