Car Accidents and Goodbyes.

The last couple of weeks have been very... interesting.
A bizarre mixture of busy and stressful and fun and special and chaotic.

Mostly because..

1.) We got into a car accident.

A little over two weeks ago, we were headed to our homeschool co-op on monday morning and it happened to be very snowy and icy that day. We were about a half hour into our drive, and almost at our exit, when I started slowly changing lanes and suddenly spun around on ice and shot down into the ditch. It was only a few seconds from listening to music and chatting to then swirling and bumping and THUD THUD THUD and hearing screaming and glass shattering and then finally stopped.
I whipped around to watch my kiddos scream in fear in a way I've only see them do THAT ONE OTHER TIME.
They were covered in glass and hysterical.
We had crashed into a road sign, half of our car's windows were shattered and there were poles imprinted on the passenger side doors.
I crawled in back to comfort them and called 911 to tell them to come help us.

While I was on the phone and telling the operator where we were, a man had pulled off onto the side of the road and was trudging through the snow down into the ditch to come help us. I handed him my phone through the broken window and told him to tell the operator where to send the ambulance and tow truck, since it was hard to talk around all of the crying in the car.
No one was visibly injured, other than mine and August's hands being a little bloodied from glass cuts, but I still wanted them checked out just in case.
The man's wife came down into the ditch and helped me pull the kids out and put them in their warm car while I called my husband and talked to State Patrol.

Side Note: Thank you Good Samaritans! Seriously, this man and woman hugged my babies and told them it was going to be okay and were late for work because they helped us, and I thanked these people with teary eyes without even knowing their names. I don't think we can ever rightly become fully hardened about the state of the world when we are really looking at all of the kindness and support that we see and experience from strangers on a constant basis. 
Bless you, Random Couple driving on highway 694. In a totally Whitney Houston way, I will always love you.

Luke had left work and was on his way to us, but we needed to get off the side of the road.
Or so the very curt police woman told me at the time. Apparently three cop cars, an ambulance, and a Good Samaritan's hatchback were making things a little crowded on the interstate.

The ambulance gave us a ride to the next exit and dropped us off at a Subway to wait for Luke. 

(Boaz has since been telling everyone that he "had his FIRST ambulance ride!")

(Umm...what do you mean 'first'? Can't we call it 'last'? JUST A NERVOUS MOTHER'S CONCERN OVER HERE.)

The paramedics were so sweet and gracious with me and the kids. 
They quickly teamed up with me to be SUPER POSITIVE AND HAPPY for my scared and in shock kiddos.

Luke eventually came and we called a friend to see if they could come get us in their van that was already stocked with carseats (since we no longer had any and were stranded 40 minutes from home.)
Thankfully it was a bank holiday, so our friend had off work and was able to come save us. We got back home, safe and sound and carless. 
Luke had to leave right away to go get our suburban back from the towing company (at the tune of FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. What a racket.) and I settled the kids in for some time of chilling out  in front of a movie. 

Eventually the adrenaline of the crash and the need to stay strong for the kids wore off, and all of those suppressed emotions from stress and trauma and fear hit me like a ton of bricks.
I felt like a walking nerve-ending. I went into my room, called my mom, and broke down crying.
She comforted me, they way I had been with my own kids (reminding me of how beautiful the circle of life really is.)
And she told me about how the day before, she was out running errands when all of the sudden she felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray over us and our vehicle!
(Which is totally not the normal way she would pray for us, considering she's a busy gal who thinks highly of my driving skills.)

And then of course I cried more, because how amazing and loving is God to urge my mom to pray for our safety A WHOLE DAY BEFORE our car crashed into a sign?
It gave me an anchor of truth to hold onto while my emotional roller coaster was pulling me all over the place.

He loves us. He knew this was going to happen. And He protected us.

That night I snuggled up in bed with an ice pack on my neck, a glass of wine and, like, five or six brownies (I'm not sorry.) and wept until aaaaaallll the feelings were out.
My babies could have died. (AGAIN!) 

But they didn't.

It was going to be okay.

We eventually got through our week of intense cabin fever 
(Thanks to not having a car.... with four children in the house... during winter. Cue *NERVOUS HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER*)
 Thankfully, Luke was able to fix our car pretty quickly, replacing all of the shattered windows and mirrors and broken doors, and we were able to go about our daily routines once more.

