Perfectly Imperfect

Do yourself a favor and watch this video the whole way through.  That last scene, though ...

See?  The Ichabod incident had me trying to stifle tears in the middle of Starbucks because I was laughing so hard.  And, because I'm a glutton for punishment or something, I kept rewatching it.     

My husband introduced me to these PSAs a couple of weeks ago because he stays "in the know" on things like this.  I'm a student and a mom of young children, so I basically live in a cave.  

"Don't you love those foster care ads that have been coming on TV lately?" he asked after work one day.  Naturally, I hadn't seen any of the ads he was referencing, which prompted the YouTube search and uncontrollable laughter in Starbucks.

I do love them.  I especially love the hamster video because I can totally see it happening in our house.  

{Several weeks ago, we were dogsitting and potty training (our small human, not the dog) at the same time, a guaranteed recipe for disaster.  During the 30 seconds in which I was taking dinner out of the oven, Caroline pooped on the floor, and the dog ate it.  Then, because this story just keeps getting better, Sister greeted our very first AirBnB guest with, "Ellie (the dog) eat the poop."  Y'all, I can't make this stuff up.}

I guess the real reason that I love those PSAs is because of the last line:

"You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." 

When we adopted our oldest and now that we are starting the foster care process, we have heard a lot of, "You guys are perfect for that!" or "Wow, y'all are such good people."

We aren't.  Not even close.  

If you think otherwise, you should come over and be a fly on the wall during the circus that we call "bedtime".

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We didn't decide to adopt and do foster care because we are awesome people, or because we are exceptional parents, or because we are SuperChristians, or because we have our junk together more than others do.  We chose to adopt because we wanted to grow our family.  We agreed to do foster care because we saw a need to be met, and we have the means to help.  We aren't perfect, but we know the One who is.

At least 87 times a day, I ask myself, God, or the nearest person in the room if we are completely crazy for wanting to add to the chaos that is currently our life.  "I don't parent two children very well at times; how can I possibly parent more?" I wonder aloud.

The truth?  There will be grace for the days as they come.  

When my girls were tiny, I thought that I could not possibly endure another sleepless night.  And then I did.  God does not give the strength needed for tomorrow, today.

I'm such a detail-oriented person that I tend to "miss the forest for the trees" on a regular basis.  I have recently come to realize that I will drown myself in the particulars of foster care if I dwell on them, so I need to take a 10,000 foot view of it all.  I could ask tons of "what if" questions and play out every scenario in my head, but at the end of the day, I try to keep coming back to this: Our journey will be hard and good, and that is the most that I need to know in this instant. 

Oh, and if you're reading this and somehow still thinking that I have a good heart aside from my little imperfections, I should tell you that this "good heart" was just pondering the many ways in which foster care will make our lives more uncomfortable.  The call of comfort, for me, is almost always more alluring than the higher callings of love and holiness.

My husband and I are two imperfect people raising two imperfect people.  But we'll be the perfect family for some imperfect child in spite of everything.

We like each other.

(Originally posted 1/6/17 on Blogger)

Shortly before Christmas, our community group from church left the kiddos at home and went out for hibachi, drinks, and Christmas lights.  There were 14 of us, all of various ages and in diverse stages of life.

Somewhere in between the onion volcano and the catching-the-egg-in-the-top-of-the-hat trick (how do those guys do that?), our chef asked what we were celebrating.

"Nothing in particular," said Gretchen.  "We're just friends."

"Really?  So how do all of you people know each other?" asked the chef.

"Church," someone replied.

"Oh."

  {I could almost literally see the wheels turning in this guy's head.}  

"So you're not celebrating anything, and you actually like being around each other?"

"Correct."

"Hmm.  You don't hear that very often."

I'd have to agree.  Sometimes I'm even shocked that an accumulation of such different individuals could not only get along, but want to spend time together.

Let's be honest: Church people can be cheesy, annoying, judgmental Bible-beaters.  With a few random exceptions, this was the perception I had of Christians for the majority of my life, until my husband and I reluctantly joined a small group at our old church and were pleasantly surprised to find something that contradicted all of our prejudices.

People were kind to us.

We brought a big, turbulent mess to a group that had been flowing smoothly, and we were welcomed with open arms.  Every week for a whole semester, someone from our group babysat so that we could have regular date nights.  People threw wedding and baby showers for each other.  Friends dropped off coffee or lunch to other group members' workplaces, just because.

More than just caring for each other, though, perhaps the most stunning thing about that group was that people were normal.  Yes, we all loved Jesus and tried to challenge each other toward being more like Him, but people had regular, secular jobs.  We read good books, watched good movies, and had parties that were fun and not lame.  Some families sent their children to public school, some to private school, and some homeschooled ... and nobody cared what anybody else did or tried to change anyone's mind about it.  It was genuine and organic, and it was true community in, I think, one of the most unlikely places.

Andrew and I left that group about a year ago, not because we wanted to, but because we felt that it was important (and more convenient) to do life in Norman, where we live.  Doubting that we would ever find community in church people again, we drug our feet somewhat in joining another small group at our new church.

But, we did find community in church people again, so that's twice now that my expectations have been completely defied.

We found friendship in this rag-tag group of folks who consist of a realtor, a teacher, students, a school counselor, an interior designer, a campus pastor, stay-at-home moms, university employees, and artists.  The youngest person in our group is four months, and the oldest is in her sixties.  We eat hibachi, watch each other's kids, have football watch parties, set up meal calendars for group members who are sick or busy, bring our chaos, and invite other people to be part of this crazy thing we've got going ... because we can ... because, by the grace of this God who is seemingly all we have in common at times,

we actually like each other.

You can also find this post here.