This morning we said goodbye to our two foster children. The process over the last few weeks has been one of the hardest emotional journeys I’ve been on in my life. Thankfully, I am resolved and at peace now, seeing God’s hand all over these recent events. But the last time I wrote I was in the midst of a dark week of depression, confusion and anger as I tried to figure out what was happening. Here I was, completely out of control again and things weren’t going my way. It surely didn’t seem like God’s way either. He was leading me down a path that I did not foresee and that I did not want to take – the path of letting go of two kids I had come to love and wanted to adopt if they became available. I had to take this journey of reconciling my feelings and emotions with the truth of who God is and how God works, responding accordingly. Isn’t this the pattern so often seen in the Psalms?
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psa. 42:5-6, NIV)
How sweet that God ordained that my job would have me meditating on and preparing worship services around the Psalms at this difficult season of life. I’m beginning to see how this is grounding me in truth about God’s character, strengthening my faith and thus strengthening me with the ability to do the right thing – let go and trust. Last night as we ate our last dinner together, I was so sad that I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I wept some tears, praying to God as I cleaned up the dinner dishes and then I went to my worship band rehearsal – needy, hurting, and desperate to hear from God. After singing through the set with the vocalists, centered on Psalm 96, my spirits were much lifted. I was once again putting my hope in God and praising him out of this place of raw emotion. I almost didn’t share my situation during our prayer time that followed, and then after we prayed together, thought better of it and mentioned my need for prayer in this difficult time. My team prayed for Julie and me – I felt wonderfully enveloped in God’s love through the arms and encouraging words of God’s people. What followed was one of the best rehearsals I have ever had. Great music, great worship, and great fellowship – it doesn’t get any better than this. I went home so full having spent a few hours with my orchestra team – 17 people worshiping God together with our voices and instruments.
I don’t know if my grief is over, but I felt like it was when I climbed in bed last night. I spent a long time before hand kneeling by these kid’s beds as they slept. I laid my head on their pillow next to theirs, listening to their breathing, smelling their familiar scent, and looking at their beautiful faces peacefully sleeping. I rested my hand on their heads, as was my practice every night, ran my fingers through their hair and blessed them as I praised God for the blessing they had been to me. Afterwards I just lay there and the most amazing thing happened. I felt the sadness washed away as if God just lifted the burden from me. Gone! This morning, it didn’t come back. In fact, it was surprisingly a sweet moment saying goodbye. Both children were excited about going, but tangibly affectionate as we spent our last few hours together. It couldn’t have been a better experience for us or for them. I will treasure the last kisses blown our way from the back seat of the car as they backed out of our driveway and moved on to the loving arms of the next family anxiously awaiting their arrival. These kids are God’s kids and he is obviously taking great care of them.
God is taking great care of us as well. I’m not sure what is next, but I’ve got an unexpected anticipation as “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psa. 33:20-22, NIV)