Runs Deep

I loved someone once.

A very real part of me, still does.

I have wrestled with the why of it recently. Sometimes through the night, sometimes through the daytime. I couldn’t quite nail down how this broken, messy thing from my past was rearing it’s head back up this many years later.

So I sat down one afternoon.

Quiet and still.

And I wept.

Sure,  I had cried over this…heartbreak. I felt I had given it, it’s share of my time and energy. Forgiven. Let go.

But then again.

There I was. Crying as if the wound was fresh and raw.

Because this depth of disappointment in him had harmed me further then maybe I cared to admit. That I now hold this expectation of disappointment over people that I never realized. Did you know you can do things without realizing it? Until the root of it slowly but surely rises to the surface and cripples you?

It was suddenly very real to me how deep this disappointment ran. It had caused a crack in me that I left untreated and it was beginning to spread.

I wasn’t bitter. Hateful. Resentful. I had been so careful to not allow any of that to seep into who I was.

But that disappointment. That….letting me down.

That hope I had.

That faith.

I left it untouched.

But not anymore.

I grieved again. I grieved for what should/could/would have been.

I grieved for a person, still alive and well. Someone I still love.

It’s okay to do that you know? To grieve how you thought something would go or how you imagined things would be? Let yourself do that. There is so much freedom to be found.

So get quiet.

Get still.

Grab a tissue, or two, or three.

When you love deep, the pain runs deep.

But the healing….sure can run deep too.

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Catapulted

That’s what it felt like when I stared down at the teenage boy lying in the hospital bed.

We aren’t friends he and I. But I have cared for him from afar. Attempted to love him the best I could in the few moments we would have together at visits over the years. Spent time picking out the perfect gifts for his birthday and Christmas. When I prayed for him, it was almost always for his future. I believed that if he gained revelation on creating a way for himself, as opposed to choosing what he had always known, that he would be okay. That he would prosper and find peace and joy.

He is an incredibly gifted artist. Creative like his sister. Well mannered anytime that we interacted. That last time I saw him, he was hopeful that he could get out of the system and not return home. He was hurting that day. He had asked for a particular pair of boots for his birthday and his mother hadn’t followed through on her word. To him, it was compounded by all the other times she had let him down. To us, it was just a pair of boots, but to him it said everything.

He wasn’t important enough.

He had been so accustomed to being let down that he was comfortable there.

His name is Elijah.

He tried to take his life.

I myself  have never known the depth of pain he faces…every, single, day.

He survived.

With life, there is hope.

Always hope.

But listen… He is not the exception.

He is marginalized. A teen in foster care…with issues. Let alone a teenage boy.

www.mare.org < Let that be your next stop.

It’s a running catalog of children and teens up for adoption in the State of Michigan. Scroll through. Watch their videos. Read their story. Pray for them. Cry for them. Inquire to adopt them?

Listen, again. I am not here to sensationalize a tragedy to pull at your heart strings. Not everyone is equipped to do the work of an adoptive or foster parent. It’s isn’t for the faint of heart, certainly. But it is for someone. There is a multitude equipped to open to their hearts, homes and lives. The crux is a willingness.

Isn’t it always?

It’s not like we don’t know that drinking pop, eating McDonald’s and brownies isn’t good for us. It’s about a willingness to change.

Most people know that being in debt and overspending isn’t smart. No secret there. It’s about a willingness to change.

We know forgiving others, being gracious, kind, loving and patient is the better choice.

It’s not the knowledge that changes things. It’s the willingness.

There are thousands of Elijah’s waiting for someone to be willing.

It’s literally life and death for some.

Not in some far away land, desert or war torn city.

Here.

Next door.

May we be the willing ones.

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Hello, my name is…

As I leave Facebook, where most of my readers seemed to originate. I realized that some people may not know much about me as the author…writer…blogger. You get the idea.

So I thought I’d take a short post and share a few things.

It would be apropos (<love using that word) that I fill you in on who I have grown up to be. And help you make sense of the photos you see of a teenager and two young girls as my daughters.

I made a choice.

A hard choice.

A different choice.

I was going to give my life to children who are displaced due to abuse, neglect and abandonment.

I’m not in it to fix them, save them or rant on self sacrifice.

I am here to shine a light in a dark room. The dark rooms we all live in. Hide in. Are comfortable in.

I believe in God. And I believe in loving people well.

What do you believe in?

I’m 31 years young. I’m an athlete. I love Jesus. I love a good laugh. I’m waiting for my husband. I love being a friend. I love being a mama.

I hope to, as the title of blog says, help us through the muddy waters of life. And celebrate the victories of making it through to the other side.

I hope you will enjoy coming along with me on this journey. You just might get a little muddy. 🙂

So, let’s live in such a way, that we navigate through those muddy waters and help someone come through alongside us.

muddyboots

-Heather

 

 

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The Best is Yet to Come…

My word for 2016 is Radical.

