This April marks 3 years since Darin and I first began fostering! Throughout the last 3 years we have had ten children in our home along with our son Winston. This is a reflection on these last 3 years for our friends and family, and an update on where FLM is
heading. There is some major news in this blog so please read!
Near the end of January, I began to feel very physically and emotionally exhausted trying to keep up with everything. We began to realize that all of our 6 foster children were going to be a longer term placement or potentially adoption. I was feeling like a failure because keeping up with 7 kids, housework, the church ministry, wrestling, counseling appts, doctor appts, court dates, monthly foster care meetings and case worker visits, and the ministry of Fine Linen made it hard to stay up on things.
While few people may have realized, I was a wreck at home and felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Most of this was because of the pressure I was placing on myself, not the pressure from anyone else. I was sobbing nightly and struggling with exhaustion. The hardest part for me to come to terms with was why other people could handle having several foster children and not me? I am a stay-at-home mom and I have Jesus... so why did I feel like I was failing? Yes, my pride was in the way of seeing clearly. Darin and I realized we had bit off more than we could chew for a long term period. I asked a couple from our church who had bonded with our youngest two foster children if they would be interested in fostering them, and they were! The kids were actually asking us if they could live with them, which also hurt my pride and feelings, but showed me God's hand was at work in this whole situation and not my own. I believe it was His Providence.
***March 2016: (The BIG News)***
Our 4 boys' case goal was changed to TPR (termination of parental rights) and Adoption. This is a big one, and I want to explain so that all of our family and friends can better understand the situation. When a case goal is changed from reunification to adoption it does not mean that it's a for sure thing. It has a dual purpose: 1.) To work towards permanency for the children 2.) To continue offering the bio parents the opportunity to start working on the requirements to get their children back. For some parents when the goal is changed it serves as a wake up call to really get at it, but for other parents they continue to not do what is asked and at this point the parental rights will end up being terminated.
Darin and I would like to adopt our 4 boys if the parents continue to not be involved in the case plan. I want to explain something though. With older children, the feelings are very mixed on adoption. While we are extremely excited about the possibility of adopting them, there is a lot of grief in working with the boys through their own grief. It is a great loss for children when their parent's rights are terminated, and it is traumatic. No matter how great or loving the adoptive family may be, they are still losing something very precious to them. I say this because I want to ask our family, friends, and church family to be sensitive to this and not talk to the boys or in front of the boys about "Darin and Becky adopting them." If they bring it up on their own that's different, but I would ask for you to err on the side of caution and sensitivity. Remember that especially for the older two it will be difficult if their parent's rights are terminated, and the excitement that you and I feel may not match their own. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask us!
We have been so blessed by our four boys. They are amazing kids. While adopting 4 older boys was not in our plan when we started fostering, the possibility floors us in a good way! There are some kids that you just connect with better than others, that you could see being your forever family. That's how it has been with the boys. They love the outdoors, camping, swimming in the pond, sports, playing air soft, and video games. They are very musically inclined. Our 13 year old D is playing the tenor saxophone for the first time and his teacher asked him to go to contest with the more advanced band class! The boys are super smart and creative, Two are very expressive while the other two are a bit more reserved and quiet. They are the best brothers to Winston. They love to cook, they love going to bed listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and they are very thoughtful. I could go on, but I wanted to give you a picture especially if you have not yet met them. We've also been blessed in that the boys have amazing Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles who have been supportive this whole time and very invested in the boy's lives.
Please keep the boys, their parents, and us in your prayers. Pray for God's will and His hand to move however He sees best in this situation.
So WHAT NOW for Fine Linen?
Many of you were very generous in supporting the "More Than Us" album project last year! In fact, producing the album would not have happened without your support! I would like to ask you to pray and consider continuing to support Fine Linen through Prayer and Giving. While we are a "small" ministry at this point: "Clothing the Broken with God's Word" is our ultimate goal! Whether through song-writing and recording, leading worship for events, teaching at youth and women's events, producing children's books, or promoting the ministry of foster care and adoption through educational materials and special drives for foster families. I hope to continue using my creative abilities to promote the gospel in these areas!
If you believe in the ministry of Fine Linen and would like it to continue would you consider supporting us monthly or through a one-time donation? 3 monthly partnerships of $10 would cover the yearly cost of the website, and 4 monthly partnerships of $20 would cover the cost of babysitting to be able to continue writing songs, blogging, and developing the ministry as God moves and works! You can click the link here to donate
FLM's Specific Needs:
Optional but Helpful Needs
Do you ever have a not-so-pretty day? One where you think to yourself, 'Wow, if the world saw me right now I don't think they'd like me!"' I have those days. I want to share a specific day like this from 2014. I was up on a Saturday night several times with our little one-year old Winston. I'd been sick for over a week and was feeling very worn out. I missed church and it was going to be the one Sunday out of the year I could sit with my husband (who is a minister) because a guest speaker was preaching.
I found myself at home alone with Winston, who was very unhappy and not feeling well. Our two foster children were with their parents and I have to admit...I just felt so lonely. Darin came home from church for about thirty minutes and then had to leave again. What was supposed to be an hour turned into three hours and I began to fume. I hadn't been able to take a shower. Winston wouldn't nap. I felt tired and just wished to have somebody there to help. I tried calling Darin, (He'd left his phone in the van) but I couldn't get a hold of him. I was done. Just done. I sat in our recliner chair with Winston who was inconsolable and began to cry myself. Around 5 P.M. Darin pulled up and he quickly became the target of my unhappiness. He walked through the door. I handed Winston off to him, barely looking him in the eye, and said not very nicely, "I'm going for a drive."
