The Precious Little Things!
As Rachael reached up to take my hand, tiny fingers wrapping around my finger, I realized I would never have this moment again. My throat closes with the prick of this bittersweet memory. The yellow-bellied sun sinking into the blue horizon turned to flame while soft waves played their melodic tune on white shores. My eyes beheld too much translucent beauty. I was overwhelmed with the sensations. I truly felt a part of the divine – the veil had dropped & I got a glimpse of how God must see things. So it was with most of the trip in Florida. I was aware, thankful, hope & joy – filled!
Daily life has sucked out some of the luster of those two weeks. I have allowed it to beat me about the brow a bit. But, those memories still haunt. They play deeply on the cords of my heart, grasping & holding fast to what really matters.
I have worked with the Scalf Family for five years. I have helped raise the three youngest children. I have been given the deep privilege of being a “Mom” to six beautiful children. I am not sure if Amy even fully realizes what that privilege has afforded me. She has allowed me to love her children the way she would love them without selfishness or resentment. It is a beautiful sacrifice.
I have also gained two amazing people in my life. I have the honor of being both friend & family to Dave & Amy. It is a rich mystery how people can be woven through your tapestry. It is as if God interweaved these lives into mine so deeply that there will ever be a slight tug there.
And, I have been lamenting; thinking & pondering. Life is a great mystery. We struggle & fight against change, but it is necessary. It is the hand of providence that walks us down this road & no heartache, no joy, no deep ache, nor touch of grace is in our lives without purpose. And yes, I have been thinking of change.
There is a good chance I will soon have a different role in the Scalf family. I don’t know what the shape of it will look like. My heart will pull. It might even tear a bit. There will be tears & adjustments will be made. There will be a “this will never be the same” moment. It will be hard, but good.
The change I am speaking of is the possible job opportunity with the ACS Hope Lodge. And, as I hope beyond hope & pray for wisdom my memories go back to bare toes on smooth sand & tiny fingers grasping mine & I smile. I smile because I know. The love for these children, of these children, does not dissipate with change. If anything it grows stronger, takes on a new form, moves into what God knows it should.
I have been reading old blog posts. Between the pondering & the reading I realized I have not written about my children as I do every year. I initially intended to wait until Rachael was adopted, but I feel the time is now.
My Prayer Journal: Lord, I love hear heart! I love the way she ministers to people. How unafraid she is to put her heart on the line again & again! I pray you guide her sweet emotions & fortify her into the captivating woman you want her to be! Love her Lord. Protect her. And, give her a deep and abiding love for You!
Sophie thinks of others. The other day she surprised me with “The Hobbit” bookmark from the library. It was a small thing that made my day & blessed my heart. Sophie is hilarious. She cracks me up on a daily basis. She is opinionated & unafraid to speak her mind. Her emotions run deep & sometimes overwhelm her young body. She flourishes under praise. She is a gifted actor; watching her on stage I feel the rush of abandon & joy she has. She is a gifted artist. I have this feeling, while practical at times, she will be very right brain motivated just like Ms. Melissa. I love watching her grow into a young woman. I love talking with her, even when she is having a rough time; explaining to her that life doesn’t always work the way we hoped. But, she is a great hope for me: a hope that God will use this young woman’s talents for His glory & a hope that she might even change the world or at least another person.
My 1,000 Gifts: #48 Complicated (& I mean that in the best way) Aiden…funny, quiet, inquisitive, thoughtful, & kind…emotions as deep as the ocean & heart opening to life!
My Prayer Journal: I love him Lord! I LOVE his laugh, his serious moods, his way of coming at things! I love his heart! I pray you craft his heart into a masterpiece. You make him a gentle warrior for you. That he might seek his worth in you & not what this world offers. Fortify him Lord…minimize the pain to his heart…love on him & teach him to love others!
