Sunday, August 21, 2011

It doesn't always end well.

If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you'd know we've had two boys living with us for almost four years. Unless, of course, you've only been reading my blog for a few months and in that case, you've been iill-informed on the goings on in my house and in West Dallas and frankly, probably bored.

I blame the heat. The heat and the extreme lack of anything funny to write about.

Except for the day I sprayed my entire body with self-tanner only to find out I had used leave-in conditioner instead. Smooth. No, really, my skin was smooth.

Anyway. Dea and Darius have become a part of our family to the extent they could when they actually have a mom and dad living 20 minutes away. It's been great and hard and confusing and frustrating all at the same time. We learned a long time ago that our job wasn't to replace their parents but at the same time, we had to act like their parents when they were living under our roof.

The Lord has provided for all of us in every imaginable way.

A couple weeks ago, Darius moved out of our house. It was an impossibly hard decision for us to make but we felt - because of the decisions he was making - he had left us with no other choice.

We've wrestled with all the questions...was it the right thing to do? Would we ever make that decision with our own kids? What does loving someone well really look like? Does, as Tim Keller has been quoted often saying, mercy really limit mercy?

It has absolutely been one of the hardest things we've experienced as a family. Dea stayed but of course, our kids have had all kinds of questions about Darius. Sadie was only three when the boys moved in and she really doesn't remember both boys not being part of our family. Graham was five, Olivia six, and Tee eight.

Although we've tried to explain all that went into the decision - and most of it, they were aware of - they've still been left feeling a little empty.

This weekend has been particularly difficult. We had talked all summer about it. Dea and Darius would both move into their places at UTA and UNT and we would be right there to help. Instead, we moved Dea into his apartment yesterday and he was ready. At lunch, he told me he wasn't nervous at all. That he knew he was going to make it and was excited about all the girls he would meet, I mean, things he would learn. Darius, on the other hand, dropped by this morning picked up the rest of his things and headed off to UNT. And when he left, I cried.

For years, I thought this day would end another way - with pictures, and making beds and parking tickets. Instead, he left to go meet up with his friend and move in on his own. I'm learning, still, that things don't always end like we think they will. That just when you think you're finishing the race, the course can change and your largest hurdle can actually come in the homestretch.

So, tonight when I ran to the grocery store for dinner the difference was immediately evident. A package of six rolls was enough for our family again and the two dozen eggs I was used to buying seemed like way too many. We have some readjusting to do here at the Hill house and, at least for a while, it's going to sound really quiet and smell a little less like teenage boys.

Our prayer for Dea and Darius is that they will learn to love and follow the most faithful Lord who has cared for them and protected them all these years and who promises to never forsake those who trust in Him.

Monday, August 8, 2011



Trey and I had a great week while the kids were at camp. We made a deal, he wouldn't make me cook and I would go to Six Flags and ride the new Texas Giant and the Titan with him. Sometimes, we make sacrifices so that we don't have to stand in front of an oven when its consistently 106 outside.

Earlier in the afternoon of our Six Flags visit, I had enjoyed a glass of wine and some guacamole with a friend. I remembered the guacamole just as we were cresting the first drop of the Titan. I found solace in the fact that I hadn't actually had to make the guacamole that might be making a second appearance.

We were thrilled to have our kids home but definitely enjoyed some time by ourselves. We were able to look across the table from each other often and much and remember what we loved about each other, what a complete thought actually sounds like, and why we do what we do. Maybe more what Trey does and sometimes, I get to be a part.

Admittedly, Trey is really the one in full time ministry here. The things he deals with on a daily basis floor me. When he comes home at night, sometimes, the weight of what he's seen, heard, and experienced really is written all over his face.

And sometimes, the weight of the homemade doughnuts I made "for the children" but managed to eat seven is written on my thighs.


Please. I'm trying to be serious.

The last night before the kids came home - Friday night - Trey and I were on day 6 of "Kids are all at camp. What are we gonna do tonight?" when he threw a curve ball.

There were a handful of people gathering at Mercy Street to pray. We had a little girl - she's 13 - who was pregnant and had scheduled an abortion for 8:00 Saturday morning. Actually, someone had scheduled it for her. But, between fear of that person and fear of losing the life she knew - be it tragic on so many fronts - she was going to be in that waiting room in the morning.

Y'all, I don't get to sit in on a lot of these kinds of spontaneous prayer gatherings because they happen during the workday, or when I'm driving carpool, or when I'm doing the dishes, or if I'm perfectly honest, when I feel like my plate is so full at home that I don't even try.

The weight of what we were praying for was heavy - would the Lord please intervene, please rescue, please change the course of this little girl's life overnight - because one more death of a child wouldn't fix the mess of broken pieces both surrounding her and clattering around in her own heart.

This little girl's mentor and her husband were there. They had called. They've walked with this child for years and now found themselves neck-deep in a trial they hoped would never come and at the same time suspected was inevitable because children in the inner-city grow up too fast. And their mettle was being tested - their promise of "faithfulness to this child" had to slip on flesh and blood in a bad circumstance.

There were no rose colored glasses in this group. They have long since come off. Instead, there was great faith and great heartbreak and great wisdom and in my corner, I'm sad to say, little hope.

Although I've read all summer about Israel and it's lack of faith over and over again in a Lord who parts seas, thwarts nations, and saves children, I doubted. And most recently reading the story of Esther - He worked in the smallest details and through a little orphan girl - to save a nation. But, could He right this?

Why would he right this?

Because He loves her ferociously.`

And He did. That little girl woke up Saturday morning and decided to carry her baby to term within the love and care of a home out-of-town that exists to build into her hope and worth and possibility.

Our continued prayer is that she'll place this baby with adoptive parents and that her entire family, along with all our families, will see and believe the power of redemption.

And my continued prayer is as I get to work alongside Trey in our community, I'll have more opportunities to witness great faith bowing not to impossible circumstances but instead before the One who says, "Be still and know I am God."