When the answer is no

Ericsson_1939

DSS called again this week.

First, I felt my cell phone vibrate in my pocket.

Then, our diligent secretary hunted me down during my lunch time.  I pleaded for mercy and asked her to send the call to my voicemail.

Another call.  Another sad story.  Another little one who will haunt my dreams.

Another tally mark in the “things I never expected when I signed up for this” category.

I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty strong person.

But every call, every story, every little one who needs mama-love is like a knife to my heart.

I want to buy a house with a million bedrooms.

Or (even better) recruit a million foster families.

Or (better yet) plead with Jesus to just come back already and make it all new.

Friends, I want to say yes to every single one.

It is not ok with me that any child would need for a family, a home.

This is not ok.

And so I text my sister.  And one of my dearest friends.

Secretly hoping that one of them will text back

Oh my goodness, yes!  or

Oh my goodness, no!

Of course they are too wise to do any such thing.

And so my mind shifts into overdrive.  How can I rearrange my home, my life, my daughter’s life to make this work?

And then I am reminded of the words of another wise friend.

You have good instincts.  Don’t overthink it.  Just go with your gut.

So I summon my courage.  I ask my social worker to keep looking.

And I feel good about it for a minute (ok, honestly about 4 hours).

Until I start second- and third- and sixty four thousandth- guessing myself.

I reason that saying no to this call means saying yes to pouring into my daughter at a really important time.

I reason that saying no to this opportunity means saying yes to other ways of living and giving generously.

I reason that saying no to something that I’m not sure about could mean that this little one will find a home, a family that is a better fit.

Or, if not, that I will get another call and hear a different answer next time.

And still, my heart is in upheaval for what might have been.

The need is great, friends.

The stories, and the little lives that they represent, are many.

The harvest is plentiful.

The workers are few.  (And we are tired, y’all.  Weary.  Worn-out.  Spent.)

I’m barely sure what all of this means for me today.

One car seat in the back of my Honda.

An empty bed.

Remembering, loving, pleading with Jesus for the little ones I’ve held for a moment.

And leaving space to feel the stories that might have been.

I certainly don’t know what all of this means for you today.

But, whatever you do, don’t plug your ears to the stories of the little ones.

Don’t shield your eyes from their faces.

They need you, friends.

They need us.

Even when the answer is no.

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