Our foster princess sat in her bed last night and after we went through our nightly ritual of bible reading and song singing, it was time to say our prayers. Without hesitation she asked God, like she has done every night for nearly 26 months, if she could stay with us forever. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t silently say the same prayer at the same time.
I can’t imagine my world without her in it. I can’t imagine not hearing her giggles. Watching her kick her butt with her feet when she runs. Listening to her hysterically mispronounce the word artillery while singing “I’m In The Lord’s Army.” Or me bursting with pride every time she accomplishes something new. I just can’t…but yet I torture myself trying.
Have you ever watched your favorite television show and the second the plot starts to thicken and the climax reaches its highest peak, the scene shifts to a black screen that says, “To be continued…”? Then you are left wondering what is going to happen next? Sometimes your mind speculates a good ending. Other times it imagines the worst.
This has been my life for the last six months. The plot in her foster care story has thickened and the climax has reached its max. The all-burning question she asks on a weekly basis as to whether she can stay with us forever is ready to be answered. The decision is on the table and ready to be decided. It’s right there…it’s playing in front of us. Yet every time we attend a court hearing to watch the last scene play out, we hear the words, “To be continued…”
(Persons important in the decision-making process have been unable to attend.)
For six agonizing months and four court hearings, I have walked into the court room hoping to know what the next opening line in the next scene of our lives would be, yet each time leave still wondering. And while I am ready for whatever the Judge decides and I have braced myself for either outcome, I am scared. I am down-right petrified.
What if the next scene will be me packing up her belongings and placing them inside of a U-Haul truck? Because let’s face it, y’all, she has been blessed with more stuff than a five-year old needs.
And I can’t imagine the boxes of Kleenexes that will be needed if I am the star role in the tear-jerking scene of when I kiss her forehead goodnight for the last time. Or put her in the car seat and wave a final goodbye from the driveway.
What if the next scene is the one in which she will no longer be in her bed upstairs sleeping peacefully, but in a new bed several towns away, possibly crying. Unable to sleep. And secretly wishing that she could hear her Daddy Dan sing her Jesus Loves Me just one more time like he has done every night for the last two years.
No other child, foster, adopted, or from my womb, will ever be able to fill the void she will leave in each of my family member’s hearts. And to know that I will always feel that emptiness if each of those scenes play out cause me to panic.
But as I sit here visualizing the worst, I realize that the inner turmoil I feel in my soul and the fear that I am experiencing in my heart, is of my own doing. I once read a quote by Dan Zandra that said, “Worry is a misuse of your imagination.” And how true is that? Our imagination wasn’t given to us so that we could create scenarios that cause heartache and instill fear. Yet each time I use my imagination, that is what happens. Fear takes over and my heart hurts.
I can’t live that way.
I can’t keep living in this self-inflicted torment that causes my stomach to constantly be tied in knots. I can’t keep walking around thinking about how many storage tubs it will take to pack up all of her clothes and toys. I can’t keep going down the stairs at night after tucking her into bed and allowing myself to feel what that final night with her will be like.
I can’t keep misusing my imagination.
Therefore instead of using it to imagine the worst, I will choose to imagine the best. And no, the best is not that she will stay with us forever, even though deep down we would love for her to. But rather it is simply imagining that no matter where life takes her, no matter where she calls home, or rest her big brown eyes at night, she will always be loved. She will always be safe. And she will always be free to laugh, run, play and be the woman God created her to be.
For I trust in Him, her heavenly Daddy, to always cover her with His feathers. Always shelter her with His mighty wings. And that His faithful promises to never forsake her will always be her armor and protection. This type of faith-filled imagination gives me hope. It eases my fears. And reminds me that God is good and He is in control.
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