Back in September, I was schooling three of my kids while sitting on the rug in the living room and Mr. K was playing near us. (He is a little boy we started caring for through Safe Families for Children.) Then he walked over to me, turned around, backed up, and plopped himself onto my lap. It was the sweetest thing ever. Even in the moment, I relished his toddler smell and cute face as he played there.
We’ve had many children in our home over the years, but this particular little guy lived with us off and on for a year and a half, starting when he was four-months-old. Sometimes he was with us for months at a time. Then he and his sweet mama would disappear out of our lives for a bit. Then suddenly they would be back. At one point, both of them even lived with us for a few weeks. We are family. We are committed to them for the long haul. However it may look.
But when he’s gone. Do I miss him?
I really do. So much that sometimes it hurts and aches inside. I think of that backing-up-and-plopping moment and it makes me cry. He was/is my little boy. Oh do I miss him.
At Christmastime, we watched another Safe Families child, a tiny little thing. He was with us only for a week and a half while his mama cared for his twin brother. So sweet and snugly–it was hard to get anything done around the house. We just wanted to snuggle with him all day! When I dropped him off to his mom, grandma, and aunt on Christmas Eve, it was such a beautiful reunion, but I cried as we drove away. And a prayer came: God, I don’t know if I can do this anymore….I don’t know if I can keep saying good-bye…..I’m tired of saying good-bye.
But will we do it again? Of course we will. We’re already planning to jump back in. Yes, it is hard, horribly hard sometimes. So why do we keep going? We do it for many reasons, but here are two really good ones. First, because it’s about God (not me). Serving the least of these honors and glorifies God. It is obedient. It is sacrificial. It is cross-bearing. It is humbling. It is the gospel. Second, because it’s about the children (not me). The benefit to the children we serve–a safe place, love, nurture, attachment, prayer–far outweighs any grief I may bear during the placement or after.
Do you see the theme? It’s not about me. I may get attached. I may miss them terribly. I may experience sleepless nights. I may be exhausted and worn down. I may suffer. But . . .
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.1 Peter 3:14-15
We are not to fear the threat of getting too attached. We are not to be frightened of what serving may do to us (our personal schedule, family, home, etc.). Oh Lord, help us walk bravely into suffering for what is right, holding Christ in His rightful place as Lord of our lives.
Perhaps we might go so far as to give a little guy a safe place when he needs it and then miss him like crazy when he disappears again. Perhaps something crazy like that . . .