Last Sunday afternoon I was in my kitchen pouring juice into pretty glasses and hashbrowns were sizzling in the pan. Sunday brunch is my favorite. Mostly because it’s an excuse to drink another cup of coffee when I’ve already had a morning cup, but also because the peace that spending the morning in God’s house brings to my family. Shalom in my home.
As I was cooking I looked up and noticed toddler-boy sitting in the living room at the handmade trunk reading his Bible talking quietly to himself. I came a little closer and was stunned by what he was saying “yep… uh huh… sure…yea”
The first thought to pop into my mind was “No way did he learn that from me! I don’t read my Bible like that!” Instantly that still small voice prodded; “Oh yes, he did”
Maybe we don’t read our Bibles quite like that, maybe not out loud anyway but isn’t that sometimes how we live? Over and over again in Scripture God promises us good things. He gives freely his presence and protection. In my heart I’m saying “yep.. uh huh.. sure” Like when toddler-boy wants to tell me something and I give him a screen-bound; “Wow, that’s cool buddy” God wants to pour out these promises into the anemic parts of my heart, but can he if I’m not listening or paying attention?
Oh friend, is your heart doubtful and hurting? Mine too. I wish I had profound words, new revelations or methods but the truth is I don’t know how to live with a broken heart. I don’t know how many more times I can utter through tears “God please….” But I can preach to my heart the promises- the truths- I do know and pray that eventually drinking enough truth serum can bring healing to my aching wounds.
Foster parents do a lot of paperwork. A. LOT. Sometimes I wonder if they make you go through so much work before you are even certified to weed out the feel-gooders. Those whose hands cramp up are left behind and those who persevere continue on. Signing up for foster care is basically signing your name on the dotted line of brokenness. Literally, it’s a dotted line for a reason. Even the line can’t keep it together. But anyone who wants God to be powerful in their lives are signing up for the same thing. Brokenness.
That’s a promise.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 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. 10 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.”
Christ himself lived this paradox. Weakness leads to strength. Brokenness to abundance.
Hebrews 12:2 “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In order to get to the fullness of joy that comes from these fulfilled promises we must endure the cross and the shame. Christ took on our shame when he died on the cross. In the foster care world we get to live that same way. We take on the shame these families endure. We bare this cross with them.
“The measure of your willingness to be broken and given is the measure of you capacity for communion and intimacy.”
By signing up for brokenness we sign ourselves up for all the blessings that come with communion with our Lord. It doesn’t feel like it now. A broken heart after losing a child is the worst kind of suffering I have been through.
“Suffering is never a meaningless waste of your life but a meaningful path through your life.” Ann Voskamp
So for right now we endure the suffering, we bare the shame. No one is prancing their way through this life of loving the children of another but we trudge forward knowing that even through all this Christ redeems broken things, broken families, broken people, and we get to be a part of it.