But yet, she has so many more reasons to stay strong. Love, hope, responsibilities, commitment, persistence, her kids... Her calling.
She walks into the room with her face showing the obvious signs of tears, a cascade of them. This is not a weak woman. This is a woman who spends more time on her knees for her children, both bio and foster, than anyone else I know. This is a woman who speaks the name and healing power of Jesus to the kids in her care. This is a woman to whom most of us in the foster care community look to for guidance, help, and encouragement. This is a woman after God's own heart.
It's hard for me to see the tears, but it's not hard for me to imagine why she's crying.
Foster care is not for the feint of heart. It is hard. It is frustrating. It is scary. It is grief. It's children who have been hurt in ways that makes you want to throttle the person who did it to them. It's children who have never been loved and therefore don't know how to accept your love, no matter how hard you try. It's children who do not trust adults because they have been betrayed too many times before. It's families who are broken and hurting, angry, needy, desperate.
Living in the realm of foster care is living in a state of perpetual brokenness. The fear of what might happen at their next visit. The agony of listening to a child weep for their mommy in your arms, while knowing they may never be with mommy again. The knot in the pit of your stomach as you wait in the family court waiting room to see what the judge has decided about the fate of the child that you love. The intensity of behaviors that happen when a child has been damaged and broken, and is looking for solace and comfort the only way they know how. The day that is fast approaching, in which you will send them off to a new home while praying that they continue to heal, are safe, and seek after God.
So as I listen to her cry on the row behind me, as I listen to her pray for the One to heal the little one that is so broken, I know where she is. I've been there and I'll be there again in the future. It's certainly not a question of if we get there, it's a question of when. The moment when all we can do is cry out to the Father, hoping for a miracle.
No, foster care is not a ministry for the weak. It's not a ministry for just the few who have been called. It's a ministry for ALL of us. Foster parents need your support. We need your prayers. We need your hugs and encouragement. We need a community to help us raise this broken child, so that they are pointed to Jesus every step of the way. We need you.