As many of you know already, we have been fostering our son for two and a half years now and have ridden many emotional roller-coasters during that time. At times, we wondered just where God was. Was He even listening to our prayers? Had He noticed the pain and heartache in our lives?
It was tough especially this last year and a half. Each time we got close to what seemed like the end of the ride, we were put on a new roller-coaster. Each one more loopy than the one before. Each one leaving our stomach in more knots than before. But each time we got off, we were so much stronger than when we got on---stronger in our marriage, stronger in our love for our son, stronger in our faith. Things never seemed to go the way we hoped and prayed for, but always seemed to work out in the end. But we continued to worry and fret and not trust God completely.
A few weeks ago, I sat in the courthouse literally all day waiting again for the termination of parental rights trial to be over. Once again, we started out on a roller-coaster bright and early at 9:00 am. It was a good thing that I hadn't had coffee or breakfast, or else it would have come up. By mid morning, my emotions couldn't take the ups and downs and craziness anymore. I went outside for some air and to call my prayer partners to give them an update on the newest stunt. That was when I spotted the Cathedral steeple towering over the building across the street from the courthouse. I knew the only person that would be able to fix this was Jesus himself.
I walked across the street only to find that the church was locked. In tears, I walked around trying every door I could find. I had no luck getting inside, but then I looked up and saw a statue of Our Blessed Mother in a small garden near a side entrance. I sat down on the sidewalk next to her and cried out to her. She was a
mother, too. She would understand my plea and could bring it to her Son
for me. Jesus had listened to her and followed her prompting at the wedding in Cana even though it "wasn't his time." He performed a miracle at her request and changed water into wine to help that family in need. I needed a miracle, and I knew she would hear my plea, mother to mother. She would ask him to help my family in our time of need just as she did in Cana.
So there I sat for a half hour or so, pleading with Mary to intercede for us. I asked her to plead with Jesus to take care of this case once and for all and to send me some comfort. Suddenly, the wind began to blow ever so gently across this small courtyard garden. I felt the loving peace and embrace of the Holy Spirit and knew that all would be fine, maybe not today, but one day, in God's time. I had to trust Him completely. I thanked Mary for listening, thanked the God for sending the Holy Spirit to comfort me, and slowly got up. I walked around the church building to find yet another statue of Our Lady. One more plea wouldn't hurt, so I knelt down there at the grotto and prayed one last time for Her intercession.
I returned to the courthouse to find that there hadn't been any update since I had left, but I still felt that peace. I sat down to read the book that I had brought, Full of Grace by Johnette Benkovic. I was behind in my reading for my women's prayer group and thought that I would catch up today while I sat in waiting. I opened up to the bookmarked page to find that it marked something that I had already read not where I had last ended. As I skimmed the page, I knew why my book mark was in this particular spot. It was all about perseverance in prayer. That was what our last meeting was about. I remembered how comforting that last meeting and video presentation was to me after leaving the courtroom devastated last month. Here it was again. Those same words there to comfort me again.
As I began to reread this part, I began to see my own story on the pages. Once again the Holy Spirit led me to what I needed to hear. I felt more at peace than ever before. "Why does God delay in answering our prayer?" I could see each reason given in the book played out in our situation. Increased humility, increased sensitivity, increased gratitude, increased patience, increased sorrow, increased love, and increased faith. The next part was about the importance of thanking God in our times of trials. Thank Him for this long, heart-wrenching trial was the urging in my heart.
So, there I sat thanking God for the two years of struggles, pains, frustrations, and heartache that came with this case. And as I thanked Him, I began to see exactly how He had used this "trial" to grow my faith and the faith of my family. I saw how much we had all grown over the last few years as we battled for what was "best" for this child. I saw how my love for Him and our son had changed over the course of the two and a half years. I saw how this child had changed, how he had grown, and how his faith in God had increased a hundred fold also. I saw how He had changed us.
For all this, I began to praise God from the depths of my soul which ended up being the very next thing in my book--praise Him at all times especially in times of trial. All those tears shed, all the doubts, all the sufferings was exactly what our family needed to get to where we are today. I knew this in my head all along, but now I knew and felt it in my heart and soul. It was one of those very profound "Ah, Ha!" moment. There was a Charismatic prayer meeting going on inside my heart and head! I never proclaimed so many "Alleluia! Praise the Lord! and Praise you, Jesus!" in all my life!
At that moment, a worker came through the doors with the paperwork needed. This was going to be the day! And it was! Our prayers had been heard and were answered all in God's time.