A room clean and ready for "A" to move in!
I might have the best backyard view in Oklahoma.
Thanksgiving is in just a few weeks (didn't school start back just three seconds ago?), so I've started planning our family Thanksgiving before all the boys leave for home visits. I've also started planning the Advent calendar, because if Thanksgiving is already almost here, Christmas will be here before I blink. All of this holiday planning means a lot of thinking back to last year, and all that has changed since then, and a lot of staring at our dining room table.
Since Blake and I started as house parents almost two years ago, "A" makes a total of ten boys that have come through our doors (and that's just in our house). Sometimes, I try to imagine what life would be like if all ten of those boys were sitting down for dinner at our long table with us each night, and all kinds of emotions fill me. Obviously it is the most ideal situation in my daydreams, but thinking of all ten of our boys sitting around us, safe and successful, sends this bleeding heart into a weepy tailspin. I've had people ask me if it is impossibly difficult to emotionally handle when a boy leaves. The answer is yes. But you handle it anyway, because there are still the boys who haven't left who need us, and need Willow Springs. And there are boys yet to come who will need it, whether it be for a few months or until they graduate.
All of this to say, there is still room at our table. There is physical room for more boys at our table, and the identical table in the Mac house next door, waiting to welcome boys to a safe space and a warm, home-cooked meal. And, despite all of the heartache that can often come with it, by the grace of God there is still emotional room at the table, too. Some days I am absolutely sure that there is no more room in my heart for potential heartache should a boy turn his back on the Willow Springs opportunity, but then I remember that I can't operate out of my own heart, but the heart of Christ. When I ask him to show me His heart for each boy that moves in, He makes the room in mine. I empty my heart of worry and heartache to Him, and as we prepare a room for each boy, the Holy Spirit prepares the room in my heart for him.
Friends of Willow Springs, please consider praying for us all at WSBR, and helping us as we make room at the table. Pray for others to rise up who have room at their table for the guys God knows that we don't yet. Pray for the boys who are searching for a place at the table. Thank you for the constant support and sense of community that you give us.
The picture is not great quality, but this is one of our guys holding Addie during youth group campfire worship.