The guitar notes strummed on as our pastor sang the last words of the worship song, “Good, good father”. My heart was centered on the goodness of my Heavenly Father…His love, care, guidance, protection, sacrifice…all of what makes a good, good father.
“How could he just leave me?” My teary eyed 9 year old comes to me in deep sorrow. “Did he ever even kiss me?” This rare display of serious, heart wrenching emotion catches me off guard. She notices my confusion and clears up my thinking by saying, “My birth dad, mom, how could he just leave?”
My heart dropped to the floor and that same weighty emotion floods my soul. I reach for her, pull her close to me and cry with her. What, Lord? What do I say to this? How do I explain this unjustness to my precious child? Our hearts and minds are connecting in this deep sadness. “He doesn’t know what he’s missing, Sweet Abby. He has no idea what he’s missing in not knowing you. He has a hard heart and is closed off to knowing your sweetness.”
This provides no comfort, “But, mom, how could he just leave me? Without ever even kissing me?”
I hold her and we cry silent tears together, sharing in the pain.
She catches a glimpse of her dad in the back of the room, and I breathe a quiet, thank you, Lord.
“Sweet Abby, the Lord provided a dad for you that kisses you everyday and has never left you.” Always quick to move on from serious emotions, she can’t help but smile. The tears stop and she’s ready for me to walk her to her class upstairs at church.
This is not my first experience with that kind of sorrow. Our older daughter, Mikayla, had years of deep heartache around the loss of her birth mom. Writing letters that we could never send, pouring over pictures from a photo album, creating memories in her mind of the time she had with her in the hospital as a newborn. When the sadness hit, she became like a sieve. I’d pour into her all the love I could muster, but it just ran right through. She was empty and I was trying to fill her with what I had to offer, which was never enough.
I remember one night, when the grief was like a never ending beast and my words were falling on her deaf ears, I just walked out of her room and said, “There’s nothing I can do.” I finally heard my own words…there’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing I can do.
I handed her a pink, leather book. A book full of promises. A love letter from our Creator. “Here’s your Bible. This is all I have to offer you. This is where I find my hope.” I walked out, defeated.
Dropping to my knees next to my bed, I yelled out to God. “Lord, help. Take this away. Take her pain. Take this loss. Heal the hole in her heart.” Those words ran through my mind until I finally gave in to sleep. Fighting the urge to go to her, to see if I could finally have the words to say to bring relief.
Bounding down the stairs the next morning, was a new girl. I stared at her with unbelief. Wasn’t she angry at me? I had failed her. I had left her in her pit of sorrow.
“Mom, last night I read Psalms! I turned to Psalm 71 and God comforted me, mom.”
“Really?” In desperation the night before, I had thrust God’s word at her, with the smallest amount of faith. Had she immediately picked it up? Or had she persisted in her crying until finally giving in to my suggestion. Does it matter? She had experienced the power of scripture coming to life, rescuing her in her time of need.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
7 I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
This night signaled a beginning to healing. The beginning of my realization that I cannot fill the emptiness my adopted daughters share. I cannot be and will never be enough.
My girls are on loan. They belong to their Heavenly Father. He has entrusted them to me. My role is to guide, love them, point them in the right direction…lead them right to their Heavenly Father.
About a year after that dark night with Mikayla, we were just finishing a walk together. We had talked about what we would have for dinner, our plans for the weekend, if I thought we would EVER be able to get a dog, and then the subject turned, “I wonder how my birth mom is doing?”
“You know, I think of her so often. Have you prayed for her lately?” I ask, hesitantly.
“No. I really should. I hope she’s okay. And, if she’s not alive anymore, I really hope she’s with Jesus.” Not a tear. Not even one out of control emotion. Round the corner she went, into our driveway.
“Wow, Mikayla. I don’t notice that empty hole in your heart anymore. Do you?”
“Yeah, it’s still kind of there. It’s just so much smaller. I think about her still, I just don’t feel as sad. I can see how God has a purpose for me here, in my family.”
I don’t know when Abby’s healing will come. But, what I do know is that I will stay out of the way. I will not try to fill a hole only the Almighty can fill. I will teach her about her Good Good Father and He will fill her.