Mar 152013

He was imposing – several inches taller and wider than I am – and every muscle seemed tensed, as if he was ready to resist whatever I planned to do to him.  I had only questions, however.   How old he was, school, family.  At first his answers came in short staccato bursts, but gradually he relaxed and shared his story.  He went into foster care as a toddler, then adopted, but by then he was damaged.  Depressed.  Angry.  Years in and out of mental institutions and juvenile halls – now his adoptive family wanted nothing to do with him.  I worried about him.  I wondered where he would go for help.  Who would he call?  Old friends from the neighborhood?  Birth family?  The ones whose rights were terminated a decade ago?

His pastor.

I was surprised.  “You have a pastor?”  He nodded, and sat up a little straighter and with more pride.  “Yes.  He will help me.  He believes in me.  He’s working to develop me into a leader.”

May the Church not get distracted maintaining ministry, running programs, writing books, or scrambling for a spotlight, only to forget that our true great commission occurs when we interact with one.  One broken life.  One hopeless mom.  One addicted dad.  One lost kid.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?  Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.  When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’  In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine who are righteous…” 
Luke 15: 4-7 (NLT)

Oct 192011

“Did you see the news?” 

I looked up to see my case worker friend moving my direction.

“Did you see it?”  she repeated.  Her neck disappeared into her shoulders, and her voice cracked with the emotion of the situation.

I nodded.  I had seen it.  The latest story of horrific tragedy – a child death at the hands of a parent.  A situation so difficult for most of us to ingest that we find ourselves changing the channel so we won’t have to watch.  Or turning the newspaper page.  Or, if we can manage to sit through the gruesome story, the story of a broken family living in a broken world, we become distressed.  Angry.  We want revenge.  We want to blame someone – it must be someone’s fault.  The parent obviously committed the unspeakable, but SOMEONE should have been around to help them.  SOMEONE should have known this child was in danger.  SOMEONE should have done something.  And now SOMEONE should pay for this.  Should be put on a media trial so we all scream “CRUCIFY” and then sit back in our recliners and feel better. 

I agree.  Someone should have known.  Someone should have done something.  Someone is guilty.  Someone is to blame. 


We are to blame.  The neighbors of families who are struggling but who don’t bother to offer assistance.  The occupants of homes with a spare bedroom who would rather use that space for a treadmill than take in a foster kid.  The members of churches who show up for an hour on Sunday so that we can feel righteous but cross over to the other side of the road so we won’t have to interact with the broken and bloody of our communities.  We are to blame. So what do we do now?

We need to pray – to spend time on our faces in front of a Holy God who loves foster kids and wants us to love them too.  We need to fast – to intentionally go without so that we can focus on what role each of us is called to play.  And we need to act – to step into the battle for the future of these kids.  When we do, maybe the next news story we see will be about how the shelter is empty or how a dad got off drugs and got his kids back  or how there are no kids waiting to be adopted.  Maybe then I’ll watch the news again…

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.”  Jeremiah 29: 12-13 (MSG)

Aug 262011

Today is my birthday.  Not just any birthday.  A big one.  The over-the-hill one.  The one where your friends buy you black balloons and laxatives.  So my co-workers asked me what I was doing for the big day.  Taking off?  Having a party?  Hanging out with the family?

Going to a DHS team meeting to explain the special needs of a foster kid.

Most of my friends just stare at me when I tell them my big plans.  But you see, he isn’t just any kid.  He is a beautiful little tow-headed kid with eyes that sparkle and a smile that takes up his whole face.  And he’s a foster kid.  Who needs a plan that will get him into a permanent home and on with life.  And while most people might not see that as a great way to celebrate a birthday, I think it is the best way to spend a day…and a life. 

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…”  Acts 20:24 (NLT)

May 032010

So I have this friend.  Actually we have only been friends for a few months.  But it turns out that we have something unusual in common.  We both love foster kids, but that isn’t the uncommon part.  What sets my friend apart is that she loves the birth parent of her foster kids.  In case you blew past that, let me say it again.

She loves the birth parent of her foster kids.

She believes that she is called to do that – to create opportunities for a mom that has never had anything.  To offer relationship that doesn’t have strings attached.  Her husband believes it too.  And her friends are starting to.  In fact, she is rounding up a whole army of people who are willing to go deep with her. 

 To get dirty.  To work hard.  To hurt.  To get frustrated.  To pray.  To encourage.  To support. To hope.  And most of all?  To love. 

It’s really what we should be about. 

For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.  Galatians 5:6 (MSG)