Cause there’s no hurt my Jesus can’t heal.

I got myself into a week (if I’m being honest, it’s closer to three weeks…) of chalked full of “stinkin thinkin.” I went to bed one night thinkin “if only these kids would listen to me, they would be happy, healthy, and thriving. They’re just makin it harder on themselves.” And I stopped dead in the middle of my pitty party and realized, You, Father, are scratching Your head, thinkin the very same thing about me.

Then, I caught myself thinkin: “there’s so much pain in the world around me and I feel like I will never be able to do enough on my own to even make a dent in it.” I realized right then and there, duhhhh foolish girl. That’s the point. I am not supposed to do this on my own. I am supposed to be obedient to You. YOU are The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

Lord, with therapeutic foster kids, I am the last stop before the hospital or juvy most of the time. And it is a terribly heavy burden. Because I am trying to pull all the stops and make all the last ditch efforts to throw a flag. And most, if not all, days, it feels like I am failing miserably. Because I cannot save any of them. I can’t save even one.

And I have folks in all directions tellin me what to do. Folks tellin me, I’m doin too much: just let the kids go to jail if that’s what they want. Literally, just let em go to jail. Folks tellin me, I’m not doin enough: just love them babies. Folks tellin me, I ask for help too much, while other folks tellin me, I don’t ask enough. I can’t please any of them.

Mary Marantz wrote in an article: “I want to remind you today, you were always the one asked to be faithful with the planting. But you were never the one with the power to make it grow.” Then: “We can plant the seeds in the ground, but we can’t go in and rip them open in the hopes of speeding up the process.”

My pastor said his favorite words are “I can’t.” For the life of me, I couldn’t understand that. All I could think was that I know I can’t, but we have to at least try to do some good. So, I started praying on it. The difference is trying to be like Jesus while knowing I am not You. We were saying the same things but there was something about what he said that I was just flat out missing. And I think it was the freedom in “I can’t” because You can. Whether I know how You are gonna do it or not.

When I am faced with anything, my first question is: how. I teach the kids, instead of complaining, tell me how you can fix it or how you can let it go. When pay day comes, it’s how are we gonna pay all these bills. When I turned 30 it was how am I gonna make it to 31. Turning 30 was not fun. I yelled. I disappointed folks. I lost my car keys and my patience. It was a hot mess of a day and I was uglyyy to literally everyone I saw. I kept tellin the kids I was 29 and if they called me 30, they were grounded. I kept telling em 31 would be fine, but not 30. They did not listen, obviously, and I still turned 30.

What I learned is that I cannot save those kids, no matter how hard I try or how much I try to carry the weight on the world on my shoulders. It is not my burden to bear. I cannot bear the weight of it, I will crumble and the beauty of it is that I do not have to carry it, You already did. When I pray that You break my heart for what breaks Yours. It means to open my eyes to the needs around me, not try to go save em myself. Because You, my almighty Father, are the only one capable of saving those kids, just like You saved me.

So, here is my prayer. Lord, I keep thinking I’m teaching these kids, but it’s really you teaching me. Father, there is no hurt you can’t heal. There is no hope without you. There is no joy without you. There is no salvation without you. There is no love without you. Lord, never let me forget to invite you into my little broken heart, my little broken world. Help me to show those kids who you are, because that is my only power and that is all you ever wanted from me. Lord take over my life. Consume my thought, my heart, my hands, my feet, my very breathe. Interrupt my routine. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Show me where to go and what to do. Lord, set my feet to dancing. I give you control, I am letting go. I trust you with my kids. With my relationships. With my family. With my finances. With my marriage. I do not know how you are going to do any of it, but boy howdy, I’m glad I get to watch you do it. It is a broken world, full of broken hearts and broken people, but it is also a miraculously beautiful life you’ve given me. Thank you for writing my story for my good and your glory in mind. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cause now I’m talking to Jesus.

I talk way too much. I know this. Everyone around me knows this. My daddy made my childhood theme song: You Talk Too Much by George Thorogood. To be funny or to embarrass me into talking less, that I’m not quite sure, either way it did not work. All it did was make 15 yr old me think I should write a book called She Talks Too Much. I try to work on it though, I really do.

