We gather in our living room once a month, a dozen or so moms of foster and adopted children. We share our latest family news, pour out our hearts, and bear one another’s burdens through prayer. And in between monthly meetings, we encourage each other through our private Facebook page. Sometimes we pass along tips. Sometimes we ask questions. And sometimes we write about our lives, leaning into the deeper lessons that God is teaching us through this beautiful, biblical, and often difficult calling.
I am the old soul of the group, the mother of two young adults whom we adopted when they were toddlers. I have the privilege of hosting these dear women in our home, but they give me a far greater gift. They teach me about the holiness of this call. They live out the truth of James 1:27 that says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
I am in awe of the steadfast determination these women exhibit as they purpose to share the love of Christ with their littles. They go beyond that, though. They share it with their children’s birth parents, social workers, and each other. I don’t think I saw it more clearly than I did a few days ago on our group page. One mom who is fairly new to fostering reached out with concerns. She was seeing great struggles in her foster child, angst that was beginning to hurt the rest of her family and was alarming her. The outpouring of prayers and encouragement overwhelmed my heart, but one answer stopped me in my tracks. After briefly explaining the intricacies of parenting a traumatized child, this dear, experienced mama wrote, “It’s so tiring, but it’s for Jesus so He’ll give you the strength, I promise.”
It’s for Jesus. So, He’ll give you the strength. I have to imagine that those same words frequently crossed the mind of Joseph, earthly father of Jesus. Not only did he have to endure the stares and sneers of judgmental onlookers when they saw that his betrothed was with child, but he also was called to raise the Son of God who also was God the Son. How does one parent God?
He did it the way my foster and adoptive friends do: he believed and obeyed.
Though his fiancé was pregnant and divorce was the logical response, he believed God and obeyed His command not to divorce her.
Though no evidence of a Holy Spirit conception existed before this, he believed God’s statement and obeyed His direction to welcome the child.
Though the idea of a baby saving his people from their sins seemed outlandish, he believed God’s declaration and obeyed. “He took (Mary as) his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25).
God’s mission for Joseph was a heavy one—not for the faint of heart. My friends who share a calling similar to Joseph’s know that truth well. But they follow the admonishment of James. They take care of little souls born into stories they didn’t create, and invite them into God’s story of redemption. They free their minds of the whispers of the world—realizing their circumstances are just shifting sand—and they guard their souls from the stains of the world.
And we all can do the same. Friend, your calling might not be fostering or adopting. Your appointed field may be your workplace, your school, or your neighborhood. God may have called you to very different, but equally demanding, charges of either leading a ministry or upholding its leader through prayer. Whatever the call, we can answer it well, because we know that God is bigger than the circumstances we see, and His plans are far greater than we can imagine. We must simply believe and obey, trusting all the while that “it’s for Jesus so He’ll give you the strength. I promise.”