For a while God has been prompting me to write again. It feels a little foreign to be typing anything longer than the standard social media post, but in order to be obedient, here I am.
This year has been a doozy - yes, I still think in terms of school years. Since this one is coming to a close, I am reflecting on it much the way most normal adults reflect on the past year in December. And this year gives me much to reflect on.
Don't read Bob Goff's book Love Does if you like the way your life is going. Brian and I have a pretty decent life. Over the years we have done some good things - leading ministry with students and children, coaching, and foster parenting. We have had some good jobs - I am a nurse and Brian thinks he is a social worker. We have loved some good people. And then God.
I didn't understand the phrase "God wrecked my life" before this year. Why would God wreck someone? If you were doing things God's way, what is there to wreck? I was a knee deep Christian. This year took me in over my head. I was wrecked.
We had a rapid fire summer. We mission tripped, we summer camped, we traveled, and we took a foster placement that would extend us to the end of us. Over the summer at camp I discovered (late to the game, I know) Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller and devoured it. Amazon being cleverly Amazon suggested if I liked Blue Like Jazz I might like Love Does. Oh, Amazon. Love Does did it. I was hooked and I knew that God already had plans for us to do Love. I just didn't know how much Love was going to cost. Turns out Love costs everything - and in return you get more.
Summer spit us into Fall and school started. One child at every level of education this year, daycare/preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and college. Fall started to unravel our already frayed teen foster daughter into a complete heap of threads unwoven at their core - or never woven correctly in the first place. Things were hard. Love got harder to do.
At what we see now as the crux of the hard we would endure, Love came to town. Well, Bob Goff, Don Miller, and a crew of their friends came to town. They held the Love Does conference in the Hill Country of Austin, TX and Brian and I decided it was meant to be. We attended the conference in the midst of our troubled daughter expressing her anguish through self harm and suicidal thoughts, we had a CPS caseworker at the time that seemed unconcerned for the severity of her case, and a foster agency that wasn't backing us up and ultimately in conversation questioned our very core - they questioned our faith. We missed the closing talk by Bob Goff. We had to leave early to pick up our daughter from school because her suicidal thoughts and self injury had become so bad. We left to do Love. And it hurt a little bit.
Fall rapidly changed to winter and somewhere in the midst of bleakness we felt a little shift. Our family started to understand how far Love could take you. Love took us deep into our daughter's depression. It took us through crazy PTSD nightmares and sleep walking. It took us to domestic violence shelters, to refugee apartments, to acupuncturists, to psychiatrists, to therapy, to sleeping on couches next to a child who couldn't shake the night time terror. It took us to the edge but didn't let us go. Love didn't release us from our mission. If anything Love drove us deeper in.
Spring came and Bob and Don were getting together again (those two) at Don's Storyline Conference. Love started to change us and we felt moved to go to San Diego to get a clearer picture of this crazy journey we were on. Don said some things like, "understand your story" and "live your passion" and it was good stuff. Bob told us to go Love people. So we went home, Loved people and worked harder at finding ways to help heal hurting children, our hurting child.
Spring is almost summer now and Love did something amazing. She has been two months free of self injury. She has worked harder on getting better than I have ever seen. She is an engaged part of our family. She is becoming Love herself. Today I got a call that she had rescued a fallen baby bird. It was in her bedroom as she was walking to school. Love did the best thing she knew to do, take the wounded into our home and love it (we quickly went home and re-rescued it back outdoors to it's mama's nest - but the intention was there). Love is contagious.
God wrecked my life with Love. How dare He! I hope He'll do it again.