Friends, please let me introduce you to my friend, Jessica Michaels. Jessica doesn't have a blog, and she's not trying to publish anything. Thus, no bio or photo at the end. Jessica and her husband are foster parents. In the two years I've known them, they've embraced at least three foster children while raising their two biological sons at the same time. Jessica loves Jesus, and her fostering experience gives her unique insight into Intentional Parenting. Take a minute to read what's on her heart these days.
I knew that when our family of four began fostering we would be loving and letting go. These precious children would come into our lives for a season and then we would let go, entrusting them to the sovereign plan God had for them.
What I didn’t anticipate was the loving and letting go of my own two children. I had planned to hold them close, shielding them from any discomfort that came with the process: the uneasiness of change within our home, the challenging behaviors displayed by the foster children, and the pain of saying good bye to those they had grown so close to. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t do it. God had called us into a ministry that, along with joy and precious rewards, involved change, uncertainty, and discomfort. No matter what I did, I couldn’t keep my kids from it.
But God in his grace is teaching me that sometimes it’s okay to put down the shield; in fact, great things happen in the hearts of my children when I love and let go. So if you’re a warrior momma like me, quick to raise your shield of defense around your kiddos, here are a few things God has been showing me.
Sometimes our shields can turn into shackles.
Let us be bold and say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid!’ -Hebrews 13:6
One morning I asked my son how his Sunday School class went. After a moment he solemnly replied, “Not good momma. I couldn’t reach the markers.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle and think, “If only his troubles would remain so small!” But they won’t. Inevitably as he grows so will life’s problems.
My prayer for my children is that they will know God as their helper because they have been given the opportunity to experience His faithfulness time and again. When I protect them from the smallest of troubles, my shield can turn into shackles that hinder my kids from seeing God as their helper. If they don’t learn to turn to Him for the small problems, He will be the last one they turn to for help when the big problems come.
Change is inevitable.
For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. -Malachi 3:6
One thing we have learned for certain through our adventure in fostering is that change is coming! From the small things like appointment times to the very children that enter our home, change is always coming. The anxiety of change is felt by all children at some point. While we can’t protect them from the butterflies that come with adjustment, we hold them close and reassure them that our love for them is steadfast. We also have the great opportunity to remind them that their Heavenly Father is unchanging and, because of His faithfulness, they will never be consumed.
God is keenly aware of and sensitive to the needs of our children.
And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God. -Romans 8:27
As mommas we anticipate the needs of our children, but God knows their needs long before we do. He knit them together and knows every beat of their hearts. He wants good for them. Whatever God is calling your family to do, you can be assured that He is sensitive to the emotions and needs of your children, and when they are hurting, He turns a sharp ear toward their cries. The moments when we let go of our shield, we are trusting God to meet every need of our children. Who better to allow to minister to their hearts!
As mothers our instinct to protect is not only natural but God-given. I have found that it’s the moments filled with tears and frustrations which offer the greatest opportunities for God to reveal himself to my children…and to myself. It is my prayer that God will grant us wisdom to know when to lower our shields, let go of control, and allow God to work in the hearts of our children. Hang in there, Momma!
Didn’t I tell you? Jessica has a beautiful heart, and I’m thankful she shared it with us. Please leave her some love (in the comments below) by responding to what you read. And hang in there!