Our four extra boys went home Saturday morning to their momma, granny, and Aunt Lulu. Each vacillated between feelings of excitement in seeing their momma again and sadness in having to leave.
I think the latter had a lot to do with the Wii and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
In an amazing example of the Lord's providence, last week, H. and I were at Target. It was the middle of the day and he had been suspended from school so we were out running errands with Sadie. As we were checking out, one of the checkers said something to Sadie about her red hair and H. said, "Mrs. Melissa, that lady is a friend of my momma's."
I introduced myself and she immediately recognized H. She had been friends with the kids' mom for a long time, knew of her recent hospitalization and wanted to help. She ended up calling me after she got off work, came by the house and spent several hours talking about the family's history and how she thought we could best help.
She is a great woman; strong and a little feisty so I immediately liked her. She says what she thinks and at one point said, "Melissa, you have to remember, you can't fix her, these kids, or this situation. She's going to live how she's going to live and all you can do is help where you are able and in ways you are led. You can't make her live like you do or think like you do."
She had only known me for a few hours and had nailed me. Of course I want to fix this. Of course I want to be able to give her and her kids tools, and love, and ideas for planning meals, organizing closets, and doing homework, then tie the whole family up with a nice little bow stamped with 'Good to Go'.
I really do know better. I know the gospel is lived out in relationship; in mutual relationship of respect and long-suffering. The fruits of the Spirit are not the abilities to give an effective and manageable to-do list but love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. If I've forgotten one, blame it on the song. That's how I remember them.
I prayed this morning that the Lord would teach me how to love this family where they are, help how I can, and that He would build a relationship that can weather all kinds of circumstances, cultures, or decisions.
Three of the boys showed up at my house and the Smith's for breakfast and rides to school. They got hugs, bowls of cereal, and rides in warm cars. They gave us the joy of knowing the Lord is faithful and using us still.