Hey…it’s me. It’s been awhile, I know…are you all still out there? I’m sorry to have left you high and dry…life has a way of just, you know, taking you captive. My last post was We can do hard things. last August…over a year ago. If you follow me on Instagram (@lisa_messintoamessage), I do post often there with short snippets about our days and our journey through foster care…but I just haven’t had it in me to pour my heart out at the keyboard. We said goodbye to baby D on September 3, 2016…and I haven’t blogged again since.
We were grieving for awhile. It was a hard transition. Avery started pre-school (now she’s in kindergarten, yikes!!) and I began house projects to keep me busy and my mind off of the grief. 3 months to the day after D left, we picked up S from the hospital.
And when he arrived, life truly became a whirlwind. S was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, so we were thrown into the cleft world…running to appointment after appointment. And within his first 3 months of life, we had attended over 40 medical appointments.
He became the first patient through our local Children’s hospital to wear the NAM device. This was a fantastic step toward the repair of his clefts, but required weekly appointments at the hospital for adjustments. Through these millions of waiting rooms, exam rooms, car rides, and hours at home caring for his NAM progress…my mama bear claws began to wrap tightly around my little cub, desperate to protect him from all the evils of this world. This sweet, innocent boy was 100% dependent on us. Not just for proper bonding and attachment during this crucial time of life…but also for the foundation of his overall future – his self-confidence, his speech, his physical appearance, his worth…
And in my humanness, I took all of that responsibility and I just went right ahead and dumped it on my shoulders. I am his (foster) mom. I can do this. I will bear the weight of this load. I will tell him of his worth in Christ. I will build his self-confidence. I will ensure he is not bullied. I, I, I. And through all of that pressure, I stopped leaning into Jesus for my strength. I was so busy and stressed, I clenched my fists tighter and tighter around this baby bear. Over my dead body would someone hurt this child or rip him from my grips.
And while I was trying to be so strong for him, I hadn’t felt that weak in a long time. I was consumed by worry and anxiousness…I was stressed and frazzled. I could not come up with words to pray. I was exhausted from myself. His case seemed impossible and things came up that only led my need to protect him grow bigger and fiercer. But behind the scenes God was working…on him and me.
And one Sunday morning, as I held that sweet boy in my arms and sang praises to my King…tears began to stream down my face as I sang…
“All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of Your great name.
Hungry souls, receive grace, at the sound of Your great name.
The fatherless, they find their rest, at the sound of Your great name.”
I was so weak and why I thought I could just throw it all on my shoulders and trudge through was beyond me. While I hadn’t forgotten that Jesus is the source of my strength, I had been scared to lean on Him, scared to pull from His endless supply of strength, thinking I could do it on my own…and that maybe if I did it on my own, this would all go they way I wanted it to go. (It all sounds ridiculous when I type it out!) And this sweet boy, “the fatherless,” I was not his savior…he too will find his rest, his worth, value, confidence, strength, endurance, his identity in Jesus alone, not me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Foster care is hard…some days, some cases, some children harder than others. “It would just be way too hard,” is what I often here when I tell others I am a foster mom…it is way too hard…for me, too…but not for me when my eyes are set on Jesus. I am weak and needy by myself…but I know that when we trudge foward with endurance, when we stand to fight and advocate for this little boy, when we put everything we’ve got into him and on the line for him, it is not in our own strength. It is by the grace of God and by the power of Christ at work within us.
I had closed up and shut down my raw feelings because it’s scary to love another’s child this hard. It’s scary to put yourself out there, to put your heart out there and be vulnerable. It makes me feel incredibly weak and out of control. And the enemy eats all those feelings up. SO, here I am…sharing with you all how weak I am, but oh how mighty and powerful my Jesus is…for His power is made perfect in weakness. I am too weak for foster care, but with Jesus, I am strong.
His will, His way…