Sunday, June 13, 2010

Letting Go

That Girl has always been self-diagnosed with what might be termed 'Separation Anxiety'. I have never been any good at letting go. In fact, I used to cry big crocodile tears when my mom took my blanket away for the bimontly wash-which meant she could not stand the smell anymore and it had gotten to the point when it was pretty much walking around on its own.
However, there is something quite nostalgic about the days before GermX rolled down the mountains like God's mercy and started smelling like lavender. And I use the term lavender loosely.
But I digress. Since the days of The Blankie, I have not improved on my ability to
a) hang on to things or people forever
OR to
b) let them go. Case in point: my sadness at having to say goodbye to our College Students that came for camp. They were there for two whole days. We can't hold on to people forever, which instinctively makes us want to hold on to them even tighter. But one way or another-either by life's circumstances or the hand of God-our grip is tested and found far looser than we thought.

That doesn't mean I have to like it though.

Which is why I would be no good at things like
Skydiving- letting go of the sides of a plane to freefall into oblivion? No thanks. I LIKE handles.
Trapeze Art- refer to #1
Reading Karen Kingsbury. After the first series about the Baxters I was very attached. Then I was in seminary and no longer had time to read them. What a cruel world.

That is why I always admired people like my friends Joni and Chad. I mean, they invited children to come into their homes, share life with them, parent them, only to know in the back of their minds one day would come when they might have to let them go.
That's brave.
The word I think of comes from the late Jaime Escalante- the ganas -intestinal fortitude that leads people to do things even though try may be difficult.
I wish I was braver. Don't you?

Every time I heard Joni or Chad talk about foster parenting, I wished I could make a difference like them. I would think about how I could never do that based on my aforementioned separation anxiety. I was afraid of getting hurt and losing someone I loved. I didn't know how they weren't afraid of the same things and many, many more.

Until one day last fall.

Curiosity finally got the best of me. I finally asked Chad, a full-time pastor and seminary student how he did it. "Chad, this little boy calls you Dad. Your kids think he is their brother. You love him so much. How will you cope if he has to leave? How could you face letting go of him-potentially losing him to another foster home or his biological family? I could never do that."
He looked at me with the most piercing glance and then said something that would later change my life.

"Do you think I do it for myself?" Chad replied.

That's all it took, really.

Seth and I were engaged at that time and foster care was always something Seth had been very interested in. So I knew it was no coincidence that I had that discussion with Chad that day. Fast forward through the winter months and a wedding.
We were enjoying our new marriage and content with our new lives. A month went by, and God began to wake me in the middle of the night. I didn't know what He wanted at first, but I knew He wanted something.
Our church had been ministering to children by providing them meals at our programming every Wednesday, and I have had the pleasure of interacting with many of them. Some of them come hungry, with holes in their clothes and no life in their sweet little eyes. At some point, I could no longer say, "That's too bad" or "What a shame." instead, I was confronted with a need and I could either pity these children or I could do something about it. So I began to submit my fear to God a moment at a time, but my inadequacies are many and I was still terrified of inviting a child into our home and hearts and then seeing that child leave. So I went to Seth, hoping the practical side of him would remind me of exactly how long(or shortly!) we have been married and how silly I was to think that we could parent children in difficult transitions.

He didn't.

He promised instead to pray about it. The very next day he sent me a link for foster care at work. So Sweet Husband was on board. But I still wasn't sure I was.

So I cried out to God and ask Him to pick someone more qualified. More intelligent. Better with children. Better at letting go.

You know what He said?

He told me in essence through His Word and His voice that I could get in front of hundreds of people and not bat an eye. I can go overseas and serve without fear and I could pray with a stranger and write a blog that strangers read.
Okay, great.

But none of that took a lot of real faith though. What would take real faith was to commit to something that is totally contrary to my nature and trust God to teach me to let go.

"My grace is sufficient for you-my strength is made perfect in your weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

This is one of the first times God has asked me to do something that at first, I did not want to do in the least. But I have also heard it spoken that God does His best work when we are out of our comfort zone the most.

So, I am letting go and letting God accomplish His purpose in this. But only with His help.

To Him be the glory.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Jamie said...

I am so proud of you. I will be praying for you and Seth. You are going to be such a blessing to these children, and I am confident you will be blessed, too!

Love and prayers,

Lauren said...

This is so wonderfully amazing Lauren! It took God working in my heart for me to finally open up to foster care too. John was on board way before I was ... the reason? Letting go. I was just certain i couldn't do it. But then God changed my heart - and like your friend Chad said - I wasn't doing it for me any more. I won't lie... letting go of the twins tore my heart in two. It still does and it's been almost 2 years since they left. But I wouldn't change a thing. Praise God for your step of faith!!! You will be blessed beyond measure!!!

Dwaine and Christy Riddle said...

My husband and I started the foster parent proces two months ago. It was the best decision we have ever made, and we wish the two of you the very best!

Chelsa said...

praying for you sweetie :)

youwill be a great momma to those kids and each one will be lucky to have known you. YOU can SHOW God's love to them and they all NEED that!

p.s. i have a slight addiction/problem with loving the Baxter's like they're my own family?! lol!

Courtney, Jeff, Ayla & Leah said...

You will be the most amazing mother to any children whether it be temporary or forever. I can't wait to see what God has in store...

Tammy D. said...

I wish you luck! Foster parenting is something I'm interested in, but my husband is dead against it, unfortunately. It's true that God wants to use us in our weakest areas! I'm writing a curriculum for our SS program...NOT my gift, but He has been so good through it all! I can't wait to experience foster parenting through you! :)
Thanks for your blog...even though we don't know each other. You make me laugh sometimes until I cry.

Mrs Changstein said...

You'll never be sorry that you listened & obeyed. Never. You may want to take a sedative here & there, but hey, welcome to parenthood! :) We adopted an older child, and although the learning curve is steep, the price of not obeying was steeper still.
Blessings on you.

Josh and Kristi said...

Thank for you for voicing the honest concerns and needs associated with foster care. We will be praying for you guys as you discern God's voice.

Sarah said...

God has a habit of harassing me at night, too. :) I came over after reading your hilarious comment on Big Mama's blog.
We're trying to survive the emotional bludgeoning of completing an international adoption from a country that isn't entirely stable in its procedures. (That sentence should win the Understatement and Evasive Wording Prize for 2011!) Our little girl has a heart defect, and I know what you mean about worrying you won't be able to stand the potential pain that comes with taking risks on behalf of a child. But God asked us to do this, and like your calling to foster care, it was never about us in the first place. :) Love your blog, by the way. I'll have to stop back by. Sorry I don't have any tips on interior decorating.