“Who loves you most?” I would say.
“Jesus,” she would giggle back.
“That’s right. Don’t forget that. It’s so important!” I would respond.
I never meant for this to be the question, or more precisely the answer, I would be clinging to so desperately.
I’ve never experienced the grief most foster parents experience when they say goodbye to a child they have had in their home for any amount of time. One of our foster babies is now a permanent part of our family and the other one is still in our home with no signs of leaving anytime soon. We have really had it easy as compared to most foster families.
However, in recent months I’ve found my heart torn to shreds at the loss of a little 6-year-old princess we love so much. She is a part of our family in a unique way. She spent many nights in our home over a time frame of 8 months and we love her as if she’s our own child. Seeking justice for her has led to extreme loss for us and for her. We are learning the hard way that seeking justice does not always result in real justice.
Most of the time I’m an idealist with a head in the clouds kind of outlook on life. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it is how I tend to think. This foster care thing doesn’t mesh well with that thinking. There is only love at the risk of great loss in this ministry. Now that I think about it, no part of life meshes well with that thinking because there are ugly things like cancer and addiction and broken families lurking around the corner ready to pull you right out of those clouds and down to the pit of despair.
Sometimes I wonder if the risk is worth it.
Is it worth it to hardwire pain directly into the hearts of every member of our family? When you love at the risk of great loss, that’s what happens.
The pain? I have stuffed it and cussed it for months now. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago I saw a light pierce through this darkness. The truth. The hard truth.
“Who loves you most?” God asked me.
“You do.” I answered.
“Who loves her most?” He asked.
Right there in the middle of all the pain. The truth that may not always comfort me like it should, but truth nonetheless. The truth I spent months teaching her. The truth I’m praying she is clinging to these days is the truth I’m praying I will be able to cling to now.
As I grieve, I am clinging to the truth that Jesus loves her most. He is big enough to handle my grief and worry and he’s big enough to handle hers.
I’m pretty certain God gives us more than we can bear. Thankfully, he never gives us more than He can bear.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30