Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me.
God is so good. We live in a world that is falling apart as people pursue selfishness instead of righteousness. When we step into that mess and get our hands dirty, it hurts. But God knows when we need strength, and he gives it generously to those who are following Him.
Early last week I felt really renewed and strengthened and just ready to take on the rest of this difficult year with confidence. God knew I needed that little boost before a meeting that I had last Wednesday. The meeting when Midge’s social worker told me that she is confident that Midge will be reunified with her bio mom before the termination of parental rights hearing happens. Thanks for that little tidbit, lady.
The social worker is planning to begin unmonitored visits for Midge’s bio mom, after 20 months, and while still recommending termination of reunification services for Midge. What? Does that even make sense? You’re recommending termination of reunification services, which is supposed to be the point at which Midge’s best interests are thought of above bio parents’ best interests (finally!), and yet you’re recommending unmonitored visits now? This, on top of the fact that everyone except Midge’s attorney seems determined to draw the case out forever, is not easy to take. We fully expect that the August hearing will be postponed again, and we can’t even guess what excuse they’ll use this time.
Then I get a call Friday night telling me that the social worker is giving bio dad 6 hours of extra visits for the next several weeks to be supervised by his sister, because she will only be in town for a few more weeks. Does the social worker stop to think about the fact that Midge is consistently totally uncomfortable at his visits? Yet she thinks it’s a good idea to add an unsupervised visit in a six hour chunk for the next several weeks?
I met with the social worker Wednesday. And Wednesday and Thursday I was doing well. Shored up with my boost of strength and perseverance from God, I knew I only had to get through one day at a time and still be praising Him at the end of it. But Thursday night it fell apart. I guess that’s life, right? You can’t hold it together in tough times at every moment. After a good cry and a good talk with Greg, we went to bed and woke up ready for another day today. Still a little defeated.
But God knows. My friend and fellow foster parent (foster mom for our little foster kiddos) has three new kids now that the little foster kiddos moved to their adoptive family. She called Friday morning and I told her about our case. She and I commiserated for a bit, then she said she was calling to ask if I could take her eight year old boy for the day for respite. Yes, of course I could. And it’s just the distraction I needed.
On Sunday at church, we were reminded that although we will still have to live through really hard things, God’s love is surrounding us, holding us up. My goal is that when I am waist deep in the mess and in despair, I will remember God’s love and look around at all the blessings He is pouring into my life, even as I struggle. The other thought that hit me today is that we can’t always change someone’s pain, but we can be there for them in it. If a friend is going through a hard time, I can stand with them through it, even if I can’t affect the situation or change it in any way. I feel like God’s asking that of me in this realm of foster care. His heart breaks for these children. And although I really can’t affect the situation or change it in any way, I can slog down into it with Him. I can feel Him thanking me for that…for being there in the pain with Him.
It is one thing to say that Midge will most likely be gone from our family within a few months. It’s another thing to watch it slowly unfold, one phone call at a time. The only hope we hold onto is that God has a plan. It is a good plan. It involves our best and Midge’s best in the long run.
Thankfully, no judge or social worker can get in the way of His plan. When I spend two hours awake in the middle of the night, I move from sad to angry to revengeful to cold to hopeful to trusting to sleep. I know that God steps in during those midnight hours, helping me move from self-pity to trust.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for YOU are with me. That is the one comfort today, and the knowledge that His intentions cannot be shaken, no matter what the outcome is. He had it planned, He has it planned, and He wanted it this way.
So thankful today for a loving heavenly Father who is intimately involved with the direction of our lives.