By Sandi Brown
Jesus commands us in the Great Commission to reach out to the world around us and make disciples. Witnessing can be easy at times when people are receptive to the gospel. But at other times it can be very hard, as we might find ourselves being the only shining light in our workplace or even our homes. I’ve heard many Christians say they struggle so much with sharing their faith and just don’t know the right words to say.
Jesus never said it would be easy. It gets us out of our comfort zone and forces us to be bold and stand up for our beliefs. That can be challenging. And many people choose to not share their faith because of the fear and discomfort it can bring. But what if I told you there was a surefire way of gaining trust into someone’s heart and massively affecting the entire course of their life? Before I explain my witnessing plan to you, let me first tell you about my story.
An Empty Heart
After my husband and I were married, we desperately wanted to have children. We tried for years and years. We saw fertility specialists. We cried out to God, pleading for him to bless us with children of our own. It just didn’t make sense to us at all. Why would God put this strong desire for a family into our hearts if we weren’t going to be able to have a baby? We had room in our house for kids. We had bedrooms and toys waiting for them. I remember seeing teenagers who became pregnant when they didn’t want to be. My heart yearned to have that ease of becoming pregnant. Why was God waiting so long with us?
After over 10 years of trying to have children of our own, God began to do a work in our hearts and started to lead us in the direction of adoption. At first we looked at adopting a baby internationally but quickly found out it was way too expensive for us to be able to do. Then we looked at adopting a baby in the United States, but that was quite pricey too. On our meager minister’s salary there was no chance of us being able to afford a costly adoption.
As we questioned the leading of the Holy Spirit, we soon found God directing us into foster care. Really, God? Foster care? I had heard stories of families receiving children who painted the sides of their houses and destroyed their possessions. I wasn’t sure if we were ready to handle that kind of situation.
But through God’s leading, we ended up taking classes to become foster parents. Still not comprehending the full scope of God’s plan, we nervously sat in the first class, wondering what our future would hold. And in that very first class, the director just happened to mention that they had a sibling group of three children who needed to be adopted. As those words came out of her mouth, something jumped in my heart and I turned to meet my husband’s eyes, realizing he felt the same way. We had a house with empty bedrooms just waiting to offer a home to children who needed a family.
So what did God do with our lives? He took a passion for having a family and he handpicked our children long before we even knew about them. He took hearts that yearned to be parents and placed them together with three beautiful children who needed a stable home. Ten months after meeting these children, we suddenly had a house that buzzed with excitement as we became instant parents to kids ages 6, 9, and 10. I looked back and realized that we would have never considered this path if God had given us the baby we had asked for years before.
The Path of Adoption
I’d be lying if I said this path of adoption was easy. It’s never easy to take two families and mesh them together. And adoption comes with some added difficulties that parents don’t normally deal with. Our kids came to us with many years of influence that we had no control over. We couldn’t protect them from the things they had encountered in their past as well as the effect all those circumstances had on their emotional well-being. We fought many battles and spent much time on our knees, crying out to God for wisdom.
But then again, isn’t all parenting tough? It’s not just foster care or adoption that causes struggles. All parents struggle. We all need God’s wisdom and guidance to help us raise our children.
Despite all the struggles, we would never change our minds about our decision to adopt. Our kids are such a blessing to us and are an integral part of our lives. They don’t feel like adopted kids to me. They’re our kids, just as if I had given birth to them.
The greatest part is that they are serving the Lord. I look back on the spiritual development they had before they met us, and it was nothing like what they have become now after being in a stable, Christian home. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that to act like we are perfect. What I mean is that God handpicked them to be in our home, and part of that reason was so that they could develop a relationship with God through our influence.
And that got me thinking—as Christians we all desire to lead people to the Lord. We want our lives to influence others. We are constantly encouraged to witness to the people around us. Sharing the love of Jesus isn’t an optional part of being a Christian. Instead it’s the heartbeat of Jesus, as he wants us to reach out into the world around us.
In our day-to-day interactions with people, we feel compelled to be a light to brokenhearted people. We might see coworkers for a few hours during the day and bring up conversations of faith with them. We might see a store worker and ask them about their day every few weeks. These interactions are important and completely essential to developing relationships with others and sharing the love of Jesus with them. But have we ever thought of our home as a place to spread the love of Jesus?
Think about this—how awesome would it be if more Christian families took in kids who needed a stable home? Think about how many kids there are out there who are bounced around in the foster care system. They yearn for a place to call home, for a family who will want them. They are young and impressionable. Many have never heard about the love of Jesus. And for the ones that have, they may not have an opportunity to go to church.
Now think about all the Christian families out there who have a spare bedroom or two. We have the love of Jesus to share with the world around us. Couldn’t we open up our lives to take in a child? What kind of influence could we have on kids who just need someone to love them and a place to call home?
I won’t guarantee it will be easy. But think about the spiritual rewards that it would bring. Your family could singlehandedly change the course of a child’s life just by taking them into your home and providing for their physical needs.
I know this is a huge challenge. This is one that requires thought and planning. But if God is nudging your heart right now, then it’s time to take action. You can become a foster or adoptive parent. And as Christians, I truly believe that we should do everything we can to help out kids in need. The impact we can have on their lives is truly profound and everlasting.
Sandi Brown is a freelance writer in Tomah, Wisconsin.
Help Teens in Foster Care Succeed
The following organizations offer support, resources, and opportunities for youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system. Each site offers things you can do to help.
Read about more ways to get involved (www.adoptuskids.org/join-the-conversation/ways-to-help).