Who or what is your Identity found in? As Christians, we can all answer that our identity "should" be found in Christ. However, just because our identity should be found in Christ doesn't mean it always is. And unfortunately, this is where I have been lately! Satan has been working over time in my life. He works hard to fill my head with doubt and discouragement. He works hard to make me feel I am not doing my best at being a wife and a mom. He knows these two roles are what I hold as highest priority in my life, aside from my relationship with Jesus. But... if I'm being honest, sadly, wife and mom sometimes triumph over that. I love my husband and I love my kids, so when I feel I am failing at being my best at either, I get defeated and feel as though I have somehow failed at life! Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic, but it's the truth.
For over 4 years now, we have been foster parents as many of you know. Half of the kids in our home are mine at heart but not mine on paper! I have poured so much of my life these past years into foster care! We got our 1st foster son when he was 5 days old and he will be 5 this August! Since that day, bringing children into our home has been something we do on a pretty regular basis. Once you realize the situations these kids come from and once you become so involved in this process..... it's very hard to say "no" to taking in another child. It's almost like being "addicted" to bringing kids into your home! That sounds like a horrible way to describe it...... but, it's been true for us in some ways! However, it's so interesting to me how we can be doing GOOD things, things for the Lord and even things God calls us to do and yet still...... miss it. Unfortunately this is where I have been in my life lately! A lot of people never really know how many kids we have because, let's be honest, it changes like the weather (dramatic, I know... again, that's me)! But really, it does seem as though we never really know ourselves who will be with us tomorrow, or who will leave us next week, next month or even next year! It can be draining, exhausting, emotional and even devastating at times! Yet, we always go back for more..... simply because the need is still there. The need will always be there. As I sit here typing this, I just received a text message from a Grandmother who got placement of a child that used to live in our home. The emotions of this ministry never go away. I get to love on these kids ...... sometimes forever but sometimes only for a few short months. Yet in small ways we still get to be a part of the lives of these children who leave our home. There are family members who care enough to let us know how these children are! It's hard..... even when you know the children are right where they need to be, back in the arms of their family members! It's hard even when the children are here in our own home and we know that's right where they need to be! Either way, it's hard! So, my point!? God called us to Foster Care. We know that without a shadow of a doubt! It has been so clear in so many situations in our lives that God was leading us into this ministry. However, even when God calls us into a specific ministry, there are times when we can feel as though that's WHO we are! That's where our identity lies! And sometimes this happens so quickly that we don't even realize it! This is where I have been the past few weeks as we have had to pray and face difficult decisions! "Who am I?" I'm a foster parent. I'm a parent. I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm a friend. "What do you do?" I take care of kids. I take children into my home. I feed them. I care for them. I tuck them in bed at night. I read to them and teach them. I change diapers.... LOTS of them. God smacked me in the face (in a good way, lol) the other day when he placed a few sentences in front of me from a book I was casually reading. The 1st one said, "It isn't what you do that makes you who you are." The 2nd one said, "We can get caught in the same performance trap, feeling as though we must prove our love for God by doing great things." I have been so worn down and exhausted from "working for the Lord". To think God NEEDS me to work for him like he's my boss! I want to please the Lord so much that sometimes I worry about Him not loving me anymore if I make a wrong decision! I have missed it BIG TIME, and so have you if we feel that what we do determines God's love for us! But..... this is where I was the past few weeks! If I am NOT a foster parent, then WHO am I? I have been doing this for 4 1/2 years now and somehow along the way "foster parent" has become an identity for me! So much so, that I would tell my closest friends that I didn't want to be the "foster parent girl"! I didn't want to be the one who talks about her foster kids all the time and the one who people go to if they want to become foster parents and the one people come to for advice about foster care! I'm just being real, ya'll! This is NOT how I wanted to feel... this is just where I found myself! And this is certainly NOT where God wanted me to be! God showed me that yes, foster care is something He clearly called me to, but he called me to foster care because he knew I was willing to be used by Him and he trusted me to see it as Kingdom Work! God certainly didn't NEED me to do it! He could have just as easily found someone else if I said no. But, he trusted me! He had faith in His daughter! He loves me enough to put me in situations that may not feel good at the time but have a greater purpose and greater good for my life and others! HOWEVER, if I chose to not pursue what He had for me, if I chose to not become a foster parent, I may have missed out on God's best for my life! BUT.... God doesn't just UNLOVE any of us because we don't do what he desires. If that were the case, his love for me would have vanished a LONG LONG time ago! I tell my kids all the time they don't have to do a THING for me to love them! They could actually do everything wrong in the world and I would still love them! Yet here I am.... believing that my identity is found in being a foster parent and that if I somehow couldn't do that anymore, if I couldn't be mom to 3,4, or 5 kids ..... God would be disappointed in me and wouldn't love me anymore. WHAT. A. LIE. FROM. THE. DEVIL. God does not love me for what I do for Him. He simply loves me! Actually, he delights in me! And he delights in you! PERIOD! I am so thankful for scripture! I am SO thankful that Gods word is FLAWLESS! That God is never changing! He doesn't shift like the wind or change like the weather! He isn't indecisive or confused! He doesn't grow weary and he is ever present! He is here. Always. Forever. His love for me is the same yesterday, today and forever! NO MATTER WHAT! It doesn't change based on what ministry I am involved in and it doesn't change even if I'm worn out while doing the ministry God has called me to. His love doesn't change when I doubt my abilities to do what he has called me to and it doesn't change when I feel as though I have failed. Ephesians 1:5 says, "He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." (He adopted me out of pleasure! He wanted me! I am HIS!) 1 Corinthians 6:17 says "But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in Spirit." Romans 6:6 "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." Sometimes I forget where my identity lies. But I have a Savior who never gives up on me and will continue to remind me of His love for me! He loves me because I am His daughter, NOT because of what I do or don't do for him! It's the same for you also! God loves you.... PERIOD!