Monday, April 28, 2008

Untouchable Joy

YES to GOD chapter 6 will be posted by noon today...I promise with all my heart! xoxo
Have you ever made plans for your life and God just sweeps in and changes them for you? Hmmm....must be why in Isaiah the Word tells us that His ways are not our ways.

When my Dad turned 50 like forever ago, Mom surprised him with his dream on wheels...a Harley. My parents are like Siamese twins...they are truly best friends and do everything together. So, it was little hard for Mom to see her BFF riding off into the sunset without her. Oh sure, she tried to do the ride-on-the-back-hugging-his-waist thing, but that just didn't work out because she likes to be in control. My suggestion of a sidecar hooked on the motorcycle was turned down too, as my Dad's legs would get cramps sitting in one of those. So a month later for her birthday, guess what she got? Yep, a HOG. I never thought I'd say this, but my mom looks dang good in leather.

They dreamed of doing a lot of riding in the years to come. Lots of weekend road trips together on their Harley's, but it was one trip in particular that changed their lives. One summer they spent a week at summer camp for abused children. Suddenly God put a call on their lives to not only love the fatherless, but also to bring them into their home. So the Harley's got parked as they began to say YES to God and in trickled the kids.

You'd think that Mom and Dad live in an ark because much like Noah, God brought the animals, I mean children into their home not in 2's, but in 3's. First came what we nicknamed the 3T's. Three little sisters with names that all started with the letter T. Mom lovingly called them Tara, Tami and Terry and since those weren't their names, we erased the confusion off the faces of the girls by being consistent with calling them "The 3T's". Here is Alivia playing dress up with the girlies...
After 18 months of being blessed with these 3 , they left the state to live with their maternal Grandma Jane. This was a happy ending and just recently Mom and Dad celebrated the adoption of the girls with Grandma Jane for the weekend along with Aaron and Alivia.
After the girls left, along came Alicia, Joe and Josh. Siblings with different dad's, but the same mom who loves them, but is clueless on how to care for them. When they arrived, Joe who was 2 at the time had a broken arm by a boyfriend.

Joe is now just a happy 4 year old busy as a bee...
Alicia and Alivia(r) are the best of friends...and Alicia has blossomed into a beautiful social butterfly.

What was supposed to be 30 days emergency care is now an adoption by my parents that is in the works for Alicia and Joe. Josh moved out of state as his dad was given custody. Here's a picture of Josh saying goodbye to Mom, unsure of what was really happening...

Then came the twins and their baby sister. From the time the baby, Carmie was 2 months old my Mom was the woman in her life that loved her. Horribly rejected by her birth mom she was adored by not only Mom and Dad, but all of us. She would instantly capture your heart with her dimples alone as she did with my 82 year old Grandpa.

The twins spent many weekends in our home for over a year. The one on the left, Jenisa is favored heavily by her bio mom so she does not lack in self confidence. The one on the right, Luisa, became my heart project as I tried teaching her that she has much worth, something her bio mom tried to squash with her words and lack of affection...

The girls were returned to their bio mom last October and we haven't seen them since. A 23 year old who just this last February gave birth to daughter #6, but only has 4 of her girls. The hardest part of the return was knowing that Carmie was being returned to a woman who has voiced that she "hates" her and I have witnessed many times the favoritism that she has for Jenisa. So who knows what Carmie and Luisa go through at the hands and mouth of this woman. Hopefully she likes her newest girl. The connection between Carmie and my Mom was intense and yet despite the pain, my Mom keeps saying Yes to a God who gives and takes away.

Painful obedience.

When the girls' were in our lives they loved going to church with us and they heard the name of Jesus so much. Many nights when Carmie would awaken Mom would rock her and whisper Jesus' name in her ear...for hours. The twins would join in with Alivia and sing loud in the van about Jesus.

Last October was the last time we got to see, kiss, hold, hug and love on the twins and Carmie and a reunion is no where in the future. So the memories in our hearts is what we hold on to.

Last night Alivia and I were in the car praising Jesus to the sounds of Mandisa, when out of the blue, Alivia asked me, "Hey Mom, didn't you pray with the twins for Jesus to come into their hearts the day they left?"
I put my rear view mirror down so I could see her, "Yes" I answered. She pulled her fist down as she said, "YES! So I'll see them again in heaven with Jesus." Back to singing she went.

I just smiled as I put the mirror back in place as the tears started coming down my face. I have been so hurt by having to say goodbye to Josh, Carmie, Jenisa and Luisa. The hurt is so deep that I have distanced myself from really loving the new baby that is now in my parents home.

