My brain is only good for one complete thought per day. As of this week, the number has been drastically reduced. Today I commented on Our Growing Family and said something like this:
**Not that it makes a difference to your reading, but the writing of this post was interrupted by an impromptu family dance party. I firmly believe that nothing brings a family closer together than a family dance party, especially when the toddlers have more rhythm than the parents. If you don’t believe me, leave your inhibitions at the door and try it. You will thank me.**
Leo and I were at a conference a couple of years ago and Robert Gelinas, a pastor from Colorado, spoke on living the life of the cross. The one lesson he gave that impacted me more deeply than the rest was when he spoke of being on loving as Christ and being an adoptive parent. The premise is that Jesus accomplished certain things on the cross. For us to be people of the cross we need to do those things on behalf of others.
One of the things Jesus did was to absorb the pain that was meant for us.
As foster parents we get to do that daily. Our children are wounded and hurting. Their spirits, egos and hearts are bruised and they are sad and angry. Often, before they even know they possess it, they’ve lost their dignity. At a surprisingly young age, they need to be angry at someone and it’s difficult, impossible, perhaps even more painful to be angry at their parents. Parents are people they should love and are designed to love near unconditionally.
Our job is to stand in place for their parents. To be there to take their anger and sadness and help them feel it and release it. We give them a chance to be free of the burdens they carry, if only for a time.
To be people of the cross, people who embody the love of Christ, we have the opportunity and honor to withstand the pain the children carry and need to release, and to shield their parents (especially when they don’t deserve it) from that pain.
It’s exhausting. It’s painful. It’s infuriating. But through the mercy of the Cross and the work of Christ in us, we are renewed each day. We have someone who can absorb our pain, and who fills us with an endless (though it always seems in short supply) of love. Every time a child spews pain, anger, or sadness we are (or rather, we try to be, though I personally don’t often do it well) the love of Christ.