Yesterday morning at Crawford Avenue Baptist Church, we studied Psalm 78, specifically the call to turn our ears to our responsibility to guide the next generation to hope in Christ and to teach and disciple our children in the Word. We were reminded each of our lives has a story — a small part of a larger story God has already written. I am continually in awe how God has and continues to use brothers and sisters in Christ to share their stories of The Lord’s faithfulness, ultimately pointing all the glory and honor to Jesus. The Lord is perfect in every way and has shown us that in so many ways.
During service Dan, a father of three, was sharing his experience with their youngest son, Branch. Branch’s first year of life was very touch-and-go. They spent countless days in the hospital and visited various medical professionals. My eyes welled with tears hearing him talk about the great distinction between the doctors they saw who knew the Lord and those who didn’t. When Branch hit a new milestone it was either “God’s provision” and “an answered prayer” from those who knew the Lord or “he got lucky” from those who’s hope wasn’t in Christ. Though we don’t have a special needs or medically fragile child to personally relate to this situation it was a beyond perfect illustration of life in Christ. We have faced so many mixed feelings about the Crowns and Crosses House’s purpose… but what a sweet reminder again we are only a small story within the bigger story of what Christ has done and is going to do.
By the grace of God we have been able to pursue something that was at one time was only a figment of imagination. When Luke and I started dating we talked about children and what we imaged that season of life to look like… Luke very seriously shared about the foster system. How he at 19 years old looked into what it took to be a foster parent and shared the incredible need in the foster system. When we moved into our first home as newlyweds we had one additional bedroom with an open floor plan. We often talked about how that home was bigger than we ever imagined being in — we could have plenty of children there, however, working with DFCS we had other guidelines to abide by.
During our few years on Beman we prayed for community to move into the area, specifically on our street. So, when anyone was ever somewhat interested we would start looking at houses, contact our real estate friend, and go with them to shed light on the potential of these homes! (It wasn’t always easy to see! ;)) One weekend, Luke and myself went with my in-laws and some close friends of ours to a house that seemed like it was falling apart but it was so beautiful. It was huge and had so much potential. It was on the street we lived on so that was a huge plus. Everyone else left thinking it was too much work or too big or just “not what we are looking for” while in the back of my mind, I was tearful thinking about a missed opportunity… what if our family moved here?! I felt crazy because it was so much more than we every imagined needing. I casually talked to Luke about it and simply prayed the Lord would use that home for His glory on a street that is so broken and dark. Fast forward a few months later in February of 2016… We bought a house! A big, messy house that had not been lived in for almost 10 years.
Over the last few months I have joyfully run into a handful of old friends whom I didn’t realize have followed our journey on social media or here, on the blog. Each one expressed their thankfulness and celebrated in excitement with me as we ride this roller coaster of emotions with the foster system, lots of transitions, and embracing these fleeting seasons of life. It’s been a journey of patience as we wait for the Lord to guide our steps for this home. Months of sitting and not seeing progress but witnessing God put this house on hearts of believers across the nation. They were actively praying for this tireless renovation process and our growing family, responding to the call to help financially, laborers donating their time while others donated materials, offering a word of encouragement… the list goes on! We praise God for the Body of Christ.
Our DFCS case worker visited a few weeks ago for our yearly re-evaluation! While here, she asked about the house and it’s progress. Luke joyfully shared, if all goes smoothly, we plan to move in around Thanksgiving time!!! That being said, we have been praying for what the next step with DFCS looks like.
In April, we attended an adoption convention called “Be the Light” hosted in Augusta by Georgia DFCS. Each region of the state was represented along with some adoption agencies. Each region represented ALL the children who are in the foster system, who have achieved termination of parental rights (TPR), and currently do not have a plan for adoption. We were by far the youngest couple walking through this large room watching case workers happily yet desperately pleading their child’s case. Luke and I were familiar with the website showcasing the children who need a home. We were thankful to have met case workers of children whom we’ve been praying for for years as well as those of new. As we walked around the room we prayed for our future children who would one day call the Crowns and Crosses House “home”. We walked out of the convention center in near tears thinking about the 100+ kids who need to be adopted. Thinking about Angel, an 8-year-old girl who has been in the system for at least three years and has been separated from her three sisters due to her medical needs… waiting for a home (she was the first one we tried to pursue when we became approved adoptive parents but the Lord had other plans for that season and placed the twins with us). Zion, a 13-year-old boy who has been in the system for TWELVE years. Kaydanna, a 10-year-old girl who has been in the system for 3 years waiting for a family to love and care for her… the list goes on for pages and pages.
We are grateful for the space the Lord is providing for these children. Thankful for the community that has witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness and has been spiritually strengthened through this process of renovations. Praising the Lord for what He has already provided (you can see progress here and here) as we lift our hands in prayer for what we still need to complete renovations.
In the last few weeks we have been able to physically watch a structure of a house be shaped and built up again. It’s such a beautiful mess. Over the last 2 weeks the house has been sided with vinyl siding, windows installed, and we have a back door!!! As we work to complete the sides of the house we will prepare to lay a metal roof then we will have a completely weather-proofed home!! All while over the last few months inside all the downstairs framing is complete, the subfloor upstairs is laid (as of Friday! — we replaced ALL the downstairs and upstairs floor joists), and they will finish framing the upstairs bedrooms in the coming week or so! Following the completion of outside work and framing upstairs we will be able to start plumbing and electrical!!!! The excitement is uncontainable!
We cannot wait to see how the Lord opens (and closes) doors over the course of the next few weeks to months as we prepare to welcome our new children. Below are a few, recent photos of our beautiful mess.