This next post is for two people who entered our home, and then our hearts and then our family. We love them every day and are so joyous in looking towards the future God has for them.
I can remember the day you were born. Your dad called me to tell me and I reminded him that it was also my birthday. Immediately you were engraved on my heart, special to me, someone I cared for and worried about.
I wondered at the time if your brother, Cal, would ever get a chance to meet you. It seemed so unlikely as we were all so far apart. I got bits and pieces of information about your life and every time I wondered, how were you doing, so little in the middle of such a mess.
Just three short years later I met you face to face. God had brought you and your mama to Texas and there you were in my house, needing some love for a time while the crisis in your life settled. So we attempted to do that. Love you. And you didn't always make it easy. I remembered a challenge that had come to someone else and heard it for myself, "Can you just love him." And so as best as I could I did.
Our time was short. You were snatched away and our hearts were broken and worried. We prayed for you and hope that we might be given the chance to be let back in. I believed that God had brought you to be a part of our family and I wasn't willing to give up so easily.
In time, you returned. We were overjoyed to have you back in our lives. It was a lot of work, true, but always you have been worth it. Week after week we were allowed to pour into you and try our best to teach you of a Love so far above what we could ever offer. Because we didn't know what the future held, we took each moment with you as it came, wondering if it would be the last.
For about two years we lived this way. Having you visit our lives every week and trying to be a source of stability and love when you were there. I wasn't always perfect at it, often I fell short and wished that I could have loved a little more. During that time we prayed for Jesus to restore your home to a place that would give you the love and support you needed to grow. And we prayed.
Without warning our family of 5 became a family of 7 when you and your mom came to live with us. Our apartment was bursting at the seems and you brought to it a life and love of fun that you obviously get from your brother Cal. It was precious to see how you took to him and I knew that God had meant for you to have that time with him. We worked hard to give you and Ephram a routine that was consistent and yes, it was hard, but we loved having you and loved, again, the chance to pour into you.
For five short months we were your home. I grew to love that you would complain about what I was making for dinner all the while knowing you would love it when it was in front of you. We became Power Ranger fans all over again. You reminded me of Cal when he was your age, so active, so agile and so open to being loved. We read our stories and prayed our prayers with you, investing as if forever, knowing that would not be the case.
And then it happened. You were gone again. My heart was broken, but, in a good way for you. The squabbles with Ephram stopped. The combing your hair. The tucking you in. It all stopped. And while I grieve that you are gone, I rejoice in what God is doing for you.
There are a couple things I want you to know though. First, we still love you. You have a place at our table and a spot in our hearts. Second, more importantly than that, Jesus loves you. He always has and always will. He has been weaving the story of your life through many circumstances. He has a plan for your life that is beyond your comprehension. He is mad about you. If you want adventure DeAndre, go with Jesus, he will take you there. If you want to be great, follow Christ until you know only He is great. Give yourself to him and watch what He will do with you.
DeAndre, we couldn't have imagined how much we would miss you. I still hear your voice through the apartment calling my name, "Miss Kim, Miss Kim..." You brought life and joy to our home and we will never be the same. You taught us much about loving and about being loved.
Life your life sweet boy. Ride your bike and make a new best friend every day. Don't complain too much about brushing your teeth or combing your hair. It's got to be done. And for crying out loud, eat all your lunch, yes, even the crust. And do not forget, even for one second that you are loved by many and our covered in our prayers. It is a joy to watch you grow and I can't wait to hear all about it.
Where to begin? I guess at the beginning. I remember when you first came to our house in Dickinson. I remember thinking immediately that you were one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen. We had been watching DeAndre for you and you came to be with him.
As I observed you and your son, I was aware that you loved him immensely and would do whatever you thought was best for him. You wanted him to have a life that you hadn't had, the love of a mother that you hadn't had. No matter what I thought of the situation, that's what I thought of you, and still do to this day.
You and I have a lot in common. I could tell you stories about myself and you would think they were you. You've lived in my home, you know how alike we are. In some good ways, and in some not so good ways. One way in particular that is similar is how we both grew up knowing of God's love but not really knowing how to experience it for ourselves. I've watched that change in you. I've watched you fall in love with Jesus in a way that I couldn't imagine and I have to tell you, in some ways I'm jealous of the newness you are experiencing with Him.
It's been touch and go for us. I've wanted to lecture so many times but I knew it wouldn't do any good. I've wanted to rush in and fix everything and you have to admit, we gave that a good try and it didn't work. But, all the while, Jesus was working in you and preparing you for what He had in store. I am so thankful that you allowed us to be as close as we have been. I am filled with gratitude that you have trusted us with your precious son. No matter how my heart hurts to let him go, I am so blessed to see what God is doing in you and how He is calling you to be the mother He created you to be.
You've been a good friend to me. You know me well, having lived under my roof. You know how my actual life lines up with what I say I believe and yet, you have loved and trusted us anyway. That means the world to me. Your friendship means the world to me. It was hard to let you go, to go back out there to find your way to Jesus, and I have missed you so, but, what He is doing in you is amazing. I would miss you a thousand times more just to be able to watch the plans He has for you unfold.
I am praying for you. I am praying for you to stick with the amazing love Jesus has poured out on you. I am praying for you to follow His plan and live in the grace He extends to us. I am praying for God to go before you and make a way for you. I know you have questions about what will happen, He's got it. He will take care of you.
No matter what, I will always consider you a part of our family. I hope you feel the same. I know it will change because you don't need us now, but, we'd like to be part of your life nonetheless. We'd like to walk this road with you as much as we can.
Just a couple of months ago you were asking us to do something that we would have done, but believed God wanted for you. I told you then that my prayer was for you to become the woman and mother that God planned for you to be. You couldn't even hope that far ahead at the time. I think you can now though. He's doing it, he's doing an amazing work in you that will change your life forever. I cannot say enough how proud of you I am that you hung in there for that. You have come such a long way in such a short time.
Please know that we love love love you. We are here, however we can be and can't wait to see what the future holds for you. You're amazing Darlene. Don't forget that.