I’m sitting in a hospital bed a few feet away from a baby that I’ll most likely never watch grow into a toddler. The hiss of oxygen, the alarming monitors and constant stream of visitors in yellow disposable gowns are our current reality.
I’m exhausted and my legs are aching from standing guard bedside and attempting to rest on a piece of plywood they pretend is a bed.
The interrupted sleep is the only thing that reminds me of home.
I’ve missed afternoon chats and homework with my big kids, five bedtimes with all of them, hugs and kisses and playtime. Last night, they came up to visit for some face to face time. We enjoyed a delicious hospital cafeteria meal. Delicious.
Here’s my heart, trample it please.
My tears fell too as the elevator doors closed and I turned my back on her to return to a baby I didn’t birth-to a baby who needed me more right now because I was the only secure thing he had.
I’ve had more graham crackers, peanut butter and Easy Mac than one human should safely consume in a weeks’ time. #yellownumberfive. Since these foods are readily available on the pediatric floor, they’ve become my staples-them and HGtv. I’m totally not complaining about the latter and I’m ready to take a sledgehammer to something when I get home.
If God would have shown me these hard times, these tearful goodbyes and lonely nights when I started this journey, I would have gladly declined the pain.
But He’s gentle like that. And I’m so thankful he only asks for my obedience one step at a time and doesn’t rely on my wisdom to navigate this crazy path.
Wherever we are…with Jesus, there’s revelation.
From this trial, there will be eternal ripples that change the trajectory of lives to know him and his wonderful works.
But with suffering and pain, comes dependency upon him. It forces me to die to myself and lose my life to find breath in him.
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his pleasure.”-phil 2:13
Questions follow me like little shadows as a foster mama. Often I stop onlookers and new friends before the words leave their mouths. I know what they are going to ask before the words form fully on their tongue.
HOW? It’s a popular question for our family.
HOW do you do this?
HOW can you give them back?
HOW does this affect your biological children?
I don’t know HOW you do it!
But over the past few days, the HOW has been replaced with WHY.
The beauty of hospital life is a captive audience. Nurses, techs, housekeepers, case workers, doctors, and interns all learn our story through this precious baby and suddenly we are standing in a silent room with gazing stares over surgical masks awaiting our response.
Why? Why do you do it?
First let me tell you our non-answers.
Its not for the money. There isn’t enough money to entice me to leave my four other kids and husband for a week to sleep interrupted and annoyed.
It’s not because I love kids. Ok, I birthed four, but I don’t even know if I like kids. I’m fond of my own, but you won’t find me serving in the children’s ministry or leading a group of crazies at vacation bible school. It’s not my gifting, or my calling.
And it’s also not for my own personal notoriety. I’ve fought pride in the past, but I can assure you, there are many humbling handouts in these steps. And most of this mess happens behind closed doors, where no one sees the hard work or tears or frustrations.
So ask me why.
I simply want to follow him.
I want my life to look like his.
He loved the broken. So because he did, I do. Or at least I’m trying to. And that counts.
He chose to serve. So because Jesus did, I do.
He loved the unlovable and battered and what we consider worthless lives that didn’t deserve his love. So because Jesus did, I do.
I’m flawed and incapable, but I do it anyway. In my messy mistakes that reveal my human imperfections, I walk where he walked.
So many of us don’t move into obedience because we know we are incapable.
Aren’t we all?
But there is only one reason we step out into the scary and unknown over and over and over again.
And that’s all I’ve got. No fluffy, emotional answer to reveal something magical about this thankless trek.
It’s just Jesus.
One unsteady step at a time that’s stabilized by his hand.