Grace and Unmet Expectations

Yesterday, I ate my feelings. Three cookies and a couple pieces of chocolate later I realized what I was doing. I was upset and thought that a copious amount of sugar was somehow going to solve that. Note to self: too much sugar will give you a stomach ache, not fix any big problems, but you will be frustrated by the stomach ache and you may forget about the other problems momentarily.

But not for long. Because then the phone rings or another email comes in. It’s the reminder that over a year later, families still are not allowed to bring their children home from Congo.

I have a feeling I may be consuming a lot of chocolate this week. Or maybe I can convince my boss to take some walks with me. There’s nothing particularly worse about this week except that the Department of State issued an official statement saying that adoptive parents without referrals should cease pursuing their adoptions from Congo. Let me pause for a moment and explain. The Department of State is essentialling telling families to give up hope that they will bring a child home from Congo if they have not already received a referral for this child.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of families sit heartbroken, mourning the loss of a child they never met, but had pictured in their family for years. Their expectations, along with their hearts, are crushed.

I’ve spent many a drive home crying out to the Lord on behalf of these families and these kids. My heart breaks for them. Frankly, I’m a little pissed, my human brain screams at the Lord, “Aren’t you supposed to be great and mighty, God? You called these families to care for the orphan and this is what you give them?” My flesh just barely resists the urge to add a, “You suck!” on the end of the previous statement.

These families seeking to adopt from Congo are not alone. I’m reminded daily of heartbreak. Childhood cancer, miscarriages, abortions, failed adoptions, called-off engagements, divorces and even death. The reality is, we hope for, pray for and plan for things that may not come to fruition. We start to dream and picture how and when God is going to show up. We think through bridesmaids, baby names, adoption announcements, put down payments on houses and pay into retirement funds only to have our plans fall through. I wish I could say, “Let’s stop hoping, praying, planning and expecting,” but I don’t think that’s the answer either.

Today I stand with those who lives aren’t what they thought they would be. Today, I lift up those experiencing heartbreak and unmet expectations. In the gap between what we think things should look like and reality, Lord, would you meet us with your grace? Jesus, would we be reminded through clenched fists, tear stained cheeks and middle fingers that You meet all of our needs, that everything is a loss compared to knowing you? Would you speak to our broken hearts, into the darkness of our souls and remind us of your grace, love and compassion? And when all else fails, if it can’t fall together today, can you at least make sure we’re surrounded by lots of chocolate?


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