It was going well before Church until one child said they needed to barf and another had to get to the "potty" fast. I grabbed 4 of the kids and headed to the bathroom. As I was walking, I handed Elijah to our 16 year old daughter, Hope and asked her to watch him. I was shaken up by something I heard someone saying about us.."it is always hit or miss if they show up," I heard her say. I was distracted and my mind was going in different directions.
Expecting that Mark would soon be walking in from the bus after getting the lift folded back into place, I then began dropping off kids to their Sunday School rooms. We crossed each other in the hall as we finished up getting kids to their locations and proceeded to walk into Church together. My heart was aching walking in. Our 12 year old refused to come to Church with us and continued to text us saying how mean, lazy and embarrassing we were. Mostly because he was angry that we won't allow him to rent (M)mature rated games for his playstation. But his cruel and out of control words hurt nonetheless.
And then the sermon began...Scripture awakened and truths revealed like I have rarely experienced before. What struck me most was the reality of pride that takes a stronghold in our lives...when we care more about what others think of us than we do what God does. We have not given it all..when we still allow our pride to rule our life. It was powerful and convicting...and three times before I even left the Church building, I found myself confronted by my concern for how others see me...felt like Peter as I waited for the cock to crow. I have so much to learn about what it means to die to self and live for Him alone.
We left the sanctuary quickly after the service. Several of the kids with anxiety issues need to be reassured that we are coming. I headed off to get Maisy and Mark went to get Elijah. But he wasn't there. Mark had thought I dropped him off and I had thought that Mark had. That is when the panic began. I was amazed at all of the emotion that I was flooded with in that instant. I am not one to panic much. But, in that moment, there was so much fear that I have been working through that just came rushing to me. As if losing Elijah in that moment was not enough, it became a metaphor for what was going on in my heart regarding his future. The thought of losing Elijah from his illness, the thought of me letting him down and not protecting him from all that he goes through each day, the fear of feeling completely helpless in the midst of all that is going on...it became my reality at that moment.
Quickly, we found him...happy as could be. Hope had taken him into the restless child room when Mark or I didn't return to bring him to Sunday school...we had sat in a different place in the Sanctuary and she didn't see us. So, she and Elijah worshiped together there. He was safe the whole time.
From the day that Elijah came into our lives when he was 8 months old, we had claimed the verse, Jeremiah 29:11-13 for his life. As he remained in foster care with us and we did not know if he would stay with us or go back with his birthmom, it gave us reassurance that God knew the plan, even if we didn't. It helped us to accept the future whatever the outcome might have been. And we trusted that God had created a plan that would be so much more than we could have ever asked for or imagined. We held onto this promise through the uncertainty and doubt.
And as we face the next big challenge for Elijah, we are going to plaster this verse across the wall in his hospital room. Today, when I thought for that moment, that we had lost him...every ounce of my being felt such love and protection for this beautiful child. I can do nothing to save him...and I must stop trying...but I will trust that God meant it when he gave us this promise...that He holds the map....and it is He who is directing all the steps of Elijah's journey. And no matter what the outcome, we will place our trust in His promises and His unfathomable love for us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.