This installment of Grace Journey is intended to give a context for the background idea for this blog. Although we realize that our entire life journey has been a testimony to the grace of God, it has been the unique inclusion of two precious granddaughters into our daughter and son-in-law’s home that has so powerfully demonstrated God’s amazing and advancing grace to us.
In early 2012 two tiny little girls were brought into our family via the foster care system. They arrived unplanned, but we realize now that it was the grace of God at work in a very distinctive way. We had no idea how the journey would unfold, but now it is plain to see the Lord’s guidance all the way. In God’s perfect timing we were previously scheduled for a visit at Kristy and Brian’s house just a few weeks after the girls were unceremoniously deposited into the Walker family. It was a fun time to meet Ariel and Amelia and begin to build a relationship with them.
Connie and I stopped at a Toys ‘R Us store on the way to Chattanooga to purchase some get acquainted gifts for the girls. We bought them each a simple child’s purse. Little did we realize what a treasure we were purchasing for them. Those purses, along with some shopping bags, became their first gathering places for the few possessions and trinkets that were being given to them in the new and safe world of a foster home.
The girls were bright and eager, yet they were untrained and unruly. Still they responded readily to warm love and firm guidance. We did not know whether they would become a long term part of the family or a short term foster care experience? But God – in His matchless grace – planned it all.
Here are those prized purses!
On the morning after Kristy called to tell us they had taken in two little foster girls, I awoke thinking of the quaint KJV phrase, “Suffer the Little Children“. The old English term “suffer” comes from the Latin and holds the connotation “to bear, or hold up, or carry”. Later that month I launched a private picture blog on the Shutterfly.com platform. The site was called “Suffer the Children” and it was a place where family and friends could become acquainted with the girls in a private and protected environment. Our hearts were captured with the thought that foster children needed someone to come along to them to hold them up and carry them along, and thereby give them an opportunity in life. What a ministry!
A number of months later Kristy wrote:
“The Lord has shown me that He has spiritual appointments for us in the waiting room as we continue through this journey…The Holy Spirit often reminds me of my desire to be a missionary teacher and lovingly reveals that this is the answer to my prayers and as well the fulfillment of His Will.”
The Lord brought the mission field to Kristy through the lives of Ariel and Amelia.
It was not until December, 2015, that the waiting was finally over and the girls were formally adopted into the Walker family. It has not always been an easy journey, and early on Kristy reported,
“The girls have been very sick since coming to our home…They both have serious upper respiratory issues due to severe smoke in the home. They both tested positive for lead poisoning as well.”
December 15, 2015
Over the past seven years the girls have grown to be healthy, fine young ladies. They are both doing well at school and each one loves the Lord with all their heart.
At our first Christmas with the girls we were able to give our three kids, and Brian, iPads. Those gifts have come back to bless us so many times through FaceTime sessions with Ariel & Amelia. Technology allows us to experience the unbounded energy and enthusiasm of the girls. They love to show us their artistic projects or tell us about their exciting experiences. They also love to visit Grandpa and Grandma here at Maranatha Village in Florida.
It is such a joy to see them growing physically, emotionally and spiritually. We realize what a ministry it is to have them in a safe and loving environment at home, church, school, and with the extended families of the Walkers and Carlsons. Plus a host of other friends in their community and around the country have been drawn into their grace journey. It is amazing just to watch what the Lord is doing in their lives. God’s abundant grace at work!