Redefining Normal

A normal Saturday for us is waking up around 8, enjoying breakfast together & cleaning the house while the kids play with their toys. Then, we decide what we're doing that day & go about our business of shopping, going to the park or out to eat. While those days of rest and relaxation are great, 50+ weekends a year of this routine can result in a nice, shiny bubble of a lifestyle. Before we realize it, we can lose sight of our purpose. If I'm not careful, what I intend for family bonding time could be sheltering us from seeing families or children who are longing for love and community.

Our church extended me the opportunity to host a Christmas craft at a local children's emergency shelter this weekend & I said yes without hesitation. I was thrilled to do it ... spending time loving on kids that need it & allowing my own children the opportunity to do the same - absolutely!

It worked out perfectly, as I had been praying for a specific need to land in my lap that I could bless with part of the proceeds from our Love Writes A Beautiful Story tee. The children lacked a creative art space/supplies, so it was wonderful to be able to supply them with basic art necessities that they should have. We gifted them individual journals to be able to write letters, sketch, draw ... every single one of the kids was thrilled to have their own personal book. I am so grateful to each of you who have been a part of this LOVE movement - the kids were blessed, no doubt.

So, the Christmas candy cane craft was a hit, the stockings the church gifted them were a fun surprise & the art supplies we stocked them with were are all wonderful & as expected, we left planning on returning again next month. 

Now, here's what I did not expect ...

I did not expect children who are subjects of domestic violence, children who aren't loved by their own mother/father, children who have been exposed to drugs & children who have been abandoned and neglected to love & embrace MY KIDS so beautifully.

The minute we walked in, one specific 9 year old boy came over to Noah and with a huge smile on his face, wrapped his arm around my son & said "Hello, friend! I am so excited you're here to spend time with me!" He looked at me and asked if I'd like to sit down & showed me where the coffee was in case I "get a little thirsty". Talk about a warm welcome to a home he & his four other siblings have been living in for a month now. He and several other little girls embraced my children and made them feel so at home ... so much so, my kids had the "most fun ever" and can't wait to go back!

When I told this particular little boy we'd see him next month, he said "I won't be here but know I will miss you." My heart.

My heart literally bleeds for kids who are neglected and unwanted by their own flesh & blood. It wrecks me TO THE CORE. I can't handle it, I lose sleep, I randomly cry thinking about it, I want to save them and fix their situations ....... but I can't. I feel helpless & it kills me knowing I may never know what happens to this little boy and his siblings, along with all the other sweet kids we loved on this weekend. 

While I can not make the realities of this sinful world disappear, I can deliver a message of hope. That God can restore brokenness, that He's in the MIDDLE of the brokenness as I so beautifully witnessed this weekend. Pain, suffering and hurt are no strangers to these children, yet the love they poured out on us was as if their circumstances did not define them. What a glorious experience it was for my heart to see God ever present in the midst of darkness. That it is imperative for our lives to do the good work, to get our hands dirty, let our hearts ache ... when you're in the middle of it it feels so right & that's because it is. That is what He's called us as believers to do. To extend ourselves to those who need us because in the end, we need them just as much. That's where we SEE God in all His glory. - Vanessa x