Jeremiah 29:11

Do not fear what’s already been planned out.

I’ve never really been an anxious or fearful person. I like to have and make plans, but overall, I’ve always easily been satisfied with the answer that God has it all planned out. That was until my mom was diagnosed with end stage cancer. It’s fair to say fear overtook me. I became anxious and fearful, lost sleep, and lost my appetite. This was a huge thing happening in our lives. Not that it was the first huge thing, but this was the person I loved more than anyone or anything else. I didn’t understand it.

It was just my mama and I for most of my life. We didn’t have a typical family, and she was my best friend. I was closer to my mom than most, and when she got sick, my world shattered.These feelings of fear and anxiety were new to me.

While my husband and I were going through infertility, I again experienced these anxious and fearful feelings. Once again, something big was happening, and I honestly wasn’t even partially healed from the experience of losing my mom. But one of the things that God placed on my heart as we transitioned from fertility to foster care was that I needed to come to Him just as fiercely, just as passionately, just as intently when I’m not walking through fearful, anxious, and “big” times. When I pursue Christ daily with the same passion, those big moments aren’t quite as scary. I again find myself feeling some level of peace with the knowledge that He’s got this.

I’m not going to say anxiety and fear don’t exist when I draw nearer to Christ, but I will say that dropping that fear at the foot of the cross and allowing Christ to bear the weight of that load… sister, there’s relief that comes with that action. Why is it so easy to call on Christ when we’re walking through difficulty, yet in the mundane day to day, it’s so easy to cut time with Him short, or worse, skip it all together? Why was this time with my Father not a priority during those easy summer months of relaxing and going on vacation? At first, I knew when I was putting off time with Him or cutting time short, then I’d realize a few days had passed… well I was really busy or the baby was teething during those days…

We again find ourselves walking through a time of transition. Only this time we are walking through with the protection of Christ. The more time I spend with Christ during those easy times, the more I learn of the character of the Father that is walking with me through trials.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Whether it’s an easy season or a season full of trials, I encourage you, sweet sister, to cling to the Father. Dig into His word and pray He overtakes your soul, equipping you and sustaining you. He is the only constant in this world. As the world changes and darkens, as seasons come and go, He remains. He is good, He is constant, and He loves you beyond measure.


Through My Daughter’s Eyes

I was sitting on the chair holding our 5 month old while our 15 month old played at my feet. Our toddler had recently taken a HUGE interest in her baby doll and was quietly playing with her… then it happened. She shot her arms into the air, gripping her baby doll with both hands, making a screeching version of “wheeee!” My jaw dropped open as I watched her beam at her doll and repeat the action over a few more times. You see, I do this to our 5 month old all the time. I never noticed our toddler watching though. It was like a light bulb went off in that moment. I realized just what she sees and picks up on.
I think naturally, as people, we are our harshest critics. I always feel like that one-time I raised my voice, that one-time I couldn’t hide the tears, that one-time I lost it in traffic, those one-times are all the times I’m “ruining” my children. But in all the time our toddler has played with her doll, I’ve never seen her loose it. She’s hugged her, kissed her, plunged her into the air with a squeal, or covered her with a blanket. These are the actions she’s picked up on because they are repeated – day after day, after day. She repeats the love because she is fiercely loved moment after moment, despite the moments I’m not shining very bright.
After that moment sitting in our room, I’ve asked her “what does baby love?” and she excitedly repeats pushing her baby up into the air and squealing. As a foster mom, I more so feel I have no room for error with our children. One wrong move or word or tone can trigger past traumas. And as a mama bear I feel like my kids will see my failures and my failures will scar them. But in this moment, my toddler taught me a lesson. I think she’ll eventually know, if she doesn’t already, that I’m not perfect, but she knows now, and will always know she is loved despite my (or her) less-than moments.
I’m okay with not being the perfect mom, because God made me to be my kid’s mom – perfection excluded.
Some days are amazing while others are about survival!
So I’ll leave the perfection up to the Father, and focus on loving my kids well, giving us all a little more grace, and reminding myself that my kids will see how I act and will emulate the actions done most frequently. This also goes for them witnessing my relationship with Christ. If my children see my relationship with God shining through ALL the moments of our day, they will learn of the character of the Father. They will desire Him and will want His love. They will see, through my daily walk holding my Father’s hand, what being HIS daughter looks like. It doesn’t look like perfection, rather, they will see His character shining through my humanity, they’ll offer and be offered grace, they’ll mess up and be forgiven and they’ll learn to give forgiveness freely. I hope when my kids see me they’ll learn these lessons. You know – the lessons that can’t be taught through words but WILL be emulated in actions.
Continue Reading HERE

