If you follow us on Facebook, you know we are in the process of becoming foster parents.
I haven’t really elaborated on that, but I’ve been feeling led to recently.
I’ve had several people, even very close friends and family, comment about how our decision seemed to be made on a whim.
When you’re so open like I am, I think that sometimes people forget that there are still things that I keep private.
This was one of those things.
Not because I didn’t want to talk about it, but because I took this decision very seriously and I didn’t want anyone else’s opinion to sway me one direction or the other.
I’ve probably said it here before, but I am a people pleaser. I tend to “poll the audience” before I make a decision on something to see how others feel about it.
I didn’t want that to be the case here.
For about a year I’ve had a recurring dream.
We are at a picnic and there are lots of familiar faces. I can see my kids, my husband, my siblings, my cousins, but there are three faces I can’t make out. I’m interacting with these blurred faces, who seem to be older than my kids, but younger than the adults, as if I know them, but can’t make the connection.
At some point in the dream, we split up into families (from the bigger group of one large extended family) to do family pictures.
These three blurred faces are in my group.
I can see the picture vividly in my mind. My husband, myself, our four kids, and these three blurry figures.
I’ll admit, I have really strange dreams. But usually bad ones that leave me feeling weird when I wake up. This one was different. Although it is odd, I have never felt uneasy about it. But after a few times of the same thing, I began to wonder what was triggering it and who these people were supposed to be.
I’ve prayed and asked God to stop the bad dreams before, but this time I wasn’t asking them to stop, I was asking for clarity.
I asked God to show me what this meant.
I hear people talk all the time about how God spoke to them, or told them to do something.
I’ve never been that person. I can’t tell you a time (before this) that I’ve heard clearly or felt led by God.
This time was definitely different.
I woke up at 2:13 am on a Thursday morning, and heard it very clearly.
“These are your children, all seven of them.”
After the initial shock of what the heck is happening, and wondering if it was just a hallucination, I laughed. Out loud.
I know I am done having babies. And it isn’t up for discussion.
For a few months I just let it be.
I didn’t tell my husband about it or any of my friends. But I thought about it constantly.
One Sunday about 5 months ago, our pastor talked briefly about fostering.
And there it was. That was my answer to the question I had asked myself for so long.
I’ve obviously known it was a thing, but never really knew the huge need there was for foster parents.
After that talk, I started doing my crazy person investigating.
I knew if I was going to bring this to my husband, that I better have all my ducks in a row.
Convincing him wasn’t going to be easy. We already have four kids and can’t seem to keep our heads above water. How would he ever be on board with this and not tell me I’m a lunatic?
I was wrong.
Apparently God had been preparing him too.
He’s not much of a talker or tell your feelings kind of guy, and when I brought this to him, his response was instant.
He told me how proud he was of me for following God’s lead and that he was totally on board. I didn’t need to persuade him or throw him all of the heart-wrenching facts.
He said ok. Let’s do this.
We started looking into the process of how to get licensed and everything started falling into place.
Not without concern though.
My first obstacle was getting to a class twice a week for 7 weeks.
With our already chaotic schedule, our lack of a babysitter, and always being short on money to pay a babysitter, I didn’t think it was going to happen.
But it did.
I had all kinds of doubts and kept replaying all of the reasons I couldn’t and shouldn’t do this in my mind.
My house is always a mess.
My kids aren’t super well behaved.
I’m already so busy.
We need to be more financially stable.
I’m overwhelmed some days with the kids I have, so there is no way I can handle more.
When I decided to tell some of our friends and family about our decision, I was hit with the same doubts. The same fear of the unknown and reasons why this may be a bad idea.
But we decided to give it a shot.
After a couple of classes I began to feel defeated. Hearing some of the stories from these kids in care, I was overwhelmed and thought there was no way I could do this.
I actually prayed for an obstacle.
I told God I couldn’t do it. As strongly as I felt led, I just wasn’t equipped and I was convinced I had just dreamed up this need to foster.
The next day was our CPR class.
Our babysitter called sick, I had two kids who had practices at the same time in different places, and my mom wasn’t available to help that night. I knew this was it and this had to be the end.
I sent a message to our instructor and told her we wouldn’t be continuing the classes because we had missed the cpr class and it couldn’t be made up.
My heart was hurting. Even with the doubts and the uneasy feelings. But I had prayed for an obstacle, and there was one the very next day.
We ended up missing two classes, and had come to terms with this being something that wouldn’t come to fruition.
But the next week we got a phone call. It was our instructor. She had called to tell us how she felt so strongly about us continuing. She reassured me and continued by telling me that we would be able to make up the classes we missed and that if she didn’t think we were ready she wouldn’t have pursued us to come back and finish.
We decided to give it another shot and have just prayed non stop that doors would close if this wasn’t his will for our family.
But they have continued to open.
Everytime we have a need, it’s met.
Everytime we are hit with negative remarks or input, we are reassured in some way.
Everytime there has been missing paperwork or what seemed to be a door closing, there was been a way made to push forward.
I’m not naive to the fact that this isn’t going to be a cake walk.
We know that this will be the hardest thing we’ve ever done.
But we are continuing to trust that we are following our calling.
We are pushing through the doubts and the fears and trusting that if this wasn’t what God wanted for us, it wouldn’t be happening.
I’m trusting in the fact that God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
I’m putting aside my own personal doubts about myself, and trusting that I am good enough to do this.
I’m praying that we can be whatever these kids need, be it temporary or permanent.
I’m believing that God will lead our decision making during this process.
I’m leaning into my church family and community to support us and to encourage us when things get tough.
I know this was long and may seem like a pointless story, but I want to encourage you to follow God’s lead.
My mom posted something this morning and I thought it was so true.
“When you go after the broken, the hurting, the divorced, the addicted, the poor, you may be criticized, people may talk about you, but you’re in good company. You’re never more like Jesus then when you go after messy people.”
When you’re doing God’s work the devil will be on you in all sorts of ways.
He will use other people to bring you down and doubt yourself.
He will use your insecurities against you and make you believe that you aren’t good enough.
If you have been called to do something, trust that the path has already been walked.
Don’t let the doubts overcome you.
Don’t let anyone else’s opinions sway you.
Pray that God will continue to guide you through whatever journey you’re on.
Remember that we don’t have to have it all together to do God’s work and follow his direction.
Trust that he will provide where you are lacking and you will succeed.