We’ve been fostering for over two years now. Long enough for the honeymoon period to wear off, the original excitement and anticipation is gone, and now we’re into the hard years where my joy is tested. The happy feelings aren’t enough to sustain me and I have to go back and remember my commitment, much like a weary wife remembers the vows she made to her husband in order to survive a hard spot in her marriage. Oh, don’t misunderstand me – I still wouldn’t trade it for anything and I have never regretted our decision to foster children. It’s just hard and sometimes I’m tired of caring. But again, much like a marriage, the hard years are the ones that bring lasting joy and prove the strength of the relationship.
Lately I’ve been struggling with judgment toward our little girl’s parents. Their decisions, over and over again, are poor and unhealthy and not moving in a positive direction, yet it seems like the state keeps withholding consequences and instead, rewards them. Many people have shared with me that the reason they could not – would not – foster is because they would not be able to comply with the state’s decisions for any particular case. In my head I know that judgment is not mine to hand out. God is the keeper of justice and I’m just a tool he uses to support the case, not execute the decisions. But my heart and thoughts struggle to line up with that. Last weekend I was reading in Exodus 14. There was a battle raging against Pharaoh and the Egyptians and God tells the Israelites to stop and be still.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (v14)
Or for the thick-skulled like some, this may be a better translation in The Message:
God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!
I knew as soon as I read that, that God had given me that verse for our current kid’s cases. He is the sovereign Lord of all, and in charge of the state, the commissioner, the parents, and of my kids. And quite frankly, he will fight just fine without my added comments of anger, sarcasm and judgment. Should I advocate for my kids? Yes! But under the authority of God and in the appropriate ways.
Yesterday I reached out to a sister for prayer. My anger towards the situation was brewing and I felt the strong hand of God on me, reminding me of that verse and telling me to be silent. This was her reply to my plea for prayer:
I just prayed that you would have eyes to see C’s parents were made in God’s image as hard as it is to believe. God is just, He’s for us and not against us, and He has all of C’s days planned out for her. I praise Him for that!
Bless her. I could have wept right there. She prayed what I was not strong enough to, but oh how I’m asking God to make that true of my thoughts and petitions too. Conor has said it before on this blog: Love trumps all. Simply put, I forgot to love. What Jesus said was radical 2,000 years ago and it’s still radical today:
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
Fill me up with love, Father, and fill me with the sweet of aroma of Christ to tickle the nostrils of all I encounter, even those enemies.