As a church we are called to look after the orphans (James 1:27). At the heart of our church we are hoping to bring attention to a growing problem in our country. The UK has a shortage of foster families and currently 9,000 fostering families are needed in our nation. The following is a real, raw and heartfelt story to inspire you to be part of this solution.
At church on Sunday I was reminded of the beautiful words to the United song Glimmer in the Dust which say, “When all’s said and done all that matters is love, so let love take over. Not just in part but in all that you are, let Your love take over”. Love changes things. Unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love. This is the way that Jesus loves you and me, even when we’re not so easy to love. And this is the way He asks us to love others.
Just over three years ago I became a foster carer, and opened my home and heart to a frightened little girl. I wanted to make my life count for something more, to be a part of something bigger than myself, to help change a child’s destiny and give them a safe place to belong and thrive. As a single person, it wasn’t an easy choice to take on raising a vulnerable child on my own, but it was without a doubt the right choice. The journey has been challenging, amazing, wonderful. It’s taken time, patience and perseverance to model positive, healthy behaviours, to help teach a different way of living and to build trust and mutual respect. There have been difficult days, but from the start, I decided that no matter how hard it got, I wouldn’t give up on her. In all honesty, there have been days when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, days when I was ready to give up. But I’ve realised that choosing to be obedient in the now, choosing to sacrifice in the moment, choosing to love even on the harder days, has eternal value.
I’ve seen the transformational power of unconditional love at work in my foster daughter’s life. I’m in absolute awe of the incredible young woman she has become. She is not the same person she used to be, not even close. She has grown from a fearful, insecure, confused, closed-off and hurting little girl who had few aspirations and dreams for her life; into a courageous, kind, generous and compassionate young woman, who walks full of confidence and passion. She is beginning to understand her value and worth. She has a growing heart for helping children and she has big beautiful dreams for her future. From day one, our church community has simply embraced, loved, encouraged, and spoken life into her. This sense of belonging and acceptance has played a huge part in shaping who she is today. Her life has been gently transformed for eternity because our church community stepped in and loved her back to wholeness. She is part of a forever family now. The destructive cycle has been broken in her life and also in her future children’s lives. Generations of lives will be different because her life is healed.
Some days I’m still amazed that God chose me for her, and her for me! That He entrusted this incredible gift to me, and that I get to partner with Him and the church community, to raise her and shape her life so profoundly. It’s humbling and it’s a massive responsibility, one I would never want to change for anything. She has enriched my world and our church community so much. The joy and fulfilment of being able to make such a tangible lasting difference, seeing her once broken life become whole and healed and flourish so that she can become all she was created to be, is far more than I could ever have wished for or imagined. I know her best years are still ahead of her and I believe that one day God will use her story to influence and reach countless more lives.
If you want to know more about fostering, including unaccompanied refugee minors, please email [email protected]