Dear Husbands, We Need You To Fight For Us

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You know the story. A young woman finds herself in a sticky situation and just when she is about to be consumed by an evil villain a white knight swoops in to save her. In more modern stories you even see the young girl and guy work together to battle the evil villain before riding off into the sunset. While these are usually fairytales I believe one reason these ladies pick this guy as their forever mate is because she knows when there is ever a sticky situation — this guy will fight for her. But what about reality? Are our husbands swooping in and fighting for us when we need it most?

I remember when I was single and praying for a future husband there were many great christian guys in the church — but sadly many were still boys. They still liked to string girls along, act interested but put no effort into creating a committed relationship. They never made a gesture because they were too afraid. I still remember our pastor preaching on the subject of men in the church. Many christian guys showed strength in their relationship with God but were passive to many other situations. As one of the tough girls — this was never appealing to me because I have fought all my life. The last thing I wanted was a guy standing in the background while I fought the dragon.

I was thinking back trying to remember if there was ever a situation when my dad, boyfriend or guy friend fought for me. Yes, my dad got in fights with strangers often because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Was he really fighting for us or for himself? Then I had boyfriends who often times walked away leaving me to fight my own battles. I had other boyfriends who let their friends taunt and cuss me out while they sat their laughing. (It still took me 2 more years of that relationship before I finally realized I needed to get out). You know who I remember standing up for me? My mom who put herself between my dad and I several times. My sister who stood up and was willing to take my full beating when she saw my dad grab me by my throat and shoved me in a chair. My best friend who often times defended me against my dad. Even her dad who had to put my dad in his place when I was forced to visit him. The rest of the time — I fought for myself.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a huge need for Steven to defend my honor in marriage — that is until we got foster kids. I love teen girls but they seem to like to verbally attack me, put me down and act against me — not him. I find myself still sticking up for myself when actually what I need is my husband to. Yes, he grew up in a good home where fighting for your life was never a situation he had to deal with. Husbands, we wives are not asking you to get into altercations with strangers of the world. We are asking you to fight a much dangerous and serious villain. Satan himself.

Husbands, your wife needs you to fight for her when she has nothing left to give. When the kids have given her hell all day — sometimes she need you to swoop in and rescue her. Husbands, when you see your wife needing time to herself — we need you to fight to take her on a date or send her to a favorite coffee shop with a good book alone. Husbands, when she’s told the kids a hundred times to pick up their toys or do their chores — she needs you to intervene and hand out orders. Guys we are fighting everyday and we need your help.

As a stay-at-home mom I have seen how hard this job is. At times I really hated working outside of the home because I always had to divide myself between work and family. I could never fully finish a task before someone needed something from me at home or at the office. But there is also something so exhausting about being at home all day long — disciplining a toddler and getting no time of your own. I can’t remember the last time I showered or used the bathroom alone. Husbands, these are the small sacrifices we make that add up to a huge battle. When our kids are talking back and being rude we need you to intervene and stand up for the love of your life. The same woman you would have died for on your wedding day.

Most importantly, husbands we need you to fight for us spiritually. Satan is out to kill, steal and destroy every ounce of energy and hope we have. We need you on your knees daily praying over us as we raise up the kids. We need you to pray for our mental health because honestly — these battles can sometimes make us crazy. We need you to verbally pray over us so your encouraging words can pour into our minds and flood out the negative thoughts. Husbands we need you to fight for us. Your wives are slowly being torn apart by this world of expectations and chaos. Men, equip yourselves and defend our honor. I promise that many of us will become less moody and exhausted if we see you going into battle for us. Once we catch our breath then don’t be surprised when you see us armoring up to fight next to you.

Attention Shoppers, Please Be Patient With My Screaming Kid

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You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a daily meal at our house. I even remember as a kid that’s all I would eat for lunch. Seriously, they are easy to make and just so darn delicious. But today the PB&J sandwich made me question if I’m a “good mom.”

I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my second baby; which means everything hurts. My hips are constantly in pain, I pee at least 6 times a night. I battle insomnia at night while struggling to stay awake during the day.

Today, I actually had some energy to do a few chores. To me, that means clean the whole house. But my body only allowed me to Vaccuum and sweep the floors before my back was screaming at me. I felt so exhausted afterwards. I couldn’t push through the pain. My anxiety was escalating just by looking at the mess around the house.

Finally, I put my daughter down for her nap. I decided to rest myself but by the time I started to fall asleep my happy toddler was at my bedside ready to eat lunch.

As I walked in the kitchen I struggled to keep my eyes open. I was tired and all the energy I had to muster was only good enough to make a PB&J for my daughter. That’s when I broke down into a deep cry for about 5 minutes. “You’re a bad mom”, “you can do better”, “Aurora deserves a better mom” all flooded my mind. I felt completely overwhelmed with failure and I didn’t know how to find the energy to do more. In the midst of my crying, my beautiful 3-year-Old ran and hugged my leg with all her strength. “Mommy, it’s okay.”

Even though she didn’t understand why I was crying she reminded me in that moment that she loves me. She reminded me that a 3-year-Old doesn’t measure by perfection. They measure by love and how those around them are a part of their everyday lives.

I may have made the millionth PB&J but to my daughter it was something to look forward to. She never saw it as a lack of effort on my part but a treat to enjoy.

My husband called me right after my breakdown. He reminded me that I’m not a bad mom. He told me I’m 37 weeks pregnant so it’s okay not to be able to do everything. He told me to be patient until after I have our baby boy. Then I can become supermom again. (He knows me so well because that’s exactly what I want to be. Even at 37 weeks — supermom).

To the moms like me (pregnant or not) struggling to make more than a PB&J — you’re a good mom. You’re doing the best you can within your circumstances. Your babies love you and really do enjoy that PB&J. Give yourself grace and remember that what you make for lunch doesn’t define who you are as a mom. It’s the time and love you put into your kids that really makes a big difference.

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Moms, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

When Little is Good Enough

To the Foster Mom without Kids This Mother’s Day

It was exactly a year ago that my husband and I got the call, “You are certified foster parents.” After 4 months of training, LOTS of paperwork and home studies we were finally able to welcome foster kids into our home.

In the last year we’ve had 8 girls come in our home. The youngest was 7 and the oldest 17. A few stayed a week while others stayed almost a year. I never expected my life to be changed so much by letting these girls into our home. We mostly fostered teen girls this year and it was pretty fun. They taught me slang words, how to contour my face, what the latest fashions were and some even laughed at my jokes. But among those amazing moments there was a lot of low moments. All of them left me with my heart broken a little more each time. Sadly, this Mother’s Day I will be celebrating without any foster kids and that makes me sad.

I recently watched the HBO documentary, “Foster” that premiered this week. The part that left me in sobbing tears was at the end when the single foster mom gets cards, hugs and appreciation from all of her foster kids. I realized that no child I have fostered in the last year will be here for Mother’s Day. Yes, it’s probably conceited of me, but as a mom/foster mom I want to be told sometimes that I am making difference. Why? Because that is my hope as a foster parent. However, I won’t know if I have made a difference for MANY years if at all.

Our last foster teen left about a week ago because she chose to no longer to be in our home. While I have a very beautiful daughter of my own and a son in my growing belly, I will be morning all my girls who are no longer here.

I will mourn because I don’t know how much of an impact I had on them. I will mourn the loss of them because I don’t get to hug and thank them for making me a foster mom. I will mourn them because I may never see them again. I will mourn them because I don’t know if they are safe. But among the mourning I will remember the laughs, the jokes, the new things we taught them while in our home and so much more.

To other foster moms who won’t have kids this year — I feel you. My heart goes out to you. Especially those who don’t have children of their own. I pray you give yourself a moment to mourn the loss of these kiddos who are no longer with you. But like me, try to remember the fun times. Maybe one day we will know the true impact we had on these kids.

To my former foster kiddos who may read this one day: I  want you that Steven and I will always love you as our own children. You guys brought so much joy in our lives and we will be forever changed. If you ever need a home away from home we hope you consider ours. I pray we see you guys again one day!

 

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

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All of our belongings were packed away. We were living with my sister-in-law for the next week when we found out I was pregnant with our first child. I still remember eating chips in the kitchen while Steven snuck to the bathroom to peek at the pregnancy test. I didn’t believe I was pregnant but eating chips should have given it away. I still remember the shock when Steven came out of the bathroom with a huge smile on his face saying, “you’re pregnant.” I felt shock immediately followed by overwhelming joy. Little did I know that joy would soon be accompanied with anxiety.

Prenatal and Postpartum Anxiety was never on my mind as an expecting mom. I heard about the dangers of Postpartum Depression but never anxiety. I was about 6 months pregnant with my daughter when anxiety overloaded my daily thoughts. I remember one day as I was heading to a doctor’s appointment, I some how convinced myself there was a bomb in my car. I quickly jumped out of my SUV in the driveway thinking it was about to explode. I knew I was overthinking it but I still couldn’t convince myself to get back in for about 10 minutes. I even called my husband on the phone in hopes he would talk my brain out of this crazy notion.

As the months continued I would lay awake at night watching the shadows on the ceiling. I always thought someone would come in and kill me and my baby. I was working in the news business where my mind was constantly flooded with murders, child neglect and shootings. These thoughts would come and go throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. After I had my daughter I was still filled with amazing joy but I continued to battle anxiety. As months went on it got worse. So bad that I ended up in the ER twice thinking I was having a heart attack. It was over a year after having Aurora that I finally realized what was happening to me. I assumed I was crazy and it was hard to talk to anyone about it. Steven always listened but even he was getting tired of my mood swings. I finally got the help that I needed. I chose a small dosage of anxiety medication that has really helped me sleep at night. But now with my second pregnancy — I’m battling the other beast. Depression.

I am 5 months pregnant with my son and I’m having symptoms of Prenatal Depression. A phrase that scares me more than anxiety. I have suffered on and off with depression and anxiety my entire life, but being pregnant has caused these ugly demons to be revived. This time I’m not going to wait to get help. My biggest fear is that this depression will cause me to hurt my kids or myself. Thankfully, the only signs I’ve had are change of mood, lack of motivation and decreased appetite. I talked to my doctor who referred me to a therapist who specializes in women with anxiety and depression during and after pregnancies. My doctor said that this will continue to get worse so waiting would be a bad idea.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I know there is a mother out there expecting or has been trapped in anxiety and depression for the last few years after having their kiddos. You may even have developed these based on other circumstances. I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s a fight that can be won with the proper help.

I share my story because many women don’t know about these mental illnesses. If you or someone you know has been struggling then please get help. Do not wait and try to control it on your own. Even I have been trying to minimize my symptoms but I knew I needed more.

*These are suggestions only that have helped me personally. I am not a licensed therapist nor doctor. I urge you to reach out to a trained physician to help you find the best ways for you to overcome anxiety and depression. *

Here are some ways that have helped me control my symptoms:

  1. Exercise — this is huge for me. I notice a complete mood change if I go more than two days without exercising.
  2. Eating healthy — sugar has been linked to depression and anxiety. I cut out breads and other sugary foods. I replaced them with protein, good fats, veggies and fruit.
  3. Staying Hydrated — When I feel thirsty I get angry. Once I’m dehydrated my brain cannot think properly if I am thirsty. Often times we even see these signs as hunger, but really we need a big glass of water. I also add Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon to mine to give me some natural electrolytes.
  4. Medication — I’m not a big fan of medication but eventually I had to take something for anxiety. Talk to your doctor to find out what works best for you.
  5. Talk to someone — therapy is a great alternative to medication when dealing with anxiety and depression. If you get a referral from your doctor then your insurance should cover the sessions. You may have to pay a copay but $35 a week is better than fighting this battle alone.

I hope this post helps someone today. I remember feeling so alone in all of this, but I don’t want you to. It was very hard for me to write about my struggles because they are personal. But I am getting help before anything gets worse. I’m all about being proactive instead of waiting for the worst to happen. Get help and don’t be afraid to admit that you need it. You’re not crazy — you’re struggling.

How My Nervous Breakdown Led Me to a Breakthrough

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Parenting Through Grace

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Dear Foster Daughter,

The day you moved from my home broke my heart. You weren’t the first one to leave but your departure made a massive impact on my life. We struggled to understand each other even though we were just alike. We stressed over the same things and yet could never find a comfortable balance for our relationship.

I worked so hard every day to give you what you needed. I made personal sacrifices to make sure you were being heard. But I still wasn’t doing enough. I still made you mad. I still made you cry. The reality is I couldn’t help you.

That phrase is hard for me to swallow. I get a clump in my throat every time I think of how I failed. How I tried. The promise I made to never see you go. To stay next to you through thick and thin. The promise to not be just another home that gave up on you. Even though you had to go I never gave up. I’m still not going to give up.

I miss you everyday. You brought so much of an impact into my life. We had some pretty awesome times together. Ones I will never forget. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for changing my heart and teaching me how to love you better. You may no longer be in my home but I hope one day we can have a strong relationship.

Maybe you’ll be quick to listen instead of ignoring my suggestions. Maybe you’ll see me as someone who wants the best instead of someone who pushes you to live by the rules. Whatever relationship we have I pray that we can mend the broken pieces. That we can one day look back and laugh about how similar we are.

I will always think of you as my daughter. I hope one day you will still consider us family in some way. I pray you will let me know about your life accomplishments. I can’t wait to see you become the young woman I already see. You’re strong, important, wanted, loved, beautiful, funny and so much more. You will impact lives for the better. Don’t give up. Know we will love you forever.

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To Foster Parents Who Take it Personal

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

Parents, Your Kids Can Help Too

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As a stay-at-home mom, days can seem long and overwhelming. Most days I spend with a 2.5-year-old while I try to keep the house in one piece. It’s a daily struggle of mine. The clutter causes me more anxiety so I work harder than I should most days which causes me to neglect time with my daughter so I can load the dishwasher. Then I find myself too exhausted to really play and engage with my daughter. Since I found out I was pregnant, I realized I can’t keep that schedule up. So I decided to invest more into something else. How to teach my daughter to be a good steward of her things.

My daughter Aurora is 2.5 years-old and she has been a big help lately. I first noticed her interest in helping out around the house after she turned 2-years-old. She started by throwing things away in the trash can and putting dishes in the sink. It was cute to see her want to help but I didn’t think much of it. Now, it’s 6 months later and she is helping out in so many ways. Here are some chores you can teach your toddler.

1. Putting their dishes in the sink after each meal.

This is an easy one. Honestly, a child on the later side of one-year-old could start doing this simple chore. After every meal, Aurora takes her cup and plate to the sink where I can wash it. She feels like such a big girl and it gives me one less dish to pick up after meals.

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2. Unloading the dishwasher.

This chore has become a new-found excitement for my daughter. At first it was kind of annoying because she was unloading dishes faster than I could put them up. I would tell her to go play but she would cry her littles eyes out because she wanted to help me. I took advantage of the time with her and decided to give her a chance. Now, she hands me dishes and I put them up. Yes, I even let her handle breakable dishes. Unless it’s a special dish I don’t freak out about it possibly breaking. To me, teaching my child responsibilities is more important than dishes. Tip: make sure to grab sharp knives out of the dishwasher before letting your kiddo help.

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3. Picking up toys.

This chore is probably the biggest one for me. I hated constantly picking up toys three times a day just to do it again tomorrow. As my belly has grown I have had less energy to bend over. Now, I sit down and direct my daughter on how to clean her toys. I’m not going to lie, this took a good week or so to work on with my daughter. The first time it took her about 45 minutes to pick up a handful of toys. The next day, the task took less time. Parents, this will change your life if you really spend some time helping your kids learn how to pick up after themselves. My daughter has to pick up her toys after she plays with them. She also cleans them up before bed. One way I motivate her is to say, “Mommy needs help. Can you clean up with me?” I still guide her a little but she loves being my big helper.

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4. Feeding the pets.

One day Aurora wanted to pour the dog food into bowls so I decided to see how she would do. She did great. Now, she feeds the dogs in the morning and at dinner. Often times she even reminds me of her special chore. This also helps develop motor skills.

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5. Sweeping/mopping/vacuuming floors.

This chore I’m still working on. We bought her a Melissa and Doug cleaning set that she usually plays with but sometimes uses for real messes. My daughter is a little on the shorter side so it’s hard for her to use them sometimes, but she is getting there. At this point she mostly cleans messes up by wiping them up with a towel. It can be when she accidentally spills something on the floor or when she throws a tantrum and causes a mess. Either way, she cleans up after herself. Parents, I would not make a big deal out of messes when they are on accident. Just teach your child accidents happen and they can be cleaned up. A child doesn’t need to feel more anxious than they already do.

Other chore ideas for older toddlers.

  • Making their own bed
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Help fold laundry
  • Put up laundry
  • Help move laundry to dryer
  • Load dishwasher/wash dishes by hand
  • Help prepare meals
  • Set the table
  • Wipe the table
  • Dust
  • Clean windows

I’m a firm believer that teaching our kids to do household chores will not only help with development, responsibility and appreciation. But it will also help us moms or dads relieve some stress. Yes, teaching some of these chores will be an investment for a few weeks but just think about all the other weeks you get help. The best part is they are so excited to be a part of it. Take advantage now because once they hit pre-teen age you’ll be fighting them to wash a dish.

Another great thing is teaching our kids how to take care of what they have. If they are constantly leaving a mess for you to clean, throwing toys around, destroying things then they will never learn the value of what they have. They will always want something else. This teaches them to respect what God has given them. To be good stewards of their possessions so maybe one day they can pass them down to a child that has less than they do.

I hope these tips help you feel less stressed. Parents, invest and don’t forget to encourage your kiddos and thank them for helping with the mess. We wish our kids would say thank you so why shouldn’t we teach them that as well?

Attention Shoppers, Please Be Patient With My Screaming Kid

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Preparing My Daughter for Battle

 

Moms, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” ~ Jeremiah 31: 25

It’s lunchtime and the kids are screaming for food. You survey the kitchen for something quick to eat make because you have no more energy. Your day has been good but you’re just tired and overwhelmed. Sadly, it’s still hours before your husband comes through the door. You love your kids but you need a breather. You’re not okay.

I’ve had many days like this over the last few weeks. I’ve struggled with my mood despite taking my anxiety medication. I’ve fought depression as I look outside and see gray skies with no blooms. I yearn to be around life to help revive my mom soul. My mom friends are deep in their own family commitments so I have no one to call on in the midst of my loneliness. I’m struggling.

These mom days are hard. They’re exhausting when you feel like you have nothing left to give. You love your babies but just feel trapped in this world of everyone needing you.

Moms, can I tell you something? These seasons, days, weeks and months are normal. We are constantly serving others before ourselves. Yes, it’s important to take time alone but in real life those days are far and few between. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to realize you need help from others. Please don’t feel like you have to be a perfect mom to be a good mom. God sees your struggle. God knows you’re exhausted.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to say you are struggling. Every mom needs to hear they are not alone. These seasons are what keeps you pressing in to God’s word. Pressing in to God as you seek Him to find restoration for your weary soul.

The best part about going through these moments — when the days are good you become so thankful that you kept pushing through. That you found a way to survive. Not to mention those beautiful faces that give you hugs and smiles when you are at your lowest. Those moments are my saving grace. I feel like that’s God reminding me of His love for us. He’s given us our babies to keep us going when we have nothing left.

Moms, don’t be ashamed to go to God with a heavy heart. Don’t be afraid to take help from a friend when they ask if you need something. Don’t feel guilty for wanting time away for yourself. Most importantly, don’t worry about not being okay today. The sun will shine. Keep your weary eyes open so you can see those sweet reminders that God sends us each day.

Parents, Your Kids Can Help Too

When Little is Good Enough

Exhausted Children: Why Your Kids May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

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Foster Care and Sex Trafficking: What you need to know

Currently there are 40 million people world-wide trapped in slavery. The industry earns about $150.2 billion dollars a YEAR. One of the major forms of slavery is sex trafficking. Just this past weekend while many of us watched Super Bowl — 18 survivors were freed and 169 traffickers were arrested in Atlanta. One of the biggest holidays for the sex trafficking industry. This issue is a growing epidemic that’s not just impacting poor countries, but underage kids who are some how connected to the foster system.

According to Salendria Mabrey, with Foster Care Newsletter, foster kids are at a higher risk of becoming trafficked.

Huffington Post reported In a 2013 article that child sex trafficking victims who were recovered by the FBI in a nationwide raid — were children from foster care or group homes.

These are just a few eye opening statistics that show how human trafficking impacts the foster system.

If a child is in an abusive situation often times they may run away to protect themselves. However, this makes them extra vulnerability to becoming targets for trafficking. Reports submitted to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, 4,550 in foster care were runaways. Many between the ages of 12 and 17.

Sadly, as a foster parent I have heard stories of kids who don’t run away but are trafficked by family members. Another reason why these kiddos end up in foster care.

The longer I’ve been fostering the more stories I hear about kids being trafficked here in Indiana. In the first 6 months of 2018, there were over a 1,000 calls to report trafficking and over 700 victims in the state of Indiana. This is according to the Human Trafficking Hotline statistics.

I’ve even spoken to service providers who say its harder to place kids from sex trafficking situations. One reason is because many are teens.

Among the fostering world any teen is hard to place compared to a baby or younger child. Many foster families are terrified of teens so these victims linger in group homes. But what they need is a foster home willing to love them and help them heal. Another reason is because foster families have no clue how to deal with an older child who has been through that kind of trauma. Behavior issues are easy but how do you help a child who has been through sex trafficking?

I don’t have all the answers on how we as a country can tackle this issue. I’ve followed and advocated for sex trafficking victims for many years and will continue to do so. Now, I’m personally seeing the issue a little closer because of the foster system. I believe we can make a difference no matter if you are a foster parent or not.

6 Things you can do TODAY.

1. Educate yourself on human trafficking. Learn more about what it means and how it impacts victims.

2. Learn the signs. Understand the language used towards victims, ways they are lured into trafficking and how to recognize victims.

3. Spread awareness about why porn sites are a gateway to sex trafficking. Many of those girls are victims who are underage. When you engage in those sites you are supporting this.

4. Be open to fostering a child who has been through Sex trafficking. Educate yourself on what to expect and how to help them cope with the healing process. Take training on the topic. Talk to survivors if you can about ways to parent a child overcoming that trauma.

5. Be open to fostering teens. Many statistics show most victims are teens girls. Yes, younger kids as young as 2 can be trafficked but the main targets are pre-teen to teen girls. Don’t be afraid to foster teens. They have so much to offer if they can only find a loving family and a place to heal.

6. Join the EndIt movement. Today, February 7th is where people come together to spread awareness about human trafficking. Many people mark their hands with red x’s and post photos on instagram and Facebook. It doesn’t seem like much but just making people aware is huge. It’s the easiest thing you can do right now.

