Sometimes I watch them play with tears in my eyes. I wonder how much play time they've missed out on just trying to survive. I wonder what it was like trying to care for themselves, provide for themselves. To wonder if they could trust anyone. To learn to be a family. To understand and know love, finally. I look at this child and I am in awe of his strength and faith, his courage and intelligence. And although I cannot take away his past, I can give him rest today. I can provide for him today. I want for him not to worry or stress. I never want him to doubt our love or fear that there will not be enough food for his hungry belly. I honestly cannot imagine the fear these children must have had, the distrust and doubts.
Why would they ever trust us? Why must they learn to love and be loved instead of just knowing it? Why must they go through so many mamas before the forever mama finds them to hold? Why must I continually tell myself to move forward, not dwell on the past?
I am simply amazed by my children. They are so brave. They are so kind. They give love and accept love. I've heard people comment on how resilient children are. But this. This is just over the top wonderful (Isa's new favorite word). It is a redemption story being played out in my life, in their lives. And it doesn't stop with them.
I am watching my biological children grow in love as well. Their love for their siblings has always been so simple and pure. It was easy and accepting. And somehow it is flourishing into so much. They fight like the siblings they are, they play hard and they love each other well.
All four of my children have been through some kind of trauma. So parenting my obviously traumatized children really isn't much different than the ones with invisible trauma. Over and over again, I fail. But God's grace covers it. Over and over again we love and hug and cry together. We learn and grow and play together. That's just family. That's just who we are and who we will continue to be.
But I don't promise my children I am always going to be here for them. I don't promise them life will be easy. I don't promise them safety or health or "always" of anything, really. I promise them that God is good. That heaven is real. That whatever happens here on this earth will soon enough fade away. And that I will do my very best to protect them, but no matter what, my children, hold onto Jesus.
Love Him. Cling to Him. Trust Him. Let Him in. He is our steadfast one. The only thing worth putting our faith in. And in the end, we will be together again, in eternity, perfection, heaven.
We cannot hide death from our children. We cannot hide hunger or sadness or shelter them from all the pain. But we can give them truth and hope. My focus has shifted since losing Thao. I came to realize I cannot control or protect or guarantee safety or health. But I can give them Jesus.
I gave Thao Jesus. I have done my best and trust God to cover the rest with His grace. But my eyes still wander from the cross and into the grave. My mind still settles on death and it's curse. My soul knows, my heart longs for Jesus. And I come back, I remember truth. I remember the resurrection that conquered and won.
My mind rests again, I'm free.
There will be pain and suffering. There will be loss and grief and anxiety and stress. But here I am again, in this place of rest. This place of trusting the unknown future to a known God. So no matter what happens, Believers, we know who wins the war. Let's rest in truth. Let's teach our children God's word. And let's not worry about tomorrow, but trust it to our Almighty God.