When I hear “Ms. Melissa” from Aiden’s lips I stop & pay attention. I want the rest of the children to be quiet so I can hear what he has to say. He doesn’t say my name very often, but when he does I know he has something important to tell me. I like spending time with him. Aiden time is precious time. It could be as simple as watching him play Xbox to riding in the car. When he & Ethan get together it is an utter joy!!! You will find you won’t have conversations with Aiden that are normal per say. They run a little deeper…there a little richer…& sometimes, just utterly ridiculous! I am convinced he is a genius. He is equally hilarious. He wants to get to the root of things. He is very pragmatic. There is little grey in Aiden’s world. To be honest, I have never met an individual quite like him & I learn from him so often.
My 1,000 Gifts: #49 Loving Haley…joy-filled, complicated (even a little manic at times)…FULL OF LIFE…suffering…fragile…beautiful beautiful girl.
My Prayer Journal: What a journey this little girl is on? I want her to live in freedom! I pray Jesus you will tether her heart to Yours…bind it to Yours in a way that when things get hard & others hurt her heart that she will only seek You for comfort! Lord, let others see her the way you do. Let, her show that great big heart you have created in her. Hold her close Lord; do not let the Deceiver get a foothold. She is precious Jesus! So so precious!
I love this girl! I love the way she leans into me on the couch or still relishes to give me a hug & kiss. I love how excited she gets when I bring her a small gift. I have run toe to toe with her, but how I love her. I love her willingness to help. She equally flourishes under praise. She thinks deep. She is always in her head (it reminds me so much of me)…the stories she can tell (& I am not talking about fibs, but actual stories…rich, deep, & imaginative). I don’t know what God has in store for her. I see the fragility of this deeply complex little girl. But, God holds her to His heart! She makes me laugh! She loves feeling beautiful, & dresses. I love to watch her play with her younger siblings. When things are going good they remind me of my sisters playing; me ever the ring leader. I see wonder, sillies, little girl dreams, & a sorrow behind those gorgeous eyes! She is a beautiful masterpiece!!!
My 1,000 Gifts: #50 Old soul squeezed in 5 years…stretching & yawning to break free from burden of skin & sinew.
My Prayer Journal: I love this child’s heart. I love how compassionate he is! How willing he is to see the best in people & how he binds up wounds! I also love his stubbornness…his willingness to argue with me! I pray Lord, you guide that caring compassionate heart into Your arms! Let him care about people not things. Provide his body with the ability to do what you have set before Him to do! Let Him rest in you, finding hope & assurance in You! Make him a “Son of Thunder”…while he may speak from passion of self, fire in his belly…I pray you will fan that fire to shear desire for you!
There are two things I love to see/hear from Wyatt: 1) when he is really excited about doing something & does his “Wyatt” dance & 2) when something tickles him to where he is belly laughing. Those moments I am sure Jesus quiets Heaven to delight in Wyatt too. We drove through the cemetery a few days ago. I was feeling morose, unsettled, & I needed to drive through the cemetery. I didn’t know how it would go. I had Haley, Wyatt, Steven, & Rachael in the car with me. All of them amazed me! The things we talked about were not sorrowful, but hopeful. We spoke of life fully lived, Jesus (& seeing him), how people are sad when there loved one’s are gone, & how they honor their memory. It was an honest conversation & each child contributed…Then, Wyatt said, “I know all about this Melissa. I watched the Bible with my family!” And, this is why my third favorite thing to do with Wyatt is talk with him. I get perspective on my life. He is SO smart & richly complex. His soul is old & often wars with his five year old spirit. I learn from this boy daily!!!
My Prayer Journal: My boy! My beautiful sweet boy! You know I love all the kids equally, but my boy has an ever special place in my heart! I thank you for his voice! I thank you for the opportunity to love him. I pray his heart will yearn for You! Yearn in a way that leads to steadfast obedience! Love on him Lord! Father, quiet those tumultuous emotions that wreck his soul. It isn’t who he is! Jesus, tether him to You…don’t let him slip away! Provide a path for him that will show the beauty of a heart that cleaves to yours…& hands that reach to extend grace, joy, & laughter to everyone they meet!
