The fact that it's taken me three months to sit and write this post might say something about the pace of life around here these days.
It's a good busy though and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's not the filling up of white space with endless to do's but rather hardly finding white space because you're busy living.
Little Bella Grace was born to us September 23 last year and I can hardly type those words without tears because I could have easily missed the joy of her being here. She was not my plan. Any child born to me at all again was not my plan, but it was His. As usual His plan is like it always is and that's so much better than anything I could have ever dreamed or imagined.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Her name means beautiful Grace and she is all of that and more to me. She came to us at what seems to be the longest spiritual drought I have faced to date. It's a scary place to be and to be honest-I would rather wrestle my will against God's and come to terms with His good plan than to ever face that awful silence again. Spiritual silence is deafening.
Two years ago when Tim and I began foster care classes I was sure that it would lead to adoption. We finished the classes and got our first placement, three little precious children who desperately needed a safe place. When I think of them a smile comes to my face. They were precious and they were deeply loved. We were just their holding place for a while as they got to where they were going.
Then two more beautiful and I do mean beautiful children came a few weeks later. They reminded me a lot of TL and Q, being so close in age. That's always a handful but they brought each other so much comfort and joy. Again, we were a holding place though and the story of how the Lord took them to their forever family will never cease to amaze me.
I often get text messages with pictures or see updates of both of these sets of children laughing, smiling and thriving, each of them right where the Lord intended for them to be.
But for a long time I wondered, where does that leave us?
We put our home on hold with DCS and began to think and pray about our children and our future. I thought that because we hadn't gotten that one perfectly adoptable child for us that we had been a failure. Failure when you're walking the path that you're sure God asked you to walk is a heavy weight.
I can look back now and see God's beautiful plan and how He was leading us and using us all along the way-but it didn't feel like that at all at the time. It's so unfortunate how the enemy can blind us from God's truth. For a while I couldn't see clearly and I let him steal my joy and cloud my view.
Fast forward to about this time last year when I suddenly didn't feel too well and you know the rest of the story. I was ecstatic from the beginning even though this wasn't my original plan.
I had more aches, pains, swelling and discomfort than my other two pregnancies combined but I think I began to come more alive the further along our pregnancy went. For me, finding strength and hope on the inside-and that's exactly what this baby was doing for me-is worth far more when it comes to feeling good than any exterior physical condition ever will be.
We didn't find out the gender but Bella Grace, Beautiful Grace is the name we had picked out for a baby girl. All along the way the Lord was pouring out his lavish grace on me, fulfilling my desires to nurture a life again and do what He's made me to do.
Sweet Bella has been nothing short of an absolute joy to add to our family. She's been a bit under the weather this week with a cold and congestion but she hasn't stopped smiling and grinning from ear to ear at us.
The other day as she curved those little chubby cheeks up at me-I could feel the Holy Spirit say to me, "See, I knew your heart all along. Even when you didn't. You still had more love to give and I just had to show it to you. If you gave it to five children in a short time, you sure have it in you to give it to one more for a lifetime."
Our story didn't begin here and I don't know if this era ends here either. What I mean by that is don't expect me to birth another sweet child anytime soon but my heart is wide open to any and all plans that The Lord might have for us as well.
Something else that I do know is that He is faithful, He loves His children and whatever we are to do and wherever He leads us, He will show us that plainly in time.
If you're reading this today and you're a bit confused like I was about what the Lord is doing in your life-be encouraged.
He is there and He is working even when His plan doesn't make sense to us at all.
Just because my measure of success wasn't what I thought it should be didn't mean that the Lord used us and our home to bring five precious lives into His wonderful plan. Now that the fog has lifted I can say that without the shadow of a doubt that helping one child for just one day is success. And I would do it all again.
A lot of people say, "Oh those kids were so lucky to have you," but I think it is the other way around. We were the lucky ones.
They brought me perspective. Then sweet Bella birthed hope alive again in my heart-we might not have had her if the others hadn't given me a good set of glasses through which my heart needed to see.
And for your enjoyment, I'll end with what Grace looks like in our life at the current season.
Isn't it beautiful?!