I haven't written a blog post in far too long. Life has been extremely busy lately, in a happy-and-blessed-but-still-overwhelming kind of way. So, instead of my own words, I'd like to share someone else's, for the first time ever on my blog, because they are simply too good not to share.
This is the personal reflection of a man I am honored to know. My husband and I met Chester David and his lovely wife, Susan, in our foster parenting classes, and we both agree, they're who we want to be when we grow up. They were such an inspiration that the characters of Dell and Opal in 'Where I Was Planted' (being published next year) were largely modeled after them.
While Alex and I are still waiting for our paperwork to be approved, Chester and Susan have completed the process and are welcoming their first foster child tomorrow. Chester's thoughts about this life-changing event are beautiful, and I appreciate that he shared them with me and allowed me to share them with you here.
Abundance Revisited, by Chester O. David
I've not been able to sleep a full night in the past week or so. I usually pride myself that I sleep like a log, asleep most nights before I hit the pillow. This week, however, I have awakened really early around 3 or 4 a.m. with my mind just a thinking. And the more I try to get back to sleep, the worse it gets. Frustration begins to set in, and pretty soon I must get out of bed and read or do a crossword puzzle. So what's going on? What can't I turn off my mind? I think I know the answer. Our lives are about to change. Susan and I have answered a call from God to take in a foster teenager, something we've prayed about for the past several years. That's a good thing, right? Walking through doors that God has opened is always a good thing. I've done it many, many times. "Chester, I want you to go on this medical mission trip and lead an evangelism team, OK? Chester, I want you to start a new ministry to serve the most under-resourced kids and families in Winston-Salem, OK? Chester, I want you to mentor this young 4th grade boy who is in constant trouble at school, OK?" I don't recall ever losing sleep over any of these assignments that God has given me. This one is different, I feel.
A young 16-year old foster teenager, whom we haven't yet met, will be dropped off at our house in two days to live with us. I don't know that much about her, but I do know that she is suffering from years of trauma. I know that she needs a home where she is safe and loved. I know that on Tuesday our lives will be changed forever. I don't think that I am worried that much about losing my former life. I'm not worried about the sacrifice that we will make. We do that joyfully. In the past with each foreign exchange student we made lots of sacrifices. Sometimes life was difficult, and sometimes we couldn't wait until they went back home. In the end each time we worked things out, and each challenge became a gift. Our decision to share our lives with another young person was always paid back to us ten-fold. So it's a no-brainer that we choose to be foster parents to this girl.
This feels different. We will have support from Crossnore and other foster parents. We will answer to a bureaucracy with paperwork and policies. Many people will be following up and assessing the progress and the compatibility. Our foster teen will have input into her placements. But more than any of those reasons, it feels different because this teen has been sent to us by God, this teen who is broken and distrustful of finding a family. She doesn't need another disappointment. She is at a crossroads in her life, and it will happen in the next 2 years. Yes, I feel the magnitude and weight of this God-sized assignment. In some ways we feel that God has prepared us for this very moment. Answering yes to God this time is a big deal. I am not afraid of failure, because failure will certainly be part of our journey. We'll get past failure. God will be our beacon to light the path. I think the reason I feel so overwhelmed is that God has chosen us to be his sowers and to work his garden for our foster teen. I am in awe that God would choose us to care for his beloved child. That's it! It is an affirmation that we've done something right and that he wants to entrust us with loving and directing this young girl. We are Jesus to her, and I know myself too well with all my faults and shortcomings. This time the risk is great. I know God has prepared us for this time.
This morning during our worship service, we ended the service with a beautiful tenor solo of "The Lord's Prayer." I closed my eyes and pictured myself with outstretched arms towards Heaven to receive God's presence. I was overwhelmed with emotion at his goodness and abundance poured into my life. After spending this afternoon with my immediate family, I retreated to the backyard alone to pray. "God, do you know what you're doing?" I shouted. The immediate image came back to me of my cherry tree several years ago. God had already answered this question, but I just wanted a little reassurance. You see, I was faced with the overwhelming burden of uncertainty of caring for my mom with Alzheimer's Disease. In the very moment that I had no answers and felt out of control, God took me to the cherry tree. The tree was laden with an abundance of red cherries, ready in bunches for the picking. God asked me to stretch out my hand in any direction, where I found more cherries than I could possibly hold, all falling into my hand. He reminded me that he was the grower, the gardener and creator of life, and that there would not be any cherries at all without his generosity. He reminded me that he was also the creator of my journey with my mom. He promised me abundance along the way.
So it is now, this new journey, or perhaps a continuation of the one. I may have planted the cherry tree and watered it over the years, but nothing happens without God's breath of life and his providence. He was the source then, and he is the source now. Many people think we're crazy to want to have a foster teenager in our home. Perhaps they haven't tasted the cherries.
To read more from Chester, visit https://hunger2health.org/blog/.
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Welcome to "Every Season Blog", a place where I talk about life, family, fun, and all things "writing". Please visit the Devotions & Study blog page for insights to help you grow in your walk with God. If you want to know some stuff about me, click the "About Me" link in the menu. Thanks for stopping in!