I have a foster world HERO who has become a dear friend. Her name is Pam Parish. Recently we were having lunch and talking about our fostering journeys—her’s being MUCH more extensive than mine. Pam shared an insight with which I could immediately identify! It’s such a powerful parenting insight, I knew you’d benefit from it too. Here’s Pam!
“What makes you think you get to write her story?” That still small voice whispered within me and interrupted my world–class pity party. Our 16-year-old daughter had run away for the second time. The police had just left my house, and my husband was on his way to her last known location.
I chose to use my moment alone to make my case before God. You know the one, “But I’ve done so much.” “How could she do this to me?” “It’s not supposed to be like this!” My ideas of what parenting would be like were coming face-to-face with the reality of my daughter’s journey, and I didn’t like it. I wanted God to swoop in and deliver me from the trial. He wanted me to see His purposes in the trial.
Even as my mind protested, my spirit began to quietly bear witness to the truth behind the question. The truth is simple. It’s not my job to write my children’s stories. That job belongs only to God. I simply get to play a role.
From the moment a child enters our lives, we desire the best for them. Our prayers are for their happiness, health, success and good behavior. We want those outcomes because we love our kids more than anything, and we take our role as parents very seriously. So, when a child wanders off course, it’s hard. We blame ourselves, we blame the child, we blame our spouse, and we even blame God.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” This is God’s promise to us, and He does keep His promises. What this verse doesn’t promise, however, is that our kids’ stories will be perfectly smooth and free of wandering.
As I worked through my worry, grief, and anxiety in prayer, I began to shift my request. I stopped asking God to deliver her and make her safe. Instead, I asked him to be with her wherever she may be. I asked him to use every ounce of our brokenness for His glory in His time.
Although her situation had not miraculously changed, my heart had. God didn’t share with me His plan for her life. He didn’t tell me the outcome of her story. He just quietly asked me to trust Him and love her, no matter what.
I must remind myself daily that Jesus is the author and finisher of my kids’ faith (Hebrews 12:2), just as He is the author and finisher of mine. And while I’m not promised that everything will work out the way I think it should, I am promised that just as Jesus began a good work in our family – He will be faithful to finish it. In the meantime, he’s writing my daughter’s story and I know it’ll be an amazing one.
Check out pamparish.com for extraordinary posts, wisdom, and resources for foster and adoptive families! On Twitter: @pamparish.
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Sandra is a Georgia native and has lived in the Atlanta area since graduating from Georgia Tech in 1988. She married Andy that same year and they founded North Point Ministries in 1995. Sandra’s ministry passion is promoting foster care in the local church. Much of her time these days is spent in seminary classes through Dallas Theological Seminary, working on various writing projects, and continuing her involvement with Fostering Together – the foster care initiative at North Point Ministries.
Learn more about Sandra
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).