Hard And Holy Things
Yesterday afternoon, I sat with a dear friend on my front porch, sharing a slice of leftover birthday cake, while she expressed the heartache and frustrations that come with fostering. As it turns out, her birthday surprise was an incredibly discouraging call from her caseworker.
That same day I found out another good friend of mine’s new book made it on the New York Times bestsellers list. On another day earlier this week, one friend was at the hospital waiting to deliver her precious baby, while another was anxiously waiting for blood work to come back for her own little girl.
How can one day be filled with so much heartache and anticipation? Equal parts celebration and grief? And why does God seem so near in certain circumstances, and nowhere to be found in others?
Hard and holy things is the phrase that immediately came to mind when Amber and her family entered into their foster care journey. Because when you make that choice to venture into the darkness in hopes of bringing something (or someone) back into the light with you, it’s easy to feel abandoned by God in those dark moments. When the lights are off and you are grasping for answers, for comfort or assurance of any kind that you are where you need to be and somehow everything will turn out ok, it’s easy to forget that you weren’t called to the ballroom but to the battlefield. The assignment we have been given as God’s children is to love with reckless abandon, and loving fully means going out on a limb and risking heartbreak and vulnerability for the sake of another. But how much sweeter is the victory that has been fought for and claimed?
loving fully means going out on a limb and risking heartbreak and vulnerability for the sake of another.
Hard and holy things are not just about fostering though. It’s any man or woman who has chosen to take on the difficult but sacred role of parenthood (planned or not). It’s the ones who have risked failure and rejection for something they believed so strongly in. It’s anyone who believes that there is meaning to the madness and at the end of the day, after counting up the costs and calculating a million reasons why it would be safer to just retreat and put up walls, they still choose to let their guard down because deep down they know that is the only way to really, truly live.
So I want to encourage you -- if you are experiencing some hard and holy things, whether the reward is currently beautifully evident or whether you feel completely and totally isolated and unsure--remember one thing: it’s hard because it matters. Remember that drive--that still small voice that called you to this dream--and dare to believe that God isn’t finished writing your story. In fact, if you would have asked my author friend her story several years ago, she would have likely told you she was in the thick of it, too. Sometimes it just takes wading through the muck and brush long enough to see that what was lying on the other side the entire time was completely worth the wait. As V. Raymond Edman more eloquently puts it, “don’t question in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”
Be encouraged. You are surely doing a holy thing.