“You don’t know, what you don’t know.” This could be the theme of my life. Marriage, Parenting, oh, LIFE in general. And for someone who capitalizes on PREPAREDNESS and ORGANIZATION, not knowing what I don’t know is QUITE THE PROBLEM.
Ben and I went to a ministry training conference last month. It was amazing. We learned so much, gained a ton of resources and in general felt inspired and encouraged in our ministry to students and families.
In being away from home, in an environment full of encouragement and every effort put into intentionally building us up, I realized several things that I DIDN’T KNOW I had been harboring.
Its weird to discover how clenched your jaw permanently is, or what your automatic pessimistic default always is. Because they have been that way for SO LONG.
Things I DIDN’T KNOW:
-I had A LOT OF doubt.
In watching and knowing the foster care system intimately, I doubted that the heartbreaking cost was worth the investment in a child’s life.
There were several marriages on the brink that I doubted could be saved
People that I doubted would EVER turn from their ways and return to God
I was absolutely PLAGUED by fear and anxiety. Literally the night before we left, I couldn’t sleep because my mind was playing out EVERY SINGLE HORRIBLE THING that I could imagine would happen to my children while I was away.
I had been operating in doubt and fear for so long, I didn’t even notice how they had become my default settings.
And how dependent on MYSELF I was. I was plagued in part because these were situations BEYOND MY CONTROL.
I went to the conference thinking I would learn how to “do ministry EVEN BETTER”,
and God spoke to my old heart and said, “Big Girl, how about I reveal to your some stuff in your heart, and let Me make ministry AWESOME?”
Me: “Fine.” (I’m slow to accept change)
But this is why God IS God and how AMAZING He is:
Not in a BIG HUGE moment (this is what I would prefer, a big sign in the sky, or a letter on my pillow)
but through worship, through testimonies, through preaching, through conversations with Ben, God reminded Me that HE IS STILL WORKING.
And He works through broken people, broken systems and in the worst and dire situations.
Yes, foster care IS hard, but IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Broken marriages on the brink of divorce, God can heal, restore and make new.
God is in the business of drawing people to Himself, and NOT ON MY TIME TABLE, but His. He can soften the hardest of hearts.
And the reminder that fear is the absence of faith.
That’s still a hard one.
One that I have to repeat over and over when fear tries to wash over me like a tidal wave. I repeat over and over, “fear is the absence of faith, fear is the absence of faith, fear is the absence of faith”.
Faith: complete trust in God. Not complete trust in Jenn Parker.
If He can keep the planets in space, hold the stars in the sky, create something out of nothing, He can handle me and all my hot mess. End of story.