Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since Little Bear left our home. 2 weeks since I’ve heard his sweet laugh or seen his sweet smile. I miss him terribly. The crib is still set up in his old room and I find myself avoiding going in that room unless I have to. Sometimes I find my mind starting to drift toward thinking about him and I force myself to think about something else, afraid to really dwell on it, lest I fall apart. Yesterday I did just that. I was alone in the car and listening to Christmas music. The DJ had asked people to call in with their Christmas wishes. One lady called in and was hoping to be able to adopt their 3 foster children. That did it. I wept…and wept…and wept. I told God I was sad and that I wanted that little boy to be ours. I wanted to raise him, to take care of him, to love him forever. At least I get to do the loving him forever part.
Some days I think I’m moving on and at peace with it. That I’m truly trusting that God will take care of that little boy and that God’s plan is better than my own. The truth is, I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to face the grief. I just can’t let myself go there. If I avoid thinking about it the I won’t be sad. Sure, in my head, I know God has him in His sights. I know God made him and has a plan for him. I know all that LOGICALLY. But my heart doesn’t want to hear that just let. Sometimes “God has a plan for everything”, is not as comforting as we’d like it to be.
It also stinks because so few people understand. I don’t mean to sound like I’m fishing for comments, because I’m not. I don’t need pity. But it is hard going through this mostly alone. Hubby gets it, but we don’t really have time to talk about it and he didn’t get to be here when Little Bear left. I have a couple friends that are foster parents that get it. I have a close circle of amazing friends that get it as much as they can because we communicate daily in spite of being spread out around the country(ies). But most people, it seems, just don’t know what to say….so they don’t say anything. It’s like he died and no one is talking about him. Like he never existed. I’ve been on the other side – I’ve known foster parents that had kids moved out of their homes. I’ve known people that lost a child to death. I’m afraid I was guilty of doing the same thing. Of thinking it would be easier on the person if I didn’t bring it up at all when I didn’t know what to say.
But it’s not. And I pray I never make that mistake with someone else again. You don’t have to know what to say. Just saying something helps.
I WANT to talk about him. I want to remember him. I’m scared to, and I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do or not, but I don’t want to forget.
Some members of my own family haven’t even asked about him, or how I’m doing since he was taken away. That hurts. BAD. My in-laws have been awesome though, so that helps a lot. I’ve also heard some people say that they guess it’s not that hard because we “knew what we were getting into” or we’ve “done this before”, as if that somehow that keeps the pain away. If you had warning that your child was going to die, would that make it easier when it happened?
I did have a friend come up to me at church Sunday. She took care of Little Bear in the nursery each week while I was at Bible study. She gave me a hug and told me how much they missed him. Words can’t express how much that meant to me. To know someone was thinking about him and he wasn’t forgotten.
I’ll never forget. Ever.
I am trusting God, and I have deep faith that God is in control of all of this. I really do. I’m not over it, but each and every day I am trying to surrender it all to my Savior! I am drawing closer to HIM thought this and for that, even if it means I hurt, I am thankful. I am thankful that He is there for me, and He understands when no one else does. He gets it. He gets me.
Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but HE is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.
This morning in my quiet time, I was reading Psalm 8. Verse 1 says,
“Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
Reading that verse takes me back. Back to a time when I was searching for a relationship with God. A time when God was pulling me close to Him and holding on tight. A time when I needed the Lord desperately. When I was in high school, I went to the same church summer camp every year. A musical group called Acapella always performed a concert for us, and I looked forward to it every year. Their songs are still some of my all time favorites and I have many of them on my phone to listen to frequently.
I know other songs have been written from this Psalm, but this is one of my favorites!
As I continued reading, I came to verse 3 & 4 which say,
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” ~ Psalm 8:3-4
Just like the sign in the stars that He gave me a couple nights ago, the Lord is reminding me again that He is mindful of each and every one of us. He cares for each of us.
God knows just how to put us in our place, doesn’t He? It’s funny, ever since God called my husband to go back in the Army and take a family with him this time, I have been excited about building relationships with the other wives. I’ve thought about how nice it would be to get in there and maybe start a Bible study for the younger women, possibly mentoring some of them on marriage. I know I don’t know Army life yet, but I do know what it’s like to go through a lot of trials during a marriage. We’ve been through job loss, death in the family, infertility, bankruptcy, foster parenting kids that have suffered….all while God grew our marriage closer and closer to Him and to each other. I thought I’d be able to help some of the newly married wives with my experience. I grew up in the church, but it was only in the last decade that I really grew in my faith, so I assumed that many of the younger women would be where I was spiritually at that age.
Boy, was I wrong! See, up until a week or so ago, my experience with Army wives (other than 3 good friends of mine) was based on a message board I stumbled across one day and like a bad car wreck, I kept going back to stare at it and to read some of the “soap opera” style posts. Lots of drama, tons of complaining, husband bashing…on and on. No, I’m not going to post the name of that board.
THEN…this past week I followed a link and found Wives of Faith. A community of Army wives sharing their friendship and their faith in Christ. AWESOME! As I read through some of the posts, I got excited and could already tell I would learn a lot from these wives. They must be really experienced, probably in the Army a long time, married for decades to have built a faith this strong….right?
