My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
She giggles whenever I try to dress her. He laughs in hysterics whenever I tickle his neck. I get up with her every morning before the sun rises and he throws himself on the floor dramatically when I can’t pick him up when he desires me to do so. Most people would assume I am their mama. But I am not.
We brought her home from the hospital. We gave her her first bath, I was up with her every 2 hours each night praying her brother, not quite 12 months her elder, would pretty please sleep in just this once.
We celebrate when he, the picky eater, eats his vegetables and when sissy sleeps for the first time an 8 hour stretch. I take them to every doctor’s appointment, every specialist, I make sure they are immunized, I fight for needed medical treatments, services he needs, we work hard to catch him up from being so far behind.
We celebrate each milestone we are able to witness most recently taking blessed steps! He’s come so far my heart bursts with joy!
But I am not their mama.
I don’t know what it is like to have him kick me from the inside, but I know what it feels like when he finally surrenders to heavenly sleep while rocking in my arms. I never felt her nursing from my breasts, but I see in her eyes when I feed her that she knows her needs are met. She is safe.
We have 3 precious kids that I did carry in my womb, I felt them kick me from the inside, they all gave me heartburn and Thai food cravings, they all came from me and they all were nursed by me.
I am their mama.
The difference between “them” and “them” is DNA.
But my love knows no difference.
I deal with putting his long hair in a ponytail every morning despite his protests because I am not his mama.
I follow the rules.
Do not cut his hair.
I am not his mama.
I am their foster mom. We are their foster parents.
I know our place in this. We know the rules. We know what is expected of us.
My head knows. My heart struggles. My head knows that DNA is the difference between “ours” and “theirs” but my heart doesn’t.
My heart says they are all ours.
I try to stay strong as we got to court every 3 months and hold my breath as they judge says to their parents do your part and we’ll meet again in 3 more months.
Three more months in our home. 3 more months in our hearts. Every 3 months they grant us 3 more months. I wonder when will this end. How will this end? Will the judge eventually send them home? Will some uncle pop up out of nowhere and because of the 3 letters, DNA, he will take them? Will the courts feel someone else should parent them because we aren’t of the same ethnicity as them? I read all the stories. I know all the outcomes that this can end in.
But they could also stay here with us. Do I let my heart even think of actually being their mama. Does my heart hurt less when my brain tells me it won’t happen? Can my brain protect my heart? If they came to stay with us that means they lose their parents. If they leave us, they lose us. There are no win wins here. This is foster care.
And this is where God led us.
This is where I lean heavily on our Good God. On the hard days he sends me what I like to call God winks. A rainbow. A friendly stranger. A friend bringing a meal. He sees me. He hears me.
I don’t know what their future holds, but I guess that’s not my job. We weren’t asked to keep them, we were asked to love them and care for them temporarily while their parents got safe. And that is what we are doing. We are protecting them, fighting for them and praying for them because God put them in our home and in our lives and the natural consequence of all that is we love them deeply and without conditions.
We pray for their parents. We want the best for them and we pray that happens. We have to trust fully and completely in God as we walk this road he paved for us. He tells us to love and that is how we love, we open our home and our hearts. He asks us to do for others as we would have them do for us. Would I love a safe place to stay if my home wasn’t safe? Yes of course. So this is us listening to God and trusting in him and trusting the system with these kids and along with them, our hearts.
When God asks us to lay down our lives for others I don’t think he always meant literally, he may also mean laying down our livelihoods. Laying down our selfish desires, our worldly lives. If we stop protecting our hearts and trust him with it and we love like he says we should, he will hold us up. Will we hurt, yes, probably, he never promises us a pain free life. But if we seek his face we will see his glory and we can love with our whole hearts and find sweet rest in him.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Is there an area in your life that you feel a tug on your heart? Is God asking you to show your love to someone or somewhere you aren’t comfortable with? Talk to him about it. Trust him. If you feel like he is leading you, follow him. He has you, friend. He has you! Listen to his whisper, “go… I got you” how can we not go with him cheering us on?
My favorite song right now I love to just sing and praise to is No Longer Slaves by Bethal, my favorite verse is “our fears are drowned in perfect love” oh thank you God for saving us from our fears. Thank you for encouraging us to shine your light in this dark world.