4 days prior to leaving, our 10 year old son decided to" run away" (again). I was home alone with all 6 kids and he was raging with hurt, anger, frustration and confusion. Without warning, he slammed the door and took off. I couldn't fight or stop him. It would only make matters worse. I let him go and decided we would set out to find him soon after. I texted Sol (who was working and catching up with deadlines). My weary husband who was barely treading above water...
Unfortunately, my other 5 children were so fearful, they begged me to stop looking. Around 8:00 that evening, the Police brought him home. Apparently our son chose to betray us and told the police officers that we "mistreated" him. Once again, Sol and I were "interviewed." By now, I just took a deep breath and told myself.... "Chris, this is your chance to be a light in the darkness (again)... share the truth of the struggles and fears that adopted children face... - just keep it real." They responded with understanding and gave us permission to relax. As they hung around our house, they were able to see and experience the aroma of joy and laughter coming from the rest of our children. While leaving, they received another call to search for another "run away" child. It was a relief to know that we weren't alone.
Once again, our kids had to experience Police officers unexpectedly entering their safe and secure territory. As soon as the officers left, our 8 year old daughter started sobbing and the rest of our kids sought us for immediate comfort.
Our kids were hurting and angry at their brother for betraying them. Their wounded brother was full of bitterness, fear and frustration.
That night, my weary husband and I cried out in desperateness to God.... our strength was fading...
"Please God... intervene. Heal. Provide rest for our weary soul..."
One of the speakers (a dear friend) at the conference spoke about "Being seen by God." She reminded us of the story in Genesis 16 where God meets Hagar after she has fled from her mistress, Sarai. I thought..."for sure this message was to give me insight into one of our children... perhaps our 10 year old son." Over and over again, I have asked God to give me eyes into my children's hearts, to be able to see and love them even through their anger and frustration. I want my children to know that God sees them and desires a relationship with them... even in their brokeness. I had been so consumed with my kids and being the "loving,nurturing mother" that I had forgotten my longing to be seen and noticed by my Creator. My Abba Father. "El Roi"- the God who sees me.
I finally broke. The floodgates opened. Healing tears streamed down my face as I just melted in His presence. The room full of 450+ women suddenly became empty. Voices faded and all I heard was God telling me how much He loved me. I wrestled with Him for a few minutes. I felt guilty... guilty for just thinking about me and Him. This time, it wasn't about my children or even my marriage. As I slowly let go of the guilt, my kids and Sol...I began to feel His loving arms embrace me. I felt seen and noticed by Him. I had finally found my Resting Place.
Over the weekend, several moms that I had never met approached me with hugs and told me how much they had been praying for our family during our detainment in Ghana. I hadn't realized how much it meant to me until I experienced God's presence in such a powerful way. He demonstrated His love for our family through these women and their prayers during our desperateness and trauma. Once again, I felt my weary soul refreshed and renewed.
As much as I wanted to stay in that place of Rest, I knew I needed to return home to my family and continue this loving and yet painful journey that God has called all 8 of us on.
There is so much comfort in knowing that God sees and will pursue us regardless of our weariness.
I am so thankful for my dearest friend who "forced" me to register for this conference, for our insightful friend who spoke about "Being seen by God," and for all of you that have prayed for our family. I can't say "thank you" enough. We were never meant to walk this journey alone.
May you find REST for your weary souls today.