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When some world events happen, all the voices start talking. It’s hard to sort through the noise and hear anything clearly anymore. Not having TV reception in our home helps. If I did, I’m pretty sure my tired brain would be fed up with all the opposing ideas and imposing positions. In fact, I already am. Because Facebook.

I don’t know a lot about politics. And what I know of God is pretty limited too, finite-being that I am. However, I do know this; I want God and I want to know Him more.

Deep breaths.

I’m watching politicians, friends, and family declare opposing views about bringing Syrian refugees into the United States. In the last week I’ve grieved over the attack in Paris, watched profile pics change to show support for France, then read commentary about how supporting France means not supporting other countries and other issues.

I read thoughts from many on both sides of yet another divide.

All my simple brain can do is bow my head and kneel in prayer. Because I hurt for those who hurt and maybe I care a little too much.

When the Answer Isn't Easy - Refugees Foster Care

I’m reminded of foster care and all the children waiting for homes to belong to. I hear those who say it’s tragic, but we must protect our children at all costs. I hear how foster children are too hard to deal with and it’s too risky to take them in. For the one who’s talking, but maybe not for some super human family out there.

Surely, someone else can do the job. Right?

The answer seems to be to keep harm out by blocking out the risk of taking anyone in.

We shouldn’t trust them in our homes, or bring them around our children. Because they might, and what if, and somehow we know they will.

I get it. I pondered this fear for many years. Then I took them in and it was hard. To an extreme. Our family suffered in many ways. I still deal with signs of PTSD from after-care trauma & our family’s foundation got all shook up.

Even so, God is in the business of equipping the willing and more than capable of redeeming the broken.

He also gives wisdom and offers Holy Spirit guidance, which we all need on a daily basis. One simple answer is not enough. But we can talk about it, and maybe having the hard discussions will uncover our own hidden motives and agendas which need to come into the Light.

While the issues with any refugee crises may be more complex than I can wrap this brain around, some of the arguments I hear (though definitely not all) include sentiments similar to what I’ve heard much of my life. For refugees, for foster children, for the homeless, and for anyone deemed to need too much or to be too risky to love.

We shouldn’t trust them in our homes, or bring them around our children. Because they might, and what if, and somehow we know they will.

FEAR

I’ve wrestled with fear most of my life. I’m still dealing with fear and anxiety. Trauma has a way of constricting your physical being which interlocks with your soul and it takes an intentional pursuit of healing to walk through it.

But, I’m resolved. Fear will not take over my life. It will not continue in the generations after me as it has in the generations before me.

While I know little about God, I do know He is mightier and His name is greater. His plans for each of us include a life well-lived, for our good and His glory. His plans are far more reaching than anything I could understand and His ways are too grand for me to comprehend.

So I choose Hope. Beyond today. Beyond what I can see in front of me. And I believe we all have this Hope available to us.

I’ve considered the past and the different ways fear entered in. There were many, but one stands out. The day I was told to never let a knocking Mormon though my door because I’d be brainwashed. My middle school teacher said they were too convincing and I might walk away from my faith as a result. His fear projected onto me.

I took fear in and held on tight.

I got the message. Don’t let them in.

How many times have I heard people recognize the foster care crises of America, so many children in need of loving homes.  Only to also hear of  all the reasons someone else should help.

Don’t let them in.

If fear kept me tied to myself and to comfort, we would have never taken in thirteen foster children and another teen boy who’d been living in the streets. We would have escaped the incredibly hard and painful. And we would have missed seeing our desperate need for a powerful and loving God, who was there and still is.

I have no regrets. But I did learn things which help me today.

WISDOM

We took them in. But we couldn’t take them all.

I read through many profiles of children and sibling groups in need. There were times we said yes and times we said no. There were times when my stomach lurched inward at the thought of taking in one set, but my heart leapt forward at taking in another. Why?

In some cases, I just knew I wasn’t supposed to say yes. Like the time four young children waited at the CPS office and it was the end of the business day. They had no home to go to. As much as my heart hurt for their situation, I knew the dynamics of my own home and believed this was not a fit for us.

I wanted to help if I could, but an unsettling in my spirit told me I had to say no.

Another time, I read the report of a teenage boy. I prayed over the decision and said yes. I’d forgotten this yes answer until a week later when our case worker came in and said he was coming. Since I couldn’t remember who I’d said yes to, I returned to my email and read his history again. The little information I had was enough to take me into an immediate flurry of thoughts as I questioned myself, “Oh no. What did I say yes to?”

What surprised me was how much I connected to this teen boy the day he arrived. I saw his pain deep beneath actions listed in black and white type. When I looked at the facts with merely the eyes of a mortal, fear took over and I would have said no. Previously, when I prayed over this request, the Spirit led me to say yes. And it was oh so worth it.

At the end of the day, I often wrestle with a passionate heart willing to do whatever God asks me to do, regardless of fear, and the wisdom to do what’s mine to do. I’m not God. I’m not capable of doing all that I wish I could.

His Spirit is available to each believer to discern between fear and wisdom, and the answer He gives your family might be different than the answer for mine.

So, I consider the refugees in need, and my heart sinks for the pain they must be going through. I don’t have an answer.

But, when our Sunday guest comes to church and tells of Muslim’s being converted to Christ and Syrian children praising God in the middle of all their horrors and devastating losses, I weep and smile all at the same time.

Our God is mighty and His ways far beyond my understanding.

Still I ask. Who will take them in?

If not me, then who? If not you, then who? When does the buck stop and we are the ones willing to stand on the front line on behalf of those who need us? When do we say, “Yes, here is where I can be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Refugees need a safe place to go, they need provisions, and they need the love and care of Jesus through the hands and feet of his people here on earth. So do hundreds of thousands of children in foster care. And battered women. And freed slaves. And untold numbers of hurting individuals right around each of us, in our neighborhoods and in our churches.

In reality we can’t all take in every kind of hurting and broken person in need, but we can all do something.

What if, instead of passing on the torch of compassion and care, each of us took a look in our hearts and said,

“I’ll take someone in. Lord, show me who and how.”

His answer might just surprise you.

Want to help but don’t know how?
Consider the following organizations helping Syrian refugees now, and most likely others in crises later.
Maybe you can’t be on the ground yourself, but certainly we can all pray for and support those who are. In some way.

REFUGEES & MORE   
Thirst No More
World Orphans
Preemptive Love
Legacy Collective
World Vision

FOSTER CARE
Arrow Child & Family Ministries
All In Orphan Care

SLAVERY
International Justice Mission
A21 Campaign

POVERTY STRICKEN
Attack Poverty
Lulu Tree – Uganda
Mercy House – Kenya
Breaking Thru the Silence – Deaf & Elderly in Haiti

There are many organizations in need of prayer, encouragement, volunteers & financial provisions. Please add your suggestions in the comments below and I’ll update this list

 

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