I told myself it would be messy.  With wide-eyed abandon, I leapt towards fostering.  Step by step into the process I was hoping to save a child, make a difference, and be like Jesus.

I was tired of being comfortable.  I wanted to push my sleeves up and get to work.

I got my entire family on board, convincing them that this would be challenging but wonderful.  Everyone climbed aboard and we were off.

Well, here we are.  Up to our elbows…

Eight months into this foster placement and we are indeed seeing the messiness that life can bring.

Yes, our foster children are absolutely adorable.  With their big brown eyes, milk chocolate skin, tiny little fingers and toes, and infectious laughter, they’ve won all our hearts from the very start.

As they learned to call us all by name, we began to see them let their guard down.

Great rewards have come from investing into the lives of these children.  We’ve seen growth and grace in our family as we have totally immersed ourselves into their needs.  On a good day, I see the beauty and the growth.

On the hard days, I see the mess.  When I say mess, I am referring to the literal messiness in our home as evidence of so much life.  See the picture up above?  That was taken just after our little one-year-old foster girl threw the paint container on the floor.

But with messiness, I am also referring to the feelings and interactions that can come from caring for children that are not my own, but treating them as if they are.  Messy can also describe the attitudes and hearts of these kids that are so restless.  As a result of our foster children’s previous history, there can be unnecessary meltdowns, lack of communication and, again, restlessness.

For me, as a mom trying to juggle all the hearts that I aim to hold, I sometimes fumble and maybe miss an opportunity to love or extend grace.  Guilt can roll in and make quite a mess of my emotions.

Also, dealing with the Department of Social Services can be messy.  That’s another story.

I am holding on today to the hope that regardless of the mess we are doing the best we can.

Today, I (we) loved.

Was it hard?  Sometimes.

Was my attitude always perfect?  No.

Was I focusing on today?  Today I was.

It is easy for me to get stressed out and over-anxious.  What ifs and worry can set in and wreak havoc on my heart, mind, and emotions.

This is one thing I have learned in this fostering/parenting journey: embrace the messiness.

Just do it one day at a time.


One thought on “Messiness

  1. In the long run, what you are teaching and doing with them, how you are loving them, how you are being Jesus to them, is an investment with untold returns. And the messiness – the literal, physical messiness – they will totally forget. Why do we (and by we, I really mean ME) get so consumed with the neatness? Good for you, Anna, for being willing to go messy in all kinds of ways. I am loving following your fostering stories.

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