Monday, August 29, 2016

And All Was Right with the World

It was 10am on a weekday.  Jamey had the day off and was with Sam at the library checking out books and looking up articles for the upcoming start of Challenge B.  Sadie and Miriam had been begging for harder chores that I'd pay them a little something for since big brother Sam has recently been doing some odd jobs for a neighbor.

Sadie was down below me in the front flower beds- pulling up the remaining roots of bushes that Jamey and Sam had extracted this summer.  Her task was to rid these beds of weeds and roots and level them out so grass could take over.  I am SO not into flower beds these days.

Miriam was inside reorganizing our DVD and game cabinet that had been ravaged over the summer- no small task for a seven-year-old as game pieces and DVDs needed help finding their homes.

Where was I?  The baby and I were snuggled into my new porch hammock/chair*, swinging gently.  The air was still cool, the porch still in the morning shade.  Sunflowers and hydrangeas swayed and bent in the breeze as a flock (no kidding- I've never seen so many) of barn swallows swooped and darted in the yard and field in front of me.  The baby, usually climbing all over me- attempting to eat my face and finger my earrings- was calm and tender as he played with my arm and was mesmerized by the swallows, too.

Out of the blue, a feeling of peace and genuine thankfulness overtook me and brought me to tears.

I haven't been experiencing many of these moments lately and I didn't realize how starved I had become for them.  Fostering this time around has put me in intimate touch with another world- a world of mental health issues, poverty, chaos, and violence.  It's hard to shake off and fully live in my own safe and quiet life.

A month or so ago I was trying to describe this feeling to a new friend (who also fosters infants).  I told her it felt as if I was sitting on the seat of a dunk tank.  Sitting up on top, I live in my world.  It's a quiet life.  I think of myself as a fairly sheltered Mennonite girl- I garden, can, attend church and homeschool my kids.  I have supportive and loving family, friends and neighbors.  My husband is my best friend and we enjoy our (fairly) quiet life.  

But then---Bam!  A ball hits the target (I take the baby to a family visit, get a call from his social worker or check his birth parents' facebook pages- I highly recommend you not do this) and I'm plunged into this other world.  And it's scary there. ( I try to imagine living there- what if my reality was a birth parent’s reality?  Not knowing when and if I’d bring my child home with me.  Not knowing if I’d make rent or have enough gas to get to work or whether my partner will stick around or if I’ll end up in jail again.)

I'm hauled out, dripping wet, and try to re-engage in my life.  But I'm shivering and shaken up and it takes hours and sometimes days to recover before I'm dunked back under.  This.  This is why these moments of peace and bliss aren't bubbling up for me as often.  I'm pulled down and hauled up.  Dunked under one second and then scrambling to dry off the next.  Attempting to engage both worlds for the sake of this baby.  Trying to get my footing in my world and brace myself for the next entry into the other.

I was starting to worry that fostering was callousing me to the point that I wouldn't be able to see God's handiwork as readily before me as in the past, that I wouldn't as often feel His calming touch and caring presence that reassures me that He loves me and is for me.  I've been too busy trying to suppress a panic attack- which creates stellar knots in your neck and shoulders, by to the way.

That instance of peace- when all was right with my world- was all the sweeter because it was isolated.  It was as if God knew I needed it but wanted it to be special...treasured.  I know there will be more and I look forward to each one with longing.  For an instant, it was just me and God and the dunk tank was nowhere to be seen.


*Side note: I highly recommend considering purchasing one of these hammock chairs (or something similar). Not only do babies love to gently swing but a chair like this has forced me to sit, enjoy the outdoors and SLOW DOWN.  Our front porch has become the new place to be because of it- mom is relaxed and not distracted.  I can be more present for everyone.  Plus, it's sturdy enough that the girls like to take turns sitting with me in it, too.  Who would have thought a silly chair could do all that?

Pin It


  1. Truly beautiful, Jane. Thank you for sharing your experience and heart through your blessed mine in the process. Praying for you today....and for your children and your husband and that sweet little boy you are caring for. The Lord is always, always good! Isaiah 43:1-3 are precious verses that I clung to in uncertain days. Psalm 46 is another favourite passage. Big Hugs to you! With Love, Camille

  2. Beautiful post. I get to have those moments too and I treasure that at the time it is happening I know it is and take it in as much as I can.

  3. Hi Jane, You have the best life! You chose to live for God and raise your children as well as you know to do. But you are right. It is scary, and quite frightening the course these birth parents travel on. Totally opposite agendas. With different outcomes. The book of Proverbs is a good book of contrast of two types of people. As I read that book I see how both are looked upon and what happens to them.
    Bottom line is, the life-style these people live is of their own choice. They gratify their flesh and, the way of the transgressor is HARD. For a fact that is true. Yet there are easier ways to come out of all that. But people have the free will to choose or refuse God. But everyone who chooses God is always glad and regretful they did not do it sooner. The most we can do is to pray for those people. I'm sure they are on God's list of 'who to save next'.
    You have chosen a quiet and loving life. Blessings flow and peace like a river is in your house. Enjoy each and every moment of your life. Your heart is sweet and has good treasures in it. GOD BLESS!!

  4. Such beautiful words! I felt calmer as I read them (at the end of my crazy, chaotic, not enough time to do everything that everyone is depending on me to do) day. Thank you for the peaceful moment! And may you enjoy many more in your busy life! Blessings!

  5. I needed this! We also foster infants and toddlers and your dunk tank analogy was spot on. Our adult children are always reminding us that we can only do what we can do. After they're gone all we can do is pray. Some days I'm so exhausted ( we're in our 60s) I have to make a conscious effort to take time to smell the roses.

  6. I think this is my favorite post ever. I don't foster, but I have 7 children of my own, and peace is something that is often elusive. I too live for those moments when I feel God's love, and all is right with the world.

  7. May I suggest that our faith and trust is a sweeter offering to God during those times when it is not so easy for us to feel His love?


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails