School is officially out for the summer. The pool is filled with water…and yet only 3 weeks ago we had snow! Energy around the day center has increased enthusiastically because of the summer break.
As is so frequently the case, we are full. Four families are currently in the rotation, with 3 of the 4 very close to moving out by mid-June. This particular group of families has bonded deeply through sharing life and the difficulties together over the past month. They have each other’s back. They are in each other’s corner…and any other clichés… They celebrate together, laugh together, encourage each other, and cry together. It is a joy to watch these bonds develop as they walk through life as an extended family. It gives a new definition of the family part of Family Promise…including even the “drama factor”. As one of the current Mom’s is fond of saying, “sometimes this is not Family Promise, but family feud!” As, such is the case in any family…
We eagerly look forward to celebrating housing for 3 of the 4 current families in the rotation and permanent housing for two of the families in temporary housing. We all must also prepare to open our hearts to new lives, to new stories, to new joys of relationships, and yes, even to new family feuds! As I am writing this, the families are in the chaotic period of the evening, when they all are loading into the van. Kids are scrambling to find their backpacks, PJs and movies they may need or want tonight. Moms and Dads are quickly taking showers, packing bags, grabbing clothes, diaper bags, and all else they need for the night. I hear laughter, kids talking up a storm, chores being finished, stories of work being told, talk of the horrible storm in Moore Oklahoma, final grade cards, pool passes… all the normal usual family stuff.
But as Becky wrote sometime this spring, normal means something different to the families in the rotation. Normal is meeting new people each night, sleeping each night on a cot, eating food that though wonderful, is not something you have chosen. Normal is fully adapting each night and each day. The usual definition of normal is something longed for…worked for and strived for by the families in the program.
In the midst of this unusual state of normal, God is ever present. He is in the shared journey of life, in the blessings from the hosts, in the guidance and embraces, the love experienced and overwhelmingly God is in the everyday. He is in the ordinary moments of sharing life together, in the meals, the stories, the laughter, in the pain. This is the day the Lord has made, and he delights in showing us His love and grace in the ordinary moments. And those of you who serve and pray for Family Promise of Lawrence have experienced exactly what I am talking about. Those Karios moments when time stops being linear, the moments of hesed, God’s radical mercy and grace take control. These are the moments when grace and very presence is tangible.
“This is what God the Lord says – he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it; I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand… See the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Ps 42:5-9 (NIV)
A wonderful Memorial Day weekend to each of you. Thank you for your support, prayers and service for Family Promise of Lawrence.