I haven't blogged in a while because I have been working like crazy to save money to bring our Maggie home. But today I had a few hours off and it has given me time to process (and thus blog).
I will be honest, we have had a hard couple of weeks around here. Not only are we running ourselves crazy but we are struggling. We are grieving with a dear friend who is watching his marriage fall apart and we are struggling with our foster child and what God is trying to teach us through this journey.
The last few days I have been thinking about the concept of trading. When times get tough, a trade sure looks nice. Sometimes we want to trade our spouse for perceived happiness or maybe trade our walk in foster care for a little peace. But those are bad trades. So I am going to brainstorm here with you and feel free to comment or disagree with me.
I feel the need to add a disclaimer - I would never advocate placing yourself or your child in a dangerous situation. There are clear Biblical allowances for divorce and I think there is room within the foster care community for making tough decisions. That is NOT what I am talking about here.
1. Bad Trade #1- Trading our Children's Security for the possibility of a little more Personal Happiness.
When I refer to my children, I absolutely include my foster child in that category. I am going to keep it real here and say there are many days when I let the Enemy creep into my head and tell me how much more peaceful my home would be if I would let CPS just place this child in another home. But you know what that would do? It would lay multiple layers of bricks on this wall of insecurity he owns that has led to the very struggles we are walking through. I combat that by thinking upon how God has related to me when I have acted out of insecurity. You know what he does? He opens his arms a little wider and says "I forgive you, now let's keep working on this". Then I think on my dear friends and their marriage that is being so heavily attacked by the Enemy right now. I think of the trade his wife wants to make and the amount of life long insecurity that will generate in their children and I can only pray that they will forgive and keep on working like Christ does daily with us.
2. Bad Trade #2 - Trading the Truth for the Lies we want to believe. We are great justifiers, aren't we? Or let's just call a spade a spade. We are great liars. We need to feel like our choice is okay so we lie to ourselves about how it will turn out. We tell ourselves that our child will be fine with our choice, that "kids are resilient", and that maybe even "they will be better off in the long run". Let's reclaim the truth here people. Any time a child is abandoned or removed from a family environment, they suffer life-long consequences. We are walking through those right now with our foster child. I can also say that Trent and I even struggle with the consequences of his parents' divorce when he was in his 20's! There is no age when children are safe from the harm of separation from their home environment. They aren't that resilient and, unless they are being abused, they are not better off.
3. Bad Trade #3- Trading our Commitment for "the easy way out" - I placed the easy way out in quotes because I think what we perceive as the easy way out is often tougher than staying and letting God work in us and our situation. Whether we are talking about foster care or marriage, there is a hard commitment involved. It's that for better or for worse thing. 1 Corinthians 7:28 tells us, "Those who marry will face many troubles in this life." HELLO! So why do we act so darn surprised and mistreated when it is not all roses? Girl, I am preaching to myself here too. Remember that voice in my head that says it would all be easier if we sent the source of our lack of peace onto his next destination? I know though that bailing on our commitments is never the easy way out. There are consequences to not following God's plan for your life.
But here is the encouraging part that I cling tight to right now and I pray my friend will see. If we can resist the Enemy and avoid those bad trades, there is great reward in the end. I look at older couples who have gone through hard times and stuck it out and envy the testimony they have now. The character they showed in resisting the bad trade grew into wisdom, a testimony, and ministry for those of us who come behind them. Not to mention that has spared their children of a life of insecurity and pain. At times like this, I personally hold tight to the testimonies of my friends who have walked this foster care journey before me, stuck with it, and are now testifying to the fruits of their commitment.
Let's hang in there together, embrace the truth, honor our commitments, and avoid those bad trades.