I was cleaning up my closet this week and moved my backpack from one shelf to another. It felt heavy so I unzipped all the zippers until I found the full pocket. It was just as I’d packed it a year and a half ago when I was getting ready for our trip to China.

A year ago this weekend we packed up Joel’s clothes, loaded him and the other two boys in the minivan, and took him to be with his new family.

Since then we packed our house in PA, packed Lee’s office at the church, and loaded the cars to move to Texas. I’ve unpacked it all but that one backpack pocket.

Like Job, I question God’s purpose in this pain.

All this packing and unpacking. All this anger and sadness. I try to tuck memories away but they push themselves out. It’s good that they do.

We’re in a healthy place and able to deal with them as they come. We talk to each other, talk to our friends who are loving us through this, talk to extended family members who share our memories, and talk to a therapist.

God answers us as He answered Job.

“Where were you … ?”

When He laid the foundation of the earth. When He created the boundaries between earth and sky and sea. Each star, wave, and rain drop—each exactly where God places it. Lion, raven, mountain goat, donkey, ox, ostrich, horse, and hawk all find their purpose in Him.

There are some clues to His plan. We brought Joel to a country where he would have every opportunity to succeed. Because of our experience with James, we saw the signs of his disability right away and were able to have help immediately. His plan didn’t include any mistakes.

What happened was for Joel’s good. We see that every time we get an email from his new family and read about his progress.

But what happened was also for our good. And that’s what we still need to unpack. In the process we will continue to have hope. Continue to praise Him.

But I will hope continually
    and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
    of your deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71:14-15

Pics from The Archibald Project
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