November 15, 2015

The Gift

He had been anticipating this special day for weeks, counting down the hours that had crept painfully slow. There were more presents under the tree than he could even count, and, oh, the thrill . . . many of them had his name on the tags!  And now Christmas Day was here at last!  He could barely contain his excitement!

He opened the first one, ripping into the paper, the bow flying off.  It was a . . . a book?  Well, that wasn’t exactly what he was expecting, but Ok, he thought.  A book is good.  I like to read.  And still, there were many more gifts to open.  One by one, he opened the packages.  A skateboard.  A basketball.  A chess set.  And with each present that he opened, his shoulders stooped just a little bit more, and each “thank you” became less and less enthusiastic.  When the last gift had been opened, he looked around in utter disbelief, threw himself onto the floor in a heap, and wailed, “But I wanted an X-Box!”

Poor kid.  He didn’t get the one gift he had hoped for.  The one he had been envisioning.  And all of the other gifts, by comparison, were inferior.  It wasn’t that he was ungrateful.  He just couldn’t help but feel disappointed and heart-broken.  Let down.  His dreams for the perfect gift had been dashed.

I get it.  I’m just like my foster son on that Christmas morning long ago.  My dreams were so big and my expectations were so high.  I had prayed and hoped and anticipated the gift that the Lord was going to give me.  I just knew that what He gave me would exceed my wildest expectations.1

He gave me a gift, alright.  But it wasn’t the one I was expecting.

November 10, 2015

Preaching to the Choir

It was such a lovely evening, really.  The gorgeous wreath on the door greeted me as I walked up the well-swept path, and the glow from the windows invited me to come inside.  Delicate coffee cups stood at attention next to the folded linen napkins, waiting for the scrumptious chocolate dessert that would soon be served.  The woman seated next to me admired the hand-crocheted doilies underneath the fresh-cut flower centerpiece.  The conversation around the table was muted and polite, nice young ladies making small talk with each other. 

I had thought that this was going to be a wonderful, relaxing evening, one I had looked forward to for weeks.  It had been such a long, long time - years probably, since I had been able to find a babysitter, get away from the responsibilities at home, and make arrangements to attend a ladies Bible study.

I hadn't been there too long, however, before I began to feel 
embarrassed and awkward, realizing that I didn’t really have much in common with these nice young ladies.  I think most foster and adoptive mothers might feel the same way:  How can we be nice, after all, when most days we are warriors, fighting a battle for a child’s health or wholeness or future? 1  Honestly,  we don't want someone to invite us to a Bible study.  What we really want is someone to come mop our floors or run errands or hold our foster babies while we take a nap.  We feel so isolated sometimes, that we long for someone else to understand what it’s like to love the most vulnerable members of our community. 2