Thursday, October 2, 2014

I'd like to come out of hibernation to tell you a story. A story about a little girl, her mom, their Father, and her.....ok, I don't know what to call myself in this story, but it's not really about me anyway.....

It all started with my sister saying 'yes'. Yes to taking in a 2yr old little girl- KaLeigh- who needed a temporary home. 
She stole all of our hearts in the almost 3 months she was in the family, and when it looked like she was going to need a forever family, Dave and I said yes. 
I had 8 weeks to wait and see. 8 weeks of wondering if she would be mine. 8 weeks of trying not to get my heart too filled up with the idea of being her mom, and asking Jesus to lead the way and point the way to what He was doing. 
And in that time He spoke to me. One of those amazing, life changing moments when His voice is clear and powerful and water in the desert. 
Exodus 23:20-33
He told me He is giving me the desires of my heart, but at the pace that He knows I can handle. 
Such precious words to a weak, small minded daughter. 
And I told Him that I trusted Him, and His Word would be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

And then, just when it looked like we would be taking this precious girl through the transition from my sister's home to ours, there was a glitch. 
Some lost evidence and a court hearing and little KaLeigh was abruptly sent back home. 

Our hearts were broken. My sister and I cried many tears over this brokenness and pain and loss. Little one who had finally adjusted to routine and love and physical needs being met was back in chaos, neglect, filth, second hand smoke, sex offenders, poor diet, rotting teeth, up all night and sleep all day...

And I was angry with God. I pleaded with Him. I poured out my confusion, my anger, my doubt. 
How was He good in this?
What about His promises to love and care for His sheep? What about my willingness to change everything for this little one?

And He spoke to me again. 
Isaiah 55:8-13
He told me He knows what He's doing. And His thoughts, His ways of accomplishing His will were much bigger than I could comprehend. What I see is just one small piece of a huge and intricate puzzle. 
Once again I told Him I trusted Him. 
And I also told Him that if there was anyway I could find her or visit her I would. If I could help the family I would. If I could speak of Him to them I would. 
I asked for this. The impossible. 
And I thought that was the end. 

A couple of weeks later my sister had a voice mail left on her phone from KaLeigh's mom inviting her back into KaLeigh's life. 
And when my sister mentioned the voice mail to me, I KNEW. It was for me. It was a one in a million chance connect with KaLeigh and her family. 
She gave me the phone number and I talked with Jesus about it for a few days. 
KaLeigh's mom was not going to know me, and I was going to be asking if I could be the one invited in to their lives instead of my sister.  
I asked Jesus to please pave the way!!

And He did! 
KaLeigh's mom was happy to hear from Amy's sister, and said yes. Yes I could be in their lives, yes I could visit, yes I could be as involved as I wanted.

Only Jesus. Only thoughts higher than ours. Only ways different than ours. 
Sweet miracle worker doing what He does best. Oh how I love Him!!!

But the first time I visited I was shaken. It was worse than I imagined. Bad. Ugly. Scary. Unlike anything I had seen before. In a neighborhood I would never ever normally find myself in. 
The sex offender who was not supposed to be staying there was there. And he was just waking up for the day. KaLeigh was still sleeping and it was almost lunch time. My stomach lurched. 
I had a long conversation with K's mom as we got to know each other, and she said I could have as much time with K as I would like. 
I ended up taking her home with me for the night.
Mom said to keep her as long as you want.
She didn't know I wanted forever. 

Fast forward through more visits. More getting to know everyone. More heartache at home situation. 
And one especially awful night with K at our house coughing and wheezing and throwing up- which I believed was a result of living in so much second hand smoke- and crying over pain from rotted teeth. 
More of my crying out to Jesus. 
And my secret hope that mom would be turned in to DCFS again....or arrested....or something. 

And now here we are at last week. 
I was handed a card at church to give away. An invitation to 'Back to Church Sunday.'
It turned in my heart to invite K's mom, but I pushed it away. 
Until Dave mentioned it too. 
He was right. I should invite her. She lives close to our church and had mentioned wanting to come visit sometime. 

And to my surprise she accepted the invitation! 
So, the next Sunday morning I dropped my family off at church and then drove to go get them.
K's mom sat beside me during the service and had tears streaming down her face the entire time. 
I could feel her soaking Him in and Him pouring into her and filling her in a way she hadn't been filled before. 
And when Pastor asked if anyone wanted to come forward and open their lives to Jesus, I knew. 
She waited, quietly watching while others went forward and then when Pastor gave one final invitation she was up and moving forward. I followed her and wrapped my arms around her and we cried together. 
Sweet Jesus once again doing above and beyond what we could ever think or imagine. 
From the first day I met K, to the day I thought she would be mine, and then the day she was abruptly returned home, and my first visit to their home so shockingly broken, I could've never dreamed all of this up!
My heart was so focused on saving K while His heart was wanting to save so much more. 
So much more. And only a small part of which are these His three daughters. Saving one from abuse and neglect, one from the grip of the world, and one from her narrow minded, judgmental, uncompassionate heart. 

I took K's mom to meet with our Pastor on Tuesday and then to church on Wednesday night. 
She is so hungry for the truth. She is soaking it up, asking tons of questions, and she read through the whole book of John in one night. 
She is seeing things differently and anxious to learn more. 
And then there's me. Loving K. Watching her, holding her, praying for her.
And my heart is heavy. 
Oh my heart! 
Jesus, deal with this heart!!!
This heart that has to go from seeing her mom as the problem to seeing her as a sister in Christ. 
She is a believer, but still doesn't know how to take care of her child. K still lives in smoke, still has rotting teeth, still eats only junk food, still stays up all night and sleeps all day....
And the mama in me wants to be angry and judgmental and still hopes to have K as mine someday.
Help me, Jesus!! 
It was more comfortable when I didn't think I had to really love her mom. It was easier when she wasn't sitting next to me in church.
And yet I know I wasn't called to 'easy' or 'comfortable'. 
And I know now that the best thing I can do is to let Jesus love K's mom through me. And let Him teach her how to love and care for KaLeigh through me.
A changed mom means a changed family. 
And Jesus can turn everything around. 

He is whispering that He's not done yet. He tells me to watch and see what He will do. He can heal blind eyes and hard hearts and He is making all things new.

Jesus, change me. Help me to stop ever thinking that I know best. Help me to stay right where you are- not a step ahead and not a step behind. 
Just right with You. 

The end of Isaiah 55 says this-
"Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." 

I believe it for KaLeigh. 
And it is all pointing to Jesus. 
For the fame of His name, for an everlasting sign. 
It is so much bigger than me. Or KaLeigh. Or her mom. It is HIM. 
It will always be HIM. His plans are bigger. His eternal perspective so much clearer. His love so much purer. 
His grace so much deeper. 

Father, have Your way, and glorify Yourself in us all.