One post I read turned out to be written by a 22 year old. Twenty-Two. Wow. She’s starting a Bible study on the site. I can’t wait to follow along with her. I can tell that although she’s 14 years my junior, I will learn a lot from her.
God puts the right people in your life at just the right time, and He knew I needed this site, these ladies. I needed to realize that not only can I learn a lot about the Army from these young wives (that part I knew!), but I can also learn a lot about HIM.
You know who else I’ve discovered I can learn a lot from? Drug dealers, ex-cons, & people that literally live on the street. A couple dear friends of mine that have mentored me in discipleship for years also run a weekly Bible study for a bunch of women that, live in shelters, or in very low income apartments, or even on the street. They even go to the local jail to talk to these women. Several months ago, they held an overnight retreat for these ladies. They were picked up and taken to a retreat center where they got to spend the night (in a bed!), get fed great food, were given a change of clothes & shoes, and taught the Word of God. I was blessed to participate in that retreat as a helper, and oh what I learned!! I remember walking around the grounds while things had not quite started yet, and I came across a chapel where I heard singing. As I walked in, I saw several of these ladies – who had not a dime or change of clothes to their name – singing and praising God for all that He has done!
This upcoming weekend I have the chance to once again help with a retreat for these ladies. I cannot wait!! I know that while I am serving them, I will also glean so much from them. I know that God will not only speak though us to them, but also through them to us.
The Lord has really been speaking to my heart for a while about being bold, speaking for Him and not being afraid to share my story with others. To share His name and all that He has done. To share my faith openly and proudly. To see all of these young wives, and these ladies who had has some hard knocks doing just that is incredibly humbling to me. I hope that I can speak up for God as much as they do. I pray that I will be bold like them.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4:29)
I love to be comfortable. Bare feet in the soft grass. Cozy blankets on the sofa. Fall Weather. But God never promised us that we’d be comfortable. In fact, He tells us quite the opposite, but we don’t like to hear that. Read my previous post about being comfortable.
“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2 Cor 1:5)
I’ve been uncomfortable lately. Really uncomfortable. I’ve been tired, confused, weary, doubting. As a foster parent, I have seen a lot of hard things. I’ve been disappointed in parents, and in the system. I’ve seen children who have been neglected, abused, and forgotten. I’ve also seen moms who paid a hard price for making a bad choice. I’ve seen too much. Sometimes I think I’ve seen too much to continue. Really, I’ve seen too much not to.
Lately, I’ve been weary. Little Bear has not been sleeping well due to his reflux, but then he got a cold! He was up the majority of the night for several nights in a row. With Hubby gone, that means I take all the night shifts myself. Sometimes only sleeping 2 hours in a 7-8 hour period. I am not one of those Super Moms that thrives off 2-3 hours of sleep. My hormones get crazy if I don’t get my 8 hours. I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. I really don’t like that. I want to be able to do it all, but I can’t. I had to give in and let my parents watch him for a few nights. I had to let Hubby’s grandmother entertain him for 30 minutes while I caught a nap. I had to let Go. I had to let God take over.
Isn’t that the point?
I was never supposed to do it myself. I’m supposed to rely on HIM.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Cor 1:9)
He offered me help through my parents. I finally agreed to take it. After a couple nights of sleeping through the night, I felt much better! I feel like I can think clearly enough to make my own coffee. Little Bear is doing much better and sleeping much much more now! Now to just get rid of that middle-of-the-night waking he got used to, and get back to the sleeping-all-night that I was used to!
Please help me to see Little Bear through YOUR eyes, even in the middle of the night. Allow me to cherish those moments with him, Father, even if I’d rather be holding him during the day. Allow me to trust you to give me the rest I need rather than rushing back to bed and watching the clock. Help me to remember that what I do for the least of these, I do for you. Forgive my selfishness as I have been focusing on how this affects me. I want to love him as I do you. I want to care for him as if he were you. I need your strength, Father. I need your arms to carry me through this. In Jesus name, Amen.
Sometimes when it’s so hard, the thought crosses my mind and I wonder if we are supposed to continue on as foster parents. Maybe this is just “too” hard, I wonder. Then I read a post like this one by an amazing 17 year old girl, and I know….this isn’t about me. I continue to love and to give because I’m called to, not because it’s easy or convenient. I do this because right now at this moment, there is a little baby boy who needs my love. And I do love him. With all my heart. Sometimes that’s what makes this so hard. I’m relying on a broken, messed up system to determine what to do with this little boy’s life. I don’t know yet what’s going to happen in his future. I don’t know how long he’ll be in our family, but I know he’ll be in my heart forever.
Oh, I’m so so glad that God is in control! That He knew what the plan was for this little boy before he was even conceived.
So, I continue to wait. To trust. To hope. And to love.
As written (and copied with permission) by Max Lucado:
We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a horrible dream.
But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t.
And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request it; we implore it. We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories and now we plead, Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.
Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced.
And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.
But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.
We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.
And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.
Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.
And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world.
Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
Through Christ, Amen.
As written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 14, 2001. Permission to copy not only granted but encouraged.