Follower of Christ, Ministry

Wrestling With God


I wrote this five years ago. And I could rewrite this exact same reminder to myself and say, yes sister, it did get harder because this season is one of even more surrender and silence.


A few weeks ago, it dawned on me that I’m beginning to personally understand what those whom I read about in God’s Word experience. Not at all to say that I’m some kind of a spiritual giant. No one is or ever was, really. It truthfully comes down to simple surrender or staying stuck. I’d like to stay stuck, much of the time. Surrender is painful. Painfully painful. But it’s the only way for His transformation to take place in my heart and life. After all, the very purpose for my existence is to Love Him and Live Him. So I choose to allow His work in my life. And as I do, I come to know Him the way that they did. That’s not always as glorious as it sounds. But I’m beginning to see that their stories are recorded, not for us to idolize them but to identify with them. God graciously gives us glimpses into His relationship with them for us to see the work He wants to do in our own lives.

This has been the most painful year of surrender I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve had some tough ones. Years where I’ve had to offer forgiveness that was unearned nor deserved. Years where I’ve had to move from victim to personal responsibility. Years where I’ve had to walk away from everything I had planned to start a life I never expected. Yes, there have been painful years of surrender. I’m almost scared that it might get even harder. It probably will. But one painful purging after another has taught me the reality of His perfect love casting out my fears. Even the fears of what He might ask of me next.

A few weeks ago, my Father and I were having our time together and a thought occurred to me. If I could summarize what this season of surrender has been, it would be the night Jacob and God wrestled. God walked away the winner. Jacob walked away, well, injured. But better.  Better because He had a personal encounter with God. An encounter that would strip him of his pride.  An encounter that would lead to a great nation.

I’m not really sure what the purpose is for my current season of surrender. But I feel like I’ve been in a year-long wrestle with God. I doubt it’s to form a nation. But it is to prepare me. Even though I have no idea what for because He is still silent. Have you even noticed that God didn’t tell Jacob anything? He just wrestled with him. I think just maybe Jacob walked away thinking, “What in the world was that for?!” That pretty much sums up my thoughts. I have no idea what purpose all of this surrendering and wrestling is about in my own life. Maybe it’s just getting rid of things in my heart that need to be put to death. Maybe it is preparing for something. God has been silent. He has given me no answers. Or clarity. Or anything. Just silence. And more wrestling. My survival mantra has become, one day at a time.

In all of this, people in my life whom I dearly love have been experiencing His silence, as well. They have been painfully patient for God to act on their behalf. To see Him move. To see His purpose. To see a miracle. To see something. To see anything. Yet, He is silent. Painfully silent. And I wake up each day, hoping that today is the day we get to see Him move. You know, how the Israelites must have felt and experienced that 400 years between the Old Testament and the New, waiting for the Messiah. Good grief, I hope it’s not a 400 year wait for us, too.

I want to panic. I really do. I’m a planner. Short term. Long term. That’s one of those areas Him and me have been wrestling about. He doesn’t think I need to make my own plans. I don’t like that. But I can’t panic. No matter how hard I try, there’s peace. Isn’t that almost annoying? But here I am, limping away, just like Jacob. I hurt. I do not understand. He wins and I trust. I trust because I’ve learned something from my past seasons of surrender. He is good. Always good. Even when He is silent. And even when He is silent, He is not still nor distant. I must choose to be still, but He is most certainly at work. I may be blind to it all but He is in complete control. That doesn’t always make me feel better. There are times that I just want to scream (ok, I do scream), “enough already!” Enough silence. I need to see something. Anything. I get tired. Weary. Worn. But I am certain that His silence is not His blindness. In fact, just as He created all things with complete power, authority and order, He is at work the exact same way in my own life. So I trust His silent work, because I know He is good. Always and completely good.

