They bless me.

Tuesday night my couch was covered with five of our Orphan Care moms, and we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship.

I invited them to my home to provide a quiet, safe, intimate place for them to share their hearts. The sorrows and the joys, the trials and the successes of the world they live in. Because it IS a different world. And few understand it. What they do is not easy, and the burdens are great, so I wanted to remind them that they do not have to do this alone. We have a community for them in our church body ... those who are living life just as they are, and people who want to support them in as many tangible and encouraging ways as possible. We need each other - and we want each other. Sometimes, we just need to a time and place to come together to make it seem real.
And it was very real on Tuesday.

These women amaze me.
They are brave.
Truth seekers.

It is no wonder the Lord created them with such characteristics considering what is required of them as foster parents. Until you have walked where they walk, or intently listen to what they experience and endure on a weekly basis, you would never guess the challenges they face. They spend a lot of time fighting for the children in their care - social workers, doctors, court systems, birth parents, school districts, counselors, and therapists ... each of them with different demands, different perspectives, and personal biases. 

When I listen to them talk, I feel like an intruder, having never been a foster parent or adopted a child to save his life. I cannot give them advice, contacts, wisdom, or experience, yet they invite me in, they share their stories, they cry, they rejoice, they vent, and they let me love them.

There is very little I have to offer them in the fost/adopt world, but there is one thing I can give them - myself! And I do so willingly. I don't think I could refuse if I tried! One conversation with each woman, hearing her story, watching her eyes fill with tears as she describes how God called her to this, listening to the passion she has for orphans and endangered children ... I am drawn in, captivated, and committed. 

Many of these women were strangers before I joined the Orphan Care ministry, but now - they are my sisters, and my friends. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure with these women, and when I think of them I am reminded of the beautiful words of Paul in Ephesians 1:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Thank You, Lord, for the hearts of women who faithfully and tirelessly seek out and serve children who need love, protection, and Jesus. Your calling on their lives is not vague, but crystal clear, and every time they hug a child, feed a child, change a diaper, fight in court, protect them, and pray by the bedside - they are serving You. These women have a heart for broken, lonely children ... and the children crave the love they so willingly offer. Thank You for drawing them together "for such a time as this" because Your timing is perfect, and no matter how overwhelmed they may feel on the most trying of days, YOU ARE THERE. You never leave them, You never forsake them. What a precious gift such a promise is to Your daughters, Lord! And, oh, how much they need You! Thank You for being a God who never fails us and offers new mercies every morning, for we need them - every hour.