I went for a drive in the country and when I thought I'd calmed down I came home, but still Darin was the target of my unhappiness. If you don't know me I am a feeler and a very expressive person. When I get overwhelmed it often comes out through my emotions. To sum up this not-so-pretty-day: it ended in me locking the bedroom door on Darin, crawling into bed, curling up in the covers, and crying. Very adult I know. I longed for my husband and his strength, but instead I was pushing him away because that's what I do when I feel not-so-pretty. I want love, yet I resist it. My pride stands in the way.
Do you know how my husband responded? I'll tell you. After I unlocked the door he came in and crawled up next to me. "Hey babe, I made you some burgers. I love you so much." I was baffled. "Darin, you're supposed to be angry!" I exclaimed. "Not make me burgers and tell me you love me! I just locked the door on you." He laughed and said, "Well I do love you." He didn't blame me, he didn't go off on me for my immaturity, he didn't even act irritated. "I'm sorry you've had such a rough day," he ended with. To be honest, there was a part of me that didn't want him to respond in love because I was having a hard time loving myself.
This scenario is not secluded to yesterday. My husband has often been a display of God's grace to me. In these not-so-pretty moments he has often helped me feel God's love through his grace. He acted toward me the same way Christ acts towards us. Christ takes us right where we're at. He takes all of the ugly, the selfish, the sinful, ALL of it and looks beyond to the hidden beauty. He knows it's there because he was there when his Father created it within us!
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~John 1:1-5
Many people have the misconception that in order to be a follower of Jesus they must get beautiful first. They must first make themselves lovable. If you take one thing away from this blog, hear this. Because God loves you, you are lovable! You can't earn His love. You can't get rid of your sins on your own! He takes your filthy rags and covers you in Fine Linen, bright and clean. As a follower of Christ for several years I am still very imperfect. I am still selfish. I still act ugly at times. I still get distracted by the things of this world and take my focus off of Jesus. And Jesus still climbs up next to me and says, "Hey pretty girl, I made you some burgers. I love you so much!" His love is unconditional. His love is perfect. There is no one. NO ONE that is beyond His loving. You just have to open the door to your heart and say, "Come in, you are welcome here. I give you the full rights to this life you gave me." Jesus gave everything. The question is: Will you let him love your everything? The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly? Stop trying to earn His love. It's already yours if you are willing to surrender.
"I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."
~Revelation 3: 19-21
March 24, 2009
(Facebook note written while attending Central Christian College of the Bible)
With Easter approaching I wanted to share a note I wrote on Facebook 7 years ago.
Tonight I went out to the soccer field to pray and get away from the world. To sit in the grass, just my Maker and I. It's these times that I feel the most pure and transparent, the most me. As I am still before God, pouring out my heart before Him (Psalm 62:8) I'm often faced with the layers that I've created and were not intended by Him. How easy it is to place layers over my person hood! To live less real. To go through the normal motions.
I began to long for Jesus to be sitting beside me and wondered what it would feel like...how I would act...would I be at ease? Would I be trying to impress? Could I look him in the eyes? And I thought, "Oh Jesus, how I wish you were here with me in flesh. How nice it would be to sit beside you. To hear your gentle wise voice, see your knowing smile, your compassionate eyes, your laugh lines and crinkles..." As I was pondering this and praying for faith until the day of his return, the clouds began to leave and the stars were revealed in the sky. It struck me: Jesus is coming back any day! It's not some fable or fairy tale. He is our risen King and thus far all God's promises have been kept!
When I was a little girl, every Sunday morning I would look down the aisle to see if Jesus was walking down it. I always thought I would see Him because I knew that he said He was coming back soon, and of COURSE it must be a Sunday he would come back on, lol. But it was such a beautiful, pure excitement every Sunday to expect to see Jesus...And now I wonder where that anticipation has gone to? It's so easy to go through the motions of the Christian walk without the actual goal in sight. Is that why I sometimes feel so lacking in joy? I'm not looking into the sky for Jesus...for it must be another thousand years before He'll return...or so that's how I often live.
The Jews were looking for the promised Savior, and there was at least a period of 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments when God wasn't necessarily working in obvious ways. Still, they had the prophecies. They had God's promises. They were expecting their Savior in the form of an attractive political Messiah, and what they got was the son of a carpenter with an agenda completely outside of politics or cultural tradition. An agenda not even his own, but the Will of his Father.
Are we looking for the promised return of our King? Perhaps it sometimes feels silly to talk about our King Jesus because to the world it is nonsense and fairy tales. Jesus tells of the ten virgins, who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were not ready, but five of them were. They all grew tired at the delay of the bridegroom and allowed themselves to get drowsy, eventually falling asleep. The problem was that only the five virgins had taken oil for their lamps. And at midnight there was a shout, "Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." Of course at this all of the virgins awoke. The ones without oil had to go look for someone to buy from, and while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut....
My point is this: what if every morning you or I arose to anticipate Jesus coming back? If our focus was getting ready to meet him? To invite all we could to get ready to meet him? Perhaps we would walk with less complaints about our lives, and walk in more hope of knowing that Jesus hasn't forgotten about us. Perhaps we would walk in more abundant joy because our trials are part of preparing for the Neverending Celebration that is to come...
Praise be to God who came to our rescue that we might have the hope that we do!
is a rural Missouri preacher's wife who stays at home with her son Winston and 4 foster sons whom she and her husband are in the process of adopting! (Looking forward to the day I can put their names on here!)