Hard, Messy, Holy Work
Story told by Julie & Brian Robertson on December 5, 2016
We felt called to foster care for several years before finally becoming licensed in 2015. While we did say yes to fostering, our goal was fostering to adopt, so we said no to emergency fostering due to the higher risk of not being able to keep the child long-term. Honestly, we said no to this out of fear. Fear of loving a child and having to give them back. Fear of exposing our girls to hurt, uncertainty, confusion and difficult situations. Basically, we were afraid of the unknown. One thing we’ve learned about foster care is that there are a lot of unknowns and we have very little control. We have come to learn that God is in control and there are no unknowns to Him. All we are called to do (and all we can do) is to love a child for as long as we have them.
After a few months, we realized that we weren’t being completely obedient to what God had called us to do. We called our agency and told them that we would be willing to accept emergency foster placements. Shortly after that, last November, we received our first placement call for an 8 day old baby boy. We didn’t know much about him other than his age and that he was in good health. We didn’t have time for a baby shower, but Julie had time for a panicked trip to Target for the essentials. 5 hours after the phone call, a baby was delivered to our house. Our lives haven’t been the same since that day, but we wouldn’t ever want them to.
This last year has been a roller coaster ride mixed with dark days, joy, fear, sadness and more joy. The thing that we have held on to throughout this year is that God is sovereign. We have come to a deep understanding that even though we have no control over what happens to our sweet boy, we can trust God with it. He is bigger than the hurt and the pain and the brokenness of the CPS system, the judicial system, and of this world. And if our little guy leaves us, then we will trust Him with that too. We rest in the knowledge that God understands how it feels to lose a son.
We have also learned that foster care isn’t just about how we can change a child’s life, but probably more so it’s the process through which God can radically change us. It has shown us that on some level we are all the same – broken humans in need of redemption. The beauty of foster care is that in light of the gospel we are able to enter into these children’s stories because Jesus has entered into ours. We are called to wrap ourselves in their brokenness and willingly be broken by it. It is hard, it is messy, and it is most likely the holiest work we will ever do.
James 1:27 says “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” FPC friends, God has called us all to care for orphans. Don’t take our word for it, it’s right there in the Bible. Fostering, adopting, or caring for families that do are great ways to obey God’s call to care for orphans. This church has many examples of families who are doing that so well. If you feel God has laid this on your heart, please find us after church because we would love to talk to you about how God has led us on this journey. You can contact our foster agency, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, or one of the many other great agencies in Houston to find out more about how you can get involved.