Feeling down thankfully is not the normal for me. Most days there is a song in my heart, a one liner joke or pun at the tip of my tongue, and a some smooth dance moves especially designed to embarrass my children or anyone around at any given moment of opportunity. That has not been the case lately. For the first time in my life I would have to say I have felt extremely down. The bombardment of what I refer to as “stupid stuff” has been non stop from the moment I made the call to start the licensing process for Mike and I to become Foster Parents. There have been a million annoying things. The attack on our marriage, strain on finances, everything breaking, annoying stressors in our jobs, you name it Satan has been blasting it. Nothing real huge just stressors that are like stepping on a Lego block barefoot it hurts, but doesn’t cripple. Our choice to become Foster Parents has been totally and utterly a calling from God. In my heart I know that these attacks are because we are doing what we are suppose to. In my heart I know that if we weren’t making a difference Satan would not be trying so hard to get us to quit. Physically, mentally, and emotionally I have grown tired.
There are days I feel the weight of so many people sitting on my shoulders. I feel that I am crumpling underneath the weight of this cross God has called me to bear. Actually I feel like I am flat on my face with my mouth and eyes full of dirt under the cross. Each time I cry out God provides someone, something, or some sign of hope that lifts me back to my feet with a renewed strength to keep on with my cross upon my shoulders. This road of ministry as with any God called ministry can be a very lonely and painful road. The more God teaches me how to love with His love the greater the strain under the weight of my cross He has planned for me to carry for Him. It is hard to explain being able to look someone in the eye that actually hates you and still feel a deep compassion for them. It is hard to explain wanting to still help and give all I can even when the help is not well received nor wanted. The only explanation is God’s love, God’s strength, and God’s will. It sure does not come from my own ability because I can not.
Today I had one of those moments that I could feel God lifting me to my feet and giving a renewed strength to carry this cross. Our pastor’s sermons the last two weeks have had a significant impact as well as scripture God has led me to personally preparing me to see what I needed to today.
This afternoon I walked down to our little raised garden that really isn’t much to speak of. A few years ago I planted two strawberry plants as well as many other types of seeds and plants. The strawberries were the most successful so two years ago I decided to just let the garden be a strawberry patch and planted two more plants. Each year the vines take over more of the garden and the harvest of plump red strawberries grows larger and larger. There really hasn’t been much work needed. Just the space for the plants, sunshine, rain, and some pulling of weeds. God brought the fact to my attention that our call to Foster Care is much like our little strawberry patch. We need to be willing and open to providing the space, resources and care. The rest is actually up to him. What lives we actually make a difference in has nothing to do with us, but is totally about God and His power to change lives. It is God’s power that grows the strawberries. It is God’s power that will make the difference in the lives he puts in our path. We are to be available and let him love through us. There is a nice harvest of delicious fruit that took a few years to get to reap and enjoy. There is no limit to what God can do with the opportunities to love others, children, families, caseworkers, state workers, and our community through the ministry of foster care. As of now counting our birth children we have had four children to plant, love and nurture. Like the four strawberry plants I pray the love of these children will spread, grow, and bear a tremendous harvest of fruit.
Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with me, He must deny Himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”