I'm not sure why it's been harder for me this month.
But I'm here, and I'm processing, and I know so many of you are too.
If you don't know, we're on our first break as a family nucleus since we began this crazy journey of foster care.
A 10-day sabbatical.
The vacation is nice, but more than that, there were weighing elements that signaled it was time. Questions that have been lurking in the shadows began to undeniably demand attention, and we knew we had to be away to truly return and respond with our Holy Yes' and No's.
I can't even begin to list the people who made this happen for us, and we're so incredibly grateful.
Sometimes your mind must escape in order to fully enter once again.
I was recently asked on a panel and then again by a friend, If we knew what we know now about our lives, the struggles, the brokenness of foster care, would we embark on the journey again?
|Photo Credit: Sodahead.com|
As you know, nothing is a simply Yes or No in my mind...
Seventeen years ago, I was a freshman in college.
Each week a local mom would pack up a mess of rowdy college students and carry them down to the urban center in Tuscaloosa to serve at Kids Club.
I didn't make it every week. But the times I did, there was a young black girl, April, with twisted braids waiting for me on the bench when I walked through the double doors.
She sat half on and half off my lap (she was too energetic to limit herself to one sitting position) through the Bible story, snack and game time.
She would tell me of her life.
She would speak of her many siblings, spread far and wide.
And each time I made it, I would hear a knowing voice in my spirit as I climbed back in the mini-van to go back to town, This will be your Yes...
Two years later, Jamie and I had just started dating when I signed up to serve with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I was a junior at Alabama.
The director confessed she had given me the most unconventional match, something they always avoided, but they were desperate for this kid.
When I showed up to meet what I thought would be a cute little girl in need who I would take out for ice cream, Eddie came through the door instead.
A twelve-year-old abandoned boy with autism.
It had been literally years since anyone "on the outside" of his group home had visited him.
14 foster homes before he landed in the room I stood that day.
Everything in me wanted to pack up and run the other way, hard.
He barely spoke as I signed the papers to take him off campus to TCBY, and as we drove away, I heard the resounding voice again, This will be your Yes.
It became a two-year relationship, where each week that boy watched from his window for my little Mazda to pull into the driveway.
I'm ashamed to say I don't know what happened to Eddie after I moved away and married Jamie.
But God used that to unearth something in me that could never be buried again.
The truth is, once you have been exposed to the brokenness of this world, of your city, of your neighbors, it will ~ it should ~ forever shape your lens of life.
But did we ever truly have the right to run from that exposure to begin with?
More than that, when we have drunk deeply of the Living Waters and feasted on the Bread of Life that has pursued us with abundant grace, our experience drives us to those in famine, aching for hope.
So you ask, would we do it again?
There are so many moments I want to be uncalled. I would be lying if I told you otherwise.
But this space is our Yes. It is worthy of a million crowding No's, because we deeply recognize that today, in this season, this is the channel God wants to use us to bring His kingdom to earth.
He doesn't need us, but He has welcomed us in to know Him better through His bringing justice and redemption to splintered corners.
Before our calling to care for vulnerable children and families in crisis became known in our lives, I was never dependent on Jesus before. Not really desperate for Him.
I would have told you I was, because that was what I was taught to say as a good Christian little girl.
But I didn't wake up craving His hand on my heart, day by day.
I would never trade the grief we have known for the ways we know Jesus now, and to grasp that each moment we respond with the Yes to which He calls us, we will only know Him better.
I could never trade the pain for the budding understanding I have of Biblical love, compassion, and justice.
I would have told you what my intellectual studies of the Bible had scripted me to say of those things in my prior life, but to beg God to make those qualities known through Him ~ through me ~ as a mama forever says goodbye to the child she bore...I had no clue.
Truth be told, I am shattered. There are crevices of my soul that will never be mended here on earth because of this journey we are on. Even as I walk with our boys and talk with them this week, their hearts bare the scars of our family's calling.
That will never be undone.
But, Friend, would we want the scars of our Savior undone?
Is it my job to raise my sons to be good, noble citizens who will be productive one day?
Or...am I called to let them see how deeply their Savior loves them, longs to provide for them, yearns to be their everything?
To invite them into the reality that I love Jesus more than them, and that is a good thing?
To give them glimpses that their God is not safe, but He is so very good?
To live out before them the earthly and heavenly transcending reality that Jesus is worth it all?
Guys, I wail, I cuss, I rationalize, I ache, but all my wrestling continues to gently lead me back to the Cross of hope.
Jesus is worthy of the spaces to which He invites us....
And in the moments when we feel there are no more words to give, no more tears to cry, and our fingers are bleeding to the bone, He is waiting to carry us.
May we all reach the moment where we fall at His feet to be carried with nothing else to claim but the One who loves us.