We’ve recently shared the vision God has given us for what could be in child welfare and the confidence we have that He is calling us, you and I , into this middle part of the story. In the day in and day out of this rewriting the story work, it's easy to just focus on the seen, the brokenness and the pain. After all, that is why we are here in the gap, because the world and its systems are in fact painfully broken.
This past week I was tempted to despair, for the second time in three years one of our precious camp babies got news that his biological momma had passed away. I’ve had the honor of knowing this particular precious one since he was in second grade and I remember us writing letters to his momma, reminding her what his favorite foods were and him with his childlike faith, encouraging her to keep pressing on so that they could be together again. Over the years and since he’s become increasingly involved in our camp family, I’ve had the honor of witnessing God pursue his heart. I’ve watched a new kind of strength develop within him, but the news of his hope in being reunited with his momma be deferred made me question if this strength would be enough. Our hearts were sick for him.
But God in His sovereignty and goodness allowed us to enter into this most painful chapter of our boy’s story. Last Sunday we were able to host a memorial service for a lady we’ve never met. I told his camp counselor who was faithfully there helping lead the service just how much I hated that we had to do this. His response, “ this is a get to.” I knew just what he meant. My heart shifted after that moment. In this middle part of the story God has not promised that we won’t encounter deep pain and brokenness. In fact He asks us to enter into the pain and suffering of others. However, He did promise that He would go before us and use us as His vessels for hope and healing and that every now and then we would see glimpses of heaven and all that should be in the here and now. Sunday He was faithful once again.
During the service a family member commented on the spiritual stature of our boy, proclaiming to those that gathered that he was not worried about him because he had become “ a praying boy and knew God was with him”…a glimpse of God’s rewriting power. Because of God’s redemption of “family” in our boy’s life, he opted to leave the service to be with some of his camp family, those faithful ones who have journeyed with his biological family in ways that simply aren’t of this earth. I received a picture that evening of our boy fishing with his camp family and thanked Jesus with all of my heart for giving me a peek inside of His story, one so much bigger than I could have imagined when I met our precious boy years ago.
PS: I’ve learned that when I share these hard stories sometimes people get concerned about my own heart….ok well by some people I mean my sweet Nana. Nana, I promise you the little bit of pain we get to hold is always overcome by the tremendous weight of God’s glory that we encounter. Rest assured I’ve experienced no sweeter joy!
Will you all join me in praying for our boy and his family? Will you consider how God might be calling you into the middle of someone’s story?
Our guy will be returning to Royal Family Kids Camp for his graduate summer in just a few weeks. Pray that God holds him closer still and an even deeper strength takes root!