I truly love to blog. I'm just terrible at it. I told myself I'd do better once we became a foster family because I knew there would be plenty to write about. Although there may not have been many truer statements, an even truer statement would be how do I find the time? This post actually isn't directly related to foster care, yet it plays a role in bringing these thoughts into my mind....
Life lessons have been flying at me at an incredible pace now that we are fully immersed in this foster care world...the struggles, the joys, the heartbreak, the confusion, the work, the volume, the waste, the needs, the challenges, the blessings. All a beautiful and necessary part of this calling.
On a recent Friday morning after a definite late night and a super early morning, I was flying solo, with literally a thousand thoughts racing through my mind. Somehow all five kiddos were dressed, fed & out the door by 7:45 with Momma working on about 2 1/2 hours of sleep & STRESSED! After dropping everyone off at the appropriate locations, I began thinking and praying about my day. The uncertainties that were just ahead. The unknowns ahead. The questions... A thought consumed my mind suddenly, a thought of, "OH NO!! I've been here before!" The word parallel immediately came to mind. Often everyday things I see come to life and an analogy or new thought comes through it. Similar, yet opposite of a word picture, so a picture word??? Whatever...haha...you get the idea.
So this picture word 😉 came together as I was driving down a four lane road and my eyes glazed over, probably from lack of sleep, at the parallel roads while my mind was swirling with the familiarity of this place I suddenly found myself. Moments in life that suddenly feel parallel are those where although the "names & places" may be changed to disguise it as something new, it looks, smells and feels like the same old vine growing up around you. For me, in that moment, it felt as if the vine was beginning to choke the life out of me. I could see myself wanting to fight the pressure of the vine, wanting to push it off so it couldn't squeeze and entangle me to the point of no movement, but the parallelity of the moment caused me to surrender to the vine as it wrapped itself around my heart and mind. It felt as if I had almost unknowingly slipped into a whirlpool swirling down slowly and deeply. Like the end of a movie that slowly fades to a blank screen. Everything felt like too much.
Here's the best part though - the Comforter, MY Comforter, the Holy Spirit, went right with me and began speaking life and encouragement to my sinking heart. In that swirling, light-fading moment of fear and doubt that made we want to just say, it's all too much, beauty began to come out of the ashes. God so sweetly spoke to my heart that parallels happen in life. Some are more obvious than others. Reality could not be denied that this parallel was huge. Reality is that this parallel IS crippling without Him. Reality is that the first time through these similar situations already forever changed me, so what now? God said to my heart, reality is, this IS overwhelming... in human strength. But you have mine, so what are you going to do with it?
I began to feel the vine loosen. The depth of the swirl lessened. As I processed through these images and words I came to realize that parallels are two places in life that feel so similar you sometimes have to pinch yourself, but they also have two choices, that initially feel parallel, but wait, watch the difference! You see, it is natural to become crippled by fear, worry, anxiety, dread. To began to replay the familiar from past life experiences. Our human nature sets us up for that, but as Christ followers, we are not restrained to live only by our human nature. We can access the heart and mind of Christ and choose the path that says, oh yes, this is all to familiar and there is NOTHING in me that wants to travel this way again, but I can and I will because I've been here before and I know the provisions and promises that God kept last time through. The scars from the last experience help remind me that God brought me through. No parallel situation can take that away. When I feel heavy with emotion, that's okay. I recently read something from a friend who reposted this by @HappySonship ( I don't follow him or know anything about his life, but this is fire) "Jesus knew Lazarus would rise again. Still, He wept. Because embracing pain is not negating faith. It's actually part of being in the likeness of God. So have hope, but don't deny your emotions. Pay attention to them. Feel what you feel... And enjoy the coming resurrection"!!!
Jesus knew that He, himself was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet he wept at the realness of his death! I can feel overwhelmed at the realization of what lies ahead, but I am not overwhelmed because I know God has gone before me. He carried me through last time and now we can walk this path together. There will be moments where he has to pick me up again, but my legs are strengthened and my heart is sure of His care and nearness to me. I am praying as I write that if you are in a similar place to me, that instead of dread, trade it for confidence in Christ. Be assured that bumps and bruises are just part of the journey, but you can keep putting one foot in front of the other knowing that healing will come and you will be stronger through Him!!
When I began writing this, I was simply going to end here, because at the time, I didn't have any answers or direction or plan to a huge part of our current situation, but now we do and I'd love to share briefly... my favorite person in the whole world is sick. We found out yesterday afternoon that Mark has an 85% blockage in the artery on the right side of his heart and the entire portion of artery along the back of his heart is 100% blocked. June 4th, we celebrated 9 years since his first bypass surgery and it hurt my heart to hear that he needs to have the full open heart surgery to fix these problems. (You can go back to the beginning of this blog, not this post, to read our story and how it all unfolded then.) God's not finished with our story and although I wish with every fiber of my being that this wasn't being written in to our story now, I trust that no matter what comes our way, God will bring good out of it and we just want Him to get glory from our lives!
It's 4am and I'm sitting beside him as he restlessly tries to sleep. We don't know when surgery will be. We need rest & quiet. We are humbled at the people already praying. We don't mind anyone knowing details, but appreciate privacy and time to process it all and prepare for this season of healing. I will post details here as we know them. We ask for your prayers for peace for our hearts. We ask for your prayers for our sweet babies, Trenton & Kamdyn - they are scared. Trenton was 22 months old when we walked this road before. They want to be with us and don't understand the time or process it takes to get better. Pray for our foster kiddos as they've been through so much in their short life. We are doing all we can to lessen any strain this would cause on them.
Don't be discouraged. God is in every parallel & He wants us to choose the path that says I can walk this way, because I've done it before and His faithfulness carried me through! We're choosing that path. Pray that our faith will remain strong!!
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