Here's a Story.....

Faith journeys are hard. 

I do love the ones that are relatively neat and tidy.  Maybe a red ribbon tied around it just for kicks.  Yah..those are the good ones.

But I don't like the hard ones.  The ones that are so difficult of a road to even step out on, and the process is painful and achy and just all-around a miserable experience.  And those are just the ones that have an ending that my pea-sized brain can fathom.  I really don't like the ones that are just hard and painful, and that leave me wallowing in a puddle of confusion.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the sovereignty of our Maker.  It's actually one of the things I love most about Him (if we're even allowed to "pick favorites").  I love that His plan is bigger than me and bigger than my circle of friends and bigger than my flesh and bones can comprehend.  I really do.  I love it.

But it drives me just a little bit crazy. 
Okay...a lot crazy.

Because I'm a visual kinda gal.  I gotta see it to believe it.  Or to stick with it.  Or to keep on keepin' on.

And God doesn't usually do things my way.  Okay...God rarely does things my way.... Which usually means that I end up on the backside of crazy more days than I'm not.

And backside of crazy is where I sit today.

Because I'm walking a road right now that didn't come with GPS.  And to make things even more interesting, God heaped on blinders, eye patches, ear muffs, and made me leave my seeing-eye-dog at the house.  I'm blind.  Totally walking blind....

And I'm ready to just quit.

To Cliff's Notes an intensely long story, I'll just tell you that for a very long time now (exactly 6 years...but who's counting?) I've felt like my family wasn't complete.  I felt like someone was missing out of our picture.  That there was room for somebody else.  But, the husband was adamant that we were closed for business, and we took measures to close up shop....if you catch my G-rated drift.  And I had to agree with him...somewhat.  My cup was running over.  My blessings were abounding.  But yet....unsettling in my spirit remained. 

Someone was missing.

I sat on my thoughts and masked them behind endless hours at ballfields, homeschooling, and just the upkeep of my sanity.  My cup is running over.  Three is enough. 

Someone was missing.

Then the Lord decided to step in and do His thing.  He used a dear precious friend of mine to shake me into reality and show me the answer for my missing someone. 

It wasn't that we were to have another biological child.  It wasn't even that we were to adopt.

The someone missing was actually a lot of someones.....

After falling on my face before my Jesus in sweet relief, I began the process.  I studied everything I could get my hands on, talked to everyone that knew anything about the matter, and made endless phone calls to begin the process of...


Yes.  This was the stirring in my soul.  I knew with everything in me that I was being called to not only fill my home with that missing someone, but I was being asked by Jesus to take care of His precious children.  I knew that our family could provide love and security and attention to a sweet child that didn't know it could exist.  I knew that we could be Jesus' hands and feet.  And I was elated. 

Sure, I knew it would be hard.  I would have to figure out how to homeschool and deal with a new baby or toddler.  I would have to juggle 4 kids now...not just the 3 that were already causing me to prematurely gray.  And, I would have to be able to handle the horrid task of letting them go when the time was up.  But, I knew that I could do it.  I would have the strength of the Lord behind me, and He would provide the resources that I would need, and the salve for my broken heart.

Another answer to prayer was that the husband and the kids were all for it.  Everyone seemed excited to walk this journey of reaching outside of ourselves to help those in need. 

And then it happened.

The rug was ripped totally and completely out from under me.  I landed hard on my back, and I'm still trying to find a way to hoist myself up.

Kirk and I can't be foster parents.  That's right.  I said "can't."

Because we live in a 3 bedroom home and there isn't adequate square footage in one of the bedrooms to meet state regulations.

Square footage.

We aren't going to get the chance to love on these kids because of square footage.

Square footage.

I keep saying it over and over to myself because it seems so bizarre to me.  Square footage.

So our process has been totally halted.  Our paperwork has been shoved to the bottom pile on a desk somewhere.  And we aren't becoming foster parents.

And I just want to scream.

I know that God is sovereign.  I know that His picture is infinitely massive, and that mine is ridiculously minute.  I get all of that.  But it doesn't take away the confusion and frustration that has come.

Because I feel totally safe and secure in my relationship with Jesus, I've told Him just how frustrated I am.  I've told Him that it's not fair.  I've told Him that I would have rather He had never laid fostering on my heart.  I've told Him that I'd rather go back to feeling the way I was feeling just a few weeks ago....like someone was missing...but that I didn't know who/how/why.  I've told Him that ignorance, in this case, would have been bliss.

Is He preparing our family for the future?
Was He testing our willingness to be obedient?
Is He laying groundwork for something that is just over the horizon?


But I'm tired.  And I'm hurt.  And I'm confused.
And now I find myself grieving for all of those precious babies that I'm supposed to be rocking and loving on.

I love the Sovereignty of God.  My God that will not be bound by regulations or contained by checklists or...

squashed by square footage.


Tiffani said...

Wow..,u were on my mind all day...I sat in bed tonight thinking of u...texted u...and then saw this link. I love u precious bestie. We will talk in the morning nut I am praying for u on thru the night. I love u muchlierliest.