Monday, all day long, I prayed and gave myself this pep talk before the team meeting I had that night: just be quiet, listen, and keep ya emotions in check, girl, that’s all ya gotta do, and for goodness sake, woman, do not make everything about you.

Because I begged You to be apart of this team. I told You a million times, I wanted to help. (Side note: I was wrong, I am not ready, I am completely unprepared and I have no idea what I am doing in here with these people. They are some of the most Jesus lovin people I know and I am so inadequate to be amongst them.)

But lemmmeee tell ya how much my pep talk worked. Zilch. I spent the whole entire hour meeting crying and blubberin… ya know right in front of all the folks… so there’s that.

Then last night, I kept trying to tell myself: do not to pick a fight, just sit down and enjoy your night off, do NOT pick a fight. But what did I do?? Picked a fight and kept at it until I physically shut down. So this morning is when the guilt and shame comes back. Because who doesn’t love an emotionally dysregulated person first thing in the morning…

So I grabbed my bible study book hanging out of my bible because when I am struggling, I am trying to teach myself to seek You instead of my pesky feelings because them suckers lie. And offfffff course, You wanna talk about my big ole terrible mouth. Matthew 12:33-37 talking about if good is in my heart, good will come outta my mouth. Ephesians 4:29 talking about only using my words to build others up. And the last verse was Proverbs 10:19. One translation literally says: Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Ya know the thing that has repeatedly gotten me into hot water this week. I guess you wanted to give me lots of practice to try and get it right, but I failed every single one of them tests this week. You wanna know what the funniest part is, I always teach the kids: if it ain’t kind and it ain’t helpful, it ain’t necessary. So I guess today I am learning Matthew 7:3 firsthand in how to deal with the log in my eye before the splinter in someone else’s.

I can shift blame and say it was the lack of sleep this week or the after-period hormones or the fact that I got off my anxiety meds or this, that, and the other. But honestly, all those things come and go, what remains constant is my mouth saying things it shouldn’t. I used to think it was all my brain’s fault. Ya know the childhood sexual abuse trauma causing havoc and all that glorious PTSD damage to my brain.

What I am beginning to realize from this bible study book is that maybe it’s a heart issue. Ezekiel 36:26 says: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I used to pray that verse over folks that I knew had adamantly refused a relationship with you, praying they would be open to Your word.

Back to the log in my eye. I think I need to pray this verse over my own heart. I turned my heart to stone, all on my own. I can shift blame all I want, but deep down, I know the real issue is my own sinful heart.

I have been in a steady growing relationship with you since 2001, but sometimes I feel like I’m still a baby Christian, getting to know You. But as someone wise once said, you got all the Jesus you’re ever gonna get. I have reminded myself so many times. You are always enough. Never too much and I never run outta You. Never too late and always on time. You always remain and are always forgiving me. Nothing can remove me from Your hands.

So, here is my prayer. I pray that you remove my heart of stone. I pray that you cleanse my heart from all the damage and trauma. I pray that I take full responsibility for my actions, my feelings, my words, and my heart. I pray that you silence the voices in my head until all I can hear is you. Lord, help me to realize not everyone that comes near me is going to hurt me and not everything they say is a personal attack. I keep thinking I’m finally going to get past this and finally get healing. But the truth is, I was healed the moment I was saved in 2001. I started the healing process the moment I invited you into my heart. But that does not mean I am not still healing. This is a broken world and my heart is absolutely broken. The truth is I am ok and I am going to be ok, even when it does not feel ok and I feel that heaviness sitting on my chest. The truth is, these are just some more growing pains. The truth is I am in a good place. I am doing better, and I do not need the same coping mechanisms anymore. There are still weak moments, that is also true. But they are just moments and they too will pass. Lord, help me to talk to you when my heart feels all outta whack. Help me to come to you when the voices in my head get loud. Help me to point to you even in my weak moments. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Never once did You leave us on our own.

The Artidote reposted this from Tyler Ford and I saw it because it was shared on my newsfeed.

“do you remember the first time you were called annoying?
how your breath stopped short in your chest
the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze
the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue.
your eyes never left the floor that day.
you were 13.

you’re 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you talk about your interests for ‘too long,’
apologies littering every other sentence,
words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years.
i could listen to you forever, though i know speaking for more than 3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious.
all i want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
for 3 minutes
for 10 minutes
for 2 hours

there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart;
mostly because they can’t handle their own.
but you will never be
and have never been
‘too much.'”


