I’m so grateful Krisha invited me to share our hearts with you this evening. I’m Catie Lumpkin, and Jamie and I are foster parents, and we're addicted to it, which is something I never thought I would say. And, we're also madly in love with Lifeline.
Jamie and I both went to Briarwood Christian School. We’ve been married for 10 years, and God graciously blessed us with three little superheroes in his timing: Caleb is 7, Benjamin is 5, and Daniel is 3. Our boys currently attend the homeschool co-op here, where I also teach.
Some of our most consistent friends and mentors throughout the years have been Fran and Jill Sciacca, who many of you know. When we were in Fran’s class at Briarwood, he drove into our heads the concept of: whatever God was calling you to, you must consider where and whom He was calling you to serve…
If the Father was leading you to be a doctor, where will you be a doctor? If you’re being called to serve as a teacher or lawyer or whatever, who is He calling you to be the incarnation of Christ to? He was constantly reminding us that none of this is really about us.
When we had been married for five years, we suddenly looked up and realized the world would completely understand if we were to settle down at that point. We had three little guys running around, a comfortable home, and jobs. But the Father began using what Fran had shared with us many years before to challenge our lives, but His question became…If you’re going to be a father or a mother, whom will you be a father or mother to?
And as we studied His word, we began to discover that if He called himself a Father to the fatherless, and if He called us the Bride of his Son, a member of the triune God, then we had been given a precious, intimate invitation to also be a father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless, so when Daniel was still very young, we began to pursue an adoption through Lifeline.
Adoption was never a plan b for us. We always knew we would adopt, and honestly prayed for the birthfamilies of our children long before we prayed for our biological children. So it was a natural progression for our own sons, but soon after we started the adoption process, Caleb came to us with a map he had drawn of 10 beds in our home. He very confidently said, “We won’t have one orphan; we’ll have at least 10.”
We laughed at him, but I kept his map. And shortly after the Father called us to walk through a dark season where we realized we could do hard, and we could do messy because of His grace, and Jamie came to me and said he believed the father wasn’t going to bring an orphan to himself through us, but he was calling us to a lifelong lifestyle of messy, hard commitment to the mothers and the fathers everyone else had given up on, to the children who were stuck in the middle. He took me to Isaiah 58, which many of us are familiar with, concerning the true fast of pouring ourselves for the oppressed, but he took me to verse 12, where it says that if you commit yourselves to this lifestyle of fasting you will,” rebuild the ancient ruins, raise up the foundations of generations, and be the repairer of the breech.” So as we moved forward in faith, we believed God had/has given us this promise for the families we’re involved in.
A fellow fostering friend remarked to me recently that the call to foster is a call to be a damaged, broken family, but are we not all called to be damaged and broken? Our passionate obedience to the call to be broken is not amazing; it’s obedient…it points to the amazing savior we’re obedient to. It allows our county workers, the mothers and fathers who have given up on themselves, and these children who believe all the blame is theirs to see the hope for their own brokenness in light of our GREAT savior.
It is hard. We have no magic formula for loving and letting go. Nothing is tidy, and loose ends is the name of the game. We are not superhuman because we are doing this. We have one tool that enables us to survive the goodbyes that have been and that we know are coming soon, we have the gospel. Our own children are not our own; they are not for our happiness; we are stewards of them for such a short season, and so with these children we are blessed to parent and these parents we are honored to labor in prayer for such a short time, we are grateful with grief. The gift to parent is not a right, but an honor and gift, and so we take each moment as it comes, believing God will provide all we need for life and godliness.
We’ve been in this such a short while, but Jamie, me, and the boys have never been more confident that we are called to this. Caleb ran in the other day and said, “I love that you’re my mom, but I love more what God has called us to.”
But we are even more confident that we are not called to this alone. This intimate invitation to mother and father the fatherless is a covenant calling, with so many different roles. It is a calling we are challenged to as the body of Christ. I’m so humbled to be a part of it, and I hope that you will join me.