Monday, May 25, 2020

From the Heart of a 10-year-old

So, I learned something last week.
I learned that even though grown-ups have good intentions, sometimes their words may be empty, meaningless, and even hurtful.
The fuller story is this: Foster was having a really rough day. He is missing his parents, he is frustrated with a broken system, and the delays and shut-downs caused by the Corona virus are making it worse. So, on this particular day he was angry. And he was being very vocal about it.
At first I was just listening. Trying simply to be attentive and to let him express his feelings. But then he said something which made a light bulb go off within me, and I was taken aback by the profundity of what he communicated.

Foster complained, "DHHS tells me to be a happy kid. Just enjoy being a kid. Don't worry about things. Just be happy. How am I supposed to be happy when I'm the only kid who isn't with their parents?????"
This young boy, though he was unaware of what he said, nailed every well-meaning adult who has ever told him not to worry about all the adult-things which need to take place in order for him to be reunited with his parents. It is so easy for us as adults - who have tons more maturity and life experience than a 10-year-old foster child - to encourage said child to leave the concerns to the adults; to keep living as a care-free child, doing only the things a child needs to do.
I mean, it makes sense!
Leave the details to the adults. They'll handle everything.
Just be happy, and enjoy being a kid.
We, as adults, probably all wish we would have followed that advice as children.
The problem is, a child who isn't with his parents - who can't even visit them face-to-face because of a stupid virus (his words) - isn't happy. He isn't carefree. Even though he is surrounded by many adults who love him and are trying to care for him, he is not content.
And I realized as I listened to Foster repeat this refrain several times, when we tell a child like him not to worry - rather just be happy, we are completely invalidating their feelings. We're basically telling them, "There is no need for you to be sad about your situation. Stop feeling that way. Instead, pretend that your life is good. Live as though we have worked through the issues and you're back where your heart wants to be. Just act like everything is OK, even though it isn't."
Oh, I know, we would never think of saying those words outright.
How insensitive is that???
But it's what we imply when we tell a child to assume our level of experience and maturity, and to look at the circumstance through our eyes.
It may be true that a foster-child cannot affect his situation by worrying about it. That the adults are truly the ones with the responsibility, ability, and obligation to fulfill the duties. But a child doesn't have that understanding, and asking him to operate as though he does is simply not fair.

Yeah. So that's what I learned through my foster son's expression of anger and frustration. People (adults and children, alike) need to have their feelings validated, because they're real. Not saying we should live based on our feelings, mind you, but we need to be allowed to feel and express them - and we need to know somebody cares. I pray God will give me the grace to remember this reality whenever I am about to tell Foster (and all future children He brings into my home) not to worry.
Ahhhh, LORD, please make my heart sensitive to the hurts and needs and feelings of these precious children who You love so much. Please make me an instrument of love and peace for them!


Monday, May 18, 2020

Maybe God Sees COVID-19 Differently

I watched a bit of my governor's COVID-19 Update from last Friday, and it got me to thinking.
Governor Whitmer invited some religious leaders to attend the daily conference to "offer prayers for unity" and something one of them said made me wonder if God might be looking at this situation differently than we are.
He prayed, "We know You do not wish this terrible evil upon us...We know that You encourage the efforts of our brilliant researchers in looking for treatments for the symptoms and a vaccine for the virus." And somehow, claiming to KNOW those things just didn't sit right with me.
Because, to me, the implication of knowing that God does not wish for us to be in this circumstance and knowing that He is rooting for smart people to come up with a solution is that God is neither powerful nor in control. Or, maybe He is powerful and in control, but uninterested in helping us - opting, instead, to "encourage" scientists to find a solution to our problem.
So, maybe He's weak.
Or maybe He's withdrawn.
Or maybe we need to look at our present circumstance in a different light.
What if the God of the universe - the Creator of the world and everything in it - what if He, Himself, could put an end to COVID-19 in the blink of an eye just by willing it to be gone? What if He doesn't need anybody to come up with a vaccine or treatments or any other thing? What if He isn't looking for us to rely on ourselves and new normals and safe practices and mitigations and all those other buzz-words we're throwing around these days? What if God in His holiness and wisdom and perfect authority has allowed COVID-19 to become a pandemic among us (not necessarily a "terrible evil upon us") so that we would be brought to our knees in recognition of the fact that we can't rely on ourselves? What if He has allowed a tiny virus to devastate us - to strip away our confidence in our selves and our things - so that we would surrender our wills and our lives to an almighty God who is the only One worthy of our trust?
What if God is more concerned about our hearts and our relationship with Himself than He is in bringing an end to COVID-19?
What if COVID-19 is a tool He intends to use to bring the world to Himself?

I mean, maybe I'm way off in my wondering, but I believe God is good and powerful and in control.
And if He didn't wish for us to be going through what we're going through I believe He would end it here and now.
But He hasn't.
Instead, He's allowing it. And I think we would be wise to seek to understand why, and to respond obediently in accordance to His ways.


Monday, May 11, 2020

I Have the Best Kids EVER!!!

My children absolutely BLESSED MY HEART yesterday.
Even though we're apart, and life isn't what we all wish it would be right now they "got together" and made this video.
Seriously, y'all. This act of love has my heart bursting with JOY.