But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
~ Luke 5:16
It's the end of a long silence.
The closing of our intentional summer.
I've been quiet on this front...on so many fronts.
In the last months, Jamie and I have found ourselves at this crossroads.
The newness of our calling is gone. We've experienced the firsts, seen God's hand in beautiful ways...
The goodbyes still ache, but they are expected.
The hellos are tragic, but we've learned to prepare.
The grief is deep, but we understand how to walk it.
Yet, this ministry remains so hard.
When the call comes that the child who once called you Mama is returning to care, it doesn't fit into a "box."
When you hear she's been abused again...
The story has repeated itself once more...
When their mama calls to tell you that DHR is beating on her door another time, and she's launching her Hail Mary.
Foster care doesn't feel good.
And this summer ~ in the midst of the sweltering days ~ I've felt this ache to be uncalled.
To return to the simple.
To throw up my hands in cynicism and say they were right...it's not worth it.
We've shared this with people we love ~ who love us ~ and to be honest, the responses haunt me...
You've done your duty. It's okay to back out.
Your season of ministry is finished. Good job. You've worked hard. It's enough that it should last you for a while.
I told you; your efforts would never change anything. These people are different. They are hopeless.
The words fell like daggers to the heart.
So we withdrew for this season, to the lonely places of our hearts, to cry out to our Father.
And He whispered, I am making all things new.
Not all NEW THINGS.
He is restoring the ancient paths...
Rebuilding the age-old foundations...
Unloosing generations of bondage.
|Ancient Paths Counseling|
His love for us.
But the newness fades with passing days...
The things that delighted us begin to feel like burdens, and Satan twists our excitement to cynicism through the web of ingratitude.
This does not mark the end of our calling...it cannot.
It establishes the beginning of our depth, our pursuit of the ancient paths, when we truly begin to understand the Alpha and Omega.
In the last month I've had three different foster families contact me saying that they are done; this is too hard...They aren't like us.
I've talk with a mama who said her adoption was a mistake. She must let her child go.
I've wept with wives who have said the marriage can't be fixed. It's the end of the line.
Friends, there is no poetic way to say this...
It is not about us, our feelings, or our comfort.
It is about Jesus.
We are working to display a weight of eternal glory, following our Savior who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross so that we may have life, and life abundantly.
But that does not mean we can simply bow out.
Young or old; rich or poor; educated or uneducated...we do not have the privilege to turn a blind eye to the broken.
We are agents of His mercy, catalysts of change for the Kingdom of God....
The continuing incarnation of Jesus Christ still here on earth.
You are called to the sufferer.
You are commanded to bring the Hope you have been given to weary ones.
You are challenged to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, be a voice for the voiceless, give water to the thirsty, and visit the destitute.
This does not save you, but as you feast on the abundance of the One who longs for you, you will long to make Him known to the nations.
Press into the Father.
Return to the Ancient Paths.
And in the end His voice is certain, the Lumpkins are missionaries to this strange world of foster care.
Our being, our marriage, our family was designed for this.
Where is He calling you to return to the Ancient Paths?