God brings redemption into our mourning

By Tish Hedger

Attachment to one’s mother is a mystery of the heart. The desire to know my mom is an enduring companion. If she called me tomorrow, I would go to her. Wherever she was, I would go.

I was young when she left, so the desire to know her always seemed irrational. But now, considering my little one and the devastation he would experience if I disappeared from his life, it makes sense. Even if I was replaced with the most attentive caregivers, something in his heart would forever shift to accommodate the loss.

Our hearts and bodies remember things that our minds cannot.

For many years on Mother’s Day, and many other days, I thought of the woman who knew my first day. The woman who remembers things about me that I cannot. I longed for a mother’s love—one that can bestow a certain dignity and teach you how important you are, before you can even speak.

I became a weeping daughter. I wept willingly for my loss. I wept for my mother’s addiction and her wasted years. Sometimes, I wept from a sadness I could not even understand.

As an adult, as motherhood eluded me, I wondered why God would not give us children? Fears rushed in to answer my questions.

The waiting felt cruel, but God is never cruel. So, with bloodied nails and a heavy heart, I clawed my way to the Solid Rock and waited. Slowly, the waiting sculpted surrender in my heart, and God’s healing and vision came.

“Oh Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.” Ps 30:2-3

Before all of this, we had a plan for our family. My husband and I had sat in a restaurant and discussed how we were finally “ready.” We would have biological children and then, after we had some parenting skills built up, would foster to adopt. My confidence was in our plan.

“As for me, I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.” Ps 30:6

But then weeks of trying turned to months of trying. The months of trying turned to years.

I will never forget those nights with tears streaming. I will not forget the tears for the waiting. Tears for the children we had not laid eyes on. Though we were learning to trust God’s wise vantage point, we needed strength in the night so we might still choke out His praise.

“Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” Ps 30:9-10

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Ps 30:5b

The first day our foster license was active was the first day Trisha came up in need of a placement. I remember peering through our window, trying to catch the first glimpse of our answered prayer. This little blonde bounced out of a car, decked out in animal print. Although her body language was brave, her eyes were frightened.

It soon became clear that she was our first born and that she would not be returning to the care of her birth family.

I stood stunned at God’s redemption when I realized Trisha was 14, the same age my mother was when she entered foster care.

It was like a light bulb went off. Mothering is not about fulfilling my dreams or satisfying any craving in my heart. Mothering is about offering my heart to be wrung out on behalf of His redemptive plan… for His glory.

As I came to know Trisha, I understood her pain in a unique way. My broken heart equipped me to mother the broken hearted. Soon, I was no longer a weeping daughter but a mother to one.

“By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong.” Ps 30:7

That was three years ago. And God has certainly redeemed my grief for joy and my mourning for dancing. And to watch the weeping of my daughter slowly give way to healing under Christ’s careful care is a treasure so dear I could never have imagined it.

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing, you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory my sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Ps 30:11-12

Published October 6, 2016

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Tish Hedger

Tish is a counselor at Emmaus Counseling in Kansas City. She is married to Joshua Hedger, pastor of Emmaus Church in Kansas City. They have a two-year-old son named Asa and an adopted 17-year-old daughter named Trisha. Tish writes for FTC, Flourish and Emmaus and speaks at women's conferences and retreats.
You can follow Tish's writing at her personal blog, on Flourish, and at For The Church.