Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vaughn Party of 6

Monday was a big day.  We were able to see God's mighty hand put the finishing touches on His masterpiece, which we lovingly call our family.  He has been knitting together every detail of Monday, since the beginning of time.  But we have been able to see Him work through many people and circumstances since we have been in WV.

It is no secret that life in WV has had it's challenges.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has turned out like we thought it would.  But we are finally in a place where we can see how God has used every last story, detail, and heartache to mold us together into what He has wanted for us here.

Let me start by saying that foster care and adoption were never on our radar as a married couple.  I would read stories and meet families, and deep down want to be a part of something greater.  Rob had always said NO with a resounding exclamation point at the end.  So I honored his feelings and never pursued it any more.  Little did we know that God was working something very different for our family.

When we visited WV in November 2015, we met this sweet young lady who was living with the family we would eventually move to work with.  She was not shy.  She just ran right up and introduced herself as Zoe.  Once we moved here, we began to build a relationship with her.  My parents came to visit several times, and they grew to love her, too.  She was so talented and had a wonderful personality, but you could see she was just trapped in the pain of the past.  She stayed with us often, helping us with events we would host or just to get a pep talk to get through a tough time.  Zoe had been through a lot in her short life.  She was very open about her story, and her struggles.  But there came a time that her struggles began to overcome her.  Almost a year later, we were given opportunity for her to come live with us.  Through much prayer, and a lot of details that God orchestrated {I'll save those for another post}, she moved in December 10, 2016.

Our family was a bit more strict than she was used to.  She had a lot of work ahead of her.  Her grades were not what they should have been.  She really was just skating by in all aspects of life.  We began to really pray for her, and for our family to love her like Jesus loves us and her.  It was a big transition for all of us.  She was once the oldest growing up, then moved into a home where she was a middle child, then became the oldest again when she moved in our house.  This was not cool with our younger members.  The kids had a hard time all finding their places.

As the months went on, we saw a young lady emerge with confidence, self-worth, and amazing grades.  She has just blossomed into a wonderful young lady.  While we still struggle with teenage behaviors from both of our oldest children, and middle school madness with SaraGrace, God has brought peace and unity into a previously chaotic situation.  We give Him all the glory.

Zoe had the decision of whether she wanted to be adopted or for us to do legal guardianship.  She chose guardianship, and we were finally able to close that chapter Monday.  As we were preparing for that day, we were talking about a verse to use for her story, and our story as a family.  We all know that only GOD could bring us together in the way He did, and we wanted Him to get all of the glory.  So we chose Psalms 147:3.  "He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds." Zoe, along with all of our family, has been brokenhearted.  When I think over the past six years, and the heartache we have experienced both at home with losing a child, nearly losing a marriage, fighting God over full time ministry, and moving here with everything to lose, I am overwhelmed by His goodness.  He is faithful to work it all for our good.  And we experienced that Monday.  Zoe has experienced a broken heart through foster care and being separated from her siblings, but we have seen God binding up those wounds.  While it doesn't completely take away the hurt, or remove the memories we have, it does remind us that we have a Savior who loves us, and wants only the best for us.

Our preacher preached on walking in God's favor Sunday.  One of the points he made was that in order to walk in God's favor, we have to delight in suffering for Christ's sake.  He was preaching on Acts 9.  This hit home for me.  It seems like things have been super hard since surrendering to ministry, but it's not for nothing.  Foster Care with a teenager has been hard.  Something Pastor Steve said has helped me make sense of so many things.  He said if you want to serve Christ, you're going to suffer.  But the suffering you endure begins to make sense.  Only after Jesus was broken on the cross, could he raise from the dead and offer salvation.  Only after the grain is crushed, can it bring forth bread.  Only after Jacob's hip was broken, could he be called Israel.  Without brokenness, we get puffed up with pride, and give ourselves the glory.  It's only after the suffering can we be who God called us to be.

While we know we are NEVER immune to suffering, I believe with all my heart that suffering for all of our family, including Zoe, is working to mold us to be more like Jesus.

Foster care and adoption are both truly a picture of the love of Christ.  To love someone with all of your heart, knowing they may not choose you or love you in return.  It's learning daily forgiveness, putting others needs before your own, and seeing people like Jesus sees them.  It's loving someone, who can be difficult to love because they are so hurt and scared.  It's being pushed away, tried in the fire, and fighting a broken system.  I've done a lot of hard things in my life, and this has been no exception.  But when I think of how Jesus loves me, and what He gave so I might live, I am just thankful He allowed us to be a part of this story. When I see Zoe become victorious over the struggles that once consumed her, I'm so grateful to God that He loves us all so much!  I'm so thankful that He gave us another daughter, and I can't wait to see how He continues to grow us all.  There is absolutely no doubt that God sent us to WV to make Zoe part of our family.  While nothing else has made sense, this does.  I will share the not so little details in an upcoming post.  You will truly be amazed at God's favor and goodness.

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