• Dana L. Butler

For When Your Story Is Broken


A note to my readers:

I wrote this piece for a link-up with a writers’ group I’m a part of (of which I’m a part?).  The prompt was Story and this was what came out in response.  I guess, after years, I’m still processing.  And I think, probably, I always will be.  And I also think–that it’s okay.

Because He’s enough to cover the unresolved-ness of my story.

Of all our stories.

________

If you rewound my life 5 years, you’d find Stan and me, married just over a year, beginning our foster care journey.

Were we nuts to start out on such a crazy-intense road?

Yes.  Certifiably.  But thank God–He protects and redeems.

Our first placement was all it took.  Our hearts were mush.

A stunningly beautiful baby girl.  2 days old, straight from the hospital.

Tali.  Our Baby Bug.

Her birth mother had lost custody of a [large] number of other children.  In light of that, our desire was to adopt our “Bug” and at first, it looked like a good possibility.

Then–

Enter: the Kansas foster care system.  Swooped right in, felt the need to give our girl’s mother yet another chance.

For 21 months, we went to court, took our girl to required visits, endured the gut-wrenching roller coaster of “we’re going to be able to adopt her–oh, no, we’re not.”

We gave our hearts to her with abandon.  Trusted Jesus to catch us if it all fell apart.

Which it did.

Birth mom jumped through the required hoops, did what she needed to do.

On August 30th, 2010, we moved our beautiful, confident, cute-beyond-words, well-adjusted almost-2-year-old in with her birth mom.

Her world was ripped out from under her, and we were heartbroken.

Do You Trust Me?

For the last 3 years, we’ve witnessed what has seemed to be the undoing of all our investing in her life.  Her heart.  Her emotional stability.  We’ve remained in touch with her family on and off and I’ve questioned whether it’d be better for her if we just…faded…out.

The tearing of her heart has been agonizing to watch.

And while I don’t pretend to be God, and I know He has a perspective and a plan I can’t yet see, I have honestly questioned His goodness to her.  Right now.  In this season of–I don’t even want to describe the brokenness that is her life right now.

But y’all?  Here’s what I know.  In the midst of–in the face of–everything:

  1. God is good, even when I can’t see how He’s demonstrating His goodness in Tali’s life.

  2. His heart toward her, His plans for her–they’re trustworthy.

  3. He’s pursuing her heart, even now.

  4. He’s committed to her wholeness.

  5. He’s committed to her knowing Him.  Committed to redemption.

I’ve driven down the road–even just in the last few months–and wept for her.

Wept because she’s not our daughter anymore and she’s not Isaac’s big sister and she’s in a home situation that is heartbreakingly dysfunctional and just–oh–so sad.  

I’ve prayed and groaned my Why God?!?! prayers and been met with silence.

Followed by His whisper: “Dana, do you trust Me?”

“Yes Lord, BUT….”

A million but‘s.  A million unanswered questions.  This is my unresolved story.  The greatest “God, how could you let this happen?!” of my life.

And tonight as I sit with my husband listening to the hum of our baby monitors and I’m so thankful for the blessing of our 2 children?

I also need to acknowledge this hugely unresolved piece of my history.  I don’t have answers.  I can’t look back now, years later, and say, “Oh, now I see–” like I can with so many other portions of my journey.

This one piece of my story just hangs there.  Broken.  No repair in sight.

But really, God is about redemption and as I acknowledge the brokenness of my story, of Tali’s story, I just need to speak this out over her heart, her life, her future.

And over my own.

To believe it harder and louder than all the non-answers, the trauma, the heart-agony:

That HE. IS. GOOD.  And He is GOD.  God over all the unresolved-ness of all of it.  God over my questions, my anger, my grief.  Over Tali’s broken life, over her family.

And whether I understand His ways or not, He’s worthy of my worship, of my trust.  

And it’s to worship and trust I return, over and over again, because whom have I but Him when it all comes down, anyway?

Where else would I go, Lord?

So I learn ruthless trust over and over, and I remind my heart yet again–she’s His.  And circumstances can’t shake the tenderness or fierceness of His commitment to her life.

Or to my heart.

And in the agony of the unresolved, His nearness is acute.  He covers over the ache of the non-answers.

And after all, He’s somehow enough.

Just–

Enough.

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