Love Like the Father
He started with a definite “no.” But, watching how the Lord has worked in and through him has been an amazing sight to see.
With his church, Lee heard a Lifeline segment that spoke to the needs of foster care in his community and beyond. Recognizing the tremendous commitment and investment fostering was, he was not interested in becoming a foster parent.
For several months, Lee insisted to his wife and to God that he had plans in his life that wouldn’t allow for fostering. His wife, however, had known God was calling their family to foster care ministry.
Through her prayers and the Lord’s persistent love, Lee’s hardened heart was broken, and he agreed to attend a Lifeline Orientation. The Lord used that time to affirm their calling, as Lee puts it, “Everything in the Orientation, from blessing the DSS workers to mentoring the parents, sounded exactly like what I believe God was calling me to do. So we signed up for the training class.”
Once their training and licensing was complete, a young boy named Paul was placed in their family.
Paul’s mother, Mindy, wanted to work toward becoming a better parent and, ultimately, reunification with her son. Lee recognized her heart and wanted to be a part of this redemption story.
Because of Lee’s positive parenting experience, it was recommended that he attend mandated parenting classes with Mindy. Attending these classes together allowed Mindy to grow in her confidence of Lee’s parenting abilities and to see good parenting modeled. Furthermore, during their time together, Lee would fill Mindy in on Paul’s week.
In addition to attending parenting classes with Mindy, Lee has developed a relationship with Mark, Mindy’s fiancé. Lee arranged to meet Mindy and Mark at a restaurant so that he could have a chance to explain his heart for their family, “I told them that I want to be an advocate for their son first and foremost and also an advocate for them and their other children.”
The meetings continued to occur about every two weeks, where they could discuss their goals and vision for the children and Lee could challenge Mindy and Mark to work on their marriage and personal growth.
As a father, Lee knows that the Father desires for His children to love like Him, and that’s how Lee wants to love as a foster parent.
Although Paul has met his biological father a few times, he’s had no positive impact on his life to this point. Through Lee, Paul is able to see the love of God through the love of a father.
When Paul came into the care of Lee and his wife, he knew nothing of the Bible. They have been teaching him about the love of God by reading the Jesus Storybook Bible every day and by teaching him God’s command to love others as ourselves.
The difference of a loving family who teaches the love of the Father is becoming evident. Lee states, “When we first received him, lies and truth were the same shade of gray. Now he’s aware of when he has treated someone unkindly.”
Not only has fostering impacted Paul, it has changed the heart of Lee, as God has worked in his life. “God has shown me much about His love through Paul. He has reminded me numerous times how patient and gracious He is with me . . .”
To Lee, fostering has been a place where God has really worked in his life and significantly used him as a “vessel of God’s power and love” in the lives of those who are in need of the Father’s love, grace, and discipline. He knows that it’s not something that can be done in human strength, though, because “trusting God is essential to experience the superior satisfaction of the abundant, full life that Gods intends for you.”