Jesus, I wanted to tell that cool kid, it gets better. Because one day you’re turning 30 and you are going on and on and on about something and then you’ll stop and look at this God lovin man sittin beside you. He’ll give you a funny look, laugh sweetly, and say: “did you just annoy yourself?” And you’ll say “yessss, ok” and smile back because you have the freedom to be who you are, to be completely content as you are. The freedom to be absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt annoying, fully embraced.

But even better than that is when that sweet man will point me back to You, the One who created me as I am. That man accepts me completely and fully, but also loves me too much to leave me the way I am. When he sees me acting a fool, he quiets everything around me and says stop. Lord, have mercy, I need that. He doesn’t yell or join in my fire. He puts out the fire and calms me. Privately, just between me and You, God. He invites You into our conversations. When he sees me spiraling, he pulls out of the pit and points me back to You. He reflects Your love to me in a deeper way. He ain’t perfect and You know I ain’t either, but somehow loving him makes my relationship with You even stronger.

Lord, You are the only one who never gets annoyed with us. You are the only one who wants to hear from us every minute of the day. We are not too much for you. We are not lacking for you. I read this book, You are special by Max Lucado, to the kids at church last Sunday. It was about not listening to what others say about you and coming to the You, the One who created us, instead. Because what You say about us is worth so much more and we can stand in the full light of the truth. I thought I was reading it for the kids, but I guess it was for me this week too.

It’s real easy to see my shortcomings when things are tough. Especially when someone confirms my pesky little theories about myself. Because Satan will whisper, I am not enough, I am too much, I am this and that. Then he will whisper it to those who love me so they believe it about me too. But, Lord, you are the still, small voice like a lighthouse in the storm, guiding me home. You are telling me how much You love me and how much You gave just to know me. Just to hear my annoying stories and my not funny jokes. The voice you feed is the one that grows. If we listen to the evil voices in our head spreading poison, it will spread. If we listen to the life giving truth You offer, it will spread and fill those empty places. The more time we spend with You, the more we will be able to silence those whispers. We have to stay diligent and listen for Your voice. It’s a battle, that much is guaranteed, but we also know who already won the war.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for the girl who shared the post. I pray for the kid who wrote it. I pray for 13 yr old me, 20 yr old me, and 30 yr old me. I pray that I keep learning and growing. I pray that I keep finding people that listen. I pray I keep finding people that point me back to You. I pray I keep going back to You to find my value, my worth, my place in this world and the next. This place is not my home and no matter how good it gets here, there is always better coming. Heaven is waiting. You, my Creator, my Abba Father, my Lord and Savior are preparing a place for me. You never left me and you never left them either. Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for giving me peace beyond understanding. Thank you for giving me discernment. Thank you for giving me wisdom beyond my years. Thank you for giving me a life I love, people that love me, and the strength to keep going. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Only love would take me back again.

I have heard the story from Genesis about Abraham taking Isaac as a sacrifice to You, Lord, nearly a hundred times. I thought I understood it, but honestly I could not imagine giving up my kid. Every time I heard it, my thought process could not function enough to comprehend sacrificing your kid. Especially after Abraham waited and waited and waited and waited to have that kid. I could not even understand why You would ask that of Abraham. I was just like no deal, hard pass. Until I became a foster parent.

Then it allll started to make sense.

For one, You don’t want us to get wrapped up in the kids so much that we worship and serve them, instead of keeping You at the center of everything. Because You love us and care for us. Serving kids is great, but it does not serve you to worship them and it certainly doesn’t serve your kids to worship your kids. When we take our eyes off You, we are no longer helping those kids any way ya slice it.

For two, giving my kids to You is the entire point. Teaching them to serve You and pointing them to You is the entire point. Letting them go is the entire point. Before I was raising kids, ya know knee deep in slime and teenage sass, I did not understand that. It is my utmost pleasure to give those kids to You. They were Yours before they were mine, and they will be Yours long after they are no longer in my care. You love them more than I will ever be able to comprehend. The magnitude of Your love for them is beyond even my best day. Loving my kid, helped me see how much more You love.

