When my husband and I decided to become foster parents over two years ago, we did it because we wanted to reach out to groups of sibling children who desperately wanted to stay together while their parents worked on their lives. What began as a thought quickly became a deep-seated passion to create a healing haven for children in our home.
What I didn’t anticipate- even after all of our training- was the depth of hurt and harm these children are exposed to. Our first set of four foster children quite honestly shocked me into reality.
There was a whole different, dirty, ugly side of the world that I had never seen before.
Honestly, if I had simply opened my eyes more often, I would have seen it. But excuses allowed me to keep my rose-colored glasses fit snugly on my nose and ignore what was happening beyond my comfortable view. After only a week of foster parenting, I felt convicted to my core.
Now, you can stop here and ask, “WHY?? You were opening up your home to hurting children? What in the world did you have to feel badly about?” (This is what my self-righteous self said to me, too.)
Welp, let me tell you. In such a short time I realized that by investing my life, time and resources into what I wanted to, I was investing in the demise of those four children and thousands more like them.
You cannot ignore truth. You can avoid it, but eventually it will smack you in the face and remind you who’s the boss. (If you don’t believe me, test gravity.)
I’m sure you’ve heard some version of all of this before, and I had, too. (You know, something like: “By not helping others you’re hurting them.”) There was just something so different about personally experiencing the pain and suffering I’d allowed those children to go through. It’s like the end of Schindler’s List, when Schindler looks down at his ring and realizes he could have done more. He isn’t compelled by guilt (or that’s my take, anyway). He is looking at a tangible reminder that everything he has is a tool- a connection- to someone who needs it.
We’re losing this in our culture. If you ask people about their investments they’ll probably start talking stocks and mutual funds. If you ask people about their community, they may mention the town they live in or their church small group. We are disconnecting from one another at an alarming pace, and by doing so we are abandoning those who need us the most.
Today- every minute, every dollar, every person- is an opportunity to invest into something that lasts an eternity or a fleeting moment. But don’t kid yourself as I did- you ARE investing. You have no choice in the matter. God has given you whatever is in your hand and your heart, and until you breathe your last breath you are investing in SOMETHING. Choose wisely, because someone is depending upon you.