Last November Alicia and Joe's mom had yet another baby. And since God keeps Mom and Dad supplied in 3's, Maddie girl fit right in with her siblings. I think I just realized this weekend how I've kept myself from loving on this child. I can't stand the thought of experiencing that loss again especially since the state is all about chances and wants to see if her mom can get it right with this one. ??? Anyway, even if Maddie is in Mom and Dad's home for just for a moment, how can I not love this little girl...

When Alivia asked me that about the girls last night we were listening to Mandisa sing Never Gonna Steal my Joy which is playing for you now. Instantly the words to this song gave me such peace about the twins and Carmie. Although the chances of having a reunion with the girls like Mom and Dad had with the 3T's here on earth is very unlikely, the reality of spending eternity with them causes the joy in my heart to swell...

a reality that no one can take away...

Life may push my heart to the limit

But I won't ever let go of the joy in my soul

'Cause everything can change in a minute

And the world may try

But they're never gonna steal my joy

My point to sharing all of this with you, is that when God asks something of us He doesn't say there won't be any pain. Your heart just may be pushed to the limit, but there is nothing in the world that can take the joy of Jesus away. If Mom and Dad had not been obedient to God just scroll back up this page and look at what my families' hearts would've missed out on. Also, because the twins said YES to asking Jesus in their lives that day in October it means that we will see these girls again.

Mom, if you're reading this, the "foster system of many chances" may cause your heart much pain, especially when you have to return a child to an atmosphere of abuse, but don't let the world steal your joy. Because of Jesus, You WILL see Carmie again and if she can get herself to crawl off the lap of her Savior, then you'll be able to hold that precious little thing again...forever!

PSALM 126:3

The LORD has done great things for us,

and we are filled with


~Keep Seeking Him~


R.L.Scovens said...

It's great to see other women out there who love the Lord!!

Emily said...

When alivia said made me smile and tear up too! What a sweet heart she has. :)

and WHAT a mom/dad you have. wow.

Rhonda said...

Your parents sound like Beautiful people. How absolutely selfless of them to give so much of themselves and to show Christ's love to these children.

What a wonderful heritage you have!


Joyful said...

Lelia, what an amazing testimony. It made me think of lyrics from the song, "Anyway".

"You can spend your whole life building something from nothing
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach and you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway, I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

Repeat Chorus

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway, sing it anyway
I sing, I dream, I love, anyway..."

You and your family are singing, dreaming, loving, believing...anyway. Thanks for the wonderful example to us all.


Anonymous said...

I love how your parents are being faithful...whether for short term or long term...they are taking advantage of the opportunity God is giving them. Although there is grief and sadness when one set of 3 has to leave, it has also provided another opportunity for the next set of 3!!! And each triplet is not only getting loved while in their home, they are also finding out about a Father's love that will NEVER leave!
Give your parents a hug from me!

Amy said...

Lelia, your posts are always such a blessing! God shines through you!:)

God Bless,

MrsJoeB said...

What beautiful children to be put in your path. I am praying for them and your mom and you. Keep being Jesus in all this!!

In His Graces~Pamela

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

What a testimony to the power of God's presence in the lives of your parents and in the lives of these children, who face so much pain and rejection. If only for a season, they know and taste God's love through you all. They will carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

Impact and influence cannot be measured by human means. God holds the measure for such servanthood. You are all measuring "well" and doing kingdom work that counts for eternity. Be blessed in your "weary doing." There is coming a day...

There is coming a day, and so I say, "Come quickly Lord Jesus, even so come!"


Yolanda said...

What great examples your parents and yourself are, to your children and to the children placed in their home.

Love YA!

SweetPea said...

Indeed it takes a very special person to be a foster parent knowing there will be deep attachment and then the heartache of letting go, most likely forever!

You are blessed with wonderful parents. How true it is that when God asks us to say Yes to Him that it doesn't mean it will be without pain. Though I know this so well in my heart, it is still hard to keep re-focusing on His divine purposed and allow His joy to overshadow the pain we must endure.

A great story to help us continue to always refocus our mindset.
Grasping Him,

Lizerd said...

Thank you for the beautiful post. It touches my heart and reminds me to be thankful for a very similar heritage. My parents were foster parents from the time I was in 3rd grade until my senior year in high school. Two of those children, now adults, are permantly part of my family. I love to see God's love loving on these kids through people like you and your family.
Praise God when He is glorified!!!!

Sandra said...

Thanks for sharing, Lelia. I'm sure all the little children coming through your parents' home will always remember the love and security they felt in their care.

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

This is absolutely amazing!! It is easy to see where you and your children have gotten your soft hearts and love for the Lord! I'm thinking this would be a great 60 minutes story. It is just encouraging to see people serving the Lord in such a selfless way. Thanks Lelia for sharing this!!