Fostering Anna Lee has provided a setting for God to teach Lane and me lessons that nothing else ever has. In this season God has moved in our lives like never before. To be clear, the uniqueness of circumstances in foster care brings great trial and grief. However, five months into this I can already see that it brings boundless growth and reward. No matter the roller coaster of events that happen, I love Anna Lee deeply, and it is an extremely unique love. God continues to use this little girl to teach me more of who He is.
One lesson for me has come from the uniqueness of the fact that my first kid was already old enough to rebel when I began parenting. In the first few weeks of my most innocent stage of being a father, before struggles of impatience or anger came into the picture at all, I experienced grace in a rare way. In the most pure stage of parenting we can have, when most dads are learning what it means to care for a newborn, I had a little girl who understood what it meant to tell me no, to push away, to fight for independence. I saw what it meant for a father to love a child far deeper than their child’s rebellion could go.
It meant that there was nothing Anna Lee could do to hinder the love I had for her as my child. It meant that while I needed to correct her in her rebellion, this correction wasn’t led by anger or frustration. The correction and guidance I gave her was led by a desire to keep her safe, grow her in wisdom, and teach her the things I know.
Sometimes when we mess up we think we owe God something and we fight to make up for our actions by striving to be perfect. Other times when we sin we think God is angry and doesn’t want to talk to us for a while. That is most often me. I grow distant from Him because though I know He loves me, I act as if He might need time to cool off and time to get over disappointment in me. This is reflected in how I treat other people in my life as well. It is so easy to give most people distance and time while they get over how I offended them. No matter how much we apologize or are apologized to, we typically still need distance. However, through Anna Lee He is beginning to show me a love that isn’t based on merits and that doesn’t hold grudges. He’s given me a better glimpse of a grace that covers all and a forgiveness that should cause us to immediately draw closer, not push away.
While His Spirit will never stop leading me to holiness, guiding my life, and constantly making me aware of my sin, He has a forgiveness that is far greater than my sin. Though He will never stop correcting me, my rebellion does not even in the slightest bit change the grace and mercy that He has already established. He looks at me and sees Christ’s righteousness. It is His righteousness that defines me, not my sin. Because of what Christ has done He can look at me and see perfection. It is that type of grace shown to me that gives me strength to seek holiness and seek God with my entire life.
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 2:1