We are back on the “call” list for our local foster care agency.
Any day now we could have another little person walk through our doors and stay for a night, a week, a month, a year…or forever.
We did not predict that we would be ready this quickly. Less than two years after our daughters’ placement in our home and just over 3 months after our son’s birth, we are jumping back in.
I can see the raised eye brows,
the widening eyes.
I can hear all the questions you are asking. I’ve asked them too.
I can hear you saying that we have no idea what we’re getting into; that we are putting our children’s lives in jeopardy; that we should draw our limits.
But there’s something you need to know.
We don’t get to choose.
When we dedicated our lives, our home and our family to Jesus Christ, we surrendered the right to choose how, when and what we do as well as the right to follow whatever our feelings dictate.
God has made it very clear to us in the past month that it is time.
It’s time to jump back in.
It’s time to serve.
It’s time to love.
It’s time to once again offer our home and our family as His hands and feet.
And even though it doesn’t make sense; even though we have every reason to say no, I trust Him.
My girls are ecstatic. Naive, but ecstatic all the same.
They know what it is like to be in foster care.
To feel alone, unwanted, unloved and frightened by life itself. So their hearts are jumping at the chance to show another child what family can be.
In our home we don’t just play “house” or “dolls”, we play “foster care”, “adoption” and a pretend life that is shadowed with the tragedies most children aren’t yet aware of. Our dolls have been hurt and abandoned. Our play phones ring with calls at 2 am from social workers. Our precious little babies leave us at a moment’s notice and return to biological parents. They’ve suffered head injuries, malnutrition, long hospitalizations, broken limbs and bruises. They cry and throw tantrums.
This is our reality. We’ve been there. As the kids in care and as the foster parents loving them.
This time around I have battled a lot of intense emotions and fears that I didn’t experience the first time we entered foster care. Three and a half years ago when we started fostering I was so excited, so confidant and so ready. This time? Well, I’m still filled with all those feelings, because God’s been nudging my heart for a while now and preparing me for this. But I’m also incredibly overwhelmed, exhausted and fearful heading into this new season of our lives, because this time there is so much more at stake. It feels like there is so much more to lose.
I am keenly and painfully aware that I am throwing my three children into chaos. Painful, challenging, heartbreaking chaos.
Foster care is no walk in the park.
It takes a lot of time and effort.
The truth is, I don’t want them to have to give up the secure, predictable environment we’ve worked so hard to create in our home for them. I don’t want them to have to share their clothes, their games, their stuffies, their rooms, their parents and their home. I hate that this might mean I have less time, less energy and less patience for them. I don’t like the idea of putting extra strain on our marriage.
I’m afraid I will crash and burn physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I’m afraid I will not be able to be the Mommy, the wife, the home schooling mom or the foster mom that I want to be.
I’m afraid my daughter’s education will suffer.
I’m afraid we will fall back into old patterns and habits that go along with insecurity and change in this home.
I’m afraid I will not get to enjoy my beautiful baby boy the way I want to.
I’m afraid I will not possibly be able to love another as much as I love these three.
I’m afraid I will fail.
I am so aware of my own short comings and my own limitations. In the eyes of the world and all it’s logic we are not prepared!
Yet God says,
While I stumble through the questions and fears in my heart and mind I hear Him say:
“Have you forgotten so quickly who sustains you?
Have you forgotten how small you are?
Are these three precious little people I’ve placed in your home and your life more important than all the rest I have made?
Have you forgotten they all belong to me?
In your weakness, I can best show My strength and glory.
It is not out of confidence, ability, power or strength that you serve.
It is out of gratitude.
Humble gratitude for all I have done for you.”
So what can I say?
To the One who intricately formed each of my children, as well as the child who will walk through our doors next. To the One who loves them each the same with His everlasting, unbreakable love.
To the One who can give me strength and energy for each long day and night.
To the One who is waiting to pour His love into the gaps my own heart cannot fill.
To the One who has given us everything we have and blessed us with abundantly more than we could ever need or want.
All I can possibly say is YES.
I will go.
I will serve.
I will love.
I have no promises that this will be easy or that we will not have to sacrifice anything dear to us. In fact, I am quite confidant that it will most definitely be very challenging and that we will have to sacrifice some things that are very dear to us. But I also know that if He is calling me, He will provide enough for each day and that I would rather live in the center of His will than in my own carefully crafted security bubble.
So are we ready?
We are not ready…and yet…we are more ready than we’ve ever been.
We understand things we never did before.
We have more love to offer in the shape of two young hearts who have gone through their own journeys. They are so eager to love, and I am humbled by that and reminded what exactly my job as their Mom is.
My job is not to shield them from all hurt…though I wish so much I could.
It is not to give them everything they want, but to have the wisdom to see what they really need and realize that sometimes this includes hardship; hardship that produces character and spiritual maturity.
It is not to make them the center of our home and world, but to point them to Jesus, the One who needs to be the final Voice in all our decisions as a family and the center of our home and our lives.
It is not to teach them to weigh pros and cons, as if life is all just a big game where we are all looking out for ourselves alone…but to teach them that we are here to serve those around us.
“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:34-36
“And whatsoever you have done to least of these my brethren you have done unto me.” Matthew 25:40
“”And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42
“In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phillipians 2:3-4