I’ve been listening to the audio book “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” for the past nine months. I don’t get an extensive amount of time to myself, so I listen to the book when I’m driving (I travel for work) or completing big projects (like painting the bathroom). This book is so fascinating, in many ways, but I think my favorite part has been getting to hear a bit about Bonhoeffer’s theology.
If you aren’t familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I highly recommend a study of his life. This book is probably the best one out there. Bonhoeffer also wrote a few books during his short life, and, though I have not read them yet, I learned quite a bit about them by listening to his life story. When speaking of how we approach ethics, Bonhoeffer said we must lay aside our initial questions of “What is right?” and “How do I do what is right?” Instead, we must ask ourselves, “What is God’s will?”
This brought me great comfort last week, as Aaron and I made one of the most difficult decisions of our lives. I cannot share details, but through a series of events, we had to determine whether our home was still the best and safest place for our foster son. At first glance, this seems like a cruel decision to be made. I can’t say that it didn’t feel cruel in the moment, either. But, when faced with our commitment to our own children and an understanding of our own limitations, what was the right decision??
This is where I always get hung up. I debate myself into the ground, playing the devil’s advocate with my own conscience, and questioning every motive in my heart.
WHAT IS RIGHT?
No. What is God’s will? What is God’s will for my family, my children, my marriage? Can I really break every decision down to a moral black and white call? I cannot. There comes a time when it seems we’re choosing between “a lesser of two evils,” and it almost feels like there is little choice at all. For me, this means indecision becomes my hideaway, and I find myself procrastinating as I debate inwardly.
But- when it is all said and done, there is only One I live to please. His choices for me will always be “right,” and though I may occasionally misunderstand Him, His grace is always present to help me back onto the path He designed for me.
And, so, with tears and a heavy, heavy heart, I packed up my foster son’s room, and our family went on the Arrow Foster Family Hold List.
This empty room is a symbol of the space I feel in my heart. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be. This foster parenting stuff- it isn’t for wimps, guys. I’m mourning the loss of a son who was never really mine to begin with. He belongs to God, and I had him on loan for awhile. Never have I found it more difficult to trust that God has things under control, though I do not.
Obviously, we still have our “3 newbies,” and we definitely need some time to pour into and attach to them. It blows my mind continually that it hasn’t even been one year since we met our kids, and we’re still getting to know them in so many ways! I’m trying to let go of the plan I had and find joy in this one.
When I look at my children, I can’t help feeling blessed beyond what I could ever deserve. And, forever and ever, I’ll be like Oscar Schindler, reminding myself that there are always more who need to be rescued. The journey doesn’t stop here. There is still an empty room, and there are stories that must be told. There are children who need loving shelter and a healing home. Now, perhaps more than ever before, there’s a fire in my bones to tell their stories to the masses. Maybe because now, the stories are written on my heart.