In the previous post, I introduced one of the ways in which the scripts running through our heads can try to sabotage us as foster parents. In this long delayed sequel, I want to tackle another area where I and perhaps other foster parents have had to come honestly before the Lord and ask for help in our weaknesses. It is the struggle of being genuine about our motivations.
Proverbs 16:2 says “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.” Doing the right things for the wrong reasons may result in us missing out on God’s bigger purposes, blessings, and the refining of our spirits. To love isn’t enough; we have to learn to love as God does.
Example: Hope that the birth parents fail big and fast so you can keep this child. Or maybe some aspect of her prenatal drug exposure will make her a difficult enough child that her bio parents decide they can’t handle her. Anything so that she stays with you. You are what’s best for her.
In order for the child I am fostering to stay with me, her parents have to fail in some way. So I have to ask myself, do I really want someone to fail at life that big? If my desires are granted only at the expense of someone else’s brokenness, is it worth it? We’d all probably say we want the best for others and that healing is a good thing, but what if someone else’s healing means pain for me? Then how much do I truly want another person to succeed if it means I experience loss?
"Proverbs 3:5-8 says,“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...Do not be wise in your own eyes.”
If you are like me, you’ve been a Christian long enough that you start to believe your understanding is also the Lord’s understanding. After all, how could he disagree with me about someone who has hurt a child? But what I think I know about the situation is made more clear when I actually pray to see it with His eyes. For example, when I see birth mom escorted from jail into the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles on her wrists and ankle, I see the brokenness in her eyes and my heart aches for her. The true desire of my heart is revealed and it was not for her to fail. I was wanting to make the process of fostering easy for me, but not holy.
The prospect of losing a child I have grown attached to can sometimes bring out a part of me I’d rather not admit to. For example, before taking my third foster child to be evaluated by a clinic that works with children exposed prenatally to drugs and alcohol, the thought crossed my mind that if they find something really wrong, maybe that would make her parents decide they didn’t want her and I could keep her. After the testing revealed she was actually above normal in two categories and normal in every other category, I was so happy and proud of her. I didn’t really want something to be wrong with her; I just wanted the odds more in my favor. As much as I may want to keep a child, I can not operate out of a mindset of manipulation and still consider myself someone who is living by faith. Whether this child stays with me or goes somewhere else, I am still commanded to trust in the Lord’s perspective and not my own.
So what will you do when circumstances reveal a motive that is less than pure?
*Keep watching for part 3 where we explore the fear of the bad outweighing the good. *