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“If you live your life too safely…”

03/08/2012

I was trying yet again to bring it up subtly, to work foster care statistics naturally into conversation. I don’t remember which freshly learned fact I was offering. Maybe I said, “Did you know there are half a million kids in foster care in the US? And over 200,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.” Or I may have been explaining why the Adopt US Kids lists rarely showed infants and young kids on the waiting-to-be-adopted lists—because they were usually adopted by their foster parents; because the foster parents the kids already know and trust are typically offered the first opportunity when the kids become legally free to adopt. Perhaps I was mentioning how it doesn’t cost anything to become a foster parent, the government even pays a small daily board rate to help with expenses, and that adoption through foster care is practically free.

Jason looked at me from across the dinner table with tears welling up in his eyes and said, “I can tell this is something you really want to do. Why don’t you go ahead and take the first step—call whoever you need to call to find out what we need to do to get started.” After our previous foster parenting conversation (when we talked about how heartbreaking it would be and how it wasn’t really in our plan), he had agreed to think and pray more about it. Maybe this was something God was putting heavily on our hearts for a reason. I was amazed at how quickly Jason had warmed up to it. I had expected more resistance to this crazy idea to become foster parents and now I was wondering if I really was ready to practice what I had been preaching.

This is what I tweeted that night (3-10-11):
“On the precipice of something big and feeling equally excited and inadequate. Thank you Lord for lighting the path… one step at a time.”

Later that evening an intense headache came upon me—the kind that makes me want to just curl up in bed and do nothing. What if I had a child right now? I wondered. How could I care for someone else who is dependent on me when I don’t feel like I have the strength and energy to do anything for anyone else besides myself right now. What was I thinking? How in the world am I going to have the energy to not just care for a child, but care for a child who is coming from a difficult past with the potential for all kinds of behavioral and emotional problems? I have no experience as a mother. I’m not good enough… I’m not strong enough… I’m not selfless enough… Those thoughts rolled around in my head as I tossed and turned all night.

When my alarm clock went off, I slipped out of bed, made my way into the bathroom, slid my Jesus Calling book off the back of the toilet and opened it to that day’s passage, March 11. It said…

Walk by faith, not by sight.
As you take steps of faith, depending on Me,
I will show you how much I can do for you.
If you live your life too safely,
you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you.
When I gave you My spirit,
I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength.
Thats why it is wrong to measure your energy level
against the challenges ahead of you.
The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless.
By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.

My feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy melted away as I stepped off the ledge into the unknown and started the most challenging, rewarding, stretching, joy-filled, faith-building year of my life. Thank God for giving me the courage to take that first step in obedience and for working through me despite every shortcoming.

(The picture above is from the day we said goodbye to Ladybug, our first foster placement, on arguably the most difficult day of my life.)

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