Monday, March 28, 2016

Seeing the Bigger Picture

our temporary family of six
(blurry for protection of our foster children)
I used to think that I had to do something huge for God. That in order to earn His Love, I had to perform some heroic act of service and prove myself worthy. Due in part to this wrong thinking, our family welcomed two foster children to our home a few years ago. This was during my "angry mama" phase (see my testimony in this earlier post) and I was barely hanging onto my sanity with my own biological children and had no business bringing two already hurting children into the mix. Needless to say it didn't end well when I reached the end of my rope (not the end of God, notice, but the end of ME) after three months and we disrupted our placements. By the grace of God, the siblings are together now in an extremely loving home, and I have peace in knowing that this particular home was not available at the time we received the call so our months with them were not wasted, because they were in a safe place with us. But when I think of the times I was short instead of comforting with my words, rushed instead of generous with my time, and annoyed instead of welcoming with my arms, I know that I failed.
I was trying to earn Love. The Love that I already had, but I couldn't see it to share it with the four children in front of me.
But we aren't all called to be Jonah saving entire cities; sometimes the best thing we can do is just take one small step at a time in the right direction and trust in the One who sees the bigger picture. When we were fostering, I lacked that trust. All I could see was the seemingly insurmountable challenges in front of me and I wanted out. What stands out to me when I think about that time is my selfishness, both the lack of heart preparation before and during the placement and the relief I felt when my husband and I decided to make the call to end it. But I also know that I did not count the cost of bringing two hurting children into our home. I did not consider my sinful heart of stone and I did not consider the two God-given children I was already responsible for. (I cringe now when I think of how flippant I was in my attitude, "oh, they'll get used to it. Sure, our early-riser, sensitive-to-loud-noises son can share a room with an infant." Again, Leila and Cameron: please forgive me!!)
As we make preparations to homeschool, I am focusing on one step at a time. I don't know if we will homeschool all the way through graduation. I don't know how the next school year will go (heck, I don't even know how the rest of this day will go). But I do know that my heart is softer. I know that my conviction about the idol of "me time" is truly from the LORD and not a selfish attempt to appear more holy in doing some big thing. I know that I can not and do not need to earn God's Love. That it is freely given. I know that while we are imperfect, we strive toward a perfect God who can see the whole of life. (He can even see if we will ever foster again.) I don't know what lies ahead, but the difference now is that my trust lies with the One who does know and that is enough.

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