One of the first things our social worker told me was to expect turmoil. She said it wasn’t uncommon for emotions and issues from one’s own childhood to resurface during the process of fostering and adopting. I nodded solemnly, while in my head I was thinking, “Yeah, right! I’m an adult; I’ve lived for 39 years with my ’emotions and issues’ from childhood! What new thing could this possibly bring out?!” Turns out, she was right—but the issues weren’t new ones. There was hurt and pain about to be revisited, and things from my childhood waiting to boil to the surface.
Over the next several weeks God and I had a wrestling match. Entering the world of foster care, and being face-to-face with the ugly stories of these beautiful children can be heartbreaking. It was then that God reminded me of my own difficult story, and showed me how He works in circles. I couldn’t see it until now, but my circle has always been complete. My ugly story was necessary in order to someday hold a child when he cries over his ugly story.
A sweet baby unwanted. Abandoned. Left behind by the ones who were supposed to love him the most. How does a mother help her child through that realization when it comes? “But wait,” my God said. “Do you not remember when you were abandoned? When your father drove away from the gas station laughing, as you stood on the curb and cried, afraid he would never come back for you?”
A child, adopted out of foster care, when his biological mother still has an active relationship with a sibling. How will I help him reconcile the fact that he was not chosen, when his brother was? “But wait,” my God said. “Do you not remember the phone calls that your father made to your brother? All the times you would answer the phone, and he would only talk to him? They would chat and laugh for what seemed like hours, as you stood just out of sight, wondering why he didn’t want to talk to you. Or the enormous family picture that hung proudly over his fireplace—the family picture from which you were excluded? Every weekend visit and every holiday celebration, as you sat and stared at that reminder of rejection, how you felt smaller and smaller, until you wished you could just sink into the floor?”
A teenager, questioning my role as his mom, or just as the woman who raised him. How will I graciously understand his confusion and his misplaced hurts? “But wait,” my God said. “Don’t you remember that I provided a daddy for you? When you had a father that continually hurt you, I provided a daddy to take care of you, to treasure you, to build you up and to love you unconditionally. I sent one to be your true daddy. And while you might have questioned his role, you knew in your heart that he was your safe place!”
Yes, GOD WORKS IN CIRCLES. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). God can and does take all things, and work them in circles, too. He can use all of my hurt, pain and 39 years worth of baggage for His good work.
Are you a foster child? Were you adopted? Are you a mom? A dad? Are you abandoned? Are you unloved? Have you been left, cheated, manipulated and destroyed? Have you been told you’re not enough? Have you been labeled a failure? Have you been excluded and belittled? Have you been in a place where you think you have nothing to offer? Child of God, so have I.
Can you allow Him into the darkest parts of your heart? Can you admit to Him your fears and your failures, your deep-seated feelings and your crushing hurts? Will you allow Him to sweep the cobwebs from the darkest corners, the places where light hasn’t shined in years? Will you let Him clean those places, throw open the doors of healing and shine His light of truth? If so, then child of God, He will!
Our hurts don’t go away, sometimes they don’t even lessen. We can cry with one another and support one another through shared experiences, but only God can do the healing. Most often His healing comes through taking those hurts and heartaches and using them for others, in the great work He has for us. And He has great work for you to do, too. Just wait until He shows you your completed circle!