01 Jan When we wish we could do more
I recently sat in a meeting with a group of adults who are all part of the newly-launched mentoring program at my children’s school.
The last 3 months have served as the first continual exposure that some of these people have had with children that live in difficult circumstances. While each of us had positives to share from our experiences, the common theme that ran through the meeting was, I wish I could do more!
I wish I could help her with her homework, I wish I could help her to feel hopeful, I wish I could buy some things for him, I wish I could make sure she is supervised in the afternoon, I wish…
While each of us had the desire to rescue these students from their circumstances, the reality is that we cannot do that. As a foster parent, I have the same struggle on a regular basis. There are things that I want to do that I just am not able to. In fact, that is the number one response I hear when people find out that I am a foster mom; “I couldn’t do it…”
There are things that I want to do that I just am not able to.
This, of course, implies that they could not do the hard, that they could not watch a child leave and not know if he would continue to be safe, that they could not sleep at night knowing that there was so much more they wanted to do but just were unable.
But this is where faith and obedience come into play. Sometimes we struggle with a savior-complex where we want to do or fix things that are not ours to fix. We have a hard time looking into their circumstances and trusting the sovereignty of God; so we want to make things right ourselves. The other extreme would be to cover our ears and eyes and run from the need because we are so uncomfortable living in the tension of I wish I could…
This is where faith and obedience come into play.
But in my life, no matter how hard or how sleepless, I am finding that obedience always wins out. When I am tired and frustrated and wondering if this student I’m having lunch with every week even cares or if she will get to eat again before she returns to school the next day, I can find hope and fulfillment in One who sees when I am weary. I can rest in the One who has a burden that is light and hand over my sadness, my frustration, my fatigue, and my “I just can’ts.” Even with all of the really difficult, unanswered questions that weigh on my mind, I am still able to find peace in a God who loves these children much more than my unstable heart is capable of.
Working with kids from traumatized or neglected backgrounds can be very rewarding and also very trying. In almost every situation, there is a tension that will have to be dealt with between what you can fix and what you cannot. The tension is often difficult and uncomfortable, but it is not an excuse to throw our hands up. I have found great blessing in the mundane and a sweet place in the obedience, even when I’m not sure what the outcome is going to be.
I am still able to find peace in a God who loves these children much more than my unstable heart is capable of.
Are there areas in your community that God is calling you to reach out to? Is the tension of not being able to do it all keeping you from stepping forward in obedience? How is your fear or frustration preventing you from becoming culturally engaged?
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. –2 John 1:6
-Natalie Patterson, foster parent