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Archive for August, 2013

It’s been four months.  Four months ago, almost to the day, I gave my last hug goodbye and watched two sweet kids load into a truck and pull out of my life and into the lives of another family.  I don’t know how to sum up these last four months.  I don’t think it’s possible to cover that much ground in the white space that lies before me.  How can anyone sum up that much life in a few paragraphs.  These months have been good.  Different than I expected, different than I wanted, but good.  I have learned it is possible to walk through something incredibly difficult and have it be this soulfully beautiful mixing of pain and healing.  That one instance can bring about both these things is something that pricks me with the love of Christ because only He can bring beauty out of our ashes.  In fact, Christ is the only One I know who can bring beauty during the burning, before the aftermath, before the ashes even form.  It’s part of the beauty of being refined by fire, but it’s more than that.  It’s feeling the sting of the heat and seeing the brightness of the light, and feeling at the same time, so intensely the presence of God that makes walking through the fire not only bearable but beautiful.

This is me in the aftermath.  This is me standing in the ashes looking back at something beautiful.  This is my story.  It’s almost strange to me to have my fingers dancing over the keys, typing up thoughts and ideas and experiences.  With the closing of my time fostering I closed my blog and thought I had nothing left that was worth writing.  God must chuckle all the time with our ideas of what we think we have all figured out.  Blogging about my time with those kids was only the beginning of the story.  Them leaving was only the start of what was next.  I have so many fostering stories from this summer, so many things my eyes have been opened to, but tonight as I sit in Starbucks drinking my hundreth cup of vanilla rooibos tea, listening to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels sing their soulful music, the things that press most closely to my heart presently are the moments I did not foster.  The long days I have been alone post-fostering.  The things God has wrecked my life with.

I have spent most of my life pouring out to people.  For as long as I can remember it’s been me leading Bible studies, me taking care of preschoolers, me serving my family, me volunteering and being involved in service.  Me emptying out.  And at some point, without realizing it, I had nothing left to give.  But I kept pouring.  It’s funny how exhausting it is to pour out what you don’t have.  How drying it is.  Like trying to pour water from a canteen found open, buried in the desert sand for years.  So dry it’s cracked and useless.  This is the place of emptiness I found myself in four months ago when I stood in the emptiness of my house and the emptiness of my life opened up before me.  

This may be one of my most honest posts yet.  Not because the others haven’t been real and heartfelt, but because this time I have no one to blame the emptiness and pain on but myself.  I can’t blame the tantrums or the attitudes or the sleepless nights.  Those have nothing to do with what I have been healing from this summer.  This summer started out dark.  For the first time in my life I had no one who needed me.  No Bible study to lead, no sister with cancer to take care of, no kids to foster.  I’m not quite sure when it happened, but at some point I stopped finding my identity in God and started finding it in service.  Who I am became defined by what I did.  And when I had no one to serve anymore…

God has wrecked my world in the best sense of the word.  I went through a few months of depression, loneliness, confusion, exhaustion.  I felt lost.  When I wasn’t pouring out, I was forced to look in.  I was forced to get help, to reach out to others, not to serve them but for them to serve me.  It was such a turn of events.  Humbling.  No one likes to admit they need help, least of which is me.

But I did.  And through friends and the precious, living Word of God, I have found myself on the other side.  I still feel empty.  I am learning things like boundaries and moving slowly in service and the incredible art of saying “no”.  It hasn’t been easy.  I miss being involved in so much.  I miss the excitement and fastness of being busy all the time.  But I’m learning to be still.  To listen.  

I still feel the scars stretched out over my body, over my soul.  At moments I feel the pain and it’s raw and stings, but it reminds me.  The moments I feel myself pulling back to that place of lostness, I remember.  I remember how very strong God is.  How much He whispered to me in the darkness.  I remember the way He held me when I didn’t even have the strength to stand on my own.  

I remember the fire and His presence and the things I’ve learned.  It’s so worth it.  It burns, but It’s a beautiful burning.  So very beautiful.

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