It's not weird, It's Jesus!
My good friend Gema asked us a question the other day. It was more of a loaded question, the kind that come in a series of smaller ones. They were questions that we hadn’t been asked quite directly before, but after thinking about it, I’m pretty sure they’re questions that most people wonder.
She said, “I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to have perfect strangers sleep in your home. Doesn’t it feel weird to see them sleeping in your rooms? How do you do it?”
I love Gema’s ability to be completely genuine and reflective in her thinking. She’s been there for us, time and time again, as we welcomed new littles into our home. Heck, Mike loved giving her kisses more than he did me! And Little J found comfort on her lap, every time he saw her. I tell her it’s because my littles can tell when loving on them is real. Gema’s always been real. So, I couldn’t be angry at her questions. They were real too.
I didn’t answer her that evening, James did. And he gave a wonderful description of how these “strangers” need a bed, most need a good bath and a warm meal, and a completely safe place to be. He explained how we are simply giving them what they need, when they need it.
He finished with, “Yeah….it’s always strange at first. I guess it is weird. They don’t know you, and you don’t know them. Until you realize that they’re really just kids.”
I sat back and let him answer, but this question lingered on my heart after for a few days.
I understood Gema was wrestling with this concept, because, let’s face it, transplanting new littles into different families and acting like no big deal happened, is weird.
A few days later, I was drinking a cup of coffee watching my two new babies attempt to play toys in my living room in front of me. I thought of where they had been, how they came to my home, and if I felt strange taking them in.
No, I don’t.
Do I feel weird?
Nope….not more than I guess I typically do.
I thought back to all five of our littles we have laid in cribs over the year. One newborn, one infant, three toddlers. Each one had a unique story, and each one had a different reason for coming into our lives. I don’t regret taking in or loving any of them. In fact, when we took each of them in, we didn’t see a stranger. We didn’t see a weird kid. We saw the face of humanity and the desperate call for us to stand up and change it. We saw the face of 16,000 children waiting for a bed to sleep in. We saw the face of 4,000 children waiting in a group home. We simply saw…..kids.
When I see my babies faces; scared, dirty, anxious, even angry…. I see Jesus.
When I see them laugh, meet milestones, learn to walk….I see Jesus.
When I meet their birth parents, drive to doctor appointments, when I have to hold them through tears and terrors and nightmares…..I feel Jesus.
And in my friend Gema, asking and pondering the life of her crazy foster Momma friend…. I see Jesus too!
Really? Because Jesus is all of those things, Milinda?
YES, He is! Maybe not the way we think He is, but HE is! And I find Him, in everything I do, especially fostering, because y’all, I NEED Him in order to serve in this ministry.
Where there is despair, Jesus is hope.
Where there is sadness, Jesus is love.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Mark 12:30-31.)
What my family has decided to do, is to respond to Jesus' words. It's not weird, it's our calling.
When I see my little’s innocent faces, and learn of their painful past, I know that Jesus, completely and in His time, will heal! He has proven this to me time and time again. And I know that in taking in these little “strangers”, and by giving them basic little people needs, like a Momma and a Dadda who love 'em, we are aiding in God’s perfect plan of restoration for them.
Jesus is real, y’all!
I find Him in the warm snuggles of a toddler who can’t quite speak yet. I find Him in the clapping and cooing of infants who have never experienced a Momma’s love before. I find Him when I lay their sleeping heads down in cribs that I’ve prayed over, time and time again as they smile because they feel safe knowing I’m still there. I find Him in my friend Gema, who has stuck by my side through the ups and downs and sideways roads of fostering.
Find Him in everything you do, too, Momma.
Once you d o, you’ll rest in knowing that your acts of love, whether you’re taking in babies or feeding your family, are done in His name.
Things won’t feel strange. In fact, they’ll feel pretty darn good.