In the line of fire: Fostering Stories

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Children, who only knew of deception, self-serving, cursing, neglect and abuse needed someone willing to risk it all for their sake. They needed someone willing to love them enough to take the hits that come with the territory.

Fifteen months. 13 foster children. A move to Texas. And then another move. Well, it took a lot out of this woman who was trying to trust the Lord in all the things.

This intense season also opened up a whole new world of compassion through the challenges that come with loving in hard places.

In many ways, our family stepped into the line of fire.

Children, who only knew of deception, self-serving, cursing, neglect and abuse needed someone willing to risk it all for their sake. They needed someone willing to love them enough to take the hits that come with the territory.

And I do mean literally – taking the hits. And the cursing. And the biting. And the throwing things. And the breaking things. And the attempts to runaway. And …

Standing in the Gap

When a foster parent stands in the gap, they stand between a wounded child and their parents. They also stand between them and the rest of the world. Not against them, but in the gap. They stand in the line of fire, which often comes from the children themselves as well as the many people involved with their lives.

To foster well means being willing to adjust your parenting paradigm and consider new ways to connect and care. It also means nurturing their hearts and allowing them to love the ones who have wounded them.

Foster parents do this for the sake of helping children, and they need to trust the Lord to bring the healing.

Foster parents stand in the line of fire to take the hits so a child stops receiving them.

As I look back on our time of fostering I recall many physical altercations. We regularly dealt with angry outbursts and behaviors while also managing appointments, reports, visits, and more. With delight, I also recall smiles, hugs and love that grew over time.

The need to be loved

I remember the boy who had break downs multiple times a day, every day. Who wouldn’t hug or receive hugs for several months. I also remember the precious hugs received by him after many, many times of my husband and I being there through the fits and taking his hits.

This elementary-aged boy had much anger and hurt in his heart. He was in such need for unconditional love. Though it was exhausting, we were there.

My husband would hold him in love which helped him calm down. After the anger was worked out, we’d be there to usher in the opportunity to feel more love – and acceptance. It took quite some time, but eventually he grew to long for the prayers, the hugs and our willingness to help him when he had a hard time calming down.

A couple of our teen foster sons were the oldest of several children. They grew up helping to raise their siblings. They didn’t know what it was like to receive love. One in particular was often very sad. He also didn’t know how to set boundaries with his younger siblings who demanded everything. We stood in the gap, to help frame boundaries and relieve an overburdened heart.

Of course, when you say “no” to a child who is used to getting his way, you’re probably going to take some more hits. And we did.

A calling confirmed

I didn’t know then the spiritual battles that would take place and exacerbate the physical and emotional stresses occurring on a daily basis. The enemy didn’t want us wearing that armor of God. He wanted us to burn up and blow away.

Add to all that what is often referred to as Murphy ’s Law. When it seems like everything that can go wrong does, on a daily basis, you begin to question your calling. At least I did. I began to wonder if we had made a mistake.

Opposition seemed to come from all sides around us.

The only place to be was centered. Centered on Christ.

Being in the line of fire means suffering for the sake of others so that they too could know the love of the Father. By turning to Christ, all those fiery darts are extinguished and his love heals the wounded places.

Faith grew, love ignited and the fires eventually died down.

It was worth the hits.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Rom 5:3-5)

Called to the Firing Line

Finding your purpose and being sure of your calling or vocation is often an exciting experience. Knowing that your gifts and passions and vision are falling into alignment offers a deep sense of satisfaction. But living into your purpose, your calling, or your vocation may sometimes mean coming up against opposition, and sometimes, that opposition can be particularly unkind, fierce, and even dangerous. What can we learn from people who have stood strong, even in the face of the worst kinds of opposition? For some of us, being Called to the Firing Line may mean standing up for our beliefs, even if it means losing our job, our home, our reputation, our comfort. In this theme, we'll explore the motivation behind these choices and how to find what it takes to endure some of life's most difficult callings.