I’m sitting at my kitchen table reflecting on this past weekend. My heart is overflowing with a tender compassion for 48 other women, many of them I didn’t even get to know.
Restore Retreat is an annual event for foster and adoptive moms to get away for the weekend. We laugh, cry, eat too much chocolate, and share our life experiences as moms. Us 49 moms birthed 82 kids, adopted 113, and have fostered over 700 children. Did you see that? We have impacted nearly 1000 kids and we are just a small number of people who do this every day.
I stood in the back of the room watching these women worship. Hands raised. Heads bowed. Silent tears slipping down cheeks. I heard them sing “You are perfect in all of your ways” as I watched one woman’s face and had this overwhelming sense that the Lord had been doing some deep work in her. These were not easy words for her to sing. She believes they are true words, she proclaims them, but her heart is hurting. There are stories of trauma all around. Not just the trauma of our kids, but the trauma either created or triggered by them, as well.
This was the third year Chani and I attended this retreat. It’s been at a different location every year, but this one was by FAR the best location. It fostered togetherness and yet there was enough room to be alone when needed. There were 24 new women this year. That’s an amazing number. I watched their faces and remembered that first year that Chani and I went. We were scared, too. We felt like this year we were really able to connect with people. It takes time, but it’s so worth it. In fact, I feel like last year was the beginning of a healing for me. I went there cynical and judgey. I came home with a few new heart friends and an appreciation for other women.
If I could have, I would have scooped them all up in my arms and quietly declared over each of them, “You are enough. You are more than enough. You are not alone. You can do this. In fact, you ARE doing this. YOU are the right one for this job. You are the exact mom this exact child needs in this exact moment. Rise up warrior woman. There is a battle raging and you’re the one to fight it right here alongside the rest of us.”