My instinct is to close my eyes tight and hope when I open them again the hard will be gone.
I volunteered at the reception desk at the foster care office yesterday. I wept when driving away.
Months ago, I offered to help with organizing the supply closet. I kept coming back, so I was asked to help at the desk. I can offer just-shy of 3 hours a week. They need someone to sit there 40 hours a week.
I can't sugar coat it. Its not easy. I've already experienced crying while driving from those offices. More than once. You can't walk in those hallways and avoid all of the messiness. There's nothing easy about the work those caseworkers are doing on a daily basis.
Sitting at the reception desk, its even more eye-opening. I've prayed repeatedly "Break my heart for what breaks yours." And He has answered repeatedly. But where do I go from here? What do I do with this heartbreak? My measly 3 hours of help seems so small.
There are over 300 children in foster care in our county and there are less than 50 foster families. If you do that math, you discover there would need to be an average of 6 foster children with each foster family.
I don't know what stories I can tell. For privacy reasons, I am not sure I should tell any of them. So I will hold them in my heart; the little boy cries and the momma tears and the grandma anxious to stand in the mess. I'll keep them wrapped up in my mind and pour over them with my Father in prayer.
I saw heartache. But I also saw hope.
There were three families getting fingerprinted so they could become foster parents. Their eyes were light and their smiles were big. They were excited.
They are brave.
In the middle of this, I sense a mounting tension as I wrestle with my own past declaration, "I could never foster parent, it would be too hard."
I'm embarrassed that for so long, "it would be too hard" was enough of a reason for me to not even consider it.
Not once had I acknowledged the "hard" on the other side of that equation.
I hadn't thought about the children being transported miles and miles away because there aren't enough available foster homes locally. I didn't consider the sibling sets that are broken apart because there isn't enough room in any one home for all of them.
These are children in the midst of turmoil taking on a hard that I can't wrap my brain around - that truthfully, I don't want to wrap my brain around.
God forgive me.
I don't know where we go from here. I do know we do not go alone. I know God's heart is for these children. Jesus breaks it down like this in Matthew 25 - its worth a read if you aren't convinced about God's heart for these kiddos in need.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I found this song via one of my favorite blogs this morning. It resonated deeply and reminded me of why the hard things shouldn't be avoided.