This blog post is written by our awesome babysitter, Olivia Mccarthy. Yes, our babysitter is better than yours! :) Olivia is so much more than a babysitter, she is a friend. I remember the 1st time Liv babysat for us, at the end of the night when we got back from our date, Liv asked if she could pray over us before she left. And she did! I felt the presence of the Lord in my house that night! We have used her as our babysitter ever since! She doesn’t just babysit our kids, she prays over them, plays with them, speaks life over them, is patient with them (probably more patient than their mother) & more than all of that, my kids adore her! Liv has become such a close friend to me (Mandy) and I not only appreciate all she does for our family but I appreciate HER. I appreciate who she is and I cherish our friendship! God has blessed me with her by giving me someone I can talk to, laugh with, pray with and I truly believe God sent her straight to us because he loves us THAT much! I think you will enjoy hearing her heart and getting a simple (yet profound) babysitter’s view of foster care and adoption!
I started helping the Marburger’s regularly at the end of the summer of 2017. At the time they just had their two boys. I remember a day in September sitting in a restaurant after grabbing lunch with a couple friends when Mandy texted me asking if I could come watch the boys so her and Jeff could go pick up a baby girl DSS had just called them about.
Many beautiful kids have come and gone through their door since that day. To be transparent I feel very honored to be trusted enough to be invited into the amazing, tender, sometimes heartbreaking moments with each of those kids. I’ve tried to stand back and just soak in and watch how the Holy Spirit has led Jeff and Mandy to gently maneuver through so many emotions in a way that points each child to the hope and love of Jesus. They probably don’t even know they inadvertently pointed me there, too.
I’ve learned more about the heart of God in my time helping the Marburgers than I ever have before. One night while watching the kids so Mandy and Jeff could have a date night, I sat on the couch feeding newborn Jax his bottle and watching the other four play with each other on the living room floor. It was a small glimpse of heaven for me. Not one of those kids looks like they could be biologically related to each other, yet they call each other brother and sister.
Foster care makes me long for heaven more. I know that in heaven - families are whole. And I long to see that here on the earth. I believe a huge part of fostering well is to not just pray for the children, but also for the parents or relatives they’ve been taken away from. Pray that they would come to know the depth of Jesus’ love for them and that it would move them to lay down their lives for their kids. The goal is for whole families. The goal is for it to be here as it is in heaven.
I will be transparent and say that some days it has felt like “just babysitting”, or like I’m not doing enough with my life. But isn’t that just like the enemy to attack us, full on, where we’re most called to serve? To make us turn our eyes from Jesus and look at ourselves? Of course he wants to make me question the calling God has over my life. Of course he wants to distract me with the idea of doing something that won’t make people raise their eyebrows when I tell them it’s what I do for a living. But even greater than my desire to please people is the fire and conviction in my heart to love, lead, and pray for these kids - the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And I will do that as best I can, in the season that I’m in.
The Lord brought this scripture to mind: “You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)
I vividly remember one afternoon with Isaiah - I had just recently started to babysit him every once in a while. I was holding him in the living room, swaying to worship music and praying over his life and his adoption. He fell asleep with his head on my shoulder. The deep, limp-in-my arms-cute-little-snores, kind of sleep. I remember feeling the weight of how special this moment was. God gave ME this chance to hold this sweet sleeping baby and pray over his life?! I thought about where Isaiah might have been had the Marburgers not said yes to taking him in. I thought about the way God had been active in Isaiah’s life since before the beginning. …This was NOT just a babysitting job. This was a chance to fight for the least of these.
Babysitting for a family that fosters is not glamorous (nor am I when I do it - thanks for dealing with my crazy hair and bare face, Marburgers), but I’ve gotten to know my Father’s voice, and I think He wells up with pride and excitement when we choose to trust that He’s doing huge, Kingdom work, in the small, unseen things on earth.
Something I’ve learned since I’ve been babysitting for a family that fosters is this: His grace is sufficient. While the task at hand is not easy, His yoke is. And His burden is light. Good and easy aren’t normally synonyms. And holy tasks are almost never easy. But in saying yes to these kids, you position your heart to get to know the Father’s voice so well. It makes me sad when I think about if I had simply brushed this off as babysitting job. Not only would I not have the joy of knowing and loving these children who God is in the midst of rescuing, but I am confident that I would not know my Father’s voice as well as I do now. And you know what? Some of the moments He speaks to me the most are in the quiet moments with the kids. …Sometimes the really loud and hectic moments, too, but only if I’m really listening.
Babysitting for a family that fosters has taught me to serve with a pure heart. It has been a treasure of my life to be able to come alongside my friends as they say YES to Jesus, and YES to these kids. As a single 23 year old woman, I am not in a position to foster these kids myself. I can’t take care of them on my own. I can’t provide a house for them. I can’t take care of them financially. But I can pray for, encourage, and physically HELP my brother and sister in Christ who are able to do those things! I can love their children - biological and foster. I can give them a night off to just go and enjoy each other! I can make lunches and wipe runny noses. I can pick up a coffee or a fountain coke. I can ask how they’re doing. I can go before the Lord on their behalf, and their kid’s behalf, trusting that God hears and honors my prayers.
Each moment is cultivating something - I pray I’m cultivating good fruit with the time and position I have with these sweet Marburger babies. I challenge and encourage you to ask Jesus how you can help foster children with the moments He’s graciously given you.
Olivia McCarthy: babysitter by day, and also sometimes by night