I know it's been a while since I've checked in and so forgive me for that! Once my littles were out of school, everything went haywire! :) The good news is that over the summer, my journey through weight loss continued and I am now officially down 37lbs since May. Amazing how much better I feel and look and I'm thankful for the encouragement and support of my awesome friends cheering me along the way. 20 to go and I'll be where I want to be. Feels so within reach!
So a lot has changed for my family over the last week. We went from being a family of 4 to a family of 5 and it all happened in the blink of an eye. Many have asked how and why it happened and so I thought the best place to share it would be here, where I can take you through the journey with us.
Before the school year began, we were asked if we would consider becoming a host family for a foreign exchange student by a good friend who was placing in our area. To be honest, the thought terrified me! I talked to Josh and be both decided that we really didn't think it was something we could do between schedules etc, so we declined.
Jump ahead four weeks and we land on last Saturday, the 8th. Lisa, my friend I mentioned before, send me a message that I could tell was filled with concern. She was coming to us sharing the story of a young girl who was going to need somewhere to stay. She had been placed with a host family and it just wasn't going to work out. She was truly not getting a good representation of a typical American home. She needed and was going to be pulled from it. She asked if we would consider taking her in and again, that chord of fear struck my heart. I mean, there would just be no way we could do it, but I told her we would be praying and looking for God's guidance in the situation. Problem was, it needed to be a quick one!
That Sunday morning I went to my close friend and asked her to pray for us in this situation. That God's plan would be crystal clear with no room for misunderstanding. Little did we know how crystal clear He would make it. That morning, the pastor spoke on obeying God even when we might get uncomfortable with what He's asking. It caught my attention, but I didn't necessarily feel like it spoke to this situation.
As the day went on, Josh and I teased that it would be nice to meet the student and 'try her out' to see if she's be a match for our family without any pressure on us or her. Obviously, you can't really do that...unless you have a big God.
The next day I got a frantic phone call from Lisa asking if there was any way I could go pick this student, Maja (pronounced Maya) up from her host home and let her stay at my house for a few hours until she got home. Her host mother did not want her there any longer and Lisa was at the doctors office and couldn't get away to go and get her. My afternoon was free and so I agreed. I quickly drove over to pick up a visibly saddened girl who needed someone. She got in the car and started crying which then led me to cry because, well, that's what I do. :) I patted her leg and reassured her that all would be well. I can only imagine being her mom half a world away in that moment. How scared would I be if this was my little girl?
Maja spent the afternoon with us only thinking that we were just friends of Lisa's doing her a favor. She had no clue we were considering taking her in. The girls loved her, she was quiet, sweet, spoke English well, was curious about God and our religion.
She left later that afternoon and as I talked to Josh, we remembered the comment we'd made the day before about wishing we could have a test run and that's exactly what had just happened. We were able to 'try her out' without any pressure on our family or on her.
As the night went on, we talked more and I decided to jump into my Bible to hopefully find some direction and peace on what we should do. Now, I kid you not when I tell you that this was the verse my quiet time was over that day. "Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you have heard and saw and realized. Do that and God who makes everything work together will work you in His most excellent harmonies."
I read it to Josh and I think it was then we realized that between that verse, the test run that afternoon and our pastor's message the morning before, we may just have our answer. We decided then that we would be asking Maja if she would like to come and live with us over the next year.
The story doesn't end here though. I went to bed that night knowing what the answer was. Seeing clearly what God desired of us even though it scared me. I barely slept and when I got up the next morning, I questioned God. I just couldn't believe He was placing us with this charge.
Before I began my quiet time, I asked Him to reassure me so it was beyond the shadow of a doubt what He wanted. This was what my verse was that day. "You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion."
Holy cow! Honestly! I don't think I've ever had God speak to me through Scripture like this before. It was just an unreal experience.
Later that day, although still nervous, but seeing the plan ahead, I told Lisa that we'd like to welcome Maja into our home if she'd have us. She told Maja and from what I understand, she jumped up and hugged her, so excited to be coming to stay here.
We spent the next 2 days moving my littlest one into the bigger one's room and giving Maja her very own room. On Thursday, we officially welcomed her 'home'.
It was upon telling one of my closest friend's this story yesterday how over this summer God kept bringing to be the idea of 'you've been blessed, so I'm calling you to be a blessing' to me over and over. Through sermons, quiet times, Sunday school, songs, etc. That single thought replayed and replayed and I kept asking God to show me why I needing to be paying attention to this. Was there someone in our lives we needed to help? Who was it? I would think it was one person and then that would pass. It left me very confused because I knew it was for me, but wasn't seeing where I needed to be using it. Now I see that God was solely preparing my heart for this moment in our lives.
I can't tell you how thrilling and terrifying it is to be in this place. A place of knowing we're exactly where God wants us to be, but also being so unsure of myself and my role in it. One thing I do know is that if God has brought us here, He will carry us through and it will be with an amazing journey along the way.
I ask that you, my friends, keep our family and especially sweet Maja in your prayers as we share our lives together over the next 9 months. Also for her own family as they watch her grow from so far away.
I'm learning how to 'parent' a teenager, cook for 5, clean for 5 and juggle all the things we have going in our lives for 5. I'm deeply humbled that God saw us fit to take Maja into our home and I'm anxious to see what this year will bring for our new family of 5.