Fear. Fostering. Faith.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted. The truth is–I’ve been in a bit of a hole since Easter. We had the flu for two weeks at the Beasley abode. In fact, we went to the closing for our new house with at least one of us running a fever. Then, of course, we had to actually move our lives from one address to another, which is a gargantuan task. All of that extra drama at home sets you back at work, so you spend a week or two digging your way out. But now, I’m sitting in my new living room, my dog is running gleefully through his new back yard, my children are with the grandparents for a week, and this school teacher is off for the summer. Hallelu-yer, I’m back.

Zacchaeus, my wee little man...and a wee little man is he...
Zacchaeus, my wee little man…and a wee little man is he…

The next post in my Matthew walk would put us in the Sermon on the Mount. One of the reasons I haven’t written in a while is that I couldn’t decide how much of the Sermon I wanted to tackle. God gave me some insight on performance and perfectionism—and how miserable I make myself with those things—and I’m eager to write that piece. But something happened last night that turned me back to the Beatitudes.

 “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”      Matthew 5:4

In the last year I’ve made a new friend through Bible study. She and her husband have two children and they also are foster parents. Since I’ve known them, they’ve loved and nurtured a brother and sister who have moved on to other families, and currently they are caring for a baby girl they hope to adopt.

Let me push the pause button on their story for a moment to say this. I deliberately avoided foster care. Through the whole ordeal of our many miscarriages, one thing that I simply would not consider is fostering. Todd and I never even discussed it. After experiencing so much loss, I could not imagine making myself vulnerable to loving a child that might not be forever mine. The thought of loving a baby, who I might have to surrender to another family, terrified me. Honestly, it still scares me even today.

Another problem was that I worried I might be a miserable failure at fostering. Through my friends, I’ve met children who have endured more violence in three years than I have in a lifetime. Their need for healing is so dire. What if I’m not capable of meeting those needs? What if I’m too sheltered or too selfish or just plain inadequate for the depth of love that these babies require?

Yet my friends eagerly meet that challenge in spite of the very real risk of a broken heart.

Last night I got a text message. They may not be able to adopt the sweet baby girl they have loved and cared for these last few months. She has siblings in the care of another family, so she may be moved in order to be reunited with her brothers and sisters.

Sounds good, right? To keep the sibling group together. It’s difficult to argue with that—except that my friends love her so much. They opened themselves up to this loss—and have tried to prepare themselves for this possibility. I am deeply saddened that they are faced with something so painful.

And deeply ashamed that I am such a coward.

In the context of church planting, we talk a lot about how to love our community—and how to genuinely put that love into action. That same fear that kept me from fostering babies has kept me from a lot of opportunities to love the world as Christ loves. I’m afraid that I’m not capable. I’m afraid that no one really wants what I have to offer. I’m afraid that it will expose my selfishness for others to see.

I am afraid that I’ll get my heart broken.

Last night as I read that text message, I knew that I had no response that would suffice. There will be a period of uncertainty while those in authority decide what course is in the best interest of the child. My friend asked for us to pray for what’s best for this little girl. They are putting her needs first. Now that’s love. Truly.

So I turned back to the Beatitudes and saw them so rich with rewards for these friends of mine who have loved so sacrificially.

They have given themselves over to complete, humble dependence on the Lord. They have been merciful and sought to bring peace into each child’s life. They have loved the Lord so deeply that they hoped to pass on a hunger and thirst for righteousness to their children—even if they are only together for a season. They have told their story again and again as a proclamation of who their Savior is and why this is the manner in which they choose to serve Him.

They will see God. They will inherit the earth. For them, the blessing of righteousness overflows. They will be shown mercy. They will be called children of God. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And when they mourn, they will be comforted. The Father in Heaven—not one who is inadequate, selfish or fearful—holds them with a supernatural, miraculous embrace. He will bind their wounds and ease their weariness.

Someday, you will be able to see with absolute clarity that your legacy is not just in the children you’ve raised, but in the way you influence others because of your faith. His Word moves with power because of your faithfulness and testimony. My sweet friends, I’m grateful for your obedience to our Lord. You inspire and challenge me to love with courage.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.       I Corinthians 15:58

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