Lysa Terkheurst said: “God really does have it all worked out. The gaps are filled. The heartache is eased. The provision is ready. The needs are met. Fully. Completely. Perfectly. In Him. With Him. By Him.”

Lord, trusting You with these kids is the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Boyyyy Howdyyy, did I want to hold on tight and never let go, but that is not what I needed, and most definitely not what my kid needed. All I can do is love ’em while I got ’em and point ’em to You along the way. And that there is more than enough.

Abraham and Isaac both answer: “Here I am,” when called in the story. Lord, help me to have a heart eager to serve. Help to answer: “Here I am.” Help me to answer the call, ready and willing.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my kid is gonna get in trouble when I’m not there anymore. The same way my kid got in trouble when I was standing right there, but I won’t be around to help pick up the pieces this time. Hopefully while my kid was in my care, my kid learned something.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama played gospel music to ease the stress.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama pulled out her bible when she got overwhelmed.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama served her community even when she was tired.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama wrote scripture and posted it on every door and every wall.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama leaned into healthy relationships with others.

Hopefully, my kid watched when this foster mama actually used coping skills and target skills, not just taught them.

Lord, I was a foster mama for 570 days. I’m pullin a Ross and Rachel right now screaming about being on a break. My kids rooms are empty and the beds are all gonna be changed and washed tomorrow. There’s no bath bomb science making kit in my living room floor. There’s no Taki’s stocked in my kitchen. There’s no speaker blaring music from the bathroom. There’s no hamster running loose, again. There’s no bike in the middle of the driveway. There’s no shoes under the couch. There’s no slamming doors and no laughing until we’re crying. My hair ain’t turning gray or falling out and there is quiet in the house. I fully appreciate the quiet, but Lord have mercy, fill these rooms again so that I can give them to You too.

So, this is my prayer. Father, I know I made mistakes, but please Lord let me have taught more good than bad. I pray I pointed my kid to you. I pray I was a mirror of your love. Help me to love better. Help to holler less. Help me get less frustrated and calm down faster. Help me to stand firm when they need and show grace when they need. Help me to forgive. Help them to forgive me. Lord, prepare their hearts for my home, when you are preparing my heart for them. Lord, I run so far away sometimes and you always bring me back home. Lord, help them find home too, even if it’s not with me. Let every breath in my body breathe for you. Let every word I speak be for you. Let every step I take, be with you. I know just how quickly the tables can turn. I know a kid can leave my home just as quickly as it entered. Lord, I know foster care is a roller coaster, but I also know you are with me, holding me together. I know there is so much more pain than I can even imagine. But I also know that Your love can heal any pain, any hurt, any trauma. You fill the gaps, I just need to be willing to stand in them too. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I will trust in You and know that You are with me.

Father, ya girl is struggling. I just want to cry from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed. But I can’t and I don’t. I can’t grieve yet because it’s not about me. All this pent up emotion and stress poured out as anger last week. Then I got humbled. And it was needed, but it was not pleasant at all. Then I took my big ole humbled butt on an apology tour. This week, I’m doing better. This week I asked for help. I reached out to friends. I reached out to a counselor. I got in Your word more. I started hand writing Isaiah.

I didn’t know it would be this tough. I knew the daily stress of having too many cooks in the kitchen and endless meetings with case workers, social workers, psychiatrists, doctors, counselors, school administration, and all that, on top of all the regular nice folks that tell new parents how to parent better. I was prepared for the stress of having therapeutic kids with trauma responses and behavioral outbursts. I was prepared for loving a kid so much it hurts. I was prepared for the protective mama bear instincts to kick in and wanting to shield a kid from all the hurt. I was prepared for the pushback when setting boundaries. I was even prepared for some things to simply be out of my control. I was prepared for a roller coaster cycle of honeymoonin then real issues and trauma triggers coming out then progress then regression before returning home. Now, I didn’t always handle it the way I was trained or to the best of my ability, but at least I knew all of that was coming. I was not prepared for the overwhelming grief that comes from that kid returning home. The kid that has been my whole world for the last year and a half. I was not at all prepared for it to hurt this much when the kid is not around. Honestly, I thought I was stronger and I thought I would handle this better. Sometimes, it feels like I’m watching my own life going: really…that’s how you’re gonna handle this…not cool woman, not are supposed to be better than this…