To be brave.

If I happen to lose 20 more pounds in the process, great. 🙂

But more than anything, I want to make a lasting impact. Not a feeling. Not a whimsical moment. An imprint that changes things and people. If one conversation I have causes another to become licensed foster parents and give an orphan a home, then that’s a ripple. Ripples cause oceans waves.

If I can parent and empower my girls to be honest, selfless and caring. That’s a ripple. And ripples cause ocean waves.

If I can look someone in the eye and genuinely believe in them when no one else will. That’s a ripple. And ripples cause ocean waves.

The Bible teaches us to let go of what lies behind and press on. Forward. Towards the end of the race.

Beginning the New Year, is as much about letting go of what 2015 gave and grasping for more in 2016.

This year brought gains and losses. Heartache and healing. Celebrations and grief. Challenges and victories. Depravity and hope.

Whatever it brought, it’s time to let it go.

Yes, Elsa. We are letting it go.

Letting go of the unforgiveness. The bitterness. The wishing and pining for something more.

We will however, hold onto the joy, and the memories that burrow themselves into our souls and help us look ahead.

Away we go friends.

Let’s invest in things that are lasting. Let’s love without considering the risk. Let’s give more orphans a home.

Step outside of normal.

Cause a ripple.

Because ripples….cause ocean waves….

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Espérer

Dear Paris…refugees from the middle east…persecuted Christians…children being trafficked…little boys and girls around the world in orphanages….young ones languishing in the aids epidemic…veterans on the streets… the 3,200 children in Michigan without a home….the lady in the coffee shop this morning who began to cry as she shared about the loss of her only daughter…

I’m sorry.

The list could go on and on and on and on.

And on.

And on.

I am so, so sorry.

I’m sorry for the other worldly kind of evil we all face.

I’m also grateful for hope.

Grateful for those who are fighting every day for the vulnerable. Making a difference for the one, one at a time.

We cannot and will not solely rest our focus on the depravity alone. We must also shift our focus to the good. The heroes. The things that are getting better.

We have to chip away at the darkness. We have to say yes to hard things. We have to say no to a temporary pleasure in order to give money towards a need that will make a difference. We have to allow our lives to be disrupted by things that are inconvenient and uncomfortable. We have to stop immersing ourselves in temporary mindless pursuits that profit nothing. We have to stop warming a pew on a Sunday morning and choose to act on what we know to be true.

It’s overwhelming. I know. I read it. I keep it infront of me and don;t pretend it isn’t happening because I can;t afford to let my priorities slip.

So many needs. How can I pick just one?

Oh just pick one.

Times are dire. They always have been.

You don’t have to tell the world.

You don’t have to write a blog about it.

Pick one.

Dare to dream of a better future for our children. There are heroes before us who did and we are the better for it.

Paris, we grieve with you.

The 3,200 in our own home state without families, we grieve with you.

They don’t need our pity. They need our help.

Let’s answer them.

paris

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Move Heaven & Earth

When I reached for the phone at 2AM and read the caller ID. My gut sank.

“Is everything okay?” I stumble through the sentence, still half asleep.

“There’s an 18 month old baby girl at the Southfield Police Department, her mom was just arrested as part of a sex trafficking ring…can you take placement?”

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “We just took down the crib and I don’t have another car seat…” I start to process out loud all the reasons I can’t do it. “If you can’t find anyone else to call, call me back.”

As soon as I hung up the phone I felt this phrase in the deepest parts of me. “Move heaven and earth to get her.”

I immediately called back and asked if a Pack & Play would do short term and figured I could get a car seat by mid morning one way or another.

I was suddenly wide awake. I went down to storage for the high chair etc and put on a pot of coffee.

It was 4am when she came.

With a half ripped plastic bag of…well…nothing.

Catch that.

Nothing.

Except an open package of Ramen noodles and a pack of diapers 2 sizes too big.

Her name was Rozalily.

I held her hand through the night.

After all, I’d want someone holding my hand. Wouldn’t you?

I found out later, that she was held up in the hotel bathroom with her mother’s pimp when the police raided the room. Let that sink in for a second….

The days passed quickly and we said “So long for now.” She was a survivor if I had ever met one. Feisty. Strong. Broken inside. But kind eyes. A smile that was to die for….. And her laugh. Oh, her laugh.

She captivated our hearts. That won’t ever go away.

I guess by this point in the story you’re wondering what the take home message is?

That’s just it.

Where do I begin?

We all know we’re supposed to help others. Well, most of us. We were told it at a young age. Maybe even our parents were those type of people. Or maybe they were the type  who only helped when it benefited them. Let’s face it. We all know someone like that. Maybe you are that.

