I posted a photo of M on Instagram yesterday with the caption “that smile.. it brings a little bit of sunshine to this rainy day, a little bit of joy to this hurting heart.” As I’ve had a number of people message me to make sure everything is okay, I thought a little clarification of the meaning behind that statement was in order.
A couple of weeks before becoming approved foster parents I noticed that I was feeling a little down – purposeless and hopeless. I had hoped that like some things do, the emotional state of my heart would change with the weather.
Now, four weeks later, with a lot of change ensuing in our lives and hearts, this depression has only grown, like an elephant in the room yearning to be noticed. For those of you who know a bit about my journey with depression, this isn’t anything new. I’ve known the signs, and yet I’ve been hoping, denying.
But this is not something to deny, not something to leave unattended in the hopes that things will magically get better (which, granted, sometimes they do). And so Damien and I have been taking proactive steps so that I don’t fall into that unhealthy place.
This, however, is not the only reason why my heart is hurting.
Life is hard on so many different levels, and yet hard is just hard. There is no hard that is better than or worse than another, there is no hard that can be disqualified or waved away in dismissal. Each hard is just enough different than the previous that it requires you to adjust in the slightest way (or at times in quite a large way).
This all said, I have found motherhood and its stages to each be a different kind of hard. And now that I am also a foster Mama, a brand new hard has reared it’s head. It’s not that this journey is better than the previous, or less than that yet to come, it’s simply different and it requires a period of adjustment.
Not only do I have to steady my heart in the face of the unknown that comes with fostering, but I have to stay my heart when it comes to M having a tough time adjusting. I need to constantly be reminding myself that this is that to which we have been called, and that even though it is hard we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.
Yesterday was a particularly hard day, and there were multiple moments where tears streamed down my cheeks. You see, Damien and I have prayed that God would lead us to the deep, where our feet would no longer touch bottom and we would have to solely rely on Him as our anchor. And yet the further He leads me out into the deep, the more I push my heels down in fear of the unknown, in fear of the hard moments to come. I like my life to be predictable and relatively easy.
Yesterday my heart was torn between longing for the familiar and giving up my comfort. Everything in me was screaming to quit, to give up, to take the more trodden road. But there was also this still small voice that, over and over again, spoke words of truth: the God of the mountain is still God of the valley, the God of the good times is still God of the hard times.
One of my supports emailed me yesterday after I admitted how I was feeling, and I want to leave you with her words of wisdom in case you too are struggling with the hardness of your current season: “Someday, you will look back on this time and know it was this season God used to refine and strengthen you – to draw you closer to himself. You won’t feel it today, but be faithful to the One who loves you and cares for you, in every season, whether it’s the way we want it or not.”
There is hope, dear friend, for me and for you, and there is grace, abundantly present in each and every moment, both the good and the hard.
With all my love,