Telling JoJo Goodbye

A few years have passed since the day they walked out the door and these words have never felt more true. He asked for her back because He was still writing her story but He has given us so much in return. I pray daily for the girl we had the privilege of loving. Praying she’s safe, she’s happy, and she knows how fiercely loved she is.

Jesus replied, “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7 NLT

I picture myself climbing up into the Father’s lap and Him holding me in His strong arms. He’s whispering that He’s got this and allowing me to grieve the outcome I most hoped for. Allowing me to grieve “my way” all while He’s looking at the bigger picture – you know, the one I can’t yet see. The pain is real and He’s offering me a place to let that pain go.

We had to say goodbye to one of our precious foster babies this last week. As I watched the social worker walk her out our front door I realized that I would probably never see this little girl ever again. I sat on my couch that afternoon and thought about the time she spent as our daughter. We worked through things that I thought would surely break us – or at least it would surely break me. She stretched us and grew us. These huge hurdles bonded us and then, in what seemed like a blink, it was time to say goodbye.

I felt the loss of her deep inside my bones. My bones ached, my heart ached, deep inside my soul ached. I saw her wondering eyes as she was walked out the front door. I wondered if she understood what was happening. I wondered if she was comfortable, or God forbid scared. But then I remembered that she may have had a few sets of parents in her short little life so far, but one thing remains the same and that’s that she has always been HIS. He loves her more than I can fathom. He walked out that door with her that morning and walked in the next door holding her hand. That doesn’t eliminate my feeling because I love her so much, but it gives my heart peace knowing the only one that is truly in control was standing smack dab in the middle of this situation as well.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I hang on to this truth. God holds each of us in his hand, and even when we are walking through a dark period of transition we are His and His plan is never made to harm us. There are days when I literally need to repeat this verse over and over in my head. There are days when this plan seems more painful than my plan, but that’s because I can only live a minute at a time. I can’t see what the Father sees. I don’t know the big picture and there are things I may never truly understand. The more I immerse myself in His grace and the more I seek the character of Christ, the more I’m okay with not always understanding, and the more I am thankful for the way He tenderly yet fiercely loves me.

Jeremiah 29:11

Do not fear what’s already been planned out.

I’ve never really been an anxious or fearful person. I like to have and make plans, but overall, I’ve always easily been satisfied with the answer that God has it all planned out. That was until my mom was diagnosed with end stage cancer. It’s fair to say fear overtook me. I became anxious and fearful, lost sleep, and lost my appetite. This was a huge thing happening in our lives. Not that it was the first huge thing, but this was the person I loved more than anyone or anything else. I didn’t understand it.

It was just my mama and I for most of my life. We didn’t have a typical family, and she was my best friend. I was closer to my mom than most, and when she got sick, my world shattered.These feelings of fear and anxiety were new to me.

While my husband and I were going through infertility, I again experienced these anxious and fearful feelings. Once again, something big was happening, and I honestly wasn’t even partially healed from the experience of losing my mom. But one of the things that God placed on my heart as we transitioned from fertility to foster care was that I needed to come to Him just as fiercely, just as passionately, just as intently when I’m not walking through fearful, anxious, and “big” times. When I pursue Christ daily with the same passion, those big moments aren’t quite as scary. I again find myself feeling some level of peace with the knowledge that He’s got this.

I’m not going to say anxiety and fear don’t exist when I draw nearer to Christ, but I will say that dropping that fear at the foot of the cross and allowing Christ to bear the weight of that load… sister, there’s relief that comes with that action. Why is it so easy to call on Christ when we’re walking through difficulty, yet in the mundane day to day, it’s so easy to cut time with Him short, or worse, skip it all together? Why was this time with my Father not a priority during those easy summer months of relaxing and going on vacation? At first, I knew when I was putting off time with Him or cutting time short, then I’d realize a few days had passed… well I was really busy or the baby was teething during those days…

We again find ourselves walking through a time of transition. Only this time we are walking through with the protection of Christ. The more time I spend with Christ during those easy times, the more I learn of the character of the Father that is walking with me through trials.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Whether it’s an easy season or a season full of trials, I encourage you, sweet sister, to cling to the Father. Dig into His word and pray He overtakes your soul, equipping you and sustaining you. He is the only constant in this world. As the world changes and darkens, as seasons come and go, He remains. He is good, He is constant, and He loves you beyond measure.