Six stockings hang from our mantle. And I’m incredibly thankful for each one. Because they represent some very precious people in my life…and one furry little friend to us all.
But here’s the thing…
I kind of thought there would be more stockings this year.
In fact, I was pretty sure of it.
Last fall, my husband and I sensed the Lord nudging us to attend a meeting for potential foster parents at our church. So we did.
Following the meeting, we sensed Him nudging us to attend the training to become foster parents. So we did.
And after we finished the training, we sensed Him nudging us to agree to become foster parents. So we did.
“So we did“… Isn’t it funny how those three little words make it seem so easy? It was far from easy. We wrestled with the ins and outs, and whys and hows. And of course, there were plenty of what ifs. Because we wanted to be good stewards of what God had already given us in the forms of three biological children. Adding more children (many of whom have intense physical, emotional, mental, and psychological needs) to our family bears staggering implications for the children we already have.
But ultimately, His nudges remained steadfast, and we never considered telling Him no.
And with all those nudges, we had every expectation to have a house full of children as soon as the ink was dry on our training certificates. I slept with my cell phone by the bed for the first month, thinking we could get a call at any time.
That call never came.
We were confused. The Department of Social Services staff gave every indication that we were great candidates. We were willing…even eager. We had plenty of room. We had even purchased a new home during the span of the class, choosing it specifically because it had enough space for as many children as God wanted to bring us.
We thought it would be a lot. God had given us a heart for sibling groups that are often split up because few foster families can take more than one or two children at a time. So from the very beginning of our training classes, we said we would take three. By the end of class, we said we would take four. And we’ve since considered taking up to five.
So where are they?
We were perplexed by our silent cell phones and empty beds.
Until we got a very different call…
Cancer. My husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the spring. And as he faced surgery and the treatment that followed, we began to see why God had answered our prayers for foster children with a gentle, “Not yet.”
Right after he was declared cancer-free, some friends found themselves without a home when the one they had been renting became overrun with toxic mold. We “just so happened” to have the perfect number of beds for them all. And it “just so happens” that the time we had with these friends in our home is one of the biggest blessings to ever cross our threshold. And in this, too, we saw why God had answered our prayers for foster children with a gentle, “Not yet.”
As these friends were still living with us, my husband lost his job…in a hard kind of way that feels like betrayal and unfairness and disloyalty. It was a tough pill to swallow, and at times, it still is. But we kept reminding ourselves that God allowed it for a reason, and so we must accept it as part of what He deemed best for us, even though we didn’t understand. And we still don’t. But even in this, we saw why God had answered our prayers for foster children with a gentle, “Not yet.”
Because you see, the God who nudged us to start this process in the first place is still in control of the process today.
And He’s also the One who will see it through to completion.
And we’re learning slowly but surely that the faith that was required to start the process is the same faith that will get us through the waiting.
The same faith that once said and still says, “God, I don’t know, but I trust you.”
The same faith that once said and still says, “God, I’m not really sure how this is going to work, but I trust you.”
The same faith that once said and still says, “God, this is not how I had planned things, but I trust you.”
Even while we wait.
“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
Have you ever followed the Lord’s leading, only to have Him halt your progress?
What Scripture “strengthens your heart” while you wait on the Lord?
Please share your heart by leaving a comment below.
Written by Jennifer Clarke