By Heather Fischer
I’ve been thinking about family lately. Well, it’s kind of hard not to… I mean, that’s why I am here. I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people like, “Won’t it be weird bringing these kids into your family?” And, “What does your family think about all of this?” And, “What will this do to your family?”
So I’ve been thinking about family.
Will it be weird to bring foster kids into our home? Probably. But not nearly as weird as it will be for them to stuff what few belongings they have into a garbage bag, be torn from the only home they know (even if it is dangerous), and sent to live with complete strangers.
Does it matter to them at that moment that we really care about them and want to help? I would guess not. No more than it would matter to me if I were suddenly taken from my home and forced to be married to some man I’ve never met… even if he seemed really nice.
What does my family think about all of this? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Most of them talk a good game about how they think it is such a great thing I am doing but if you could read their actual thoughts while they are talking – like closed-captioning for your mind – it would probably look like this: “I can’t believe she is throwing her career away to go live in the boondocks with a bunch of snotty teenagers. What is she thinking? I give it six months.”
What will this do to my family? Well, if you are talking about my husband and kids and myself…I am hoping it will give us a chance to be Jesus to these teens who are hurting and have no reason to believe that anyone, much less the Creator of the Universe, really cares about them.
I am hoping that it will teach my children to be better stewards of all that God has given them and not just in material things, better stewards of time, effort, talents…their lives.
Better stewards than their dad and I have been. I am hoping that we will all come to realize that, despite what this world tries to convince us of, this life is not all about ourselves and our happiness, our choices have consequences and so does our love.
But I am also hoping that this expands my definition of family. Can you imagine the angels asking God those same questions about all of us? “Come on God, are you sure you really want to give up your son’s life so that all those sinners down there can be part of your family?”
God is the ultimate foster parent. We humans are the most dysfunctional family and yet, there He is, He loves us anyways. And not only does He love us but He sacrificed for us and He sticks by us even when we humans could care less if He is there or not. And He has adopted us as His own. Imagine that.
But back in Jesus’ age, just as in our own, family is one of the most significant barriers to potential risk-takers who would leave everything for the way of the cross. This might explain why Jesus has some hard things to say about our earthly ties… These earthly allegiances create a myopia that stands in the way of God’s vision and justice, which are larger than tribe, clan or nation.” (Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution)
So what is my point? My point is that yes, it has been difficult to leave my family behind and yes, this new life makes me elated and terrified at the same time and yes, it is all a little weird. But since when am I not weird?
All I know is, if God is willing to adopt all of us, with all of our neurotic, dysfunctional and often degenerate behavior… how can I say no to these kids who need me even if they don’t want to admit it? Shall I turn a blind eye and go back to the land of “feigned ignorance is feigned bliss”?
If God cares enough to count the hairs on their heads, should I not at least care enough to see that they have a place to lay those heads at night? As I see it, I did not leave my family behind….I just went to live with other members of my family.
If you liked this article, check out: Leaving Suburbia: Feeling sane for the first time
Heather is a wife and mom of two as well as a working professional who was yanked out of her cozy suburban life less than two months ago when God called her into a full-time ministry. With her family, she left everything behind to follow God’s call into a very rural part of the mountains of western North Carolina to live with and minister to children who have been physically and sexually abused.