“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
So. We’ve been parenting Harley, Brooklyn, and Emma for a little over two years now. We have been going through a difficult season for several months now, and it has reached a critical point. Harley and Brooklyn are persisting (and increasing) in rebellious behaviors to the point where I don’t feel like I can keep them safe and not destructive by myself any more. They require intense supervision during waking hours. Add to that a busy toddler and a newborn, and you’ve got a mama who is desperately clinging to Jesus while crying out for help.
We have had much-needed family help for a total of five weeks since Seth was born. I think they can all attest that our kids are…challenging. The last few weeks have required hands-on, put-out-fires parenting from both PJ and me for much of each day. That’s not a sustainable way to live. Someone has to go to work, and right now PJ’s work is seminary. It has become abundantly clear that I need full-time, hands-on, eyes-watching help to manage our four particular children.
So. The children and I are returning to Texas for the remainder of the summer. Our ever-supportive family in Waco has offered help and much-needed breaks for me, as have friends in Fort Worth. PJ will stay in North Carolina to take a full load of summer classes, thus staying on track for our preferred graduation date.
This is so, so hard for me, y’all. While I am overwhelmingly grateful for the help we will receive, I much prefer to be the helper and have my life together. It’s so difficult for me to say, “I can’t do this anymore.”
I have so many emotions wrapped up in this.
I’m angry and sad that leaving my husband temporarily has become what is best for our family.
I’m so thankful for a marriage that is strong enough to grow through this time.
I’m so desperately looking forward to getting some rest. Right now, rest time is the opposite of restful. One of my children has told me that they wait for me to go to the bathroom or lay down so that they can [insert deviant behavior here]. That’s exhausting, y’all.
I’m battling Satan’s lies with the power of the Gospel, praise God for that. But it’s quite a fight. You’re a bad wife—good wives have joyful and peaceful homes. You’re such a bad mom—you can’t even take care of your kids. It was stupid to adopt. Where’s God’s goodness now? Huh? You shouldn’t have come to seminary. You think you can work in ministry? Ha! Look how messed up your family is! And on. And on.
I’m grateful that God strengthens my faith in times of trial.
I’m more thankful for Jesus than I’ve ever been.
I’m excited to spend time with family and friends, who love our family and walk through our crazy with us.
I’m begging God to redeem my children through the death and glorious resurrection of Christ.
Back to James 1:27: it applies to all Christians, though looking after orphans may look different for everyone. Well, our family and friends are putting this verse on display in their lives. God may not have called them to adopt, but they are rallying around us to do some serious “looking after”. Every time someone opens their home, feeds my crew, lets me nap, plays with my kids, prays for us, encourages us, listens to our struggles, points us to Christ, and loves us in a thousand other ways, they are looking after my (former) orphans and reflecting the glory of Christ. And believe me, it is so needed. My kiddos? They are in distress.
I would greatly appreciate your prayers during this time. Satan is a mighty foe. I have no doubt that we were called by God to adopt, and to adopt these kids. While I may feel like I’m fighting a losing battle, the truth is that I’ve already won because my identity is found in Christ, who has conquered sin and death. And praise God for that.