Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve.
Mercy is when He doesn't give us what we do deserve.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The road to wisdom

"I just love your wisdom..."

"You are so wise, you should hold a discussion group..."

"I see wisdom growing in you..."

It seems lately that almost anyone I spend a significant amount of time in conversation with eventually says something about my wisdom or how wise I am.  I kind of thank them for their kind words but beyond that it just kind of frustrates me.  I don't feel wise.  I don't think that I have a ton of wisdom.  In fact, I just don't see in myself what they apparently see in me.  It's not that I don't think it's there... I mean obviously after multiple people have said it to me I can admit that they are all seeing something in me that I am missing.

Two weeks ago, my friend Shannon contacted me.  It had been a few months since we had done more than the quick Facebook catch up on each other's lives, so I settled in for a long chat.  I congratulated her on having 3 young children placed with her for Foster care and she updated me that she was almost ready to adopt them.  I was very excited for her.  I know how strongly she felt she would have more kids and God found a way to fulfill that in her life.  When we got around to talking about jobs she shared with me that she is almost finished writing the business plan for an orphanage/ group home and in January she plans to start applying for grants to fund it.  She is really feeling this is where God is calling her.  I was flooded with this indescribable mixture of joy, pride and excitement for her.

She then told me something that has stuck with me and that has really been weighing on my heart.  She said that when she thinks about this, the only person she know for sure she wants working with her is me.  Me?  Seriously?  Yep- Me.  She loves my wisdom, my heart for children and the compassionate way I offer counseling.  Wow.  She said she just keeps coming back to me and that at first I would be working with the kids in a sort of counseling/care-giver role but since it would be the early days it would also involve doing a bit of whatever needed to get done.

At first I was really excited.  I mean, it came completely out of nowhere but it seems like the perfect melding of my work counseling troubled teens and basically raising kids for the last (nearly)7 years.  When I think of the genuine needs of these kids she would be reaching, I am filled with awe that I would get to bring them healing & love.  The thought of less pay (because I am fairly certain this would be less pay) barely gave me pause.  What I have instead been hung up on is self-doubt.  I can recognize my limitations, I know that I only have my BA.  I know that I am snappy when over tired.  I know how deeply I am wounded by injustices done to kids.  I know all the nights I sat up crying in outrage for the teens I used to counsel.  I know the nightmares I used to have for weeks (and occasionally still do) after reading the case files of how they were beaten, molested, sold for drugs or whatever their personal histories were.

So now, I sit here feeling like she has more faith in me than I have in myself, and yet...

I know that if she gets the funding and this becomes a reality I will go.  I know that while the Robbs may think they need me, these kids actually need me.  I know that I would pour everything I had to give into them and be blessed beyond measure by simply having had the opportunity to do so.  I know that I have a heart for kids and it will break me in beautiful yet painful ways.  I know the power of a loving adult in an orphan's life because my Mom's parents were both killed when she was one.  I know that while I am aware of my limitations, it is within those limitations that God can work his greatest miracles.  I know I will go and somehow the less money, the self doubts, the whatever elses really don't matter.  Bringing healing, giving love, sharing joy, offering security.... that's what matters.

When the time comes, I will go.

And maybe, at the end of the day, that is it's own kind of wisdom...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Unexpected blessings



"Oh yeah, our system is down, we can't process debit purchases, you have to do it as credit."



The manager comes over and tries to run a system over-ride.



So, they suspend the transaction and move it up to customer service.  I am on my phone texting Carley to let her know that the card is being declined.  She is in a case, so she can't really help me out.  She does tell me it is a new card and they just activated it yesterday but there should be plenty of money available.  I tell the manager I was fairly certain I had plenty of money in the account but I could see if Jeremy would transfer more.

"It's not declining you for lack of funds.  The system is not able to recognize that the card is a debit/credit card.  It would be like trying to buy your groceries with an iTunes card."

OH.  Crap.  Now what?  How much cash do I have on me?  I just ordered a bunch of stuff because I get paid on Friday, how much money do I have in my account?  Can I pay for it and have them pay me back?

After dropping Hailey off at school Monkey and I ran to the grocery for Carley.  He happily pushed his mini cart around and helped find the groceries in the store.  We didn't have much to get.  He happy waved at everyone else in the store and chattered with the workers.

The whole time I was dealing with the inability of the card to process, he was playing quietly beside me.  Which was a blessing.  Murphy's law would have you believe this is when he would be acting up and adding to the stress of the situation.  So, I was very thankful for this huge blessing.

Little did I know an even bigger blessing was about to occur, and isn't that the best kind of blessing?  The kind of blessing you don't expect or even see coming.  Those blessings that take you completely by surprise and have you walking away with a smile.  What I didn't know was that the woman in the check out lane behind me was about to buy the groceries for me.  I never could have anticipated the feeling of wonder that washed over me as she handed the cashier her card and told me she wanted to buy my groceries.

She explained that last week she had the same thing happen with her card while she was at a gas station and a gentleman came over swiped his card and told her to fill her tank.  I asked her if I could get her address and send her a check because we had plenty of money in the account, but she declined and asked for a hug instead.

Her parting words were, "We're all in this together and have to look out for each other.  Next time you see someone in need help them instead of thanking me."

Pay it forward.

Every once in a while God surprises me and I walk away feeling like I just received a giant hug.  That was what happened to me today.  There was no reason for Carley's card not to work but the blessing wouldn't have been possible any other way.