Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things I Never Thought I Would Do

Sometimes I feel like I'm walking through a world in which I don't belong. I've always had a passion for adoption, but I didn't always have a definite plan to foster. I'm sheltered. I'm non-confrontational. I like people to like me. This foster care world is full of moments I never expected to have in my life.

I never expected to know my way through the county Hall of Justice. I didn't picture myself waiting in long security lines with people who are there for all sorts of reasons, reasons that make me nervous if I stop and think. I never expected to have a seat where I normally sit in a court room, or clothes and routines that are normal for court days.

I didn't think I'd ever find it normal to get unexpected calls from lawyers, specialists, nurses or case workers. I didn't think I could ever get used to being constantly assessed on my home, my parenting style, and my relationship with someone who gets to live by totally different standards than I do. I didn't picture sending my baby away four times a week in a van with people who don't always keep him safe and often have no experience with babies.

I didn't picture myself celebrating my baby's birthday quietly, alone, and without my baby. Twice now I've prayed and mourned through a baby's first birthday, wondering if my baby is safe, if my baby is growing and happy, and if my baby is with people who are even celebrating that beautiful milestone.

I didn't think I'd be reaching my seventh wedding anniversary and living in a rented apartment. I didn't think I'd be washing dishes by hand and trucking up and down two sets of stairs to a shared pay laundry facility by the time I had two little boys.

I never thought I would feel so under-equipped. So broken and drained, at times, that I've had to pull into parking lots to get a good cry so I can come home ready to be with my family again.

But then...

I never thought it would be so easy, and so necessary, to have a relationship with someone far from God. It has sometimes seemed hard to have people in my life who still need Jesus. My closest friends often go to my church and follow after Jesus, raising their babies to know about him. It's hard to reach outside of that bubble. Well, it used to be. Now it's not such a stretch.

I never thought I'd have so many opportunities to be the one who treats everyone the same in the court waiting area. To be the one to make eye contact with the rude employee and ask them about their day. To speak a kind word to the not-so-kind, overtired, and overworked state worker or office assistant on the other end of the phone.

I never knew I could be content to live with less. I didn't know I'd be strong enough to walk through most of my days with the satisfaction of truly appreciating my little cozy corner of the world. It's hard to want to do more and be limited by physical space, but I can see God growing me in it. I can appreciate safety and comfort. I can appreciate the people I share my space with. And I can appreciate that home has become more than a place to me. It's a feeling, an atmosphere, that I can help foster and that will fill any and every place my family lives in together. I know this is true because no matter where we go, home comes with us. This is the feeling that my children will remember someday when they think of home. This is what I will look back on when I am old. This is what fills my heart with contentment.

I never thought I'd have the chance to pray so devotedly for little boys I would, in many ways, only know by name. I never thought heaven would seem so real, and so near, as it does when I'm missing my babies and praying that I'll meet them again some day in a place where we can all be whole and together, loving Jesus face to face. I never thought reliance on Jesus would be something I would cling to and cherish so desperately as in the moments I am holding my smiling nine-and-a-half month old baby boy and breaking inside as I think about what his future might hold. Or in the times when I'm having a conversation with my three-year-old, who may grasp even better than me that we can love Baby S wholeheartedly all while knowing that he is a sweet gift that we share with another family.

In this, I have seen Jesus. I am realizing that my brokenness is a gift. I could never do this on my own. The more I feel over my head, the more I know deep down that I am right where I belong. Sometimes I feel with such certainty that I should not be able to move forward from where I am - that things have broken too much, and that I'm too little and too weak to do what is right.

And then, when I am able to carry on in truth and love, walking with Jesus even though my heart knows I can't take another step, I am absolutely convinced that I have seen God working. When I am able to handle my sins and mistakes in a graceful and humble way, I know for sure it is not from me. And it fills me with hope that he can use me, broken as I am.

No comments: