It’s been hard. All of it. It’s been tense and difficult and full and beautiful and and and…There’s a lot to it-it being this life we’ve chosen to accept with open arms as it was thrusted onto our laps.

Since having our second daughter, there’s been this emotional fragility in me that I’m not used to. Yes, I’ve always been sensitive, especially to things people would say about the boys or our loss, but with T, there’s this whole new layer of the void of my birth mom. She always told me what a terrible child I was, and my biggest fear is being anything like her-but there’s moments in the overwhelm or having two under two where my breathing cuts short and my mind goes dark that the record starts spinning You are just. like. her.

These are the moments I have to sit and remind myself: I am a foster child too. 

I have an incredible family that’s stepped in to fill that cap-but there’s sixteen years of damage to, even after years of therapy and working the ish out, still explore and balm. 

My husband treads carefully. There are days of sweet exhaustion, where we go to bed facing each other and saying, Man…we do good. We are proud of the life we’ve chosen. Saying no was never an option in our minds, but when we have people remind us that it was truly a choice to say yes, we sit back and let God pat us on the back and say, Kids, you’ve done good. Keep at it. 

And then there are days like today, where we wake up early for an eight hour trauma informed parenting class that feels pointless because, honestly, we’ve been trauma informed parents for over five years, and yes, maybe we never sat through a class but, social services, you’re too late-our time is precious and I think an eight hour date or therapy session with my man would do a hell of a lot more good than watching you, paid and childless you, tell me how the state requires you to talk about this and to show me with your eyes that you don’t really care. And if I have to hear one more person tell me what a saint my husband is for marrying someone with “so much…..’stuff’” I think I might lose the tiny grip I have on it all. 

And maybe I’m wrong. Hopefully I’ll be surprised and proved wrong. I’m open to it. But man, I’m pooped. I’m tired and processing and dealing with layers and layers and layers of stuff. And loving on two girls and undoing years of heartache for three boys. And trying to cook Thanksgiving and budget Christmas and keep my houseclean and and and

And I remember, I’m a foster child too. And my heart has been injured too. And we’re all in this together. My husband didn’t swoop away my “baggage” as some have called it. He saw me with my hands (willingly) in the mud, and sat beside me and shoved his hands next to mine. We’re in it together. And we’re in it for good. And we’re learning and in process and and and…

This is our journey and we’re proud of it. But s***…we need a vacation, ya’ll. 

Sitting in the Saturday

We were sitting at our kitchen table and something hit me-

Pain is key on the route to redemption. 

I can’t remember who or what we were talking about specifically; I can’t remember what ache we were reminiscing on…But it was this cool wave of insight and realization that came over me all at once, not in a overwhelming drowning sort of way, but, more like a gentle ocean breeze. One I said it to him, I stopped. And blinked. And let the truth of that statement permeate my own heart. 

R.E.D.E.M.P.T.I.O.N. -it’s always at the top of our list, instagram and facebook profiles, the height of the worship service…it’s what we like to focus on first because, let’s be honest, it feels great. I am redeemed. I am loved. I am restored. I am new. Yes! Yes. Truth. 

But what if we took a minute to sit in the Saturday (yes, the day between Good Friday, when Jesus died, and Sunday, where Christ was raised) instead of building a bridge, skipping the day of feeling the loss’ weight…

Because, the truth is, the joy we experience with the morning is a followup to the dark night we felt. 

We are adopted because we were once orphans. Fatherless, motherless, dirty, lost, with nothing. 

We are able to experience the joy of foster parenting and adoption because there are parents out there who would rather kiss their addictions than their kids goodnight. 

We are able to lift our hands in worship, because Christ-perfect, precious Christ-died a violent and painful death to suffer in our place. 

We are able to rejoice at our hearts’ healing in a Gentle but Firm Father’s hands, because they were once shattered by careless hands. 

The very very best things in life are preluded by pain-the ones that leave a significant mark on our hearts, souls, very being bear a dim reflection of what preceded the joy of the experience. Don’t forget to acknowledge the ache, and thank it, for making the joy as sweet as it is. 

I looked at him, my husband, the one who I’ve probably hurt more times than I care to count, the one who I’ve experienced joy beyond measure, with all tears and laughter that come with both emotions, and we swallowed and sat in that truth like the children we are. Then sat at our table and finished our apple pie and tea, and went to be grateful for all that’s been provided and restored in our own lives and hearts through the various pains and circumstances we’ve faced over three years of marriage and the course of our lives. 

And we turned off the lights, and rested our eyes, and said thanks to God for the Saturdays we’ve faced, that have made the restoration just that much more beautiful.