Saturday, May 5, 2012

National Foster Care Month: Painting God's Fingernails.

{It's National Foster Care Month, so I will be sharing a series of posts during May with the hope of bringing these beautiful children to the attention of the Church, to join in the national foster care conversation as well as suggesting ways to get involved, stories that inspire, God's provision for foster families, and challenges to get involved.
Would you STAND UP with us to make a difference?}


"I CAN'T do this anymore!"  I shouted, slamming the door to further exclaim my point.  The girls were crying in the next room, and their dad was trying to ready them for the evening's festivities while actively seeking to make peace.  It was a heartbreaking but all-too familiar scene.  Knowing my frustration had reached a boiling point, I went into my room to cool off.

Lord, why did you call me to this?  Clearly another would be better for them.  Someone more patient, less edgy, less nervous.  Someone who has The Connected Child dog-eared and underlined, someone who would be giggling on their bed with them, not bothered by the mess, ignoring the whining and the raging, ears attentive only to the goodness of the beautiful little voices. 

I threw myself on the bed rather dramatically (because that's what you do when you're mad and you want God to know it) and I wept.  Again.

I'm not doing them justice, Lord.  I've let them down and You down too...again.  I've let another moment get the best of me -- my voice too loud, my words piercing ears and hearts. Father, I'm more disappointed in myself than I am frustrated with them.  

The tears burned hot as did the Holy Spirit.

Then, a familiar Voice.
Daughter, you forget that your weaknesses reveal My strengths so much more clearly than that which comes easily to you.
Lord, I am a terrible witness for You to these you have sent...I am not very Jesus-like as a mom sometimes.
Oh Daughter, you have forgotten that these children were not sent so much to see Jesus in you as to reveal Jesus to you.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. 
"You may be the only Jesus that some people ever meet." 
While I understand this statement and agree with the sentiment behind it, I read Matthew 25 and see the opposite to be true. 

The way I see Jesus is by meeting the need of the least of these.  They are the only Jesus I will see until That Day, and these children are a gift to be treasured because they give me a chance to serve Christ in the most unique of ways.

Photo Source
After all, have you ever gotten to paint God's fingernails?
Change His diaper?
Offer Him yet another a cup of water because He is "firsty"? 
 Hold His hand as He crosses the street?
Push Him on His trike down the hill just a little faster this time?
Cut the crusts off His peanut butter and jelly?
Wipe His tears and kiss His boo-boos?

I let the moments get the best of me when I forget Who this is really about.  It's not about me. This whole life, this call is about Him.  He is using them to help me meet Him, serve Him, order my life around Him, love Him more deeply.  

I thought I knew Him well before they came.  Now I find myself more intimately acquainted with Him because of their presence in my life, reminding me that every cup matters - every moment I can choose to see Him in their eyes - I can meet Him in serving them in even the most menial act. 

I am not forming three little disciples any more than they are forming my discipleship.

I got up from the bed reminded of this truth.  The three girls of The A*Team headed to Mother's Day Tea at the preschool.  Tabbitha handed me a letter she had dictated to the teacher's aide.  It further confirmed what I heard from the Lord.

Dear Mom,
You are a great mom because you are loving and give me hugs, rub my back....My favorite part of the day is when at breakfast you fix Mini Wheats for me in my bowl....
Washing sippy cups is much more fulfilling when I realize I am washing them for the King.  Cleaning out a high chair is not such a burden as I reflect upon the Unseen Guest at every meal at our table. This truth takes what feels like a duty some days and turns it into a delight.  The sweetness of serving Christ as I serve my children turns exhaustion into joy and makes frustration take flight.  This is how He meant us to live, bent to see Him painted in the faces of those who seem to have great need, but show us that we are the ones who need.

I fell into bed that night, grateful for the chance to get the best of the moment next time.