December 21, 2014

In real life, I like fog.  The darkness and dreaminess and quiet–there’s a peace to it.  I even like driving in fog, feeling completely enclosed but watching as the path ahead inevitably reveals itself, the path that was always there, though I couldn’t see it.

Fog in the figurative sense I like less, but God is teaching me through it.  Our girl has been with us for nine months.  Two months ago we had a court hearing, at which point we thought we were going to learn something about what everyone had in mind for her future.  (And even then, that would just have been the start of a lengthy process.)  At that time they said no, let’s decide in December.  So they set a date for another hearing.  And last week, at that hearing, they once again said no, let’s wait to decide, and they set another date for another hearing in March.  If you’re doing the math, you’ll realize that when THAT hearing rolls around, our girl will have been with us for a year.  One whole year, and it FEELS like everyone is twiddling their thumbs.  I know that’s not exactly true.  I know they want to investigate and observe and discuss and make sure they’re making the very best decision.  But to all of those people, the people deciding the whole future of this little person, October or December or March, it doesn’t make much difference.  Those are just dates on their calendars.  They have tens and hundreds of nearly identical dates on their calendars, because there are hundreds and thousands of other kids in foster care in the state of Arizona, and they all have their own court hearings and meetings and psychological reviews, and all of their futures are hanging in the balance as well.

But while those are just dates on the calendars of the powers-that-be, they represent minutes and hours and days and weeks and months in the real lives of these kids and their families.  All that time passes, and the kids and their parents–foster and biological alike–wonder.  We wonder what will happen, what the lawyers have up their sleeves, what the judge has in mind, what mood they’ll all be in at the next hearing, if anyone who matters will have actually read all of the pertinent information or given any thought to these dramatically life-altering decisions prior to setting foot in the courtroom.  We wonder if they’ll ever actually MAKE a decision, or if they’ll continue putting it off indefinitely.  And all the while this girl is growing up, away from her biological family.  She is missing them and growing more attached to us, which makes her feel confused and guilty, and when she asks about the future, we have to tell her the truth.  WE DON’T KNOW.

I realize I sound a little cynical.  I suppose I am.  I’m frustrated by a system that allows a child to linger for so long without any sense of permanence, and I’m frustrated by the brokenness that got her into this mess, a brokenness that is far from healed…but might be just healed enough.  In a way, I can’t blame everyone for taking so long, because I have no earthly idea what I would decide if it were in my hands.  I honestly don’t.  I’m glad it’s not my decision, but the decision belongs to other people who are also flawed, who also have only limited knowledge, and who also can’t predict the future.

While I’m frustrated at the system, I’m finding an increased sense of peace in the Lord as He leads us through this particular fog.  When a situation is so thoroughly out of our hands, it almost makes it easier to rest in Him, because we simply have no other choice.  The path ahead is hidden from us, but it is never hidden from Him.  He not only knows it, He’s laid it down for us.  That doesn’t stop being true just because people make decisions that don’t make sense to us, or refuse to make decisions at all.  It doesn’t stop being true when I’m fretful or our girl is confused.  “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”  Even when I think I have control, I don’t really, and in this case I know I don’t.  So I will walk this path, the path that’s always there, and I will trust that God will lead us, that He will turn this fog into a darkness and dreaminess and quiet, and give us peace.


  1. Sharon Jay

    December 23rd, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I couldn’t help think of the words in the carol . . .”sle-ep in heavenly peace.” I’m not sure there is any other place to find peace. Elisa, I, too, have an unpeaceful relationship that I cannot fix by myself. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts; they will help me accept the temporary fog and wait for God to reveal how He is working because I have learned that He is always working in response to our prayers and the unspoken urgings of our heart toward Him.

  2. Kaci Mae

    January 22nd, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Elisa Joyful, your blog is quickly becoming my favorite…and you have some pretty stiff competition (a girl marrying a boy with a traumatic brain injury and a young mom dying of cancer to name a few)…so, congrats!

  3. elisajoy

    January 22nd, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Kaci, thank you, that means a lot! I miss you!

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Elisa Joyful 

Hi friends! You have landed at, and if you are looking for some warm and witty words to read, you’ve come to the right place, so get comfy and settle in. If you’re looking for the SiNes of Life podcast, you’re almost in the right place - just click on the “Listen to Podcast” link below. And if you’ve come here because you’re interested in having me speak at your event, you can contact me below!

The things you’ll read on my blog or hear on the podcast are the same things you’d hear if we were talking over a bruschetta board and a glass of cabernet together - you’ll hear about the four boys who call me Mom, the software-CEO-turned-IRONMAN who I call Husband, the books I love, and life as an ISFJ married to an ENTP. I love to bake but not to cook, I love to travel but not for long, my denim jacket is my favorite article of clothing, and I live in the desert, a place in which I am slowly but surely learning to see the beauty.

May the things you find here encourage you to find the beauty wherever you are too. xoxo

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