Did you know that May is National Foster Care Awareness Month? To help raise awareness of this community that we love so dearly, things are looking a little different this month on the podcast. Every week this month, we are highlighting stories from each perspective of the foster care community—agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children—because every member of the foster care community matters and has a story to tell.
In this episode, I’m talking with Jessica Mathisen. In addition to being a foster parent, she is an author and the Executive Director of Restoration Women, an organization that equips women in Athens, GA with life and job skills to empower them to walk in freedom and bring restoration to their homes and community. Today, Jessica openly shares about her fostering journey, how she’s learned to navigate fear and insecurity, how she finds the strength to face each day as a foster parent, the immeasurable value she has found in community, and more. I loved this episode and hope it’s an encouragement to you!
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. It’s okay to not be okay.
The reality is that fostering is hard. It’s okay to give ourselves space to have a wide range of emotions, to make mistakes along the way, and to accept our imperfections. Rather than trying to hide or deny that we need help, it’s important that we don’t make it taboo to ask for support. Let’s be real with one another and learn to reach out when we need help or prayer. Remember, this is hard work and we can’t do it alone.
“It’s okay to hold joy and sorrow and angst and gratitude all at the same time.”
2. Know that your effort will produce fruit.
It can be easy to become discouraged during the low seasons, and difficult to see how what you are doing today will have an impact in the future. While we can’t see the future, we need to remember that our efforts and investment in a child’s life will produce fruit. This work is changing the trajectory of generations, making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
“We see reward in the relationships built, in the seeds planted, and in the generations that are changed by the impact we can have when we let the Lord use us in this way.”
3. We can’t undervalue community.
Like we said before, this is hard work! You need a community of people around you for support, encouragement, and friendship. We need people to lean on in times of stress and when difficulties arise. And if you’re not a foster parent, your support role matters deeply! The foster care community is made up of more than just foster parents. It’s made up of churches, volunteers, caseworkers, biological families, advocates, and individuals all working together toward the same goal.
“Community is such an important part of being a foster parent.”
4. God is always faithful.
This is the truth that carried Jessica through each season of life as a foster parent. God never leaves us or forsakes us, and He is walking right beside us through this foster care journey. We truly are not alone.
“The biggest thing to remember is that God is always faithful. I am never alone.”
Meet Our Guest
Jessica Mathisen is the Executive Director of Restoration Women, author of four books, and a foster parent. Jessica is passionate about communicating God’s love to others through writing and relationships. She lives just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Rory, and three children. Her favorite things are hanging out with her family, reading good books, and eating chips with salsa.
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