Last night, the kid asked me to help her pack and I just couldn’t do it. I wish I could. I wish I was stronger. I wish I was more selfless and less selfish. But I just couldn’t. My thought process spiraled. You have time, you don’t have to pack this fast, stop it, stop leaving me. I was standing at her door, clenching the door knob to keep from just flat out instigating a fight with her. I am trying not to fight with folks this week. I am trying to look for reminders of peace this week. Because I have peace, I just need to remember it’s there. You are the peace keeper so I went to sit on the couch and put on some worship music. As I was sitting there listening, I closed my eyes and I realized my fist was still clenched up. I remembered the counselor said to have open hands because open hands trust You. So I unwound my hand and continued listening, drowning out the voices telling me all the things that could go wrong when she leaves.

Because in foster care, the reality is, within six months of returning home, most of those kids run away. But by then, the case is closed and no one is looking for that kid anymore. And what happens when a kid runs away is worse than a parent’s worst fears can imagine, so much worse. Even if people think I’m just being overdramatic and overprotective, the statistics aren’t good. According to The Way Home Adoption only 45% actually make it to their high school graduation. 50% of the homeless population spent time in foster care. 50%. 30% of male foster kids wind up in jail by 21 and 70% of female foster kids are pregnant before 21 and 5,000 of these foster kids are dying each year before turning 21. I’ve watched it. I’ve gotten the phone calls after they run and they’re scared and alone. I’ve gotten the phone calls where my babies are having babies and they are worried DHR won’t allow them to keep the babies. I’ve had kids call me worried about their friend because they are living in a trap house or the friend is selling their body to survive. It is not ok. That’s why I foster the teens. I want them to know there is a way out. You, Jesus provided a way outta all that. This doesn’t have to be their story. The cycle can end here. In therapeutic foster care, sometimes I am their last stop before finding permanent placement with family and adoption or jail, homelessness, and a stay in mental health hospital facility. It’s my job to stand in the gap. I am the gate keeper that can shine a light to a better life. I can be a mirror reflection of Your love.

Today, I remembered that You, Lord, are right here with me, watching out for these kids too. They were Yours, before they were mine, and they’ll be Yours long after they leave me. You love them even more than I do. You share in the joy with me when they’re around, and You’ll share the grief with me too. And the best part, You’ll be there with them too even after I’m not anymore.

Louie Giglio wrote a 5 day devotion to promote his new book Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table. In the devotion he says: “It’s about identifying those thoughts and getting rid of every idea that doesn’t coincide with the heart of God.”

So my counselor asked me what I’ve done right this week and I couldn’t even answer because all I saw what I was doing wrong so lemme try again:

  1. I asked for help.
  2. I admitted I was wrong and apologized.
  3. I got into the word.
  4. I went to You.
  5. I got outta the bed and kept going.
  6. I stopped spiraling and reacting poorly.
  7. I used some of those handy dandy coping skills.
  8. I still showed up and did all of the things, I was still consistent.
  9. I made plans with some good ole Jesus lovin folks.
  10. I was reminded of why I do this in the first place. I stand in the gap with every bit of my Jesus lovin self.

Now the goal is to do better, to get back to serving others and serving You.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray I get rid of every thought that is not from you. I pray that I stand firm. I pray that I remain unwavering. I pray that you hold me together. I pray that I am unmoving. Lord, you are the solid rock on which I stand. Lord, help me to stand. Help me to keep from shaking. Help me to serve you and remember this is not about me. You are a better protector for her than I ever will be. Help me to open my hands and trust you. Help me to let her go. And keep me from falling apart. Father, your heart is big enough to handle this. Your heart is big enough to hold all this pain. Your heart is big enough to calm all this stress and ease all this tension. Your heart is big enough to fill all these gaps. You are still good even in the chaos. Help me to stand guard. Help me be the gate keeper. Help me to stand in the gap. Help me to be a light. Help me to show up, as often as I can and as consistently as I can. Lord, I pray she doesn’t run. Lord, I pray she doesn’t run. Lord, I pray she doesn’t run. Lord, I pray she doesn’t run. Lord, I pray she doesn’t run. I pray you calm all her fears. I pray you hold her still. I pray you let her see how far she’s come. I pray she listens to you. I pray she continues her relationship with you. I pray she knows you are with her always and you’ve never left her even when everyone else walked away. I pray she knows you love her even more than I do. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There’s nothing to fear now for I am safe with You.

