She turned out the lights that Sunday morning and walked down the hall to head home for the day. She caught me right before she headed downstairs and blurted out, "I just have to ask. Are you happy you did it?"
With a 2-year old on my hip, I stood outside the little boys' room and waited for our 4-year old to answer the call of nature. Our conversation was brief and interrupted... "Mooooommmy!!!" he yelled out from the bathroom stall. "My brudder can come in here, okay?!"
"It's alright, dude. I've got him. And I'm talking with somebody right now; so you just do what you need to do!"
But as you know, that's not the conversation that was interrupted.
Apologizing and turning back to her, I was honest.
"Absolutely." I told her. I went on to explain that it's been reeaaaallllyyyy (deserving of all those extra letters) hard, but I'm happy we did it. Zach and I knew that it's what Jesus was calling us to, and knowing that we are living in obedience to the One True King makes it all worth it.
If you don't actually know what I'm talking about... my husband Zach and I took in two precious souls 8 months ago. You can read more about what led us to that point here, and hear some FAQs here. We "opened our hearts and our home" to love two brothers who desperately needed it.
As it turns out, I needed it too.
When the little misters came to live with us, we had been married for 1 year and 4 months. I had just passed my 23rd birthday, and Zach was 27. Our lives, as you might imagine, were flipped upside down, turned inside out, and shaken up like a good fresh orange juice right before you pour yourself a glass. It happened instantly. On March 1st, 2013 at 5:00pm.
We were "pregnant" with them for 5 days, as we were asked on Monday if we could take them, and on Friday we picked them up and moved them into our house....
Flashback: The blindfold was over my eyes and the bat was in my hand. It was my turn to impress all my older brother's cute 2nd grade friends. This was my chance to be the hero of the birthday party, breaking open the greatest treasure any child could imagine. It was me against the piñata. And the piñata was going down.
Honestly, I don't remember what happened next. I probably didn't break it open, but I probably did get too much candy; and all was right in my world again.
Sometimes I think Zach and I are a whole lot more like a piñata than we are like an overly excited kid with a blindfold on. We look pretty good on the outside (thank you very much), but everyone knows, like it or not, that the outside is not going to last long. I think life might actually be more about our candy filling than our paper mache houses.
We've taken a lot of hits over the last 8 months; some from sleep deprivation, some from our full-time jobs, some from our busy schedules, some from our decreased time for friends, and some hits, quite literally, from little boys.
I'm starting to learn that my candy filling is where Jesus lives. And the more hits we take to break down our silly paper mache comfort zones, the more our candy comes out. And the more Jesus-y yumminess we can give to the world, the better. Right?
Maybe, just maybe, that candy bursting out is His goal. Maybe that's why He chooses to let me have a scratched face from 4 year old fingernails, or a spinning head from trying to console a terribly inconsolable 2 year old, or a broken heart for a little man begging me to never let him go anywhere else; asking to stay with our family forever.
Here you go, sweet boys... take my heart's candy!
Please, dear ones... hold on to it tightly.
And know that when the world tries to break open your piñata, something is going to come out. I pray that you allow it to be Jesus' perfect and beautiful candy filling.
Today, November 11, 2013, is Zach's and my second anniversary. I whipped out our incredible wedding video (which you can watch too, right here) to show our boys. They asked to watch it again. And again. And again. And then again; this time, complete with crazy kid dance moves.
While it played one more time, I went to the kitchen but overheard our 4 year old singing along and dancing. Then he yelled out, "THAT'S MY MOM AND DAD! THAT'S MY MOM AND DAD!"
And it was clear to me. This little man, who has been part of our piñata-hitting team as well as our candy eating party, is proud of us. I asked him what he thought about us in the video, and he said "Good. That you feel good about each other, and you are happy." I asked him if he thought we were in love, "Yep. I just know."
Am I happy I did it? I think she was asking about my decision to become a foster mommy. I answered "Absolutely," and was talking about my decision to marry Zach. Two years ago, we committed to love each other forever, for better & for worse. And because of that day, and every day since, these sweet boys who had never seen or known true, committed love....now know it fully. Between 'Mama Kari & Daddy Zach' and through our precious Savior, straight to their hearts. Praise the Lord for candy filling!