This sweet girl is back into a tumultuous situation. Shortly after I wrote the last blog post, her dad called us during a breakdown and asked us to take her home with us on a full-time basis indefinitely while he tried to figure out how to make a safe home for her and get his life in order. With his encouragement, we enrolled her in preschool here and she’s been living with us since January 19. The days are crazy but it has felt so right having her home with us in a safe and structured environment.
Meanwhile, her dad is trying to sell his house to move away from her mom who is an unsafe person and has been pursuing them in various ways for quite a while now, I guess. He has his own issues and struggles to break himself away from the unsafe lifestyle and relationships that would harm Midge. We are giving Midge a soft place to land while he tries to get all this together, and after he’s ready to bring her home he wanted us to be her full time daycare providers and put her in our local elementary school in the fall for kindergarten.
We enjoyed a few weeks in this false sense of security…that there might finally be a stable living arrangement and a way to move Midge past all of the craziness in her little life. Yesterday, this all fell apart. Her dad was seeking a restraining order against her mom, and the judge at the restraining order hearing heard a short bit of testimony from Midge’s parents and with this small bit of information, overturned the previous judge (who’d been looking at years of information) about what should be happening for Midge’s safety. The new judge over the restraining order hearing ruled that Midge should begin unmonitored full weekend visits with her mom starting next weekend. The judge also opened an inquiry into Midge’s safety and a court appointed investigator will now be speaking with all the previous social workers and case managers to determine what should happen next for Midge. Knowing her mother quite well and having had years of experience with child protective services, we have no confidence that Midge won’t be jerked around, kidnapped, traumatized, or harmed in this coming season. We have no idea what will come next for our baby.
The phone call came around 2p.m. yesterday, and the rest of the day was a blur of disbelief, outrage, and fear for the future as I trudged through the motions of parenting my five until bedtime. This morning I am blessed to have had several hours in prayer to process it all, and God met me here in my pain. I am no longer fearful for the future. I feel like God has given me the gift of a glimpse of the whole picture that He sees. He is not surprised or fearful or impotent. He holds the whole situation in His all-powerful hands. He loves His little girl and no one can snatch her from His hands. The LORD himself watches over us, the Bible tells us, and it says that He does not slumber or sleep. He’s not wringing His hands because of the incompetence of the county workers and judges and humans who seem to control her fate. I really feel like God has shown me that this is the beginning of the end of her captivity to this life of darkness.
This morning I took Midge to preschool and she asked me to stay for chapel. I said I would. Confident in her mommy’s promise, she dashed off to the swing, where she began pumping herself higher and higher. I watched the joy light up her face. She had no worries in that moment. I stood there and prayed, “LORD, deliver her. Deliver her from this life of fear and chaos and darkness and bring her into Your light and freedom and safety.” In that moment I knew that we are headed into the final rapids for Midge. The LORD is delivering her, will deliver her, in fact He has already delivered her from her bondage and we just need to sit back, hold on, and trust Him as we watch it happen. Someday she will look back and claim this verse from 1 Peter 2:9 as she sees His faithfulness in her life: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” I have a sudden feeling of victory as we are privileged to watch God save our baby from the darkness of her circumstances.
Even as I feel that freedom and confidence, I remember that His ways are not our ways, and that a hundred years here can be like a second in His timing. I think we’ve had these few weeks of rest and preparation with all five of our kids firmly planted in our home to prepare us for the rough road ahead, like the rest before a grueling race. And I know that although I am confident in God’s victory in Midge’s life, it’s more likely to be months and years of struggle ahead, rather than days and weeks. I am praying for perseverance and confidence in God’s plan even as we watch it unfold through bumbling decisions by imperfect people. I am praying for an unwavering faith in God as we hold our baby’s hand as long as He lets us hold it physically, and even after that we will hang onto her hand in our hearts. “We know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name.” Psalm 140:12
Midge’s future is not a mystery to God. He let us all rest up here together in preparation for the rapids that are now upon us. But we don’t need to doubt whether she’ll get through to take hold of the freedom that lies at the end of this ride. We don’t need to worry about what we should say and what we should do, as if her future lies within our human hands. “If God is for Midge, who can ever be against her? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for Midge, how will He not also graciously give her all things?” Romans 8:31-32 No matter what terrible decisions are made and who makes them and when, we must be confident in our God’s love for his daughter. We have seen it over and over again through the unbelievable circumstances in her past. This is God’s child, and I believe he loves those who are oppressed and in trouble with more strength than we can possibly imagine. And no matter what incompetence and danger she faces in the coming times, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate her from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our LORD.” Romans 8:38
I pray for the faith and perseverance we will need to walk beside our daughter on this treacherous road to His victory, His safety, His deliverance, His freedom. I pray for strength of heart and mind, not to be fooled by the enemy’s plan to discourage us and make us fear for a child who is held firmly in the hands of an Almighty God. I pray for protection over her body and heart, that the scars that come from this road might be the kind that fade with time and love. I pray that God will deliver her gently, and as quickly as possible, knowing at the same time that His methods and His timing are perfect for her and may be different from ours. I pray for wise counsel for us when God calls us to play a part in her fight. I pray for comfort for us all as we are tossed by these coming waves, knowing that ours is a God who has the winds and the waves at His command. When we get scared and doubt, may we hear Jesus telling us amidst the storm, as he did in Mark 4:40, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” and may we hear that rebuke and once again walk in the victory that we know belongs to our family and our daughter.
I pray for my family as I generally crack under the emotional pressure and often bring it out in impatience with my kids. I pray for my physical health and strength as these fostering stresses have regularly wreaked havoc on my body. I pray for each of my children, that God would be working out something amazing in each of their lives through this trial. I pray for Greg as he tries to captain our ship with grace and love through these storms. Most of all I pray that God would keep our baby in His loving arms, safe with Him, wherever she may physically be. I pray for the swift return of Jesus, that we might all gather around the throne of grace and spend eternity in paradise with Him, making all the troubles of this life look like but a breath, as He says in the psalms. And through all this I am thankful that even as I pray, I already know He has answered, is answering and will answer it all. “Surely I am coming quickly. Amen, even so, come, LORD Jesus! The grace of the LORD Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21)