A and I went to church today. I could have easily slept in this morning, but having been asked to be on the prayer list last week for the court hearing, I felt they deserved to see her one last time, too.
We arrived moments before the service started. As I was looking for our name tags on the board, a lady walked up to me asking how the court hearing went. I was caught off guard, but I shook my head no. As she leaned in to hug me, I whispered in her ear that A was going back next Saturday. She told me she was so very sorry. I took a deep breath and went to our seats. Luckily, the service was starting so I was able to avoid any more questions for a little bit at least.
After the children go to Sunday school, our pastor opens up the floor to prayer requests. During this time, the pastor announces a few requests she's been given prior to the service and then people stand up to announce their requests. They vary from safe travels, to being sick, to cancer, and deaths. The pastor informed the congregation that despite the prayers, our court hearing did not go as hoped this past week and that A would be returning to her mother next week. I nearly lost it. My eyes welled up and I had to remember to breathe. The lady sitting next to me patted my back. I barely held it back. Barely.
During the service, I tried to listen to the message, but I kept thinking about how next Sunday, she wouldn't be there. As I looked out of the window at the barren trees, I thought about our photo shoot last week and how I won't get to redeem the free coupon the photographer gave us. I tried to stop myself from spiralling and made myself listen to the message. As I sat there, I thought, this message has nothing to do with me. I couldn't feel anything from the message. What was I supposed to take from this sermon? I stopped wondering and started listening.
Today's scripture was Matthew 5:13-16. I replayed the bit the Sunday school teacher told the little ones in my mind to see if I could catch up. She talked about two things about the light of Christ that I felt were speaking to me. She said in order to receive the light, you can't let things get between you and the light and you can't turn away from the light.
I could very easily be screaming right now that God doesn't care and turn my back on him. I could be screaming that if he cared about A, he would have left her with me. As much as I may think these things for a fleeting moment, I am going to continue going to church. I may be walking in alone, but I know I truly never am.
After the service was over, several people came up to me telling me how sorry they were. They may have only met A a few times, but every Sunday several people have stopped me to tell me how lovely she is. It's clear they care and I know they will continue to pray for her.
Before we left, I snapped a picture of A and the Pastor. Next Sunday it will be even harder to walk in alone.