3 Weeks Into This Safe Families Thing

As promised, some 'out loud' processing of this "safe family" journey 
that we're on these days. 
Recap is HERE if you want more info on our journey.
I've been shocked by the fact that it 
hasn't been as hard as I was anticipating. 
I really had braced myself for significant hard work and determination 
to push through the task: watching someone else's child.  
And it simply hasn't been that hard.
Yes there have been hard moments. 
I've got plenty of bruises and scratches from this little guy's anger issues. 
And biting and scratching hurts, in case you wondered.
 Yes, I've had to juggle my work schedule around a toddler 
and have been up well past midnight numerous nights 
just to get work deadlines done.
And the little guy doesn't know I've been up
that late so he still wakes up at O-dark-o'clock.
So yes, I've lost some sleep. 
Yes I had to miss out on a fun overnight and day of shopping with girlfriends 
because Jack was gone and I couldn't take a toddler along on that adventure.
Had I only had my two kids, 
I absolutely could have made that fun happen.  
Yes, I've had to change poopy diapers and that gags me. 
Yes, the LOOONNNGGGG hours from 4:00-7:00pm 
when dealing with little ones are still just that:  
Do I hear a 'preach-it-sista' 
from all the moms of ankle biters out there?
But bottom line: 
Partly because I'm redefining hard and keeping my perspective in check.
Now this isn't to say that the next placement won't be hard. 
I'm not that naive, 
because I  know that hard and helping others goes hand-in-glove. 
They do. 
I've walked that road.
But maybe, just maybe, 
the Good Lord knew that if my first placement was hard 
I'd never do another. 
But if He handed over an easy placement the first time around, 
I'd be very open to doing a second placement.
He knows my personality enough to know that my optimism 
will always win out, 
just as long as I have one good experience to draw from. 
He's good like that: He made me and He knows me. 
So He provides for me what He knows I need 
so that I'll continue to walk in obedience 
to what He has for me. 
A couple main reasons why I think 
it hasn't been as hard as I anticipated? 
Glad you asked.

1. It's all about perspective. I have life SO good. 
And SO easy in comparison to most around the world. 
Don't even get me started on how good I have it.
And I have all that I want or need.  
So why wouldn't I share my family 
and our stuff and our network of friends/resources? 
 And If I'm NOT willing to share and live out what I believe 
to be fundamental to being a Christ-follower, 
then there is a SERIOUS disconnect in my life. 
And so, I think that perhaps the older I get, 
and the more I read my Bible and 
realize what is SO close to the heart of God 
-- helping those that need help like orphans and widows
 and refugees and young moms and those in distress -- 
my perspective is simply changing. 
And that's testimony to God's work in my life. 
I couldn't drum that up on my own, folks. 
That's God taking a mess (ME) 
and working on/in me. 
And I love that He takes us on our own personal journeys, 
bringing us where He wants us to be.

I just finished reading this amazing book called 
"The Insanity of God" (Nik Ripken)
 and I do believe the timing was absolutely DIVINE. 
The book itself is truly worth the read 
-- inspiring and convicting.
And so, 
there have been times the last almost-three-weeks, 
when I've thought, "I'm tired and just want my time to do my thing" 
and then I think back to this book and it reminds me of having 
a bigger perspective than doing my own thing.

2. Another reason why this hasn't been as hard 
as I initially anticipated is
 because God has given me a wonderful helper in Maddie.  
I simply had NO idea how much help she would offer.
She has stepped in when I've needed 20 minutes of time to
connect with a client via email.
 She's taken little J for a quick walk to distract him 
so that I could get supper on the table. 
And it really is AMAZING to me how helpful it is 
to get a quick 20 minute breather
 in the midst of mundane mothering. 
Shocking, really. 
I surely didn't.
I think I knew deep down, 
that God would surprise me 
with His joy in the middle of it, 
because, well, He's done that before when we've helped others,
and He promises His joy when we walk in His strength.
It's when I try to do stuff on my own
that the joy walks right out my front door.
I went into this Safe Family thing knowing that this would have to be His deal,
because, well, toddler's aren't my deal.
SO that's where we're at, 
close to three weeks into our first 
Safe Families placement. 
Deep JOY in sharing.
A little bit of weary.
Amazing how when you love on a little wee person,
they respond SO quickly and well to that love.
Little J's temper tantrums, while still there, are lessening.
Little J's dropping of the F-bomb and the "Beesch"  term
are WAY less than even 5 days ago.
Little J's scratching and biting,
while still present,
again are less and less each day.
And it's not because we're all that.
we're not.
I sit back and marvel at God's design:
He designed you and me and Little J
to hunger for appropriate love.
And when we get that love and gentleness and tenderness
in attitude and action,
slowly and in time,
our hearts can begin to heal.
It is beautiful to behold.
Truly is.


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