(photograph by Sarah Carter – http://www.sarahcarterphoto.com)
A friend recently told me that when she and her husband started telling people they are taking foster parent classes, they were met with responses that were both surprising and disheartening. People have said things like “why don’t you just have your own baby?”, or “why would you do that?” Unfortunately, the majority of these statements have come from fellow believers in Christ.
It seems this appears to be quite common even in the Christian community, or at least perhaps in our area of the country. Thankfully, my husband and I did not deal with this as much because people knew we were infertile and that we wanted the opportunity to be parents and hopefully adopt. But, my friend and her husband have biological children, and could have more if they chose to. They have felt called for a while now by the Lord to minister to little ones through foster care.
After our conversation, my heart was a little unsettled. The Lord kept saying to me “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”-Luke 12:34. After pondering on this, the thought entered my mind that while we are truly blessed in America, where is our heart? In my opinion, it seems that it is in worldly things. We treasure our actors and celebrities. We lift them up on pedestals and award them. Yet, do they reflect our hearts?
We fight so hard with each other over our political opinions and opponents. Our different views in policies and our abilities to express them are an integral part of our freedoms, but do they really reflect where our hearts should be? We strive for big cars, bigger houses, and small waistlines, but still, are these the things that we treasure?
It would be a lie to say that I don’t enjoy going to movies, voting, or admiring nice cars or homes. It would also be not truthful if I never worried about what the scale said. But, I hope these things never reflect where my treasures really are.
It breaks my heart that in this country of opportunity where fellow Christians can walk freely without persecution, we overlook what is truly important. The Lord has called us to minister to ALL people. This includes the politicians we don’t agree with. This includes the actors or actresses that we may find “weird”. This especially includes children who have fallen into the foster care system.
I have worked in child welfare for eleven years now and have seen so many horrible and vile acts against children. I have witnessed foster families get their hearts broken time and time again. I have watched birth parents lose their battles with addictions, and ultimately lose their children. Sadly, I have seen social workers become hardened to their hopes that they can change the world.
I still believe that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of children. I choose to believe that people can change, but they need willing participants to walk along them in their battles. Sometimes, it seems that we want children to grow up in safe homes, or want adults to change, but fail to recognize our responsibilities in these things.
We might say “I believe in Christ and love Him mightily”; yet, we turn our backs on the things that take us out of our comfortable “God bubble”. Christ surely was taken out of His comfort zone. He could have decided not to follow His Father’s calling. He could have walked away, but He chose not to.
If we want the staggering statistics of abuse and neglect of children to end, we too must not walk away. Foster care and being involved in child welfare issues will certainly take us out of our comfort zones. It will definitely break our hearts at times. However, our involvement in children’s lives and doing what God has called us to do is a reflection of where our treasure should be.
I saw a poster one time that said this “You have never looked into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God”. I have decided to recite this to myself daily as a reminder of the incredible responsibility and calling as a Christian to love people, especially those that can be overlooked by society. My hope is that my treasure and my heart will always be focused on the One who is worth treasuring, and on the children He desperately loves.