I’m going to show you two pictures and then tell you how they collided with each other in my heart today while I was pulling into the Walmart parking lot. You ready?
Picture #1: (This was a photo of our new-to-us Honda Odyssey)
What you see before you is the result of our major transportation need, 1.5 days of Craig’s life, and a new monthly addition to our required budget plan. We haven’t had a car payment in years and frankly, I don’t like having one now, but I DO like having a van that doesn’t break down every time I pull up to a stop light. This van is 5 years old and it’s awesome. We’re grateful.
Picture #2: (this was a photo of foster parent paperwork)
What you see now was started in May and finished four months later. Foster care paperwork. I just finished filling it all out, got it all signed and ready, and will drop it off tomorrow morning.
So now then, the burning questions are 1)What stopped me from finishing this task in May? 2)What made me pick up the folder today and fill it out as though my life depended on it?
When I went to the 8308 Conference on foster parenting in the spring, the only thing I could think about for weeks and weeks was starting the foster care process and having a baby to take care of by the first of fall. Really, though, I think we want two. Or at least we want to be able to have two if needed. I started praying in the spring that somehow we would end up with a vehicle that seats eight so that we could take two children if needed. I did not know at that time that our van would cease to be drivable by the end of September. I also did not know at that time that my mom would be diagnosed with ALS.
Neither of those things prevented me from filling out the paperwork, but as I was filling it out that night in May, I got stuck on one question. Really, I got lazy on one question. It required more thought than I was prepared to give at that moment in time, so I flung it over to Craig and asked him to finish filling it out. Only he really never had time this summer. We kept saying we’d finish it together on ________ and then ________ would never happen, so we never finished the paperwork. And, honestly, my emotional capacity was pretty spent this summer. I’m not sure I really had it in me to follow through with anything of major importance during those months.
And then I started seeing various Oklahoma City Foster Parent All-Stars around town and I’d know that they knew that we started the process and I’d avoid making eye contact with them when possible so as not to have to answer the “So how’s your foster care process coming?” question. In truth, they weren’t heaping guilt on me, but I felt it nonetheless.
And gradually the sense of urgency just faded. I misplaced the paperwork and people would ask me about it and I’d just shrug and say, “Oh, you know, we got busy and…”
But today. Today we bought a new van. This van seats eight. All the other vehicles we considered this week seat seven and I’d just resigned myself to the fact that we simply couldn’t afford to get a vehicle that seats eight. But then Craig found this one and you know, I asked how many people would fit in it and he told me and I was glad, but I couldn’t remember why.
I. Couldn’t. Remember. Why.
This afternoon, some three hours after dubbing the van Ollie the Odyssey and signing our names in blood on the contract, I was headed to Walmart. I’m working on another donation drive for kids and needed to go get some supplies for it today. While I was pulling into the Walmart parking lot I thought of the kids we’re gathering donations for. I then thought of all the kids in foster care again. I then looked around me at the new-to-us van I was driving. And I remembered why I was glad the van seated eight.
It was right there in the parking lot I felt the very voice of God say, “Tap, tap, tap, is this thing on? Megan? Remember why you wanted an eight-seater van? Remember that stack of foster care paperwork you started back in May? You now own an eight-seater van! What in the world are you waiting on?”
It was like being blind-sided by a truth so pressing I almost didn’t even go into Walmart. I almost went home right away to finish what I’d started back in May. But I pulled into the parking spot anyway, sent Craig a text about feeling this NEED to finish the paperwork today now that we have transportation for the kids we’re hoping to help, did my shopping, went home, and spent the rest of the afternoon working on all the tough questions – the ones that were so difficult I wanted Craig to take care of. We went somewhere this evening, but when we got back I went straight back to the stack – I needed Craig’s signature on a lot of things and, by golly, I was going to get it. Tonight.
And you know what? Those hard questions I was nervous to answer by myself really weren’t that hard. I think it took me less than an hour to fill out the short answer “thinking” portion of the application. And after finishing the job I shook my head at myself and wondered why I didn’t feel I could do that in May.
We may never really know, but I have to believe the timing of everything here isn’t coincidental. I don’t believe for a second that God hasn’t called us to care for orphans in some capacity. I do believe that perhaps our original timeline wasn’t exactly right, but now is.
Sometimes truth backs right up into you in the Walmart parking lot and leaves a dent so noticeable you can’t help but be changed by it.