College Girls and Newborns

If you carry around an adorable baby on a college campus, you will soon be surrounded by young women oohing and ahhing over him.  I say this from personal experience.  And it is a cross-cultural reality. I remember when Judah was a baby and I took him to the Dominican Republic—his presence allowed me to have many conversations with young Dominican women who wanted to hold him. Déjà vu—here I am again, only this time it is students right here at UC Davis and my beautiful foster son.

We have had our little foster son in our home for over 2 months now, since he was 2 days old. He is precious, beautiful and sweet, even if he has prevented me from getting a good night of sleep since he arrived. It has been an adventure stepping back in to life with a newborn. I love the feel of the little head nestled under my chin. Looking at the peaceful little face when he is sleeping, and marveling at his tiny little fingers and toes, is still amazing to me.

I don’t go on campus a lot these days, since my discipleship girls come to me and staff team and leadership meetings are often off campus.  But I do still enjoy the feeling of being on the campus, seeing the mass of students emerge from the buildings and bike in mass to their next classes.  I take the kids to campus for weekly meetings on Thursday nights every few weeks though, and they enjoy climbing up and down stairs and looking around at the big buildings.  They also like hanging out with the Cru students before the meeting starts (although Isaiah can often be found sitting in one of the classroom seats just reading).

Two weeks ago, when I walked into the weekly meeting, I was holding baby outside of the sling, meaning he was in full view.  I immediately noticed a group of girls looking my way and making little squeeling/murmuring noises. I decided to indulge them and walk up. Then they all wanted to hold him and touch his toes and feel his soft hair and skin and generally comment on how adorable he is—which is true.  Then the group just kept getting bigger until the meeting started.

Then this past week, we were at our Davis Cru Spring Retreat. We had over 70 students there, which was a ton of fun.  The baby had no lack of hands willing to hold him. Any time I had responsibilities or was helping out to clean up, I just had to ask the closest girl if she wanted to hold him. It is fun how well loved all of our children are by the college students we work with—we are blessed for our kids to grow up with lots of positive influences. But there is something about a newborn that makes the college girls squeal and sigh.

The magic of babies goes beyond college girls, however.  It is so fun how babies break down barriers across the board. You know that invisible barrier that says don’t address perfect strangers in a store when you randomly walk by them? Not true when you are holding a baby. And then there is the invisible barrier that I didn’t even really notice before.  That invisible (usually not even recognized, and probably subconscious) barrier between strangers of different races that often means they don’t naturally seek to make eye contact or get into a conversation when walking by? It is no longer there when I have a baby of color with me, and I love engaging with more people because of it. Now that I know it was there, I am also trying to intentionally see and smile at more people I pass by, even when I am by myself.

So here I am, trying to notice things and breathe in the moments of life that I get to experience. Even if Foster care is very temporary and unpredictable, I will take in all that I can. God has blessed me with these moments and these connections.

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Thankful for our Staff Team

Today I went to a park with Judah and just sat with him, had a picnic,and played together. It was a moment of true rest, looking up through the leaves of the trees, rustling in the gentle breeze, with my precious little boy laying next to me and telling me he loves me. It reminded me to take time to reflect on how much I am thankful for. One thing my mind went to after thanking God for Jeremiah and the kids was our staff team…

We have really enjoyed working with the staff team here at Davis. Although we still miss Flagstaff, having great people to work with has made the transition easier.  A number of factors have made it feel like a great fit.

First, there are many young interns on the team, who are all taking big steps of faith and seeking the Lord for their futures–it is an exciting time of life. We are enjoying supporting them and caring for them in this stage, and we love helping to create community on the staff team by having our home be a place for game nights and bonding to happen.

Second, I love seeing a team that acknowledges and celebrates the different gifts on the team. Everyone wants to work together to build up and serve the movement here at UC Davis and on the other campuses in our scope we want to launch movements on. We still have a lot to learn about how to rely on one another and help one another to flourish in our unique giftings from the Lord (functioning as the Body is harder than understanding the concept), but I am certainly love seeing Jeremiah flourish in his gifts of shepherding and vision casting. He has been able to focus on helping others move towards the mission in his caring, compassionate way, humbly pointing others to the power of the gospel and to Christ’s sufficiency.

Third, I am thankful that we get to work with another great staff family here. The Floths are a lot of fun, and our kids love their kids too. It is fun that we are very different from them, yet have similar vision for wanting to see God move through relational networks on campus, and wanting to help students naturally reach their connections and prepare them to continue to live missionally for a lifetime.

Fourth, being on a team has allowed Jeremiah and me to continue to build into the other passions and gifts He has given us as well. Jeremiah has been working hard on seminary in his spare time; he is loving the chance to dig his theological roots in more deeply, and is becoming even more passionate for God’s Word. I have loved the chance to work with some amazing students at Davis while still keeping my primary work focus on my legal responsibilities for Cru. It is such a joy to provide legal support for our efforts in the Campus Ministry to protect and ensure that our mission and messages remain strong and undiluted in every Cru Chapter around the US.

God is good. Life and ministry are not easy, but there is so much joy in the midst of it all. I am glad that God used a trip to the park with Judah to remind me to stop my mind whirring in the business of tasks, and to take a Thanksgiving break.