When Grief Hits

By September 14, 2020Blog

I haven’t been in close proximity to foster care for very long at this point, but here’s what I’ve already seen:

Foster care comes with grief, no matter its outcome.

Whether you’re walking the road towards reunification and you’re mourning the loss of a child’s presence in your home or you’re holding onto each moment knowing that the day they leave is drawing near, grief is there.

Or, maybe your child’s story is going to end or has ended in adoption. Grief is still a steady companion amid the joy. Your child will not grow up under the care of the family they were born into, and your heart is heavy for their loss and their future questions about why this happened. You grieve not being able to do anything to change that loss.

Maybe you’re in the unknown, unclear on the direction of your child’s case. Missed visits, unmet expectations, and harsh realities meet you in the middle. Anticipation for what could be is held alongside the fear you have of what if it doesn’t.

As you step into foster care, grief is there. It’s not bad. Hear me in this: it’s okay to grieve. Even Jesus grieved.

Jesus walked into life knowing he would grieve, just like you walk into foster care knowing you will grieve, too. You are not alone in that emotion. You can take comfort in that.

In Matthew 14, we read the tragic story of John the Baptist’s death. Matthew 14:12 says, “Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.”

In the following verses, we see how Jesus responds to this tragedy.

Matthew 14:13
As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.

This next verse in the story is what caught my attention. Matthew 14:14 says, “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Jesus’ response is so beautiful to me in this passage. Jesus created time to be alone to grieve. But when the crowd disrupted his plans, he wasn’t resentful. He chose something else amid his grief.

He chose compassion. Jesus knew that others needed him. Yes, he was still grieving, but he knew the crowd needed him and that he could make all the difference for them.

The story continues, and Jesus not only healed the sick who were there that day; he spent the rest of the day there with them. In verse 15, the disciples approach Jesus saying it’s getting late and time to send the people home to eat. Jesus responds with a miracle instead. He feeds the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish; he remains present with them and is the last to leave. (v. 22)

I need you to see how incredible Jesus is here. You know what it’s like to grieve, foster parent. Jesus knows too, but he also knows that he has the greatest gift you need in your grief, and he’s willing to give up his time and space to give it to you.

He shows compassion instead of resentment.

He offers that to you, friend, not just to the crowd that day! His compassion for you knows no bounds. He’s willing to trade his own time for you in your hurt, in your sorrow, and in your great need. He is there.

So yes, do what you can to create alone time, no matter how long or short you need. But spend that time alone with God so that he can offer you the healing your soul truly longs for.

Grief is okay. Jesus is the great healer. He is always present.

Becky Nelson

Becky enjoys spending time with friends and family, and has a big heart for caring for those around her. With a strong background in office management, Becky loves creating a welcoming environment for all to enjoy. She spends her time outside of work leading at church, and baking pies!

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