We had a little family photo shoot this weekend. Just some woods, my tripod, and the self-timer on my camera.This one was totally unplanned. They were waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for the boys, there on the blanket and I said, “Girls, look at me.” Click.
It might be my very favorite shot. I keep looking at it, wondering how they suddenly became these girls who I respect so much.
Six years ago, they changed my life. I look at this photo taken six months after they came home, and remember how hard — so very hard — it was to become their momma.
Those two, they totally reinvented me. They had lived a lifetime without me and learned all kinds of things little girls shouldn’t have to learn. They learned to depend on themselves; to defend themselves; and to be completely self-sufficient. At the age of four, Hannah scavenged for food and found safe places for them to curl up and sleep. Stephanie fully potty trained herself before she was one. One!
They are survivors, harboring a resilience and strength some women will never know, and no little girl should ever have to learn.
The thing is, life is full of things that shouldn’t happen. Mommas who would rather drink than work. Little girls who dig food out of trash cans. Dads who leave families for a different woman.
I can spend my life wondering why unfair things happen, trying to figure out how, if God is just and loving, why families are broken and little girls sad.
Or I can decided to make a difference.
God doesn’t make resilient and strong daughters without making a resilient and strong momma too. There were times — too many if I’m scary honest — that I didn’t think I was enough for them. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to get the fits to stop. I didn’t know how to break through the apathy. And no matter what I decided to do, it never seemed like it was right. There are still times I wonder if I’m enough.
Until I saw this picture.
And I realized something right must have happened during all of that time when I was worried about whether I was enough for them. The truth is, I’m not enough. Their needs are too big; their hurts are too deep. I can’t heal them. I look at them, these girls who beat the odds, and I know to my bones that God is enough. I rest in the truth that God doesn’t make mistakes, either
He made me to be their mother.
He made them to be my daughters.
And the plans God makes are unstoppable. He is good, always good. I look at that photo and I know the truth of God’s goodness. Since I know the history behind the girls in the photo, I also know the hurt of a fallen world.
But when it is all put together, when I linger longer and I think about what it means to love more when it’s hard to love a little…when I think about the hurt of the world and how hard it is to set things right…when I think about doing the impossible, it all adds up to Romans 8:28.
In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.
It really is this simple. The world hurts. God heals. If you need to proof, then you should meet my daughters.