Be A Part Of The Story
I have an impulsive nature. In my late teens and early 20s, that looked like a lot of destructive decisions, but throughout my life there have been some wonderful, life shaping moments that have been brought by my hearts desire to jump all in – like the whirlwind courtship between my husband and I, a baby in a year of our marriage and two babies within three years. Impulsivity can be reckless – but it can be beautifully reckless. That compulsion to be ‘all in’ that comes from a stirring of one’s spirit – and while it should be checked and assessed, it shouldn’t be ignored. It should be leaned into, like a child learning to dive. Whose toes, ever so carefully, creep towards the edge of the pool and then, with anticipation, they release themselves from the ground and into the air. Sometimes that first jump isn’t pretty, and thus we have countless YouTube videos of belly flops and mishaps on the diving board. But that first dive isn’t usually the last, and soon that hesitation turns into excitement. And those nervous toes don’t inch into the air, they leap.
About a year ago I received an email from a friend of mine asking if they could borrow our unused baby equipment while they provided respite care for a foster family. This friend isn’t lacking for things to do – she has a full plate with out providing respite care. As I read her email, I was taken at her willingness to give more of herself. To extend herself beyond her normal responsibilities.
And so, almost like a reaction rather than a decision, I rummaged through our attic for toys and baby equipment and took a meal over. Almost with out thinking, I acted. It was almost as if my heart made the decision for me.
If my friend (and her family) were extending themselves, then my family could do something to help her. The next day, and the day after, and the week after the phrase, ‘do something,’ stuck to my husband and I like professional strength glue. But we were unsure about what we could do to add value We didn’t need convincing that those who are in foster care are close to Jesus’ heart, but were unsure about how to get involved in a sustainable way. The last thing we wanted to do was to act prematurely – to act only on emotional impulse and offer our family into something that we couldn’t sustain. We wanted for God to use us in a way that would provide tangible support – in a way that we could carry out. Surely there was something in the middle between nothing and moving to Africa and starting an orphanage.
I was in the kitchen one afternoon, prepping for my family’s meal that evening and I looked down at my hands. I was using them to prepare something that my family would enjoy, that would nourish them, that we could enjoy together.
That was it.
That was the way God wanted me to use my hands. To give a foster family a meal that they would enjoy, that would nourish them, something they could enjoy together. I started taking two foster families a meal each month. I made dinner everyday, and so it seemed almost effortless to make them a meal once a month. After a couple of months making meals, I almost didn’t even notice. It just became a part of my family’s routine. I loved taking meals each month, but I felt as if we could do more. That we were being led to do more. But what?
Surely we weren’t being called to take care of babies in our home! We live in a townhome. We have kiddos of ‘our own’ – a toddler and an infant and I haven’t had a full nights sleep in almost a year.
Do we have what it takes? Do we have ‘enough’ for another baby in the home? But the only answers we could come up as to why not didn’t satisfy our hearts. Our hearts were being moved by something larger than ourselves – we were about to leap off the diving board into the deep end.
I remember our first placement, twin baby girls. While the girls were with us, friends of ours brought us meals, took our son for play dates, or just offered their hands to hold a baby. People used their hands in the ways they could. In every placement we’ve had people have showed up for us. It is safe to say that we love the babies we foster better because people have come alongside us to love us more. Like a chain reaction that builds on itself and propels the action forward. I’m reminded of one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Romans 12:15, ‘So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’ We were supported by others as we were supporting others. And what seemed impossible, turned possible, because we had people who were extending their hands to make our work lighter.
God has shown me that my hands are enough, because He has equipped them. Enough to cook meals and enough to hold precious babies who need a place to rest, My love is enough to stand in the gap for those who have no one who is standing for them. And your hands, my friend, they are enough. Enough to do something. Enough to stand in the gap, in whatever big or small ways. It is the action that does something. And every action, builds on itself, into a larger, beautiful story. Be a part of that story.