Some Exciting News…

Will it be pink
or will it be blue?
We don’t know,
but either will do!
The applications turned in
and contracts signed to.
Now sweet baby Huyler
we’re just waiting on you!
After 6 goodbyes we’re more than ready and excited to say hello forever! Most of you already know we had to say goodbye to our Minnie, even though we had started down the road to adoption. We knew if anything happened to her, we’d begin the process of private adoption. We had scheduled a call with an adoption agency just to get more info a few months back. Ironically, that call was scheduled for the same day that Minnie left.
We immediately felt at peace with this agency after we hung up. So far everything has been falling into place, as a lot of our paperwork for a county adoption will be accepted for private adoption. As much as we love the time with just the two of us we are anxious and excited to have a baby in the house again. A couple days is already too long without the weight of a baby in our arms.
Thank you for walking through the journey of foster care with our 6 kiddos and us… supporting us and loving us through the ups and downs. We’ve been humbled and stretched along this journey – learning to love fiercely and love well. We’re ready to take a break from fostering (yes, we definitely plan to foster again!) for a little while we permanently expand the Huyler household!
We would love prayers in the coming weeks as we work to finish up our paperwork and family profile book. Also, please pray with us for the precious mamas that will be considering us to raise their baby. The weight of that decision is something we think and pray daily about.
We’ll be updating the blog along this journey and invite you to follow along!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV

Beach Day Getaway

“And this is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (ESV)
We said goodbye to our sweet baby boy at the end of last week. I don’t think it ever gets easier, even when you know God’s hand is moving and shuffling around the pieces of your world to perfectly fit into His plan. We’ve seen time and time again the way He’s turned our brokenness into His beauty but that doesn’t take away the pains of loss and transition. Obviously some goodbye’s are more bitter than sweet while other’s are easier to handle but either way, each baby leaves with a piece of our hearts. 

Over the weekend Ryan and I went with my parents and their pups to the beach and it was the perfect little day away. Now, as the week begins, we will prayerfully await the court date for our little Minnow. As we once again find ourselves in transition, we are excited to focus on Minnow for the next month until court. We’d love your continued prayers for the weeks ahead and that God would allow His will to be shown beautifully and completely. Until then, we are making as many beautiful memories as we can. 

For the Days Spent Grieving

Jesus replied, “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
John 13:7 NLT
I picture myself climbing up into the Father’s lap and Him holding me in His strong arms. He’s whispering that He’s got this and allowing me to grieve the outcome I most hoped for. Allowing me to grieve “my way” all while He’s looking at the bigger picture – you know, the one I can’t yet see. The pain is real and He’s offering me a place to let that pain go.
We had to say goodbye to one of our precious foster babies this last week. As I watched the social worker walk her out our front door I realized that I would probably never see this little girl ever again. I sat on my couch that afternoon and thought about the time she spent as our daughter. We worked through things that I thought would surely break us – or at least it would surely break me. She stretched us and grew us. These huge hurdles bonded us and then, in what seemed like a blink, it was time to say goodbye.

I felt the loss of her deep inside my bones. My bones ached, my heart ached, deep inside my soul ached. I saw her wondering eyes as she was walked out the front door. I wondered if she understood what was happening. I wondered if she was comfortable, or God forbid scared. But then I remembered that she may have had a few sets of parents in her short little life so far, but one things remains the same and that’s that she has always been HIS. He loves her more than I can fathom. He walked out that door with her that morning and walked in the next door holding her hand. That doesn’t eliminate my feeling because I love her so much, but it gives my heart peace knowing the only one that is truly in control was standing smack dab in the middle of this situation as well.

