Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: love

Good Bye Baby Boy

Our foster son left us yesterday [on June 12, 2013].

It was a whirlwind from the anticipated moment we received the email and confirmation phone call from our agency that it was time to head to the Bronx medical office for his final physical to the emotionally-charged moment we handed him over to his new guardians in an overcrowded conference room at our agency. I was teary through those final, rushed, chaotic moments and now the apartment feels so much quieter, so still, without him here. PIE misses her companion and playmate, and both Mike and I woke this morning at 5am to find the crib at the foot of our bed empty.

Empty is a good way to describe how I feel.

Fostering has required everything.  Everything. We’ve poured our hearts and energy into caring for this little boy, and for our first foster daughter, too. We’ve said “no,” to opportunities and to going out because either it’s been too difficult to get a background approved sitter, or we were too tired to get out the door.  We’ve lived in chaos and built our family rhythm and weekly schedule around the foster kids’ visitation appointments. And while we hope that God may build our family through fostering, we’re also well aware of the privileged role we play in these children’s lives as stewards and care-takers, providing a safe, loving home for as long as they need the respite from whatever brokenness and chaos surrounds their family of origin.

It’s not easy. But it was the right thing for us to do at just the right time.  And as this year has reaffirmed to me, sometimes walking by faith means following God down unexpected pathways.  In January, that unexpected pathway included parenting three children under 10 months old.

Today I walked into my bedroom and it occurred to me that I had just done something I hadn’t been able to do for 6 months. Yes, I simply walked into my room whenever I wanted to. A baby has been napping and sleeping in there since January so even little daily routines like showering in my bathroom, drying my hair, getting dressed in my room, putting laundry away, making my bed, all of those “normal” tasks only had small windows of opportunity for completion before the room needed to be a silent haven for a little one.

We’re now just a family of 3, of 4 if you include our pug Frannie. It’s been six months since it’s been just us, and boy-oh-boy have I learned a ton about love, service, sacrifice, putting others’ needs ahead of my own, joy, delight and watching someone grow healthy and strong as a direct result of our love and care.  Such demanding needs and such rewarding love.

I’m in a flurry of cleaning and sorting laundry and switching our wardrobes from winter wear to summer clothes.  I have time for that now.  My thoughts keep drifting to our foster son, hoping he’s laughing and adjusting well to his new home.

One of my daily prayers for PIE is that she’d grow up healthy, happy and hopeful.  As I pray over her, I pray the same prayers for our foster son and foster daughter, those two precious children who now live in very different circumstances.  May God’s kindness protect them, keeping them safe from harm and allowing their sweet personalities to flourish and find a home in Him.  Though they won’t remember us, we won’t be same because of them.

Originally written on June 13, 2013, but not posted until August 8, 2013.

Good Bye Baby Girl

I knew it would be hard.  That’s one of the reasons I never dreamed being a foster parent.  But as I live the wonderfully unexpected life I never could’ve imagined on my own, I’ve also opened myself up to the joys and pains I never anticipated.  Mike once told me that my joys can only go as high as my lows go low.  Highs and lows.  I’ve hit both ends of the spectrum several times this year.

Foster Baby #1 (“Baby Girl B”)  joined our family on January 5, 2013.  She brought joy, laughter, smiles and giggles.  Her cheerful disposition and tender heart made it easy for her to make a home in our hearts.  In the heart of everyone who met her, actually.  Even the ladies who work the nursery at church fell blissfully under the charismatic charms of Baby Girl B.

She left our arms an hour ago and is on her way right now to live with her extended family.  I’m hopefully that they will love her and nurture her sweet spirit to maturity while cultivating her delightful sense of humor and tenderness towards others.  She’s 9months old today.

But right now my heart is broken with her absence.  I knew it would be hard to care for someone else’s child while they get healthy, but we felt called to take such a bold step.  I just didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love, nor did I expect it to hurt this much to say good bye to Baby Girl B.

Oh Lord protect her.  Keep her safe in the years to come.  May her sweet smile remain innocent and joyful.  Protect her from evil and harm, and may her resilience and buoyant attitude keep her above the dangers of this city. As she grows, may her light shine brighter, reflecting Your love.  Thank You for the privilege of loving her and caring for her.  I know that You understand the pain of loving a child and giving them up.  Please speak peace to my heart, and guard sweet Baby Girl B.

Restoration

It seems like God called us to live our life out loud, encouraging others from the circumstances and events that challenge us to love and trust Him more deeply.

Sarah shared our experience of God’s overwhelming grace through infertility, our miscarriage and adopting Phoebe at a Cru Campus Christmas conference in Baltimore before New Years Eve, and we were surprised by how our message of restoration resonated with the 1000 students and staff in the room.  Sarah talked about brokenness, living in “the now and the not yet,” and looking to Jesus as our ultimate healer.

RADIATE 2012 – Sarah Evers from Mid-Atlantic Cru on Vimeo.

