From The Senicks, With Love

The following is the first installment in a series of blogs, each written by a different member of our Live Oak Church family.

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Don and Laurel Senick

 

Don, my husband, is a maintenance man. I work in mental health. Both jobs can be exciting in entirely different ways. Picture going to battle with a 7-year-old who's swearing like a sailor, and a mucked-up toilet. You get the picture. Not glamorous, but our jobs provide us a nice life.

Don didn't have to work the day after Christmas. Since I wasn’t as lucky, he planned dinner. I know most of you know by now that the man can cook, so here’s the menu. For starters: a ginger-soy tuna tartare with sesame rice crackers, followed by miso soup (my fav), and finally chicken fried rice done right, in a wok.

Don worked most of the day clearing out the garden. Tasked with the grocery list, (my small contribution to the meal), I picked up the needed items including a stop at the local fish market. By the time I arrived home a roaring fire overflowed out of the firepit. The pit disappeared beneath the garden debris. As I walked out he shoveled another load on top.

Flames licked the tree limbs above as Fiona, our pup, raced up with her toy donut for me to throw. I immediately voiced my concern for Fiona, afraid she’d catch a spark from the out-of-control fire. God knows she’s so fast, she’d be toast before we could catch her.

But Don said, “It’s fine.” And with a nonchalant shrug, he continued to toss even more dead twigs and leaves with glee into the five-alarm fire.

I couldn’t watch. A little annoyed, I walked away, doubting his wisdom. It happens you know, me doubting him. More frequently than I like to admit. To make it worse, it’s not like I can hide it. My feelings wear on me like an ugly Christmas sweater, obvious and unbecoming.

Later, as the fire and my annoyance died back, Don started the appetizer. He chopped scallions, ginger and garlic. He mixed the marinade as I watched, but as he sliced into the tuna he made a face – it was borderline. We both sniffed it a few times and determined we probably wouldn’t die. And since it was all we had, he used it. Luckily, it turned out delicious.

After the yummy appetizer I wandered out by the now more reasonable fire. Fiona joined me as Don worked his mojo in the kitchen. Forever obsessed, Fiona brought over her donut. As I threw the toy over and over, I listened to a sermon online. When the flickering amber light dimmed I picked up the pitch fork. Shoveling another pile of debris into the fire, the dry limbs and leaves crackled and hissed.

As if drawn by the fire, Fiona stood in the narrow space between my chair and the pit, her tail waving as if fanning the fire. I quickly threw the donut. As I did, the preacher said something that piqued my interest. He said he felt like God challenged him to be “joyfully inconvenienced.”

What was that? I’ve been joyful, and I’ve been inconvenienced, but never the two together.

Usually when I’m inconvenienced I look annoyed. Even if I say I’m fine, anyone with two eyes would know different. Is it possible to have joy while being inconvenienced? I hardly can muster up patience. It would have to be a God thing. Maybe a New Year’s resolution…

Just as I was pondering this, the sliding back door opened, and Don put his Bluetooth speaker- the one I bought him a few Christmases ago- on the deck. He stepped back inside and closed the door. My ears perked up when I recognized the song by Ed Sheeran. The lyrics rolled off my tongue as the song played, “Baby, we’ve found love right where we are.”

This sweet gesture provoked tears to my eyes. Liquid gratitude rolled down my cheeks for this husband of mine. My heart spilled over like Don’s fire had earlier. I thanked the God of Love for giving me Don. I am so blessed. Blessed by God. Blessed with a wonderful husband who I know is blessed by our Church. By his male friends, brothers in Christ, Brian, Hunter, Richard and others. They give him the courage to be vulnerable and accept love, God’s love, my love and their love. I am blessed by Live Oak Church more and more each day. It is our family where we can make mistakes and learn to love God’s way together.

I don’t know if it’s possible this year to be joyfully inconvenienced, but I believe thankfulness may be the key. And I know with God’s help and the love and truth from my brothers and sisters in Christ I might just make some strides.

Prayer requests for the Senick family:

  1. We take our yearly PR trip end of Jan. Please pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ, especially in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (We did hear most of Rincon just got power!)

  2. Just got word back from my editor about my surf novel. He gave it a thumbs-up and feels it’s publishable, after I work a few kinks out that he (for a large sum of money) pointed out. Prayer for supernatural stamina and success.

Pure and Genuine Religion...

From the desk of Laurel Senick:
I’m humbled to have a moment to share a bit of our fostering journey. It all started for us with a little boy from Belarus named Sergei. We hosted Sergei every summer for six years and despite his lack of English and our lack of Russian we made a precious bond.
Admittedly, the first year was the hardest, but after building a language of mime and shared experiences we looked forward each year to his return. It was his coming and the little sadness mixed with relief when he went home that first prodded my heart to foster. “I think we could foster,” an innocent, if not naïve, statement to Don one night after Sergei left.
It’s been almost four years since that night and eight foster children have come and gone. Some stayed only a few days, some for a year. But it wouldn’t have been possible without our church community because honestly, it’s tough.
Our small group made being foster parents possible by encouraging us, praying for us and the kids, loving us without judgement and being ready with the truth when we needed it. A huge shout out to Amy and Nick who babysat the twins and teen­sat our 12­year­old. Whew she was a toughy! Also, Sydney and Brittany who each babysat the twins so we could have a date night.
My favorite things about fostering? Watching a child grow in a nurturing environment. Most kids come into care with such major deficits that even a few months of stability makes a visible difference. Also, sharing the love of Christ in a concrete way deepened our understanding of God’s love.
The hardest things about fostering? The beginning, the middle and the end. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog: What can YOU do for abused and neglected children? Can you foster? Maybe not, but you can do something with the love of Christ. You could be a foster parent’s most valuable asset, the Respite Foster Parent. This is a licensed foster parent who provides a needed break for foster parents for a date night or a weekend away, etc.
A six­week class that meets once a week for a couple of hours, a background check and a fire marshal to check out your home could make the difference for a child remaining stable in a foster home. Since our church is partnering with the Bair Foundation talking with a member of their team could be a first step. Maybe this will be the beginning of your fostering journey...
“Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matt 25:34­40 (NIV)