June was a whirlwind. we went camping for three days. then we came home. and then we went to Toronto for 9 days. and chris and I managed to go on a secret getaway for three days without any children to celebrate our ten year anniversary a little bit early. and Robert and Lindsay and their kids watched J that WHOLE time (with some help from Charles and Grace, and Barb and Jerry!) and now we are back to real life and 110+ degree days. and everything is so very great and wonderful.
except when it's not.
we are 11 days away from celebrating J being with us for a year. a whole year. 365 days. 40% of her whole life- she has spent with us.
admittedly, our honeymoon period with her lasted a pretty long time. and I am SOOOOOO very thankful for that. but man- when the honeymoon ended- about six months ago. it was a slap in the face.
speaking of slaps in the face, there is a story in the Bible that makes me so uncomfortable every time I read it. it's from Mark 10, starting at verse 35:
"And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." "
who do these guys think they are??? and more importantly- who do they think Jesus is? a freaking genie? "do for us whatever we ask of you." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? that's ballsy!
it wasn't until I read that verse pretty recently that I felt uncomfortable for a different reason. I used to feel embarrassed for James and John for presenting/demanding such a ridiculous and presumptuous and vain request. I suddenly felt embarrassed because I have been just as presumptuous and pompous and vain when praying to the Lord. and I don't want to sit at Jesus' right hand. I don't need fame and acclaim. I want ease and permission to be lazy and QUIETNESS. and I feel like I deserve it. cause i'm a foster parent. and cause Jesus- can't you see how hard I am working over here, and how much I am giving to this little child who just takes and takes and screams and then takes some more?
chris took 17 days off of work to make our vacation marathon happen this month. it was so fantastic. I was SO excited to vacation. we went camping with chris' mom and step dad, and brothers, and their families. J came too. we camped with 4 kids. well, there were nine altogether, but I was responsible for four of them. and then I was SOOOO excited to go back to Canada to see my side of the family, and meet my newest nephew, Jordan, and eat, and be merry. and I was so happy to be with chris for our getaway. that guy is seriously my favorite.
but, here is a list of things that went wrong over the 17 days of our vacation:
-chris had an eye infection. it was like pink eye- only worse. he had to see an eye doctor in the middle of our camping trip because he was so uncomfortable and in pain. this infection lasted for a whole week.
-it rained so much during our four day camping trip that we had to cut it down to three days. and we were camping IN ARIZONA. the desert. you know- where it never rains...
-when going on our anniversary getaway, we realized that as a Canadian citizen, you MUST travel with your permanent resident card. failure to do so results in a $585 fine. FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS. fortunately they waived the fee because it was my first offense. BUT, our getaway was only three days and we were coming back to canada, and then would be coming back to the states again. so, I had to get my INCREDIBLE neighbor to look for my card and FedEx it to my parents' house and that cost $75.
-my period was two weeks late so I thought I was pregnant, even though I took four (negative!)pregnancy tests and chris got a vasectomy last month. my period showed up 14 days late.
-trying to get back to phoenix- we missed our connecting flight in dallas and had to sleep in the airport with our three kids. and mia peed her pants while she was sleeping and we threw her clothes in the garbage.
-Robert and Lindsay's daughter had salmonella and had to go to the ER while they were watching J!
-when we got back to Arizona our new (to us) minivan had to go directly to the shop and get thousands of dollars of work done to it over a span of four days.
it was a lot. and every time something bad happened, and I prayed that it would stop, or that we would get some help, nothing happened. or at least nothing good happened. or at least, what I was expecting to have happen didn't happen.
but here is the silver lining to the bad things that happened and just some other great stuff that happened:
-coming home early from camping gave us plenty of time to do five loads of laundry and pack for our trip to Canada.
-I will never travel without my permanent resident card ever again. and paying $75 for FedEx is a lot less than paying $585 to the people who are always trying to deport me.
-I have the best next door neighbor in the universe.
-i'm not pregnant! but that two weeks led to lots of different conversations, and chris and I are glad to still be foster parents, and one day there will be tiny foster babies in our arms, but for now we need to be thankful for the big baby that kind of runs our home.
-chris bought a warranty for our van so we paid ZERO dollars for all the repairs that went into it. the warranty has already paid for itself, and then some.
-we were able to see a friend of ours while in Toronto, who I thought was going to lose his life to cancer last year. fortunately he is in remission and we were able to hang out with him and his wife and two kids.
-my nephew is tooooooo cute! we got to see him every day that we were in town. my sister-in-law is a wonderful new mama, but she is a phenomenal wife and I praise Jesus that my brother found her and married her!
-my younger brothers took great care of my kids while we were away, and the kids loved hanging out with their Samchoons.
-while at a mall in toronto one day, I was standing around with our family and before me stood one of my dearest friends in the universe. we went to high school and university together. she was supposed to be one of my bridesmaids but was in the middle of exams at MIT and couldn't make it. she lives in Beijing with her hubby and one year old son. it was the most unexpected and beautiful blessing to run into her and spend a few hours catching up.
-J did so great while at Tia Blanca (white aunt if your Spanish is no Bueno) and Tio Roberto's house. She slept through about half the nights she was there which was a major source of stress and anxiety for me (on Lindsay's behalf!) she had lots of fun hanging out with Barb and Jerry, and also Charles and Grace, and we are so blessed that our friends and family love on J so well.
-Robert and Lindsay are the best for watching J for ten days and not flinching when we were delayed an extra half a day.
it is so very very easy for me to get caught up in all that is bad, and hard, and exhausting. and when I am being a giant Ass, it's so easy for me to feel like I don't deserve any of these terrible things, because I am SO good and I am doing something SO GOOD.
this weekend, my brother in law preached a fantastic sermon about adding 'SO' into our prayers. (you can watch it here. it's pretty great!)
he gave examples of how to add 'So' and why we should do it:
"i want my kids to be good...SO... I don't have to parent them." that one hit me in the gut. there are some 'So's I have to remove from my vocabulary, while adding them to my prayers instead.
"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." -Mark 10:43-45
Thank you Lord for being SO GOOD. thank you for not always answering my prayers, and thank you for blessing me SOOO much even though I don't deserve it at all. I pray that you would make me a better Christian, and a better mom, but especially a better, and more humble foster mom SO that all the kids who live in our home now, and in the future, would come to know you and accept you as their personal Saviour. we aren't a foster family so that we will have more blessings and riches in heaven, we know we will be in heaven because of You. we are doing this SO that these foster kids will be singing your praises up there with us.