Your prayers and giving enable us to tell people in New York City and around the world how Jesus restores and transforms lives. Thank you for your partnership.

Foster Family

fosterparentimageIt’s taken nearly a year to get to this point, but we can now announce, “We’re foster parents!”

This wasn’t an adventure I ever imagined or dreamed of.  In my mind, people who foster children are much more kind, compassionate, tender, gentle and caring than I am.  Not that these aren’t adjectives that describe me, but they certainly aren’t the first ones that come to mind when I think of myself (I think of strategic, dreamer, get-er-done-er, and communicator).  But God started a work in both Mike’s heart and mine after we moved to New York City two years ago.  Last year we took our first step towards fostering, and now we’re living it out.  It feels good to follow God in joyful obedience.

While we hope God will use foster care to build our family, we realize that the goal of the foster care system is reunification.  Our role is to provide a safe and loving place for a child while the family “gets better, healthier”.

Saturday night our first foster baby arrived, a 7 month old baby girl.  We love having her with us and she’s a cheery baby with a lot to say!

Thursday night our second foster baby arrived, a 6 month old baby boy.  We are quite taken with him and so honored to host him.  He, too, is a smiley babe.

Our Cutie PIE is doing well with her new friends.  She reaches out to play with the babies and seems to enjoy them.  Mike and I make sure we each get some good one on one time with her, too.

Yes, having three babies under the age of one AND a puppy makes life really full, and our small apartment is really full, too.  My sister spent the last two nights with us to help out, as we’re getting our systems down.  This isn’t a typical or normal placement situation in the foster system: we were given an exception to be able to care for these two additional babies, and while it is extra work, we felt like God clearly led us to take them both*.

Are we crazy?  Perhaps.  But following God sometimes means walking down unexpected pathways… and we trust our relentlessly affectionate God!  Amen!

 

*Legally we are not able to share case details.  Each child (and their family) deserves privacy and respect as they work towards reunification.  We will not post pictures of our foster babies, nor will we answer personal questions about them.  But we welcome your prayers for their health, safety and care, and the same for their families!

WHO not WHAT: Resolutions 2012

It’s the beginning of January 2012, so I suppose I ought to write about resolutions, fresh starts and all that.  But I don’t feel like it.  I did that last year.

Rather than exploring my yearnings for a svelte figure or organized and clutter-free living, I’d rather write about WHO I hope to be in 2012 rather than WHAT I want to do. I’m back at the be vs. do challenge around which my life often circles.

Who do I want to be this year? Me, but a growing version of me: ever learning, exploring and creating.

I want to walk in greater avenues of humility with a tender heart, asking for forgiveness, and offering it without being asked.

I want to be a woman who doesn’t hold grudges, nor thinks more highly of herself than she does of others.

I want to be a woman who says “yes,” to new friends, experiences, challenges and opportunities.

I want be a woman who doesn’t “should” on herself: I want to cease making oppressive, unrealistic expectations for my character, behavior, appearance, accomplishments, and anecdotes.

I want to be a woman who lives in the freedom of grace and extends it to others.  I want to be a woman who gives herself and others room to breathe.

It sounds like this is my 2012 manifesto.  As with the resolutions regarding behavior changes, this manifesto of ME development will need accountability, action steps and goals which are broken into achievable tasks.

Did I just turned my WHO into a WHAT resolution?  Maybe that’s just part of who I am.

Small Steps to the Homeless Shelter

The roasted vegetables smelled really good.  I’d been standing behind the serving counter for an hour picking up clean plates from my left, scooping out a generous spoonful of those veggies and passing the plate to the person on my right who filled the rest of the plate with spaghetti.  It smelled really good.  I was hungry.

He was hungry.  His back was slightly bent.  He hadn’t shaved for a while.  It was a cold day, but he didn’t have a warm coat on.  He came to the homeless shelter at the same time everyday, and stood in the same line which wound around the building.  He was a regular, and he knew that hungry men like himself were allowed into the dining room in shifts so that there was room for everyone to sit down in a warm place to eat.

I was hungry.  He was hungry. But I wasn’t as hungry as he was.  Looking him in the eye, I acknowledged his dignity and greeted him with a smile and an overflowing plate of roasted vegetables and spaghetti.

There’s something good about serving alongside your staff and students when you aren’t wearing the hat of leader or director.  It puts everyone on an even level and let’s face it, there’s something about looking hungry people in the eye and handing them something hot to eat that removes any sense of hubris.

Wikipedia, that vast bastion of ever evolving information, says, “Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving your life to something you believe free of pay.”

at the Rescue Mission

I agree, but I’d also add that when campus ministers and ministry leaders put our love in action by serving alongside of our students, we demonstrate the Gospel in a deeper way.  With over 300 verses in the Bible about the poor, social justice, and God’s concern for both, putting my faith in action seems like a reasonable act of worship.

