Friday, September 11, 2015

the hard stuff

when you pray, believing with all that's inside you that God is gonna do this Mighty Thing that you have no doubt He's capable of but no idea how He'll pull it off, and then He decides to go a different way...what do you do with that?

we prayed so fervently, for so long, that our little miss would stay. that God would work a miracle and do something we could not even fathom. that it would result in this amazing testimony of how God worked this huge, daunting thing for His glory (and it just happened to make us happy, too.)
and then He...didn't.

i was so sure God was going to come through in a way i could understand and agree with.
i kept waiting for a miracle that resulted in what i wanted, what i thought was best.

on the radio tonight, riding with my windows down in the hot texas heat of september, matt maher was talking about his song, "deliverer." he was saying something like... when we cry out to God, do we cry out from a place of fear or a place of knowing God will answer?

it was convicting.
after all that i've been through with God, don't i know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is for me? -that even though things might not work out as i would hope, He is hearing me, answering me, and walking with me through all of it?

God loves you. He loves me. loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins and for yours. He answers every prayer. He does not ignore us or get impatient with us or get sick of hearing the same requests over and over again. the answer might not be yes, but He does answer every prayer.

and something that helps to make it all more concrete in my mind is that He's working all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

i haven't blogged anything earth-shattering about losing little miss because, honestly, i have no idea what to say. i feel like we're just trying to find our new routine of living without a piece of our family here. even though people might say she's not technically a part of our family because that's what fostering is.  i disagree. never in my life have i experienced such bonding and attachment with someone so quickly.  i felt from the moment she arrived in our home over a year ago like she was such a sweet, perfect addition to our family, even though we knew what we were getting into when we signed up to foster. sometimes they stay, and sometimes they go. i mean, that's the number 1 reason i hear from people as to why they don't/can't do it. the kid might leave. i'm here to tell you, though, that you can survive it. we are capable of doing harder things than we can imagine. if God calls us, He equips us for the work. and i am thankful for the year we had with her here. even going through the pain of losing her, i would not change that year for anything. like i've said before, she is so, so very worth it.

during our time of not knowing what would happen with her court case, preparing to lose her, and dealing with the loss of her being gone, i flooded our home with praise and worship music. i prayed a ton. and i tried to speak often of our blessings. was any of this because i'm a stand-up gal who is super strong and courageous? nope. it was because i was clinging to God with all i had. i felt like our world was falling apart and knew only God could get us through.

when i sing out songs like "deliverer," i find myself yelling them at the top of my lungs. i cry them out because i am attempting to declare them as Truth at a time when my feelings might lead me to believe otherwise. i know i am His. and He is mine. and in times of loss and hurt it's easy to blame God or ask why He didn't do it the way we would like. but what i've started saying to people is, "i would have liked it to work out differently, but God is the perfect One so i'll defer to Him."

truthfully, we might not ever know why God worked things out this way. our little miss being with her biological family seems to be going well. they are being so kind to us and keeping us in the loop. they are including us and being gracious to us and is a huge blessing. we foster because we want to be there for kids who have families that can't parent. we never want to keep a child from a family who can do the parenting thing well. we do understand that little miss going back is a blessing. a family restored is beautiful, even though missing her hurts our hearts.

these last few months have been very trying. going from a place of complete and total belief that God is going to work things out in a way that i understand to a place of loss and heartache gave me a sense of whiplash. wait a minute. i thought that was going to go differently. wouldn't having it go my way give You so much glory? wouldn't it make for a great testimony, Lord?
--i have found myself pleading with Him to change His mind.

but God's plans are perfect.
i don't say this as a platitude to make everything magically better.
i truly believe with all that's inside me that God's plans are perfect.
i might not get it. i might not agree at first. but He's proven His faithfulness time and time again.
and there are some things that we won't understand this side of heaven.
sometimes things won't wrap up in a lovely, big bow.
sometimes life is messy.
but He can make messes beautiful.
and He can mend broken hearts.
He's working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
we can cry out to Him in our moments of pure joy and pure heartache and know He will answer.
may God help us to remember we are not alone. He is with us. and He is working all things for good.

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