We all have an “inner voice” that sometimes whispers to us and sometimes screams at us. Mine is usually preaching a message of fear and doubt when I sense God leading me in a certain direction. Maybe yours is too. It’s asking, “Who are you to think you can make a difference?” or “What if you don’t have what it takes?” or “What if you fail and look foolish to others?” or “Are you sure you’ve heard correctly from God on this?” Your voice could be asking you a million other things right now.
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gospel centered foster care
The journey of foster care and adoption is an incubator of seemingly competing emotions, feelings and experiences - none of which are felt lightly or quickly. The tension of everything seeps that much deeper and lingers that much longer. The joy of loving and the heartache of letting go. The thrill of adopting and the grief of all that's been lost. The confusion in the wake of brokenness and the clarity in the face of redemption.
In the gospel God says, “I see you where you are and I’m coming after you.” This is the whole redemptive story of scripture – a God who sees the distress of His people and moves towards them, not away from them. Hovering over His people like a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night – God was close, but out there.
We recently found one of our daughters crying in bed. She seemed fine the last we saw her before going upstairs, so this took us a bit off guard. In a home with four daughters there always seems to be something to cry about, but when she calmed enough to share with us what it was this time, we were shocked. Hitler. That's right, HITLER was on her mind, and apparently had been for the past several weeks. What?! She told us her class was doing a research project at school and each student could select any topic they wanted to learn more about.
It was trial day for the baby girl we had been fostering for nearly a year up to that point – the day the court would rule on who would retain parental rights over her forever. But it was more than just a legal proceeding; it was a spiritual one. What was taking place in the courtroom that day, just like in many other courtrooms everyday all around the country, was more unseen than the negligent actions of birth parents, the hustle of lawyers and case workers and the proceedings of an overrun and under resourced legal system. It was by nature unseen – an attempt of the Enemy to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) this innocent child’s life, and to perpetuate the systemic brokenness of past generations into hers.
The weight of foster care has the potential to either break your marriage or bond you like never before. You are not just bringing children from hard places into your home, you also bringing them into your marriage. The goal, of course, is for you to be closer, more connected and experiencing greater depths of intimacy because of it – but these things do not just happen, they must be intentionally cultivated and fought for. One of the most difficult seasons of our marriage was the early days of beginning our foster care journey.