Sometimes, while reading my Bible, I find a passage reworking itself in my head. No sacrilege, just applying it to my current situation.
I know what it is to respect the Lord, and when I try to see through His eyes, I know He wants me to try to persuade others to follow His example, advocating for children and for reconciliation.
God knows my intent is pure and I hope you can see this, too. When I write about the our lives, I don’t write to brag or in hope that you will hold us up as an example of perfection. I write to give you hope and the knowledge that you are not alone. To be honest, some people think we are out of our minds. If we’re insane, we’re crazy with intention. Christ loved everyone, and His love compels me to love others, specifically vulnerable children with no protector.
He died for everyone and rose again, to show that He is making a second chance available to every individual. If He wants to give a second chance to all, how can I do otherwise? Because of what He did for me, how can I do anything but live for him and do my best to advocate for those who need help?
I used to see through my own eyes, but now I try to look through the eyes of Jesus. Anyone who sees through His eyes sees in a new way. God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the example of the ministry of reconciliation. God reconciled the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
And He has now given us the responsibility to spread the word; it is our duty to promote reconciliation. We choose to be ambassadors of this great love; God is making this appeal through us. I implore you on behalf of Jesus: be reconciled to God and bring reconciliation to others, so their lives and families will be preserved.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21, UCV (Unauthorized Casey Version)
Reconciliation is a lifelong ministry of bringing others to know a great love. What better example of God’s love and reconciliation than the love of a parent who will do whatever it takes for a child?
The initial intent of the foster care system should never be to remove children from their original parents.
Sometimes, as in our situation, the abuse is so great there is no other choice, but in many cases, the biological family simply is missing something necessary to survival. Helping a family achieve reconciliation and forgiveness is an amazing opportunity.
Before I truly understood foster care, I was one of the would-be adopters who refused to consider foster care because “it would kill me if the child were removed” from my home after I’d formed an attachment. I’ve heard this sentiment from a number of other people.
We need to reconsider our understanding of foster care. It is not a means to adopt (although this may happen). It is a ministry of reconciliation.
God gave us the original blueprint, doing everything possible to create a connection. We need to approach foster care in a similar manner, being willing to do everything we can to enable families to remain together.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the trailer describes what’s inside my head.
A short time. Like a mist. Snap of the fingers. Don’t blink.
We are separated by so thin a fabric from the other side. We ignore reality, go about our business. Our lives.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the knowledge of how quickly life can end. I gaze around the room, arrested in the realization that one of us could be absent at any moment. The immediacy of impending change.
An unexpected gust extinguishes the flame. The Daylily blooms in the morning, opening bright colors to the sun and by evening shrivels to nothing. In an instant, our bodies become a shell, a container empty in sudden finality.
I forget, at times, that this is not ‘my’ life. It is easy to settle into comfort, expecting certain players and characters to appear, disappear, reappear.
But we are reciprocal performers, all bearing roles in The Grand Masterpiece. Every performance, every pageant demands the inexorable curtain call.
Nothing but a moment separates us from leaving it all behind.
I wrote the above while sitting in a church service. A heavy feeling descended; the almost-knowledge of impending change. That someone would soon lay down the script.
I make no pretense of having a direct line to the future, but the weight of that sense was undeniable. Looking around the room, I wondered who it might be.
The retired Army general, always at attention? The empty-nest mother? The ancient farmer decked out in his silver and turquoise-studded leather string tie? The young woman with a heart condition? The middle-aged man with cancer? Me?
What bars our heart from stopping, keeps lungs from failing, prevents our brain from declining to send messages?
No one died that day. Or that week.
I felt better. But still, the visual of the Daylily haunted the edges of my thoughts.
The following Saturday, I attended a ladies’ create-something-cool event at our church. I learned how to pronounce decoupage.
My friend Ana, curves added by her pregnancy, approached with questions about heart surgery. Her baby girl had a heart defect similar to my son’s. They would perform surgery soon after birth to close the hole. She even had the same wonderful surgeon. Still, she twisted her coarse, dark ponytail with nervous energy.
She relaxed as we talked, as I praised the surgeon, as we smiled over my son’s quick recovery. She walked away.
Four days later, I received the message from another friend. Ana had a stroke. She was unresponsive. The baby might die.
I thought of the movie and wondered if she could hear everything around her.
Texts, phone calls and prayers—sad, desperate, hopeful—punctuated the night.
Moved to a better hospital, she did not wake. More prayers, more calls.
While souls hovered, her two beautiful boys said goodbye to their mother and the sister they would never know. Her husband released his wife and daughter. His loves.
Within hours, they were gone.
Sons bereft of mother, husband lacking loving partner, friends without her shining presence. All left destitute.
Just before the funeral, I found the note and remembered the feeling. It returned with concussive force.
I’ve only now been able to write this.
We have no promise of tomorrow. For that matter, no assurance of today. No guarantee that I will draw another breath.
But I have hope. Do you?
1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a living hope. This hope is living because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. 4 He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to him. This is a gift that can never be destroyed. It can never spoil or even fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. 5 Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. Your salvation is going to be completed. It is ready to be shown to you in the last days.
Today, a very well-meaning individual asked me “how things are going” with the kids. She caught me at a low moment and I shared more than I normally would with someone unfamiliar with (insert any: adoption, special needs, young children, newly acquired pups and their interactions with said children, etc).
These conversations never end well. People respond with their version of either “Wow, those kids are maniacs,” or “It’s not that bad. You’re overreacting.”
Truth: most of the time, it’s neither, but sometimes, it’s both. Occasionally, the kids ARE maniacs and I AM overreacting to the situation (making it worse). I can acknowledge that hyperbole is occasionally my friend. (Actually, “overstating the likelihood that I will have a melt-down” is closer to the truth, but I really like the word “hyperbole.”)
There’s no accurate way to describe our situation to an outsider, with or without fun words.
The specifics, when I don’t feel comfortable giving details, sound fairly mundane.
“That’s just normal kid stuff. You’re being melodramatic.” She didn’t say the words, but I could translate her pauses.“She HAS to be exaggerating.” It’s okay, though. I don’t owe her our life story, and I probably need to learn to say (to inquiring acquaintances), “We just ‘keep on keeping on!’ Thanks for asking.” or “You know. The usual.”
To be honest, as long as God and Hubby have “got my back,” I’m good.
Thankfully, they do. (Also, I have some really cool BlogBuddies.)
I don’t generally post my poetry, but found this in one of my old notebooks and I still like it.
shining daylight for the blind
swift transport for the lame
love for the unlovely ones
balm soothing all in pain
hope for mothers in sorrow
recognition for one ignored
open to hungry homeless
a shield from vicious hordes
life for the man who’s soulless
friendship for the bereft
comfort for grieving soldiers
bright joy for the depressed
a voice for unheard children
in doing this we’ll see
the hands and feet of Jesus
are what we’ve come to