My Heart is Full

My heart is full right now.

Our youngest foster child has returned to our home. 

When she got here the kids had a welcome sign hanging up and there was much squealing and hugging and running around. In the midst of all the chaos, she turned to me and said, “Esther, I was waiting for you!” 

You know, I never pursued foster parenting. But it has pursued me. Over the years I have heard stories of the need and my heart would break, but I always felt helpless. What can I do? In order to be a foster parent through the state, you can only have six kids in your home. We have ten of our own. It’s going to be a long time before I can even qualify to become a foster parent. 

And then I would hear another story about the desperate need for foster homes. And my heart would break again. And finally, I told God, if you want me to be a foster parent, you’ll have to do something special to make it happen. 

And he did. 

And we walked a rocky road with these kids, full of extreme ups and downs. 

And then they left and I had no more power over the situation. And I felt bruised and battered, heartbroken. And I told God, I guess you don’t want us to do this anymore? Well, if you do, you will have to work some kind of miracle, because I can’t make it happen in my own power. 

So he did. 

Again.

And my heart is full. 

There Are No Words

It’s a rainy Sunday morning. I am home with most of my children. My husband took one of our teenagers to church because she was scheduled to help teach Sunday School. The rest of us are staying home in hopes that we can avoid exposure to any flu germs that might be floating around. Our county has been overwhelmed with flu, to the point that they are closing schools for the second time this coming week. We have been extremely fortunate that none of us have gotten sick yet. I decided that we would lay low for the next couple days and hopefully manage to avoid the sickness completely.

Our fire is going strong in our wood stove. The kids have been in a good mood, playing with each other, reading books. We had our own Sunday service, sang some songs, read a bible story, worked on memorizing our next Bible Verse. The kids are now watching some cartoon videos about the 10 Commandments.

It’s one of those mornings when you just feel happy and content. It’s the kind of feeling that you wish you could bottle up somehow and pull out on your bad days.

 

(time break)

 

As I was writing about how content and happy I was, I received a text from a very good friend of mine telling me that her grandbaby had died in the night. I am in shock. I find myself just saying, NO, no, no, no…somehow, if I deny it, it will make it untrue. The rain outside feels sinister. My house feels cold. I feel fear as I look at my children. What would I do if one of them died? I can’t even go there.

Last night I dreamed that my husband had died. The entire dream was about trying to avoid the Overwhelming Physical Pain of his being gone, and it couldn’t be avoided. And suddenly that dream has become reality for my friend and her family and I have a desperate need to help them. How can I lessen their pain? It is impossible.

I think about the bible verses we talked about this morning, hardly an hour ago. 1 Corinthians 13. God is love. This is what love looks like. Psalm 139. God knows us completely. There is nowhere we can go to flee his presence. Matthew 22:36-40 What’s the greatest commandment? Love God. Love People.

Lord, this love thing hurts. My heart is hurting. It’s a physical pain. And it hurts more because I know that my level of pain is only a small fraction of what this family is feeling. I have no words. Anything I say would seem pat and condescending. There are no words to say to someone who has lost their child.

All I can do is cry alongside you. Mourn with you. Let my heartbreak join with yours.

May you one day feel peace again. Until then we mourn with you.