Struggles, Strength and Steadfastness
Two years ago, after MUCH prayer and HOURS of back and forth conversation, my husband and I started the long and arduous process of becoming licensed foster parents in Cleveland County. We do not have any biological children, so this was all brand new for us! After several months of classes, background checks, home visits, and more, we were officially licensed and “ready” to bring these children into our home. Or so we thought…
One day it was just the two of us and the next, we welcomed a twelve-year old girl into our home. We didn’t have 9 months of pregnancy to prepare; or countless parties to acquire all the items we would need to properly care for a child. In fact, we didn’t even have 9 hours! Literally, they called to tell us that our license had been approved and in the same phone call, asked us if we would take in this young girl; 3 hours later, she was ours…with nothing but a backpack on that her mother had packed for her (with clothes that belonged to her siblings and were all way too small).
When Jesus speaks to the Pharisees in Luke 13, we are reminded of the heinous acts of Jerusalem, specifically in regards to their treatment of the prophets. These people, who had come in the name of the Lord, were stoned and killed for simply bringing the good news of the Messiah. All my husband and I want is to be Christ to the children who enter our home. Our deepest desire is that they would experience the hope, peace, joy and love of our Savior. However, that is easier said than done. When a 12-year old girl, who has only ever known anger, violence, alcohol and abuse, comes into a home filled with love, patience and forgiveness, the initial instinct is to fight back. And while these fights didn’t involve actual stones, they did involve vicious rhetoric, numerous slammed doors, a few punches, and perhaps even a thrown jar of peanut butter to the head.
“How often I longed to gather you together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34). How desperately we wanted her to accept our love and the promises of her true Rescuer. How often we prayed that her walls would be torn down and that she would let go of her anger and hurt. How fiercely we wished that her past would not define her story, but that she would allow God to beautifully pen her future.
I wish I could tell you that we didn’t give up and that we saw her journey through to the end. I wish I could tell you that we were strong enough to not let our emotional exhaustion wear us down. But after 7 months of constant push back, bi-polar episodes, and suicidal comments, she was eventually moved to another home; one more suitable to deal with her specific needs. But PRAISE THE LORD, that He does not give up on us; that He pursues us with a never-ending love; that none of our “stuff” is too big for him to handle; and that no matter how many times we curse Him, or slam doors, or throw metaphorical peanut butter jars at His head, He never leaves us or forsakes us. He chose to die so that we wouldn’t have to and He continues to pull us in to His wings, even when we are unwilling to go there on our own.
And He continues to provide even when we feel like we have nothing left to give…
While our 12-year old was still with us, we welcomed a 3-year old little girl into our home, who stayed with us for a year before being reunited with her mom and siblings. We also kept an 8-month old baby boy for 2 months and then a little over a year ago, we brought home a baby girl from the hospital at 6 days old, weighing only 4 pounds. And in His timing, we will hopefully be able to officially call her ours!
When our 12-year old was moved to a Level 2 Home, we cried for days. We honestly felt like we had failed her. We didn’t think we had anything left to give to any other children. BUT THE LORD PROVIDED. He gave us strength beyond measure and reignited our passion to care for the least of these. We may not have been equipped in that specific situation, but He has called us and we couldn’t turn away from that. He has been present through it all and we trust that He will continue to be present throughout wherever this journey takes us in the future!--