Friday, September 08, 2017


There are storms raging on our television screens, twitter feeds & facebook timelines 24/7 these days...Harvey, Irma, Jose. We are overwhelmed by photos of destruction, warnings of impending danger and shifting what-if scenarios.

Off the screens and in our real lives there are countless other storms brewing and wreaking havoc. I am surrounded by people experiencing soul crushing storms: illnesses, financial ruin, addiction, families in crisis.

And in my guest bedroom, there is Little Bit, a precious preschool aged foster child who has already experienced more loss and tragedy in her short life than my adult heart can comprehend.

It is really all so much. Yesterday it felt like too much. I was heavy, useless, walking around in a fog, lost in my own what-if scenarios, frustration with 'the system,' weariness at this sin-sullied world. The realization that I cannot fix any of it left this doer in an identity crisis of sorts.

As I talked about it off and on with God through the day, I felt led to call a prayer warrior from my church and vomit my worries and emotions. She responded by reading Psalms to me over the phone. When we hung up I read a few more in the quiet before beginning my afternoon carline drill.

As bedtime approached, Little Bit, normally an easy going, sweet and compliant child just started wailing. As I tried to nudge her through the bedtime routine, assuming it was exhaustion fueling her outburst, she started screaming, "On my inside, I just feel so much pain. It hurts so much I just want to scream." (Yes, those were the words of a preschooler!)

Keenly aware of my inability to fix,  I wrapped her wet, post bath body up in a towel and sat with her while she screamed. Perched on the toilet seat, I pulled her into my lap and started to rock. She asked if we could go rock "in a real chair" so we moved to the porch. After a few minutes of quiet, we returned to her bedroom. Getting her settled, I reached in a basket of books and pulled out Sally Lloyd-Jones' Found: Psalm 23. Psalms had ministered to me earlier that day, and it seemed a good choice for this moment.

Little Bit had never been to church before foster care. When I said the name Jesus to her a few days ago she asked "Who is he?" So as I read this paraphrased for children rendition of Psalm 23, beautifully illustrated with a little lamb and a tender shepherd who feeds, guides, protects and takes care, she hung on every word. This wasn't an old familiar story, it was a revelation.

In the center of the book, it says "Even when I walk through the dark, scary, lonely places I won't be afraid. Because my shepherd knows where I am. He is here with me."

As I read these lines Little Bit slapped her hand on the page, looked straight into my eyes and implored, "Is this real? Is this true?"
With a breath-taking realization that this was a sacred, important moment, I managed to squeeze out a "Yes. Yes, it IS true."
"Keep reading," she commanded.
"He keeps me safe. He rescues me. He makes me strong and brave."
She listened intently as I turned the page...

Look at that promise: He is getting things ready...just for this little lamb. And her heart that needed to scream because it was in so much pain? It is his desire to fill it with so much happiness it can't be held inside.

I was deeply convicted by how little faith I have had. I have been tied up in knots trying to make a plan for Little Bit's life---fearful of her spirit and heart being crushed by 'the system' rather than trusting her Creator.

And the final line? It says:
"Wherever I go I know...
God's Never Stopping
Never Giving Up
Always and Forever Love
will go, too!"

In that moment I thought surely David wrote this Psalm so that Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago would reproduce it JUST FOR THIS NIGHT.

We grown up Christians can make things so complicated--the Gospel is clear and true.

I am not the boss of anyone's life, but there is an AUTHOR, a RESCUER, a PERFECTER, a SHEPHERD.

He sees us in the dark nights of our pain. He knows what we need. He is trustworthy. He is indeed a very good shepherd.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart." Isaiah 40:11a

I'm so grateful.


Renee said...

Your posts are so real and inspirational. Thank you for
sharing your faith journey with us!

Love Being A Nonny said...

"Is this real? Is this true?" Heartbreaking. Just prayed.

Suzanne Moore said...

Completely blessed, comforted and restored my soul. God's love is unfailing, and it always shows up in and through His vessels. Thanks for sharing, Jenn. Standing in prayer with you❤️Love and Blessings, Suzanne

Aja said...

My.word. Blown way yet again at Him and how eloquently you communicate these sacred moments He provides. I have been riding the Irma-coaster this week and absolutely needed to read this tonight. Thank you Lord!

Denise Ross said...

So blessed by this post, Jen. I was in this dark funk place a couple weeks ago. It was horrible and all about what I wanted to fix but have no ability to. I had to over abs over lay it all at His feet and truly let go and trust Him fir it all and in it all. I've spent hours praying through days as nights and have to constantly remember that my job is to pray fervently, live out grace and Gods love and let God answer my prayers His way, in His time.
To let go completely and really rest in Him and in His promises.
Yesterday I sat and read the first verse of psalm 23 and let it sink in abs my soul rested and some if my joy returned.
For me really letting go of my worries, pain, grief and weariness and filling up with God is the only way fir me to find deep rest and greater faith in God and His truth. Psalm 23 is definitely one of my favourites.
I'll be praying fur Little Bit to see and know God as her Heavenly Father. Love Sally Lloyd Jones and Jago books. So well written filled with Gods beautiful truth.

Missy June said...

Sally Lloyd Jones words have ministered to my own heart so very many times. This is a precious piece and I hope you share it with her so she understands a tiny bit of the fruit of her labors.

Carrie Leary said...

I completely believe that, in the midst of our foster to adopt story, God is the one who called me to ROCK ROCK ROCK my children. At 22 months, 2.5, 2.5, and 3.5, they were just trying to figure out who this NEW lady was (having ben in foster care for over a year), and the new lady and her husband....well, we were a tad overwhelmed. And so I believe that God was speaking slowly and using few words, just guiding me in the very basic of things. So, rocking. Before nap and before bed (and for a month or two before I had an actual rocking chair in my home) for 12 to 18 months. I think that it has been one of the key elements in growing attachments from those 4 precious girls to this mama. And, after a year or more of just sporadic rocking, it has become requested, needed, and a return to our nighttime ritual.
All of that to say...rock that baby girl, not just when she's sad, rock her as much as you can. :) My eyes have also recently been opened to my children's needs to be 'babied' still. Cradle them in my arms, no matter that their legs are stretching halfway across the couch now, and cooing and talking to them just as I would if they were 6 months old, etc...cooing and sweet talking them. :) Anyway, just wanted to encourage you.

Sara Jacobson said...

oh my goodness, this brought me to tears. thank you for sharing this story...we all need a reminder about our Good Shepherd. Praying for you as you minister to this little one.

Sincerely Anna said...

So beautiful. The Lord's timing is perfect.

Thomas and Jamie said...

I am the Mama of my own "little bit." She came to us first as a quiet, sweet, but very sad 2.5 year old. We kept her for 5 months before "the system" failed her and she was taken from us. Our worst fears, some we knew and some we didn't know we had, came true. However, God walked through a dark dark valley with us AND with her for 18 months and then she was restored to us forever. She is now a beautiful almost 8 year old with a heart of gold and a KEEN awareness of the world around her. There are still hurts that only Jesus can fix, but with His grace, He has allowed us to answer hard questions with straightforward but simple answers that she can understand. God has written her a beautiful story and we tell her CONSTANTLY that He has big plans for her. He "restoreth my soul" over and over and over again!

Kelly said...

Precious girl. So heartbreaking that she's had to endure so much at such a young age. What a beautiful gift she's received by being welcomed into a Christ-centered home. Praying for the seeds of the Gospel that you are planting in her heart. May God use your faithful works to create a beautiful story of redemption.