Foster Life



The personal love of God.
Fostering as a Christian is greater and deeper than simply giving a child a safe place during the most traumatic season of their life. It is standing as an intercessor on their behalf. Accepting and understanding the personal love of God has always been a struggle of mine. I know God is love and I know He loves us. But it has been hard for me to personalize and internalize rather than generalize His love. He has been so graciously patient in helping me grow to learn His love for me.  What has begun to transform my own personal struggle with this truth has been witnessing how God intervenes for our foster placements. As we desperately intercede for our foster children, as we worry and pray and panic and cry out in desperation because we know, this child is NOT OK and NO ONE IS LISTENING, God moves and mightily says, I AM. There isn’t a way to express the burden a foster parent carries. On top of the endless documentation and paperwork, the all. the. time. DHS visits, the fire drills and the child constantly out of sorts because the second you get them settled into a routine someone who is not taking care of this child is deciding visits and changes in the case so this baby is never sleeping, the doctor visits because this child is sick all the time and the record keeping and the keeping every loving thing in your house locked up. On top of staffings and court dates and attempting to build a relationship with the bio parent who is the reason your life is now such a wreck. On top of keeping up to date on your own CEU’s and health and home inspections and cpr and first aid (so when exactly am I supposed to do all of that???) Oh and let’s not forget a scrapbook for your foster (what, my own 3rd child doesn’t even have one of those…) On top of taking care of your own kids and family. The foster parent carries the weight of the trauma this child is facing. It is a crushing burden. We preach to ourselves:  today, just survive today. But we never know how many today’s there will be. Because today changes in an instant in this broken system and all the work you’ve done to provide stability, safety and sanity for this child can be undone in a second. There are days we collapse to the floor in exhaustion not knowing if we can do this one more minute. Because our sanity is one more sleepless night or text from dhs about another change gone and it won’t be our foster child needing therapy, but ourselves. And just when we think we are about to call it quits, God steps in. No, it doesn’t always happen that the case goes the best way. But when I have begged God to bring truth to light on behalf of my foster child, He has, in His timing and in the best way possible. And something about seeing God love my foster child so strongly and specifically has radically changed my grasp on His love, for me. He does see me, He has proven so in seeing my foster children. And it has been the loudest whisper to my own soul of His fierce love of me.


The sacrificial love of God.
Nothing has exposed my selfish nature more than fostering. I just want to sleep. I just want normal-my normal. I just want to be left alone and not hold this needy baby one more second. I just want my morning coffee and routine, just once.  I don’t want to have to figure out childcare just to take my teenagers to the movie. I don’t want to deal with all of this extra work. It’s a hassle and it’s hard. But one morning,  when I as catching a quick moment in God’s word, my reading was in Isaiah 53. And it hit me and humbled me.

“He Himself bore our sickness and He carried our pains.”
“The punishment that brought us peace was on Him.”

As a foster parent, I am bearing the sickness of this child’s trauma. I am carrying this child’s pain. What brings peace to this child is painful to me. It cost me my “normal” life. What did I think Jesus meant when He said, take up your cross? What did I think when Jesus said, lay down your life? What did I think living out the gospel meant? Because according to this passage from His Word, it most certainly does not mean, have your perfectly peaceful normal life as long as you go to church every week and are of good moral standing you are living the gospel.  To live as Christ is to die. To foster is to carry the punishment of the choices of another person so that this child can have peace. To foster is to carry the pain of this child so that this child can feel some sort of peace. And  Jesus walked all the way to the cross in order to bring me peace. He took on the sickness of my sin. He carried the weight of my shame. He laid down His life so that I could live. He gave up Himself. No it isn’t fair that I am carrying the burden of a parent choosing not to care for their child. No it isn’t fair that this system is broken and messy and many times makes this whole thing harder. But this child, this child chose none of this. This child made none of these choices. And yes, for this child to have peace it is painful for me. But carrying their pain in order for them to have peace, that is simply a glimpse of the gospel. And regardless of the stress and sacrifice of it all, what we as the foster parents endure holds no comparison to what the foster child endures. Rejection. Grief. Confusion. Anger. Brokenness. Trust and Attachment Trauma. Fear. Instability. Yes, when I compare the sacrifice to my normal, it seems and feels and IS significant. It is most certainly a death. A death to my world and my convenience and even my sanity. But it is small in comparison to the loss experienced by the child. We as foster parents are not martyrs and we are not victims. We are simply living out the sacrificial love of our Savior.  And so in exhaustion and weakness and brokenness, we get up and we keep walking this journey. Because if we want to follow Christ we must do so with a cross.