I didn’t know I wanted to be a foster care hero until I wasn’t one. I wanted to swoop in and love broken people, the innocent victims of someone else’s bad choices. I unknowingly painted a story where God redeems everything and He miraculously heals brains that never fully formed and bodies that have spent years flooded in cortisol. And He does it on my timeline. Because my God is an awesome God! And He reigns! Yay! Go Jesus!
But my narratives are different from God’s. He tells stories where family betrayal, abandonment, slavery, imprisonment and false accusations of sexual assault are considered mercies. If it were my story, there wouldn’t have been the abandonment or prison or accusation. We would have had the single blow of betrayal and someone would have saved the main character. But for Joseph and his fancy coat, God’s plot was grand and long. It kicks off in Genesis 37. It’s conclusion involved saving nations from starvation, family reconciliation, and the pitiful hero becoming king over the greatest of territories. But it took so long. Decades of being estranged and forgotten. He stayed rotting in prison for 3 very long chapters. How wretched for Joseph!
I still want a tidy story with a 12 month conclusion not prolonged pain before a great save. After a year and a half, both of my foster children are living in other places. One has a home with a beautiful family where he thrives. Last week I saw him and he introduced me as his godmother. It was the first time since he walked into our home I wasn’t his mom. It was very sweet. Instead of the jealousy of being replaced, I had so much gratitude that I was still allowed a space in his life, in his heart. My unexpected teenage daughter is in a residential trauma rehabilitation facility. She is returning to our home for the first time since her departure for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am not quite ready to admit I’m terrified so I’m calling it anxious.
I still desire a bow on a finished story of healing and recovery. I don’t want this story to continue inflicting wounds or burying the pain of old. I have to fight to be present. The stories I want to tell are plain and small in comparison to the great tales the Lord weaves. I am practicing to sit in the equanimity of the brokenness. Tears spring to my eyes even to write it. The pain is visceral. My own fear and woundedness come to the forefront when my girl brings her pain around. She unintentionally cuts me. I want so badly for the Rescuer to come and fix it so it’s pretty and happy. But that is not what’s being told here. So I will practice surrendering it to the Redeemer of all our stories.
I want to run from the pain, and I will practice being present in it. Even when it’s not a little pain, but a lot.