Monday, January 7, 2013

My Kids Are Running In Church

It is basically a weekly occurrence.  When church is over, the older members of my family get the younger members of the family from their classes and return to the auditorium.  Before leaving, my wife and I try to talk to different people and build relationships.  Meanwhile, my nearly four year old boy and three year old girl are running around the auditorium, climbing the steps on the stage, jumping off the stage, crawling under pews and anything else they can think of to embarass me.

I feel bad.  Children should not be running in church.  Worse, my children should not be running.  This is not acceptable.  But, if I am going to talk to people after church, my kids are going to run around; it is unavoidable.  I can only stop the running by leaving, which essentially consists of dragging the kids to the van.

I feel bad that my kids are running in church.  I judge myself.  I did not used to let my children run in church, but I can't stop these kids.  If you are wondering, there is a reason that I now let my children run in church.  My older children, the non-runners, are my biological children, so I could effectively discipline them and stop their running.  These running children are foster children.  So, everything I do with them is regulated by the State.  Discipline is especially regulated.  These regulations make it impossible to effectively discipline.  The result is often chaos, as seen when they are running in church.

At this point, I have learned to accept the running so that I can do other important things, like build relationships.  Also, I use their running to remind me that I need to pray for them.

I ask that people in church who see them running will also pray for them.  In his book Adopted for Life, Russell Moore explains that the church needs to develop a culture of adoption.  While many things go into developing a culture of adoption, one item is praying for adopted and foster children.  Not only can the running children remind someone to pray for the children, it can also spur them to pray for other nations.  He writes, "The children running through your church halls can be a perpetual signal to pray and labor for the nations to know Christ."  In my case, it is surely perpetual, as these kids are perpetually running.

When you see my children running in church, please pray for them.  Don't just pray for their behavior.  Pray for my sanity, and my wife's sanity, as we raise these very active, strong-willed children.  More importantly, pray for their salvation.  And the salvation of their mother.  And the salvation of their sisters who do not live in our home.  And the social workers who oversee the children.  And the attorneys who represent the State, the children, and the mother.  You get the idea; there are many people to pray for.  While we can address their physical needs, like behavior, it will mean nothing if they spend eternity in hell.  My goal in raising these foster children is not to save them from hell on earth, but to save them from a literal hell when their lives end.  For this, they need prayer, and less judgment by me.

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