Either way, it begs the question…

Would you have said yes?

When logic is screaming “No.” Is it okay to say Yes?

YES!

Uncomfortable, risk taking, sacrificial living is where LIFE is found. Not where it ends.

The problem we fall into as Americans (guilty as charged), is we breed comfortable. We crave it. Idolize it. Go into debt for it.

We no longer ask: “What can we afford?” We ask: “How big of a loan can we get, to get what we want now.”

Meanwhile, children are languishing with no one.

We live beyond our means. We live in no position to give because we had to have it and we had to have it now.

We crave things that don’t satisfy us.

“If I could just lose those ten pounds I’d be happier.”

“If I could just get married, I’d be happier.”

“If I could just get that 5 bedroom house ( I won’t be able to pay off for another forty years), I would be happier.”

I have heard it said this way: “The degree to which you believe that thing will satisfy you, is the degree to which you will be disappointed when that thing doesn’t satisfy you after all.”

That being said, should you run off tomorrow and become a foster parent? Maybe.

Should you be intentional about spending 30 more minutes with your kids? More than likely.

Should you skip dinner out one night and give that extra money to charity? Probably.

But it starts with saying, yes.

It starts with doing something. Anything.

Small. Big.

Something.

More likely than not, there is someone out there who will be happy you did.

Rozalily surely was.

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Not Even An Inch Long

2:30 AM.

A shot of pain or two rifles through the right side of my stomach. I roll over – albeit slowly and assume it’s a cramp of some sort.

4:30 AM

Should I go the hospital now? The kids are still asleep and I can get away while they are in bed. But I just roll over a second time, praying over and over for it to go away and I fall back asleep.

6:55 AM. I slip out of bed, walk to the bathroom…

“Okay, girls!” I speak as loud as I can. “Get your crocs on, stay in your PJ’s, we have to pick up Tiffany, mommy doesn’t feel well.”

Tiffany had just been dropped off by her bus to school when I manically (yet calmly) pulled into the circle drive to get her. I drop my brood off and send a few texts to my “Kids” parents.

For those of you who don’t know, for most of my adult life (and even before) I have cared for adults with special needs. Their parents have become my extended family for a little over a decade now. I naturally was supposed to work with a few of their children that day, so I sent them a text letting them know I was having pain and heading to the ER.

I had spent my fair share of time in an ER in my early and college years of competitive sports. But I had no kids then. No responsibilities that really mattered.

I was in uncharted territory here.

I usually like uncharted territory.

Usually.

After the slew of tests she informed me I would have to donate my appendix and have surgery.

I was peaceful about it. But I wished someone would have told me the fire storm of pain, emotional roller-coaster and madness that would follow after the removal of an appendage not even an inch long.

I knew my babies were okay. Trusted friends were with them.

I was comforted by the memory of my cousin Pierre screaming in utter agony at his home when we were young due to his appendix.

Not.

After surgery is a blur. Why was I crying? Where was I? Why is everyone so loud? Go away. Let me sleep. No, I don’t want to go to the bathroom. No I don’t want to get up. Can you stop waking me up please? Stop scanning my wristband. Stop slamming my door shut. Stop saying good morning. Stop. Stop. Stop.

But they were keeping me alive.

Keeping me sane while driving me insane.

Pain meds. Popsicle’s. Those could keep coming.

I only had one thought: Going Home — and maybe another Popsicle.

A wise friend visited me. She told me to rest.

Rest? The word alone made me quiver.

Because the world certainly would crumble if I laid in that hospital bed a moment longer.

Not.

So I rested. I ate Popsicle’s and ice (like Scotty Bowman) . Tried not to laugh too hard. Tried not to cough.

And before you knew it.

Home I would go.

I was so happy to see my girls. But believe it or not, all I wanted to do, was rest.

I pride myself (probably not in a good way) on being the type of person who gets things done. I’m a leader. I solve problems. I fix what’s broken (unless it involves something breaking in my home, in that case I call someone). I work and I work hard. I make things happen.

But the only thing happening now, was nothing.

I was irritable. Not myself.

I couldn’t even tuck my girls into bed like I always do. (The hospital seemed more appealing in those moments).

The routine and the comfort that came from that routine was gone.

A friend of mine reminded me that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But I know that it only makes you stronger if you cooperate with what the lesson is trying to teach you.

So I can’t do it all myself.

I don’t live on an island.

The number of people who love me and my family is astronomical. That may seem like an over exaggeration but I always try and see things relatively.

I know there are people and children on this earth, with no one.

Catch that.

No one.

Be a someone for somebody.

Because, we don’t have to live on an island. (Unless you were on Oceanic Flight 815 – look it up).

Take note of how you treat others. It’s usually a good indicator of the condition of your heart.

So grateful for those who love well.

May we do the same.

-Heather

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