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Following Christ Into the Uncomfortable

A few years ago Aaron and I felt God pulling on our hearts. We asked restless questions like, “Is this it? What else can we be doing for people outside of our family? How can we live our lives in a way that brings glory to God? What are we doing that matters?” Sure, being a parent matters. Loving, caring for, and raising our children is the ultimate opportunity to honor God with what He has entrusted to us: our precious children! But we wanted to go beyond our family. We wanted to go into the uncomfortable, the places that many think about but are either too fearful to go into, just don’t think they have time for, or just forget about because our lives are too busy and complicated already. Who has time for those places? Jesus did. And if we say we follow Him, we felt like we needed to go there, too.

We prayed that God would show us. We prayed that we wouldn’t be fearful of the radical places and that we would be obedient to follow where Jesus went. To the lost and lonely, to break bread with the broken, and to find time in our busy lives to love the lonely and fatherless. From this prayer grew a desire to go through classes at Grace to become foster parents. Were we scared? YES!!

We went through PATH classes, which consist of seven weeks of classes, a home study, and a lot of paperwork. We decided to only open our home to do respite foster care. This is short term care for children who have come into state custody. Respite is a great way that those of you in our church body who have a desire to foster can get your feet wet before you jump all in. You do not have to have a child in your home for months at a time, and there is a great need for respite. Respite is usually for a short few days while they are looking for a long term placement for the child. We got many, many calls right away after finishing classes but had to say no because they were either big sibling groups and we couldn’t house them all properly, or simply because we didn’t feel like we could handle the particular needs of that child. If you feel like foster care has been on your heart, this is a great way to get involved and see if it is something that works for your family. If you decide to do long term foster care, you do not have to have any additional training initially, aside from the PATH classes. You can say yes to what you are comfortable with as a family. We said yes to two newborn babies and have had the privilege of loving one for the first few months of his life.

I cannot begin to share the JOY that has come from this decision to step beyond our comforts and allow God to let us love on children that need it so badly. If you have felt that same “tug,” I encourage you to go for it. Something we have learned along the way is that there is no place for fear as you tread into these waters. If God has planted it in your heart, He will give you everything you need to see it through. Day by day. Month by month. Year by year. Do we not trust Him with these things?

What would it look like if we opened our homes to children in our community and there was not one child who didn’t have a home and a family? John Piper once said, “Jesus does not call us to maximize our securities and comforts here. He said, ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it' (Matthew 10:39). The short term risks of foster care and adoption are huge. The long term risks of LOVE are zero. God will make all grace abound for every day’s demand. Nothing is impossible with Him. There will be no regrets for parents who love in the power of Christ. May God multiply churches that live in this truth.”

Our prayer is that we will be a church that lives in this truth and carries it out into our community and into the far corners of the world. God wants to use you to demonstrate His love for those who are alone. When we make the decision to do this, Scripture is clear about the results:

“And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
          Isaiah 58:10-11

Amy Jensen

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Elizabeth wrote:
Loved your story! Thanks for sharing!

Sun, February 9, 2014 @ 4:54 PM

2. Darrell wrote:
We love you so much!! It is so encouraging to hear how you are listening for the Lord to lead your family and react to what your heart feels He is directing.

Fri, February 14, 2014 @ 2:24 PM

3. Jenny Whaley wrote:
I am glad you followed into the unknown

Sun, February 16, 2014 @ 8:14 AM

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