“Wissa” on his lips is probably one of the sweetest things I can hear. One afternoon he was playing in his room & I hear him call my name. I responded with a, “yes, my love.” He hollers back, “I really love you!!!” “I really love you too, my beautiful boy!” I love to hear him laugh, yodel, act like a robot. But, I love talking to him too. He has found his voice & the way he views the world is so utterly profound. He looks at most things with joy! He is loud & all boy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love to watch him play with Rachael. They go around the house saying, “huggies” & then embrace each other often until one or both is falling down. I watched him hold Rachael’s hand the other day as she balanced on some rocks & I heard him tell her, “don’t fall Rachael!” His emotions rage in that little body from time to time. It breaks my heart to see the struggle. He cares about others, wants them to be okay, loves adventure, & seeks the thrills & joys of this life with little fear. I learn the art of letting go with him…I think we all should be a bit more like Steven!
My Prayer Journal: Who knows what you have for this strong willed child? I love her more than words can capture! Lord, use her stubbornness for your glory! Bind her heart to yours – hold her in the palm of your hand. Love on her until she realizes her glory, beauty & favor are only found in you. Jesus, make her yours, use her mightily…let her become a mighty woman warrior for you! Give her grace, afford her mercy, and wrap her in your loving hesed.
“I really do love you, Wissa!” It is by far one of my favorite things to hear from Rachael. I also love her thankful heart. She will ask, “Did you bring me a ‘paprize’?” If I have, I will tell her what it is & she will say, “oh, thank you Wissa!” I love when she gets excited & starts spouting off sentence after sentence, eyes, big, face expressive. She is one of the most expressive children I have ever seen. She is a bit melodramatic & I love it. Her heart is as big as the ocean. Rachael would love it if everyone whom she loves would just gather under one roof & never leave. She likes feeling pretty & has a confidence that I pray she keeps way into adolescence. I love to watch her dance. It is extremely hard to correct this child…she is one of the best manipulators I have ever seen. She definitely has the “baby of the family” mentality. She is strong-willed, opinionated, & often defiant! Her saving grace is that she is one of the cutest little beings you will ever meet. She has a soul & heart that takes you in with little judgment or reservation. She holds her heart out so freely. She cares for others so freely. I am confident God has big plans for this little dumpling…I love her dearly.
While not a part of the Scalf family he is equally mine. I have taken care of this child since he was two years of age going to Clark County Christian. I love his heart, his hilarity, & joy! I am equally thankful to have Doug & Beth Meadows in my life & I am grateful for their friendship & allowing me to love their child the way I do.
My 1,000 Gifts: #58 A beautiful boy sharing heartbeats of high sea pirate adventures, hobbit foolery, & “Melissa Darlin’s” coming from silly lips!
My Prayer Journal: Lord, I still remember Ethan looking up to the sky & shaking his head as if you & he had some shared joke. It was this wondrous practical familiar & loving way he looked at you that took me by surprise. He wasn’t burdened by what was expected, but simply got you & all your glory. He got that you meet us where we are & that you delight in us. Lord, this young man is destined for greatness. I pray I get to see this. I pray you will bind his heart to yours, captivate it in every way. Hold him, love him, make him strong, & let him seek you when this road becomes too much! Carry him over the rocky places & let him rejoice in you. Lead him with sure footing.
I remember the first time he called me “Melissa Darlin’”…I was correcting him (something I don’t have to do often, but…) & he looked at me & goes, “Alright, Melissa Darlin’!” Needless to say this was a running joke the rest of the summer. I am not certain when it started, but another theme for the summer was to put in “The Hobbit” or one of the “Lord of the Rings” soundtracks & try to guess what part of the movie we were at within the movie score. Ethan & I relate in that way & it is a beautiful thing to share with him. I also get the privilege of sharing my love for pirates with him. His heart is open. He is very smart & a gifted artist. He can make me down right belly laugh at times. He gives freely & is very content in just being with you. It doesn’t have to be big & glamorous. He just takes the time to care. His heart is deep. He enjoys praise & loves showing others his accomplishments. He is a beautifully brilliant boy & I cannot wait to see what God is going to do in the future with him…it will be extraordinary!!!