I get these daily teen/youth devotions emailed to me. I signed up for them when I was working with youth. Now they just sit in my inbox. Today, I made a new folder and was going to move them into it, to save them. But since I’m fasting and praying, in preparation for the move, I decided to read them as I transfer them over.
The one that caught me was one I’ve heard 100 times, but the Holy Spirit has me good today, so I realllllyyyy learned what it meant today. Thank you Lord, for teaching me. So 1 John 4:19 says: We love each other because he loved us first. I always knew it meant to love others, but I didn’t realize the power in the verse until today.
The devotion said: “so when you have those moments when you struggle loving someone who is less than lovable, realize that you’ve got the power to do it because God loved you first.” As I am moving closer and closer to becoming a foster parent, I am learning sooo much. I’m learning that kids do some pretty unlovable stuff sometimes. It’s different recognizing that as someone who is about to be parenting versus being the kid yourself.
Kids are so smart and so capable. Sometimes, they get themselves into situations much bigger than they can handle though. Then they react in fear and insecurity and from places of pride. Been there, stayed too long. I get it from the kid point, I remember those days. From a parenting point, I just want to put a protective bubble around the kid and keep all the bad stuff away. Then I remember bad will still get into the bubble because there’s a flawed human being in that bubble. We live in a fallen world. We’re all sinners. We can sit around hiding from the bad like Adam and Eve in the bushes. Even still, God, You see past the shame and any bush we hide behind. You call out to us, You call us home. We are strangers to this world. We’re just traveling here. And I am one tacky tourist, Jesus freak, foster mom here. You love us too much to leave us where we are. Just like You loved me too much to leave me in all my mess. You loved me when I was moreeee than a little bit unlovable.
You taught me to respond, instead of react. You taught me that I don’t control anyone else, only me. I tried to pass that on and teach that to the kids I’ve worked with. Sometimes, they learn from what I’ve taught, sometimes they learn the hard way through experience like I did, sometimes they push any teaching away. All I can do is love them. I am not You. I cannot be You. I would be absolutely terrible and self-serving if I had Your job and Your power. I do have the power to make choices to be like You and let others see You in me. You left the 99 to rescue me, now I’m trying to follow You.
Loving the kid is the easy part. It’s the worrying and wanting to protect them from everything, including themselves, that is the hard part. But You didn’t call me to act in fear, anymore than You called that kid to react in insecurity. “You’re still healing.”
So, here is my prayer. Father, thank you for stepping into the gaps and protecting me, even from myself. Thank you for filling the gaps with love and grace. Thank you for showing me the way out of the darkness and into the light. Thank you for teaching me and allowing me to teach others. Thank you for earlier lessons that expand and grow. Thank you for rescuing me over and over and over. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for calling me home, every single time I run away. Thank you for giving me the hope of Heaven. Thank you for providing everything for me. Thank you for preparing a way for me. Thank you for bringing things to the light so that help can be given. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.