God’s calling for my family was to foster homeless children from within our state. The calling felt huge, and we had high hopes and expectations. I was excited for how rewarding this would be for us, but I immediately placed limitations on this calling, thinking how much I would love to have adorable little children in our home and be a small part of their success story.
At first, we had exactly what we had imagined – adorable little kids to love and play with. However, shortly into our journey, we were asked to take an older child for six weeks while his adoption was finalized. Red flags went up immediately. We knew this would be challenging, but reluctantly agreed to give in for just six weeks. Again, I placed limitations on God’s calling–this would be for only six weeks. Anyone can handle something for six weeks, right?
The first few weeks were easy, but then we began to encounter issues that we had no idea how to handle. We felt beaten down with no idea where to turn. I questioned God and wondered why this turmoil was necessary. Why am I to a point where I hate being in my own house? Why am I mad at my husband when he is going through the same troubles I am? We were quick to ask “why,” but I’m convinced we didn’t want to hear God’s answer to our question. I know I didn’t. This calling was way harder than we could have imagined.
Thankfully, some people in our lives really stepped up, including two different LifeGroups we belonged to. They provided emotional support, prayer, and financial help. The importance of LifeGroup was obvious in our story from start to finish, and we would not have survived without them. They lived out the Apostle Paul’s words to the Galatians.
Since surrendering my will to His, I’ve discovered many things about God and His plan for our lives as Christians.
God will test your boundaries: When you place limitations on God’s calling, those boundaries are going to be crossed. I agreed to offer foster care for just cute, little children. Then I agreed to an older child for just six weeks. Past your personal limitations is where God will test your faith in Him and His calling. Accepting His calling gives Him permission to push us out of our comfort zones.
Calling can be for personal growth: As I look over the journey we went through, it is full of tears and trials, but that child’s life was changed and a seed was planted. And my life was changed. We went into foster care thinking we were going to change lives. We didn’t realize our lives would experience the most drastic change. We often look at something God has called us to and assume it is about serving another person or population. Sometimes, the calling and the journey are also for our own faith-building.
Journeys are not always joyful: God doesn’t say this world will be easy and you won’t have any pain. Sometimes, the hardest part about following Christ is accepting it will be difficult. It will be worth it. Take heart, God always has our best interests in mind. God wants us to grow and learn and He has sweet glory waiting for us that will never end (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Attitude can dictate the direction of the journey: I realized my attitude and unwillingness to embrace the journey God had for me was my biggest problem. The devil thrives when we’re unhappy, vulnerable, and unsatisfied (John 10:10). Our attitude can completely change the course of our problems. Stop blaming others and take responsibility. Stop whining and change your actions. Your situation may stink, but your attitude doesn’t have to.
Seek Him through the trials: It is interesting how when we face a huge trial or life gets crazy, the first thing to go is our personal time with Jesus. During the moments when we need God the most, we tend to walk away. Instead of holding on more tightly to God’s word or surrounding ourselves with others reaching towards His kingdom, we unintentionally tackle our trials on our own. No matter your trial–marriage, kids, money, an over-committed schedule, loneliness, or depression–don’t walk away from Jesus. Get closer. Serve more. Read more. Pray more. Your trial isn’t going to get any better by taking God out of the center of it.
Embrace God’s calling and walk side by side with Him as you internalize the words of the familiar chorus, “Through it all, it is well.” Then, you’ll be prepared to fully accept the greater reward.