We have felt more loss, as a family, in the last year than I care to count but everywhere I am reminded of it and its effect on our lives. It is my experience, that when my hands are tied in situations, that God is saying, "Hands off, Hannah - learn from this" and so that is the heart attitude I am aiming for as we walk into a brighter season of life.
In the midst of grieving last year over lost relationships, family members sick or passed away, losing foster babies to horrible homes, and the loss of a child I was carrying, God kept bringing to my remembrance the words of John 15. It is a chapter of comforts, warnings and encouragements and the verse that have stuck in my heart are "if you abide in you will bear much fruit".
With a small group of friends over for brunch recently, I shared how this verse followed me last year and I wondered, how in the midst of pain, I could be able to produce any good fruit, or anything worthwhile to God. My friends and I talked about our heart attitudes and how something so simple can honor God and glorify Him. God does not despise brokenness, he despises the fruit of an angry, bitter, complaining heart. I love this new song by Amy Grant because I know the mess I am is worth something beautiful to God. I am sure that over the last year, God sent me the reminder of this chapter both as a comfort that He can still work in the broken and as a warning that hurt and pain can quickly turn to anger and bitterness.I've never believed that God protects His children from hurt or pain because scripturally, there are so many instances of God walking His children through difficult times and circumstances. "He sendeth rain on the just and the unjust..." Yes, He spares and protects and guides too. God works both ways as He sees is best for us, I believe, and who are we to tell Him which way He ought to work? I think God wants us to see Him as the saviour of our hearts and souls, not a saviour who keeps us cushioned in a womb of utopia away from the effects of sin, and as an anchor in life's storms, not a distant God.
(sugar snap peas)
(sugar snap peas)
These are the lessons we try to teach our children too. One of my sweet children sat on my lap one morning and asked why someone he loves doesn't come to see him anymore. I said "I don't know, sweetie, but we can still love and pray for them and I'm so sorry that this hurts you." Said kiddo gave me a hug and a kiss and said, "That's alright, Mama", and sat cuddling with me a few minutes longer. Those are the times my heart is tempted to be angry but what good would it do? It is harder to love people who hurt us, my kids are learning, or those who hurt people we love, but loving them in the place God is chasing them is what we're called to do.
Sometimes I want to yell and scold and berate the parents of our foster children and ask them what in the world they were thinking - but somehow, I know they get enough of that, and us being someplace safe to call and talk and be told that they are being prayed for and are loved is so much more important, I think.
These are the thoughts on my heart today as I attempt to be thankful, cultivate joy in our home, and begin filing away the loss of the last year as an experience learned from.