photo credit: Nicolò Paternoster via photopin cc
I found myself awake in the middle of the night. It is hard to separate myself from this woman who has never really slept well–-the one who carries thoughts that swirl around in her head usually manifesting themselves in sleepwalking and sleeptalking and a general flip-flopping within her sheets.
This night was probably just the result of too much coffee. But I lay there nonetheless, thinking, wondering, counting the seconds that ticked by. Sleep wouldn’t come. Sneaky bugger, that insomnia.
I wandered down the silent hall, fingers sliding as I felt my way into the empty bedroom that will soon hold one or two children who are not my own. As we step one foot in front of another along this foster care tightrope, I can see a fair length behind me, yet plenty of space before me. We are balancing–all of us–and within a moment’s notice (the time it takes for a phone to ring and me touch the green button rather than the red), we will be on the other side. And then we’ll start the balance all over again. Next tightrope. New horizon.
On this night, I threw off the decorative pillows (a bright red octopus pirate, a big-eyed orange crab) and settled in. I lay there, thinking, “this bed, this bed, will soon hold someone near to my heart. And I don’t even know who it is.”
There’s no mistaking God’s part in our foster care decision. I’m not one of those people who dreamed of opening her home to strangers (little wounded strangers), love them (can I love any children other than my own?) and then turn around and hand them back (can they make me do that?!)
But God takes fear and turns it on its crazy head. He twists a heart, gently, lovingly, until you could never imagine not wanting what you feared in the first place.
How can that not be God? It makes no sense. And that’s the beautiful part.
More seconds ticked by. I heard someone cough. The crickets began to sound like an army. All this thinking, all this loud silence.
That’s when it dawned on me. Too much coffee? No. Divine appointment, right here, right now.
If tomorrow’s our day when we welcome these children into our lives, I suddenly thought, tonight is not their night.
If tomorrow is when we feel blessed and humbled, tonight is when several people’s hearts are breaking.
Tomorrow may be our beginning. But tonight is an ending. There can’t be one without the other.
I lay in that bed, silently confused about wanting something so badly yet hating what leads up to it. Oh, this conflicted, temporary, confusing world in which we live.
We know all this yet we must move forward anyway. Step by step. Inch by inch. Standing still is not an option. That’s when we fall or let others fall around us. So we walk that thin line.
And whether it be in the middle of the night or in the bright light of morning, we choose to thank God with conflicted hearts that tomorrow, tomorrow, might be our day.
Katie Kenny Phillips
Katie Kenny Phillips lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jeff, and their five hilarious kids (3 biological and 2 by way of foster care and adoption). Their home is made up of two parts Legos, one part dirt/sticks/rocks, and all parts “whose underwear is this and why is it in the middle of the family room?” She and her husband help lead their church’s orphan/foster care ministry and spend time encouraging and supporting families who are on foster and adoption journeys. Read more of Katie’s blogs at www.operationleapoffaith.com.