While trips are life givin and super fun, comin home again is exhaustin and miserable. Pro Tip for vacations: Do not engage the human folks upon arrival. Find ya dog to cuddle with and hunker down in separate rooms until everyone gets some rest. Expert Pro Tip: Plan ahead to arrive home early for some good ole Sunday afternoon FOB: flat on back.

This morning I woke up feeling about the size of a penny. I felt completely worthless. I woke up trying to hold onto anger I didn’t even really feel so that I wouldn’t cry again. I tried to let go of the anger, but it felt like a security blanket protecting me. As long as I was angry, I wasn’t disassociating and I wasn’t numb. Or at least that’s what I tried to tell myself. It didn’t work and I was left ugly cryin this time. Ya know them hyperventilatin, shame filled, holdin ya self together, ugly sobs.

I went right back to that room at 11 years old, hiding in the closet, straight fear crying.

Then this man in an 18-wheeler pulled up next to me at the red light. I guess he saw my dramatic tail ugly cryin, because he pointed up to You, then put his hands together and mouthed the words: “Pray, He’s got you.”

So I cried a little more out of even more shame that someone else saw me. Then I prayed and dried up my annoying, emotional girl tears and I prayed some more. Why do I have to cry so much?? Why couldn’t I be one of those crazy stubborn women in the country songs?? The ones that drive around in his truck singing “I just wanna be mad for a while,” ya know? Terri Clark knew.

But I aint that kinda girl. I’m the find the Gospel in this kinda girl. I’m the figure out what this is supposed to teach me kinda girl. When I opened my email, my Hannah Brencher devotion said: “Anne Lamott writes, ‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.’ So unplug. Breathe. Step away. It will all be here when you come back.” Lord have mercy, I hope he’ll still be here when I come back. Because I showed alllllllll my ugliness this mornin. I prayed for this man my whole life, then I let pent up emotions and feelings boil over because I didn’t express myself in a healthy way. and that is only on me. I let wounds re-open that I thought healed years ago. I said sassy, rude, underhanded things I didn’t mean. I got scared and turned that flight mode on real hard and real fast.

I was upset the kid didn’t wanna come camping. I was upset she’s pushing me away. I was upset I had plans to take a hike and go swimming with her and it just felt silly to do those things alone. Which was also on me, because I most definitely could have done those things alone. So I found me a good spot to sit and I read, which don’t get me wrong was nice too. I needed it. But I’m upset she’s leaving, because while I’m happy for her to be going home, I’m also scared for her because I’ve seen firsthand what happens when kids leave. It either works out really well and they thrive or those kids run away within six months of returning home and wind up homeless, on the street, doing whatever they can to survive. I just love her so dang much and I want her to thrive even if that means letting go.

This is the job. This is what I signed up. At least that’s what everyone keeps reminding me.

And if I did my job correctly, then they find a permanent placement for the kid, preferably with family and the kid leaves. What happens once they leave is out of my control and boyyyyy howdy, that is terrifying. Lord give me strength, because I am weak.

I fought over petty, useless things because those things I had control over. And this I don’t. I was fighting battles in my head all week, that weren’t even real. And I knew they weren’t real, which just made me fight with myself more. Then I imploded on everyone around me.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I am trying to learn how to fight instead of flight. I don’t want to run from the very things I prayed for. But I have got to learn how to fight more strategically. I pray that I fight more fair. I pray that I fight the real enemy and not those around me. I pray that I fight on my knees with my hands lifted high because the battle belongs to you. I pray that I go down singin your praise. I will do so much more letting you fight for me than I ever will fighting with those around me. Lord, forgive me for acting a complete fool last week. Help me to do better this week. Help me to be stronger. Help me to be less stubborn. Help me not to push people away. Help me not to run. Help me keep my emotions in check. Help me to let things go that don’t matter and hold onto the people that do. And Lord, thank you for this man. Thank you that he said yesterday that he wants to spend time with me on Mother’s Day because that is all I ever wanted. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cause I look at him and I’m pretty sure Ya heard.

