During my time at Lifeline, I have watched both adoptive and foster parents live out the ministry they feel they have been called to. These roles are no-joke-non-stop-hard-work; and I am not even talking about the process to become adoptive or foster parents! Once a foster family is licensed and receives a placement, or an adoptive family arrives home with their child, the hard work is only beginning. Work that is rewarding? Yes. Work that is worth it? Yes. But work that is difficult and draining? Absolutely. Two things that I have seen, time after time, make a world of difference for each of these families, are really quite simple concepts: encouragement and support.
I know in our minds, we instantly jump to financial support. Of course financial support is huge and always welcome, but it is not the only form of valuable support that can be offered. Examine what you have available to you – what God has given you to use for His glory – your time, your resources, your gifts, your talents, and your interests. How can you serve others by using those things (and thereby serve Him)? I am reminded of a beautiful, familiar story from Luke 21 – “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”
Our Lord does not ask that we give out of our abundance, but out of our poverty – when we do not see how we can afford to give, when we feel we have nothing of value to give. He does not want our extra, our afterthought, or our leftovers. He wants that which costs us something; that which we feel the absence of when we gift it to Him; that which we have to depend on Him to meet our needs after it has been given. Part of the beauty of giving is giving beyond our capacity and learning to trust Him. He desires to build our faith. He seeks not only our gift, but our faith, trust, and obedience behind it – and He calls that beautiful. That is true worship through giving. And not simply giving monetarily, but giving sacrificially of ourselves – whatever that may look like. Our God does not measure the value of our offering the way we do. It is all about His glory – and it is possible for Him to receive more glory through a smaller amount or an untraditional gift when that amount/gift is given from a pure heart.
My point in all of this is that a huge, constant need Lifeline has is support and encouragement for our foster and adoptive families. We are all equipped in different and specific ways to provide these things. If you enjoy children, you could be used as a baby-sitter to give parents a much-needed night off. If you have a gift card leftover from Christmas that you have not used, you could give that to a family who now has more mouths to feed than they did before. If you enjoy sending cards, you could send a note of encouragement to one of our families. If you paint, draw, sew, sing, or dance, you could hold art classes for children who are in foster care or have been adopted. You could give away your car seat, prepare a meal, provide hand-me-down clothes, offer music lessons, tutor a child, etc. The possibilities are endless.
I am asking for your help as you read this. Our families cannot do what they have been called to do alone. That is the very reason for the body of Christ. We aid each other in accomplishing the work He has called each of us to complete. Maybe you have spoken with the Lord, examined your heart, and you are not called (at least at present) to foster or to adopt. My request today is that you consider other ways to serve and give to the children and families with whom Lifeline works. There is no such thing as a small, insignificant offering in God’s eyes. He has gifted you that you may use that gift. So do not delay in putting it to good use!