Posted by: karanoel | March 26, 2017

A worthwhile investment

Cameron&AidanFor a week and a half, our normally quiet existence was nowhere to be found (and, believe me, I looked!). We had volunteered to care for two boys, ages two and four, whose mom had just had surgery and was trying to secure housing. Caring for these sweet, wildly energetic kids who missed their mom like mad took everything I had to give. Actually, I ran out of everything I had to give before lunch most days and found, as I looked to God for grace with desperately pleading eyes, He strengthened me far beyond my own ability.

Chase, our four year old, was part of the reason we finally applied to be a host family, stating repeatedly this past year that he wanted to “babysit and protect kids who didn’t have moms or dads, or who were lost or needed help.” He prepared for the boys’ visit by filling their room with books and toys from his own collection. His generosity didn’t fail, as he continued to share everything he owned and enthusiastically entered into this alternate universe on Santa Clara Ave. Despite the tears that regularly occurred when the two four year olds got too competitive or when Chase just seemed fried by all the activity, he continued to say that he loved having playmates and wasn’t going to let us give them back. After all was said and done, he decided that next time we should choose a kid we can keep.

John also stepped up, coming home from a long day of work to a noisy house, a tired wife and plenty of work left to be done. He played outside with the boys as I cooked dinner, trying to keep bikes, scooters and a large electric Jeep from running down our one year old neighbor who wanted in on the action. He helped with cleanup and baths and jammies and teeth brushing, and gave me a strong dose of encouragement at the end of each day. The most heroic thing to me is that he is totally willing to do this again.

I learned two things during those 10 significant days. The first is that it’s infinitely easier to cry over the hurting children “out there” – or applaud the people helping them – than it is to step into their need with our own hands and hearts. The day-to-day experiences are less romantic and more taxing than I imagined. And yet they are so much better because they are raw and real and rewarding in a way imagination could never be.

The second is that love looks a lot like investing in people. Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also. Pouring my treasures of time, energy and money into these boys attached my heart to them. I couldn’t help but bond, despite how difficult some of their behaviors proved to be. The greatest reward came as they began to trust me, first by learning my name (it took longer than you’d think!) and then by climbing into my lap for comfort and affection. I can honestly say I came to love them and earnestly care what happens to them.

It makes me think about God’s investment in us, which goes so much farther than we could ever realize. It’s not a rose-colored, romantic imagination, like someone loving us (or maybe just pitying us) from the sidelines, but a tedious, sometimes heartbreaking, daily (or hourly) expenditure of all the treasure in his storehouse. He even gave His most beloved treasure, His Son (which, as a mom, is unfathomable to me). He is bonded to us, no matter how bad our behaviors prove to be, because His heart is here – in us and with us. He will continue to enter into our mess with tangible proof of His love. The best thing we can give back is our trust… to first learn His name, then to curl up on His lap in the safety of His arms and press up against the warmth of His heart.

*We volunteered through a nonprofit called Safe Families for Children which supports families in crisis and works to keep kids out of foster care.


Responses

  1. Hi Kara. , tried to post comment but wasn’t able to. Thought this was great. Loved it. Love you,Wendy.

    Sent from my iPad

    • Thank you Wendy! Love you too!

  2. Love this!!!! Love you for this!!!!

    • Thank you Kriste!! ❤

  3. Wow Kara! This is so eloquently stated. ” where our treasures are our hearts will be also” I’m thrilled to know that we have shared our treasures with these boys along side each other. They have a special place in my heart and I adore them! May I share this blog with Katie Gillingham who is another local mama about to start hostings for Safe Families? By the way… Cameron and Aidan remember yours and Chases names very well.

    • Walking this out with you has made this experience so much richer and has provided a model for staying connected to these precious boys and their mama. Thank you! I’m so glad we ran into you on the trail that day 🙂


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