My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story. This is your opportunity to share about loving big in marriage, family, and faith to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. If you would like to submit a story to this series, please email me. Today’s guest is, Laura.
Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the STORY of your love.” Ps 89:1
I am madly in love with Jesus and above all else want to honor him with my life. I’m single, 34 years old, and work full-time, but the best title I have is Mama. I’ve always had a love for children, but for most of my life had no idea about the needs of vulnerable children around the world. God opened my eyes to orphan care as my prayer became stronger for Him to please break my heart for what breaks His. In February of 2011 I was part of a mission trip to Ethiopia led by Roger and Kari. This trip was a turning point in my life.
The sights, the smells, the people, the emotions, and the friendships that were built among the team completely changed my life. I literally did not look at anything the same again. God was clearly saying to me that I was called to do something! Proverbs 24:12 kept coming to me and I could no longer say that I didn’t know as my eyes had been opened to the need.
In the weeks after that trip I began praying and asking God what story He wanted to write with my life. I wanted to be His ink, and for my life to be lived radically for Him. I felt Him calling me to something so much bigger than myself, and He was simply looking for my ‘yes’.
What He was calling me to was Foster Care.
Foster care scared me to death! My first reaction was, “no, there is no way I can do that. I can’t love a child like my own and then say good-bye, I’d get way too attached.” Well, now three years and twenty-three children later God has shown me over and over that what He calls you to, He equips you for. “I” can’t do any of this, but He can do miraculous things when we say yes to His call.
God was and continues to change what I care about and how I invest my time. God showed me that there were kids right in my city that need a safe place to call home and that above all else need to be loved the way Jesus loves. It might be temporary and it might be long-term, but God is about those details and appoints that time.
He showed me that foster care is hard and you do get attached, but He also showed me that He is enough and He will be there in the good and in the hard. When He changed what I cared about He changed how I spend my time and how I spend my money. He also gave me incredible friends and family to do life with and who walk this journey out with me, and He showed me that He always equips those He calls!
The world looks at my situation and says I don’t know how that’s possible, but my God looks at my situation and says I’ll use that little mess for my glory! The world looks at my situation and says that’s too hard.
God uses my situation to say look how I meet needs, look at my power, look at how I heal!
He really is enough, and He really can use little ole me, and little ole you. When we answer His call you can’t help but care about the things that matter most to Him. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret….life is still hard some days….but the joy is also overflowing!!
If you could be a fly on my wall at home you’d see craziness, you’d see messy, you’d see chaos, you’d see some bad days when we don’t always use nice manners or talk to each other as nice as we should…..BUT….you’d also see love abounding, you’d see God using the simplest things to show His grace and His healing, you’d see how He brings families together, and I think you’d even see a little bit of His heart!
I so often hear about what a great thing I’m doing, or that the kids I have sure are blessed, but really, I’m the one that is so blessed to get a front row seat at watching how God transforms little lives. There are so many stories I could tell of each of my 23 children, ages 6 weeks to 18 years old, but they are really their stories to tell.
Some highlights are the teen mom who aged out of the system, but is doing so well and loving her children well. I’ll never forget the day she called to tell me that she and her husband wanted me there for the birth of their child because it was only right that her Mom be there. Another is a sweet, spunky 8-year-old girl who the night before she left my home asked me to pray with her because she wanted to live the rest of her life for Christ.
She prayed the sweetest prayer and received salvation and then begged to be baptized. Since she was leaving the next morning several friends and family gathered in my bathroom and celebrated as my brother baptized her in the bath tub. It is a night I’ll never forget and a good-bye that was truly turned into a, see you later. Yet another is a 13-year-old boy who wrote down every day he was in care in a notebook, and how it was so much longer than he thought it would be, but how grateful he was to have food and shelter.
One 6-year-old boy trusted me with his story and bravely told me every detail he could remember about his past abuse. As he dealt with his past, I got to witness beauty from some really ugly ashes. I’ve had babies who I’ve see learn and grow and form healthy attachments that will benefit them the rest of their lives. I could go on and on as each child brings their own unique story and it’s so incredible to see them come to realize their worth and value. They are each created in God’s image and He has a great plan for their life.
I’ve seen how love changes things, I’ve seen how God takes away fears and anxieties, I’ve witnessed forgiveness, and I’ve seen hearts healed. The journey is hard, but I can’t imagine missing this. This is what I’ve been called to, this brings great purpose to my life, and this is where I see redemption.
God really does put together beautiful families!
I’m honored to welcome these children into my home. Even if my kids only live with me for a season, they are forever a part of my family. Some days I still can’t believe the story He is writing, I sure never planned to be called Mom by so many, and now Nana by two sweet grandbabies, but I can’t imagine life any other way.
The foster journey also brought me a forever son. December 23, 2013 is a day that will forever be a special day for my family. The day marked an end to a long journey, and also marked the beginning of the rest of our lives. This day was adoption day.
On May 24, 2012 a 6-year-old boy walked in my door scared to death. He had absolutely no control over the events of his past that led him to my home. Thankfully God set him apart, He rescued him, He healed his wounded heart, and He redeemed Him. As I cared for this little boy God worked on my heart in so many ways.
God really does write the best love stories!
As I loved a hurt little boy, I began to see how much my heavenly Father loves me. As I advocated for a little boy in the foster care system, I began to see how my heavenly Father fights for me in a very broken world. As I sought to protect a little boy, I saw how much my heavenly Father watches over me, protects me, and sings over me. As I waited on paperwork and decisions I saw how my heavenly Father cares about every detail of my life and how His timing is better than anything I could ever ask for or imagine.
“All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:14-17)
All of us who have been born again have received the Spirit of adoption.
It is a legal entitlement which ensures our spiritual inheritance. The adoption of my son gave me such a picture of God’s adoption of us. When my son was adopted he was given a new name. His new name was written on a birth certificate and sealed with a judge’s signature. When we are adopted into God’s forever family we also receive a new name: “Beloved.” Our name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
When I began fostering I could have never imagined how much this “yes” to the call God set before me would stretch me, grow me, teach me, and ultimately allow me to see His heart like never before. I’m forever thankful!!
May is National Foster Care month, and if you’d like any information on growing your family through foster care or fostering to adopt I encourage you to contact your local department of children’s services.
I promise your life will never be the same again!
Laura graciously shared some of her photos of her 23 foster care children. She’s my hero and what an inspiration to love big! Please leave her some comment love today!