The last couple of months of fostering has been hard. The kind of hard that is confusing. Up, down. Over, under. Which way? How am I supposed to be feeling about all of this? Where do I fit into this mess?
That kind of hard.
I have felt like I’m just swirling around in emotions. Not really sure what to hang onto. Where to go.
As the weeks have gone by, I’ve struggled with all of the weight, all of the confusion. I’ve felt tired, overwhelmed, discouraged, and somewhat hopeless. The hard hasn’t beeen getting easier and the facts of our current cases aren’t getting any easier to understand or accept.
As I’ve struggled to right myself in my swirling world, a question has repeatedly inserted itself into my thinking.
“Why did we say ‘yes’ in the beginning? When we chose to start our journey in foster care.
Why did we say ‘yes’ to opening our door to children who are not ‘ours’ and may not stay?
Why did we say ‘yes’ to that caseworker when she called?
Why did we say ‘yes’ to parenting on a case-by-case basis instead of from childhood-to-adulthood?
Why did we say ‘yes’ to paperwork over pregnancy?
Why did we say ‘yes’ to the messy reality we knew would come?
Why did we choose foster care?
It’s’ important for me to go back. To remember that moment when we decided. The words that we said were so clear. Our mission was laid out before us in a clean path. Even though we knew we were only seeing a tiny fraction of the work that was to come – our eyes were open. Our minds were set. Our purpose defined.
You see, we didn’t say ‘yes’ to foster care because we thought we could do it without pain – either to ourselves or the children in our care. We didn’t say ‘yes’ because we knew everything would be easy, clear, defined, or even purposeful. We knew that our view of justice wouldn’t always be served. We planned on saying ‘good-bye,’ we knew that others would decide the main course of action. And we said ‘yes’ knowing that ultimately, we are completely powerless to protect the children wrapped up in our hearts from harm – whether physical or emotional.
We said ‘yes’ in a moment of healing. Healing from grief and loss. We had said ‘good-bye’ to a precious child of our heart only a few weeks prior. In the short years he had been alive, we had loved him, stayed in contact, prayed for him. Then, in a huge twist. A magnificent shining of God’s favor, we had the privilege of housing him. Bathing him. Loving him. Feeding him. For nearly 5 weeks we poured ourselves into this little life. And we could see clearly what the past had been, and what the future very well could be for this darling soul.
We said ‘good-bye.’ We let him go. The paperwork had only been very temporary. But, oh, how we grieved. The first walk through that heart-rending path in our marriage. It was so hard. I remember those days as fuzzy and alone. We clung desperately to God and each other although we grieved so very differently that we didn’t really know where the other was.
And then the light began to shine. The fog began to lift. We found each other again. We could finally talk through the situation with some clarity amidst the grief.
And we saw our mission field.
I remember us looking at each other and saying these words:
“It was worth it.”
And it was true.
I don’t know if I can communicate to you all the emotions that went into those words. When you can look at something that has torn your heart all into pieces and see that God has already used and given gifts out of the situation. When you can already see what God clearly planned. It is worth it.
And it was right in that moment that my hubby and I committed our hearts to caring for children in need, and specifically (in our case), to foster care. We started the classes. We found a house. We finished the paperwork. We completed the home inspections.
And then when they brought us that first file. That first file that so drastically changed our lives. We knew what we were going to say. Because we already knew it would be worth it.
We knew that it wasn’t about how long they would stay. It wasn’t about how much they had been through. It wasn’t about “tomorrow.” It wasn’t about all that it would take from us. It was about pouring Jesus’ love into these little children for every moment that they were in our care. We knew we would get to share Jesus with them. Through full meals, bubble baths, books, toys, countless episodes of ‘Dora The Explorer,’ through tears, and songs, prayers, and awkward hugs. We believed with passion that the love of Christ is so strong, that it could shine through to a child even if we only had one day to share it.
And so we said ‘yes.’
And we have kept saying ‘yes.’ And by God’s grace, we will keep saying ‘yes.’
And in these weeks like the ones I mentioned earlier. On days when I flounder, and grasp, and scream and rage. In those times, I need to remember why we said ‘yes.’ I need to remember the very specific mission that God has given to us. I need to remember that it is worth it. It is always worth it to follow Christ into the path He has for you. Always.
I need to let go. I need to rest. I need to remember Who it is that is holding each one of us.
And then, again and again, I need to turn and say ‘yes.’
Because if God has given me today with a child, then I must not say ‘no.’
I must say ‘yes.’ I must shower that love until I’m exhausted and completely spent. I must teach and share and show all the glorious truths that I’ve been given in the Gospel. I must treasure every moment and remember that it may well be my last. I must learn to trust and pray and love and obey.
These aren’t my children. I may not have them long. But because we said ‘yes,’ God has given them to us for today.
May our ‘yes’ be used for His glory.