Walking the path that God has put us on is not easy! Taking in God’s most treasured children who have lived through so much trauma is …. well …. traumatizing at times!
I want to be really real with you, this journey is not for the faint hearted, HOWEVER IT IS FOR THE FEW THAT ARE WILLING TO BE USED BY THE LORD!
If you would have asked me if this was ever in my plans or future you would have received a loud blurting laugh with a no answer!
I was that weird girl in middle school that knew I was going to be an accountant! I love numbers because they are always consistent. No matter what country you are in 2+2 will always equal 4! In high school my life was so overwhelming as I struggled to find me that I was literally striving to be a hermit. I was never marrying (24 years married and loving it beyond words), never having children (ha, ha, ha) and was going to be working on ranches riding the line (checking the fences for holes) and herding cattle when needed moving from ranch to ranch to explore the country in my own weird way.
My amazing husband was the one who started to lead me to the Lord in a very real way. Church was a big part of his life living so close to his Hispanic family that was very active in the Catholic Church. He knew once we had kids that he wanted to be a Godly father and husband.
My childhood experiences with God and church did not have as strong of a foundation. My mom had a true belief in the Lord, but my father was very leery of religion and churches, so as I put it I dabbled at a couple of churches growing up. My bestfriend is mormon and her family was a HUGE part of my childhood and Mrs. Bring is one of my “mother idols” that I strive to duplicate! I had a TOTALLY different perspective than my husband on church and a relationship with God.
As we both grew in our faith, marriage, and as parents we were called by God to reach out to children in our very community in need! What an amazing calling right! I mean who wouldn’t want to live out James 1:27 (NIV) “Religon that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
I had heard this verse many times and had never paid much attention to the “keep oneself from being polluted by the world” portion.
Let me tell you bringing these children into your home is absolutely inviting pollutants of the world into your life in ways that you may have otherwise been able to avoid, however we have learned on this journey how to keep it at arms length!
We have always said we wanted to work with kids that were the most in need, however we drew the line at sexual abuse and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). God just laughed and sent us Jon!
From the moment he walked through my door I saw the facial markers for FASD, after all I was a trained OB nurse who looks for these signs in every baby that is born. I knew from the very beginning that I needed to fight for this child who not only was severely neglected during the most crucial period of his developmental life (birth through toddler), but also he suffered attacks during his very physical development that would cause him issues that even if he was pulled from his parents at day one and placed in the world’s most loving and nurturing environment, he would still struggle with impulse control issues, anger issues, learning disabilities, and struggle through even the most basic social interactions!
Looking back at my life you would think I would have already learned to stop saying that I am never doing, moving, or taking in anything! BUT NO! I have never learned this lesson. So throughout our soon to be 11 years of fostering I have always said “we don’t take sexually abuse cases, (naively) because we have other child that we don’t want to put at risk”.
HELLO!!! Everytime a child that was therapeutic walked through our door we were opening up our children to trauma. There I said it! I have been putting my children at risk for more trauma with every child that walks through our door…. however we have also given them some amazing lessons on life, the world, and people that all too many people never get to learn.
My children know how to handle some very difficult personalities, have learned that not all responses are personal attacks on them instead they are often cries for help, and above all they have learned to not judge others because they know what it is like to be judged!
I have been blessed, amazed, and taken back at how our children will go to the individual that is struggling out of a group of hundreds of people, connect with them, deescalate them, and work to bring them in to acceptance. Even if it means being tough on their friends when they struggle to accept! Our older child will definitely hold their friends, Christian or not, accountable! I don’t have to worry about their ability to protect themselves on all levels (yes even physically unfortunately) because of the many children we have had through our doors.
So as we are bringing this season of our lives to a close God says hold on… I have one more for you! You guessed it, here is a child that needs to learn that not all men are going to rape you, harm you, and degrade you! I know my husband and boys are upto the challenge but here we are crossing off our final we draw the line at…!
I guess the main point is if you are going to take the LEAP to serve God in any form, don’t limit yourself, because he will bring you your fears in a very visceral way and carry you through them kicking and screaming sometimes! 11 years ago when Jon screamed his way into our hearts trust me the nurse inside me that knew how hard a child’s life was with FASD I was definitely scream at God “I can’t do this! I can’t handle this on top of work, homeschooling, Bachelors program, and church commitments! How do you expect me to do it all?”
Proverbs 20:24 (NIV) “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”