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Episode 131: Scarred Hands: How Ministry Through Foster Care Changes Us

By October 18, 2021January 3rd, 2023Podcast
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This episode honestly hit me hard. I was an emotional wreck by the end! If you’ve ever wondered how foster care would affect your biological children, if you are feeling the weight of it all right now, or if you grew up in a family that did foster care, this episode is for you.

James Drayer was just four years old when his parents became houseparents at Gateway Woods, a ministry that offers Christ-centered social services in northeast Indiana, including Residential Childcare, On-Grounds Schooling, Foster Care, Gateway Farms, Adoption, and the LARC Program.

In this heartfelt conversation, James shares with us what it was like to grow up helping kids with trauma, the impact that experience has had on him throughout his life, and how God transformed his heart to follow in his parents’ footsteps. I’m praying you will feel seen, and refreshed, as you listen!


1. Continue to let God’s love shine through you, even on the hard days.

If you are a foster parent, houseparent, or a child who had a foster sibling, you know how hard it is day after day to keep doing this work. It is often difficult and the very kids you know need support sometimes seem to reject it. These children carry trauma and pain from their past experiences, and we can’t fix that, but we can choose to continue to show them care so that they can begin to grasp the love of God.

“Even though every day they were tired and burnt out, they chose to say, ‘I’m going to get up and today I’m going to love. I’m going to choose to listen to these kids. I’m going to choose to give them patience.’”

2. We all have hurt.

We all carry hurt from our life. Secondary trauma is also a real thing. When you are working with trauma on a daily basis, you will be affected by it. And not just you, but also your kids. We want to remind you today that it’s okay if you are not okay. Just because we are doing something good, we are not exempt from also experiencing or carrying hurt. The thing to hold on to is that God is right there with us in the pain, and He can redeem that pain in incredible ways.

“Sometimes in American Christianity, we ask to be the hands and feet of Christ, but we don’t want to be the scarred hands and feet of Christ.”

3. “We serve a really good God.”

You are not alone. Our God is so faithful and full of redemption. You are not ruining your family by choosing to serve through foster care; however, you are instead choosing to model a life of service. God works through the hurt and the pain to bring about His purpose and plan. James’ mention of the story when Jesus healed ten lepers is powerful here. We don’t love just to see the fruits; we love because we trust God.

“Yes, there is pain, but God used it and God redeemed it in beautiful and incredible ways.”


We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

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Meet Our Guest

James Drayer got a front row seat to troubled children that were between foster care and lock up. His parents started working as houseparents at Gateway Woods when he was just four years old. James frequently refers to himself as a “houseparent kid.” In total, James witnessed his parents pour into over 100 kids in the 10 years they worked at Gateway Woods. James later returned to Gateway Woods to intern this summer (2021).

Gateway Woods offers Christ-centered social services in northeast Indiana, including Residential Childcare, On-Grounds Schooling, Foster Care, GW Farms, Adoption, and the LARC Program. Our mission is to honor and obey God by providing help and healing to troubled children and families who then may bless others.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

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