Gifts

Confession: I was up so late last night, three hundred and forty-two miles from home, that my brain is buzzing and my husband said to me “Are our phones goofing up? You sent me a text that apparently came in at x:xx. Were you really texting at that hour?”

And I said “Yes.”

In the strictest sense of the word it was no longer “last night” but we are not discussing that in this forum.

scarves on us

I want to stand up and say what the Lord Jesus did for me in the last week. It is so complex a sequence I can only get a hold of it in bullet points.

  • Several weeks ago, my mom asked if I would like to join in a surprise visit to my sister in Virginia for her 30th birthday. Joy! We got it all planned… how long we’d be gone, when we’d leave, who would go along.
  • Three days before departure, Jesus gave us an answer to prayer: a foster son. Yes, yes, absolutely yes!!
  • Could I still swing the weekend plans? Should I give them up? We decided to hold them with an open hand and see what turned out.
  • As K (our foster son) adjusted and adapted, Ryan said “I really think I can do this. Go ahead and plan to go. You’ll have Kelly; I’ll have the boys.”
  • Then we found out that K’s court date was set for half an hour after our estimated time of departure. I told my mom I wanted to stay for it if she was game—could we leave an hour later than planned? She was more than gracious, and we went to court.
  • In the hallway outside the courtroom, we found out that a kinship option had suddenly materialized and K was going to leave us. That day.
  • And then I said, “Oh thank you Jesus thank you.” That I got to meet this small person and love on him for three days. That I didn’t cancel my weekend plans and miss the trip to Virginia by one hour. Most of all, that I didn’t leave before the court date, and miss the chance to say goodbye to a child I thought we’d have for weeks and weeks.

When I release a foster child I think how lucky I was to meet him. All the training and waiting seems so worth it because in this short slice of time I became part of an amazing person’s life—I got to hold him and love him and find out his favorite things and give him one toy to keep and kiss him and make him giggle and pray over his sleeping head.

And the trip?

To die for.

My mom, my sister, my daughter. I am most blessed.

the four of us

kelly and jean

kelly and i

There are several things I will never understand:

  • How three people can laugh so much alike, over and over again: our forms bent double and no sound except desperate gasps for air.
  • How you can talk and talk and talk all weekend and still have to stay up till the wee hours of the last night, to get it all said.
  • How there can be so much beauty and color in the world.

scarves

  • How Jesus can answer my child’s earnest wish for “a balloon that goes up without me running.” She clutched her dollar and begged, as we drove the six hours and as we walked the pedestrian mall. “Honey, I’m sure we will find one!” I said over and over. We did, in Hallmark—and the white-haired shop owner made her laugh and played pranks with her and taught her math facts and then—gave her the gift of helium, for free.

kelly with balloon

This right here was the low point:

kelly with hydrant

Hot, tired, waiting, missing Daddy. We sat on the street because in Kelly’s emotional condition I could not bring myself to navigate the toy store where my mom and sis were shopping.

lying in the street

We sat there like the homeless and the poor, wishing and fearing that someone would come drop money in our bag. To cheer ourselves up we passed the time acting.

Happy–

happy

sad – (she can do the suffering sheep look better than anyone I know)

sad

crazy.

crazy

There is a final thing I do not understand:

  • How we could have agonized in this city, a year and a half ago, with my sister so weak we thought we might lose her. Stem cell transplant; and a woman so drained she had to start all over again. Learn to eat, to laugh, to run, to care for herself. Now she stays up late with us and she eats what she wants. She sasses me back and she runs a lap around the hotel and she dresses cute and she finalizes plans to move to Israel in January. And when we visit the hospital room where she lay, so that we can draw that painful circle closed, she is strong–

jean in UVA

and she walks out on her own two feet.

walking out of uva

I want to stand up and say what the Lord Jesus did for me in the last week.

29 thoughts on “Gifts

  1. This is beautiful and wonderful and so like my Father to give such lovely gifts…….only, sometimes I need reminders that it is so like Him, ya know? Thank you for sharing and reminding me!

  2. No wonder you wanted to stand up and tell!!

    In other news, I live in Israel. And would love to meet your sister, if she wanted/needed an American face over there. Just saying.

  3. Love this post. There’s nothing like mom-and-sisters laughter, for sure. And your sister returning so strong and alive to where she was weak and sick….I cried.

  4. This was so uplifting, just what I needed to start my day. I think you went through every emotion that week and the one that stood out to me is pure joy and thankfulness!!

  5. Wow. I. Love. This.
    You had me near tears. It’s awesome that you guys went back to the room where Jean was so sick & celebrated her strength & healing. I feel like I can identify a teeny tiny bit w/Jean. This past year I was so sick at one point I couldn’t brush my own teeth. I now feel like every day is such a gift. I feel so very blessed.
    Glad you got to spend time w/your mom, sister & daughter. How special. Aren’t we women AWESOME!!!??? Sister’s rock! 🙂
    So sad you had to say good bye to K, BUT so glad you got to leave a footprint in his life.
    Also, were you fabric shopping WITHOUT ME!!!??? The nerve…sigh.
    Love this post!

  6. These words and these pictures made me so happy. Jean looks so good. I just love her! 😀 Also, you probably don’t need anyone to point out something so obvious, but your daughter has the most beautiful eyes!

  7. I have a sister in Israel, too! How about planning a trip to Jerusalem together? Maybe all your blog readers will pay for our tickets. 🙂

  8. Wonderful testimony to the goodness of Jesus, and Father, God! They were delighting in the precious moments of joy, celebration, and love of life and family! So happy you were able to see this little one placed with a relative that wanted him…praying now that he is loved like he would have been had he stayed with you! I am also soooo happy to see Jean looking so healthy and a reminder of where Jesus took that journey with her! You know my throat has another lump in it!! Thank you, Shari again!

  9. Just lovely!! I am happy for y’all that the Lord has given your sis health. It is an amazing story that she has to tell. (What kind of cancer did she have?) My brother died from cancer last year and the pain is still real. Y’alls going back to the hospital where Jean had been for closure… yes…I can understand that. Yes…
    (I am new to your blog and have so enjoyed reading your posts…SO ENJOYED…(that much!) 🙂

    • She had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Not all stories end as happily as hers, for sure–or else the endings have not yet been told. I am sorry about your brother! Hugs your way. And thanks…

  10. Shari, what a beautiful story. So happy that this could happen with your mom and sister and daughter.
    You go girl, keep loving on those little people who may never have had a Jesus hug or kiss.

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