Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Bigs - One of Life's Unexpected Surprises

Our family: Grant, Josh, Todd, Jodi, Curt, Sarai and Katie.
Front row: Alli, Paige and Sarah A.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would celebrate Mothers Day 2013 with hand-made gifts and cards from four biological children AND four non-biologoical children in their mid-twenties!  But this is the story God is writing.

You all know that Curt and I have four biological kids: Grant (12 years), Katie (10.5 years), Alli (9 years) and Paige (7 years).  They are the joy of our lives.  When we moved to Newberg in June 2008, we began the process of faux adopting other people's kids - the mostly-grown kind who attend college in Newberg and long for a family.  

Some of The Bigs have never experienced "family" before.  Others come from amazing families that they miss greatly.  Regardless of their background, our Big Kids thrive on being in an actual home with parents, kids, and a dog.  At first The Bigs are polite and reserved.  But the more they come around, the more familiar and comfortable they get.  

The Bigs invite themselves over and show up for dinner.  They watch the Super Bowl, ring in the New Year, and run races in the dark while waiting for fireworks on the 4th of July.  The Bigs play baseball in the back yard, wrestle, and coach the Littles in soccer.  The Bigs fill the stands at softball games and water polo tournaments.  They babysit and help with carpool duty.  Sometimes they come over at bedtime just because the Littles like to be sung to and prayed with before they fall asleep.  One of them lived with us for a year-and-a-half and fielded constant "How do you fit into the equation?" questions.  

Our Big Kids share their dreams and their fears.  They bring their Boyfriends, Girlfriends, and Hopefuls over for us to meet and weigh in on.  The Bigs ask questions about marriage, Jesus and life.  They have Refrigerator Rights and Clean Up Duty.  

We've helped The Bigs with college enrollments, designed resume's and served as references for jobs and volunteer applications.  We've cried together, laughed together, and played some fierce games of Settlers together.  We've done some of their pre-marital counseling and Curt has had the privilege of officiating two of their weddings.

Some of The Bigs pass through briefly.  Others are here for the long haul.  They are all part of our family.

This year Josh, Todd, Sarah, and Sarai (our current set of Bigs) got together and coordinated a family photo shoot then framed the best images and gave them to me on Mothers' Day.  
Mother's Day Love from all my kiddos
Their gift was so representative of the lives we live together:  somewhat spontaneous, completely uncoordinated, authentic, slightly crazy, and loads of fun.  
the girls

the boys

jump for joy
Alli and the two Sarah's got dressed up, but Katie isn't wearing shoes.  Josh and Todd are rocking the Summer is Here Early look. Alli, Paige and Grant are chomping on candy and Grant's "outfit" is... well... a typical 6th grade boy outfit.  Did I mention he wore this to church?  I have the End-of-the-Day-Tired look and Curt has the Monster of all Beards growing on.  Yet these images are some of my all-time favorite.  They are to me, a beautiful reflection of the way Jesus loves and lived.

LOVE this one!
Jesus did life with his disciples.  He knew their weaknesses.  Their strengths.  Laughed at their jokes and probably got a little slap-happy on their many road trips.  He prayed with them.  Encouraged, mentored and served them.  Jesus equipped his followers for leadership.  He loved them.  

Jesus did life with his disciples - the good, the bad, the ugly, the messy, and the beautiful - and they changed in light of his love.

kissing is gross (according to the kids)
Our Bigs do life with us.  They join our family in the good, the bad, the ugly, the messy and the beautiful.  And they love us in spite of (or maybe because of) it.  We change in the light of their love.  
Such a blessing to have these kids in my life
THANK YOU Josh, Todd, Sarah, Sarai and all our other "kids" for making our lives so crazy, fun, and beautiful!  We love you.


7 comments:

  1. So cool!!! Love the story God is writing for your lives in Newberg. You guys are great parents to the Bigs and Littles I know :). Love ya. - Faith

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  2. Really special! I've been following your Sole Sisters blog for a little while and linked to your personal blog through that. I'm a runner, mom of 4 (3 boys and a girl, though), and fellow sister in Christ. You are very encouraging, Jodi, and it is neat to see how God is ministering through you and your family. Keep writing!

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    1. Oh hi Claire. It's so nice to meet you. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. It really is encouraging to hear from people who are reading. And it's encouraging to know that God is using what I write to bless others. It keeps me motivated to keep writing. Are your kids similar in age? And what's it like raising three boys and a girl? Probably louder, but less emotional than the reverse! Have a great day!

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  3. I can't even imagine the emotions of even more than one girl! :) Mine are 11, 10, 8, 6. We homeschool so we are all home together all the time, so I really feel like it gets loud a lot! I'm thankful for the nicer weather so we can be outside more.

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  4. These pics are very special. I really like how you have used your college town opportunity to open your home to the BIGS. You really are a fine example of Godly living. Thanks for sharing what you and Curt are doing. :)

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    1. Thanks Raina. We are blessed by these "kids." They are really, really great.

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