Our son is working on his Citizenship merit badge for Boy Scouts and so we had to attend a court case in our county. We met the Clerk of Court who was so nice to Mitchell and showed him around. He tried several court rooms before finding the one that he felt would be a good fit for us. He alerted the bailiff and court officials that we would be sitting in and there we sat on the front row of the court room.
Mitchell was already very nervous. He did all the talking and introduced himself to the different people we came in contact with and he did a great job. But we both had a freak out moment when the judge called us up there to talk to him. We totally weren’t expecting this. He asked Mitchell what class he was in Scouts and we were both like, “Uhhhhh duhhhhhh uhhhhh…” The Judge finally says, “Are you a Webelow?” Mitchell says, “I’m a Boy Scout.” and at the same time I stumbled out, “Yes, your honorable respectable honor he’s a Webelow.” And there we stood trying to figure out exactly what class Mitchell is in Scouts. Rather embarrassing but the judge was so kind to keep talking to us. He asked Mitchell what he wanted to do when he grew up and he said, “Work for NASA.” I figured we better start with finding out what class Scout he is. Later Mitchell told Randy, “Dad, you won’t believe this. Mom told the judge I was a WEBELOW!!!! I am so not a Webelow anymore!” Yeah, totally blew that one.
Court went back into session and our eyes would be forever opened to the hard reality that many families face. Divorce, custody battles, consequences of addictions and innocent children being in the middle of it all. My seven year old and twelve year old heard testimony and allegations of very difficult things. I wondered at one point if we would need to leave but we didn’t. Terminology being used was over their heads and I decided this was where we needed to be and the conversation to follow would be an important one.
We sat through an hour of lawyers giving testimony as to why their client should have primary custody of the elementary aged child. We heard stories shared trying to prove one parent was unfit. Hard stuff. I had to wonder if this was the best court case to be sitting in but there we were and later I would sense very deeply it was God ordained. Sophie, close to the age of the girl being discussed in this case, grabbed my hand and held it and all I could think was, “Only by the grace of God are we not in the same situation as these parents. Only His grace.” I was so sad for the people in that court room but especially the little girl not in that court room. The one being fought over. I silently prayed for the girl by name and both her parents. I didn’t even know what to utter in those moments but my heart was so heavy for all of them I asked God to help them.
The judge granted the custody modification request and the case was over. As we were walking out to the van Sophie says to me, “Mom, so where will the little girl go?” I explained to her what the judge decided and where the girl would go. Mitchell was quiet for a long time. He finally said, “Mom, is that the kind of thing that could have happened to me and Sophie if we hadn’t been adopted?” I wasn’t sure how to answer him. I said, “I don’t know Mitchell. It could. I believe with all my heart that God protected you both and had a perfect plan in bringing you into our family.” And that’s when we all just started crying big ole crocodile tears. All three of us at the same time. I believe it was sorrow for the little girl we just heard about. And possibly grieving “what could have been” and just an overwhelming thankfulness for a family unit that is built on Jesus Christ. We talked about how we’re not a perfect family and we make poor choices just like the other family we heard about. It looks different but it’s still sin and at the end of the day we all stand in need of the one true God, Jesus Christ. But that believing in Jesus and following Him in obedience really does make a difference in our lives. In our family lives too.
I pulled myself together and called Randy on the way home and asked if he could have lunch with us. We just needed to be with him after hearing all that we did. We had lunch together and I was overcome with thankfulness. And honestly as hard as it was I believe God ordained us to be in that court room for such a time as that.