Reunification & Longing for Change

By October 1, 2020Blog

We’re on the cusp of reunification.

Here, as we near the end, this isn’t what I thought it would be like.

I wanted to feel secure in knowing that the same patterns would not repeat themselves. I wanted to confidently and boldly declare that this family was now set up for success.

Instead, I find myself struggling to know the answer. I battle my own temptations to swing back and forth like the pendulum on a grandfather clock, moving from apathy to over-concern. I dive in and then pull back, unable to see the next move.

I’m not sure how you enter foster care without Jesus. I don’t know how you sit in the messiness without knowing that God is holding it all. He is holding these precious girls, their mama, and us. I don’t know how you choose to sacrifice when it’s hard without God carrying you, using His strength.

Without a doubt, I am not strong enough to walk this foster care road without Jesus. I am not naturally inclined to do hard things, to thrust myself into uncomfortable and painful situations. I do not delight in brokenness, nor do I enjoy being confronted with the harsh reality of sin that is ever-present in this world and in me. I don’t like to be reminded of the effects of the fall. I’d much rather be oblivious than really have to engage.

I don’t delight in the fact that I am inclined towards ease, but nonetheless, it is my disposition as I fight my own sin.

Though I don’t know how you do this without Jesus, I’ve also realized in walking this road and in being at this point, that it’s equally hard to do this as a follower of Jesus.

This reality has been unexpected for me. I’m not sure why. Being a follower of Jesus is never easy.

Foster care is a challenge as a Christian. I whole-heartedly believe that Christians must engage in foster care. I don’t think we’re to walk the other way. I think there is a place for Christian families to enter into this system as foster parents—with Christian agencies and with State agencies. I don’t think our response should be to turn a blind eye and let someone else engage. I’m not saying every Christian should be a foster parent. I am saying that there is a place for some Christians to be foster parents.

And yet, in that, it sets up an inherent struggle.

A foster care system run by the State has a certain set of expectations. As a biological parent, I would want that bar for parenting standards to be minimal. I don’t want the State to dictate parenting choices. I want them to focus on safety.

Yet, as a follower of Jesus, I want so much more than what the State wants for our girls and their mama.

Yes, I want safety. Yes, I want food stability. Yes, I want secure housing.

And I want to see that developmental, emotional, relational, and educational growth is on a good trajectory.

I long for true change. I long for true restoration. I long to see fruit of a changed heart that beats for Jesus.

I’m not looking for simply better physical circumstances. I do desire that, but I want so much more for this family. I desire for something far greater, something that extends beyond this present world.

I want these girls and their mama to know that they are so loved and so cared for by an incredible God, their Creator. I want them to know this God in a real and tangible way, in a way that changes everything in their life.

I desire them to be met by Jesus, to know the reality of his finished work on the cross and the power that only He can bring.

So, here we are at the end of the road, change has been made to the judge’s satisfaction.

I find myself wanting more. Yet, I can do nothing more. It’s not within my power to cause heart change.

And I think that’s where I’m running up against battling my own tendencies towards pragmatism. It’s a delicate balance in foster care and advocacy to know when you need to push more and when you have to resolve that you have done all that you can or maybe should do.

This is where faith has to shine.

I have played my part, pouring out all of my love and the truth of God’s Word as best that I know. I think somewhere in this journey, I wanted to believe that the State could do what only God can.

My logical next steps won’t move us forward in the way that I truly care about.

I know that it’s God who saves. I know that He can even use me, the court, or anything He wants as a vessel in His hands.

I know that He can write the end of the story that I so desperately desire.

I grieve that He hasn’t yet even as physical restoration of this family draws near.

I know that He can. I am praying that He will. He is always good, and He is always kind, no matter the outcome.

Holly Gnuse

Holly grew up with a heart for adoption but didn’t know much about foster care. God used an internship with a local child welfare agency to make her aware. Coupling that experience with knowing the joy of the Gospel, Holly is passionate about connecting the local church to the foster care community. Holly and her husband, Scott, were married in December 2013 and are enjoying the crazy adventure of life together.

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