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.

Giftings and girl things

Confession: Every day of my life, I benefit from the gifts of others.

In the past week, Kelly and I have been blessed with girl-gifts above measure.

  •  Two Sundays ago my friend Amy (my business-woman, mother-of-five, immaculate-style friend Amy) turned to me just before Sunday school with a look of illumination on her face. “I’m going to Lancaster this week!” she said. “Do you need any clothes for Kelly?” The result was this:

… five adorable outfits she carefully chose from the secondhand stores she visited. And she only charged me half of the price she paid.

You can tell what Kelly thought of them.

 

 

 

 

  • This week my friend Carla (my soon-to-be-mother-of-three, radiant, vibrant friend Carla) met me unexpectedly in Aldi. Joy sparked between us, laughing and calling and shoving our carts down the aisles fast so we could catch up with each other. She had a package for me, something she had made and intended to drop off at my house after her shopping. May I open it now?

I found a fantastic apron set—full-sized for me and half-sized for Kelly, handmade to match my new kitchen.

I don’t know if Carla meant it for a Mother’s Day gift or not; right now it seems like the most perfect one I’ve ever received.

 

 

  •  For weeks my friend Shaunda (my laughing, mother-of-four, spunky-and-placid friend Shaunda) has been giving me little pushes to go visit my sister. “I’ll help babysit your kids,” she said. “I know you want to make it easy for everyone, but I want to do this for you even if it turns out to be hard. I want you to go.” She helped me believe it could happen, and it will. In two days, if the Lord is willing, Kelly and I are bound for Virginia to spend half a week with Jean. Oh Jesus, what a gift!

In this I am also made rich by the cheerful sacrifices of my husband, my sons, my mom, and my brother & sis-in-law, who are each making it possible for me to go.

Each lady gave what she’s been given. Amy: a sense of beauty and a good head for shopping. Carla: practicality, and the skill to sew something beautiful. Shaunda: super-ability with children, and a strong sense of family. Every day of my life, I am blessed by the gifts of others.

I will not be blogging till after Wedneday. I will be living, rich with the love of others.

I asked this question before: How have you loved and been loved this week?