Friday, December 5, 2014

When God Asks for More

I absolutely hate city driving. The one way streets; the parking frenzy; finding meter change. I'm a country girl and I want to stay in the country.

Our agency is not in the country.

I rushed three blocks with baby girl in my arms, fighting the clock to make it on time. I rounded the corner and saw him through the large glass windows. He was pacing; my heart was racing. I heard my phone buzzing in my pocket. I just wanted to yell, I'M COMING!

There was no time for last minute jitters. As I waited to be buzzed in, I saw him staring at me through the door. I introduced myself. His response was polite, but his eyes were locked on Little Miss.

I knelt down to take her hat and mittens off. When I looked up his eyes were spilling with tears.

"It's so good to finally meet you..."

I thought he was talking to me until I saw his face light up when she started walking toward him.

I was invisible; the door closed.

As I walked toward the lobby, I ran into LJ's adoption worker. She hugged me tight and asked how I was holding up. All I could do was shake my head.  My eyes flooded and no words came out.

The hour went by rather, quickly.

The supervisor called out that their visit was done, so I went in to say goodbye. Little Miss, ran to me and gave me a big squeeze around the neck. I stood back up and looked her dad in the eyes.

"Did you guys have a nice visit?"

"Yes. Thank you. Really. Thank you for taking such good care of my daughter. She's so beautiful and happy. You are doing a great job."

I was taken aback by his demeanor. The man I witnessed in court was arrogant and nasty; the man before me was humble and kind.

"She is a firecracker. Did that come out in your visit, today?"

"Yah...I noticed that. She gets that from me."

We talked for several more minutes. When I picked Little Miss up she waved goodbye and lit up the room with her blown kisses (traitor).

 He touched my hand as we were leaving and, tenderly, thanked me for the third or fourth time, telling me how grateful he was for our family.

I smiled, genuinely, and squeezed back, "It's a privilege."

I managed to make it out of the city before the tears came. I choked them back so that I could call Ben. I wasn't angry that he showed up...I was angry over how much I cared.

Ben put the perfect words to my turmoil.

We should be experts at this by now. Someone is going to lose. Someone always loses. Before, this morning, I had every justification for why it shouldn't be us.

Then I met him.

And because God has given me His heart for His people, I cannot turn my back on Truth.

God loves this man more than I love his daughter and HE, alone, has given him a second chance at life. It would be anti-Christ for us to be anything but loving, encouraging, and supportive. What if Little Miss IS enough reason for him to stay clean and make life-altering changes? We cannot, with godly conscious, root for Dad to lose. Losing leads to further destruction of his life and others. We care, too much, to wish that for him.

It's our job to be pliable...sensitive to the Holy Spirit's whispering. Even if we take the loss in the end.

I sobbed on and off all day because loving this man is a sacrifice...and could end up costing my daughter. I know not who asked the question, but all day I kept hearing variations of "Will you do it?"

Without hesitation, my answer was always, "Yes."

Our hearts are shattered. We're not broken by defeat; we're broken over the call. Every time we start feeling comfortable, God moves the boundary line and asks for more. And it's always more than we want to give.

Today, I thought through the dozens of teenage times my nose was smashed to the alter asking God to ignite passion for people into my heart. Feeling such a burden, throughout the day, I got lippy and asked if it was too late to take it all back...but, He knows as well as I do, once you taste His goodness, there is no going back.

This case has so many layers; there's no way to know how it will end. Or the story God is unfolding. We could drive ourselves crazy (and have) considering all the possibilities.

All we can do is press DEEP into the Father and remember his great love for us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Not Part of the Plan - Take 52

I stood next to Ben at the kitchen sink with a lump in my throat. I could hardly stand next to him his heart's heaviness begged my knees to buckle. Even though his "clean-up duty" time gives me a much looked-to break, I offered to dry because...well, no words would do.

Our caseworker had called and the news wasn't good.

Little Missy's father (I hate even using the term) is out of jail and ready to be super dad to the daughter he has never met. I can't get into the details, but this will, likely, be a long battle. I take her to her first supervised visit on Friday.

Our heads say - this is a career criminal with numerous obstacles, no resources, multiple children and a new one on the way, soon - it will never happen. Our hearts wrestle the unwavering love and protection we feel for our daughter and the failures that exist within an imperfect system.

As our caseworker laid out what the next six months will, likely, hold, I took the information in stride and felt tremendous peace. When she finished, I told her that we would continue to take it one day at a time and trust God for baby girl.

"You are, seriously, the calmest person I have ever met," she said.

I reminded her how crazy the inside of our house is. I can't, possibly, concern myself with the craziness that exists OUTSIDE.

She laughed and we hung up.

My peace is genuine, buy my heart heaved for Ben. I dreaded telling him. We are not in the same spot and I knew how the update would affect him.

I don't know when God gave me complete assurance, but I remember our conversation well. It was at least several weeks ago and I walked away feeling deeply loved. Here's the thing. In my worst case scenario, I am forced to hand my daughter over to a man that I don't like, trust, or believe has any business raising children. I wouldn't argue that the tragedy of that event would devastate my heart and leave me sadder than I can even imagine. But. I trust God more than I trust my plan. He has never failed me. He won't fail Little Miss. I want Little Miss to be forever part of our family, but if things don't go my way, I will trust God to protect her and to give our family what we need to make it through.

Once I was able to process the worst case scenario and lay the mess of it at the altar, I was filled with irrational peace. No matter what happens, God will give me what I need. And I know he did not rescue sweet Miss to abandon her. He will give her what she needs too.

Fast forward to the kitchen sink.

My Ben is the most tender, loves-beyond-himself man I have ever met and his heart bleeds for the fatherless. He is one big sap ball when it comes to our little tribe. And I am crazy for him. Watching him process my words and vent his frustrations was almost more than I could stand. I wish I could, supernaturally, infuse him with the peace in my heart, but it doesn't work that way.

While I can't run this part of the course with him, I can stand by...and dry dishes.

And I can pray. I can pray for another miracle; this time for our baby girl. And pray that God softens our hearts toward this man that is about to become a part of our, weekly, routine.