After packing up my Papaw's books and sermons, I was considering our place in the eternal future of things and our Kingdom impact. What would our legacy be? Why do we do what we do? Are we doing it well? That sort of thing. This morning I saw and heard something so affirming I don't know how to describe it. I tell my wife all the time I've fallen I'm love with her all over again. Its not a joke, I mean it. When I see her living her gift, loving us well, or simply being who God made her to be, I'm smitten. Today, it happened again.
I won't sugar coat it, being a foster-adoptive parent is hard. It's also hard on kids. Especially on days like today. Everywhere you turn someone is talking about their awesome mom and the wonderful relationship they have with her. There are sermons, cards, gifts, special food, and extra family for lunch.
What we often miss are those for whom Mother's Day is hard. Those who have tried unsuccessfully to become parents, those who have lost children, and those who are facing, maybe for the first time, the fact that they may never see their mom again. Mother's Day is hard on foster children. Period. There are floods of emotion, or sometimes a complete absence of it, and everywhere in between.
But today, today we were reminded why we do what we do. We were reminded what it means to be that someone who has lost their original someone, father to the fatherless, mother to the motherless. Let's face it, we realize some of you look at us like we are crazy when our family piles out of the car like clowns at a circus. Or when we get charged automatic gratuity at the restaurant because there are so many of us at one table. It's OK with us, we know. We simply believe James 1:27 is true: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
We also are keenly aware that what we do is not us, it is all Christ working to make straight the crooked paths we travel. Psalm 68:5 says: "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." Seeing a child with no home find one, with no mother, or at least one that is taking care of them, allowing a child to root out a spot in your heart only to leave it, hopefully better than when they arrived; this is truly the habitation of God. In the long and frustrating days, there are days like yesterday, too.
Yesterday they showed a video at church of the kids saying why they loved their mom, what made her great. When it came time for Eli's video, my eyes filled up with tears. He simply said to Tammy, "you're awesome because out of all the foster kids out there, you picked me."
He's right, you know. We did pick him. We may not have picked our biological kiddos, but our love for them is as much a choice every day as the others who came to our home later. Every day we all must choose. Choose to love. Choose to be fathers and mothers who care and sacrifice. We have to be moms to those who have no one else to whom they can give a Mother's Day card.
Being a mom isn't always about biology, it is about making a choice; a choice to love.
Yesterday evening Tammy and I sat on the back porch just the two of us. We were talking about the spiritual legacy we wanted to leave. I mentioned something in the conversation about witnessing and telling people about the Lord. She then responded with something I thought very profound in its simplicity and impact. She said, "I don't really have the confidence or personality to go out and tell everyone I know about Jesus, but I know how to be a mom. Maybe through that these boys will see the Love of Christ in that."
I fell in love with her all over again ... again.