I’m letting go of all the dreams I’ve had over the years for our family. I have to in order to fully give myself over to what God has in store for us, but it’s been more painful than I thought it would be. We’ve lost so much through foster care and infertility. I’m just now beginning to find my way back to myself.
I’m railing against this plan that the Lord has for us – to do foster care before bio kids, to use IVF to grow bio babes – but I’m trying to choose to trust Him every single day, with every single thing, with every single breath.
We went from not being parents at all to parenting seven kids in less than a year, and we’ve lost three of those kids already. We will never build our family in a conventional or normal way. It will never be just me and Gary and a baby that’s made of both of us. We will never experience the joys that come with that – with having just one little baby to care for and call your own. My first baby was a 2.5-year-old little girl, and she’s not mine anymore.
I see my friends pregnant with their first baby, and I can’t help but think, I’ll never have that. And I’m not talking about having a baby of my own – Lord willing we will, I still have hope for that. But we will never have a simple little family of three.
We’re trying to figure out how to arrange the bedrooms upstairs. Foster kids over the age of 5 have to be separated by gender so we have to have a boys room and a girls room. But what about if/when we have a baby? I don’t want to get rid of the guest room altogether because hospitality is valued so highly in this house, but that means the crib will have to be stuck in a corner of the guest room. Which is fine for the baby; babies don’t care. But I probably won’t ever get to decorate a cute nursery for one baby. I’m fully aware that this is what they call a “first world problem,” but still – I always thought that sounded so fun. So I’m letting go of that too.
Right now my life feels so complicated – with foster kids and birth parents and trauma parenting – that I’m envious of the simplicity of dad + mom + baby. Not that I would trade it or change it or undo it – I wouldn’t. These kiddos, they’re worth the cost. But I grieve the loss of that simple life nonetheless. We still have to grieve the things we lost, even if what we gained is so worth it.
We’ve lost all semblance of dependance on ourselves; we’ve gained a reality of dependance on Jesus. We’ve learned to hold loosely every plan, to take lightly our desires. We have tasted of His suffering, and He has met us there, in the very depths of our despair. He tears us down; He binds us up.
We are dreaming, but with our eyes wide open. With the knowledge that these dreams of ours? They may never come to pass. But in their place God will slowly build and fulfill different dreams. And I pray that when those dreams come, after they’re built, that they would be my dreams too. That they would not be just His, but mine also. A miraculous transformation made possible only by the Gospel.
We’re walking through the fire, and the steps we planned out for ourselves have gone up in flames, turned to ashes. He creates beauty from ashes though. He’s proven Himself over and over – He makes all things new and beautiful. Even now we can look back over the tapestry of our lives, and say, Look. Look at all He’s done. He’s created beautiful lives for us. And we can say that only because our lives are a reflection of our God.
We’ve broken and bled and poured ourselves out for the sake of the Gospel. We’ve given all we have and all we are so that these kids can gain much. We’ve used infertility to shout from the rooftops of His goodness and greatness, even in the midst of heartbreak. And we count the cost worth it because His name is being made known.
He’s woven great heights of joy into deep, lasting sorrow. Right now, it is right to mourn. Right now, it is right to dance. We live the reality of this great tension. We are heartbroken, yet joyful – something only Jesus can accomplish within us. And although we are not okay, we’re learning to breathe in the fire.
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