breathing deep

I stand at my laptop in its corner on the kitchen counter, stew bubbling, children playing, clock ticking. I stand here and I read the prayers of friends and strangers alike who love my family enough to spend their time whispering to Him on our behalf. Tears stream and I am blown away by this love and His grace.

I look around and I type out words and layers of my heart peel back, bare on the screen. Yes, this is life, Yes, this is real, Yes this is happening.

Monday morning the gate rattled and there stood Jane and her birth mom Nancy. Evicted from their home, Jane’s leg wound still festering, and in desperate need of a shower and some love.

So we opened the gate, and my heart, a little wider.

And it hurts from the moment I wake up until the moment my head hits the pillow. And this that I once wanted – my daughter back – it’s not what I want anymore and this is not how I wanted it. Now it comes with a grouchy grown woman who doesn’t know Him and doesn’t care to love us back or take responsibility for anything. Now it comes with my four year old, confused and traumatized who calls two women Mommy and only half obeys and does things that she didn’t learn in my home and wears the wounds of the last six months on her sleeves.

But in the hard, I see the healing. In the mess of it all, I see the redemption.

One step forward. Two steps back. And He doesn’t let go. He doesn’t let go.

I spent the whole weekend trying to come up with a solution. Begging God to show me what to do. Should they live here? Should they live near by? Should I keep Jane? Should I try harder to make sure her birth mom is taking care of her and has the means to do so?

The answer is, I don’t know.

There are the obvious arguments: She has a living birthmother! Of course she should stay with her! Or. Her birthmother is obviously not caring for her, she is still bonded to you, take her, that is what is best.

The thing is, this is real life and so there is this huge gray area in the middle and that is where we are living. In the gray area. That is adoption though. Big, beautiful, scary, confusing, unnatural, redemptive, tragic, wonderful gray.

I found myself diving back into 1 Kings 17, a story I felt so strongly led to just days after Jane was taken from our home in November. Over and over this widow reminds me of whom I want to be, and the end result of provision reminds me of who my God is.

Elijah asks her to make Him some bread but the old woman does not think she has enough. Regardless, she takes the little she has and obeys. She is faithful with the little that she has already been given. And, as she remains faithful in the things she has been asked, He is faithful to provide more, exactly enough, exactly when it is needed.

I do not need to know the answer. There may very well not be one right now.

However, I do know what to do about it. Obey. Do what I know to do. Love like Jesus. Invite in the stranger, accept the outcast, live the Gospel. Be faithful with the little that is entrusted to me and watch Him be faithful in the big picture. He always provides, exactly enough, exactly when it is needed. He asks me to take this next step and I protest, “but I don’t have enough!” Not enough grace, not enough love, not enough strength, not enough time. And the widow reminds me to be faithful anyway. Of course I do not have enough. But I have Jesus and He, He is always enough.

I am faithful with little. He is faithful with much.

So we breathe in. We put one foot in front of the other. We love each other well and we laugh until we cry and sometimes we just cry but He holds us then too.

Holds us even now and knows best even now and loves these dear ones even more than I do, even now.

He who promised is faithful. Not necessarily faithful in what I want or see fit, but faithful in His promises. And He has promised to prosper and not to harm, He has promised a hope and a future. For Jane, for Nancy, for Patricia, Grace, Sumini, Joyce, Scovia, Sarah, Tibita, Hellen, Mary, Zuula, Agnes, Margaret, Prossy and even me. He has promised to give good.

So we try our best to obey, to do what we already know to do - love like Jesus, open up our home and share what He has so graciously given us, preach the Gospel with our lives, breathe Him deep this moment. We do what we can do and then we let Him take over because oh, how His power is made perfect in my weakness!

Bottom line is, I don’t really like Nancy. But I can’t help but love her, and out of love I deeply desire to spend eternity with her. And in light of eternity, nothing else matters.

So I give Jesus the trauma and the confusion and the rolling eyes and the pinching and the things that Jane says that I didn’t teach her and I smile big and I laugh hard at the gift of one more day. I give Him Nancy’s heart and Jane’s too and I thank Him for 14 pairs of flip flops again and watermelon juice on eager chins and her toothbrush back in the cup on my sink and hurt that draws us closer and a home where strangers become family.

I can trust God. I look at my life and I see the miracles and because of what I know, I can trust Him for what I don’t know. Because of what I have seen, I can trust Him when I can’t see.

And when I don’t know what else to be, I am thankful. Thankful for you and your prayers that carry us and His love, through you all, that never runs out. We covet your prayers. We SO appreciate them. He must become greater, we must become less.