The first errand left me sitting in the middle of the aisle at Walmart, fourteen pairs of shoes scattered from the shelves, six pairs of pants strewn across the cart, and a six-year-old lying on her back waiting for me to find a pair that fit. How was it possible that a 2 was too small but a 3 too big?
Then there was registering for school. The secretary stared at the mostly blank registration form I handed her. The top section was filled out: name, birthday, grade. Then came the background information and likes/dislikes. Blanks followed by more blanks. Except favorite color. I knew that one.
And it all led up to filling the prescription. The line at the Kroger pharmacy was at a standstill because of me. I had to repeat all my answers to the three pharmacy techs. “Yes, I realize this was filled two days ago.” “No I don’t know how much of it she took.” “No, I didn’t fill the original prescription.” “Yes, she’s just now in state custody.” “No, I don’t know which case worker called in the second prescription.” All those questions and I still left without it.
The first twenty four hours of being a foster parent have been the hardest. The first full day I spent with our six-year old, I cried every time I looked at her. After Walmart, school, and the pharmacy, I was exhausted emotionally and, though I didn’t know it at the time, spiritually.
As she smiled at me during dinner, I excused myself and, as we say in the south, ugly cried in my closet. Who abandons their child? Who am I to take up the slack? The question that everyone kept asking me rang in my head, “How can you take in and love someone that you might have to give up?”
At that moment, I didn’t know. I didn’t have the strength to think past 8:00 pm.
It’s true. Our lives are more unpredictable now than ever before. We think she’ll be with us for Christmas but I can’t make that promise to her. Our house is still open for more placements, so we could even be celebrating with other children. Or it could be back to just the two of us. We are no longer the masters of our plans and schedules. But that feeling of control was just that – a feeling. We never really had control. It was an illusion we amplified every time we wrote in our calendar.
None of us are in control. And none of us really own anything. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all are loving things and people that we will have to give up. We’re all foster parents in a matter of speaking.
In the months leading up to us deciding to take PATH classes to become certified foster parents, the Lord used Psalm 24:1 in my life to remind me of this very truth – I own nothing, not even my own life.
“The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord” Psalm 24:1.
This verse was assigned to us in order to teach stewardship to our church’s middle school girls’ class. Previously when I’ve thought about stewardship, I’ve limited the definition and application to my finances. The parable of the talents taught me that I needed to be faithful with the money God entrusted me, whether it be a little or a lot.
But the Lord has asked us to steward much more than just our money. Psalm 24 tells us that the earth, everything in it, the world, and its inhabitants belong to the Lord. David uses repetition to help us understand his point.
The earth and the world belong to the Lord. We take care of the environment, not because of Al Gore’s most recent documentary, but because the Lord Himself laid its foundation and established it. Even the rocks and pebbles will cry out His glory.
Everything in the world and all its inhabitants belong to the Lord, too. That’s all encompassing. Suddenly, the children we give birth to belong to God, not to us. My house, car, skills, and breath are His. I am not my own.
If we truly believe Psalm 24:1, every facet of life changes. We view our spouse, neighbors, and coworkers differently because they, too, are God’s children. God has entrusted each of us with possessions and people for a period of time. No one knows how long. An hour or a lifetime – they both belong God.
How can I take someone in that I might have to give up? Because this child is an image bearer of God. Because even God in His infinite wisdom and perfect love gave up His child for His glory and our good. And, for this time, be it for one more bedtime, the rest of the school year, or a lifetime, He has asked me to steward His world, His people, and His Gospel so that His glory will shine in my life.
Renae Adelsberger lives in Jackson, TN with her husband, Kevin. The two have a love for their community and their church. Renae has a passion to see students love and crave the Word of God for themselves.
For more from Renae, visit www.pedestriangod.com or connect with her on Twitter @R_Adelsberger.