17 November 2015

be brave, be light, be love

Friday night Brad and I went on a date!  {Hallelujah!}  But it wasn't an average date, we went out to dinner then went to a meeting with FaithBridge to talk about foster care issues.

It was reported that there are currently 524 kiddos in foster care in Muscogee County.  And there are 67 foster families.

That averages to approximately 7.8 foster kiddos per family.  And since we all know there is no such thing as .8 of a child we'd need to round up to 8. Obviously the numbers aren't working here.

Its a bit disheartening.  But at the same time its an exciting time to think the church can step up and fill this gap.  This is our time.

While we sat in that meeting I kept thinking we all need to "be brave, be light, be love" in our communities.  Jesus showed us the way.  He didn't tell us to hide from hard things, instead He promised that we wouldn't walk in darkness because He is the Light of the World. {John 8:12}

We let fear hold us back, yet our Bible repeatedly says "do not be afraid."  There comes a time when we have to decide to just let the Spirit guide us and trust that Jesus is with us.  Not unlike when he told the disciples not to be afraid in Matthew 14:27.  "But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

All of these thoughts were swirling before I heard the news about the attacks in Paris.

Devastating.

Horrific.

Detestable.

Then on top of those horrors begins the ugliness the unfolds on the internet.

The you-pray-for-Paris-but-you-don't-pray-for-[fill in the blank with other horrific events in the world]-rants.

The outcries to stop refugees from coming here.

And I just want to shout, "will y'all just stop it!" Its just too much.  You know?  And I think my voice will add nothing to the conversation at this point.  So I doodle the phrases that have been on repeat.  I ask Jesus to lead me in His ways.  And I quietly invite you to join me -- in your corner of the world, with your people.  Let's just do these simple things.  Let's just ask Him to lead us in His ways.

There is enough fear in the world. Let's be brave.

There is enough darkness in the world.  Let's be light.

There is enough hate in the world.  Let's be love.


Let's tell a different story.  Let's sing a different song.  Let's ask questions and truly listen for the answers.  Let's make space for differing opinions, trusting that those differences will help us find balance.  Let's celebrate the giftings of one another, trusting that another's strength will counter my weakness. Let's believe that the body of Christ is made up of different parts; some that are hospitable and some that are organized; some that pray, some that give, some that go.  Let's trust that together we can offer Hope to the hurting without fear -- in our own communities and on distant shores.

Let's seek after Jesus and trust that His ways will never lead us astray.  We won't be here long.  So while we are here let's bear witness to His goodness, His truth, and His salvation.  Let's be brave. Let's be light, Let's be love.


06 November 2015

action required

Alright, y'all, I have been suffering from a bit of a writer's block for a hot minute.  The truth is, I am almost always carrying a story in my head that I can't be free of until it comes out on paper {or blog}.  But lately, things have been empty.  Until now.

Here's the thing, I am tired.  And I am angry.

I heard whispers yesterday about how hard foster care is.  AND IT IS. But the trouble is, those 'whispers of hard' tend to be the whole story that most people ever hear.  Especially in our churches, there's this underlying current of how horribly wrong things can go in foster care situations and this belief that we should protect ourselves from it at all costs.

I saw evidence of it first hand when we first waded into the system 5 years ago. People are eager to tell you the horror stories of their cousins' friends' mom who had a child torn from her after 12 years. Or the story about the terrible foster kid that raged uncontrollably for days on end.

I am not saying these stories aren't true, and I am not even saying these stories shouldn't be told.

The weird thing is, that these stories have somehow instilled enough fear to steer most folks directly away from any desire to be involved in foster care.

Let's be honest, we've all been with a newly pregnant friend who has to listen to awkward birth stories and we can't wait to get away from the ill-timed-narratives so we can reassure our friend that things will be OK.  Terrible things have happened to pregnant people and heartbreaking dramas have unfolded in delivery rooms.  However, the retelling of these stories hasn't turned our culture away from the idea of bearing children.

Yet, somehow these foster care stories build this fear that turns people away from the children.

These precious children that are so loved in the eyes of our Father.  And they are in a position of desperate need through no fault of their own.  AND OUR CHURCHES ARE FULL OF FOLKS THAT COULD SHARE SOME LOVE.

But its scary.  And hard.  But not impossible.  Not even close.



And there's good news for our local community specifically.  Really. Good. News.

FaithBridge Foster Care is coming to Columbus.  Here's a little info from their website: {Click here to go to their website and learn more.}

We are a Christ-centered nonprofit that is changing the way America does foster care by mobilizing, organizing and equipping local churches to solve their community's foster care crisis. Together, we stand in the gap with children and families. Through Christian foster care ministries and the FaithBridge Community of Care, we provide unparalleled support to foster and birth families as we share God's life-changing love in the midst of crisis.



This organization has proven itself in Atlanta.  And Atlanta is a pretty big place.  It saw the need, and it saw the number of churches and it realized things could change.  I couldn't be more thrilled to have them come to town.  While there will still be struggles within the foster care space, there will be a community like there hasn't been before.  Families that bravely sign-up to foster will have the support of other families within their own churches to help them along the way.  Churches will be able to leverage their resources to make sure every foster parent has enough clothes, or beds, or toys, or books.  I don't want to make this sound too good to be true, but at the same time, I don't think I can overstate what a HUGE blessing it will be for Muscogee County and the children in crisis there.

This was stated by the Chattahoochee CASA two weeks ago on Facebook:
ATTENTION, ACTION NEEDED! There are now 520 children in foster care, only 168 served with 352 unserved! That is only 32% of the Muscogee County Foster Children. We need YOU, THEY need YOU! Training will begin Nov. 3rd. If you are interested in joining our class it isn't too late!
 And remember last week when I told y'all about the foster momma that had to tell one of her foster girls that she couldn't sign-up for cheerleading because they didn't have the money?

Y'all this is going to make a difference.  A big measurable difference.  And I am sure of it because they have already done it in Atlanta.

They are getting closer to opening their doors here.  They only need $40,000 to meet their goal.  It sounds like a lot but not for a community of our size.  Not really.

4000 people could give $10.
400 people could give $100.
40 people could give $1000.
4 people could give $10,000.

And I am guessing there are some community leaders that might be interested in being a part of this as well.  Perhaps there are some business owners that have been burdened to give back to our comminity but haven't been sure of where or how. You might even know them!

So what can you do?

1.  Pray.  Pray for the funding to come.  Pray for the leaders in Muscogee County.  And always, always pray for children in foster care and the families that are loving them the best they can.

2. Give.  Click this link, check the box next to Columbus and make a donation.  Today!

3. Share this information.  You likely know people that I don't and they might be able to give today too, essentially multiplying your impact!

4. Be brave.  When you hear foster care horror stories, acknowledge the pain if its a personal story; but if its about a friend's cousin's mom's situation from 1985 boldly speak Truth and stand up for these kiddos without a voice.  Make sure the conversation doesn't end in fear and despair.  These kiddos are worth the struggle.