I never knew if Jess and I would really click, but we did, and I was surprised. I just thought we were two very different individuals, both happened to be Nanny’s, but in such different points in our lives. Oddly enough, our lives have converged interestingly. I’m so proud of Jess and how far she has come in her journey. She is vibrant and loving and giving – here’s a bit of why:
Dreams are a funny thing. They never truly go according to “plan”. Ten years ago my dreams looked nothing like they look today. Back then I was a fresh faced, wide eyed homeschooler joining the ranks of college kids with one goal: find a husband.
Reality: I didn’t go on one single date during those entire 4 college years.
Today I’m staring down the barrel of 30 and still haven’t found that elusive husband. I don’t have the 3 kids that were supposed to be hanging off my hip and wrestling in the living room by now.
Instead, I live in a house full of broken, hurting, single, young mothers. I have 8 kids, no husband and I thrive among the chaos everyday. They move into my house, commit to a program of change and, in return, receive love, help and resources.
Depending on which day you ask me, I will tell you that I either love it or hate it. Some days it’s both. Despite my fluctuating emotions I know that I am exactly where God wants me. Nestled in an attic apartment, the house underneath me is filled with pain, troubled pasts, bruised souls, grace and redemption.
The other night as I sat down for dinner, I took a moment to take everything in. To my right sat one of the most adorable 3 year olds I know; beside him was his mom and his baby sister was asleep in the pack and play behind us. Across from me sat two ladies with completely different stories, but each carrying the weight of pain in her heart. At the other end of the table sat my cohorts, one very selfless husband and wife team. As I watched everyone come together, pray and break bread, I couldn’t help but think about how much I love us. This crazy, mixed up, unconventional band of people is my family.
We have our good days and our bad days… but at the end of those days we are a family. I couldn’t love them more if I tried.
I have learned the hard way that family doesn’t have to be conventional. Where there is love and laughter is where you find your family. Home truly is where your heart is. My dreams may not have been for this family, but they were gifted to me. They are far better for me in this moment. They exceed my expectations.
My dreams of my own family are still nestled in my heart. They peek out from time to time to remind that they’re here. There is hope, because I know dreams are achieved and fulfilled. I also I know dreams should be held with an open fist. Don’t plan too much because life just might pass you by.
You can read more about Jessica at her blog, Heart [Comma] Jessica