Lisa knew the cost of being a foster parent was bearing lifelong heart bruises when a child was returned to uncertainty. She could not endure any more pounding, especially when it came to her only little girl. She pressed the Teddy Bear even harder as she agonized in prayer, “God, why did you give her to us, only to take her away?” She released the plush toy in obedience to an incomprehensible command, wiped her eyes again, and sealed the box.

That evening, Lisa sat solemnly during the Ladies Prayer Circle. Her heart felt as if a thousand pound foot had stepped on it. She thought it best not to mention Ashleigh’s leaving. Her grief was so pervasive she feared the saying of it would unleash a torrent of emotions leaving her unable to care for the other youngsters in her charge. The leader passed around a bowl of Bible verses. Each participant was instructed to take one out to read to the group. 

Lisa was stunned when she opened the piece of paper to read, He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11a). She gasped at God’s perfect timing, no longer able to restrain the flow of tears. Sharing her need, she was comforted by her friend’s prayers on behalf of Ashleigh, rendered not in selfish desires but for her ultimate salvation and the salvation of her birth parents. She knew God would fill this hole in her life with other experiences; yet, Ashleigh’s imprint would always remain. God allowed this precious jewel into their lives for a purpose yet unknown. 

As the prayers came to a close, Lisa felt a release from the tightness that compressed her spirit, finding solace in the knowledge that God had a plan for Ashleigh, even though that plan would be fulfilled apart from her watchful eye. 

Linda Rondeau is the author of America II: The Reformation (Trestle Press) and The Other Side of Darkness (Pelican Ventures) which won the 2012 Selah Award for best debut novel. She is the editor of Geezer Guys and Gals blog, a multi-author blog for and by seniors and also blogs at This Daily Grind.

Publication date: October 2, 2012