Yeah that upbeat little song strums on the radio about His goodness and faithfulness. We carry on about the day with our agenda until I see the glow on my phone and recognize the number, knowing all to well it's because on the other end of that phone are words that oppose all we've fought for. And I know He's good and I know He's in the business of putting things back together and I've seen Him work this broken craft into beauty, but right now I can't see through the darkness, this hard battle and truth be told, I don't even want to. I'm face down in the arena of this fight and I don't know how to get up and lack the energy to even desire upright movement. I crave control, answers, and following quickly behind, a numbness to hunger to draw close.
And Your faithfulness seeps into the smallest places of my being, beauty for ashes, oil of gladness for mourning, mantle of praise for my heaviness.
This phone call wasn't supposed to come, the one that says she's leaving us. It's not what she needs, not what I asked for, and it's not what I've cried out to Him for this whole time. I know what's best for her, I know the specifics of these realities she faces and I know more than I wish I did, that none of these options are even close to highest and best. They just can't happen, there's no way it's even conceivable and even if it were, today and tomorrow wouldn't be the day because these things take time and she's not ready.
But these phone calls that come, the ones that say to pack her bags and get her paperwork together because this baby leaves tomorrow. Those phone calls, they don't follow the rules of logic nor do they consider what she needs or how I feel. Nah, those phone calls come when you least expect them and you learn to pull your car over quick because hot tears fall whether you want them to or not. You turn your shoulder so those little faces don't see from the backseat, you stammer to ask as many questions as you can to make some sense out of what's about to happen. Keep pulling the neck of your shirt up to catch the tears and mess coming down. Everything is coming down, everything I trusted You with. Suddenly fighting for strength and self control just to walk into a store for stamps, groceries, carpool.
Didn't You hear me all this time? In the early hours of the day when I rose early expectant, assured You wouldn't let her go back?
Didn't You hear me as I held her little body and contended for specifics and stood on promises anchored in hope that You would do what I said she needed?
I know what's best here, not You.
I know how to pack for temporary things, but learning how to pack to release them, yeah I'm not cut out for this. Go ahead and strip away all comfort and control that's usually clung to when you leave your child with a babysitter or summer camp. Leave that on the floor because details don't matter, feeding schedules concern no one but me, and you can pack her up well but know she's never coming back. You scramble to do her laundry to give her back, your desperate search to make sure it's all there because when you find it days and weeks later, the heart breaks deeper.
And then you hear her cackle from the other room, innocence and unknown awareness for what's coming. One day you will be here and tomorrow you'll be gone all under the false impression that because you can't talk we shouldn't function in any other capacity other than making an exchange. So we do, we make those plans to meet and hand you over. And I'll stand there in a hot heap of mess sobbing on the sidewalk, they'll shake their heads and try to assure me of things they can't promise. You'll start to cry and I'll absorb that deep hurt in my gut that I'm signing the dotted line in agreement of this decision. I'll beg them to please keep her safe, please don't let anything happen to her. And their sympathetic nods and empty words make it worse as I slip back into my car.
Now put the car in drive and go forward. Go wash soccer jerseys and spellcheck book reports.
How do you do that, when these two realities keep intersecting?
My grace is sufficient, My power made perfect in weakness.
I'm the hope that holds you, the Stronghold that sustains you...and her.
Subconsciously aware of my immense weakness and only in that place does His strength continue to rise up. You remember that you signed up for this fight and begin to acknowledge the ugliness brewing to the surface deep in my soul. More than that, you learn how to see her empty car seat the whole way home and you learn that you have habits of glancing at her every few minutes. You think you hear her and you learn to remind yourself that she's gone. You learn to walk into your house and see an empty crib, unused bottles, and pockets of your schedule she once consumed. You learn to fight for hope and fight the tension between mercy and desperation for the home receiving her to stay in contact with you. Whether you wanted to be or not, suddenly aware that bubbling to the surface a stench of self righteousness and arrogance. These are the people I ignore in grocery store lines, choose not to see on street corners, shake my head at in restaurants. Disgust, judgment, hatred. Somewhere along this journey I've bought into the lie that I'm better than them, that somehow their sin is worse than mine. Now go and be light in the darkness and push up your sleeves because it's just as much my mess as theirs.
No you're in this now and your chest deep in messes you didn't make and you're following in line with a system that sent up its flag years ago but no one is coming, no the only thing coming is more kids, more darkness, more broken families.
So you go upstairs to tuck them in, your own babies needing you and unaware of what transpired today. You've helped with homework and written notes for lunches, dishes have collected on the counter and your babies safely drift off to sleep. And you come back downstairs sweeping the floor and all the while my heart lies in a heap of mess, waiting for a tender love to overwhelm me. The fight continues in our hearts to not forget Your promises, not to forget His extravagance of kindness undeserved but yet awaits to be the source of all that we are.
You sit there counting the cost of it all as darkness knocks on the door and closes in quick, the invitation for going completely under awaits clothed in fear and disgust.
And You come and speak softly to me. As the voice of the accuser comes on in a mirage of loud and strong, His whisper pierces sharper than any two edged sword and goes straight to my heart.
Her story doesn't end here. You O Lord are and always will be her hiding place, because it's who You are and it's what You promise her.
It began with a yes and the real question here isn't what it has cost me but rather what it would've cost her if she had never received our love, Your great love, in the middle of inconvenience and discomfort the yes that brought her into this new, deep love.
Because what if what He says is true and what if He has begun and work and He isn't finished?
What if it's true that everything prayed into and sown into her life doesn't come back void but returns to her some thirty, sixty, hundred fold?
On my darling, what if He has set you on a new path and time in the heavens is on a different time table than I can comprehend?
What if this fight truly isn't against flesh and blood but against the dark spirits, against the enemy whose place in the end of this story has already been foretold...you lose, you've already lost.
And this invitation to trust in You, to trust that somewhere in this we can find You and You will be who you say You are and do what You say You will do, in desperation to grab ahold of faith in the unseen and stand firm in hope. To trust in the Father in a process that feels like a vicious cycle of bringing in only to let go. Because manna falls from the sky each day and I want to store it up and satisfy my hunger with logic and control, I want to know how this ends and I think the best place for her was with me. Yeah You meet me in that place every time and You know me.
That it's not about being strong or super human but instead the leveling to the ground of how weak we truly are so that in that desperate place He can silence the enemy and call us deeper into a place of intimacy in the secret place. Chasing down every thought captive and demanding it to align itself with the word of truth and settle for nothing less than a hope for the impossible.
And when they leave, oh yes Jesus Your faithfulness to find me in that place time and time again, we can all be found there. Grateful to carry hope beyond existing realities and believe in Your higher ways that are not my ways. Come find me and work this out for her good, I can't see through the ashes but I trust You when it doesn't seem possible. Your nearness to her is her only good, it's my only good.
Fighting hard to stand firm and trust that this is worth it, we know it is. Sufficient grace that imparts strength to call out what doesn't exist in front of us. A love and a rescue that collects a thousand pieces and begins healing again and again.
Because great it Thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see.
"I thank my God every time I remember you,
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because your partnership in
the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will
carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."