by Emily Furr, Mission Georgia Mobilizer
I have always struggled with James 1:27.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Caring for widows & orphans.
Widows. Maybe take them a meal, mow their grass, invite them over for dinner.
Orphans. I don’t even know where to start.
“Lord, does this mean me?”
In the summer of 2020, the Lord answered that question. “YES! This means you.”
“You want me to do what? You want me to minister to orphans? How in the world am I supposed to do that?”
“Foster care,” He answered.
Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself as a foster mom.
Fast forward to February 8, 2021, and we opened our home to a 10-year-old boy. Quickly, I learned that I did not know enough, have enough energy or stamina to parent this child that the Lord had given us.
But God did and does. Just like the boy with the loaves and fish, I gave God what I did have instead of what I didn’t have, and he has multiplied it a million times over.
We entered into foster care with hopes of impacting the kingdom of Christ and in obedience to Him, to live out the Scripture to care for widows and orphans. We quickly realized that we were drastically unprepared for the effects that trauma had left on our foster son.
There was anger, slamming doors, suspensions from school, broken tables at church, cussing at the lunch table. We had very little training or equipping on how to handle these situations. We had only briefly heard of the effects of trauma.
We had a love for the Lord and a calling from Him to love this child, but we were not equipped.
Thankfully, Mission Georgia has training that equips us to parent, love, instruct, and teach children who come from hard places. Each month, Mission Georgia provides Christ-centered, biblically-based parenting strategies that help us parent our foster children.
These trainings also count towards our training hours that we need each month to be a foster parent – so they are a win-win!
Mission Georgia also provides training for our church volunteers.
Our volunteers love the Lord and love kids, but they were even less prepared for our foster child who had experienced so many hard things.
“ThatKid!” is a training which is offered each quarter. It helps children’s ministry workers and church volunteers know how they, too, can minister to hurting kids.
The body of Christ served me, our foster son, my husband and our biological children well. We are grateful that God gave us our church family and close friends to walk beside us.
Our foster son’s school was 45 minutes from our house and we desperately desired to let him finish out his school year in the same school.
People helped us with carpooling and gave us clothes. When he arrived at our home, he came to us with only the clothes he wore to school that day.
It was wonderful when people invited him over to their house for dinner so that we could have a night at home, just our biological family.
Royal Ambassador leaders, Sunday School teachers, and recreation leaders all worked together to help this child who had experienced so much trauma begin the healing process.
It truly does take a village to raise a child from hard places and we could not be more grateful for the community that God has blessed us with.
Foster care is Gospel work. It is living out the command to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
For our family, that meant rearranging our home and loving a child who honestly appeared not to want to love us in return.
However, God was at work!
Each night as I tucked him in, we read a Bible story and had a time of prayer, much like I did with my biological children.
He asked questions. A LOT of questions.
He came to us broken and hurting, but also questioning. He was primed to hear and respond to the Gospel.
After a few weeks of him being in our home, he prayed and asked Jesus to be His Lord and Savior.
We spent the following months that he was with us teaching him God’s Word, helping him to memorize key passages of Scripture, and allowing Him to see the love of God played out through the church.
And we watched as the Lord worked in his life and transformed him from an angry child into a more secure and settled child.
GOD AT WORK
God is working. He is working in our state of Georgia and through Mission Georgia.
He is using people just like you to equip and support foster families, to train the church to minister to kids from hard places and to show Himself to others through the Gospel.
Our hope is that you will join Him in the work that He is doing. The Lord can use you to impact the kingdom of God through the ministry of foster care.