My Torn Joy


It was nine months ago that we go the call. It was not the first time we had received the call, but we thought it would be the last, at least for a while. “We have a little boy who needs a home are you available?” yes of course we are. We were prepared and had everything ready. A few hours later we met C. It was love at first sight. He was the most adorable thing we had ever seen. He looked at me shot a little sideways smile and my heart melted. I knew I was in for a world of hurt. Within two weeks we were ready to keep him. We knew instantly that if he needed a permanent home he had one with us. Our goal with fostering is to give 100% of ourselves to the kids because they need it. Granted we have not done this for that long but it was still our goal. So, he got it all. All the love he could handle and trust me he can handle a lot of love.

Everyone who has met this little man has fallen for him. He walks down the hallway at church and almost everyone stops to say hi and give a high five. He puts a smile on everyone’s face and brings joy to everyone he meets. At the grocery store, he is king of the isles. I’ll be honest because we have different skin tone we were so nervous we were going to get questions and stares, so we wanted to keep a lower profile. I would have hated to have to slap a fool. C did not care. He wanted everyone to see him and us. He would kiss and hug me in front of anyone. He just wants to see the whole world smile. And they do.

Today he comes back from a weekend visit and then he will be leaving in a little over a week. I am so glad that he has a family to love him and I am heartbroken that I will not see him anymore. I honestly feel like I am going to die. He brought so much joy into my life for these nine months and I will never forget that, but it does not do much to soften the pain. I wanted to give 100% of myself to him and I did. Now part of me is leaving with him. It was hard when the last placement ended but for different reasons. This is torture. The waiting for him to go. The knowing the end is near and never showing him. Knowing each kiss goodnight is one less I get but making him feel like each one is forever. I have to be honest this hurts more than I ever knew possible. But again, he gave me joy and so much more.

Through C God has shown me more of His love than I ever understood before. Through C God has shown me His heart for me. Even when he is a little punk I love him. Even when he tests I love him. Even when he is just a two-year-old I love him. Nothing will change that. God has shown how He feels that infinitely more towards me. My joy is torn just like this picture C made and then broke. It serves as a reminder of what it means to love. Love means putting yourselves out there being willing to be hurt because it is worth it.

Kids are worth it. People are worth it. People need love and yes, they can hurt you, but they are worth the risk. You cannot reach everyone. Sometimes no matter how hard you try there is just no getting to them, but we cannot let that stop us from loving someone else. We are called to walk like Christ and Christ loved Judas knowing he would betray Him. Jesus loved enough to be hurt and so can we by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I know I am going to be a mess when C leaves but that is because I love him and I am OK with that. Foster care is hard and sometimes it just sucks but they are worth it. Loving people is hard and sometimes you don’t want to do it, but people are worth it. If we just try and protect ourselves from getting hurt we may succeed but at what cost?

Just a thought,


Foster Care and Love

I don’t usually get personal but today I will. On Friday, our two foster boys left and I felt a sadness I did not know I could feel. It is a hard thing doing foster care because going into it you know they will leave, and you know you will be broken hearted. You know this but you still do it. I think one of the things that makes it that much harder is that they take all their stuff with them. You have little things that get left behind but when you are used to having a house full of toys and fire trucks a block here and a car there does not really cut it.

I can say that now more than before I understand God’s love for me. To do Foster Care right you need to open yourself up completely. Don’t get me wrong I think I did more wrong than right but I think I opened up fully. Back to the point though, you need to completely love these kids because while you know they are leaving they need security and love. They need to know that their past does not define them and that their hurt can be healed. They need to be washed in love every day and that requires you to be only concerned with their well-being. That is hard.

It is hard because you know their love for you is not as deep as it is for their bio parents. Regardless of their former home life and how messed up it might be that was home and that was normal. You and your love are abnormal. The point is you need to be all in regardless of whether or not they are. You need to love them as if they were yours not because the feelings or actions may be reciprocated but because that is what love does.

We loved those boys fully. I made mistakes but I loved fully. Now I hurt fully. I hurt when I think about them, I hurt when I see a toy or their little Nashville refrigerator magnets, and I hurt fully when I know I will not see them after work. But I also smile. I smile because I know they are happy, healthy, and they know they were loved. I smile because I got hugs I would have never gotten, I smile because I got to hear I love you, and I smile because the little one used the potty. I smile because I was able to love.

We have to love people and we have to be willing to be hurt. We cannot say no because it is hard but I will because it is worth it. Whether it is a hard child, a hard adult, or whatever we must love because loving people is worth it.

I think about how God loves us and how the Bible says “while we still sinners Christ died for us.” God gave fully because that is what loves does. Even now there are those who refuse Him and want nothing to do with Him. Yet He still loves them and He is still calling them.

There is a whole world out there waiting to see what the church will do. They are waiting to see if we will walk like Christ. They are waiting to see if we will come to them and love. They are waiting. Are we willing to walk in and out of love?

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Eph 2:4-5

Just a thought,


Counting the Cost

In Luke 14:28-32 Jesus speaks of counting the cost to be a disciple and while I am not actually going to be discussing that topic I think the advice He gives is pretty sound and useful for other areas because after all, He is Jesus and Jesus does not give bad advice. If you are wondering if we are allowed to take His advice out of its context I would say in this instance yes. Let me explain… If I were to tell you that proper air pressure in your car tires is good for getting the best possible gas mileage and for decreasing the risk of an accident would that advice also apply to a truck? What about a motorcycle? The answers are yes and yes. The advice is solid advice and can be applied to anything with tires actually. In the same way, the advice Jesus gives about counting the cost of being a disciple applies to other situations and we can feel comfortable saying this because Jesus actually used nonspiritual examples on why we count the cost.

So what cost am I counting? Why do I bring this up? Well as I may have said (I am not sure) my wife and I are in the process of becoming foster parents and let me tell you this is not for the faint of heart. There is quite a bit of money involved, a ton of paperwork, many probing questions, and a bunch of time. Then there is the fact that all along the way there have been things to discourage us. If it were not for the fact that we believe that God has called us to do this I would have stopped.

The hardest parts though are the spiritual parts. We have rarely felt like we were under such a spiritual attack as we are since starting this process. I mean everything from money being stolen out of our bank (we got it all back but grr), to the “new” car needing $650 worth of work, to crazy out of nowhere arguments, and of course full frontal “you’re not good enough” feelings. I am honestly tired. I am so tired that I can hardly express how tired I am. To top it off I have a math class I am taking right now and I do not have the patience to understand what 1√5 means or why I care.

What does this have to do with counting the cost? Well at the outset of this process we knew this was what God was calling us to, but we had no idea how hard it would be and we are not even done yet. What I do know (and did know) is that if God is calling us then we would pay any cost because it is always worth it. When God is calling you to something it is always worth the cost and there will always be a cost. You just need to settle that in your mind. Service to God will cost you something. David said in 2 Samuel 24:24 when he was offered free items “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” What it cost you depends on your relationship with God. Maybe it is money, maybe time, maybe pride, maybe risk, or maybe… Whatever it is the cost is the part you pay to be more like Christ because after all that is what the Father is doing. He is trying to mold you into the image of His Son. I like the way the King James reads 2 Cor 3:13 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

If God is calling you to something then count the cost if you can. Knowing that it will cost you more than you expect but it also worth whatever the cost is.

Just a thought,