I took a walk to Starbucks this morning with a friend at work. She mentioned something very true – something I know in my head, but don’t think my heart has gotten ahold of yet. I was telling her that I think the toughest part about fostering will be loving the children as my own while realizing they are not. I don’t remember how it came up exactly, but she kindly suggested that I also have no worldly claims on Jaimes’s life (our biological daughter).
So – how do I love my children deeply and believe whole-heartedly that, while I am responsible for them, I have no claims on them? They are not mine – but rather entrusted to me. I think I sorta kinda have an answer and it’s two-fold.
First off – I need to fully embrace the truth that they are not mine, but given to me to raise. I need to embrace this because it cultivates an understanding that all I plan for them may never come to pass and that I have no control over that. Someone greater has plans for them and that is incredibly freeing. Don’t hear me saying I’m not responsible for them. I will certainly be held to account for their lives and for my fathering. However, my main job is to communicate to them the majesty of the one through whom all things have come into being – who holds the world together by the power of his word – whose good news is the power of God for those who are being saved – Jesus Christ, the begotten Son of God.
This leads me to the second part of my answer. Incase you’ve forgotten, the question was – how do I love my children deeply and believe whole-heartedly that I have no worldy claims on their lives? Second part: The more I esteem God, the more joy I will take in knowing they are his children before they are mine. In other words, the more I love Jesus, the more I trust him and adore him, the more I see him in this world and point his work out to my children – the more joy I will take in knowing that he has plans for them I cannot dream of. There lives are not about me. Their happiness and their pain, their laughter and their anger, their hopes and their worst nightmares are not about my strengths and weaknesses as a daddy. They may be related to my short comings and (occassionally) my strengths, but they are ultimately all about the glory of God.
The sooner I absorb this, the more natural it will be to shower my children with affection and care for the season they are given to me and to let them go when they are taken away – whatever the circumstances, whatever the relationship. I’m not here yet. I get it in theory, but everything is harder when the rubber meets the road. Please pray for me, I need it.