Our Life Really isn’t Ours for the Taking, but for the Giving (foster/adopt a child 1)

I have been debating on whether to write on this topic or not.  Due to privacy I am not really sure how much of this journey I will be able to openly share.  Realizing that my own struggles could very well be the struggles of someone else out there is the draw I have to write and share what God is doing in the life of our family and within my own heart.  The call to foster and/or adopt has been weighing on Mike and I for around six years now.  During this time I have picked up at least a dozen packets from various agencies I kept a lot of them for a while then finally pitched them.   I have questioned several people that have gone down the road of fostering/adopting and some who have adopted from other countries.  The cost of time and finances has been my largest road block.  The rest of the family has actually been open without hesitation the whole time.  It has been my own selfish struggle.

We now have the resource of an extra bedroom our kids have become older, more mature, and much easier as far as actual care.  In fact we are getting close to being “done” as far as parenting goes.  Though one is never really “done” when a parent.   A few years ago we actually were going to apply for a license to foster, but we couldn’t figure out how to even get the classes worked in with our busy schedule so I easily gave up.

Well the topic reared its head again.  The last few weeks everywhere I turned the topic of fostering children was coming up.  I literally was feeling like God was beating me over the head with it.  So much so a week ago Sunday I actually was arguing with God.  Yes, I love Jesus, I have surrendered my life to following Jesus, but unfortunately I am still just a sinner saved by grace.  I yelled at him “I keep asking you what I need to give up in my life and you are telling me to add another human being or beings?!?!?!”  “Lord I am so tired I don’t know how I can!!!”  Then we go to church that evening and our youth pastor’s sermon was on James 1:26-27 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  The entire sermon brought tremendous conviction and was an answer to my ridiculous prayer/temper tantrum from earlier that day.   God’s answer was this…”You take this step of faith, trust me, I will provide what you need, it will cost you, but that’s ok because I am here and have a plan”.   Every reason I have not to foster children in need is purely selfish.

Needless to say we have started the process to be licensed.  Nothing will happen over night.  There will be ups and downs.  It will be a journey, but it’s not about us.  It is not about me.  My life is not my own.  I had to laugh that one truly does have to pay to be nice in this world.  Today I took a state form to my physicians office to have filled out stating that I am physically capable of caring for children.  There was a charge to have the form filled out.  I will be honest in saying that this caused a minor irritation in me, but a reminder that it does cost to do what is right.   In this life we can give all that we have or we can be takers.  One day when I meet God face to face will he see a life that gave everything?

A Father’s Affirmation

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“You did a good job sweetie!” “ Your flowers look nice babe!” “Your dad loves you and is very proud of you.” This week as I have been working on the yard I have realized how much I have always looked forward to showing my work or accomplishments to my dad. Whether planting flowers in the yard or painting a room in the house I could hardly wait for the opportunity to show my dad the finished product. To me he was the expert and of course the very best. He was the best gardener, painter, handy man, carpenter, and was my expert consultation with questions regarding God’s word.
Grief has overcome at times while working as memories of helping him plant gardens and flowers during my childhood flood my mind. My father taught me to love nature on our many walks and hikes we took. He taught me to always admire and respect God’s creation. There has been an outpouring of gratefulness within my soul with the realization of how blessed my life has been to have been given consistent affirmation of a father. Living in a time where the family unit is no longer considered to be important, so much of the world’s children grow up fatherless. So many children are raised by a single mother who struggles to fill both roles of mother and father. Some grow up knowing that they have been rejected by their father. Some fathers are around, but live in their own selfish worlds never really knowing the children that live under the same roof. So many idols can consume a father. Work, alcohol, friends, sports, cars, motorcycles, hunting the list goes on and on of what can distract a man from fatherhood.
The affirmation my father gave me has taught me even more how to look forward to the affirmation from my Heavenly Father. To strive to please God in everything I do. During my early years I focused on “self” and tried to please the world around me. Now honestly the opinion of others doesn’t matter in comparison to what God thinks. I can never please everybody all the time. I can actually please God all the time by continuously seeking His guidance. By leaving my heart and mind open to Him at all times. Sure I will mess up from time to time, but He continues to help me see my mistakes and seek His forgiveness. As I looked forward to “Well done” from my earthly father how much greater is my anticipation to one day hear “Well done my good and faithful servant, my child, my daughter.” from my Heavenly Father.
Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”