The boys and I were taking Little Sis to her respite. As I began unbuckling her, Daniel (3), began kicking, screaming, and crying uncontrollably, saying, "Mommy, it's not time for her to go yet. I'll miss her too much."
I tried to explain to his little mind, that we would all be together again tomorrow, but even when the time does come for her to leave, it will be okay because God is a big and good God no matter what happens.
He didn't get it.
A short hour later I walked into Lifeway to find a Bible to send with Little Sis. I'm not sure what happened, but a wave of grief and disappointment hit me. I began weeping in the middle of the store, pretty uncontrollably. Yes, everyone watched in pity. My heart kicked and screamed within me, saying it's just not time yet. Everything in me felt that God wasn't big enough, and Jesus couldn't still be on His throne if my heart was this heavy.
Praise God His Son didn't act on His feelings in the Garden. And Praise God, Jesus trusted His Father enough to share His plea, because I know He understands.
We know we're called to orphan care, but this unique aspect of orphan ministry brings another creepy baggage with it...that of grief. We're told the goal is reunification; we understand it, and we even beg God for it, but we also realize the truth that there will most likely be some who stay, some who return, and some who go to entirely different homes.
But understanding these things doesn't change that we've done the diapers for the last six months, or that she's reached for us when she's cried. It doesn't change that we're the ones who've whispered the name of Jesus in her ear every chance we get, and we're the ones who've hit our knees every morning, crying out for her heart to long for a Savior even now. It doesn't change that in every sense of the word, except the legal one, we have been her family.
She has been our daughter #3, and our daughters #1 and #2, will be here for a season. These girls are worth celebrating, and they are worth grieving, especially when you know you may never hear their voices or see their faces again.
So we grieve. But this week, I've realized I've grieved before my sons with the belief that I trust my God with eternity, but not with today. I've grieved as if I'm a victim of a broken world, rather than a daughter of a Victor who is redeeming that world.
I've held in the tears, and let them fester to bitterness and unbelief, telling them their Heavenly Father isn't big enough to take it.
So today in the car, my three sons and I wept together. We held hands and cried, and told God we were sad and mad that things hadn't quite gone as we had hoped.
Caleb squeezed my hand and prayed, "Sometimes, God, I get really discouraged that you've told our family to do this. It's really hard, God. But like Mommy says, 'You are still God, and Jesus is still on His throne, so we know you won already.'"
I almost let my despair make me miss it. I almost cried Uncle. I almost chose comfort.
But by His grace, I let my sons taste the suffering of their Savior. I let them see the glimpse of the grief the Father had as He surrendered His Son. I let them see that the pain, the sadness, the tears are real, and we own them as we grieve a broken world and the deep discomfort of letting go.
In that same moment they point to a victory we already have, and we can share in the suffering of the cross, because it's been completed, and we know the end. And as we taste the pain for this very short season, we will realize the joy that conquered death and despair forever.
I almost missed it.