…but I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.
Working with the teens at a Christian homeless shelter is far more complex than I could ever imagine. They comprehend the difficulty of their situation. They understand the shame and embarrassment of being in a shelter like an adult would. However, they are powerless, because they are still children. There are some aspects of my job that come naturally. I can relate to my teens well, with humor, humility, and honesty. I have learned to discern their moods. Most importantly, I love my teens with my everything. Working at Casa de Esperanza taught me to love children in every circumstance. I love my adolescents the same way I love my 33 previous babies: acknowledging their struggles, but pressing for improvement. Nevertheless, there are drastic differences in caring for a teenager compared to a toddler.
foster parent you ,sometimes, watch your children get themselves into trouble. My four-year old was in the house with socks on, “Stop, running!” She continued to run, “I said, “Stop, running! You are going to fall.” She continues, until eventually you see her slipping backwards. On some occasions, she fell. However, there were moments, where I saved her. I saved her from the pain of hitting the ground. I saved her from the natural consequences of her actions. Why? Because, I loved her. Because, I didn’t want to see her experience the pain of falling. Why? Because it hurts and because sometimes falling leaves scars. See with my little ones, I could save them from the consequences of their actions. I could predict, if they continued flailing their arms around during dinner time that the food would be knocked onto the floor. When the food hit the floor, I knew they would cry. So, I would simply remove the food until they were done flailing. I could predict AND I could sometimes save.
I want to do the same for my teens, but I can’t.
They know the rules. They know them, and even if they don’t we warn them. I WARN THEM! I warn them like my four-year old. YOU ARE GOING TO FALL! They don’t listen though. The issue? Before, I could predict and save. Now, I can only predict, but I cannot save them from their actions. Their actions have legitimate consequences now, and I am powerless against the natural laws. As I said another painful goodbye, I escaped to my office and bawled. I cried about feeling powerless. I cried about them leaving. I cried about how hard their lives are. I cried knowing that, they do not know how much I loved them. I cried because they are experiencing pain all over again. All, I want to do is save them and tell them to stop running. However, as they run, I am mute and paralyzed. So, I watch them. I watch them run, and I see them falling. They fall on their faces, dirtied by the mud and bloodied by the gravel tearing their flesh. They know the consequences of their mistakes now, and I did nothing, but warn them.
As I type, I continue to cry. This is my relationship with God. I am the child; He is the parent. Stop running, Tosin. You are going to fall. Guess what? I fall. There I lay dirtied by the mud and bloodied by the gravel tearing into my skin. Unlike me as the parent, God comforts me. He washes me and makes all my ailments better. He is perfect. He predicts. He saves. He comforts.
All this is heavier than words, and more than I could bear.