May is National Foster Care Month. Throughout the month, we will be featuring stories of individuals and families at River Valley Church involved in the foster care system.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, childhood trauma is defined as, “The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.”
Caring for “children from hard places” is challenging. The child is vulnerable, and so are we in this bold process of bringing light into dark places. It has “undone” me many times, causing me to rely on Jesus desperately and to let go of many things I shouldn’t have been holding on to in the first place. It is soul-wrenching work.
God has used this ministry of hosting and fostering children to bind our family together, and also bring us to our knees. We have grown and sacrificed, loved and struggled together. As a family we have “laid down our lives for another” and have come face to face with our own sense of entitlement. We have given and received loads of forgiveness and grace. We have experienced frustration, grief, anger, fear, and inadequacy and turned to God as our only hope.
It has cost us much, but given us more.
We can not solve the serious family problems all around us, but we do know and proclaim the Savior who “heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). We walk by faith. We pray for healing and restoration and transformation. We embrace the wounded, even when their wounds cause them to bite us back.
We seek to practice true biblical hospitality, and to love deeply and dangerously. We experience pain and heartache as well as joy and reward in loving children that may be deeply affected by trauma, and so very precious to the Lord.
It is a privileged assignment.
John 15:12 says “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”