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Pure and Undefiled, Not Perfect

I got to hang out with a precious friend this week, and this time was different from every other time we’ve gotten together.  This time she brought a friend with her, a child almost two years old.

I got to hang out with a precious friend this week, and this time was different from every other time we’ve gotten together.  This time she brought a friend with her, a child almost two years old.

What’s so unusual about that?  My friend (we’ll call her Taylor) has stepped her toe into the waters of parenting— or pretty much dived straight into the deep end— by taking on motherhood as a single woman.  She’s a (first-time) foster parent for three girls.

Taylor has talked about adoption as long as I’ve known her (15+ years), and I’ll admit when she first told me about her desire to foster, all the “This will be hard!” bells and whistles went off in my head.  If the human heart naturally seeks to avoid pain as many authors have suggested, then choosing the difficult thing is diametrically opposite.  It’s running into pain headlong.  [But didn’t Jesus say strange things like that?  Lose your life to gain it? (Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25)  The first will be last and last first? (Mark 10:31)]

As we talked about the joys and struggles involved in caring for the boys and girls in our lives, I realized how profoundly God has worked in Taylor’s life to prepare her for this calling.  We could be candid as we talked, and I realized how difficult it is for some people to accept Taylor’s decision to be a foster parent.  She acknowledged, “It isn’t perfect. These kids’ lives aren’t perfect.  I’m not perfect.  But I can provide a safe and loving environment for these little ones for a time.”

Whoa. That truth has been sinking into me all week long.  My friend understands well that the children she comes to love will be entrusted to her only for a time (true for us all).  She’s following the Lord’s direction now, not waiting for later— waiting for perfection.

Taylor also shared with me the incredible community she’s found in Austin, Texas at The Austin Stone Community Church.  That led us to discussing a Together for Adoption conference this fall being hosted in Austin.  The theme for 2010 is “The Gospel, the Church, and the Global Orphan Crisis.”  It looks like something we all need to consider.  How can we be involved—at any level?  (I still can’t get over the “Miracle in Franklin” video I watched here, a true story that happened to a friend of a friend.)

As we hugged goodbye and I held this darling towheaded toddler, her future uncertain and her family life in upheaval, all I could think was “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father  is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Jas 1:27)  In front of me were two faces living out that reality.  

Taylor’s courage and faith inspire me as I watch her fearlessly grip the Savior’s hand and dive off in the deep end of foster parenting.  So many little ones need rescuing.  How long will we watch from the shore waiting for “perfect”?
 

Kelly Arabie

Kelly Arabie most enjoys heart-level conversation and guiding women in soul care. Her desire to study God’s Word and help women apply it to their lives led her and husband Tre to Dallas from their home in Louisiana. She earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and served on staff as both Women’s Ministry Director for Coppell Bible Fellowship and Women’s Ministry Counselor at Insight for Living. Kelly’s experiences of shepherding by godly women have given her a deep desire to see women cared for in the Body of Christ worldwide, especially in cross-generation relationships.

2 Comments

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    Sue Bohlin

    Waiting for Perfect

    >> How long will we watch from the shore waiting for “perfect”?

    Wow, Kelly. That's a powerfully convicting question! Thank you!