Loving Outside the Boundaries
A Guest Post by Kelly Klepfer
There have been many real life heroes in my past. I think of a former church member, sweet Kath, who loved Jesus fiercely even when her mind began to slip. She couldn’t remember names or facts but she spouted Scripture from her very soul, a perfect example of what it means when God says He writes His words upon our hearts. Or maybe not close enough to touch women like Elizabeth Elliott who survived and thrived. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware that there are younger saints who exude a glory that inspires me to broaden my definitions of wisdom and testimony and role model.
I think of Carey who has answered the call to serve in Africa. Without a husband, without a support system in place, immersing herself in a language and culture that are so very foreign and surroundings that have been dangerous. Others have crossed my path who have bravely taken their children into places of danger because God has called them to serve in countries that won’t even accept a missionary. These women choose to go, knowing that the gospel could very well get them killed.
Even closer to home is my daughter. A girl we raised complete with those parenting challenges that come with the teen years and the attempts at shaping the will without crushing the spirit and failed goals of family devotion where we all listened and said “Praise the Lord” at the proper times.
A rough start
Actually, her childhood happened in the midst of some pretty rough parental stupidity. Her father and I were “good” Baptists until our church split right after we married. We then spent the next seven years or so away from the church. During that time we nearly divorced twice, my husband dabbled with an alcohol addiction and then had a short term affair that produced a child.
Our three children bore some hefty consequences of that fallout. The good news is that Jesus held us together and delivered us from our foolishness and we, as a couple, decided to really, truly follow Him. Our children, amazingly, in spite of all that trauma, decided to follow as well. Not that there haven’t been hard-earned life lessons for them also, but they are each seeking Jesus on their own unique paths. It is the joy of my heart that our youngest, my non-biological daughter is who she is. God has proven so much to me through our children.
Our middle daughter, Julianna, is a hero of the faith to me.
A heart for children
The hunger of Julianna’s heart has always been to marry and have children. As a one-year-old she would insist we’d wrap her dolls swaddle style and would throw her body to the ground in protest if we didn’t do it right.
She passed the Supersitters babysitting class before she could read and write because the teacher read the multiple choice questions out loud and she responded correctly with each answer. Certified at six it was still a long time coming before she could babysit on her own. From the age of 10 she was babysitting regularly and did several long stays and overnights as a teen. After a long season as a nanny, she finally stepped away from childcare.
Living while waiting
While honing these life and people skills, Julianna waited for “the” man. Her criteria was simple. A man who loved Jesus wholeheartedly and one who could love her with loyalty. And kindness and a sense of humor were important, too, because life can get rough.
She is still waiting for that man. She hasn’t settled for simply dating, or compromising that list. She’s been interested and she’s gone on a handful of dates. But he is nowhere on her horizon. It is a struggle and a challenge and she’s been faithfully waiting on the man God will provide or no one at all.
Yet, she has been living in full color this entire time. She seeks God with an undiluted passion. Her light shines brightly. An unsaved co-worker of mine met her once and when I showed her a new family picture the other day, she paused and looked at me. “I don’t quite know how to say this, and I’ve only just met her the one time, but she oozes love, she is radiant with it.”
Julianna has crafted a unique skill set and collected people from all age groups and affiliations. From volunteering at a local organic farm, plucking tomato worms and wiping dirt from her brow, to learning how to roast the perfect coffee bean, to ministering to folks in Chile after being awakened by her first and only earthquake, she’s picked up some solid knowledge and experiences.
About four years ago, when she was 26, God laid an idea in Julianna’s path. Orphans. Children who need the love of mothers and fathers. She had sponsored children through the mail, taught children, loved others’ children while waiting for the day she’d have her own. But this new layer of caring for children included foster care.
She began to pray about what that meant, what the Lord was calling her to do. She told Him she would call and check on requirements for a single woman to provide foster care. He opened that door. She then told Him He had to open the next door, and the next. And as long as He was opening them in front of her, she would prayerfully walk through them. All the way through the information meetings, the training classes, the phone calls seeking placements, she followed Him.
One night she received a phone call for a sibling group ages three, five, and seven. It was to be a short-term placement. Mere months. Two years less a month later she became their adoptive mother. Alone. Single. Without a husband. Knowing full well her attractiveness on the market has plummeted and that she may never marry, she said yes to God.
a couple who could’ve been a perfect adoptive family for these three. And she prayed hard about this. So hard.
Wouldn’t it be better for these little ones to have a mom and a dad? Rather than a single mom who loved them like nobody’s business but couldn’t offer a dad? She was faced with the scenario of telling these kiddos the bad news that their biological parents wouldn’t be theirs anymore, “but the good news was that Uncle Pete and Aunt Ginny were going to be your new mom and dad.” And she couldn’t shake the picture of confusion washing over their faces and the question they would ask, “But why aren’t you going to be our mommy anymore?”
She prayed harder than she has ever prayed. She should say no because a) she had no husband and b) because with the limited income provided by the state to adopt from the foster care system, she couldn’t provide much more than the basics.
More than enough
God showed her passages where He was enough. He could provide, He could go through the challenges, the dark nights and the rough seas with her, forging a path for her. He is big enough to be her husband and the father to these children. She couldn’t shake the idea that saying no to adoption would be rejection in their little hearts, one more rejection.
It was confirmation when Uncle Pete said he wasn’t ready to take on three little ones after all. And confirmation when the littlest was labeled with RAD Reactive Attachment Disorder. And the psychologist who did the testing told my daughter that her little one had bonded fully with her and considered her mommy and that was a thing to be celebrated, it meant that there was tremendous hope for her to bond with others throughout life as well. The ink on the adoption papers is dry, her children thrive in her household. They are blooming with the awareness that they are forever hers.
There is a nearly two-year-old baby sister from another father that is currently with her biological mother after spending six months with my daughter and her kids. The sorrow of the missing one is with them all daily. There has been weeping over this little one and so many prayers. It seems very likely that she will come back. There is space for her in house and heart.
Julianna said yes. Yes to God and yes to those babies. Yes to relying totally on Him. Yes to heartbreak and great joy. And she has no regrets. Nor do her children.
What is the Lord leading you to do? Does it seem impossible? What step will you take today to follow His direction?
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me of Your greatness. Where You lead, You will provide. Continue to bless Julianna as she mothers these children and continues to show them Your love. Help me follow Your leading in my life and to trust You even when things seem impossible. You are the God of the impossible! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
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Kelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Modern Day Mishaps, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons. Zula and Fern Hopkins and their shenanigans can be found at Zu-fer where you always get more than you bargained for.