Foster Care (and life in general) is messy. It is predicated (as we all are since Adam and Eve,) on sin. The sin of a biological mother and father that is so severe that social services sees them as unfit to be parents at that time. Sin that affects every person involved in ways no one could imagine without being directly involved. Emotions that can’t be fathomed or understood. Sin that seems to have won.
I have seen a nearly 2 year old picked up 3 times in 5 hours by a stranger, because a biological mother plays selfish games. I have seen a 5 year old visit consistently with a mom that loves her, but doesn’t know how to care for herself, let alone another human. I have seen situations that seem out of control to every person on earth. I have held children that are crying and don’t even exactly know why. I have seen insecurities in children that should never be there, but there was no security from a loving mother and father. I have seen flaws that seem permanent. I have seen imperfections that make people difficult to love. But, I have also seen love that covers a multitude of sins. And that HAS to be the focus, because if it’s not, “unfair” becomes the language instead of grace. Grace that is greater than ALL our sins.
Redemptive pain keeps us from destructive pain if we allow God to work in our lives. When I was a teenager, I memorized a large portion of James 1. A famous passion that begins with a greeting from James, then says something stunning, “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” JOY?! Not the verb many would use to describe our heart and mind during trials. But this has become a verse that steadies my heart and mind through the curves and valleys of foster care. There are so many “trials” that could deter the vision God has given us, so many “trials” that could be viewed as failures. So many “trials” that steal vision for how life could be and should be for our family. But Jesus is in these trials. He is in me. This pain that is allowed in our lives pales in comparison to the glory that awaits if we stay the course. Life can be emotional, life can be difficult, but circumstances never cause us to lose control. Control is based on the peace that lives inside us (or doesn’t live inside us,) the Holy Spirit. Our comforter. This is what James is after, trials are opportunities to reveal and revel in God’s control and glory. Even when life/foster care looks out of control, JOY in these trials! There is so much peace there, so much rest there and so much sanctification to become more like Christ if we stand under the weight.
Obedience always ends in joy, no matter how dismal the situation looks. Stay steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.