Does life ever just feel too heavy for you? Like you go to pray and don't even know where to start? I literally sat down the other day with the intention to just lay everything out for God and instead all that came out was, "There's just too much, it's too heavy for me." Then there was silence and I felt God send just a hint of peace my way. Of all the people who've lived in this world, He's experienced far more pain and darkness than I have and He is still the Source of Joy. The good news? He has enough for me and for you too.
Quarantine hasn't been easy, harder for some than others. I've felt pretty blessed and I'm still struggling with being shut in. I've missed my friends, meeting to talk, have coffee, and joke with each other. Then you throw in the fear of an unknown virus, seeing others lose loved ones and not be able to mourn together, canceling celebrations, and having to deal with depression and anxiety alone in their home. It's not been an easy time, but like every hard season, God's shown me how these difficult situations can help me be stronger and face the next hard thing.
Through circumstances that I wouldn't have chosen, God's again reminded me of how short life is and how much potential we have if we take advantage of the moments that make up our lives. A few days ago, my family said goodbye to my foster-niece that has been with my sister and her husband for around 2 years. I was working 6 days in a row, was exhausted and said a rushed goodbye over FaceTime. I'm pretty devastated about that. Two years worth of family birthday parties, the Christmas mornings, cookie decorating, egg dying, and I had to say goodbye over FaceTime! This morning I had enough still time for it all to hit me at once, which was a rough blow, I'll be honest. She's being adopted into a good home, and that's something to be incredibly thankful for, but as an aunt that loved her so dearly, I miss her. I didn't realize until this morning that I had been imagining us doing things together as she got older. Somewhere in my sub-conscience, I was looking forward to going to my sister's and helping my niece get ready for prom. I never even realized that I was thinking about that until she was gone and all the things I'm not going to get to do with her washed over me. I wanted to talk to her about boys, and dreams and occupations as she grew older and explored the world. I'm not going to get to do those things now, God has a different plan.
Its that simple and I know it, but going through the pain of changed plans isn't less painful because of that knowledge. She may grow up and forget all about me, but to me, she'll always be my niece. I struggled for a while about how attached I could let myself be with my sister's foster children, logic told me to hold some reserve of my heart so it wouldn't get broken. And that makes sense, believe me, I see that! But as soon as I cuddle with another of their kids, hold a hand, color, or live with them and homeschool for a month (that was something!), my heart completely falls. Then I realized that that's exactly what God made it to do. At the end of my life, I don't think it will matter if I'm crawling to God because all of my energy and all of my love was exhausted. I think I'd been more ashamed to die with withheld love that could have been shared. Maybe I'm crazy, the logical side of me definitely says so! But with everything going on in our country right now, too much love isn't the problem I see.
The racism, the hate, the sickness, the sin is breaking so many hearts and I want to be part of the healing. I want to listen and learn, see everyone for what they are honestly experiencing in our country. I want my nieces to grow up and know they're beautiful, capable and loved even though their skin is different colors. I dream of the hispanics in my hometown to feel seen, welcome and like part of the community. I honestly study Spanish every day just to get closer to break through the barrier of all the things that we wish we could say to each other. I want to know how they feel, and how I can be a better neighbor. I want their kids to know they belong here, to dream the way I was allowed to and to have the chance to pursue those dreams.
It's a lot, the hurt abounds. But what God is continually reminding me is that time is short. Whether it's one of my foster babies, a friend that moves away, or breaking down boundaries to reach people; I don't have forever. I have today and what I do with that, makes an incredible difference. When I lived with my sister's family, the adoption was first discussed. I knew then that it might be the last time I got to hold B tight and watch a Disney princess movie on the sofa. I learned from the last time I didn't get one last hug, that it might happen again. It doesn't get easier, but seeing precious moments for what they are, becomes more vivid. This time around, I knew I had to cherish the giggles, and swings and coloring together. Those little moments of time have more impact then we'll ever know. So, as you're home and starting to branch back out into the world, cherish your moments. The times your family is home together, cherish the good things and just let the bad float out of your hands. When opportunities arise to talk to a struggling friend or give out of your resources, reach out that hand to embrace the broken. If you've got it, give it; because you may not have the chance tomorrow. For my beloved B, love while you've got them in your arms to hold.
Life is too short to keep love to yourself and if, like me, you go through seasons when you feel dried up with nothing to give, take heart! Our God has an endless supply to fill you back up. You aren't loving and fighting the darkness alone, you're doing it with a God who crafted your heart to love and give and fight! No one knows what you need to keep going better than He does. He'll make something with your life, touch the hearts of the broken with your hands and send healing to the hurt with your words. The idea that love is easy, is a lie. It's an fight and one you have to show up for every day! It's hard, but we can't wait until tomorrow, the world can't wait for us. They need our love today, right now.
Loving, fighting and praying right there with you,