Marla Taviano said...

Oh, Amber. I don't even know where to start. God is working on my heart about adding to our family too. But we, too, are closed for business. And Gabe feels like we're complete. And I'm sure our 1400 sq. ft. house would be inadequate too. (I HATE THAT, BY THE WAY. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONS ARE THESE CHILDREN LIVING IN NOW?!?)

Anyway. I'm going to be praying for you. Will you pray for me? Love you, girl. Much and much.

Kendra said...

Oh Amber, my heart aches for you. I feel your frustration. There are so many children in the area who need GOOD, loving foster homes and for it to come down to square footage is heartbreaking. I know it is. So many people foster for the money, but you want to do it for love. It's painful but Jesus put that desire in your heart for a reason. Keep praying!

Did I ever tell you that Wayne and I were to be foster parents? We went through the classes, home visits, planned fire escapes and everything. And we were to take in our first child on October 4th after we signed the last paper. But Sam was born on the 1st and those plans came to a halt. We thought we were doing what God wanted us to do, but instead he had other plans. Maybe it was just to see if we WOULD take care of those children in need. Who knows. But my heart is still not closed on the idea of fostering. Don't know about Wayne's, and right now our lives would not be conducive to fostering. But maybe one day we can. And maybe one day you guys can, too. But in the mean time, it stinks, sucks, and hurts. Hang in there!

Sandy said...

I love your transparency & your willingness to be vulnerable, & most of all your love for Jesus, even when He doesn't "give" what you want. I've so been there! And what a comfort it is to be so sure of the relationship that you CAN pour it all out, even the anger & frustration.

We were foster parents of newborns when Gretchen was 11 & C. was 6. We had a new baby every 3 months for a year, with about 2 weeks off between babies. We had them until they were 3 months old. We had a 4th bedroom but it was an office & the bassinet was in the dining room downstairs w/our bedrooms upstairs (& that was way before monitors...!)

The reason we stopped was that we moved from SC to NC. We began the process of applying here & 3 TIMES the paper work got lost in the mail! By the time I found that out (thinking that they just weren't sending it), I had gotten involved w/a crisis pregnancy center & did counseling there for 10 years. I realized that if we had been fostering, I couldn't have done that: 1) I wouldn't have had the energy; 2) it would have been a "conflict of interest" situation.
So maybe God has something else in store for you, & He will fill those empty places in your heart. I pray that as you let go of this desire, He will give you a new one that will obviously be from Him.

Marla Taviano said...

Ha! Just saw that Tiff loves you muchlierliest! That's what I meant to say!!

Cathy said...

I'm just in tears with you, Amb.

This is beyond frustrating. As you know, Billy works in foster care and just asked him about this and our state has NO SUCH restrictions. He says "we don't assess size of home, we assess the people." I wish this was true in Arkansas as well.:( This just breaks my heart for not only you but those sweet babies that could have had a loving home.

Aside from all that, at the beginning of your post I was teary for a different reason. Billy being a foster kid and now working in this field has created a passion for us as well. To know that you were heading that direction brought joy to my heart. Like you said the only thing that's left to say is "Ok, God, I don't know why. But I will trust." You were willing to have your life turned upside down so he must have an even greater plan in mind for your amazing family.

Love ya...more than my luggage.

Gretchen said...

Lurve you, friend. This story touches me so bc I know your heart, & I know a friend who lives in another state which puts process over serving (WA). She, too lives in too small a house. Though somehow all four of her kids were raised well in this "too small" dwelling.

You're right to love, glorify, & trust Him in all things--because as your friends (and you) have stated--we don't know what this is preparing you for. But we know this--ours is not an arbitrary God. Xxxooo sending big, Starbucks flavored hugs.

He & Me + 3 said...

Square footage. Really? My neighbor has his own 6 kids living in a 1200 square foot home across the street from me. That child doesn't need space it needs love. I will pray for you.
In HIS timing it will happen.

Angie said...

I can't begin to imagine the jumble of emotions you must be feeling. And I can't offer answers. But I'll pray with you, and cry with you. And when you're on the other side of this valley and God's plan is at last revealed - I'll rejoice with you.

Love you dearly.

Carpool Queen said...

Frustrated for you. Maybe God's calling you to a career in lobbying. Sounds like there's a law that might need to be changed.

New Every Morning said...

Wow, sweetie. I can't believe it. I am so encouraged by you and your man's willingness to try fostering. It truly is a selfless gift. But your willingness to still seek the Lord and trust His timing is what really touches my soul.
Praying for you, my dear friend. So many, many hugs sent across the miles.

Jim said...

My "daddy" and "granddaddy" heart is hurting for you, my girl! I know you have a lot of love to give in the rightest of ways. Sounds like it's not only the "footage" that is "square" but something else in the land of "red-tape" and "rules".

Hey, God doesn't "warm-up a heart" to leave it in the "cold" for long. He is actively working ALL THE TIME. BE PATIENT. PRAISE HIM FOR THE PURPOSE AS YET UNKNOWN.