Friday, January 6, 2017

A Month's Musings.....Damaged Goods

I've been home a month now, and the emotions are many. I think of the Foundation every single day, and it’s hard being so far away from so many you care for, especially since you were one of few that had the opportunity to do so. 

I was answering some “end of the year reflection questions” and one of them asked how I was different between this year and last.  My first response to that question is that my heart is more damaged and yet more full.  You see, these kiddos keep me up at night.  I was given the opportunity to be there for them in the aftermath of horrible circumstances.  Their lives are tough, and their stories are devastating.  Just thinking about their situations and wondering what is going to happen to them is enough to send me into a full on worry sesh, and I can’t do anything to help them. So, yes, my heart has been damaged more this past year.  I’ve invested time and energy into the lives of hurting and broken kiddos, and I didn’t come out unaffected. 

And yet, somehow, my heart feels so much more full than it did at the beginning of last year.  Loving is hard.  It just is.  I have videos of the kids acting out.  I remember the times they tried to hurt me and the times that they succeeded.  But those aren’t the things that pop into my head daily now that I am back home.  What I remember without even trying to is the game of “Gotcha” that one my favorites (yes, I had favorites.  Sorry.) and I made up.  I wonder to myself almost daily how my girls that are pregnant are doing and feeling.  I worry how “the 7” are going to make it through another devastation together, or whether “together” is even possible or not.  This stuff probably doesn’t make much sense to you, but it is everything to me. 

I guess that what I am trying to say is that regardless of how much it hurt, these kiddos changed me for the better.  They taught me things…..forced me to see more of my weaknesses and more of His greatness.  They broke my heart, and yet filled it up with more love than I had before.  I’m a passionate person, and they gave me more to be passionate about…..them.  I will fight for these kids; they are just worth it.  I’d get lice for them again, regardless of how gross and obnoxious it is.  I’d continue to take the biting, fighting, spitting, and disrespect over and over, although I prefer when we get along more.  I’d take the weird little sicknesses that came and went so often while being there…..the mango allergy reactions, sores in the mouth, stomach issues, fevers, sinus stuff.  And even knowing now how much it hurts to be home and care this much and yet not be able to show them, I would go and do it again. 

Being home has been good, but it is also hard.  All I can do for the kiddos now is pray for them, but I know that my Father has it all under control.  I am trying my best to give them over to Him and smile at all the good times we had together.  Worrying about them doesn’t do any good, and His ways are so much greater than anything I could come up with anyway.  My God is so good, and His faithful love has never left me nor them. 

I cherish the memories I made with these kids.  It wasn’t easy, and to be honest, there were moments that I hated it.  It also sucks to think that I was just a fleeting stranger in their lives for these 3 months.  I hate being just another person to come and go, but they have taught me SO much, and I will continue to pray for them because of this.  While my presence has not changed their lives, it has tremendously altered mine.  I have been given a snippet of what God must feel for us.  It was only 3 months, and they won’t remember me in a year, but they will stick with me for a lifetime.  I would do it again without question.  I am so thankful for this love. 

I ask you to continue to pray for these kids and those caring for them currently.  I don’t have the details on what is going on now, but I do know that tough times are not over for the kids nor the Foundation itself.  Pray for the volunteers, that there would be joy.  Pray for the staff, that there would be unity.  For the kids, that there would be peace.  And for the future families that will be taking these kids in, that there would be love. 

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