As we continue on in our journey in Foster care one of the greatest lessons has been to expect nothing. The only guarantee and expectation that I personally have learned is that God is always present even when it feels like He is not. So actually going into this ministry and definitely in the throes of our ministry a thank you is not expected. We try to teach gratefulness, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, good work ethic, etc… with every opportunity. The expectation, other than knowing God will be present, is a personal one. Do I exemplify qualities that Jesus demonstrated for us? Do I show love, forgiveness, kindness, patience, gratefulness, do I work hard? My failures in these qualities happen daily so how can I expect someone who has had a rough start in life to have them. Why should someone who has had some rough and traumatic experiences at a young age have any reason to say thank you? It is not expected.
One never knows what is significant to another person when first meeting. Every person has a story and every person has something that is significant to them or longings that are significant. It is often a mystery and hard work to learn what is significant to another. What is significant to my neighbor may not be significant to me. Yet we are to love our neighbor as ourself. So how do we love others deep enough to truly make a positive impact? Start learning what is significant to them. It is an ongoing process in relationships with others that never ends. Love grows deeper and stronger the more you learn and act on what those matters of significance are. What is a passion, a joy, a hobby, what is the deepest need, what is the deepest longing of the other people in your life?
For our dear child that God has so divinely brought into our home there is a significance of time. We all need the time of others invested for a relationship to grow, but to some time means security. Toward the end of March I was asked about a specific date in April and if I knew what that day was. My brain was in total “der” mode as I couldn’t think of a birthday, sporting event, or historical marker. The next words gave me a clue as to what is significant to this dear one. “I will have lived here two months.”
As that day approached two days ahead I was handed a card. The card was going to be given on the day…no the day before…no the day before the day before…. The anticipation of this date in time demonstrated even more how significant two months in the same home with no threat looming of having to leave has been to this precious child. In care it is one day at a time never knowing what is going to change and happen next. Security is one of our basic necessities as a human being. We can provide words of assurance and love, but nothing speaks more than time and action. So our thank you was very unexpected, but significantly heart melting to us. It has been a wild roller coaster ride of a first year as a foster home. There truly has not been anything harder with a greater impact that our family has ever done. As God continues to mold, shape, and strengthen us as a family and me personally, my prayers have turned into how can I love more?