I get to doubtin You hear my prayers when things aren’t going my way, orrrr rather the way I think things should be going. I am living proof that hurt people hurt people. I am insecure and an emotional hot mess way more often than I would like to admit. But I’m finding that still, small voice again. I hear You telling me when to stand my ground and when to let it go. Yesterday, was a hold my ground. Yes, I most definitely had a short fuse when I tried to handle it and got real ugly, real fast. Them mama bear protective instincts kicked into overdrive and I made mistakes. This morning, most definitely, plain as day: let it go. Nothing that happens before coffee is even real up in this house. I am all sunshine and birds sangin in the morning. Probs from yearsssss of Daddy wakin us up with “Good Morning Sunshine, it’s Kelloggs breakfast time, you make me soooooo happy…” No matter how many pillows we put over our ears or even threw at him, he persisted. I do not have the persistence down yet. When you shoo me away or tell me to bug off, I most definitely get my feelings hurt and I BUG OFF. With a little buzz like a bee and everything. It ain’t cute in the slightest bit.

Lord, I am trying to seek Your will. I am trying to listen when I’m supposed to move, listen when I’m supposed to be still, listen when I’m supposed to stop actin a fool.

Lord, the world ain’t out to get me. The authority folks around me aren’t trying to take everything from me. I get so insecure sometimes because I know how much I have to lose. I prayed my whole life for the people I have now and I know how much that’s worth. And I’m so scared of losing them that I send em runnin for the hills and I’m ugly to the very folks I am tryin to protect. The worst part about it, I know exactly what I am doing. I am completely aware when I am thinkin and actin irrationally. Sometimes, I can tell myself, hey girl, chill. Sometimes it’s like watchin a train wreck, knowin it’s gonna crash, but still standin on the sidelines, full steam ahead.

Sometimes, I get in that stinkin thinkin like Beth Moore preaches. Sometimes, I get stuck in that trauma place like Lysa Terkheurst preaches. Sometimes, I need to remember who the real enemy is like Priscilla Shirer preaches. Sometimes, I feel the ache of needing Heaven and a good ole chat with You like Lisa Harper preaches. Sometimes, I just need to look at him and remember exactly how much I prayed for every single hair on his head.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for this man that loves me even when I doubt how he could. Thank you for this man that loves me even when I feel completely unlovable. Thank you for this man that loves me even when I’m actin ugly. Thank you for this man that loves me even when I’m insecure and irrational. Thank you for this man that loves me even before he’s had his coffee in the mornin. Thank you for this man that loves me even when my mama bear side starts growlin. Lord have mercy, I don’t deserve him and that alone is living proof that ya heard my prayers. He is so much better than even my best prayers. Lord, I begged and pleaded for yearssssss for you to bring him into my life. I got to a point when I gave up thinkin he was comin. I doubted your goodness. I grew up believin that the way a man loves a woman is a reflection of your love for your people. I didn’t realize how deeply you loved your church until I felt love for him. Thank you for lovin me. And thank you for lovin me too much to leave me stuck in my mess. Thank you for pullin me outta the mud, dustin the dirt off my boots and my heart, and tellin me to do better next time. Thank you for lovin me so much more than I deserve. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The things that we say, the trouble it makes.

I opened my big mouth last night, using that stinkin-thinkin and not my Jesus lovin heart, and inserted my foot. I didn’t mean it, at all, but I said something judgy when I most definitely should not have. I knew the moment the words left my mouth, but I couldn’t stop them. Now, it was too late. Now it was time to apologize, but I didn’t yet again outta pride. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

I probably said it out of my own insecurity, out of my own jealousy.

Lord, You know all too well, I prayed for the things I have now for sooo long. But sometimes, I still self-sabotage. On Grey’s Anatomy, Amelia was talking about how she wants to self-sabotage and that she thinks about using again, all the time, even though that’s the last thing on the planet she actually wants. Link told her that wasn’t self-sabotage, that the fact that she thinks about it and doesn’t do it, shows just how strong she is. Self-sabotage might as well be my middle name. I think about self-sabotaging daily. Every single time I’m driving, part of me wants to drive off the road. Into some water. Into a tree. Into anything really. Sometimes, it’s just driving as far away as I can without telling anyone and never coming back. My counselor said this wasn’t me wanting to end my life, just wanting change when things are out of my control.

