Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysApr. 23, 2018

Make a Difference Monday | Terrible, Good, & Hard

There is this story we are living, and we don’t know much of the beginning. And yet, we were invited in and with uncertainty stepped into it all and were asked “will we trust as the pages unfold?” We were asked over and over again “will we love without holding tightly to outcome?” “Will we lay down control?” (because ultimately, we realize we only lose sight of Him when we scramble and grasp for it).

We have wanted to give up so many times and have felt so many good and horrible emotions; selfish anger, mourning and deep lament at the broken systems we trust to make decisions for our most precious of children, icky self righteous judgement, and joy in seeing the beginnings of reconciliation. It has been a wake up call to the world that is bleeding out in pain all around us.

When some of your dreams have weathered and died and you have yet to have the courage or imagination to dream new ones yet you NEED to see and sense God’s presence. It is a kind of desperation I often want to push down, hide away, and forget because the vulnerability of the life we live every day feels too scary.

But court dates have a way of allowing all insecurities, ugliness, and fears rise to the surface. And this date was a big one with so much resting in the decisions made by a courtroom full of people who only know us and our daughter as names on paper and not real souls. The process of writing is a friend to me, it allows this external processor to not thought vomit on every person I meet and gently takes me by the hand and helps me relate the emotion that is so heavy in me.

I had a dream a while back in which I was taken tenderly by the hand and then admonished that we are called to walk in this–that He will not make it easier (as I begged over and over again)–but that we are called to walk without grumbling and complaining (still not great at that part) and that I need to lay down my idol of control and only ask to see Him in anything and everything.

Court this week was gut wrenching and as we drove there and my stomach turned. Again and again we prayed and we knew we only had to wait and watch for what God was doing amidst challenge. We knew for sure there would be no winning that day, deep and profound loss was the only option but, as I was reminded, loss is not the same as hopelessness.

There is hope and healing, but as I have heard others say before, our family as it is now is born out of brokenness and we will formalize this family in the months that follow. Court was terrible and good and hard is all I could muster to text dear friends immediately after.

But we saw miracles. It was a day of lament co-mingled with joy and hope. And we do not lament without amazing hope in all things because we have seen the One working them together and we extended love and pray that it will make a difference. As her two mothers cried and hugged outside courtroom H, I was so grateful for this journey of uncertainty because it has enabled me to see more clearly the places of darkness in me, the places in need of healing, forgiveness, and hope. I can more wholeheartedly offer those because I have experienced more of the freedom that comes with laying down my idol of control.

Being right or making sure the “truth” was known became less important than seeing her and showing grace and love. Even the risk of extending grace is only because of His power within us and it has already changed us in that I am being invited to believe the very things I tell her; that she is dearly loved.

We are ourselves are broken and learning to allow Him to make things right–this to me are the fingerprints of Jesus. We all have gifts that are meant to be given away and we can’t actively practice this unless we allow ourselves to move into the places of pain and unknowns. But those unknowns are so, so hard and uncomfortable because I am always afraid I will be unable to stand under the weight of it or that I will flee when it gets “too” hard. I too often worship comfort, and my own fragility means I just accept the world as it is without rising up with such radical hospitality and living in such reckless freedom from outcome that I allow the death of my self-preservation.

Yet, standing here in this space is not nice of us, it is imperative because of what we believe. We are not exceptional, please do not believe that lie. It is not because we are better than anyone–in fact, it is the opposite–it is precisely because we recognize we are the sick for which Jesus came. When we are able to so intimately acknowledge our own brokenness the pain of others does not so easily scare or threaten us.

This is where I want to live; completely unsure of outcome but able to surrender and trust. I do believe that when we intentionally enter into the brokenness of others (individually, family, and systemic), we do see and are forced to rumble with our own brokenness (for me judgement, the myth and ugliness of the white savior, pride, fear, insecurity, and anger to name just a few). But when we recognize this, we have a choice; we can hide behind our fear, our apathy, and our knowledge with excuses or we can move forward and pray the kingdom come knowing we will screw it up but there is grace for all. Even for us.

Court was terrible and good and hard and I just went home and hugged my children tight. All four of them. We hold on and wait for the next unfolding pages of this story trying our best to let go of outcome, but grasping to HOPE and believing the grace given to us for this journey of adoption will outlast any challenge in the world or in our own hearts and minds.

Thanks to everyone who thought of us, prayed, and reached out. We are so grateful we do not journey alone.

Roxanne Engstrom

I’m Roxanne and I’m seeking to follow God where He calls. It is always an adventure. We are on a foster care and adoption journey that has been costly and beautiful. I am grateful because we know more about how real the cost is of stepping out in faith and how beautifully God shows up—not to fix, but to be present. I follow Jesus because He is the lover of my soul, my savior, redeemer, and friend. His promise of freedom is real. I always have more questions than answers, but I want to spend the rest of my days pursuing closeness to God and peace for people everywhere. Join me at Immeasurably More, where I blog about life!

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