I sit here in tears as I type, feeling inadequate and exhausted. I am weak. Sometimes God calls us to thinks that leave us feeling overwhelmed and unequipped. Lately I have been feeling that he is calling me to things I am not capable of doing, things I am scared of and truly I want to run away and take a vacation somewhere, secluding myself with only my immediate family. While my heart wants to obey and say "Here I am Lord, send ME! Use ME!" my flesh screams "Uncle" and wants to give up.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24
Then I read this verse...I probably need to write it in sharpie on a wall or something, God calls us to follow Him...not to do what feels good or go with what comes easy, but to DENY ourselves and follow Him. Denying myself isn't something that comes easy to me. I look at my actions over the past weeks and I see selfishness, pride, lack of patience, misuse of words and insecurity. I've been ready to throw in the towel. God called us to fostering and I'll be honest and say I had no clue what I was in for. I figured it would be fun to take care of a baby for a while and love them while I could and then I could go back to my comfy life. The trouble is that once our eyes have seen...there is no turning back to a comfy life.
The trouble is that it is breaking my heart. I want to run for the hills when I see the brokenness of this world. I want to find a place to hide and be safe and stay there. I want to run from the discomfort and heart ache and yet God keeps calling me back to that very spot. He is breaking my heart for what breaks His and that is what I've prayed for. I knew of many of the issues birth parents deal with in foster care but I had no idea it would personally affect me so much. Addiction and abuse are real. They are ruining lives and causing so much hurt. I want to be mad and shut that out of my heart blaming the addict or abuser, and yet God calls us to extend grace...the same grace He extends to my short tempered, hot tongued, prideful self.
When I share my feelings and struggles, people are quick to say, well, give her back and focus on your family...it is okay to do that...and for some people, maybe that is. The trouble is that I KNOW full well that God has called me to this very place...this place of heartache and struggle. He is holding me here and I have been wrestling with all I have in me. I look at the things he has placed before me in any given day and I just want to vomit. I feel overwhelmed and inadequate and attacked. I keep fighting it and praying for easy...and last night as I prayed something became pretty clear...something I have KNOWN but have overlooked many times...
”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9
Everything feels like a fight for me, I feel like it has been beat out of me and I just don't have any fight left in me...and here is where I've been going wrong...I am trying to do it all...I am hard on myself when I fail and when I can't meet the expectations I have set for myself. The problem in that previous sentence is the repeated use of "I". I am trying to do it...so much so that I've forgotten that I can do all things...THROUGH HIM. I am weak, but He is strong...His grace really is sufficient...He has proven this to me time and time again and yet somehow my flesh takes over and I fight until I am so tired I just cannot fight anymore. I come to the end of myself and only then do I hand it over.
Taking care of five kids is tough stuff...especially when two are babies and fully reliant on me for all things, I need to rely on my Father more. I need to stop fighting and just let go and enjoy. I need to stop with the expectations of myself and the pride and the martyr attitude and seek his peace and choose joy. I have lost sight of what I am doing here and denied the magnitude of what I am doing through Him. It seems like changing diapers and wiping noses all day is mundane and meaningless stuff, and that is a lie straight from Hell. God has brought each of these dear children into my home so that I can be His hands and feet to them...the has brought children from my own womb and children from the womb of other hurting women so I can pray for them and love them and be Him to them...children and mothers...I cannot change them or force change upon them...all I can do is love them the way he loves the broken me.
When things spiral out of control it is important to remember who holds the control. It isn't me. That is for DARN sure. While my flesh wants to justify giving up and taking a season of easy, my heart knows that sometimes residing in the brokenness and pain is where God calls us, and he calls us to find joy even there and it is hard to do and easy to forget. Sometimes though in order to do what he has called us to...change has to occur...and I am feeling that here...I have got to be more gentle with myself and with my family...I have got to let go of having a perpetually clean sink and let the dishes pile up sometimes...I need to get myself into my Bible and immerse myself in TRUTH each and every morning to arm myself against the lies that come at me all day long.
Because I love Him so much, I know it is worth it to deny myself and follow Him. I know that while I am SO not capable of doing all that is before me, that with Him I can do all things...and the miracle of that starts with choosing joy. Today, I WILL choose joy!