For years I’ve thought about volunteering on a regular basis.  I had a roommate four years ago who spent one night a week in a local soup kitchen.  I didn’t even know that our small city had a soup kitchen.  As I watched her go week after week, I thought about how she put her faith in action so well.  I put my faith in words very well, but I felt a great divide between my words and deeds.  I justified my lack of intentional effort to serve others by my full time ministry role (unpredictable hours, seasons of craziness, I’m already trying to meet the spiritual needs of so many), but lots of people experience similar work stresses and still find time to help people.

This fall I’ve volunteered at a homeless shelter and a warehouse with supplies for the underprivileged.  Yes, it takes a bit of time to get there, and I have to say “no” to other great opportunities to keep those time slots open.  But those few hours spent serving people in need (people in REAL need) while connecting with my students have given me some sweet gifts and insights.  I walk away so grateful for how faithfully God has provided for me.  I walk away with a full heart of worship, having had my heart touched by compassion.  I walk away knowing that someone else’s hard life was made just a little sweeter because of those few hours.  I walk away with a greater appreciation for the decisions my students make to be there every month, and I get to know my students in a different context.

What’s the next step? I want to model servant leadership by helping “the least of these” without an agenda to advance my own purposes.  For me, it’s to commit to a monthly time to serve at the homeless shelter.  I’d like to make it weekly like my former roommate, but I’ll start with small steps.

What about you?

Earlier that first volunteer day I almost backed out of going to the homeless shelter.  “I’m just so tired,” I thought as the time flashed up that strange greenish color on the microwave clock.  I didn’t know if I had the energy to make the subway trek down to the Bowery Mission.  Enough of our students said they wanted to volunteer at the soup kitchen to serve meals to homeless men that I didn’t think it would make a difference if I showed up.

But it did.  It made a big difference.  To him, to my students, and to me.

 

originally posted on the CruPressGreen Campus Ministry Blog on 15 December 2011

Prayers for Ivanka

“I saw your update on facebook.  Are all of your dreams coming true?”

A friend asked this when she saw a picture of me with Ivanka Trump on facebook. But before I tell you that story, let me give you a little background…

Ivanka Trump and the Evers

In May 201o I felt like God invited me into a time of asking Him for specific things, and really persisting in prayer (read that blog entry here).  At the time I had recently read Ivanka Trump’s book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, and walked away wondering how she turned out so well in comparison to other young women of privilege in New York and Hollywood who make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  So I started to pray for her daily.  Yes, daily.  I thought God was asking me to pray for Ivanka Trump everyday. (My mom prays for her every Saturday.)

I prayed daily for a long time, but I’ll be honest, I started to lag in endurance.  I’m not very persistent, so this was a good exercise to keep me focused and stretch my capacity.  But ten months after the commitment, I was probably down to a few times a week, prompted by watching Celebrity Apprentice or catching her tweets on Twitter.

All that changed last week! While watched the 250th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the upper east side of Manhattan, I got a text message from a friend telling me that Ivanka Trump was at Macy’s in Herald Square to promote her new shoe line, and the first 200 people in line could have their photo taken with her!  Knowing I was praying for her, he and his wife stepped in line to hold a spot for me.  But that meant I had 30 minutes to make it from the upper east side to Herald Square. That’s not a lot of time during the St. Patrick’s celebration in Manhattan!

But we made it!  I arrived and we were nearly next in line.  As I thought through witty introduction banter, I was thrown off when one of the body guards snapped at me saying, “No touching!”  Startled, I meekly walked over to Ms. Trump, who is a tall, beautiful woman (and six months pregnant?!  I didn’t see a baby-bump!).  I was star-struck and very careful to not touch her, and she towered over me with her stiletto heals.  I felt small next to Ivanka Trump, who was fresh-faced and lovely.  Macy’s even had a fan blowing to keep her cool under the photographer’s lights.  I felt all the grime of a long day in the City cling to my now-tired appearance as my rehearsed witty banter faded from memory.

She kindly chatted with me for a few seconds before our photo was taken and then I heard the guard bark, “No touching!” to the person in line behind me.

Sisappointed that I didn’t talk with her (and only smiled or nodded), I asked Mike to stand in line with me to have another picture taken with her.  Now that I knew the routine, I could try to share something significant with her.  After our photo was snapped (of course, Mike was ready with witty banter about people wearing green), I made eye contact with Ms. Trump and told her that I pray for her nearly every day.  She said, “I appreciate that.  I really do.”  Sincerely.

So, what do I pray when I pray for Ms. Trump?  I pray for faithfulness and fidelity in her marriage to Jared Kushner.  I pray for her growing business empire, that she’d lead with grace, wisdom, insight, justice and moral integrity.  I pray for safety in her pregnancy and for this little life she carries within her.  I ask God to reveal Himself to her and that she’d have a growing spiritual hunger.

OK, i’m a little nervous about  posting this… I mean, I’m not some dangerous stalker, and I don’t want to get on her security people’s radar.  There’s only so much “No touching!” I can handle.   But maybe you’ll join me in praying for Ivanka Trump as well.