BUT, I am not a victim.

Something has been irking me lately. It’s this feeling every time someone asks about the boys, or how our “situation” is, or if we see them…Something pangs my insides and hits me like vinegar on an open wound. 

Overtime, we’ve seen a lot of our relationships shift; some even deteriorate. My brokenness in this season (this two year long so far season) is still very gaping; some days I feel whole again, like nothing can steal the lightness of life from me again; others, and most, I feel like I am sinking in quicksand. 

But, as I go through my process, and live out my story, I’ve noticed something that I think may be the root of my irk-

I am not a victim. 

But a lot of times, I am treated or seen as such. There’s this confusion and complication that comes with my story (it has the same feel as the “I’m my own grandpa” song, but it’s more like I was my brothers’ mother even though we were all birthed from the same woman). People want to know the hows and whys (was your mom just unfit? –was the most recent of probes with a new meet and greet). I try to explain the but Jesus part of it: yes, but God told me months before to get ready girl, something big is coming. yes, but Jesus is more real than the pain, and he says he’ll sit with me as I cry–will you? 

I often leave conversations with people about the boys feeling defeated and depressed. And, I realize more than anyone this is a complicated situation, and there’s no right thing to say. But what I want to get across is this truth: 

I am not a victim. 

Because, yes, the pain is very real-but Oh in that pain, how all the more real is the beauty? SOMETHING springs forth in our desert places. I have to believe that SOMETHING will grow from this heartache situation. 

And I say this not to get more tender glances or comments of understanding-I don’t share my story on social media and through writing because I want people to feel bad for me-but I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe there’s someone out there who is feeling the way I do? Carrying the pain of a little lost boy or girl-or any kind of loss. And they too can find comfort in someone saying out loud: this pain sucks and the recovery is a confusing hot mess. But we are not alone in it. 

So, yes. My mother was unfit, and the boys’ placement was an emergency. I stood up to say yes, of course to fostering them. And, in all honesty, I would have said the same thing if they were not my brothers (contrary to popular belief) because my heart races for the care of the orphan. There is a need, and a lack of people willing to step out and say yes. 

I was not a victim of my circumstances. I was empowered to do hard and holy things by an all powerful, all knowing Savior who saw me from the creation of time. He mapped out my story for me long before that call came through in the middle of the night, and He sees it for what it is all the way through the end. 

I am not a victim. 

This was just the way God had set out for me to serve His purpose of stepping in for the orphan. Yes, I thought it was going to involve moving to the most dangerous countries and kicking down doors to rescue trafficked women, but God had something different (way freaking different) planned for me that involved having my eyes opened to the irrefutable flaws of the Orange County Department of Children and Families services. Now I am walking with the knowledge of the flaws, and since I am aware, I am responsible to do something. 

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. 

We are not to be pitied or pushed aside because we say yes to hard and holy things! No. We (whoever you are, whatever your story may be) are alive and strong and able to step into your call; and should be free to do without others’ dismissal because of your rough patch life. We are more than that. We are more than capable, and we are more than conquerers.