Over the past few years, our hearts have been broken. Again and again. Our lives have been shattered. Our world has been crushed. Our fragile, human bodies have ended up on the kitchen floor over and over again. And we find ourselves in a place of heartbreak, loss, grief once again.
A little over 2 months ago, we received a call from our social worker trying to find a place for an almost 2 year old little boy. We welcomed him to our home and a few weeks later, welcomed his baby sister. We didn’t know for how long but I knew immediately it was temporary. I can’t explain it in words, I just knew they were only meant to be with us for a little while. The past 2 months have been difficult. The giant babyman pushed every boundary 10 feet past the line and I found myself in tears many days. Some days our of exhaustion. Some days out of guilt for my thoughts & actions toward him. And some days, more recently, out of a heartbreaking love for him. In the beginning, I had to intentionally make myself just sit and hold him for a while. Even though it was the last thing I wanted to do, I know he needed me to.
On top of my struggles with him, caring for 4 kids (3 under the age of 2) is just exhausting. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. It is exhausting. It drains you. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t have laundry to wash & fold. Many days, I just had to sit on the floor and hold all 3 babies at once. There wasn’t a moment in any day when someone did not need something from me. I know many of you mamas can relate.
After we found out the 2 newest additions would be leaving, I started thinking we should take a break. Just a reprieve. Or maybe we should just quit altogether. Foster care is just too hard. And not just on me & Jason. I am continually having to remind Jud that his mama & daddy aren’t leaving, that we’re not going to “choose bad choices” and that he won’t have to go stay with someone else like the brothers and sisters that he’s had. I have to remind him that Caleb is his forever brother even though he didn’t come from mama’s tummy. He has had to give up some of mama & daddy’s attention, as well. I have to reassure Caleb that he is still my baby even though there were 2 new babies here. Giant babyman & baby girl have had to learn our family & our crazy ways only to have to do the same with new people all over again. Foster care is unnatural. It is just hard. And sometimes I want to give up.
Giving up sounds so nice, doesn’t it? I’ll have more time. I’ll have more energy. It’ll be wonderful. But then I’m reminded that obedience, no matter how difficult & exhausting & time consuming, is always the better choice. When I give Jud the choice to obey or disobey, I am praying & hoping he chooses to obey because I have more information than he does right now (though some days I wonder with that kid) and I know the choice to obey is for his good. Even though it may not be the fun choice. Even though it may not be the cool & popular choice. Even though it may bring tears & heart ache for a while. I ask him to do certain things because I know they are good for him and I pray he trusts me enough to choose obedience. And so it is with us & God. He loves us. He asks us to do things because He has more information than we do and He knows it is good for us. Even when the road of obedience is lined with loss, grief and heartbreak. Even when we don’t understand. Even when the other choice seems more fun. Even when the other choice promises rest and peace and leisure. Obedience is always the better choice.
I mess up so much. I am not a perfect parent. My speech toward my children & husband is not grace-filled more often than I wish were true. I still have not figured out how to suffer well. I complain. I am fearful. I get angry. I doubt. The only thing I really have to offer to Christ is my messed up life. My broken, tattered pieces. And I offer them, knowing that He is making something beautiful out of them. I offer them, knowing I can trust Him with them. I offer them, knowing that Christ is my reward.
And Jesus is always, always worth it.
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11