Just a quick warning…there might be some brutal honesty…and it’s not always pretty.
I am a dates girl. I remember random dates and events and much of my memory is organized in chronological order. So it’s no surprise as I was going to bed Friday night that I was reminded of the Friday before Valentine’s four years ago. Daniel was wrapping up his year of training and we were in the beginnings of a job search for him. We traveled to the air-force base for an interview and planned a weekend get-away to celebrate Valentine’s Day. He spent about 3 hours in the interview that afternoon and came out absolutely pitiful. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen as a wife. He was very discouraged, disheartened and certain that there was no likelihood of getting that position. In the car ride he said, “one thing’s for sure, if I were to get that job, there would be no doubt that God did it.”
As I was thinking about that weekend my mind also wondered to where the girls would have been at that time. Based on their birth date, I am guessing that their mother would have just found out she was pregnant at that time. Somewhere around 6-8 weeks.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, … Jeremiah 1:5
It took my breath away. Seriously, I was taken aback when I considered that about the time that these girls’ lives were formed God was already orchestrating this story that we are living. He was moving in our lives to prepare us to be a place of safety, love and peace for these precious girls before they even came into the world.
This was comforting to me on the end of a challenging week. The girls have been great, we continue to grow into this role as a party of five, but we experienced some challenges on the legal side of our journey. Everything in my self was shaken with uncertainty and the unknown of how things will play out. It feels as though we have been standing in line waiting to get on a roller coaster… and we have just taken our seats. As we took our place I began to see a glimpse of the ride before me, it looks scary and emotional and I’m not sure I have what it takes to get to the end. (by the way… I don’t like roller coasters, real or metaphorical.) This reflection of God’s work in our lives reminds me that he is in control, his heart is good and I can rest in knowing these things.
So, to finish up our story from years ago… a month later Daniel got the call offering him the job. We were beyond surprised. Shocked. Stupified. Half-way wondering if they called the right guy. I remember talking with Daniel and saying, I wonder what God is up to here. It just seemed beyond our imagination… and now I can see that it was – way beyond.
Last week as I was momentarily gripped with the fear of what is before us, I was sharing with my mother as tears streamed down my cheeks, almost unable to speak. “I haven’t wanted to let myself want them.” And I realized as much as I have been willing to love fully, there has been a part that is self-protecting, I don’t want to want to keep them because that could leave me desperately hurting. I have to be guarded. No doubt we will be sad if these girls leave, but if we allow ourselves to hope that they stay, then their leaving is even more painful. I can’t imagine the pain of that kind of disappointment.
Surely it is safer not to want.
Kindly, God has had me in the story of Hannah this week. If you are familiar with this story, Hannah was barren but desperately wanted a child with everything in her being. I can’t say I could relate to that. I haven’t walked the path of barrenness. I haven’t dreamed of carrying a child in my womb. I used to read this story and think girl, just enjoy your husband. But what I realized in this story is that Hannah owned her desire. She cried out to God, poured out her soul and in her grief was able to give her desire to the one who could ultimately grant it. Consider her beauty.
I’m not in that place yet. If I’m honest, I still operate with a sense of self-protection that has to remind myself these girls could leave. Things could get dramatic; It might hurt; I have no control. I don’t believe I’m holding back love but I guess you could say I’m holding back hope. I have tremendous hope for these girls and the work of God in their lives. I have less hope that I will be the one that watches them grow…. only because it is scary to hope that way.
As I prayed asking God what it looked like to respond as Hannah did, I had a faint sense that I need to pray for my girls’ mother. Have I prayed for her lately? Have I considered that God’s kindness could lead her to repentance? Have a I considered what is really at stake here? What if the beautiful ending to their story is one of redemption of their mother, who comes to know God and gets her children back. What if my part is to point her to Jesus. What if that means I have loss? Is it worth it?
What if I’m not God’s best for these girls?
These are the questions of my heart right now. It’s an uncomfortable place. I wrestle with flesh and spirit on a daily basis. I pray for peace in my heart and theirs. I have to choose to engage with courage, beauty and love trusting that God knows my heart. I want to live in such a way that I trust God with the deepest desires. I long for his beauty to shine through me as it did with Hannah. No matter the outcome, I hope my heart lives knowing that he is good. His praise will ever be on my lips. Please pray with us.