May 11, 2018

The Journey of Surrender

It is a pretty spectacular thing: watching a family be born right in front of your eyes. To see years of prayers answered in a moment. Hopes fulfilled with sweet recognition, tentative hugs and hellos. It is a sacred moment that is full of all kinds of emotion: joy, grief, fear, peace, anxiety, delight... not to mention what the new family must be feeling :) Every placement is different; depending on the needs of the baby, the new family, the social worker handling each case and other things we have less control over like court dates, magistrate's expectations and busy calendars. We are always working to create the ideal conditions for a placement but there isn't a strategic formula that makes every placement magically peaceful and beautiful. Sometimes things are rocky; sometimes things are funny. Often times I feel a connection with a Forever Family but sometimes I don't. 

Often times during the placement process the Lord allows me to see a glimpse as into why a baby is matched with a particular family. I will recognize a baby's expression in the face of their new mom. I will share a particular habit or idiosyncrasy of a baby with a new family and they laugh because it is so "them". A Bible verse given to a mother as a confirmation was found on her new daughter's name tag, something I make for each of our babies with a verse God has given me for them. A similar spirit, a shared interest, the same eyes, the list goes on and on. But if I am honest there are placements where I don't see it. I don't get the gift of a glimpse or a glimmer of the goodness to come. In those rare moments it is easy to let fear creep in and to begin to doubt the sovereignty of a good Father. 

In an effort to grow as a team and serve our community better, over the last few months the management team here at Refilwe has been going through a bunch of personality tests. Most were familiar to me but one I was not familiar with was the Enneagram Test (you should check it out it is super cool and scary accurate). Turns out I am a typical Type 2 nicknamed "The Helper" which is pretty spot on for the me I understand myself to be. One of the more interesting parts of this particular personality test is that it helps identify where our personality goes when we are feeling stressed or anxious. When that happens to a Type 2 we are pushed into a Type 8 whose vices include seeking control and self-protection. Ding! Ding! Ding! That is exactly where I go when I am feeling out of my depth or insecure. I have to fight these impulses when a placement doesn't "feel" nice and work to remind myself of the truth. That God loves these kiddos more than I do. That He sees the whole of their lives while I am only seeing a small portion of who they are and who they will become. That Jesus will pursue each one with His reckless love no where they go or what they do. 

I know my certain expericnce of motherhood is atypical and fractured but I think am able to identify with some aspects of what being a mom must entail. Sleepless nights with a newborn, gleeful joy celebrating skills accomplished, anxiety in illnesses and the temptation to feel that it is somehow my responsibility to control all the aspects of the lives of these little people I love. Some things I can try and control (and probably should): a room's temperature, how much milk goes into a bottle, when a behavior warrants a time out, when we need to visit a doctor or when to start someone on solid food. Those details fall into my realm of responsibility but the really important things like how many days a baby gets to have or how a baby's story gets written is 100% God's job! My heart handles the grief of goodbye exponentially better when I can remind myself of God's goodness and sovereignty over each babies' life even in the midst of my limited view and uncertainty. 


One of my new favorite worship songs is off Hillsong's latest album and it is called "New Wine". The first verse says: 

In the crushing/In the pressing 
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground 

So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don't need to understand 

I am working hard to sit in this soil of uncertainty and trust God's careful hand in this season of life. To trust that in the midst of discomfort I can choose to yield to the careful hand of a good, good Father who loves me and these precious kiddos a billion more times that I can ever imagine. I will delight in each glimpse I am blessed with, each glimmer of goodness to come. I will continue to cling to the promise of eternity with Christ; that one day all things will be made new and what was once was unseen will be seen. I have full confidence that one day I will be able to delight in the whole of each story written for each of these little lives I have had the privilege of loving. I will choose to rejoice in this calling; the best hardest job I have ever been privileged to have!

Thank you for your continued love, prayer and support. I am eternally grateful for those of you who have joined me in this journey. I am praising God and thanking Him for you today!



  1. Lovely writing, Nicole. Such insight. Such honesty. You rock, young lady!


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