Monday, May 21, 2012

Daughters (and sons too :-)

This is an early Father’s Day post but the truth is it could also be a late Mother’s Day post. This past Saturday was the Father-Daughter dance at Gracie’s school. She is wearing the dress that Craig and I got her from Mexico. It was another take-my-breath-away moment when I realized how much older she is getting. Doesn’t she look so beautiful next to my handsome husband! She was nervous but they had a wonderful time going out on a date to eat dinner, just the two of them, though, she reported back that at the restaurant they were surrounded by families with kids making noises, she said they just can’t get away from it J.  They went to the dance and out for ice cream afterwards. A night of memories for both of them.

It is so important to cultivate a relationship with our kids. It is even harder as you have more children or even as your children get older and can be involved in more activities or have a job. But they are looking for a relationship with us, one that will define the kind of relationships they will have when they are older.  There is a song by John Mayer called “Daughters” (the song is about daughters but the same is true for our sons) that has the lyrics, “Father’s be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do.” It goes on to basically give the same advice to mothers, as they (could) one day be mothers too. That is one heck of a responsibility: to be cultivating relationships with our kids that can shape the relationships they could have with their significant others later in life and as their life as a parent (should they choose to go that path).  We will teach them how to love, how to nurture, how to react to life. Some days, I feel like I do a pretty poor job. As one friends said today, “I am now out of the running for the Mother of the Year Contest.” But I’m glad we have a God that has shown us grace when we stumble and gives us more opportunities to try again, to live modeling the same love, compassion, grace and mercy as Jesus. New are God’s mercies everyday…THANK GOD J!

Well I think I will listen to John Mayer one more time and sniffle over how fast my daughter is growing up!

Daughters by John Mayer:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Their Example

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
                                                                                          – 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

The number one thing I hear about foster care besides “I could never do that because I could never give the kids back” is about how it might affect other children in your house negatively. Now, let me start first by acknowledging that foster care and/or adoption affects everyone in your home and even other family and friends. It is an adjustment and there will be sacrifices (it is a word that our own biological kids have come to learn the definition of). We carefully considered our own children and talked at length with them for many months before starting the process. However, I have noticed not only in our own case but in other comments on people’s blogs or facebook or in casual conversation there definitely is a judgment that having a foster or adopted child is giving your own biological children (or other children in your house) the short end of the stick. After all, they are going to have less attention with all the attention and energy poured on the new child (that most likely has more physical, mental and/or emotional needs). Further, they are going to know about bad things (i.e. abuse of children, parents who go to jail, etc.); they are going to have to share their stuff, etc. It is often said with a sympathetic tone. Our poor kids!

Well this couldn’t be further than the truth. If anyone has met our family, you have seen the ministers that my children are. I don't say this in a way that says my kids are something beyond what others are or could be (and if you have met the Barkley children you know that I am not overlooking the fact that they can all be full of it and make my blood pressure rise at times). However, as a society we often don’t give kids the credit they deserve. Our children are little ministers, little theologians, little teachers, and the list goes on. They have something to teach us about perspective, about love, about joy.

As I’ve shared before, one of our foster children “J” has some sensory issues and A LOT of fears. We work with her to push past them. Sometimes you want to lose patience and say, “For Pete’s sake(who is Pete anyway??), it’s only ____, just get over it!” But that doesn’t do any good J Last night, we were going through the sprinkler for the first time since “J” got here. She wasn’t thrilled about the feeling of the dry grass on her bare feet, or the wet grass for that matter, or the wet cement and DEFINITELY not the sprinkler itself. I did all sorts of silly games to try and get her more into it; to feel the JOY of playing in the sprinkler. Well about an hour and a half into it, my daughter Mikayla got through to her and off they ran, back and forth through the sprinkler. This photo is from behind (to protect her identity) but let me tell you, she was ALL SMILES! Not only did she feel the fun that the others were having but felt the triumph of another fear!

So for all of the little ones or youth in our midst, thank you. Thank you for teaching us. Thank you for loving others in the special ways that only you can do, thank you for your perspective on the abundant life that God desires for us (one that has nothing to do with fancy cars or houses but rather the joy of running through a sprinkler or noticing the special rock or beautiful leaf on the ground). Thank you for being you. May we never look down on the mighty things that God can do through you.