faith like a child

Thursday, March 24, 2016

This coming Easter Sunday, my youngest son will be baptized, celebrating the part where death does not get the final word with the very picture of new life. It seemed appropriate to revisit this post from 2012. I wish that my tight-fistedness around my children's faith had eased more than it has, but I find myself still rehashing some of these same thoughts this time around. Today, I'm thankful for a God who is faithful to bear with all my control issues and for a son that is practically jumping out of his skin with excitement over Easter Sunday this year.


Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.
Yesterday my daughter was baptized.
Birth and rebirth.

Maggie has been asking to be baptized for over a year. True confession: I really didn’t want her to be baptized. We had put her off time and time again. Seven years old (still) seems too young to me. Does she even realize what she’s doing? What will it even mean to her at this age? Isn’t she well below the so-called age of accountability? Are we taking this too lightly by ‘allowing’ her to do this?

Here’s the problem with that thinking: she understands. As best she can.
God doesn’t require complete adult intellectual understanding to work in our lives. He definitely doesn’t require that of us in order to follow Him.

She wants to follow Jesus with all of her little seven year old being.
She wants other people to know that she wants to follow Jesus.

Who am I to quench that spirit in her? My hang-ups are exactly that, my hang-ups. Jesus works in all of our lives individually, including my children. I want to manage their lives, their behavior, sometimes, unfortunately, even their relationship with Christ. But it’s their relationship with Christ, not mine. Fortunately for me (and others), I’m not the judge of other people’s relationships with Christ. Not even my own children’s. I remain faithful to teach them, to guide them, to pray for them, to love them with Christ’s love. That’s my part. All the rest of it – well, that’s God’s part.

God’s been doing His part in my daughter’s life.

We came home from a day-long event, beginning with her baptism, celebrating her birthday lunch, and spending the evening with family we see far too little. When we got home, a news story awaited us of a family in our community involved in a car wreck. The mom was high, crashed her car with Maggie’s little classmate in it. They are physically ok, but immediately a dozen other stories pop into my head. Ones where other kids make fun of this little girl, where others don’t want to be her friend, where my daughter, my impossible, stubborn, fit-throwing, seemingly self-involved daughter comes home to tell me that she doesn’t understand why these other kids are mean. That she is friends with this little girl. That they sit together at lunch. That this little girl gets ‘moved to yellow’ nearly every day, but “I still like her.”

Disclosure time? I’ve met this little girl. I totally get why other kids aren’t nice to her.
But not my Maggie.

God’s presence in her life has helped her see the intrinsic value of others. God’s presence in her life has given her compassion, a voice for the oppressed even in her own little community.
She knows who she is.
She knows whose she is.
She knows that she wants to follow Jesus all of her life.
She knows the God we sing of in her favorite song, “You Never Let Go”, is real. She knows He’s never gonna let go of her.
She’s learning to show that to others, and for her, that includes her desire to be baptized into and in front of the faith community that helped teach her these very truths.

Even a child shall lead them. Yesterday, as she was dunked into a feed trough from Tractor Supply by her father and her grandfather at the front of our little sanctuary, I learned afresh that even a child, my child, can lead me into a deeper understanding of and love for the God who won’t ever let go of me either.

tangled up threads

Friday, March 18, 2016

We are in a slow countdown of final days with Little Man. Bureaucracy means sometimes it takes longer, and we can't ever count on anything, even a semi-official timeline. I'm struggling to know what direction to take the littles I spend my days with. How much effort do I put into training, into routines? How much do I love him? How tight do I hold him? How do I prepare him for the impending change?

I simultaneously want to hold him tighter, never letting go, and just rip the band-aid off already. Feelings are complicated by the fact that Little Man is just hard right now. He's not badly behaved really, but he is a super challenging two years old. He requires constant supervision. Literal eyes-on constant supervision. The rest of our family is suffering through this stage. With Wendell working out of town frequently, I just don't have the amount of attention to give to the other children that they need because of the need to be with the littlest at all times. So I want him to go. I want him to stay.

It's hard to take him to visits and see a functioning, happy family. It makes the delay of sending him home feel senseless. I get why we're going slow. I support a slow transition. I also hurt for his mama. She's done everything she needs to do and then some. She's motivated, and I think she's capable. And yet I'm worried for her. I'm worried for the kids. I think they might not be safe. I also think they will be safe. 

I think all of these things simultaneously. It's both and. All of the feelings about foster care and reunification and loving children like my own and my forever kids' feelings and much more wraps around me like a messy crochet of tangled up yarn. I can get bound up in the knots and tangles, or I can continue to sort through, finding the beautiful pattern in this tapestry we're weaving. I can remember that I have purpose here. Even today. Even in the final countdown. I can't just lose these days because I don't see the point in working hard anymore. God put me here, this day, in this family, with these children, for a reason. I am not Little Man's foster mom by accident. I have every day until he is moved from me to give my all.

Every moment holds purpose.
Every moment holds hope.
Every moment is love on display.

photo credit: Stephanie's love heart. via photopin (license)
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