Monday, October 31, 2016

Fostering Faithfulness

It has been a year now since we opened our home to become a foster family. I still remember answering the call, an actual phone call, that changed our lives forever. That night the question was asked, if we would be willing to accept a two year old little boy into our home and love him as if he were our own. By faith, we stepped out into the unknown and said, “Yes.”

The next day Chad and I drove to the Department of Human Services where we were lead to an office to take a seat. After making introductions, the caseworker asked if we would like to meet the child. Moments later she rounded the corner with a little boy who looked scared and confused. We sat with “J” and played with a toy truck while answering questions and completing paperwork.

As we finished up the work they had for us to do, they asked if we had any questions. We were so new to the whole process I wasn’t sure what questions to ask. The main question burning in my mind was, “How long?”

“How long?” was the one question the social workers weren’t prepared to answer. They gave us a general idea, but their answer was qualified by saying, “We don’t like to give timelines because so much of the progress is out of our control.”

As it turns out, not having a timeline is the hardest part of foster parenting. Now that we see that a commitment to foster for three months can turn into years, I have changed, or truly God has changed my view on parenting and what my priorities should be.

As parents, we take for granted that we have years, not months to instill values in our children. We spend so much of our time just trying to get our children to stay out of the way of traffic and behave in public that there seems to be little time for anything else. With some kids, it’s a full time job just to keep them alive until their 18th Birthday.

God has shown me it is by His divine will that children are placed in our care, even children who are born to us; and no parent is given a definite timeline. We are not afforded the knowledge of how many days we will have to demonstrate the love of God to this child, to foster a love for His word, to teach them how to pray or why we worship.

Jochebed, the mother of Moses, had only the early years of his life to teach him about the one true God. Her opportunity to do so came at a high cost. She risked her life to save Moses and God gave her an opportunity to shape his character in those formative years. I imagine Jochebed didn’t let a single bath or meal-time pass that she didn’t whisper truth to Moses about the character and nature of His creator.  As she laid him down each night, knowing her time with him was short, I imagine she told him the story again of how she floated him in a basket down the river to be found safe among the reeds. As his eyes would get heavy and he would begin to fall asleep she would remind her precious son, “God saved you for a purpose and if you follow Him you’ll find it!”

Hannah, the mother of Samuel had promised her son to God. After he was born, she  weaned him then brought him to the temple of the Lord with a blessing, “For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” In 1 Samuel 1:19 it says that every year, as Samuel grew, his mother would make a new linen ephod or robe which was a priestly garment. When Hannah and Elkanah came to worship, she would bring Samuel this new robe. As Samuel grew in his purpose, his mother made sure he was covered in a reminder of his place in service to the Lord.

Are you a parent? Has God entrusted a piece of the future to your household? How much time do you have to lead them to Salvation?

None of us can answer this question, and once we realize the gift we have in each moment we will find new meaning in our role as parents. Whether God gives us years, months or minutes with our children may we be faithful to use this precious time to lead them into the way of Life.