This upcoming Sunday is Easter. Last Easter looked very different for me: I was barely a month into fostering a precious, but high-needs five-year-old little girl. The day began with Easter gifts and dyeing eggs and worshipping online with our church community. It went downhill from there. The day ended with her refusing to brush her teeth and spitting toothpaste all over the front of my shirt and our bathroom rug. We were both in tears.
I passed her off to my husband saying, “You can put her to bed,” and marched straight into my own bedroom. I took off my toothpaste-soiled clothes, crawled straight into bed, and cried myself to sleep.
This was not the Easter I had been hoping for. Instead of celebrating Jesus’ triumph over the grave surrounded by friends and my faith community, I was alone and isolated due to Covid. Over the past four weeks, my husband and I had struggled to meet the needs of this traumatized child who had been severely neglected by her own parents, and it wasn’t getting any easier. The day—the entire month really—had felt more like Good Friday than Easter Sunday.
Could the Resurrected Christ redeem even this?
Seven months after the teeth-brushing incident, that little girl was no longer in our home. We made the difficult but necessary decision to request her placement in a home that would be more suited for her elevated behavioral needs.
Over the last five months since we made that decision, I’ve struggled with feelings of guilt, shame, grief, self-doubt, anger, sadness, relief, worry, and confusion.
Did we make the right call?
Did we do everything we could for her, or should we have tried harder to keep her in our home?
Was I just being selfish, thinking of my own needs before hers?
What if we had received more help from the state or foster system? Could we have stuck it out then?
What if we had gotten a different foster placement? Would our fostering experience have been better or different or the same?
How is she doing now? Does she like her new foster family? Do they make her feel loved and safe? Do they read to her at bedtime like we did? Do they pray with her like we did?
At some point, I’ve had to stop asking the “what ifs” and trust that I made the right call: not only for my own sake, but for hers too. I’ll be honest, it’s taken a lot of prayer, a lot of difficult conversations with my husband, and a lot of hard work with my therapist to get to that point.
But I also have to trust that the Resurrected Christ redeems everything, even hurting little girls and their broken foster parents too. In fact, many would say that’s what the Resurrected Christ does best: creating new life from broken, hurting things.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:4-5)
What does the Resurrected Christ need to redeem in your life today?