Why do we have elderly people dying from heat each summer because they cannot afford to pay their bills?
Why do we have families that go to bed hungry?
and don't be fooled - WHITE American families go without food, too!
Why is there so much hate, anger, and judgment? (I don't like you because you're not the same color as me, you don't wear the same clothes as I do, you have a weird accent, you pray differently than I do, you work and you should stay home, you stay home and you should work...)
Why do we have churches that are more hung up on their denomination than on serving Christ and serving others? Loving Christ and loving others?
Why do we have churches that have not even ONE foster or adoptive family?
Why are there outcasts?
Why do we say "we can't afford to help" one minute and then spend $80 to get our hair done and $150 on new tennis shoes for our kids so they can be cool at school?
Why is there so much suffering in the world?
Why are widows struggling to make it? Why do they cry each night all alone?
I try to avoid posts like this. On one hand, I get that we all come to understand things when we do, and at one time, I didn't understand many things I do now. Years from now I'll understand things I don't yet grasp. This is not a post in judgment of individuals. It is a post in judgment of us as a whole. WHAT ARE WE DOING?! If we're doing what we are called to do as "Christians" then why do we even need DHS? Why do we need food stamps? Why do we need Obama Care?
People complain (myself included) about being taxed like crazy in order to financially support everyone in this nation. Guess what - if we as individuals did what we were supposed to do to help each other, the government wouldn't be trying to force us to do it now.
A blogger friend of mine in Pulaski County reported once that there are around 500 churches in her area. If only ONE family from each church fostered a child - there would be NO children in Pulaski County waiting for a place to go. Do you hear me? NONE.
In my area we have TONS of churches. We have more churches per capita than probably any other place I have ever been. Pages of listings in the phone book under "church." Yet, as we go through this journey to become foster parents, all I hear are excuses from others.
The most common: "I couldn't let them go.. it would be so hard."
It isn't supposed to be easy. Life that is. It isn't supposed to be about us. Our happiness. Our comfort. What WE want. Because most people I encounter tell me this when foster care comes up, I have two responses.
1. Do you think it isn't going to be hard for us? Do you think we won't be attached to these children? Do you think I've not ALREADY shed tears for the children and babies I've never even held, at the thought of having to let them go back? IT ISN'T ABOUT US. None of this life is about us. It's about HIM.
2. Think of it this way - your broken heart over having loved and loss is NOTHING compared to the daily pain and suffering these children face because they are NOT loved. They are NOT cared for. NO ONE is going to be sad about them going or staying. No one cares. It's easier for us to look through our rose colored glasses than to take them off and see the truth. To see their faces. To hold them as they cry, wipe their tears, see their bruises, help them heal while we have them, and then let them go. Praying that the time they were with us will forever impact them. That, if only for that month, that year, they felt love.
I know this post is going to come across as me judging everyone that isn't a foster parent. Yes and no. I do not come out of judgment - but out of CONCERN. Concern for the state of our churches. (and if you're a Christian, attending church or not, YOU are the church.) Concern for the condition of our nation. Our world.
We all take our own journeys as God leads us. If we listen to his leading, I have no doubt he will lead us to do things outside of ourselves. Taking care of our little families is not why we're here. It's a big part of it - don't get me wrong. Raising Godly children that will help spread the word is hugely important. But, what else are we doing? How are we serving others?
I've often reminded myself that most people are GOOD... they just don't know what to do. I understand! I have been there, and on many subjects I am quite positive I am STILL there. Some really easy ways to be a blessing could be:
* leave a gift card to Walmart or other Supercenter in someone's mailbox that you know needs financial help. Don't let them know it was you - the last thing you would want is for anyone to feel that they owe you something or that they have to thank you. We want them to praise God for that unexpected blessing! :)
*call your local DHS and see if there is a way you can help a family that is struggling, or support a foster home, or become a foster family yourself.
*donate to a food pantry REGULARLY. Here in our town Cavalry Baptist Church has a great ministry with their food pantry. They partner with DHS to help feed needy families right here in our county. What if we all donated to this cause each week? Can you imagine the impact?
*Help a single parent. Whether they are widowed, divorced, or whatever. Their stresses are huge. Take the kids to play, clean the house, help financially... just be there to talk and help combat loneliness. Loneliness is a huge problem. It shouldn't be. All are welcome with Jesus - so why are they not welcome with all of us?
*Donate needed school supplies to a class or school. Do you realize that teachers end up paying for anything that they don't receive out of their own pockets? Many parents simply CANNOT afford to buy all requested supplies for their children - can you imagine the blessing of not having to? Of having CHURCHES just provide?
*Financially support children's homes. Right here we have Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home and the Arkansas Baptist Children's Home. I can tell you from being involved with the ABCH that they rejoice in giving souls!! What if they could focus completely on caring for these children emotionally, without having to stress about how they will clothe them, feed them, and afford new shoes for the growing ones every 3 months?
These are just a minor few ideas. You can see my heart is on helping children - but where is God leading you? What IS your calling if not to help foster? If you aren't sure, pray. Seek God daily. Desire to serve and I can assure you, he will show you what he wants you to do. Then, be a leader. Tell everyone! EXPECT your church to serve. EXPECT others to act. Wonder what on earth is wrong if they don't.. and don't be AFRAID.
I see on Facebook constantly the things you can 'like'... such as "Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is." Do we really "like" this? Do we show it? Or do we sit in fear? Do we say "It will be too hard." or "it will hurt me too much to do this"?
Fellow Christians - it is time. Now is the ONLY time. Tomorrow may never come for any of us. What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for? I want to encourage you to just start somewhere. If you take even the tiniest step forward, wanting to do God's will, I PROMISE he will guide you. He will sustain you. When you say "I can't!" he will. He WILL. And, if you will - HE CAN.
I pray today, and each day, that our nation will change. That "Christian" will not be used loosely anymore. That we won't have to say it - we will show it. I pray this for myself, because I fail so much. I am the last person to preach a sermon - to point the finger. I assure you that anything I say to anyone else, is because I feel convicted of it myself. What am I doing? What are we doing? Let's BE the change we want. We can do this because our God is with us!!