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.
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.