Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year's End

I started to write about the high lights and low lights of 2013 for I have seen many fellow bloggers post such entries.  But, as I sat on the couch on the last night of 2013 I thought it would be way too hard for my 43 year old memory to remember all that happened this year.  Sadly, this was a year that saw a huge decline to my blogging.  I am not sure why...maybe I just got really busy?  Maybe I just got tired of writing the same old same old of my life?  Maybe I just got out of the habit?

I actually think the habit reason is the most likely.  Seriously, I simply moved my computer upstairs, which led to me being upstairs in order to be on my computer, which meant I was closer to all the dirty laundry and the washing machine..

On the bright side, I got all my laundry done in a very timely fashion this year!

Looking back, this year saw us settling into our home in South Carolina.  It is really starting to feel like home.  We love our neighbors...and have the most wonderful conversations standing around outside.  (But I still long to live in the country again),  The kids settled into their schools.  Joe settled into his job.  And I returned to the career I love the most...being a mom.

I had a very rough spring with George...again...I even thought of the "D" word, which I promised I would never bring up.  But, in God's FAITHFULNESS, He brought me through once again.

But instead of looking back, I want to look forward and share the things God has put on my heart for 2014:

  • Prayer.  I have really failed in this area the past year.  I need...and want to return to a real disciplined prayer life.
  • Connecting:  I want to connect more with my children...especially George.  I am going to read some books I should have read long ago and I am going to watch videos I should have watched long ago.  And, I am going to remember that God loves me...even when I am ugly and hateful and spiteful and pouting.  THAT is reason alone for me to work hard at loving George into a place of heart healing.
  • Service:  In the fall, I stepped away from Safe Families.  I still love what the ministry stands for, I just simply could not do the work AND be a wife to Joe and a mom to these 7 amazing kids.  I do not have time for a full time ministry...but God has put specific ideas in both Joe's and my mind.  We are not settling for a life of Christian mediocrity that is, in reality, nothing different than the average American family pursuing comfort.  We refuse.  And God continues to challenge us to be authentic in our faith...and that means stepping out in faith in crazy ways.  This past year, we THOUGHT God was calling us to Colombia...we said "yes" and God surprised us with "No..but, instead here is Salome."  If we are not willing to say "yes" to whatever crazy adventure God is leading us on, we will miss great blessing.
This year, I want to love my husband more.  I want to love my kids more.  But most of all, I want to love God more this year.  

And..I will try to blog more :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Long Awaited Story

This is Salome.  You pronounce it Sal' - oh - may.

You may have seen our new family picture on FB...or if you are here in Greenville, you might have seen her with me and hear her calling me Mom.  I know many have asked, "Did I miss something?  What is going on?"

So, here is the long awaited story of how God brought Salome into our family.

This is probably where it all began....Salome was with us this summer.  Wait..it goes past that!

I guess the story goes back to this point...the point where Eleanor and I visited friends in Medellin, Colombia to volunteer at their ministry.

It is here where we met Salome for the first time.  Salome, despite her environment, despite her family life would spend hours a week pouring into the lives of the children at Viento Fresco.  She had a huge passion for learning English and any time she would meet a missionary, she would quickly go introduce herself and talk to them.  Salome, Beth (another missionary from the US who was on  long term trip) and Eleanor quickly became best friends.  In one week, they grew so close!

I don't know what "it" was,  but we knew immediately that we had a unique, special relationship.  We all knew that Salome was, in some way, meant to be part of our family. So, we helped her visit the US this past summer.  That is where the picture from the beach comes in.  We had a great 10 days in the summer with Salome.  We took her to the ocean for the first time, kept her busy with swimming, long walks, and volunteering at the Frazee Center.

It was during this trip that we all had a dream that someday Salome could come live with us.  But, it seemed a huge obstacle to overcome.  How does a very poor girl from Colombia just move to the US?

I don't feel comfortable telling all of Salome's story...for it is hers to tell someday.  But I can tell you that when Joe and I went back to Colombia this fall, we met with Salome's mother (no -Salome is NOT an orphan) who asked Joe and I if we would be willing to take guardianship of Salome in order to give her the opportunity to go to school and live in the US.  Joe didn't skip a beat and said, "Yes!"

Salome has since told us much of her life in Colombia.  It is hard to listen to at times.  I told Joe the other day that yet again...God has put us into His plan of RESCUE.  Sometimes when we say "yes" to God's plan, we don't know the details...and we don't know the whys...but God seems to always have a plan to RESCUE his hurting children and put them into places of safety and love and security.  I am humbled that God chose our family...again...to be part of that plan.

So, I know this is pretty vague - maybe someday when I have permission from Salo I can fill in all the gaps.  For now, we are moving forward with legal guardianship of Salome.  But, while this guardianship does things like pave the way for insurance, tax deductions and public education - the REAL joy of taking guardianship is that Salome is no longer just a visitor or a guest in our home..she is becoming one of us.

Joe and I pulled her aside yesterday and talked about the significance of this. We wanted her to know how serious this idea of guardianship is to us.  It is no longer just about a piece of paper that helps her go to school.  No, this means Joe and I have earned the right to be her parent.  We want to teach her, to guide her, to help her make decisions.  We want to love her as if she were one of our own.  We wanted her to know that we were committing to her...committing for a lifetime!  She smiled ear to ear.

We held hands at the kitchen counter and prayed.

What started as a long-distance friendship between two teenage girls....has turned into a FAMILY.