We spent some time around the campfire with old friends a few weeks ago. They have four kids of their own and they open their home to young foster children. On this particular week they were caring for a chubby, bright-eyed, energetic three-year-old girl. She was sweet and cheerful, and had made herself right at home in the family.
I’ve always had great respect for people who really put their hearts into foster parenting because it seems like it would be so difficult to let the kids go when the time came. I asked my friend about this and her response completely humbled me. She said that it can be very difficult to watch a child go back into a questionable situation, but it can also be very exciting to see some of the parents put their lives back together for the sake of their children.
She went on to explain how they view foster parenting as a ministry to the parents as well as the kids. They invite these hurting parents into their home, get to know them, pray with them, support them. When there is opportunity, they share the gospel. My friends invite these families to their own church where they will find additional love and support from the body of Christ.
I was thinking only about how difficult and frustrating it must be to work within a bureaucratic system and deal with abusive or irresponsible parents. It probably is. But this couple sees it for what it really is—an opportunity to touch the hurting with the love of God.
Another couple I know adopted a beautiful baby boy from Ethiopia about a year-and-a-half ago. In a moving post to her blog , entitled When there are unanswered questions, my friend shares her heart for her son and his family in Ethiopia:
With trust and hope we continually pray. We pray for wisdom to walk our son through all his days. We pray that we and others would be present in his life for him to share his thoughts and feelings. We pray as he comprehends and processes his story, that he will have freedom to grieve and wrestle and we pray he will end in a place of trusting the goodness of God. We pray he will grow into a man who will give thanks to God for the people who have loved him and been used by God to give him life. We pray he will see God’s hand at work in his life, and experience first hand God’s ability to bring joy from the sadness. We pray Jesus Christ alone will be his joy, will fill his empty places, will bring meaning to his life and that he will turn to Him for all the strength and wisdom needed for living life.
We also continue to pray that we will be able to one day embrace his Ethiopian Momma and Dada and his other Ethiopian family in the Lord’s presence. There, our King Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we trust we will be satisfied completely by Him and being in His presence. Maybe he will answer all the questions we have…and maybe just Him and being with Him will be enough and the questions will fade.
I do know God’s word promises that all things will be made right in Jesus Christ.
He will fill all our places of emptiness, loneliness and sadness with Himself.
It is for Him and His restoration that ultimately we trust and we hope… [Read full post]
Again, I see the love in this adoption going far beyond the amazing gift of godly, loving parents to this little boy. This couple has given their hearts to people in Ethiopia whom they have never met. They are thankful for the people who gave their son life and fervently pray for them on a regular basis. That is ministry.
These are only two examples. I know stories like these are repeated many times over. My own adorable and spunky little niece was adopted. I can’t imagine our family without her. Her birth parents and siblings are prayed for too.
I have a growing suspicion that the more I make my life about loving Jesus by loving others, the more I will find ministry in unexpected places.