A week later, I was able to go to the chiropractor, where I unsurprisingly (after a very stiff and sore week) learned that my neck was sprained where my seatbelt was in the crash. 
Thankfully, after basically seeing my doctor enough to be OFFICIALLY DATING, my neck and back is starting to feel better and I'm on the mend.
(Now I just need to go back to yoga class and take a nap do lots of stretching.)

But those appointments have just added to the fact that...

2.) We've had a foster child.

This sweet little girl was in our home for two weeks to the day, and we loved every minute of it.

That first night, she came into our home reeking of the meth house she had been living in.

We fed her, bathed her, put her in clean pajamas, and I ended up just holding her through that entire first night, because she wasn't used to sleeping in an actual bed.
(I took that picture above sometime around 2am.)
(Which is why the lighting is a little off and my face is too tired to smile even though I sort of tried.)

Unfortunately, she was in the car with us when we crashed, but fortunately (!!!) she wasn't hurt. It added a little bit to the stress of the week, having to fill out extra paperwork for the county because she was our foster child, but thankfully all of the social workers involved were super understanding that it was a no-fault accident and appreciative that I tried to keep them in the loop during it all.

Other than that aspect, it was a delight.
She was a happy, busy, little two-year-old who loved being here as much as we loved having her.
Our kids are super social and hospitable, so they tend to love the foster care experience in general.
August had a bit of a hard time not being the baby of the family during that time, which on one hand, I can sympathize with, but on the other hand... Dude, learn to share your toys. You'll survive.
At the other end of that pendulum was Vienna, who completely LOVED being an older sister to a little girl, especially being able to share a room with her, and absolutely thrives in those 'Big Helper' roles. 
We loved being able to show this little honey lots of love while she was with us. We loved loving on her with lots of physical affection that was healthy and safe. We loved loving on her by giving her normal bedtimes (in an actual crib), and regular nap times, and consistent meals with healthy amounts of proteins and fruits and vegetables.
We loved having her join our Family Worship time before bed, and letting her watch us sing praises to God and lay hands on her and pray over her.

And then, after she had been a part of our rhythm for what felt like forever, but was only a short amount of time... she left.

She was transferred to a relative's house this past week, and after we dropped her off and got back in our car, Vienna was sad to see her go.
We sat in our car in the parking garage of the county courthouse, and we prayed.
That God would be with this little girl always, and that He would maybe even bring a little girl (or boy) to be apart of our forever family someday. Someone who we would never have to drop off and say goodbye to.

Will you join me in praying for our family and for this little girl?

That as she grows from a precious, innocent toddler to a young woman exposed to a lot of worldly darkness, that God would protect her?
That He would keep her body safe and her heart pure? That He would continually surround her with authentic christians in her life, who would shower her with godly love and truth and support and encouragement?
That He would use this precious daughter of His to break her family's cycle of addiction and dysfunction?

I have no idea if we'll ever see her again.
I don't know if we'll get called in a couple weeks or months to take her back, or if we might run into her at a grocery store when she's an adult when she doesn't even recognize us.
But I do believe in the power of prayer.
And even though you don't know her, and Luke and I don't even know all of her life's details, that God knows and that He cares. 
That He has been there with her during those moments of darkness and abuse and neglect and that He will never give up pursuing her.

And for our family, that if we are to add another child to our unit, that He would do it in His timing, from His location, and that we would be listeners of His voice and obeyers of His calling to us.

God's mercies have been big and constant during these past couple weeks:
~I am so thankful that the accident wasn't worse. I didn't have to see any of my precious babies hooked up to a machine in a hospital or on a slab in a morgue. 
God is such a good father to me and my kids.
~He used random strangers and state patrol officers and paramedics to show us so much love and kindness during a traumatic situation.
~I am so thankful for christian community. Friends who brought us dinner after we crashed, and watched my kids when I had appointments but didn't have a car, and who were just willing to be especially sensitive and empathetic during my particularly sensitive time of processing.
(Thank you so much Becky, Carrie, and Johanna. You mean a lot to me.)
~That He loves me enough to remind me of how in control He is and how out of control I am. 

Whether with accidents or foster children, He has a plan.

And that it is good.


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