Typically, my day begins with me quietly tiptoeing into the kitchen as I do not want to wake up the three-year-old cutie patootie we have been hosting since January through the Safe Families for Children program. Once she does wake up from her slumber, I usually grab two bowls out of the kitchen cabinet, and we eat our cereal together as we talk about the plans for the day. After we slurp up our milk, we get dressed, play, and have lunch before she lays back down for a nap. Once her eyes pop open again, we play outside with sidewalk chalk, run errands, or I take her for a wagon ride around the block. At 4 pm, Daniel, or to her, Daddy Dan, returns home, and together they go for a bike ride to the park, or he pushes her on the swing until dinner is ready. I believe this is her favorite time of the day. And mine too.
But yesterday, as I woke up, I wondered what the next day might hold. I wondered if the daily routine I have had since she took her first steps into my home on January 10th would change. Would I go back to making as much noise as I wanted when pouring my coffee? Would I keep scheduling my activities and errands to occur before 1:30 and after 3:30 as not to interfere with her nap time? Would I need to continue to have dinner ready by 6 so that bath and storytime could be over by 8? Or could we go back to eating “whenever”?
You see, I wasn’t sure what my schedule would look like the next day because later that afternoon, at 1 pm, I would once again step into the courtroom and learn if Goldilocks (that’s the nickname we have given her due to those lushes golden curls) would return home with us or go elsewhere. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would walk up the steps to the courthouse holding her hand but walk down them a few short hours later without it tucked inside of mine.
As I began getting ready for our moment in front of the judge, I peeked inside her room, and as I watched her play, my mind went from wondering to worrying as I could see tiny question marks hovering over her head. There was the question mark as to if she would return to her mother’s care or possibly go live with a relative. There was the question mark as to if she would be court-ordered into a licensed foster home or remain in ours. After all, we were only approved to be a Safe Families home, not a home to house children adjudicated by the State. And there was the question mark as to if she would be reunited with her siblings in another home, far from ours. There were so many question marks and so many variables that swarmed my mind that I was starting to become mentally and emotionally exhausted.
At 1:28 pm, I sat down in my seat within the courtroom, and as everyone else slowly settled in, the case was called to order. For over 15 minutes, I listened closely as each lawyer discussed her future, her mother’s future, and the future of her siblings. Once all options and opinions were expressed, the judge sat quietly for several minutes before making his ruling. And as he looked to the mother and then scanned the courtroom, he ruled that until the next court hearing, which would take place in thirty days, Goldilocks would remain in our care. And with his words, I knew that for the next four weeks, my schedule would remain the same. I would continue to tiptoe to the kitchen for my morning coffee, grab two bowls for cereal instead of one, and plan all daily activities before 1:30 pm and after 3:30 pm. Dinner would also continue to be ready by 6, and bath and storytime would be done by 8.
As a planner and having a type-A personality, I often feel emotionally and mentally exhausted as I live in the unknown and wonder what each day could bring; but I shouldn’t feel this way. I know that I belong to the One who holds me in the palm of His hands. I am the daughter of the Most High, and He has plans for my life that will not harm me, but rather give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, I shouldn’t be wasting the precious moments of my day worrying about what tomorrow, next week, or even next year might look like. I shouldn’t allow myself to become emotionally and mentally exhausted as I continually dwell on the different question marks I have hovering over my life or the lives of others. Instead, I should follow the instructions of Philippians 4:6 by not worrying about anything and instead pray about everything; and once I have done that, I should rest in His character, for He is good. He is faithful. He is love. He is trustworthy. And He is my provider. I know that even if I can’t see it, He is making all things come together for my good because I love Him and He loves me (Romans 8:28). I may not know what my future holds, but I know the One who does. And at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters and all that I really need to know.
(Please keep Goldilocks in your prayers as her mother continues to work hard to get back on her feet.)
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