The unknown can be restful, once we accept that our goal is not in arriving somewhere or accomplishing anything. Our goal occurs within the journey.
Five years ago we began the process to foster to adopt in South Carolina. Soon after we were licensed, we moved to North Carolina, having to begin the process all over. Here in North Carolina, they require prospective foster families to wait a year after a major life event. During our year of waiting, the Lord changed our hearts from fostering to adopt, to straight foster care. We began classes in February, went through the home study, revealed every part of our lives to the state, and were licensed in the fall. Then, a week before Christmas we opened our home to a four-year little boy.
While at a Christmas party, I was sharing that we had a little boy coming and a bit of what I knew about him. A friend there made the observation that when we began this process five years ago, he was not even born. His comment made me remember a piece of advice that was given to me back in South Carolina by a veteran foster mom.
This foster mom has served over 50 foster children throughout the years. She has definitely experienced all the ups and downs of fostering. Her encouragement to me was in the waiting. It was good encouragement, as I have been waiting for quite some time! The exact comment was, “The child God has for you may not even be born yet.” Perhaps that was a prophetic word?
Now, it is not in our plans for him to become ours through adoption, but for the time he is in our home, he is our child. God has entrusted him to our care for however long this season may be. This is where I am learning to love sacrificially. And it is scaring the crap out of me. It’s also pulling crap out of my heart. I am loving a child who may or may not love me in return; who may or may not remember me in six months; who may or may not ever say my name right.
He may be in our home for a month, or six months, or forever. Or it could be next week if they find a family member who is willing to take him into their home. I may need to register him for kindergarten. I may need to find new caretakers that are closer so I can provide transportation. Or I may need to pack up all his clothes and send them on in that big, black, plastic, garbage bag that is a notorious indicator of foster children.
My days are spent calming tantrums, breaking up arguments, teaching routine. It is intense and constant. But I am most fatigued by the mental drain of the unknown. How do I provide consistency and stability for this little boy, when those two things are not reality?
I knew the Lord would teach me so much through fostering, and I have been excited about that – in a masochistic sort of way. He is teaching me about His love for humanity, and how His sacrifice was given with no guarantee of love in return. I am learning how to show love and mercy to those who are hurting. The Lord is convicting me of the judgment I have held for other’s decisions. And He is revealing to me how I need to love the children I gave birth to with the same freedom and openness.
It is in seeing His love for His people that I find solace. That sacrificial love is constant. From the beginning of time, His love for His people has never wavered.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
In this love I can trust that provision is given in all things. The ultimate provision has already been given. We have salvation.
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
His love doesn’t mean things won’t be hard. But we do not need to fear the hard because He walks through the hard with us.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
And through the turmoil, He provides comfort.
For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5
Someone asked me once how I could handle the mental challenge of running marathons – so many miles, for so many hours? My response was that I settle in. I relax in knowing that there are many miles to come, so I must focus on the step in front of me. Yet another life lesson from running marathons.
The unknown can be restful, once we accept that our goal is not in arriving somewhere or accomplishing anything. Our goal is to become like Christ, and that occurs within the journey.
There are many miles to go for me, and likely you feel the same. Shall we settle in?