When I hit publish yesterday, I felt a sense of relief. I was glad to put out there my feelings. But that post wasn't really about me. At least I never meant for it to be about me. Instead it was meant to be about foster care and adoption. To remind myself that the kids in foster care need just as much love. To remind other that the foster parents need a lot of support to.
I got a lot of support yesterday. And I needed that. This week has been a bit more difficult. I've been a bit more impatient and frustrated and unsure about things in life. But the responses gave me peace. I was reminded, again, how big God is and that He is constantly at work during this time in our lives. You can never be reminded too much of how big He is.
God did something else yesterday. He worked on my heart some. I love and hate when He does that.
What He did yesterday was remind me of times when I've said hurtful things. He reminded me of times when I haven't been as excited for people as I should have been or wanted to be. He reminded me of times when I let my own junk get in the way. And He reminded me of the grace so many of those people have shown me.
I don't regret what I said yesterday. I think there isn't a lot of knowledge on foster care or adoption. There isn't a checklist that explains how to help and support people. And for many, foster care and adoption is something you don't talk about. It's a hard subject.
What I do regret is how I've reacted to some things people have said. While I've tried to educate, I've also spent a lot of time licking my wounds. I've spent a lot of time questioning my relationships. I've spent more time upset than I should have.
As this was all happening, I was on my way to dinner, at dinner with friends, and then on my way home from dinner. One of the girls posted on facebook, following dinner, about how grateful she was for how different our group was - filled with different strengths and passions. It had nothing to do with what I was working through, but it reminded me of how important words are.
Words can tear people down. Or they can build others up. I can't take back hurtful words I've said in the past. But I can always ask for forgiveness. And then I can move on - being excited for people in the new seasons of their lives and supportive of them. I can react to other people in the way they need - the way we all need. And I can hope that my joy for them will help them to be joyful for another person.
We need more grace in this world. I, for one, need to give more grace. It's something I struggle with on a daily basis. And it's something I will continue to struggle with. I've mentioned before never saying never again. I'm adding something to that. I don't ever want to say anything that is not affirming to another person. I want God to be in control of my words and my actions. I want to love people in a way that points back to Jesus - ALL people not just those who understand or support fostering.
I'm no better than anyone else. Truly. Sometimes I feel like I am more messed up than anyone else. Like I need Jesus more than anyone else does. And yet, I've been called to, alongside my husband, open my house up and care for children who have nowhere else to go. That boggles my mind because I honestly feel like I'm not cut out for this, like I am too jaded and hurt and enter any other adjectives you can think of. But He sees things differently.
I am so thankful for the people in my life who see me differently that I see myself. I am so thankful for the people who will come alongside me and rebuke me when I am wrong. For the people who remind me of how my words can cut and for the people who forgive me when I ask for it. I am so thankful for the people who stand beside us and support us. For the people who fight for us in prayer and seek to love us when we're often the most unloveable. I am so thankful for a husband who has the same heart and love for foster care, adoption and orphan care that I do.
Last night, after I had worked through most of this (but before it fully set it), I said something to my husband about buying gifts for other people when we're in this season of needing to fill our house with items for two children. And he told me to treat others the way I would want to be treated. That was a reminder I needed desperately. A reminder that came alongside me and whispered that the world would be a much better place if we all treated others the way we wanted to be treated. The people who love me the best make me want to love others in the same way. Those people are the ones I strive to be like. Those people are the ones I want to bless when it's their turn to start a family. Those people are the ones I want to live in community with. I just hope that from here on out I can be one of "those people" to others.