Tuesday, February 7

Recapping the weekend

"I'm wondering what exactly you prayed for two years ago...?" was a comment a friend of mine just quipped in a email, in response to my current situation in life.

My house is quiet, and not just because it's 10:24pm and my husband is in bed. My two foster sons were placed in another home this past Friday. Unless I'm playing Pandora or talking to myself, our little three bedroom home is deafeningly silent, void of "mahhh-mee, mahh-mee", my sons' contagious laughter and shrieks, and the every 5 minute whine/complaint/tattletale that is inevitable with every pair of brothers. It's been a lonely home.

Today I packed up their belongings. They are now stuffed into so many boxes and bags, you wouldn't believe two small people could accumulate so many things (of course, most of that was from their bio family, with 90% of it being toys.) I've removed placemats and "pumpkin-a-cups", their favorite hooded puppy towels and books, wondering all the while if when they see these items, will they remember us? And will that make them happy, or just angry and hurt? Because if I was two and four years of age, and was removed from a home I loved and parents who loved me, I think I would just be angry, hurt, and confused.

We knew, of course, that in working with the foster system, removal was inevitable. But as each day passes into a week, and weeks into months, and the sound of "Mommy" and "Daddy" are spoken 500 times a day, your heart begins to acclimate and naturally assume that they're yours -- forever. You even begin to talk to their case worker about adoption on the horizon. And then it changes.

I know we can do loss. We've done it, we've survived it, and we trust the Lord more implicitly because of it. But that doesn't make it less sad. And so I'm extremely sad this week.

All of this happened during the Hope Mommies Winter Retreat... literally hours before the 22 moms attending were scheduled to arrive. Thankfully, I had amazing help and was able to leave (as if I could be stopped...) and come say goodbye to my adorable sons. As I came back to the ranch after spending 4 hours crying, I kept thinking, "I am so off of my game, God. I'm not ready to do this. I'm not ready to pull myself together and jump back into the schedule I've spent hours planning and preparing for. And while I know these women know loss and will understand, I just can't do this today."

So I honestly don't even know how to summarize or tell you about the weekend... I'm still not quite sure how "present" I was. I do know that Hope Mommies is NOT about Erin Cushman, and for that I am so thankful. While I may be the "Director", I am confident that it is God who directs this organization, accomplishes His purposes, and brought each woman, volunteer, and speaker to the retreat.

I hope it was restful for them. I continue to pray that it was an encouragement, a balm to their weary souls, and a light in a dark tunnel for those grieving. I believe there was laughter, camaraderie, and a soul-fellowship that only happens when you meet someone else along your life's journey. I listened as Lynnette spoke life-giving truth from the Word of God, and as always, I believe His word accomplishes His purpose, never returning void. And so I have to believe that God worked through the weekend, even if I wasn't fully "there" to see, feel, and experience it.

Thinking back to what my friend commented... what if this IS the result of a prayer from two years ago... two decades ago? I often think prayer must have some immediate fruit in order for it to be an answer, but what if fruit takes so much longer than we expect? I know I prayed for a deeper relationship with my husband; God answered that in the days and months after Gwen fell asleep. I know that while in college, I had a long season of praying Philippians 3:10-11 - "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." 

Was God's answer to that longing to know Christ a "Yes", but would develop throughout the next decade (and who's to say it's over??). It's revolutionary to think that God is still at work answering prayers that were offered years and years ago. It gives me hope that what I have prayed over my sons will continue to bear fruit; not only today, but in the years to come. It gives me hope that what I'm praying now for these Hope Moms will come to fruition - they will see and rejoice and reap with songs of joy.


  1. Praising God for your perseverance.

  2. You are beautiful inside and out and an ispiration to me Erin. We are praying for you.

  3. Erin - you are so amazing to me because you can learn and grow and praise God, when you experience events in life that would make others bitter and even make some doubt their faith....i find your faith in God to be so inspirational & impressive. He put you here to inspire others, and you do. thanks for sharing your words.

  4. i feel so sad. tears keep filling my eyes. as much as I can, i feel your loss. i love you friend, and bear what i can of your burden from 100's of miles away.

  5. Hey sweet Erin, thanks for sharing with us. This made me cry. Will be praying for you and Blair and those boys. Sad that I never got to meet them. I just think of my niece and know what you mean. I spent almost every day with her over the summer and she had this phase where she called me mommy, so I know how children dig themselves into our hearts. Love what you said about prayer. Love you.

  6. sometimes we give our hearts away irresponsibly, knowing they can be trampled. and it is good, because it is love.