Continue Reading HERE

Saying Goodbye

If I had to choose one thing we’re told most when people find out we foster babies it’s that: “I could never do that. It’d be too hard.” Can I let you in on a little secret? It’s too hard for us to.
While I don’t think everyone is supposed to be foster parents, this statement makes me twitch a little. Our hearts are no less big or loving than anyone else. It kills us to. Just as much. Our hearts love these kids as our own. We go through the ups and downs – withdrawals, nightmares, physical pain, emotional pain, moving, schedules, fears, visitation, court, appointments, etc. All these things create a tight bond. We are bonded by what we overcome together. Once we overcome, we sometimes have to say goodbye. I don’t know why this is the plan but it is.
We’ve said goodbye four times. Four times I’ve washed and packed up our kids clothes, their favorite blankies, the stuffed animal we gave them on their first night, their toothbrush, hair stuff, bath wash, toys, and favorite snacks. Four times I’ve sat at my computer and written out their schedule, likes and dislikes, and given our contact info. Four times I’ve gone through and printed out pictures of our favorite memories for them to hopefully have with them for a lifetime. Four times we’ve prayed over our kids before they were carried out the door for the last time sometimes crying, –  sometimes screaming, sometimes looking at me with wondering eyes. Four times I’ve closed the front door and fallen to the ground crying, wondering if we did enough, loved them hard enough, told them about Jesus enough, prepared them enough. And let me tell you –  I’d do it a hundred more if that’s what we’re called to do. This pain of loss is not as bad as a life of not knowing them would be. They grew us, tested us, taught us, and were fiercely loved while they were ours.
This morning was that fourth time. After our last goodbye I didn’t know how we’d do it again… then the phone rang. We got a call for a little girl and instantly we reacted. She needed us and although I didn’t know if we’d make it through the first month in one piece, I quickly learned we needed her to. She taught us the most out of all our kids. She taught me a new level of patience among other lessons. Although I’m slightly scared to think of why I needed to learn to have more patience, I quickly learned the lesson just the same. She grew us and stretched us.
She was walked out our front door this morning. The same door she walked through for the first time at the beginning of this year. Our only hope is that she left better equipped for this transition than when she came. All I could tell her was how much I loved her and how beautiful she is then she was gone. Unlike with our other kids, we will probably never see her again. She took a piece of my heart with her when she left. She may never remember us, but our prayer is that she remembers how loved she is, remembers how someone is always going to be there for her, remembers she is HIS.
Through these moments of loss God’s taught me that He is in control. He’s taught me that He is good because He gave us these kids even for just a little while. He’s shown me, and my mother’s heart, how much He loves me by making me a mama.
I walked back into my house this morning and saw the couple toys we didn’t send on the floor, her high chair with cherrios and a few pieces of waffle left on it, her picture on our coffee table, and I felt the gravity of the loss. But I also felt the gravity of the love. God knew we’d get that phone call and say yes. He knew she’d strip us down with challenges before He’d build us back up, stronger than before. He knew we’d have to say goodbye before the phone even rang. I don’t know why, but one day I’m sure I’ll look back and see that even in this pain His hand was there.
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

John 13:7 NLT

Even In Brokenness, He is Good.

“Come sit down,” my husband said for the 26th time that night. It was nearing midnight and I was anxiously peering out the peephole of our front door. How could he be so calm in a moment like this?! We were about to meet our first child and he wants me to sit down! He has a way with rationality. Apparently the car won’t actually pull into our driveway any faster if I’m looking out the peephole or sitting on the couch. Anyways, at the door I stood.
The car eventually pulled into our driveway and two Officers of Social Services carried a car seat with a newborn baby girl out into the night and straight into our hearts. My life was about to change in ways I didn’t yet understand.
I made a “deal” with God, you see. I would love any child He brings into our lives unconditionally and He would protect me from the “heartbreak” of a relationship with birthparents.
Yeah – right.
We had Baby A for approximately 21 minutes when the CPS officer handed me the phone number for Baby A’s mom and told me she’s expecting a call tonight. I’m sure he noticed the obvious deer in headlights look on my face so he gently told me, “she’s scared to.”
I have this sign hanging above the window in our kitchen that reads, “If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”
Well I did make that call to reassure Baby A’s mom that she was here and she’ll be taken care of. A short 3 days later I found myself walking into my very first visit holding Baby A in my arms and handed her to her mom for her scheduled visitation. I monitored that visit and would continue to monitor for the rest of the time Baby A was in our home.
God refined my heart through this hard experience.
It’s doesn’t take much work to take the easy road. Profound, I know.
Where I thought I’d rather save myself the pain of knowing Baby A’s mom I would have lost the experience of creating an irreplaceable relationship with a girl that now looks up to me as a mom. I learned it wasn’t about me, but was about them – not about what I would loose, but what they would gain. This is a lesson that stretches far beyond foster care, although I’ve had the difficult opportunity to learn this lesson more than a couple times as a foster mom.
So often we jump to the conclusion about how things should go – how they’ll work best. This can be so dangerous for ourselves, and ultimately for our faith.
God doesn’t promise us a life without pain, He just promises to walk through the pain with us.
Sometimes those painful moments are the most refining moments.

May is foster care awareness month. There are so many ways to involve yourself with the foster youth in your area. Whether you have an hour to give, a day, or forever, there is an opportunity to help those that need your love the most. As always, please reach out if you need help connecting to these opportunities.

You are Enough, Mama

I am enough.
Why is it that this statement can be so hard to believe sometimes? There’s always something else, someone else, another load, another project.
Can I be honest with you? We’ve been living out of our dryer for over a week. If I would have told you this last year it would have had 10 excuses attached to the end of that confession. Attempts at justifying my “less than” actions, or “lack of actions.”
I had folding laundry on my list of to-do’s today and you know what, it didn’t get done. What I’m not telling you is the things that have taken importance in this last week or so.
If I count my success based on what’s not done, I’ll never be enough.
Sisters, you are enough.

