“See you next week.”
The door closed; a few minutes later Troy left for the gym and I picked up my bible and said with urgency, “Lord. I know there’s parenting advice in Proverbs. Please speak to me!”
I sat on the floor and quickly opened my bible while an adorable, ten pound pup stepped on my legs to get close enough to lick my face. I tried scanning the pages but nothing jumped out at me (dog kisses could have definitely played a part in that). Within minutes, I heard an inaudible voice speak straight to my spirit – “I did not bring you to this point for you to have to figure the rest out on your own.” Lord, thank you. I, then, grabbed a chunk of pages and happened to land in 1 Peter…”Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (4:8) Lord. I may be completely unprepared for whatever is to come but I can love. We can love.
We had finished week one of the foster care training process and panic overwhelmed me. Each week since, our eyes have been opened to many areas that we would not have otherwise considered if we were the ones pregnant. I will tell you honestly, moving forward with foster care has humbled me. I had to process the fact that I wanted to be pregnant so badly that I never considered what would happen when the child entered the world. Were we ready to have our lives completely changed? Were we ready to selflessly enter into parenthood? With each “yes” we choose to speak in our foster care journey, it’s been a “yes” we say back to Jesus. It’s another step in faith towards my Savior.
You did read that correctly – Troy and I are getting trained as foster parents. We are excited because we are confident we are following the call of God. Doors have been opening in places where we previously had resistance. I can say that we are becoming increasingly aware of the road we’re on. It’s one that will continue to require faith and humility in way of sacrificial action. It’s leaving the external security of our lives and saying “I’m choosing you over comfort”. It’s the surrendering of even the areas we think are good so God can shake away everything that is not of Jesus (Hebrews 12:27), all for His glory. Satan has stirred up arguments, fear, and such strong spiritual battles within the walls of our home. I’m choosing to take these battles as confirmation that we’re moving in the right direction. Satan doesn’t want us or you to intervene in the lives of children. If he can break down and hurt little ones…he can work to halt the kingdom of God and he is going to try to convince you that what you’re doing won’t make any difference. [[But always be reminded of the sovereignty and victory of our Father.]] So here we are; standing firm on the Rock that is Jesus Christ, shouting with every breath in our lungs – NOT TODAY SATAN. Not here. Not now. Not these children. Every child that comes into our care, every parent that’s made mistakes and caused harm, they’re worth our sacrifice. & you know…if we do nothing else but love them…Praise God.
Above all else, love each other deeply
Last year, I spent probably the majority, if not the entirety, of the year grieving. Following the advice of those close to me, I had to allow myself to grieve over our inability to get pregnant. I grieved over the death of close friends, that came suddenly and far too soon in their lifetimes. I wrestled with the conflict of grief and joy while those close to me announced their pregnancies. Having such different emotions all at once felt anything but comfortable. I felt so ugly inside but by facing my grief and all its sources, I was able to be present in my life and the lives of those around me. I could celebrate with them and still allow myself to feel the sadness of my “not yet”. The grief didn’t cripple me as it once did. As I lean into God more, as I talk with those close to me, as I pray, and as I open my heart to hear from Him…I see the fact that deep pain and true joy CAN co-exist. In fact, that’s the Gospel.
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Jesus walked the road to Calvary with His own eyes fixed on the joy of redemption all while experiencing deep pain – physically and emotionally. Jesus has been there. He knows the conflict on a greater level than I’ll ever know. He endured and He overcame! Through all of my internal struggle, I arrive once again at Jesus. I’m reminded, it all starts and ends with Him. “He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). In surrendering our desires to Him, God has done and continues to do a work in us that’s completely new and different than we expected. As I see it unfolding, I know without Him this simply would not be. He has shifted our thoughts and hearts to foster care, to reunification. “We have a safe and loving home”, we would agree. “We can love them (the children and the parents) in a terribly difficult time.” “We can be a light in the darkness.” The thread that has run through every decision moving forward in this journey has been this:
Christ left heaven for us!
Out of love, He pursued us. He didn’t say – “You know, that path is going to be really uncomfortable and painful. I think I’ll pass.” No. Rather, He counted the cost and was compelled by His love to endure the pain and suffering, for you and for me. Because He loved us. This past weekend we celebrated, we remembered. And you know, I don’t want to just remember one weekend of the year. I want to live my life in light of resurrection Sunday. I want to be like Jesus, compelled by my love for Him to be His hands and feet and eyes and ears. Whatever part of the body God needs me to be. Heck, I’ll be the butt if it means I’ll be obeying and being with Jesus. My dear friends, I want this for you. To clarify, I’m not saying I want you to literally be a butt but I am saying I want you to choose Jesus. I want you to choose to surrender your hearts to Him. My heart longs for it because I know Who’s waiting for you on the other side of that surrender. I am praying that when you begin to feel an unsettling in your spirit that you would take it as a nudge to open your mind to God. My hope and prayer is that you would know Jesus more than what you do right now – whatever that looks like in your life. Maybe it’s a first-time “yes”. Maybe it’s a renewal to your “yes” from long ago. Maybe you need to finally stop saying “no” to that thing God has placed in your heart and say “yes” to whatever He’s calling you to. Let me remind you – God has not brought you here to leave you on your own to figure the rest out. He’s the One who loved you so much that He chose to leave Heaven for you. There’s no length He won’t go. He counted the cost and walked the painful road to Calvary with His eyes fixed on the joy of redeeming you. He is fullness of life and He wants to pour into you so you can be a source of hope and light for others. Say yes.
Be kind. Be love. Be with Jesus.
Lindsey – in the months and years to come you’ll want to read this and reread it when you need a reminder of where and why you started. Here you go. You and Troy can do this. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t hold back…love out of His abundance. His grace and mercy will never fail and never run out. “I did not bring you to this point for you to have to figure the rest out on your own.” Pray with urgency and sincerity. God is a breath away. He loves you, He’s chosen you. You are His joy.