I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the distinct difference between how I live and how the other 99% of the world live. The sheer excess that is around me is suffocating. It sometimes feels like I can’t get rid of it fast enough. Here in the US, I can’t imagine ever really living in want. I have access to clean water, shelter, food. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the “first world problem” phenomenon going on right now. If you haven’t, here’s an example: Crap! The DVD player in our new van isn’t working!!! Each time I’ve been irritated at something throughout the day, I can immediately follow with “first world problem.”
I’ve kind of fizzled in my enthusiasm for our Radical Experiment. I’m needing some renewed motivation. We’re studying Amos in my Bible study right now. As is so frequently mentioned in Scripture, the rich are doing a terrible job of caring for the poor and needy. They’re living in excess. There are SO MANY references to our responsiblity to seek justice for the poor, orphans, widows. But, there are also so many references to the rich…and usually not positive. I’m just struggling with what that really looks like. I am living in excess. We all are. Even if I try to be intentional with my money…even if I am purposeful in giving to the poor…I still have a house full of stuff. It just doesn’t sit right with me. We did have a garage sale and cleared out some things. So what?!? I still have WAY more than a huge percentage of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I’d love some feedback from you. How do you manage this in your own life?
Here are a couple of ways that I would like to “reignite” my desire to break away from materialism: I’m going to read two books in the next few weeks, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and Jen Hatmaker’s 7, An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. With my closet pared down, I’d like to only purchase clothing that require sweat shop/child labor free factories AND that fight against poverty or injustice…here’s a great one called Sevenly!
The Lord has reminded me over and over that He did not call me to a life of comfort.
p.s. We are still waiting on our first foster placement. I am shocked that we have not had a call, yet, but I know the Lord is purposeful, especially when it comes to the lives of the fatherless.
In my almost 5 years of parenting, last week was one of the worst. Grant was gone for several days, and I had prayed hard for a precious time with my girls. It was the opposite. Evie decided to stop sleeping and would not let me out of her sight. Ezra reverted back to the behavior of a two year old. I was anxious that my phone would ring with a placement opportunity with Grant away. By Saturday night, I was done. I was angry that the Lord had not blessed and protected this time. I was angry that things kept happening that showed me I was not capable of adding any more children to my household. I told Him that I was out. I would not be continuing with the foster process and planned to let Grant know that the second he got home. I told the Lord that if He absolutely, positively wanted me to become a foster parent, He must let me know. (I’m awfully demanding of the Lord, aren’t I? As if He hasn’t confirmed this to me enough…)
The next day, we went to Ezra’s Spring Sing at her preschool. As we were waiting to go into the auditorium, I saw Grant talking to another parent. Turns out that this is a foster family, and two of their children are in Ezra’s class. They live in our county. They take children 0-4 yrs. They just were placed with a newborn a few weeks ago. We have the same caseworker. Ok, Lord.
I know the Lord chooses the oddest people for big jobs. For us, this foster journey will be one of the biggest commitments we’ve made, yet. He chose Moses, with a fear of public speaking. He chose Amos, a lowly shepherd. He chose Ruth, a Moabite. He chose David, young and inexperienced. And, He chose the Keyses, mediocre parents. I think He’s just humbling, humbling, so that we’ll see His glory shine, once we begin our new family. I suspect that He’s stripping away any pride I have in myself, so that I will KNOW it is He who gets the glory.
So…I’m going to start laying it on thick. It is National Foster Care Month!! I realize that we have not even had a placement, yet, but I DO understand all the fear/anxiety/excuses that are connected with this. The bottom line, though, is simply if you’re willing to say yes to the Lord. Does every believer have to become a foster parent? Maybe not. But, as a believer you ARE expected to care for orphans. This is not a calling. This is a command…that’s stated over and over again in Scripture. How’s the Lord directing you to care for the fatherless?
I met my friend Tammy at the Quitter conference in February. She is absolutely delightful. She graciously included my and Grant’s story in a new series on her blog called “LifeChangers.” Check it out!
We have been completely done with all things foster for just over a week. The first few days, I stared at my phone knowing it’d ring any second with a placement. A week later and still no call. Waiting has never been my strong suit. I know, I know. I should be relaxing with my two-kid household and enjoying the girls, while I can just focus on them. I’m trying, really I am!
At our last visit, our case worker told us that she would like to place a baby with us. Up to this point, I’ve done a fairly good job of NOT allowing myself to think about what age or gender of child that I would like to have. I didn’t want to have my heart set somewhere and be dissapointed when we didn’t get it. I really did not think that there were any babies in the foster system. I assumed that they were adopted immediately via agencies. So, it came as quite a surprise when she told us that. Many of the newborns are drug positive, so I’ve been reading about drug withdrawal. Goodness. Our county has a few instances of “safe haven” babies, too. Our case worker specifically said that she thinks drug positive or premature babies would be a good fit for our family.
As I’ve mentioned before, Ezra has been HARD. The same thought echos continuously…you can’t manage your own children. What are you thinking becoming a foster parent?!? It’s getting louder and louder, as each day passes. The only thing I have to hold on to right now is knowing, without a doubt, that the Lord has clearly directed us down this path. I keep asking Him if there’s been some sort of mistake, though. I know His power is made perfect in my weakness. But, come on. He certainly has chosen the weakest mom out there. I guess all I can do is depend solely on Him. If things were going smoothly for me as a parent right now, I would not experience His power so dramatically when He shows up with blessing. That’s what I’m banking on anyway. Come on, Jesus!!!
p.s. May is National Foster Care Month! There are 408,000 American children and youth in foster care, with 14, 000 in Ohio alone. Can you provide a home free of abuse and neglect? I won’t be a great encourager, as I am scared out of my wits right now to do this. BUT, if you have a heart for orphans, don’t forget about foster care!