he’s staying

he’s staying.

the baby is staying here.

with us.

we don’t know for how long.

we don’t know how long any of them will be here.

but for now, for right now, they are together.

and we officially, for right now, have seven children.

12 1/2

11

9 1/2

5

3 1/2

21 months

7 weeks

i feel kind of numb.

i’m not sure how to feel.

oh Lord God, what are You up to?  what is Your plan?

i ask You for faith to continue to take the next step each moment of my days.

13 years

today is our 13th wedding anniversary.  normally, we’d have made plans to escape for a night or two, but this year things are very different.  we currently have seven children.  c.r.a.z.y.

i turned on our wedding video this afternoon.  the three and a half year old who is living under our roof said, “i’m so happy.  i’m gonna get a josh when i get married, like you!”  be still my heart.

the prayers offered on our behalf, the day we got married, are full of things that have actually happened over the past 13 years.  i can’t believe where we are.  i never would have imagined any of this the day i stood with my man and pledged my life to him.

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“upon joshua and kirsten may Heaven’s richest benedictions abide, making you a blessing to all who shall know and love you.  may the blessings awarded the compassionate be yours in abundance.
may God tie your hearts together in the never ending bond of pure love.
if you should be blessed with children, may they bring you joy,
returning your love for them many times over.
may you be blessed with true friends to stand with you through the joys and sorrows of life.
may daily work never cause you undue anxiety nor the passion to acquire captivate your hearts.
may contentment and peace characterize your spirits
and may grace and mercy saturate your relationships.
may you live a long and happy life together serving others in humanity’s kingdom on earth
so that you may reap the reward of the faithful in God’s eternal Kingdom in Heaven.
may almighty God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
blessed forevermore.  amen.”

“and now we pray for this couple.  we ask that Your blessing be poured out on them.
we pray that they would learn to work together.
we would ask that they would get everything in life that they desire,
but then we realize that most of the time it’s when we’re in need that we learn to hold together.
so i pray that they will have tests that purify, that they will experience those things that unite them,
and that Your hand of love and grace would always be upon them in whatever circumstances they face.
i ask that they would love one another for a lifetime.
i ask Lord that they’d laugh together and weep together.
that they would serve together.  that they would hold one another, encourage each other,
and be to each other what the other needs.  and in the moments when they cannot,
may the understanding hand of God reach into their hearts and help them.
now we pray Lord, that the union they have brought to this place would be forever blessed
by Your Spirit, Your presence.
that it would be the interjection of God in a world that really needs to see it.
and may others watch them live, live out this faith of theirs, no matter what comes their way.  amen.”

wedding

13 years.
3 times of unemployment.
infertility.
sickness.
the adoption of three children.
the fostering of four more.
a 12 passenger van.
seven children.
i can’t believe it!

“better than the promises is the day we got to keep them.
i wish those two could see us now,
they never would believe how there are different kinds of happy.”
 different kinds of happy, sara groves

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“i do” are the two most famous last words
the beginning of the end
but to lose your life for another i’ve heard
is a good place to begin

’cause the only way to find your life
is to lay your own life down
and i believe it’s an easy price
for the life that we have found

and we’re dancing in the minefields
we’re sailing in the storm
this is harder than we dreamed
but i believe that’s what the promise is for

’cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
so there’s nothing left to fear
so i’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
till the shadows disappear

’cause He promised not to leave us
and His promises are true
so in the face of all this chaos, baby,
i can dance with you”
dancing in the minefields, andrew peterson

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four months, four days, four siblings

four months ago yesterday, the three littles moved into our home, into our family, and started moving their way into our hearts.

four days ago yesterday, this little guy, their baby brother, joined the clan.  all four siblings together.

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photo 1

he’s already moving into our family and into our hearts.  but he may only be here for another day or two.

remember when i shared we were told to prepare for him?  that he was born on my birthday?  that the magistrate over the case had decided to place him with relatives?  well, that placement may not work out so we’ve been asked to care for him for a few days to give the family and the agency time to figure out what to do next.  he may return to family monday or tuesday.  and if not, he stays with us.

if we were together, you and i, you’d probably ask me how i feel.  i would likely tell you i have no idea.  i don’t know how to feel.  why?

THIS IS CRAZY!

i just really can hardly believe this is the life we are living.

when we returned from our vacation in june, i was pretty sure we were not supposed to be fostering again.  i could only see the ways it was taking away from our lives.  i could only see how it was holding back the three children i had already fostered and adopted.  i was being so selfish.  i wanted to sleep in.  i wanted more time to clean my house.  i wanted to be able to take my three children anywhere, at anytime, without being held back by naps, or little kids.  i wanted to go back to the party of five .  i wanted my life to be easier again.

i prayed, i begged the Lord, to reveal the sin of my selfishness and to show me His way.  after a couple of weeks, my heart started to soften again.  my selfishness remained, but was not as prevalent.  i need the Lord to continue to work that selfishness out of me!  i have started to feel a deep love and concern for the three littles.

and then we found out one of the relative placements the agency had been pursuing for them was actually panning out.  i was devastated.  i sobbed most of the night after i got that call from the caseworker.  i want to live with open hands, but i so badly wanted to close them when it came to the possibility of these kiddos leaving my home. i still want to close them.  i can’t share everything that has happened with this situation.  and as for a move with a relative any time soon, we honestly have no idea what will happen.

since wednesday night we’ve had seven kiddos in our home.  we are tired, but i think we are managing okay.  josh is a rock star when it comes to parenting an infant.  he really knows what he’s doing and it’s amazing to watch him with this little baby in his arms.

this little guy’s siblings are so happy to have him here.  they know he’s just visiting for a few days, but his five year old little guy really wants him to stay longer.

i keep asking the Lord for His will in their little lives.  in all of our lives.  i have no idea of any other right way to pray.

Your will Lord, Your will.

the night after we found out about the possible relative placement for the three, i went to the casting crowns concert with my friend shelly.  every song applied to her life or mine, sometimes both, and we were in tears most of the time.  two songs really, really stood out and our bigs and i have often had them on repeat in the van.  you should take a listen, or more like a watch.

dream for you and already there

in a day or two, i wonder if i’ll be writing about the baby staying or going.