For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45
Photo by Bryn Wied
It's been a few months since I've written anything, and to be honest, I've been relishing the little break. In a way, this whole summer has been a wonderful little retreat. We moved into a tiny home, not accountable to foster agencies or social workers, no deadlines for writing, no one else moving in or out; just our own little family in our own little home for roughly two months now.
Here's how I thought life would look: us living closer together, enjoying the outdoors more and being inside less, caring less about clothes and what we own, and only spending a few minutes a day cleaning and spending more time intentionally together as a family, traveling and making memories together.
Here's how life has actually been: exactly that. It's been wonderful. Matt and I are up with the kids till way too late almost every night, outdoors more often than not. Jamison wakes up and can't wait to run outside. We've mastered multi-layover flights as a family, can happily live out of a few bags for weeks at a time, and know how to do physical therapy with Coen on a 12 hour long car ride. We've hiked and barely watch TV and spend so much time together.
Up until last week, that is, when I opened my e-mail on a Monday morning to see a familiar name pop up with a question about a possible foster placement.
Here's how life looks now: quickly moving back into our house, trying to acquire everything in my minimalist haste I got rid of (because we're not having babies anytime soon, right?), looking for a new job for Matt, and making sure everything is ready for our annual foster certification renewal (still have first aid kit? Entire house baby proofed? Fire extinguishers on every floor? Check check check).
Right now is nothing that I ever saw coming or ever planned but it's once again so much better than I ever could have imagined. I thought these next few years would be years of plenty; we would have so much income and so little outgo we would be able to live on half and literally give away half of our income to others. I had visions of traveling and time together outside and blessing others financially while tucked away in my own comfort bubble of spontaneity and no commitment to anyone else.
Once again, God's plans are higher and grater than my own. Instead of my own self worshipping version of generosity, we are once again going back into the monotony and uncertainty and emotional giving of self of foster care. We're not in financial security where I can be generous because it doesn't threaten my own safety bubble, we are once again making more than enough and being called to step up in our generosity without not letting it feel uncomfortable. It's not how I pictured this year going but it's a thousand percent more real. My own vision was glorifying of self, and God in his love for us is keeping us much more deeper and real and focused on him.
The Saturday before we got the call I had written down this, right in the middle of huge changes in Matt's job and no idea as to what direction we should go.
"I have no idea where God is taking us, or where these unknowns lead, but I am joyfully expectant and completely confident that God has already aligned every step we are taking, and has already set into motion long ago things for which he is calling us to now. I don’t just want to vocalize my trust in him when I can look back in retrospect and see how his timing was perfect all along, but I want to boldly declare and joyfully remain faithful in the darkness that I am dedicating every step to him and desire his will for my life over my own."
I stole the lyrics to a Thomas Rhett song for this blog post because it perfectly sums up every sentiment in my heart. We make plans and hear God laughing, and I'm sure that this last set of our "plans" has probably been the biggest swing and a miss we've done yet. But I honestly am so grateful for the time we got to spend in the trailer and traveling together, even if it was, as it turns out, only for half a summer.
We got to visit 9 different states, a new national park, made countless memories and connected with both old and new friends alike. It does seem kind of a failed attempt at minimalism; i.e. only Matt and I would attempt minimalism and somehow end up with more consumer debt than we started with (SORRY DAVE RAMSEY- I HAD MY REASONS), but there are some wonderful lessons we learned along the way. Some were better or more fun to learn than others, but all of them I will hold on as we walk into this next season.
For instance, I know now that we as Americans really do own too much stuff. I love the freedom and simplicity from not owning more than we need. So as we move back into the house, I'm not going to look for things to fill up space but things that serve a purpose and things we like. I know that dealing with renters is a serious time commitment, and trying to communicate long distance is the worst. I love the time we had to bond as a family, and the freedom from recognizing that each family is different. Our family has a serious case of wanderlust, and instead of it being a disease or something to shove down we are going to embrace it, recognize that God makes everyone differently and uses each of us in our differences for his own glory. If we are a little more prone to wonder, we're gonna wonder and enjoy life and each other and center ourselves around Jesus and chase him the whole time we're going! It's not about being true to ourselves or true to someone else's version of life but being true to who you were created to be, apart from sin, in Jesus. That's what our goal is, and that's what we're gonna be. And it might look a little chaotic or a little crazy or a little different but we were created with purpose, every single one of us, and God has a plan for each one of us.
And when the opportunity arises, I want to go down choosing God over my own ambitions every single time. People are more important than a paycheck or a destination on the map. We have no idea the if, and or how about this future foster placement, but we will happily and immediately lay down everything else to pursue that one. I'm working as much as I can to stock up on money in the face of unknowns and keep life here. Matt is contemplating career changes in a way he wouldn't have before. Jamison is beyond excited and says she will miss the camper but wants her own room back because Coen screams. Coen has no idea what is happening but he'll have some adjustments to make as well, and we're betting he's not going to be too gracious about it.
We're not doing these things because we're called to some special niche. We're doing it because God desires justice and cares for the poor and orphan and outcasts. We're doing it because we are all equally broken, just in different ways. We're doing it because God commands anyone who loves him to step up and put faith into action. We're doing it because we've been in trusted with the time and resources and abilities to, and we don't want to waste what God has loaned us for this life.
So in a way we're giving up something. But I know without a doubt we are getting so much more in return. I know that God will use us and our dreams and goals for his glory in his perfect timing, and I am so excited for it all.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose of forfeit their very self?" -Luke 9:23:-25
We're waiting for you little one, for however long we get to love on you.