I still remember her slightly cynical giggle as she heard my story of adopting 3 children at once and asked, “Who does that?” Not that many years later I was the one giggling as God answered that question in the way only he can, by leading Abby down a similar path of fostering and adoption. Though I have walked this path ahead of her, she is a constant inspiration to me. She reminds me what real love looks like and why the choice to love is worth it…even when it hurts.

– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator


 

Fourteen years ago this week I walked down a candlelit aisle to marry this guy I know 😉 but before the church doors opened, as my dad held my arm in his, he quietly said, “My truck is out front…we can leave if you want to.”

Let me tell you, if that little girl had any idea what fourteen years would hold I probably would have taken him up on that offer!  But I am so glad I didn’t.

You see, our story has unfolded in a way I never could have imagined – not in my wildest dreams.  I had an idea what our life would look like and this is most definitely, 100% not it.  It’s better.

“As real as it gets”

When we celebrated our tenth anniversary we were just stepping into our fostering journey, realizing this is much harder than we could have imagined.  Our lives had been carefully sheltered and unaware of the pain all around us.  It was as if a blindfold had been removed and my heart was broken.

The pain was more than I could bear, but for some reason – God just called us deeper still.

Over the next few months we fell into a God-sized story that I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t lived it myself.  Even now I sometimes shy away from telling it because it just doesn’t seem real.  But here we are – four years later – and it’s as real as it gets.

“Paying the price for someone else’s choices”

I remember in our first year with the girls, waking up to their screams in the night, begging them to calm down and go back to sleep, feeling the desperation of sleep deprivation and hopelessness of trying to fix something that could only be healed.  There was no quick fix… but instead a long path of consistent love that could indeed heal the pain of the dark.

I have a distinct memory of standing in my sunroom in the middle of the night with a screaming child and thinking, this was not my choice!  I am paying the price for someone else’s choices… and this is not fair.

I had very carefully walked through life with intentionality.  I learned from the mistakes of others so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain of my own.  I don’t take risks.  I rarely make bad choices.  I might not get everything right, but I sure as heck don’t get things wrong.

Here I was, in the throes of motherhood, three children under three who were also bearing the weight of choices they did not make, carrying the scars of pain I could not understand and uncovering a fight in me I didn’t know I had.

“So help me God”

Walking out the front door one morning an angry 3 year old screamed at me, “You’re a bastard!” {Shut the front door!} Did I just hear what I think I heard?  “What did you say?!?” She then repeated her shot at me.  As I picked my chin up off the floor and knelt down to her eye level I hesitantly asked, “Where did you hear that word?”  My heart literally crumbled into a million pieces when she shyly looked at me and said, “That’s what my daddy said to me.” 

I cried that day – a lot of tears.  I looked that tiny, spirited face in the eyes and spoke words that I can only pray reached her heart – You are precious, you are loved and you are worth loving.  I distinctly remember this morning lighting a fire in my soul that I would not stop fighting for these three girls.  So help me God.

“You are not alone”

Lean in closely friends... some of you are walking through the hardest thing you have ever faced, you are weary.  You may even feel hopeless.  For some of you this path is not a choice you made but one you must walk due to the choices of others.  Please know, I can relate and in some ways I even feel it with you.  Your pain touches my pain… or my deepest fears… that someone else’s choices will cost me.

But take heart; there is one who walked this way before us – who chose the most unimaginable pain to cover the cost of our choices.  This gives me perspective.  On the hard days I cling to it – the way of suffering is not easy but it is worth it.  Not for my sake but theirs.  I can only pray as we walk this glorious path that his goodness will shine greater through our lives.

“Holding on with hope”

Today we celebrate two years of our “family.”  It felt like a long hard road to get there but I learned more in those 22 months about hope, perseverance and long-suffering than I had in my previous 32 years of life.  (Don’t start adding that up 😉

We celebrate the good days, the laughter and the joy that has engulfed our life.  We celebrate our loved ones that have carried us through hard days, prayed for us and held our arms when we couldn’t keep going. We celebrate the healing we see in the lives of our girls and how far we have come together… it truly is a taste of his goodness.

We hold tightly to his promises and look forward with anticipation of what is to come.  I try not to think too much about the teenage years…because quite honestly, I stop breathing.  We have hope that this story is going to be epic…

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:13-14

 


One Step Further:

  1. Where has God called you to embrace suffering?
  2. What would it look like for you to take the pain you are feeling in this situation to Jesus and entrust Him with it?
  3. How could this situation invite life and rest to other people?
  4. How might you prepare the way for resurrection, life and glory through this situation?