I’m late for church again. I am standing at the kids check-in desk scrolling through all four of my kids’ names and trying to match each one with the right classroom so that I can get them into kids church before the end of worship. Then I hear the statement “Your kids are so wonderful and what you’re doing is amazing, but I just couldn’t love a child and watch them leave...I would get too attached...I could never do that.”
As a foster parent I hear these comments often and usually when I’m not expecting it. I understand this fear because I live it. It is natural to avoid heartache and even more to avoid breaking the hearts of your own biological children if your foster child leaves. Self-preservation is comfortable, but the Lord rarely calls us to comfort. He calls us to an adventurous obedience and to say yes to the unknown.
After two years of fostering and advocating for my children - and at times facing the possibility that they could leave my home I have often asked myself why I do this. Sometimes it isn’t even the big issues that make me question this choice. Sometimes it’s missing the confidence you have when no one can take your kids away because they are just yours. Sometimes it’s the everyday grind of having lots of small kids who need me and not feeling how I used to. So, in exhaustion I ask myself “Why do I do this. Why do I obey?”
I do this because I am a Christian, so I can do hard things. I choose to bare the name of Christ so I will imperfectly try to be like Him. It is so imperfect at times I feel like I’m crawling. The exhaustion is worth it because I don’t want to just raise a good family I want to use this season of my life to give my family to a child who has been removed from theirs. I can do hard things because God is with me.
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph...See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side!” - Isaiah 50:7-9
The bible shows that the God of the universe goes before us, when Christ died the veil was torn and we were given direct access to Him, then when Jesus ascended he gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us. God is fully with me so I can do hard things.
Jesus moved toward hard and broken situations so I will do it too. Some people go overseas to do missions, but I will take the mud of the mission field and drop it in my house as I watch the glory of God shine in my home. I will see the broken healed in my home. I will see a generation changed in my home. Where there was history of abuse and neglect I will see the beginnings of restoration in my house. This is not about loving a child who may leave or my ability to let go after being attached. This isn’t even about responding to a great community need. I do this because I want to be like Jesus. This is my personal obedience and God is with me as I obey.
My relationship with God is reflected in how I obey Him. I believe He is who He says He is. He is Father to the fatherless, He is the provider, the healer, the protector, He knows the beginning to the end. I praise Him with obedience because I trust that He has not spent eternity lying about who He is.
I do foster care because this is how God has asked my family to obey in this season of our life. When I see my little one light up like sunshine I thank God for the opportunity to be his mommy. When I watch my older kids embrace their siblings as if they’ve always been there I see the love of Jesus. When I watch my husband get up in the middle of the night with our kids I see Christ in him. When I write update letters and send pictures to my children’s biological parents I thank God that I can share Jesus with them. When the days are hard and I face a courtroom or receive challenging news I thank God because He is with me.
This obedience of doing foster care has allowed me to trust and know God in a way that I wouldn’t have. If I remained afraid and believed I could never do “that” I would have missed the adventure. It’s in the moments when I’m asking myself “why do I do this?” that I hear God the loudest. One day I may love a child who will leave, but I can not risk missing this walk with God because of fear of where it might lead.