Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and think of something you want to write down but you hesitate to get up and do it? You think, “no I should lay quiet and not turn on lights and maybe I will go back to sleep.” “I can write this in the morning, I really need my rest.” I do this a bunch and I did it on Saturday morning and as usual I should I have got up and wrote down my thoughts because I have not been able to compose them since. So today you get my rambled thoughts about what has been on my heart and mind.
A long time ago, I worked on a bus ministry where we would pick up children, mostly from lower income homes, and take them to Bible class. We would sing and teach them the whole time they were on the bus. It was often hard to see if you were making any difference in their lives. It was not glamorous, it often involved hugging dirty children in their unkempt homes. The highlights were when they remembered what you had taught them and of course, their smiles and cute personalities. Whenever I was discouraged or tired of spending my spare time working on lessons, my mom would always say, “We may never know what difference we made, but if one child grows up to remember that Jesus loves them, it will all be worth it.”
This is what I have been trying to remember for three years. For the past three years we have had two extra children in our family. Two teens from a different race, whose mother told them to move out. She told the older one when he turned 18 that he was a man and needed to move out; despite he was a junior in high school. Then she told him to take his sixteen year old brother with him. This is where we entered. We took them in. We knew them through our youth group, but we didn’t really know them. Not the learning disabilities, not the terrible grades, the problems with the coaches, not the undiagnosed medical condition, nor the weak ACL waiting to tear, nor the inability to process audible instruction, nor the ongoing crises of their mother and younger siblings, but we took them in anyway. We did it on faith. Faith, that God was the one who was calling in our hearts to do it. Faith, that God was the one who owned our home and our cars and everything else so we should share them. Faith that if God was asking us to do this, that he would have give us what we needed to do it. In a sense, it was blind faith. We were blind to all the struggles that lay ahead, but we were not blind to the faithfulness of our God.
Two years ago the eldest boy graduated and went on to Job Corps where he learned two trades. He is totally on his own now. He has an apartment, a good job and had a car, until he wrecked it. He has learned so much and while he has a long way to go, he is totally changing his family tree from a life of government assistance and poverty to one of financial independence and self reliance.
Yesterday, the younger brother graduated from high school. He has employment and plans to continue his education at a community college. He has moved out to live with friends. He would have preferred to stay longer, but he also preferred to do things his way so we decided it was time for him to launch. He purchased his car from us with money he saved by working this year. He has learned that working makes you feel good about yourself and that it is important to do your job well so that the business will do well. There are many things he does not seem to have figured out, but he will get there. Some people have to learn by making some mistakes themselves. I think we all have an area of our life where that is the case.
So lately, it has been hard to see what we accomplished. There have been many “hit my head against the wall” kind of days. I know we have made a difference, but only time will show how much we did.
Yesterday we told the younger one that if he remembers nothing else from us, that we hoped he learned that Jesus loves him, he died for him and that he will forgive him when he messes up. A few days before, his big brother told me, “Even though I only lived with you full time for a year, I learned what a Christian family is and looks like.” “YES!” I thought. “He got it!”
So maybe we won’t have to wait so long to know, but even if we don’t know here, I have faith we will on the other side.
If you are fostering right now, hang in there. Don’t give up. Have faith.