Please join millions of others as we spread awareness and educate people on this issue.

Entering the Season of Leaving: When Foster Parents say Goodbye

To Foster Parents Who Take it Personal

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

Entering the Season of Leaving: When Foster Parents say Goodbye

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Our days are numbered as our time with one of our foster teens is nearing the end. She has been in our home for over 6 months and sadly, she will soon be leaving. This is not our first time saying goodbye to a foster kid. It’s actually our sixth time saying goodbye.  But this time may be one of the hardest.

This dear girl came to us with amazing behavior but a lot of baggage. Ironically, I saw her in a dream about 4 months before I ever knew she existed. I still remember the day she got out of the car and I saw her through the window. My heart dropped because that was the same girl I had a dream about. I didn’t know what our relationship would be like but I knew it would be special.

Over the last 6 months, Steven and I have had the chance to show her love, teach her about God and watch her grow. She is not the same girl who came to live with us months ago. She has a happy facade now. Even though she is still struggling in some areas she has learned a lot. She even gave her life to Christ and got Baptized while here. I would like to say we can take credit, but it was a group of people who really showed her what life can be like when you have God.

Fostering is hard, especially when you have to say goodbye to kids who have impacted your life. She has become like a daughter of mine and it’s hard to see her leave. But I also have a peace about it. I feel ready to let her go because as a temporary mom — I feel like she is ready. We have taught her as much as we can while she was here. She has learned how to have God as her foundation — so I am proud to see what she will do as she gets older.

I have many people come up to us and say, “Oh, I couldn’t be a foster parent. I would get too attached. It would break my heart when they had to leave.” It’s funny because when people say that it’s as if they think we some how are NOT impacted by it. That we have a characteristic that allows us to say goodbye with ease. I am here to tell you we don’t. It hurts us all the same. But you know what, I don’t regret showing them love in the small amount of time they were in our home. Our home may be the only place they ever feel that love or are taught what a real family looks like. Why keep that from them? It will forever change their lives. Like our foster daughter — this experience has and will change the outcome of her future. Because we chose to love her and teach her about God.

As parents, we get 18 years with our kids. Yes, that’s a long time but your days are still numbered with them as well. We have a small time to make an impact and prepare them to leave. Yes, God calls every parent to prepare their children to leave their home. To teach them how to handle their own battles they will face as grownups. That’s why it is crucial to take every moment for granted. So really, fostering isn’t much different than parenting your own kids. You just get less time with them.

I am ready to see our girl enter her next journey. She will always have a seat at our table. She knows she is always welcome in our home. Even when she grows up to have a family of her own. I’m so thankful for the time God gave us with her. I pray that we really did make a big impact. That she will always remember us as a good memory in her life. Truth be told, foster kids need that so much. Many have childhoods filled with trauma and they need to see there is hope.

Even though it hurts to see her leave — it also opens ups another opportunity to love another teen girl who needs to hear she is worthy. I will always pray for all the girls we’ve had in our home and the ones yet to come.

I encourage you to open your home to kiddos who could use hope. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt because you have to see them leave so soon. Just love them and teach them as much as you can while they are with you. You never know how much their life may change.

When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

 

How Sleep Impacts Pregnancy

I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter. The first trimester I slept during the  day and was wide awake at night. The second trimester was better and by the third I was up several times the night peeing or trying to get comfortable. Let’s face it. Pregnancy takes a lot of energy out of us.

Now that I’m on my second pregnancy, I’ve dedicated more time to rest. Especially since I’m always running around after a toddler and mothering foster teens.

That’s why it’s important to know how sleep impacts our bodies while we are pregnant. I wish I would have known this information while pregnant with my daughter.

I’m partnering with Tuck Sleep to share some awesome scientific information on how you ladies expecting can get better sleep.

Sleep and Pregnancy