I’m going to change my blog header a bit early this year…I know summer doesn’t officially start yet, but the boys are out of school and beach nights have begun, so in my mind, Summer is Here!
As I look at this Spring blog header that I created three months ago, I feel like I am worlds away from where I was. That was a hard time. From the court date in mid January until about mid April, I spent two months a little bit lost. Just writing that makes me feel like a bit of a failure.
Two years ago, life was easy and happy and put together neatly. Then came fostering. I held it together (barely!) for the first month when we had the little boys as an emergency shelter home. We had a break for a month. Then I held it together when we got Midge and the rollercoaster began. Yes, she’ll probably be adoptable. Oh wait, there might be some family who wants her, so don’t get too attached. Nope, no family, things are looking up. Then again, maybe not, and by the way, did you know you need to take on a part time job just transporting and supervising her visits and it will be physically and emotionally taxing and will take you away from your own kids? Okay, now we have some monitors to help you with that. And now we don’t. And now we do again. And it looks like reunification is a real possibility. And it looks like things are headed towards adoption! Oh wait, let’s switch counties. And it looks like things are headed towards reunification.
And I lost control of it all. And I realized that I never had any control anyway. And I sank.
Things are no different with Midge today than they were a few months ago. But I’m learning a few things that are making a difference. First, we are not in control of anything. God has His plan and it doesn’t often look like our plan. Following after God’s leading can be a real buzz when things are headed in an unknown and promising direction. But following after His leading when it looks like you’re headed somewhere you don’t want to go? Not so fun. It’s something that I tend to strain against.
But God is changing my heart. Slowly. When the thoughts about Midge’s case come into my mind, I am mentally repeating, “I am not in control. I am not in control. God is in control.” I have a picture in my mind of a father holding hands with a small child, leading them through a dense crowd, like at the fair. It’s confusing to be down there with the stomping feet and pressing bodies, and I can’t see the clearing that my Father is headed for, but it is there. Sometimes, when I’m really weary, my Father is carrying me towards that peaceful place even though I may be straining against His arms. But we’ll get there. To that place where His plan comes together.
Secondly, I’m learning real trust. Not the trust about my kids’ schoolings or the security of my home or Greg’s job. The trust that puts your child’s life on the line. The kind that offers one of your most beloved up, knowing that He loves her even more than I do. The kind that steps out to do something even though that something might cost you one of your children. It’s that last little thing that we don’t often hand over to God…our children’s safety. Learning real trust is allowing God to take over even the most treasured people, dreams, and parts of our lives.
Thirdly, I’m learning what it really means to love my neighbor. I have gotten in the habit of saying, “I know you say in the Bible to love your neighbor, but I don’t really want to love Midge’s parents too much or in really tangible and helpful ways, because that might increase their chances of getting Midge back, which I think would be dangerous for her.” So I rationalize that by holding back in loving and serving them, I’m loving Midge, whom God has entrusted to me.
But it doesn’t work that way. I am told to love my neighbor. Period. Whether that will help my neighbor do something good or bad, I am supposed to love them. I am told to do to others as I would have them do to me. Period. Well, I’ve been cordial and nice to both parents for 18 months. I have given them photos of Midge and taken photos of them together. I have given handprints and Mother’s and Father’s Day cards and even a Shutterfly photo book. But I could do more.
Do I honestly think that I can derail God’s overall plan for Midge by following His word and loving them the best that I possibly can? God is powerful. I remember this and forget it day by day by day. When I start getting worried about the future, I remember that it is not my job to worry about or plan the future.
Here is my job description:
- love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
- love my husband and respect him.
- love my kids (all three of them) and guide them.
- love my neighbor as myself. even if my neighbor isn’t someone I want to love.
So here comes the summer…I’m going to continue my early morning time with God. I’m so thankful for these moments over the course of the year. I’m going to get into a routine that involves feeding my husband and kids the things that nourish their souls. I’m going to continue fighting the trap of worry and planning, and instead reroute my energy to loving all of my neighbors as best I can. And I’m leaving God to take care of the rest. Which isn’t that big of a deal since He’s been taking care of it all along while letting me pretend that I was. I plan on reading and re-reading this preachy cheerleadery post whenever I need it this summer.
Bring on the Summer!