Two weeks ago I shared a vulnerable story over on the Woman to Woman Ministries site that I blog for each week. I haven’t shared about this story on my personal blog yet, but I’ve definitely thought about it. Then, this morning I got one of those notifications on Facebook where it shows you all the things that happened this day in years past. One of those notifications was from two years ago. It was a post I had written about what little I could share about our sudden change in family dynamics.
Even though it’s been two years, I can feel the raw emotions dripping off those words. And so, I’d like to share it with you here. What we walked through, and how I learned to practice faithfulness and find peace in my relationship with God even when everything felt so confusing and hard. May it be an encouragement to those of you walking through your own hard times. May it be a reminder to you that your God sees you, and knows you, and pursues your heart intentionally.
Here’s the post (with some added details):
I watched through hot tear-filled eyes as our foster son was escorted from our home. The child that had been in our care for over a year now. The child we had worked so hard to break down walls with and create a safe space for. The child we had grown to love through the messiness that is joining lives. So many confusing emotions raced through my mind as the tears streamed down my cheeks into puddles on the entryway floor. The only thing I could manage to mutter was "No matter what, we'll always love you."
Saying “yes” to fostering a teenage boy wasn’t in the cards, but He brought us to it. Growing to love this child so much that we’d want him to be our forever family wasn't what I expected, but He walked with us in it. Making the impossible decision to let him leave us in order to ensure safety in our home and protection for himself was something I never dreamed of walking through, but He brought us through it.
Sometimes, seasons of life leave us feeling depleted and worn thin. If we're honest, in those moments, we feel like we're trying our best just to survive. These circumstances rarely produce feelings of joy or hope. In fact, that's the last thing we typically consider in those painful moments. But friends, we're bound to face them. From loss of loved ones to expectations gone unmet, the existence of trials is a fairly certain part of life.
You might have heard the phrase "God only gives us what we can handle." I find that phrase false-thinking. The plan was never for us to handle it alone. The plan was never for us to lose hope in the struggle. His plan for us is to find joy in our trials.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."- John 16:33
But how? How does one take a disheartening circumstance and turn it into joy? When we walked through that time in our life of having to let go of our foster son, finding joy in the mess of pain and heartbreak felt like the last possible option.
Jesus hints at the "how" toward the end of the verse above. "But take heart! I have overcome the world." Nothing that we experience is beyond Him. Nothing we walk through will overtake us. It may feel heavy and it may seem impossible for the moment, but Isaiah 41:10 reminds us that God promises He will be with us always. It is His strength we lean on (and survive on) in the midst of struggle.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
- Isaiah 41:10
In times of hardship, we can't trust our emotions. We should feel them, and sit with them for awhile to work through them, but they can't help us solve anything or move forward. It's a knowledge of the truth that we have to recite to ourselves in those times. And so that's what we do. We rehearse His goodness until our hearts can catch up with the truth.
1. He loves me.
2. He is good.
3. He has good for me.
4. He is with me...even in this.
5. He is bigger than this.
6. He will bring me through this.
7. He will use this for His glory.
8. He will bring beauty from ashes.
9. He will heal me.
10. He will make all things new.
Pray with me: Lord, you know what we're walking through. You know our darkest thoughts and deepest emotions. You see it all and more importantly, you see us. Uphold us with your righteous right hand as we walk through times of struggle and pain. Remind us of your faithfulness and your redeeming love for us. Let us feel held by you and comforted by the fact that we do not have to do this life alone. Amen!