I have always dreamed of being a wife and mom. Like....... other people wanted to be doctors, nurses, teachers.....and I would answer at the ripe age of 11 and 12 that "I want to be a mom & a singer". I feel blessed. I don't have a song on the radio (yet ;) but for the most part, I get to do what I have always dreamed of doing.
But to be honest, grown up life is NOTHING like what I expected. We married 10 months after our highschool graduation, so, for Kyle and I, our entire "adulthood" has been shared. And there are many times we have shared the feeling that we had been dropped on a deserted island to figure this whole life thing out, but probably we would just die there. It is hard!
Throw in kids and it is alot hard.
Throw in kids old enough to see you, understand what's going on, & even call you out, and all of a sudden the pressure/accountability is gut wrenching and all up in your face.
We experienced this early on, as we got our oldest daughter added to our family when she was 17 years old. We were 24, had a 4 year old, & were expecting our 2nd baby. But overnight, we went from the privacy that a 4 year old's ignorance gives you, to the all knowing, always watching (& sizing you up) eyes of a teenager in the house. I remember, I stopped watching Laguna Beach (and MTV in general) and apologized to her for referring to the neighbor's pet as "that damn dog" one day, because all of a sudden -- it was real, someone was watching me. Someone I wanted so much redemption for and so much "life changing Jesus" for, was constantly watching me.
And so the rubber met the road for us.
Fast forward to a little over 3 years ago, when we were begging God to heal our 14 month old niece. There was no secret she was sick and not doing well, so naturally all of our then 5 kids were well in the know. But something about having to lay in bed explaining to my 8 year old, things I was struggling to hold on to, like "God is still good - even if He chooses not to heal Olivia" and "If He doesn't, it is not because He can't". It was an exercise of faith to say those things out loud -- terribly hard, and even more so after He chose NOT to heal our sweet Liv. To stick by those truths that I wanted Tanner to clearly see and know, regardless of our earthy emotions and hurts and doubts and fears; God was still good. That was tough stuff.
Tonight was no different.
Kyle and I have prayed and talked and talked and prayed ourselves into the same circles for the last month or so on whether or not we should continue to foster the boys during our transition to welcome a new baby girl. There are rules , appointments, visits, evaluations, & paperwork - Honestly, stuff I don't have time for. Not now, and not in a week and a half when 1/3 of my day will be taken up by breastfeeding. This was why we hadn't signed up to do foster care, but to adopt kids out of foster care who needed forever homes. But like most things in our lives it seems, things didn't go as planned - and we accepted an emergency placement for these 2 boys. So now, regardless of all the mess - here they are, calling me Mom, with no real chance of me being their forever mom.
Tanner has heard us have these conversations. She has seen me frustrated and frazzled, overwhelmed and annoyed how things have played out. But tonight, as we layed in bed, I told her we have decided to keep the boys.
And then how fitting for me to have to explain to her why, as I myself need to be reminded why. I continued to tell her that the situation is not exactly how we wanted it to be for this pregnancy and for enjoying the new baby, but that sometimes we sacrifice and put other people first for the sake of loving them like Christ; even when its not necessarily what we want. We know the boys are happy here; they are adjusted & thriving, but even more than just them, we are getting to love their dad like Christ, as he works to get his life in order and get his boys back. That doesn't make this an east choice, but there is peace in knowing that when we aim to live and choose based on love, that God is most definitely with us.
I teared up laying in her bed, hearing my own words just then. I needed affirmation tonight too and God gave it to me in the form of my responsibility to my ever watching, ever perceiving, not so much of a little girl anymore.
Parenting is the hardest, most exhausting, selfless, vulnerable, & reflective thing I have ever done. Sometimes it is so hard I wonder why any of us ever choice this life (again and again even) but I am grateful for so much of the time God uses it to refine me, shape me, grow me, and make me more like Him.
Ultimately, I suppose that is the actual goal of all of our crazy lives.