Just a couple hours earlier, I had spent my lunch break on that same bench praying and fasting.
Every day in this ministry is hard. The weight is so heavy, I feel like I’m physically getting shorter some days, and I prefer to shrink alone. When I’m dealing with hard things, I tend to isolate myself because that just seems easier. I hide from friends. I hide from family. I hide from God.
And so, the very thing I’m training L. not to do—hide his feelings until they start to hurt him—is what I do. I lock my feelings up tight and try not to share them until I grow numb.
I’ve felt the numbness forming into calluses over my heart, but I decided to take a first step in faith to do something about it today. I fasted, and I prayed, and I was honest with God.
I’m afraid of screwing up and ruining L.
I’m afraid that even if I do everything right, he still won’t come to Christ.
I’m afraid of letting other people get too close to us, because they might end up hurting him.
I’m afraid he won’t beat the combined foster care and single mom statistics.
I’m afraid of telling him his family’s story.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect him.
I’m angry at the people in his past who have hurt him.
I’m angry at the people who have hurt his mom.
I’m angry at one person in particular in their history, and I don’t even want to forgive him yet. I’m still at the point that I want to want to forgive him.
I’m tired of holding all of this in my heart.
I’m tried of being the strong one.
I’m tired of the uncertainty.
I’m tired of the daily-ness of it.
As I walked into a meeting later, I felt my phone buzz. It was unexpected news about a young man I grew up with. And it broke my heart.
I excused myself from the meeting and retreated to my bench to process and cry. “I don’t understand,” I told God.
But I pulled myself together like the Southern woman that I am, put on some more lipstick, and continued on.
At our nightly bedtime “feelings checkin,” L. asked me how I was feeling, and I decided to be honest with my son. “Buddy, I’m feeling really really sad today.”
I told him about the news I received. And it opened the door to a conversation that we’ve had many times before, but this time it was different.
This time he engaged, and he actively participated, and he got involved and asked questions and wrestled with the answers before accepting them. And at the end of the conversation, he prayed to receive Christ.
His face radiated joy when he lifted his head. I told him, “Not only am I your mom now, buddy. I’m your sister in Christ.”
“I have a sister! I finally have a sister!” he beamed. And he flipped through his storybook Bible jubilantly exclaiming, “I have a giant family! He’s my brother, and she’s my sister, and he’s my brother!”
“Would you like to call Olive and Johnny (my parents) and tell them?” I asked.
“Oh, yes, yes, yes! And I will trick them when they answer.” (Ring ring) “Olive! Did you know that I am your brother?!”
I took a screen shot on my phone when we called to tell my parents the spectacular news. In the picture, my eyes are puffy, and I can see where I cried all of my eye makeup off earlier in the day.
It’s a visual reminder that when I cried out, “What do you want me to do with this?” partially in desperation, partially in fear, partially in anger, and just a sliver in faith genuinely asking, “How do you want me to respond to this, God?” He answered.
The mustard seed bit of faith in my question is what God chose to answer. He just wanted me to be honest. He could handle the rest.
“God can use the bad things to do something good; He can use the hard things as part of His secret rescue plan.” –L.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!
K. Faith Morgan
I am a dyslexic writer, asthmatic singer, world traveler with a rotten sense of direction, and single foster mom learning how to parent by God’s grace. I am foster mom to one and aunt to quadruplets. I am a southern girl, but design is my football. I can’t follow X’s on a football field, but John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Madame X makes my heart skip a beat. I believe great design can change lives, and life is too short for beige. Free is my favorite word, clearance is my second favorite word, and sesquipedalian is my third favorite word. Learn more about my fostering journey at my blog, mom(un)prepared.