June 16, 2014

Safer in His arms

Two and a half weeks ago we got the call – our first foster baby.
For a little over two weeks we have been transported back in to the land of new-baby-dom, full of a variety of pacifiers (why are there so many? After eight years of mothering that Babies R Us pacifier wall still mystifies me), bottles, diapers, lost sleep, and snuggles. And we have completely and totally fallen in love with this little guy.
But he is not ours.
It was easier to say it before he was placed with us, but he really isn’t ours.
This weekend I met with dear friends over Bibles opened to the book of Exodus and we talked about Jochebed, Moses’ mother. God’s timing was not coincidental for me to ponder this crazy-sounding act of faith – crazy faith that causes a mother to hide her baby from a blood-thirsty Pharaoh, and then carefully lay that sweet little one in a basket and float him down the Nile river. I mean really… that sounds insane.
But it’s not crazy at all. God keeps bringing me back to this truth – sweet baby Moses was safer in a little basket boat on the Nile than he was in the arms of his mother. He wasn’t alone. God Himself was watching, guiding, providentially protecting.
And then I thought of Hannah, leaving little Samuel, newly weaned, at the temple with a priest who didn’t even know her name and who had apparently not been the most stellar of fathers himself. The text makes a point of saying that “the child was young,” and that every year Hannah would make “a little robe” to bring to him at the yearly sacrifice. I have to think that to her mother’s heart, that sacrifice was far more than the animals they brought. She would see her little Samuel again, and once again she would leave him. She didn’t leave him alone, however, she left him in the very presence of God.
I’ve heard a lot of people comment to me lately that they could “never do foster care.” I used to say the same thing. I fully believed it – and I still do. I can’t do this. It’s too hard for me. But my God is bigger- and through Him I can do all things.
I don’t think that Jochebed put Moses in a basket because she loved him less than other mothers loved their babies, or because it wasn’t hard for her. I don’t think Hannah left Samuel at the temple because she loved him less, or that it was easy to do so. I think they did these crazy-sounding things because their understanding of God was bigger, their faith was deeper, their need had driven them into utter dependence upon Him alone. And God saw them. He knew them. He loved them. And He used these faithful women to mother faithful men through whom God would work in unbelievable ways.
This morning I packed little D’s diaper bag and put on his teeny-tiny onesie and teeny-tiny socks and handed him over to a social worker for a family visit. I was tempted to fear. Tempted to dig in my heels and resist. Tempted to think that I know what’s best for him. My pride rears up and thinks, “he’s safer with us.”
We not are in this crazy ministry of foster care because we don’t love this little guy like our own, or because it is easy for us. But oh, we serve a great big God. And I know He sees us. He knows us. He loves us. He can use us however He wishes because it isn’t about us.
While D was at his visit I prayed for him with AG and LB. Tears rolled down my face as AG prayed in her sweet 8-year-old voice full of faith.
“Thank you for baby D and that we can love him and maybe keep him. I pray that his biological parents would come to know Christ. And I pray that whatever home D grows up in that he would learn about Jesus and be loved.”
We’re trusting him to you, Lord – he’s safer in your arms than in ours, and I trust that your ways and plans are best. We know you see and know and hear us. And you see and know and hear little D. And you know his family inside and out.
Do big things, Lord. We ask you to make yourself evident and known in D’s life, however you choose to do it. Thank you for the privilege of mothering little D however long we have him with us – mark his life, Father. May he grow into a man who loves you with all of his heart.
And oh, for grace to trust You more.