The heart of man disposeth his way:

…  but the Lord must direct his steps.

— Psalm 16:9 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)  

It was Saturday morning. For the last 5 weeks, that has meant an early rise and drive across the valley with my honey (stopping at the QT before we hit the freeway to pick up bag lunches), for a five hour foster-care licensing class.

This past Saturday, as I drove, I was reflecting upon the whirlwind of the last few days, and turning to Paul, I exclaimed, laughing, “I’m just so… surprised! Aren’t you surprised? I mean, by what we are doing, and what we are contemplating doing… None of this was in my life plan. Was it in YOUR life plan??” My query was met with an incredulous snort and a resounding “No!! Are you kidding me?… of course, I never thought I’d be Catholic, either!”

How could either of us have had any inkling, 21 years ago, of the circuitous paths by which God would lead to this point?

But there it is. Long before we came along, David understood… “The heart of man disposeth his way: but the Lord must direct his steps.” and in Isaiah 55:8-9 we read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

His ways are truly higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts.  So, when we make a plan, we should probably plan to be overruled!

A prime example of this principle came into play this past week. As I mentioned, we’ve been taking this foster care licensing class, since this past year has led us through a discernment process regarding the possibility of God’s call to continued foster care ministry.  Even this is a surprise, well outside of any scenarios we could have foreseen during our youthful, enthusiastically family-focused, homeschooling years. Anyway, making the decision to take the class was a big commitment; but as we have proceeded week by week, there’s been a certain expectation about how things would play out once we’d been granted the license… and it involved a period of preparation, before, say, in the new year, we would get a call, and we’d be able to take one child, naturally a girl, since we have one empty bunk bed in the girls room, and — that’s just totally not what God had in mind. At all.

Toward the end of last week, he sprang his idea on us. Our CPS caseworker came over (with only 10 minutes notice) and in the course of the conversation, presented us with the opportunity to assist a pair of brothers who would need a fairly rapid placement. In the moments between hearing about this situation and saying “Of course we want to help!” there was no question about wanting to say yes to these precious little ones, only a question of logistics, and an “Oh my goodness, Lord, what are you doing?!”

So, finding first God’s “higher path”, and seeing where our steps were to be directed, the only obvious choice was to build another bunk for the boys room. And it wasn’t easy to figure out how to get that squeezed into a weekend that involved (this week) both our licensing class, and our CPR/first aid class filling up most of Saturday, and church on Sunday.  But with God, all things are possible.  Paul was out the door early and off to the dump to empty out the trailer, and back home again in time for us to leave a little before 8am. Then after we got home (by that time it was close to 4pm), he picked up some kids, went to Lowe’s and bought the lumber and other supplies. Sunday morning, again, he was out he door about 6am to pick up the kiddos and get them to the 7am mass (I took the rest of our crew at the usual time, arriving at church just as Paul and Co. were coming out), and by the time we got home just after 10:30, a great deal of work had already been accomplished. He worked hard, not even breaking for lunch, with help from Tweety and Cisco, and after they went home, Megan and Jacob continued to help until finally they were finished around 7.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much respect I have for this man, for his commitment to following Christ wherever he leads, and for his willingness to be a shepherd and father to so many children that God has brought into our lives. He pours out his energy and his heart in ways that are very much a picture of Jesus in this world, and I’m humbled and thankful that I get to walk beside him every day and share in this surprising life God has given us. And so thankful that He knows what’s around that next bed, even though we don’t!


Some instagrammy cell-phone pics from the bunk bed build, and the final results (with the camera) after the new mattresses and bedding were in place! (I’m only sorry that I flaked on getting pictures while Tweety and Cisco were there helping — but I think most of their work happened while I was at church.)


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