Almost 9 months ago I wrote about our first week caring for our first foster-daughter, Gracie. There are times when that seems more like 9 lifetimes ago. And there are other times it seems like 9 minutes ago. I'm finding that as an adult life goes by at lightspeed. When you have kids, it's more like ludicrous speed. On the other hand, our life has changed so much in the short time since we first met Gracie that it's hard to believe it's been less than a year that we've known her. Her existence, and our love for her, is now such an essential part of our history and our very existence, that it's almost hard to conceive of a time in our life before she was a part of it.
Three and a half weeks ago, Gracie returned to the full-time custody and care of her mother. This is the goal of foster care. We are glad for it. We are confident that Gracie's mom can provide a loving home for her. We are proud of how far her mom has come and how hard she has worked to attain stability in her life for her own sake and the sake of her daughters. She has fought hard against the demons in her own life largely for the love that she has for her daughters. We are grateful that God has blessed this situaiton and allowed for much healing, repentance, restoration, and reconciliation to take place. We are praying that He will continue to work such blessings in Gracie's life with her mom and sister (and in ours.) This is the goal of foster care. We are glad for it.
And we are devastated. As daunting as it is to drive home from the hospital with a baby in the back seat, it is indescribable to drive to your daughter's new home without you. Suzanne and I shed many many tears that weekend. And it was right that we did so. Our sadness does not diminish the good things that are true about this situation. Our sadness does not indicate any less trust in God's sovereignty and providence in this situation. In a fallen world, grief for a proper cause does not indicate a weakness in one's humanity but rather the fullness, and image-of-God-bearing-ness of it. Jesus wept with grief at the death of His friend. He cried out in anguish on the cross. That does not mean He did not trust in the coming resurrection. It does not mean that He did not recognize the goodness of the salvation He was achieving for His people.
I say all that because I want people to know that dealing with the brokenness of this world is not a black and white issue of trusting God or not. Suzanne and I are learning what it means to grieve as those who have hope. Do not add the burden of guilt to your grief by believing that your grief itself is wrong or a lack of faith. But do not grieve as those who have no hope.
Anyway, it helps that we will be able to continue to be a part of Gracie's life. We were able to develop a good relationship with her mom. And she has told us that we are welcome to visit Gracie any time we like. In fact, she has made us Gracie's "godparents." What a blessing! We pray that the Lord will allow this continued relationship to be a way to minister the Gospel of Christ not only to Gracie, but also to her mom and sister.
Well, in other news...we are beginning a whole new adventure. Yesterday at 5:30 p.m. Suzanne got a call at work from a caseworker who had a potential foster-care placement. By 7:15 p.m. we were driving home with a beautiful 13-month old girl in the back seat. Her name is Leah (2 syllables: Lee-uh). She was very quiet at first, reticent about us. It wasn't long, though, after a meal and a bath, that she was running around our house, chasing our dogs, playing with us and laughing the big laugh that she has. What fun she is! We are very excited for this new chance to share our lives and love with Leah. We are nervous and excited to see how the Holy Spirit ministers the Gospel in this situation.
In no way do we think we can continue in this ministry in our own power. Through our previous experience, we know that only by the Lord's provision can we even hope to remain faithful in this calling. We only persevered as Gracie's parents by the supply of God's grace, and His ministry to us through our church community, friends, family, other team members on the case, and surely a whole host of people and things that we didn't even recognize. Likewise, we are again at God's mercy to be parents to Leah. Please pray to Him for us, that He would indeed be merciful and cause His gospel to transform and bring healing to this situation. If anything, there is more brokenness in Leah's and her family's story than there was in Gracie's. Yet, He who did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up for us, will He not freely give us all things as well? He will according to His will. What more could we hope for?
boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.
"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."