I was driving around the other day and noticed how hot and tired everything looked. The leaves were curling and the branches drooping. The flowers are barely hanging on to life, reminding me that this season is coming to an end. Dry, brown patches of grass threaten to take over what was once green and growing. Long hot days have taken its toll on nature. It's as though you can hear it screaming for the break of winter and cooler days.
It wasn’t that many months ago that we were worried about spring downpours flooding our basement and backyard. The rain had come so hard and so frequent that we feared our sump pump couldn’t keep up. Our entire backyard was flooded for days and water poured throughout our entire neighborhood, but somehow everything held secure and dry. The rain subsided, the ground dried out. We quickly forgot about the worry as we watched our yard come alive again with beautiful colors of flowers and bright green grass. Winter had passed and new life and hope was born.
Lately we’ve been getting a lot of behavior reports for one of our kids. I’m sure many of you can relate. The classroom can be really hard for our little ones. So many things to trigger their behavior, from sensory overload to the requirements of sitting and learning for hours at a time. That’s not all. At home we often have battles with behavior that lasts for days on end. It's like the spring floods that threaten to overwhelm the river banks and drainage systems in our neighborhood. There’s no way to contain the emotions and hurts that pour from our little ones hearts and minds. We hang on. We pour into our kids and try to do our best to rely on the resources and strength we need to get through to the next season.
Finally, the rains stop. Oh, those amazing days when it feels like everything is good. The kids are happy, the sun is shining, you hear their laughter and it feels as though everything is going to be ok. We all know those days are fleeting. Trauma and abuse have left scars in their little hearts that don’t heal easily. They affect every part of their life and show themselves in an array of ways. They come and go and, as a caregiver, you become exhausted. The constant care, struggles with behavior, battles with the system, and constantly giving of yourself can leave you feeling tired, drained and dry.
On the days you feel like giving up, remind yourself that seasons come and seasons go. Just when the heat of summer is about to overwhelm creation, there is a break. Cooler days come and the beauty of fall rejuvenates the world around us until the winter months sneak up on us. We trade the warmth of summer for snow and ice and the earth rests until it is called to awaken. Then the warm spring rains begin to fall again.
Everyday won’t be this hard. Some days will be harder. Some days will be rewarding. Some days you will want to throw in the towel and call it quits. The little one you care for is worth it. When you feel like quitting, just remember that a new season is just around the corner. Remember, that all creation has to rest. Rely on your support to find yours and find your strength in the joys of each season.
Throughout the years I’ve seen foster parents come and go. They start out their journey with joy and hope for the future. Their desire to make a difference, build their family, and make a change drives their excitement, but quickly the storms come. The foster care system is broken. Foster parents become enraged with a system that fails our kids. Lack of communication fuels their distrust. The kids they dreamed of helping bring behaviors and hurts that are beyond their ability to cope. The child they loved is removed. Their hearts are broken only to repeat this over and over again. Whenever you feel you’ve lost your joy. When your hope is gone remember why you were called to this journey in the first place. Remember that with every season there is a change and that each new day gives hope for tomorrow. Don't lose hope and don't get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time you will reap a harvest of blessing if you don’t give up. Know that the love you give and the sacrifice you make is worth it and know that tomorrow will be a brighter day.
Leave a comment if you ever faced a hard season and how you were able to make it through.