Giving Ourselves Away

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend from church whose family recently took in three foster children (a sibling group, ages 2, 6, and 10). She and her husband are one year away from sending their youngest child off to college. Their oldest three are all either finishing college or already out in the working world. Her husband is just a year or two away from retirement.

She shared with me the day-to-day struggles of caring for a toddler at her age, and dealing with the six-year-old calling her “Mommy” from the first day they met, and the palpable anger of the ten-year-old boy when he doesn’t get his way. She said she ends each day completely exhausted. Looking into her weary eyes, I believed it.

Then she said, “You know, we were really looking forward to our retirement years, and they’re so close now. We talked about how we would travel, and relax, and spend time together. And sometimes I feel like we’ve sacrificed our lives for these kids.”

She paused, leaned back in her chair with a smile, and said, “But that’s what it’s all about: giving ourselves away. What’s our life for, if not that?”

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5 thoughts on “Giving Ourselves Away

  1. Ok, so I read this just after my workout . My brain is all hopped up on endorphins and was excited that you knew someone who was going thru the foster process and then, I finished reading it. I was left with a kind of sadness about what the woman said and wondered, why did they take on these 3 kids if they felt they were done with raising children? It almost seemed as if she felt Shanghaied into this by someone else. And you are right, we are to take care of the orphans and widows and give ourselves unconditionally to be more like the Father. Somehow I doubt your words got into her weary muddled mind tho.

  2. Oh, Dawn — I didn’t say a word as she was speaking — the last words were hers. I was feeling sad as she talked, too, until she said that last bit about giving herself away. Her weariness totally left her face and she had an amazing peace in her eyes. She takes great pleasure in using her life in this way, despite the tiredness.

    And as she talked about the challenges, she wasn’t complaining at all. She was just sharing because I’d asked how it was going. She’s one of those rare people who will honestly tell you instead of just saying “fine.”

    In the weeks since, those kids have really been flourishing, and the agency has identified a potential permanent placement. I am so grateful to God for giving me the example of this woman, and for her transparency about the realities of how hard foster care is, but even more so for her reminder (in word and deed) that it is 100% worth it.

  3. Thank you Mandy for sharing this story. It warmed my heart too. That women does really know whats real and what it’s all about and so do you. Just from the few writings that I have read of yours and some writings that you had with people that suffer from Apathy, I can see that you understand alot of what God has send us hear to learn. Thank you for your example that shines through in just the few words that you have wrote. It makes me want to do better and be better.
    Diane

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