Lately, God has been dropping morsels in my path to make sure I cannot forget that even though this road is hard, He is here. And unlike Hansel & Gretel's unreliable crumbs, God is leaving these morsels that cannot be stolen to remind us that He goes ahead of us. They are but the smallest taste of the feast that awaits us when we find our way home to Him.
While but crumbs compared to the coming kingdom, these glimpses are just the boost needed to strengthen and sustain us for the journey. Keeping our eyes open, seeking them, is essential.
My 8 year old foster daughter, *Bug, and I have tested each other for most of our 8 month relationship. She likes to know it all--and so do I. Parentified at too early of an age, Bug was not accustomed to having a Mama handle things. We have had to sort out our roles and it hasn't always been pretty.
The place where she and I always bond, however, is in church. We were sitting in the 9am service which she first leaned over to me incredulously and said "Wait, Jesus was born on Christmas? How cool is that?!"
In those same rows she has asked similarly striking questions through slightly-too-loud whispers, Excitedly, "Jesus is coming back? When do I get to see Him?" and
touchingly, "Did that man just say God is MY Father?"
I was exactly her age when I first started attending church regularly with my Grandmama and came to know the Lord in a personal way. Through Bug I remember what it was like to be shocked and amazed by hearing Bible stories for the first time--things my churched-since-conception children take for granted.
Recently, as a worship song touched my heart, tears streamed down my face. Her sister, LuLu, was confused and asked "What's wrong, Mom? Why are you crying?"
Bug looked up at me then back to her little sister before proudly claiming, "She's crying those tears for me."
And I was. Though she has tested and tried me, she has been used countless times to teach this old heart lasting lessons.
God is using this season. He ordained all of this--the good, the bad and the ugly. I am grateful for frequent reminders, because it is far too easy for my circumstances to obscure my view of truth. While I feel as if I am on a rollercoaster blindfolded, none of this is taking my God by surprise.
In the chaos, God is with us.
As I deal with the difficult emotions that accompany children from hard places... God has not forgotten us.
Plunged back into childhood issues long forgotten--potty accidents, being afraid of the dark and naptime mutiny--He sees and He is with us.
Weeks turn into months and court dates and case plans shift and change. This is not the timeline I chose, but God is on the Throne.
When I feel overwhelmed by my inadequacy, His grace is sufficient.
There are so many stories of the "God winks" we have seen at critical moments, reminders He is faithful. Many are too involved or specific to share. But recently, the picture was so clear I had to document it.
Last week LuLu said "You know on the first night we came I was supposed to be with my other sister Lynn*? Bug was not supposed to come here. The case worker got confused. It was supposed to be me & Lynn in your house."
As I watched Bug deflate before my eyes, my confident response was, "Oh, no, baby. God knew who was going to be here long before we did--and Bug was always part of the plan."
I could tell LuLu that with certainty because of events that led to becoming foster parents last Winter. It was a story 9+ years in the making, but the "a-ha" moment was watching a little girl cartwheel across the lawn of a resort where we were celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary.
Ryland casually lamented that he couldn't believe we were finished with that phase of childhood--and I replied, 'We don't have to be." The ensuing conversation concluded with a decision to start the approval process.
And our Bug, who learned to cartwheel shortly after moving into our home, hasn't stopped doing so since. She is so obsessed I have to restrict where and when she does them--and every time I see her dark ponytail swinging upside down I think, "Isn't that just like God...He brought us a cartwheeling girl."
Things didn't turn out the way LuLu thought they were "supposed to be" but my cartwheeling girl is a reminder: The unfolding of life is unknown to us, but none of this is catching our Father by surprise.
*names of girls are nicknames