What do you want to be when you grow up?
It’s such an innocent and common question. But the truth is we don’t have much control over our lives. Sure we make decisions, we seek out relationships and careers, but God’s powerful and sovereign hand guides us and is stronger than anything we think we do to create a future for ourselves. In fact, if we are completely honest, we have very little control over most of life.
At different points in my life I thought I would be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, missionary, astronaut, mother. I actually have had some of those roles, but others have not come to fruition. But one thing is for sure, I never expected to be a single woman who is licensed to be a foster parent.
But that’s where I am. And as I look back on the twisty road that has brought me here, I can’t help but be amazed by God’s hand and faithfulness in every step of the journey, even when I have been looking at different roads and trying to find a way to cut over to them.
I was at a conference for work and heard a man speak about Biblical hospitality. He said that one of the characteristics that set the early church apart from the rest of society was their willingness to welcome people into their homes that they didn’t know. He went on to explain that one of the best ways to do that in our time is by being a foster parent.
I had just bought a house.
I had room.
I’d be a good mother.
Could God be calling me to foster?
I had all sorts of reasons to resist:
I’m single and these kids need a father figure.
What will it do to my social life?
(Unfortunately dates are a rare occurrence in my life. I’m afraid they will be even rarer if I have a kid to take care of.)
What will other people think?
But I couldn’t shake the possibility that God was calling me to be a part of something bigger than myself. God was calling me to an opportunity to run hard after Him and find Him faithful. So, I took the necessary training, I bought bunk beds for my spare bedroom and I became a licensed foster parent.
And now I wait to see what God will do next.
One thing I know for sure: I like the feeling of stepping out in faith to a future that is scary and unknown much more than trying to manage my life in a way that avoids pain, difficulty, and unknowing.
One Friday morning in college, I was in a 7:40 AM engineering class when a friend passed me a note:
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
As a result of that note and time in prayer following it, I changed my major from engineering to education. Later, I stepped away from my career as a teacher and coach to be a missionary to Southeast Asia. After returning from the mission field, I was shocked into this new calling to be a foster parent.
My profession has changed over the years and my personal life has definitely not turned out the way I expected. But throughout my adult life I can see God’s perfect plan revealing the ways He has called me to make known the mystery of God, namely Christ.
And as long as I am doing that, the other things fade and don’t bother me as much.
How have your expectations and reality parted ways since childhood? What has God shown you through that?