I’ll never forget what it felt like to place him in his car seat one last time; to gently fold all his little baby clothes and tuck them tenderly into the blue Rubbermaid box. Each little onesie, blanket, bottle and soother had been lovingly and carefully selected by me, but here I was placing them in a box to hand over to another mother.
The infant photo shoot my sister had done for us had been printed and placed into a little album alongside the clothes.
His favourite blanket was tucked up beside his face and I had made sure not to wash it for the past week, hoping the smell of my skin and our home, the only home he had known in his short life, would linger on it while he adjusted to his new home.
My heart staggered when I thought of all the things I couldn’t possibly begin to pass along. How I knew just how he wanted to be held, what he was needing or whether or not he was full after a bottle. The way to hold him in the bathtub, stroke his cheek while feeding him or when to use diaper rash cream. A million things I had learned about this sweet boy, but here I was saying goodbye.
That first goodbye was the hardest.
After one last kiss, I stumbled through tear-filled eyes and sobs out of the room and out of his life.
I don’t know if I prayed in that moment, but I know that in similar moments of surrender since, I have cried out, “God, how could you let this happen? Don’t you see?”
I have believed the lie that a social worker, a judge, a system or a biological family member was in control, despite knowing intimately the God of the Universe, who spoke creation into existence.
I have believed the lie that He is not enough; for me or for my children.
I have grappled with faith and fear, unable to fathom how a future without me could be the answer; his best yes for this child I adore.
These past few months I have had to bring my heart time and time again to its knees in surrender, choosing to place my trust and my attitudes squarely in the hands of the One who sees it all and simply place one foot of humble obedience in front of the other.
Sometimes, as foster parents or as biological parents, God asks us to get out of the way.
Sometimes His very good plan for my child doesn’t include me or my ideas, passions, advocacy or protection.
Sometimes God’s very good plan for my children involves pain and grief and loss.
What does a parent do when God asks us to move out of the way so He can accomplish His purposes without us?
I know some of you are walking this road with your children.
Maybe it’s your young adult child, who is walking a road you never imagined or dreamed for them. They don’t want your help or advice or comfort. They need to figure this out on their own, and you are helpless.
Maybe it’s your child with learning differences or social struggles; you drop them off at school every morning and you wonder if you are doing the right thing. They are miserable, angry and struggling to stay afloat, but you know this is a battle you can’t fight for them.
Maybe it’s medical difficulties that are robbing you of the control and protection you long to give your child. You have to watch them endure poke after poke, procedure after procedure and you ache to take their place but instead all you can do is cradle their small body in your arms and squeeze back your tears.
Why would God allow this to happen?
Oh, sweet Mama.
I know the pain that rips at your heart and the way you writhe against the surrender.
I know the way you beat your fists against His chest and struggle to fight your way back from the chaos.
You don’t need to be afraid of your smallness in His presence.
It’s time to rest in His abundance.
He is able;
Abundantly able, to do more.
Yes, more, precious friend.
More than you’ve asked.
More than you’ve dreamed.
More than you can even begin to imagine.
Now we can only see glimpses through a dirty, broken window pane.
But one day,
one sweet day,
Hindsight will be perfect.
This present reality will fall into place in the radiant glory of His magnum opus, His great work, in not only our tiny scope of vision but in the vastness of the entire universe and all of time from beginning to infinite.
Put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time and walk in sync with His spirit.
It is there alone you will catch a glimpse of just how great and good His plans are.