I grew up in a safe and wonderful environment.
I had (and still have) parents who love me, and care for me dearly.
I never experienced any repercussions of drug, alcohol, sexual or verbal abuse.
–I was never a foster child.-
That doesn’t mean I didn’t experience hurt, or loneliness or even horrible habits, but it does mean that I have never gone through the dark and hard places that a foster child has gone through.
The hard places where a child is watching abuse take place, a child is left to neglect, where a child is fighting anxiety minute by minute, where a child is bruised from an alcoholic family member, where a child doesn’t know when he/she will eat again, or where a child will witness the horrific images of a parent on drugs.
These are the areas where my eyes have been open, my heart has been broken and I’m seeing things in a new and challenging way. I have never been in a foster child’s shoes, but now as a foster parent, I have not only learned about all these dark details, I have also seen them and watched our other fellow foster parents go through it too.
It has affected my heart.
It has given me new eyes!
It’s hard to take in, and some things I can’t even imagine in my mind. But, it’s all real and it’s all happening around us ….. everyday.
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them Psalm 10:17-18
I visited my friend the other day who is also a foster family. As I approached the sweet little 5 yr old boy in her care to say hello and tell him his blue shirt looked so amazing, he hid behind his foster mother’s legs and would not make eye contact with me, nor anyone else who tried to talk to him. He was crippled with fear, his heart needed safety and comfort so bad.
In that moment, I found myself in his little shoes, not knowing what to do or where to go. I found myself seeing things with new eyes, and I couldn’t keep those eyes from being dry.
Things get real once you step out into something you once noticed from a distance, and you find yourself shoulder deep in …. It makes you change your purpose, your compassion….. your heart!
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Foster care is just as much about us pulling a child out of a broken story as it is about us being pulled into one.” – Jason Johnson
With these new eyes, I am praying that we can make a difference! even if it is in just one life. I’m praying that my heart grows with deeper compassion ….. and I’m praying that my eyes continue to see things the way Jesus does.
Maybe there is something you are thinking about doing that you may be nervous to jump in to. Maybe there is something that you’ve been looking at from a distance, that you know you should get shoulder deep in. Or, maybe God is nudging you to grab hold of something and look at it with new eyes.
I believe you can do it! And I am praying for you
Until next post ….