Something has come to my attention this week-how much I truly am longing for this space on the internet called mine and how it feels like coming home whenever I stop in to write a word or two or three. I just finished paying an invoice via Paypal for the most gorgeous original piece of artwork, made by someone I've only known virtually. Yet, my heart squeezed when I read their kind note sent on the invoice and I thought again to myself how there is truly a good vibe and power to this internet thing if we let it be.
But much like pulling on a stray thread on a favorite quilt can quickly unravel the whole thing, putting a complete thought or sentence out into the world wide web has made me feel like the whole story could unravel along with it. So I've mostly shared the rosy and the bucket loads of photos I take, keeping the meaty stories to myself.
But you see, there's this book I'm just about to finish called Hope Heals. You absolutely must read it. You just must. In the book Katherine writes "I don't think any of us can tell our most vulnerable stories in the moments they occur for fear that they may undo us. " I read that line tonight and something immediately clicked in me and I felt like she had put words to a thought I didn't even know how to express. If you've read her book you may find it ludicrous that I am even saying I understand where she is coming from. Katherine did, however, suffer a stroke in her 20's. Although our life circumstances literally couldn't be more different, I am living in a season of vulnerability.
Anna Ruth has started kindergarten, leaving me home to figure out a new routine with Betsy Grace. And although I'm excited at the thought of time to paint or photograph again once she is in preschool a couple days a week, I also feel rather vulnerable. I just KNEW we'd have a foster baby for a long-term placement by now. But we don't. The quiet and wondering at what is next haunts me. Vulnerability at it's loudest.
I watch Anna Ruth walk confidently into kindergarten, a trail of prayers going in front of her and behind her. I know she is protected and I know we have made the best decision to have her attend public school. I mean, I know it deep in my bones. Yet the minute I have a second alone at home the doubts, fears, and anxieties rush in like consuming flames. Vulnerability trying to become my vicious vice.
I used to make bucket lists and dream lists by the dozens. Literally as far ahead as I could see was planned. I couldn't ever imagine a season without being home with my two babies. Then once they started to grow up some, I simply couldn't imagine not having my adopted baby or foster baby along for the ride. Yet although we've had 3 placements so far, none of them have stayed. I wake each day literally not knowing what it will hold by the supper time and my thoughts start to race, wondering how I'll entertain a little one in the car line and still get dinner on the table. Is this vulnerability or worry? Or both?
In this season I have longed to spill my soul, to share the messages God is whispering into my heart. There are lessons being learned, so much love filling our home, and also much pain as we learn to say goodbye not only to foster babies but to the picture-perfect plan we thought was a given.
The only thing certain about our life ahead is Jesus and the uncertainty. I don't have a lot figured out. I wake each day (at 5:30!) to serve my family well for the day, finding little thoughts about going back to work someday, painting and photography, questions about "what ARE my passions and hobbies?" filling my head in random bursts here and there. Yet none really ever take root.
We are truly in a wait and see kind of season. Can I tell you though, it's a beautiful one.
I truly, truly mean that. Sometimes there's a fine line between being honest and being hopeless. We, in the Torbett household, are NOT hopeless. In fact, we are more hopeFULL than ever before about our future.
Want to know why? Because we've truly moved out of the good Lord's way. It's terrifying, I'll be honest about that. I'm a plan girl. I like a good plan and a daily to do list and a tidy schedule. It feels very uncomfortable standing tall with the Lord, asking "What's next?". Yet there are moments of excitement starting to flit around, here and there. They show me that God truly has plans bigger and better than my imagination could muster. This is not just good Christian girl talk. It's true.
Just last weekend we had a little one with us through foster care. I just fell in love immediately. We all did. As I pushed them around the farmer's market in the stroller, strains of a local trumpet player were wafting through the air. I had a contagious grin I just couldn't contain. I bent my head down for a quick moment and told the Lord "we're in trouble, no way can I say goodbye to this one", not knowing that later in the afternoon we would receive a call to do just that.
Did I later regret the morning and the heart connections made, however short our time may have been? Not for a second. I had a glimpse at the unspeakable joy and excitement that comes when I get out of God's way and follow His lead. A couple of years ago I would have NEVER, ever even been open to the thought of foster care. Yet here I am, living heartbroken and fiercely passionate about doing something about these precious lives.
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.
In-between these growing and stretching pains our family is facing, there is so much good that keeps us going. Simple things like playing out in the rain on one of the last summer days, cutting a bouquet of zinnia's, or chasing butterflies with a pink net.
Dance parties to the Trolls soundtrack, fluffing our nest and decorating here and there, cooking with garden-fresh tomatoes, stacks of books on the bedside, and morning cups of tea are all bits of joy.
Endless giggles, silly time with Dad, lego building, checking the cows, conversations with Nana, pulling out my Nikon, early bedtimes, weekend adventures, growing in friendship with our church community, and having fun date nights with Brett are all constants.
These constants and daily pockets of joy are like diamonds in the night sky, shining the way to a heart of gratitude, no matter the weather outside.
It has occurred to me this summer that I could very well live in my beautiful country home, with my safe and predictable lifestyle and that would be fine. I could get to the end of my life, having loved many people, even loved them well.
But that story seems dull. Even typing it I felt a small sigh escape my lips, immediately thinking "that's it?"
I am instead, going for the choose your own adventure kind of life.
Only I'm not choosing.
Just trying to be a patient follower of the one who is.
The same God that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and saved my sins permanently and made the butterflies so fantastically creative and gave them wings to fly,
is the same God going before me and behind me and everywhere around me for the glory of Him.
I just have to do this.
Wake each day and do this.
Wake each day and do this.