Sorry to end part one at such a pathetic place! The mourning really did only last an evening and after talking to Matt and my little sister Jen, the following morning I was able to sit down and spend some time in God's word and in prayer. My Savior was faithful to meet me right where I was at - down low - and remind me of His grace that is readily available!
So what do uncomfortable shoes have to do with any of this and what are my personal reasons for wanting to be a foster parent?
Let's start with the reasons for doing this. As a Christian, I have a desire and mandate to share the gospel with others. As a homeschool Mom of 2, I find that most of my life takes place within the walls of my home, which I love & which I wouldn't want to change. I was growing discouraged as I was trying to think of ways in which I could share the gospel with others in this season of my life. Most of my neighbors work during the day - the neighborhood kids are in school - and aside from trips to Weis and Target for errands, I'm not really bumping into people too much. Years ago I had wondered about foster care but set it on the back burner of my mind, until I ran into a friend at Target one day. She had a new foster child with her and she was running around getting things - diapers, wipes, clothes...all the necessary stuff. We talked and I believe God used that conversation to put a spark in my heart to reopen the topic with Matt.
The more I read about fostering, the more I talked to other foster parents, and the more I just pondered and dreamed about the possibilities this might have on impacting others with the gospel, the more convinced I was that this was a real possibility for our family. After all, with fostering, you bring a child or children into your home and they become a part of your everyday life. They literally become a part of your family. In addition to caring for the children, I also would have the opportunity to work with social workers and birth parents. In addition to that, as a foster family you become part of a network of foster families (which meet monthly) so there are just many inroads I could see for the gospel to flow. THIS excited me, particularly because it's something we would do as a family.
As I was considering all of these things, talking to Matt and the kids, and as we prayed together as a family, I was also reading through "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. This was the second time I was reading through this book and it came at just the perfect time. In spite of all the ways that I could see, by the grace of God, that fostering would be an outreach for our family, I began "weaseling" out of the idea. As I began thinking of how my simple and relatively easy life would change, I panicked. I remembering Matt and I both using the phrase, "Why mess with a good thing" which translated: Why complicate our lives? We've got two pretty easy-going children that we love to pieces, a family of 4 is easy to be seated at restaurants and easy to do special trips with - why make it tougher on ourselves? There was too much at risk. Enter chapter 5 of John Piper's book, entitled "Risk is Right - Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste it." Midway through this chapter, I was convinced there was no weaseling! God was in this and I needed to simply trust Him.
So, even though it's hard work, and our family looks a little different, and the laundry has doubled (I don't get this) and I'm housebound because someone is always napping, and it takes way too long to get in and out of the van, I am at peace. The circumstances haven't changed, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what God has asked us to do with our lives for this season.
What do uncomfortable shoes have to do with tall of this? Well I have likened fostering to being a bridesmaid in a wedding and being asked to wear shoes by the bride that happen to be painfully uncomfortable.
My Savior, who has died on the cross for my every sin....
My Savior, who has called me to be His child and to trust in Him....
My Savior, who has asked me to walk in faith and to obey Him...
He has asked me to "wear" these "uncomfortable shoes" for His sake - for His glory - for His Kingdom purposes, that His Name might be praised from the lips of infants and from all peoples. These shoes are not comfortable at all - they have caused some pain when I walk, they burn when I stand still, and at times I want to kick them off and put on my nice comfy flip-flops. But they do fit. And I've been asked by my Master to wear them for now. And obeying Him in this has brought me a measure of joy that is very new to my Christian experience.
At the risk of being misunderstood, I will share a truth about myself: I am not a "kid" person. In a general sense I care and love children, but I am not a "kid-magnet" like others I know. In other words, loving and caring for children that are not my own does not come naturally. It takes work and it takes a faith and trust in the Lord each step of the way. I am amazed at how faithful He has been to me in this arena and specifically with these first two children. These foster children are not mine, but I can say with integrity of heart, that I love and care for them like they are mine - and that is God's grace at work.