It's 1:00 a.m. I am sitting on the couch holding a screaming, crying, yelling 19 month old foster child. He is totally inconsolable, but there is nothing wrong with him. I carry him to the kitchen for some milk. Maybe that will quiet him down. He wants a fruit bar. "Fine. Just be quiet." I give him a fruit bar and milk and sit him at the table. He is quiet. We sit for an hour. I want to sleep. He is not interested. I am frustrated. He does not care. After an hour, I try to get him to sleep. He lays down quietly. I hope we can sleep. A few minutes later, he is up screaming again. He will not be quiet. I pick him up. Silence. I put him down. Screaming. Repeat. Frustration. I want to sleep. Crying. Anger. I am worried that he is going to wake everyone up. I take him out to the van. We drive around in the middle of the night until he falls asleep. We spend the night sleeping in the van. Throughout this long night, I wonder why I do this.
I think back a week. Our nine year old foster child came down from his room and asked to be saved. We talked at length about how he was a sinner and the punishment for his sin would be spending eternity in hell. But, Jesus, who is the Son of God, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to take his punishment. He prayed, expressing his belief that Jesus is God and took away his sin. He accepted Christ as his Savior.
That is why we do it. The salvation the these souls motivates me to give up my comfort, to give up my sleep, and spend tremendous energy for these children. Sure, I want to give them a better life on earth. More importantly, I want these children to live in heaven for eternity. I could have an easier life here on earth, but what is that compared to the eternity of their souls?
There are times, like Monday night, that I want to give up and quit. God answered our prayers by having the nine year old accept Christ as his Savior. Now, when I want to give up, I can see that our actions are really working. I see fruit. One of these children accepted Christ. That is encouragement to keep going.
These children are difficult. So, nearly every day, I have to remind myself why we foster and that we have seen fruit from this ministry.
P.S. This was written prior to a Sunday afternoon. On that Sunday afternoon, I wanted to watch the Daytona 500 (for NASCAR fans, it is like the Super Bowl and opening day put together) and Sandy needed to get work done on lesson plans. On this afternoon, of course, the little foster children were terrible, making it impossible to enjoy the race. Again, I had to constantly remind myself why we do this and remember the recent fruit that we have seen. Later today, I will probably be reminding myself again.