Monday, October 3, 2016

Even So.

Life is seasonal, no two seasons look a like, life is always progressing. The on going struggle of the anticipation of the season to come and mourning those already gone. The constant balancing act of being thankful for where I am today but the grief of longing for another season, in the dead of winter we ache for the warmth of summer. For some season changes are welcome, symbolizing new beginnings while others clutch on to current seasons fearing what is to come.

Many of you know, our story is a little different than most, I have built my entire family through foster care. Here is another snapshot into that journey. Spring of 2015, I had been a mom for approximately 10 months when a got a call for my kiddos 2 month old biological sister. She came into our home and it felt that all was right in the world, we were delighted to have her. It was a beautiful but brief stay, one month later I received another call much heavier, she was going back to her bio parents. We had two hours to say goodbye, I shook my head and cried out to God, not understanding why, "what good could possibly come from this?"

That was the last thing I said to God for 3 months. During those three months I would occasionally shout out, "I'm still mad at you,” a behavior I have seen in my five year old, classic temper tantrum. My struggle was in the fact that God clearly called me to this journey, knowing how hard it would be. He knew the struggles of single parenting, how quickly I would fall in love with these babies, He knew my sleepless nights and the ways my heart would grieve my children's story. Now I was supposed to do it successfully while we all grieved the loss of our baby. If I can be real, it seemed cruel and so unfair.

Last October, in the midst of this struggle I got a tattoo on my forearm it reads"even so, it is well with my soul." Those words, encompass such beauty and such weight. I was walking in one of the more difficult seasons of my life, desperate to feel God. My faith was challenged and I found myself wondering if He really was good? Earthly life really is marked with truly beautiful moments yet when tragedy strikes, how do we handle sorrow and pain? Where are the answers in those dark seasons, when the pain is real and you don't think you will ever heal?

While I was still pouting, I began listening to the song, It Is Well, that Bethel put out a couple of years ago. I have always loved that song, the original hymn, It Is Well, was born from a place of sorrow. The imagery is beautiful, real and raw. Horatio Spafford endured such sorrow. Literally waves were hitting him on all sides and from that season he penned one of the most beautiful songs in the history of Christianity. In this season, I forgot the character of the God I thought I knew the God had served my whole life. I sat there for a long, dark season hoping to find peace, here is the song, I would listen to some days on repeat just to survive. 

There are a thousand cliches I can utter, and even buy you a pillow with it on it, however here is what I discovered in that season. We have a God, who walks with us, aches with us and weeps in the middle of night with us. He is not a distant being who out of touch, He is a God who still moves with us, every step, every season. In the seasons when I am left surrounded with questions, He is there, working and doing things beyond my scope.

The line of the song that sticks with me the most is let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name. The very winds and waves know Him, they trust that He calms and breaks for divine purpose. Such beauty in the stillness and calm but such power in the turbulent waves, tossing us to and fro. At times I wish they would stop but those very waves change my course and the reveal to me the new path.

Friends, at the end of the day may we have the hope and belief to say, it is well despite the circumstances, hurts and experiences. Two months after I got my tattoo our baby came home, where she was for 6 months. We once again packed her bags and said goodbye, she is currently with birth mom. We sit waiting, unsure of our future and her safety but trusting that this new course we find ourselves on will end well.

Placing Little One into the car that day was the hardest thing I have ever done, it seemed as if she knew what was happening. As I strapped her into her seat kissing her and telling her how much I loved her, with hands stretched out crying, “mama.” I buckled her one and with one final kiss and goodbye I closed the car door. Tears sting my eyes as I think back to that day, turning from the car I walked some of the heaviest steps in my life.

Our future is unclear, I have spent the months following in a season of grief, struggling to muster the courage to say, “even so, it is well with my soul.” I am still journeying through this, still seeking peace and understanding as we wait. Unsure of what is to come but thankful for the time we had together, resigning to the fact that the time we had together was not wasted.

This season has taught me that I don’t see it all, that I merely get a blip on the timeline of life. My babies are not mine to keep but a gift from Him to steward. I don’t know what our future holds, I don’t know who else will come into our home but I do know that through it all, I have learned to say, “even so, it is well with my soul.”

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