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Last night, I had the most awful, awful dream.

Maddy was kidnapped by her bio mom. (I get that in reality, I’m her bio mom. But in my dream, she was adopted.) She was gone a day and a half before we found her. Her mom had taken her to a sex house.

Ryan and I were desperately trying to get answers — was she abused? Did she get raped?

I screamed right there that I was DONE with open adoptions. Never, ever again would any bio parent have anything to do with my kids.

My dream only progressively got worse. My own mom became involved in drugs. I was raped. Twice.

And then I woke up.

The dream has haunted me today.

It didn’t take a visit to the therapist to realize what it was all about.

I’m scared.

I’m scared for Z.

Every time he comes home from a visit with his bio family, I give him a bath and wash all his clothes. I try to bathe away the stink of smoke.

This week, it occurred to me.

One day, he’ll get baths. But not by me. He’ll be living in the stink. He will get out of the bath, and the smoke, the stink, the awful chemicals will still be all around. Still be on him.

I can’t protect him forever.

Yesterday, I started an email address at the request of the state social worker so that I could communicate with mom. We touched base, and I tried to be pleasant.

And yet, when mom hinted that I was doing something not well, not as well as she did before he came into our care . . . I became unnerved.

I am fighting (oh, my horrible sin nature) to want to tell mom what I really think. To remind her that I was the one up with him awful night of awful night for MONTHS — MONTHS — trying to help this little baby recover from what SHE did.

I want to never let her forget her sins or her mistakes. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want the judge to hear, and the social workers, and I want God to hear that this is not right!

And in my horrible, self-righteous fury, a truth sunk deep in my heart.

This self-righteousness? It’s not God in me.

It’s me in me.

Or worse. It’s sin in me.

God? He’s so far above me.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  
Romans 5:8

Christ didn’t die for us after we had everything figured out. He didn’t die after we had repented and asked a million times for the forgiveness we didn’t deserve. He didn’t die for us after we had proved what we could do without him.

He just said, “I love you enough. I will forgive you. I will offer myself, before you even know you need me. I lay down my rights, my life, my all. FOR YOU. A sinner. WHILE you are sinning.”

I remember accepting Christ when I was just a little girl. 3 maybe? 5? I remember praying with my mom in her room. I have lived almost 30 years claiming to be a Christian.

And yet.

God’s simple call to pick up my cross has never felt so real. So gosh-darn humbling. SO ridiculously hard.

Love. Forgive. Surrender.

Beautiful words we sing so joyously on Sunday. But on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday? When those words call you to the depth of who you are. When the ask everything from you. When they demand your life, and your tears, and your soul, and your peace of mind, and your control.

Then? Then are we willing to love? To forgive? To surrender?

It is easy for me to say I love sinners. But to say, “Bio mom. I love you as Christ loves you. I forgive you for what you caused to happen to my precious love little Z. I will surrender parenting him, I will surrender to God’s control and to the courts will. I will let go of the little man I will always consider a son. You will take him back up. And I will give you my blessing.”

This is my struggle. My cross. My living out the gospel, and not just in theory.

It’s where God’s love and his transforming power hit the dirt road of my life.

As we tiptoe closer and closer to court in June — as an impossible deadline looms — I just pray that I will let God work in my heart to make me ready to carry the cross. And to do so in a way that honors him.

After all — I, too, was once the sinner in need of saving.

[And I also am praying that God would never, ever let up on Z. That He would protect him, and chase after his heart.  You know. Because giving up control is a little hard for me. 😉 ]

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