Ruthlessly trusting God again! This week, we are going through the very difficult process of transferring our two foster kids into another home. I’ve never felt the weightiness of grief over anything like I have this past week. To me, it is the death of a dream, as well as the separation from two children that I have come to love. This is the way I pictured my family since I was 20. To finally arrive with a promising future, and then have it come to an abrupt and unwanted end is painful. To me, it was living in the abundant overflow, soaked in the deluge of God’s perfect purpose and pleasure and now it’s moving to the desert of grief and wondering what God’s purpose really is. To join the broken foster care system where kids are bounced from home to home, hoping to be a solution to the problem, but then adding to the problem, that hurts a lot. To look at the faces of the ones I love, who have been abandoned time and again, and think that I cannot keep pouring my love into them, worse yet feel like I am abandoning them – it breaks my heart. The last two months have been delightful as we welcomed our 4-year old girl on May 1st, and then her 3-year old brother, on June 13th. To watch them being enveloped in our love, our family’s love and our friends’ love has given me so much joy. To see them running around on our farm, thriving in the abundance that God has given us, this was a delight. Finally seeing a softening heart in Billy, learning to enjoy these kids like his own siblings – seeing my family begin to look and behave like a family of four siblings has been beautiful beyond description. It was the missing element that I hoped and prayed would develop with time. Yet over all of that joy has been a fog of sadness and sorrow as I realized that Julie was not feeling it with me. She has been graciously loving and serving these kids, but somehow unable to give them her heart. There just isn’t enough space, emotionally, physically and socially to be able to give what she wants to give and what these precious children need. The timing is not right. I am alone in my desire to be this family now, and in this type of ministry, one cannot be alone. This is a family ministry and our success is based on our unity in heart and in purpose. Ultimately, so is our shared joy, health and longevity as a couple.
So now I wait for the inevitable to happen as we proceed with the transfer. I hate the reality of it, but somehow, I am at peace today. My emotions will not remain constant. I am sure that I will hit the grief again, but I am fully trusting God. I believe and have learned a few things that are grounding me in this situation.
1. God is faithful. He is good. Our situation with Maria was grounded in the faithfulness of the Lord and the certainty of his plans and his control of situations that are totally out of our control. I clung to these two truths and once again, I do so today.
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”(Psa. 33:4, NIV)
“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. ” (Psa. 33:11-12, NIV)
Julie and I are in God’s hands. Our two foster children are in his hands because we and other believers have interceded for them and placed them there. There is no better or safer place to be. Even though it hurts to give them away to another family, we are doing so once again into the hands of their loving Father. I can let go and trust no matter how hard it seems right now. His purposes for them and for us will stand no matter what.
2. God redeems our mistakes and failures and is not surprised by them. I own my own failure in this situation as I moved forward without Julie’s wholehearted consent. The decision was flawed from the start. Thankfully, God’s grace covers our weakness; in fact in our weakness, we are made strong in Christ Jesus. I find great relief and I find God’s purpose hidden here. Like Paul, I have pleaded to God to change this situation and he has not.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Cor. 12:9-10, NIV)
The difficult experience that Paul was facing he called his “thorn in the flesh.” He also said that it was given to him to keep him from becoming conceited. If this situation is God’s refining process in my life to keep me from pride, I gladly accept it. Humility is one of the most important heart attitudes that I ask the Lord to grow in me. I’m feeling it now and I can honestly say, “Thank you, Lord.”
3. I know that I have the best wife in the world and loving her is my first priority. This was the commitment I made before the Lord, my friends and family over 12 years ago, and it is where I need to focus all of my heart now. The transfer of these children from our home is an ‘us’ thing. We made the decision together and I stand with Julie, not apart from her. God help me to love her like you love the church, laying your life down for her. Help me to lay down my life, my dreams, and ultimately, my will, to pursue what you have for us together. Help me to remain faithful. I cannot do this without the overflow of your Holy Spirit producing that fruit in me that is pleasing to you and that brings life and peace to my Julie Ann. I trust you with all of my heart. Oh for grace to trust you more!