Just a little peek into foster parenting this evening. The foster care agency we work with has a wonderful service for parents called respite. There is the regular give-foster-parents-a-break respite and there is give-the-actual-parents-a-break respite. We gave a sweet single mama a break this weekend. I love this service because it is so needed. In some cases it is child abuse prevention. I think some of us (me) take for granted the blessing of having a support system; church community, great friends, family members. Not everyone has a good support system in her life. Not everyone has a sweet husband who comes home ready to help out and connect with each member of the family, who, by the hand of God, is able to provide everything his family needs. Not everyone gets "me" time to refuel so she can be a better parent. Not everyone has the means to put a healthy dinner on the table and dress her babies fitting for the weather each day. Not everyone had a good example in her parents of how to gently lead her young. Not everyone has the ability to enroll her kids in theater, music lessons or sports activities. Not everyone has someone to turn to for encouraging words. I am so blessed! I have often taken my blessings for granted, sometimes claiming them as rights.
Some women are parenting their children in the best way they can with very little resources. Loss of a job loss of a home. No safe family or trustworthy friends to take care of her kids so she have a break, just a little break to do the wash alone, to look into getting a couch from His Helping Hands, to look for a new job, a new place to live...
The past 2 weekends we've done respite for single moms. Sweet, loving, hardworking moms. It was hard for them to leave their kids in a stranger's care. The other foster mom and I stayed and visited with them, trying to relieve their worries, asking for advice on what works best for their children, telling them we'll take good care of them.
This time I took two darlings home. My children played with them. I read and sang to them, bathed and fed them. Prayed for them. David joked with and tickled them. We had a great time. Last night the tornado sirens went off so we all went down to the basement. This was a bad storm and the older son was afraid for his mom. He prayed for her and asked me several times if she was safe. She called to be sure we had a basement. The older son talked to her and said, "Please, please, please mom take care of yourself." So concerned. Today we picked flowers for their mom. We met her at the agency, sweet reunion. The other foster mom and I hung around for a little while just watching and visiting, not wanting to leave. It's amazing how quickly you can attach to children. I admire their mom. She is strong. I will continue to pray for her and all her children. I went home thinking of all the excess I have and about how needs and wants get all mixed up and how I don't really need all that I have. I'm asking God how He wants me to respond to this time of being face to face with someone who has need, real need. I want to live in the abundance of following in Jesus' footsteps, not in the abundance of this world. Jesus brings peace and joy and purpose, abundant life. Teach me Lord, change me, make me like you.