It's been a whirlwind of uncertainty and discovery for our family and I've felt stuck in regards to putting into words all that has occurred.
I simply didn't have enough clarity or confidence to put recent decisions we've made into words and I wasn't certain I wanted to share them on a public platform that has the potential to be read by others. It requires vulnerability, and I tend to care far more than I should about how other's perceive me and the choices we make. I didn't choose this platform because our journey is significant or something worthy of calling attention to. I chose it because it's easier for me than the traditional paper and pen method of journaling and because maybe somewhere along the way someone will find bits of these words beneficial.
Writing is how I process and I'm tired of feeling stuck, so I'm typing, rambling really, in hopes to clarify for myself some of the things our family has experienced and embarked upon this past year. This year has been a prayerful year of discernment in seeking God's will for our family.
I wrote last October that we were pursuing foster care. At that time, we had been struggling for two years to have a third child. We felt God calling us to pursue this option as a means to grow our family. We took classes, filled out paperwork, met with social workers and got as far into the process as being matched with children. We prayed and prayed and felt like God was whispering to us "not now" or "not yet". We still aren't quite sure which or why. We simply don't understand completely. However, in small ways we have felt confirmation that it wasn't the right time. Confirmation by way of the Mr.'s work schedule becoming much more demanding, by way of Little Miss requiring more attention, and subtle feelings of confirmation that I can only describe as the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. I'm not sure I can adequately describe how much we struggled with this. We grieved. We were so close to welcoming little hearts into our home; to growing our family - even temporarily. And then, it felt like we lost them; the sibling pair that was hoped to be welcomed into our home. We were so confused and felt overwhelmingly guilty. I felt and sometimes still feel like we had failed those children by not taking them home with us. Deep in our hearts we feel like foster care wasn't the right path for us at that point in our lives, but that the knowledge and awareness we've gained hasn't been lost. We have hopes to serve the foster care community is some capacity, but are still seeking what that might look like.
We had hoped that with the passing of foster care our desire to grow our family would somehow just disappear and that our family would feel complete. However, that wasn't the case, we still struggle big time with whether or not we feel our family is complete. We flip flop between a strong desire to have more children and contentment. We truly desire God's will for our family, but are still waiting for an answer and for peace. Sometimes we lean hard into contentment because we don't want to open ourselves up any further to the hurt of secondary infertility and other times we can't help but lean into the desire to grow our family-even though: even though we sold all our baby stuff, even though our children sleep through the night, even though we no longer trip over baby gates and accommodate feeding schedules...because we know it's all worth it...because we know how quickly it goes. We just desperately long for a clear answer.
Almost a year later, we feel peace with our decision in regards to foster care. God has been working on our hearts and has led us down a different path than we ever would have imagined.
A few months after we had reluctantly walked away from foster case and had time to pray, process and reflect, we found ourselves keenly aware of what was truly important in our lives and what we wanted to teach our children. We feel so grateful for the gift of our two daughters and the privilege to raise them; however, we also realize what a significant and challenging responsibility this is. We looked around our large 2 story home complete with white picket fence; the home we bought with the American dream in mind; our forever home where we would raise our four kids and live happily ever after (naive-yes)... and what we saw and felt was excess. The unused bedroom was a sad reminder of dreams that never came to fruition, the basement family room that sat empty, the basement storage room that stored an excess of "stuff". We saw conveniences that had become burdens: 3 bathrooms to scrub, piles set on stair landings waiting to go up or down and find their place; a home and yard that took more time to maintain than we wanted to spend. We were extremely grateful for God's provision of this shelter. It was a place where as a couple we stretched ourselves, matured and discovered what we value; and for that it will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was the place that ignited a spark for something we are passionate about- simple living. Living to glorify God by being responsible and generous stewards of both our time and finances.
These feelings of excess led to many, many, many conversations! Conversations about how much time we spent maintaining our home and how much time we were willing to spend maintaining a home. Conversations about the consumerist habits we were modeling to our children and about the discernment we actually wanted to model to our children when choosing new items to bring into our home. Conversations about the amount of financial giving we were pouring into ministries we care about and our desire to be more generous. Conversation about how less time spent cleaning a home means more time to pour into our children. How a smaller mortgage and smaller property taxes would allow us to give more, save more and participate in life experiences that may not have otherwise fit our budget.
What it all boiled down to was this: the way we were living and the way we wanted to live didn't align.
The answer was clear to us, in order to put into practice these realizations, we needed to do something a bit radical! Purging by way of donation piles and rummage sales as well as keeping a tight budget just wasn't enough to satisfy the change we so longed for. What we needed to do was sell our "too big for us" home and downsize.
So we did just that, because where we live isn't nearly as important as how we live!
Details of our downsize to follow!
|A home that served us well for a time, but wasn't right for the rest of our time!|