3 Things I’m Learning as a New Foster Dad

In April our lives took on a new adjustment as Amber and I became foster parents.

To get to that point, it required a year long journey of prayer and preparation, getting wisdom and listening to what Jesus was speaking to our hearts.

A number of weeks ago, being a few months in as a new foster dad, I was feeding our little guy in our living room late one night. The house was quiet, and I was there alone with our foster son, my thoughts, and Jesus. Emotion welled up within me as I was struck with a simple thought: this is what Jesus has done me. This little boy was welcomed in to our home, not because of anything he had or had not done. He was just welcomed in.

Welcomed in to be loved.
Welcomed in to be cared for.
Welcomed in as family.

There are so many things I have been learning along this journey. Here are three that I want to share with you:

GOD GIVES US THE CAPACITY TO DO WHAT HE INVITES US TO DO.
I wasn’t sure if I would have the capacity to take this assignment on. With three kids of our own, who were all now at the age where they could buckle themselves into the car AND wipe themselves (all the parents out there know how liberating these two milestones are) it seemed a bit daunting. When you add all of this with sports schedules and the fact that we do not live boring lives as pastors, I found myself wondering if I could. What I am learning in a fresh way through this process is that God will give us capacity to accomplish what He invites us to do. This doesn’t mean that…

It will be easy
He will do it all
It won’t have painful or stretching moments

It just means He will give you what you need, when you need it. Where we may be limited, I am thankful that He is not. If He is inviting you in to something that feels or seems a little overwhelming, be confident that He will give you the capacity.

AUTHENTIC LOVE ISN’T GUARDED
One of the questions we have been asked along this journey is, “How will you handle it if he returns home to his family?” Our answer has two sides. First, that is the goal. Our prayer is that the families that we serve will experience the health and wholeness that they need in order to become reunited. The second side to that answer is “We can’t love half-way.” It wouldn’t be fair of us, because of the pain we might experience to love this child with a guarded love. God’s love for us has never been guarded, even knowing that many people would still choose to reject that love (for more, read the story of the two sons and the generous Father in Luke 15). Real love doesn’t try and calculate. Real love doesn’t say “once things are more certain, then I will…” Real love, authentic love, gives – even when the outcome may be unknown.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Real love, authentic love, gives – even when the outcome may be unknown.[/quote]

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME
It seems like every season of life that I have lived, God continues to use that season to remind me of this simple truth. When Amber and I got married in 2003 I learned quickly that I couldn’t live life just about me. When we had three children who were 3 and under and Amber returned to work full time, while I was a youth pastor I learned again that it’s not about me. When Amber started talking to me about fostering, all of my best arguments against it were about ME. In every season of life, God in His grace continues to remind me that life is not just about me. In fact, the key to a full, meaningful life is found when we can let go of the thought that everything revolves around our personal wants, needs and desires. There is so much more to live for!

In Galatians 5:24, Paul writes these words: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” For those of us who are Jesus People, we don’t belong to ourselves. We belong to Christ. It’s not about us. It’s not about me.

At times, I’m still more selfish than I should be. All too often my first filter is “How will this impact me?” I’m not yet done being shaped by the grace of Jesus. But each day, my hope is that it would become less about me.

 

Stepping into this role as a foster dad and becoming a foster family has been incredible for Amber, our 3 children and myself. Though this journey is new, God is using it to teach us so many new things about His love, our identity and the power of the Gospel being lived out in our lives.

12 comments
  1. Bless you and Amber in your calling to foster children. It’s a truly heartfelt conviction and means so much more when Jesus is in the middle.

    May the Lord lead you as you continue on this journey.

  2. So thankful for your words and heart. Not only are we apart of the Life Center family- members of Downtown, but we too have also recently become foster parents. We have one bio- daughter and the two boys we are fostering are actually the nephews of another couple from our church. God chose us… plain and simple, for this season and for these boys. And from the very beginning we have said your same words- it’s not about us. And constantly being reminded that God brought us to this and He will bring us/sustain us through this- no matter how ill equipped we feel or hard it gets. It’s not always about being properly equipped for the calling but knowing that God will equip those He has called…. would love to connect with you and your wife. Let me know how we can make this happen
    Best, sean and alisa clark

  3. God bless you and Amber and your family..many years ago i too was a foster parent, … it is rewarding and can be heartbreaking when it is time to return them to their birth families.. i had one little guy for 2 years, he even called me mama..but he was able to go live with his father and things turned out good for him…we never know how vital our help can be for these little people. you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you.

  4. Great insight and message here Tyler! I have enjoyed watching the way you & Amber have been foster “dad & mom” to the little man God entrusted to you & Amber when you were here with us. It seemed just like you were caring for your own biological child. It touched my heart.

  5. Pastor Tyler, my daughter, Allison knew you and Amber at Eastridge, when we were newly divorced and very raw. You and Amber loved on my daughter and spoke hard truths to the youth group. It was just what we needed!
    And now, as I, with great trepidation, begin a new ministry myself, your message commands me to overcome my kindergarten anxiety and speaks the empowerment of Jesus into it!
    What a blessing! Thank you,

  6. God really poke to me while I was reading your blog. The “two words.” During my prayer time I have been asking God to help me speak kind words.

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