I heard the pitter-patter of little feet. The second step from the top has a squeaky joist, making it virtually impossible to sneak to the first floor unnoticed in the quiet of the morning. Our 3 year old house guest was once again awake and ready for action before 6:30am, barging energetically into the hour of solace I meticulously reserve for my Bible, my journal, and a cup (or six) of morning joe.
This is God’s time little man. I can’t be bothered with irrational toddler sleeping habits. Back to bed!
And then I stopped.
It seemed as if this morning, God didn’t want to be found in my morning ritual. In quiet meditation. Even amidst the pages of Scripture. Today He climbed up on my lap in the shape of a 3 year old boy, lost in the upheaval of drug addiction, abandonment, and a series of devastating parental choices.
A few months ago, I wrote about our involvement with an organization called Safe Families, that provides temporary homes for the children of families in crisis. We had a 3 year old boy with us for two weeks in March, and the same little booger returned for a second stint with the home team in mid-April.
Today he’s leaving again. And I wish it was under better circumstances.
This little adventure isn’t resolving neatly like an episode of Full House. In fact, it’s worsened. Multiplied. Spawned a few new gut-wrenching catastrophes. What started as a temporary housing and employment issue is culminating in messy legalities that are requiring this little guy to be moved to long-term, state approved housing later this afternoon.
I wish these kinds of answers fit into fortune cookies, but I will share a few things I’m learning (and re-learning) as we stumble down this road:
- It’s so much easier not to love (even those closest to us). Love means risking heartache. Love means your daughters may cry themselves to sleep. Love means exposing yourself to messy, uncontrollable circumstances. It raises your blood pressure. It makes you feel helpless. It messes with your schedule. The normal rhythms of life. It’s so much easier not to go there, but please go there.
- As a middle-class American Christian, I like to control things. I can see God at work when I’m physically touching and influencing. Can I trust that He is still active and working, even when I’m not? Do I believe His plans and purposes will prevail for this little boy and his family, even when I am no longer able to speak directly to the outcome? Do I really believe in the effectiveness of prayer? I guess we’ll find out.
- Jesus isn’t neat and tidy. Yes, He’s most definitely The Answer. But life in Christ is also comes with it’s fare share of uncomfortable questions. Following Jesus means embracing that tension.
Back to my early morning interruption. Whether I’m in a Honduran slum or sitting around my kitchen table, I find God speaks so clearly when I’m willing to open myself to uncomfortable reality. I hope we can find the courage to continue going there, because today reality just seems way too real.
Please take a second right now and pray for this little boy and his family. A new phase of their journey begins today.
UPDATE: Since my initial post, we received word that our little buddy is being placed with his brother and sister. This is a huge development we were praying for today. (He’s can’t wait to go now!). Thank you for your prayers. They do make a difference.