with us in the fire and the flood

Thursday, January 8, 2015

When we began our foray into foster care and adoption, we knew virtually no one who was walking this same road. In the middle of those early, tear-filled, questioning days, I longed for someone who shared my heart to encourage me. I longed for someone who had walked this road before me to guide me. Without knowing a single soul who could fill that role for me, I turned online for support.

There’s a lot to be said about flesh and blood people who can sit at your kitchen table and drink coffee and see your streaked make-up. Sometimes, you’re just at a stage of life where that isn’t possible. Sometimes the people who can sit at your table don’t have the wisdom you need right in that specific season. Sometimes, you’re left with the miracle of the internet where you can find people who are writing about just the things you need to hear. The ones who are sharing just the stories that you need to follow.

Most often for me, in those early days, it just involved reading blogs of women who had similar experiences. Eventually we started going to some conferences to connect in new ways. I found a couple Facebook groups that helped significantly. But it was mostly just me lurking and reading from afar. I didn’t have enough guts to contact people in person. I’m not extroverted enough to typically be the initiator, but once you get so desperate, you’re willing to forgo some of your natural inclinations and step out of your comfort zone.

There was a big moment for me early on. I took some initiative and wrote some emails. One of the ladies afforded me a non-threatening way to engage: she hosts something called Tuesday Topics where readers can write in a question regarding adoptive/trauma parenting and other readers can respond with helpful wisdom and advice. We were at a desperate, dark place. Trying to figure out what was best for the two in our home, weighing the option of bringing their older sister into our home and trying desperately to ascertain what is best for a child we didn’t even know…we were overwhelmed. So with trepidation, I emailed Lisa with no actual hopes that my question would be chosen.

Not only did she choose my question for a Tuesday Topic, she emailed me back and asked if she could call. And she did. From several time zones away. In the middle of a Target parking lot, I found myself on the phone with a complete stranger talking over oddly intimate details about our lives. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is nothing that made more difference in my life during that particular season than that phone call. Not just regarding the decision we made surrounding our children’s sibling relationships, but also in terms of us continuing down this road of foster care and adoption. It was the first experience I ever had where a stranger took such care and time with my life and concerns. Not because she got anything out of it. We had no ongoing personal relationship to invest in. She did it because she cared about me. Because she cared about kids. Because she loves Jesus and follows Him in this whole complicated journey we’re on. I realized we had a people. We were part of this tribe.

Lisa has been on my mind for many months as they’ve been walking a very hard road with one of their children since bringing her home from Ethiopia. I’ve kept their family and their precious daughter in my prayers the whole time. Then, over the holidays, that same 13-year-old daughter – the same age as my eldest son - was tragically killed in a car accident that injured Lisa as well. The depth of their sorrow I cannot pretend to understand, but I have grieved their loss. I have cried many tears for their family. I have pled with God for answers. While He may not give answers, He can give peace in the midst. That’s what I’m praying now. Peace and healing for their whole family. If you have space and time, would you keep them in your prayers also?

Click here to see a message from Lisa and a video from Dimples’ memorial service. No small thing that this song was chosen for her service. This same song has been on repeat in my own home so many times over the past four years; what a gift Aaron Keyes has given to God’s people. I’ll include the text and a YouTube video below in case the link to Lisa’s video doesn’t work. If you’d like to send a note of encouragement or condolence to the Qualls family, you can do so at loveforthequalls@gmail.com

Sovereign Over Us
Aaron Keyes

Verse 1
There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears
You meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting, Sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, You’re teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever, Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

Verse 2
You are wisdom unimagined, Who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens, Reaching down in endless grace
Youʼre the Lifter of the lowly, Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me, Your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley You are faithful
Youʼre working for our good, Youʼre working for our good and for your glory


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