Each Foster parent’s journey to approval has its own path.
Some begin years before they sit in front of a social worker. For some, it’s a calling that sits in the heart of a person.
For others it hits with a bang, an instant need that they fall into.
For each family though, I believe, we come in with some expectations.
Perhaps fuelled by Hollywood, and the ‘happily ever after’ that is splashed across our screens.
Big Mike and Leigh Anne Tuohy’s scene where she wipes away the tears as Mike acknowledges “I’ve never had a bed before” (in ‘The Blind Side’), or Little Annie’s “I think I’m gonna like it here!” (from ‘Annie’).
Maybe it is a whisper of hope that sits in your heart, the picture of a big happy family, full of gratitude and acknowledgement, said or unsaid.
The reality though often doesn’t take long to unfold.
Staff with different priorities than you.
Behaviours rooted in unknown traumas.
Friends that don’t understand and begin to drift away.
The reason you began this journey probably hasn’t changed, but the reality can begin to feel really uncomfortable. Why would you keep saying yes to something this hard?
The Bible tells the story of a woman. The kind of story that begins a bit like a fairy tale…
An orphan child, raised by an uncle until she is suddenly spotted by the King and he falls for her, bringing her into the palace and making her the most important Queen in his harem! (Perhaps the last part wouldn’t be included in a child’s fairytale!)
Can you imagine the comfort now afforded this woman? Servants, food at the ready, no need to work, to worry, to strive for anything? Her name was Esther and for those of you who know your Bible, you will know that this isn’t where the story ended. Esther’s uncle came with bad news. He sent a message to Esther that the King planned on killing the Jews. Esther was a Jewish woman, but she was comfortable in the palace.
This was her place now.
What went on outside those walls surely wasn’t her problem.
Except that it was.
Her uncle sent another message to Esther, perhaps one of the most well-known verses in the Old Testament:
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
I have often had to lean on those words.
Perhaps this child is with us for ‘such a time as this’.
Perhaps we have had a bed waiting ‘for such a time as this’.
Perhaps that experience we went through was for ‘such a time as this’.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable. But when comfort becomes the destination, and overtakes our sense of calling, we can lose the sense of ‘such a time as this’ that is on our lives.
We can sit in our ‘palaces’, knowing of the pain and hurt that is happening outside our walls, keenly aware that doing something about it may very well change all that we know.
As Foster parents, we have already said yes to the uncomfortable, but are we saying yes each morning to our calling?
For those who are motivated by the love of Christ to love the fatherless, we are also asked to ‘deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Jesus’. (Matthew 16:24)
Foster carers are not heroes, but we do have an incredible gift to offer: comfort to a child that lives in fear, pain, chaos and hurt.
In doing so, I can guarantee that you will have times that you will have to deny yourself. You will have to ask others to pray and fast with you (as Esther did). The weight of the system will feel like a heavy cross on your back. But, we need not carry it alone. For we have hope and can seek comfort and solace in the One who loves far more than we do.
Living in the ‘uncomfortable’ of our Calling may be our ‘such a time as this’ life-defining moment.
Esther likely never imagined that she would be in a position to save so many lives and be the hero. Even she didn’t realize her unique position. First, it had to be pointed out by Mordecai. Could there be areas in your life where you may be in a unique position to make a difference? This week look at your relationships… the talents you possess… the positions you hold… the places of influence you have. Look at them in a different light. Is there an area of comfort that you may need to shake up to step into your calling?
ARK W.A. Sate Manager