I am going to impart something new to you for when you are suffering a loss. I am not talking about losing a loved one in death, but losing something that you really wanted. I want to show you how God can use it to make room in your heart for something else…something God wants accomplished.
As I have already shared, I have never considered myself a “kid” person. When in college, my roommate and I ate many meals at McDonald’s. I would choose a table away from everyone with kids, and if a family with small kids sat down next to us, I would have us move. I guess I should be somewhat ashamed for saying that, but kids really got on my nerves. So much so, that I told my parents that I did not intend to have children. But, I did eventually marry and have kids – 2 girls – who I would not trade for the world.
Still, I don’t consider myself a great mom even though I have great kids. I am so proud of them both. They are great, despite me. I did not cry when they started school or when they graduated. I did not attend all of their school parties or volunteer as a chaperone for their field trips. I did not play with them like I should have, and I worked long hours in a career job while they were growing up. And yet, we are as thick as thieves! Now that they are grown, we tell each other just about everything and consider ourselves each other’s best friends.
But over the past few years, God has been changing me.
It started back in 2004, when a co-worker brought her 3 year old son to work for a visit. I was used to girls and never thought I would want a boy, but at that moment I kind of wished I had a little boy. It stayed with me for a while. Ultimately, I decided that if God wanted me to have a little boy, He would make it happen. I was open to it, but would wait for Him to introduce the right little boy to us in due time.
In 2009, I began to really intercede for children who were suffering from abuse and neglect. Almost every night during my prayer time, I cry out to God on their behalf. I have even had the idea of starting an after school program that would serve our most at-risk elementary students.
In 2013, several families at my church began to foster children, which is when I met my little twin boys who were staying with two different families. I loved them immediately. I can’t explain it. When I first saw C. it was like he was my very own. Believe me, this NEVER happens! The twins are seven years old, and two of six total children. After hearing how they had been abused in both imaginable and unimaginable ways by both of their parents, I didn’t flinch. Despite their issues from such abuse it did not dissuade me from wanting to take them in as my own.
They would be coming up for adoption soon and I wanted them. My husband and I arranged to spend some time with them, as we were trying to figure out if this was a “God thing” or not. My husband is a twin and he hated the idea of them being separated from one another. We thought we might be their solution. We took them on little dates to a dinosaur exhibit and to Build-A-Bear. But almost as soon as we began to spend time with them, their foster care agencies changed and they were removed from our families. From what I understand, it will be hard to locate them now in the “system”, and they would more than likely go first to parents whom are already in line for adoption through fostering. This has been excruciatingly painful for me.
My only consolation was that through several scriptures and other confirmations, I felt God was saying, “Give them to me; you can trust Me with them.”
Just as the twins were leaving my life, two things happened. One was a transition within my ministry as Director of Women’s Ministry at my church. The Women’s missions support group that is under my umbrella will now be responsible for the children’s missions education program. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would be responsible for any part of a children’s ministry, but here I am. I believe God has allowed this to possibly further equip me for something else (maybe that after school program I dreamed of???).
Secondly, one of the ladies in our book club is “forcing” me to read the “Invisible Thread” by Laura Schroff. It is about a busy executive who meets an eleven year old pan handler and begins a life-long, life-changing friendship. I occasionally have to take a break from reading it to cry, which is what I did when I read “Kisses from Katie”. I knew when my friend gave me this book to read at this particular time that God must be up to something.
My husband thinks I should now just concentrate on loving my two sweet little grandsons, and I do love them to pieces, but they also have parents who love and take good care of them.
My heart for the twins wants to love them like they deserve to be loved by good parents of their own. Losing them has been one of the most painful things I have experienced in my life. I am sure it does not compare to those whom have actually lost one of their own children, but it must be close. Have you painfully lost foster children or opportunities to minister to a hurting child? I can relate!
So my radar is up! As I was recently studying John 15, the commentary notes really spoke to me about what God may be doing. Here is the scripture and commentary:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be[a] My disciples.”
When the scriptures speak of pruning, Warren Wiersbe states,
“How does the Father prune us? Sometimes He simply uses the Word to convict and cleanse us…Sometimes He must chasten us…At the time, it hurts when He removes something precious from us, but as the “spiritual crop” is produced, we see that the Father knew what He was doing. (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary – New Testament, p. 285)
The Lord has saw fit at this particular time to remove something precious from me, and I sadly accept it. Again, I am not talking about losing our children or loved ones through tragedy, death or otherwise – I am speaking about ministry/opportunities that God removes, maybe for a season, maybe forever. I believed that God had “called” me to minister to these twin boys through foster care, and ultimately adoption. But as I would get closer, the reality of that moved further away. I don’t feel as if the enemy was at work here, but that God was using their time near me to enlarge my “not-a-kid-person” heart for a later “spiritual crop”. Time will tell, and until then I will yield myself to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.
Click the links below for similar blog posts & videos:
Click here to see other blogs that I link up with through the week.
Gina Duke is the author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press). She would love to have you subscribe to her blog at GinaDuke.com. Look for her on Pinterest – Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke