It’s All Lateral.
I used to hear my friend, Abi, frequently say, “I wish people wouldn’t applaud us for fostering the kids who are with us. We’re not some WONDERFUL gift to them.”
I mean, I could (kind of) see where she was coming from. But I still wanted to applaud her. She was working so hard. She was loving kids who weren’t biologically her own. She was being the hands and feet of Jesus. That should be applauded.
But now that I’m on the other side of that argument… I finally get it.
How could someone applaud me for loving this beautiful girl next to me? She isn’t a gutter rat. She’s not mean or worthless or conniving. She didn’t get kicked out of her home because of her behavior. I’m not choosing to love someone who is an unlovable societal outcast. I’m doing no great, admirable deed.
All I’ve done is open my home to a child who was dealt an unfair hand. She’s easily liked, she’s kind, she’s deep, she’s intelligent. This job is not difficult for me. And this job should not be admired.
It should be expected, just like most other Kingdom work is. When you work for God, servant work is just part of the job description.
Think about it. Lots of people act as the hands and feet of Jesus every day, especially to my girl, but because those people aren’t LIVING with the troubled little orphan, they’re not high-fived every time they turn around.
It’s all Kingdom work, tailored to each worker’s spiritual gifts. My girl is a part of this Kingdom we’re working in, so it’s our job to take care of her as one of our own.
We all do that in different ways.
Some of you teach her at school. Some of you buy her clothes and share them with us. Some of you are her caseworkers. Some of you pray for her. Some of you counsel her. Some of you babysit, or go to her sports activities, or play with her at church.
It’s all equal in the sight of the Lord if we’re doing it for His glory.
I’m not a saint for choosing to love this babe amidst her grumpy days, changing moods, or occasional ungratefulness. Those things are all normal. I’m just a mom doing what moms do. A Kingdom worker doing what Kingdom workers do. It’s no different (to me) than having a third biological child and providing what she needs each day.
No one would applaud me for that.
I’ve not bestowed some beautiful gift upon my foster child’s dirty head. I’ve offered her what she deserves as a human being. And I don’t do that because I’ve got the purest heart with the most beautiful intentions. I do it because God gave me an instruction and an opportunity, and I said yes.
And I have to keep saying yes every day, which is not always easy for me.
I’m not always good at fostering. I’m not even happy about it every moment of the day. But I keep laying my heart at the Lord’s feet and trusting that He will use my willingness to give my girl what she needs during this season.
This is all just teamwork amongst a bunch of people who are moving forward each day with the hand they were given, trying to obey the Lord.
Me. My husband. Our daughters. Our new girl. Her bio mom. Her bio dad. Her teachers. Her counselors. All of us.
We’re all working hard at the jobs God gave each of us, and no person’s place on this team is any more important than the other’s. The ladder of goodness doesn’t start at the bottom with biological parents, and then move up to foster kids, and then foster parents.
It’s all lateral.
Only Jesus is at the top.