Learning how to parent my four youngest children alone has been one of the hardest things to try to figure out since Joel went to Heaven. This is not an easy crew to parent, friends. Or…maybe they’re easy, and I’m the messed up one. Regardless, it’s been extremely hard!
These children are grieving – each in their own way. They are trying to figure out what it’s like to have me as their only parent. They test me. They disobey me. They ignore me. But, they also lavish me with love in their own special, individual ways. Two have diagnosed special needs, and I’m convinced one of the other two does as well…just not yet diagnosed. They were a challenge for both Joel and I to raise together, but this puts solo parenting into an entirely new dimension. And…honestly…there are very few people out there who truly understand what I’m going through. So, that makes this road feel even lonelier. But…God knows…I have to keep reminding myself of that. He’s actually parenting all of us!
You can only imagine, then, when I had not one…not two…but three unexpected and urgent foot surgeries in March how truly out-of-commission I became. I was literally frightened. Not because of the physical trauma I was facing. No – I honestly didn’t know how I would be able to care for my children from crutches and a wheelchair. How would I be able to drive them to/from school and daycare when I have to keep my foot elevated in a chair during the bulk of my waking hours? What now God?
It would be an understatement to say the church we’ve found in our new town…actually they found us…has been nothing short of amazing! As soon as they received word of the loss of my husband and the fact we just moved here in October, the recent adoption of our four youngest children, and the fact I’ve now been widowed twice by the age of 45…they stepped in and have tried to meet every single need imaginable. You truly wouldn’t believe it. So, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when they started trying to figure out a plan for meeting my kids’ needs too. With some help from my mother-in-law at various times as well, the church filled the remaining gaps with various women. They would arrive at my house at 6 am to wake up the children, get them ready for school and then take them to their school and daycare. After the morning drop-offs, they’d stop back by the house to literally wait on me hand and foot (no pun intended)…make breakfast, coffee, freshen up the house…whatever was needed. They’d return again in the afternoon to do the pick-up run, feed the children (and me) supper, give baths, and help put the children to bed. They were amazing!!! The only drawback we all noticed was that it was very hard on the children having various people in and out all the time. They really needed consistency. I, and many others, started praying for a consistent “nanny-type” person to be able to do the entire job, and I had enough donations given for this specific purpose to cover two weeks, but I couldn’t go beyond that. At the time, we thought two weeks would be sufficient. That was before surgery number three…the one that landed me with a wound vac and even less mobile.
God did provide a nanny, actually a group of 4 ladies from the same family that made it work for the two weeks originally requested. But, we knew we still needed one person who could commit to caring for my children – being my hands and feet – I’d still be a voice – for at least another three-four weeks. The dilemma – where would I find such a person, and how could I pay them? We are still having to be very financially cautious right now, and even more so with these initial medical bills and being out of work with an unknown return date, as of yet.
But, God… He had the perfect person in mind. We just didn’t know it yet.
Damaris came recommended from a friend of a friend of a friend. And…get this…she’s Romanian! Romania is a neighboring country to Bulgaria! So, Damaris and my Bulgarian kiddos were neighbors when living across the world from where they are now! I find that so cool, and such a God-wink.
This precious young woman has such a servant’s heart, and her humility is unmatched. Not only has she come into our home with such ease and taken on every task handed to her…the biggest being that of caring for our crazy crew…she’s always asking if she can do more. She has definitely been a gift hand-picked by God to get us through this challenging time while I heal to the point of being able to do everything I was able to do before.
But, that’s not all. A group of people (I have no idea who they are) have raised enough money so far to pay for her for 3-4 weeks! What a gift, as I certainly don’t have that in my budget right now.
We love this precious woman already. She’s also a follower of Jesus Christ, as I am, so that’s just a bonus!
Here’s Damaris and her newest little friend, Katerina…