Monday, June 7, 2010

Winds of Faith

Howdy!

My life has changed considerably since my "Doors Opening and Closing" post in January. I could never have imagined back then where all these new doorways and hallways would lead. I said in that post that I was embracing the openings to my new role as a foster parent. Holy cow. More prophetic words were never spoken!

3 months ago, Paul, Alli, Chanelle and I opened our home and hearts to a sibling group of three. When they came to us they were all under 3 years old, but now they are 1, 2, and 3 (boy, girl, boy). For privacy reasons, I can't include pictures or their names, but it has been an incredible journey. I have learned some lessons as a mom -- more on that in another post. But perhaps more importantly, I've learned some lessons as a human BEING. With little ones, it is all about the being -- and that is sometimes challenging in the midst of all the DOING that is required!!

There has been a mighty wind blowing through my home since about the time these little ones came in. It has been a cleansing wind -- clearing out the rubbish and rubble of the past and making a new way forward. Paul and I faced a mighty battle -- not caused by the itty bitty's -- but illuminated by them. We are once again a "new creation" -- facing forward with a strength and solidarity even greater than we have known before. There has been a renewal of my relationship with the "big" girls -- having the little ones around has helped me to see them with new eyes as well -- to remember that they, too, are still children and possess a sweetness and innocence all their own.

But I am most humbled and surprised by the wind that has blown through me. I have lost 45 pounds -- I am more than halfway to my goal! I weigh 16 pounds LESS than I did 10 years ago . . . how many women over 50 can claim that? Every time I look in the mirror, I'm shocked. Who is that woman? Oh, I know her. But it's not the "old me" I am seeing. It's a new me, released and re-formed by chipping away not only on the outside, but shaped by hours of exercise and personal work. It's me in a newer and finer form. I can't wait to see what happens when I put aside the rest of the excess weight!

I forgot what I am capable of. Has that ever happened to you? I forgot what it means to make an act of faith -- to trust something that seems ridiculous or doesn't make sense -- to just take it on faith. When I joined the Catholic church in 1998, I struggled with the concept of "transubstantiation" -- that is that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ. I decided I would not/could not join the church until I had worked that out. I wrangled with it for several months and all the experts told me the same thing -- it is an act of faith. And so I practiced believing until I believed.

It was an act of faith to begin this particular weight loss journey. It seemed crazy and unworkable at the time, but it is working. So glad I trusted that it was the way forward for me.

When it came to taking in these kids, it required an act of faith for sure! We had no idea how we'd do it --but we knew we were called to it. Everyone thought we were crazy -- but that is how it often is with callings. And it has been both easier and harder than we thought and so very worth it. Every day is a lesson wrapped up in a blessing a blessing wrapped in a lesson.

When that mighty wind blew through my marriage -- it required an act of faith to stand in. I did not know if I had the faith and then I remembered joining the church. Having faith in a right-here-right-now person with flesh and blood -- someone known to and loved by me -- trusting Paul -- that did not require so much faith, after all. I got support from my family and a few close friends; and practiced the mantra "only believe." Don't get me wrong -- there was plenty of "work" involved and there is work yet to do. But the open door -- that first step -- the way in was faith.

I think in a the practical, technological world we now live in, we can easily forget about faith. We forget that so much of life is a mystery and unexplainable by us. We forget that sometimes we really do not need to know. Had you told me what these months would hold, what would be required of me in work and in faith, I probably would have said, "No thanks" and would have run the other way. But what you could not have told me, could not have known, was how much blessing and joy all of that challenge would offer.

I don't know why I felt compelled to tell these stories on a similar vein -- but I am trusting that someone somewhere needs to hear them and remember that sometimes it is really is just a matter of faith.

[2012 edit:  here is a picture of the "Littles" on the day they arrived.  How young they were!]