Our girls are 10 months apart. We had our baby for a week before our 14 month old came into our home. Everyone encouraged me to get the girls on the same napping schedule. I quickly learned that this didn’t work for me. I’d rather stagger their naps so I could give them all my attention for a little bit of the day. This being said, normally a portion of their nap does fall at the same time. Today, our baby didn’t fall right to sleep so I laid on the bed with her and we “talked.” When she finally fell asleep she was holding onto my finger. My scheduled time to get things done quickly went out the window.

For the Mama Without a Mama

I remember the moment she said it. She was standing at the door of my room, and I was sitting on the floor going through my closet. She said to leave her bedroom as it was for a little while in case I ever want to go sit in there and talk with her. She told me to rock in the rocking chair and feel that this separation is only temporary.
She was my mother. She had cancer, and I was just barely considered an adult – too young to lose my mama who also happened to be my best friend.
I did lose her just a few short weeks later. My life turned upside down and inside out. It was just she and I, but on that second to last Friday in May, it became just me. I found myself visiting that chair many times before we moved. My husband and I were engaged a few months later and married before a year was up. That’s when the big moments began. I got engaged with a ring like the many my mama and I had talked about sitting on the couch in our living room. And our wedding was wonderful – complete with a precious tribute just for her. But she wasn’t there, and I knew these sweet moments would only be the beginning of things I’d go through without her.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t terrify me to become a mom without her here. She’s the one I called 20 times a day and could ask anything. There was no filter on our relationship, nothing was embarrassing, and she was the wisest of women. One of the hardest parts about her being gone was knowing she wasn’t here praying for me and encouraging me to draw closer to Christ. There came lesson number one.

Day 4 & 5 #knittogetherbyadoption

Why? That’s a good question. Why do we foster? That can probably be answered differently depending on the day, or honestly, my mood. What first peaked my interest into the foster care world was the equal need between my arms needing the weight of a baby and a baby needing the security of my arms. God opened the doors of fostering both by paving the way to our being licensed and by opening the doors of our hearts. I’d be crazy to look back on this journey and think anything less than this being the plan all along.
When Baby A came home I realized that I spent a lot of time preparing for something impossible to prepare for. The love I felt for her was intense and instantaneous. I realized, looking at her that first night, that her all of 3 day old self knew more brokenness than most adults. I was about to see God build beauty from brokenness.
I’d like to put on my rosy glasses and think that the dimpled hands and chubby thighs keep me in foster care but the reality is the brokenness, abuse, pain… and hope keep me here. This system is terribly flawed towards our children and it’s quietly become my mission to stand in the gap for our kids. There’s a burning desire in my heart to love them well. To teach them their worth. To give them connection, attachment, trust, and unconditional love. To let them be little.
Day 5 of #knittogetherbyadoption asks about RAISING AWARENESS.
On of the things I’m most passionate about is teaching people the MANY ways to get involved in foster care. Before we were licensed I’ll be honest – I didn’t know much about foster care or the depth of the need. When we went to get involved it was as foster parents because I was unaware of the many avenues we could have served prior to feeling lead to grow our family this way.
Firstly, let me tell you we are NOT any better, different, more special, etc. AND we experience no less pain over the trauma of our kids than anyone else would. I do believe you have to have a calling to foster. It’s a job and its tough – no doubt about that. BUT everyone IS called to serve and there are so many ways in which to serve these beautiful children.
A few ways to immediately serve is volunteering a couple hours a month to mentoring kids. Depending on their ages you may be grabbing coffee and chatting, helping with homework, helping job search, throwing around a basketball, reading books, or snuggling the youngest of these. One of the ways we, as a family, have been served is through meals when a new babe comes. The first week especially is tough. Not only is the family adjusting but you spend A TON of time on the phone between social workers, getting the kids medical insurance set up, etc. There’s a lot of “business” to get done in that first week which takes precious bonding time away. When a meal is brought over I can’t tell you how blessed we feel!
Donating to the county, Foster Family Agencies, group homes, etc. is also a great way to get involved. Most of the time kids are taken out of a dangerous situation quickly. Most kids come into care with what’s on their back. Some maybe have a trash bag with a couple things. Hopefully they fit. Aside from bringing in clothes, toys, or toiletries, there are amazing organizations fighting for foster kids to have a little normalcy. Together We Rise is one of our family’s favorite organizations. You can buy and decorate packs from them. Their packs are duffle bags and they come with a teddy bear, blanket, and a few other things for the kids. More times than not a child is moved with a trash bag. Shame would be a good way to describe this but Together We Rise helps eliminate that. They truly are an incredible organization! PLUS the decorating parties are a blast! 
There’s seriously a way for EVERYONE to get involved in serving these children. After all, in 5,10,15 years, these children are the adults of our society. They need us now. Whether you can give an hour a week, an hour a month, or an hour a year, every minute of your time is worth SO much for these kids! AND I guarantee you’ll feel more blessed at the end than anything!

As always, please reach out if you need resources on how to get involved in your area!