I used to think that marriage, kids, and all that happy stuff was for good people, not for me. I wasn’t worthy of those things because I was used and dirty and wrong. So, I concentrated on helping those around me find the happy stuff and I made jokes that weren’t even funny to use sarcasm to hide my fear. Sometimes it worked, most of the time, I was wayyyy too transparent.

Part of me has grown and healed, but there are still parts of me that feel completely incapable of love. I want to push people away and keep them at arms length out of protection, but in reality, that just hurts me more and more importantly it hurts those I’m pushing away.

I want to be more like You. I want to love like You. I am tired of the self-sabotaging, running away and pushing people away. Lord, I want the happy stuff, but I want it Your way, in Your timing.

So, this is my prayer today. Guard my mouth. Guard my actions. Guard my heart. Father, heal my overthinkin anxious brain. Heal the trauma triggers. Heal the disassociation. Take all the broken pieces and fill up the gaps. I don’t want to control things anymore. I make a terribleeee god. I want you to control my life. Don’t let anything come from me, that is not from you. Lord, I am your vessel. Help me to be honest when I’m struggling. Help me to keep growing and keep healing. Help me to keep seeking you. Help me to appreciate and never take for granted all that you’ve blessed me with. Help me to love those around me better. Help me not to be selfish with them. Help me to honor and cherish them. Help me to take better care of myself so I can take better care of them. Help me to live a transformed life. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So I will run into the waves, as courage comes to take fear’s place.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That’s what my email said this morning. Because today is 4/13 so Philippians 4:13.

The challenge was to hold up the I CAN paper for the 4/13 celebration. But it got me thinking of all the things I can do…

I can foster. I can open my home and my heart. I can foster knowing the kids I love will not stay with me forever. I can foster knowing that some things are completely out of my control. I can foster knowing things escalate quickly and people will hit rock bottom before they ask for help. I can foster knowing everything could go wrong and the kid will ask for another placement. I can foster knowing everything could go right and the kid will still leave. I can foster knowing that reunification is the goal. I can be hurt the kid is leaving and happy for reunification at the same time. I can keep saying yes even if I never hear a thank you. I can keep saying yes even if reunification happens and the kid I love forgets all about me. I can keep saying yes even when plans change on a dime. I can keep saying yes even when it’s not about me or my feelings at all, not even the slightest little bit. I can keep saying yes when all I hear is no because there is a possibility that kid will hear yes. I can do my job as a foster parent. I can love ’em while I got ’em.

Lord, my heart grieved yesterday. Not because I heard reunification is a possibility after all. Because I am selfish and I had plans. Because I won’t get to see her do marching band in the fall. I won’t get to see her get her driver’s license or go off to college or go to prom. I grieved because of all the things I will miss, most of all her.

But today, I can celebrate because reunification is a possibility and that is the ultimate goal. Because she will thrive. Because she will fail some too, but she will get back up and keep going because she is resilient. Because she will be given the chance at normalcy. Because she is capable of handling this responsibility and freedom. Because she has grown and progressed so, so much. Because she is smart and talented and funny and she is a force and a light. Because she is a really, really good kid. Because she loves You, Lord.

So, this is my prayer today. Because you reminded my heart yesterday that this is the job, this is a good thing. This is where I sing praises. Hallelujah, Amen. This means I did my job, and I did it well. Because you reminded my heart today that I didn’t do any of it alone. You gave me strength to foster, and you will give me strength during reunification. I prayed for this. I prayed for you to break my heart for what breaks yours. I prayed for this. I prayed for this kid. I prayed for reunification. And my village people prayed for her too. Thank you, God, for answered prayers. Foster care plans change on a dime. One minute, she’s staying another two years and the next she’s leavin in two months. This is where I use my coping with change target skill. 1. Identify exactly what is changing. Check. 2. Ask questions for clarification. Check. 3. Remain calm and relaxed. Check. 4. Appropriately discuss your feelings about the change with a caring adult. Check. 5. Avoid becoming unmotivated or depressed. Yesterday, we did not check this one, so I’m praying for this one today. Because apparently today is my day to grow and learn and not be selfish. Lord, I know she is going to be ok. I know this is what is best for her. Lord, help me let go. Lord, help me be brave. Lord, help me to love like you love. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.