Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya
My best friend and her husband are heroes – for real. They are foster parents, which in my opinion, is one of the hardest, selfless, and at times most gut-wrenching callings. The emotional roller coaster you avail your heart to when you open it to these little ones brings moments of celebration marbled with circumstances that can leave you completely undone.
One of their recent placements was an 11 year old girl. For valid reasons I’m sure, she was leery of them for several weeks. Despite all of their concerted efforts to communicate to her that she was wanted and safe, she remained distant – her guard staunchly in place.
But then one day there was a visit with some of my friend’s nieces.
While they played, the little girls raved about how lucky this foster daughter was for getting to stay with their Aunt and Uncle, and talked about how much they love it when they get to come for visits and sleepovers. Unwittingly, these little girls were able to communicate to this child what all the loving efforts of my friend and her husband couldn’t: These people are good, kind, and even fun. She can trust them. They love her, and she is wanted.
Here is what struck me. Even though she was experiencing their love and care firsthand, it took someone like her – other little girls- to convince her that these wonderful people really are wonderful.
And we are no different.
Every day, we live in a world full of the blessings and goodness of our faithful God. And every day, He is present, trying to show us that He is good, kind, even fun. We can trust Him. He loves us and wants a personal relationship with us. Yet, so often we have a warped opinion of His goodness, often based on pain caused by others or even resulting from our own poor choices.
Photo by Liv Bruce
Here is where you and I come in. Just like those little nieces, we get to engage with those who are lost and hurting, and tell them what a good and loving Heavenly Father we have. Because just like that little foster girl, they need to hear it from someone they relate to; whose opinion they trust.
What a privilege.
Not everyone is called to be a foster parent – whew! I do know the task of taking in a child with special needs who is not my own. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, we are all tasked with the privilege of demonstrating the heart of God to those in our sphere of influence.
Photo by Shelleen – which is why it’s sideways…ugh!
I’m excited to tell you about a creative way I believe God has given me to do just that. I am right now elbow deep in the process of launching my own publishing company – Haste Laud Press. Remember the old Christmas hymn “What Child is This”? Many of us have sung it dozens of times, I’m sure. But did you ever wonder what it means when we sing, “Haste! Haste to bring Him laud”? Laud is an old word which means to praise, honor, extol, and give glory. Many of you know me as a singer/songwriter, speaker, and blogger, but next year I will be launching the first of nine stories in my new book series. Fruit Fables is a collection of Children’s stories that uses the adventures of talking animals to unpack God’s character found in Galatians 5:22-23, known as the Fruit of the Spirit. By observing fun and relatable animals learn to apply these attributes to their lives, children will be introduced to the heart of the Father while seeing tangibly how to apply them to their own.
Would you pray for me? These are uncharted waters. There is much that goes into launching and successfully marketing books. I want to avoid errors and costly mistakes, but more than that, I want this project to succeed. What will success look like? Little ones learning that God is good, kind, and even fun. They can trust Him. He loves them, and He wants a personal relationship with them.
Perhaps you are thinking, Well, that’s great Shelleen, You go ahead and haste to bring Him laud, but I don’t sing and write stories. I’m not that creative. Really? Creativity’s facial expressions are endless. But can I just say that regardless of how you rate your creativity, each one of us has a story to tell? The road you have traveled to find and know God’s heart and all the goodness that pours from it is uniquely your own.
And only you can give a first hand account of it.
What if every believer began to do just that? What if we shifted our focus from the present hurdles we are facing and took a look in the rear-view mirror at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout our lives? I think a couple things would happen:
We would encourage ourselves and grow our faith concerning any present struggles.
We would testify more freely to others of God’s faithfulness concerning their own.
And those that don’t know Him – they just might begin to open their hearts to the reality that He is good, kind, and even fun. They can put their trust in Him. He loves them and wants a personal relationship with them.
What a joy it is to belong to Him. Let’s be ready for the opportunities placed before us every day to share our stories and represent His heart well to those who need “someone like them” to tell them – or show them by demonstrating His character or the Fruit of His Spirit growing in our own lives that He is good. He is so very good.
Click below to hear an original song entitled, For Life. And if you know someone who might be encouraged by this or other posts, please share. Also, I sure do love feedback. I seem to get more messages through emails and facebook than posts in the comment section below. But feel free to start a conversation. I’d love to be encouraged by your story too.
One more thing: If this is your first visit to my site, welcome! To follow my posts and publishing progress, enter your email on my homepage at www.shelleenweaver.com.