But it’s scary at times. And the likelihood that I’ll find myself in situations that pull me outside of my safety bubble has so increased. Working with “down-and-out people” is not always happy. There is a weight that surrounds that work — a weight that I feel even just thinking about it.
Yet, I’ve never felt I’m above experiencing hard things. I am not too fragile to see face-to-face some of the evil in this world. My temptation is to avoid seeing it, yes, but what if that’s not what God desires for me right now?
What if he wants me to look into the face of human beings who are so messed up and hurting? What if He wants to stretch my reliance on Him through seeing those things?
I am aware that I romanticize things before I actually experience them. Going to college? Romanticized. Serving in an orphanage? Romanticized. Going to grad school? Romanticized. Living in a big city? Romanticized. Marriage? Romanticized. Having children? Romanticized.
I have been — and am being — broken of these views that are not true and often not good. Especially as it relates to orphan care, I am beginning to understand all the hurt that comes before the joy… and sometimes commingles with the joy.
And really, I don’t like it. Much of me wants to do work with adoptions that is only ever happy. As if that even exists. And now, after a series of practicum agency interviews, I’m about to see the disgusting, hard side of all this. And yes, I’m happy about it.
This spring and summer, I’ll be working at an agency doing foster care case management for children from birth to 18 years old. I know there will be much joy to experience in it, but I know there’s going to be a lot of sadness.
There may be times I am asked to pick a child up from school because their teacher has seen bruises on their body…
There may be times I take a child to the hospital for a physical examination of the damage their parent has done to them…
There may be times I stand up in court as an advocate for these little ones…
And there may be times, honestly, I have to take a child back to a home where I know abuse will continue…
But I’ve read Isaiah 1:17 and Proverbs 31:8 and held them near my heart and I am ready to do them. Yes, I’m a bit scared. But I so firmly believe God will not lead me to a place where He is not already. My prayer is that you believe that about Him as it relates to your circumstances, too.
“A friend of mine once said that Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and the stink horribly. I was convicted by my lack of faith in college. I realized that my choices had situated me in a pile of stinking manure, and this motivated me to put myself in uncomfortable situations. I began going into downtown Los Angeles to share my faith. I didn’t “hear God calling me” to drive downtown; I just chose to go. I obeyed. The greatest blessing I received during those trips to the inner city was seeing God work in situations where He has to. As a result, I’ve made it a commitment to consistently put myself in situations that scare me and require God to come through. When I survey my life, I realize that those times have been the most meaningful and satisfying of my life. They were the times when I truly experienced life and God.” [Francis Chan in Crazy Love]