We’ve all heard it.
That little voice that speaks to you and reveals an ugliness about your
intentions that you’d never publicize. That voice that interrupts your road to sainthood and reminds
you of just how much you still need to be transformed into the likeness of God.
I call this voice The Hidden Unholy Her.
Hidden because we don’t admit it exists, unholy because it contradicts
the voice of God, and Her because, well I am female. Replace it with Him if that better fits you.
HUH for short (appropriate because as a Christian it should make you stop and go, “Huh? That
doesn’t sound right.”)
This voice may go by other names; call her Fear, Desperation, Worry, Sadness, Powerlessness. She is the injured part of your soul that still needs work. And although we don’t have to be perfect to be foster parents, this voice I call the HUH should not be allowed to speak on behalf of a child of God. It is important to recognize the voice for what it is, acknowledge its roots, and pray for another voice to speak a better truth. What remains hidden in the dark will never be healed, so let me risk judgment and give you some examples of the kinds of things this voice has tried to tell me in the past two years of fostering and the holier truth that I am learning to replace it with:
You were not enough. You found out too little too late what the child who was
dropped of suddenly on your doorstep needed and now he is with someone else so you can never
make it up to him. Or you knew what to do but didn’t do it because you were so tired, so out of
patience, so overwhelmed, and so, so human. You aren’t strong enough to succeed at this task.
My first foster son was a year old when he entered my home. I knew he had some delays,
and in the five months he was with me, we worked on getting all those delays caught up. I had met
his older sister and compared to her, I thought he had managed to avoid a lot of the problems she
exhibited due to their past experiences. But several months after he was moved to a kinship home,
I took a TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) workshop about recognizing signs of trauma
in kids and the description of a sensory seeking child read like an exact description of this little
boy. What I had interpreted as just an energetic little boy was actually a sign of a sensory
processing issue. But it was too late now. I couldn’t do anything for him. Despite how far I knew
he had come in the short time he was with me, I still felt like I should have done more. The guilt
made me question whether I was really the best person to be a foster parent.
With another foster child, a newborn addicted to meth, I had been told by a doctor that it
would just take time for the drug to pass out of her system and in the meantime she is going to be
in pain and very fussy. I was given a few things to do to help her, but what she needed most was
just time. But after months of very little sleep (foster mamas don’t get maternity leave!), and no
light at the end of the tunnel yet, I found myself losing patience and just begging her in the wee
hours of the morning to please just go to sleep already. I look back on those moments now and see
missed opportunities for bonding, but I was burnt out and overwhelmed.
The scripture that comes to mind when I start feeling guilty over these moments is
1 John 3:20: “ If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”
Our consciences are imperfect things. They may be too strict or too lenient. But God
sees and knows us perfectly. He is greater than my guilt, whether deserved or imagined. All
parents make mistakes, learn from them, and hopefully do better the next time.
Foster parents, give yourself the same grace.
******STAY TUNED FOR MORE EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW******
written by Rebecca Clemens