There isn't one area of life that our foster daughter hasn't touched. In a little over three months, she has left a mark on our bank account, on our kitchen table, all over our schedules, in our marriage, in our parenting, and on our hearts. She has taught us a new way to live, which I sometimes appreciate but often resent. I feel completely spent in almost every way, almost all of the time.
For the past week and a half, teachers in Oklahoma have been on strike, which means that my four-year-old has not been at Pre-K, nor has my three-year-old foster child been attending her preschool class for kids with developmental disabilities. Consequently, I've been home all day every day with three small humans, a job which many moms gracefully undertake whether or not teachers are on strike. I, however, have consistently felt ill-equipped, defeated, angry, stressed, and impatient as I've had these kids at home.
Last Wednesday, K started counseling with a therapist who comes to our house. The whole thing was an absolute disaster for an abundance of reasons that I won't discuss here. The therapist left after a day which had already included crying, feet stomping, hitting, poopy pants, whining, breaking a bench, and screaming. Thankfully, the weather outside that day was gorgeous, so I sent the girls to the backyard, sank to the kitchen floor, and burst into tears. The weightiness of foster care once again hit me like a ton of bricks.
We were discussing our situation in the home of some friends recently. We were called to be foster parents, but we often wish that we weren't. One of our friends responded simply,
"God sees you."
Those three words have changed everything.
When I got home later that evening, I looked up the Bible passage (Genesis 16) which inspired our friend's words to me. To paraphrase, a woman named Sarai could not have children. So, she told her husband to sleep with her slave, Hagar, in order to continue the family line. Afterward, Sarai became bitter toward Hagar and severely mistreated her, so much so that pregnant Hagar ran away to the desert. Alone, empty-handed, and afraid, Hagar met "the God who sees" by a stream in the desert. He heard her cries of misery and promised to bring forth many powerful descendants from her.
He gave her a stream in the desert. He gives me himself, the Fountain of living water that never runs dry.
She ran away. He pursued her. I try to flee from this hard calling. He finds me, calls me by name, and speaks gently with me.
He heard her. He hears my feeble cries for help.
He saw her.
He sees me!
On the days when I'm feeling hopeless and looking for an escape, he sees me. He sees me wiping snot for the fifty billionth time today. He sees me struggling to love people who I do not like. He sees me in a pile of emotions on the kitchen floor.
He sees me with compassion and grace, just as he saw his Son in the garden thousands of years ago, sweating drops of blood. He sees the tears and sweat and catches every drop.
Son or daughter, child of the King, He sees you, too.