When I was single and childless, I had a conversation with God. I asked Him, “I want the greatest gift of all Lord, love. How then will I ever learn true unconditional love when I don’t have a husband or child?”
These are the relationships that lead to the greatest sacrifices required by unconditional love. Well, once again I will warn you Dear Reader, don’t offer up a prayer FOR something unless you are willing to walk through the fire to learn the necessary lessons.
Shortly after I prayed this prayer, I became a Foster mom to one of my former students. For a year I called CPS on neglect issues regarding this dear boy. It was to no avail as he was never removed from his home, even though I feared he would loose his hearing. My heat broke when the year ended and he had to return to the home of his non-attentive biological mother. He never knew his father.
The following school year, my dear friend had him in her class. It was this loving and caring teacher/friend who rescued my dear boy. I never thought I would foster or adopt a child of the state. I simply wanted my former student removed and placed in a safe and loving home. Who would have guessed it would be my home!
After a weekend of wrestling with God (I had wanted to adopt a baby girl from China), I agreed to become Gregory’s foster mom. I will not tell you the whole process was easy. I certainly went through labor pains, as there was a moment when his aunt thought about adopting him. When he was 12 years old we finally got adopted. The 1 ˝ years he spent with me as a Foster Son were incredibly challenging. He had so much emotional baggage….. and major medical problems.
One night, I called the teacher friend who got Gregory (now Stephen “I don’t want to have anything to do with y name!!) removed from the place he was considered an “it.” I said, “I just can’t do it. I had to restrain him after he threw a temper tantrum for over an hour. I am a single person and my parents and family live in another state. I am not equipped to raise such an emotionally damaged child.”
She said, in a very wise, calm, and non-judgmental voice, “Ok, so what are your options?” That simple comment hit me like a ton of bricks. I replied, “I don’t have any options because Steve doesn’t have any.”
There were many lessons in unconditional love the first five years I had him in my home. I could not give up on the boy, too many already had and God wanted me to be HIS arms and HIS love, assuring my soon-to-be son that He would never leave him or forsake him.
Although my son is about 4 years emotionally younger than peers with the same chronological age, he is doing well. He is a wonderful writer and an English major at college. He continues to teach me lessons in love and patience. God gives good gifts.
Steve is not what I originally had in mind when it came to adoption and motherhood, but I do believe that one of the reasons God moved me out to Oregon was to find Steve and make him my own. Pregnant mothers do not have a choice about the child growing in their womb. The child may have a physical or mental disability but she does not give up on him or say, “I don’t want him.” God gives us just what we need, and then some. Stephen is just what I need.
I know there are many more lessons in unconditional love coming my way. I welcome them as I really want the jewel in my heavenly crown. It will be such a joy to lay it at the feet of my Savior.
ARE YOU WILLING TO ASK THE LORD TO TEACH YOU LESSONS IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE? IF SO, HANG ON!
1 CORINITHIANS 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.