We have three adult children. We thoroughly enjoyed their growing up years, even through their teens, and truly missed them when they all decided to go out of state for college and spend summers there working. We became empty nesters, but looked forward to doing things more on our time schedule and even to begin dating each other again.
So, when our oldest son approached us with a new plan of action for our lives we were not interested . . . in the least! He was excited about his idea and thought it would be great for us! He suggested we should take in foster kids or teens that needed a more stable environment!
“You’re always chaperoning youth trips for the church. You’d both be great parent figures for kids. And now you have three empty bedrooms you could fill.”
We chuckled and thanked him for his vote of confidence in our parenting skills but kindly said “Not right now, (or ever!). We need some time to ourselves to figure out the next step in our lives.”
Well, a couple years passed by without us ever thinking of that conversation again.
But then my brother started going through a troubling time in his marriage which led to separation and eventually a painful divorce. It was right before Christmas and we invited him to stay with us to heal and have support during that time. Amazingly, the same day Ed was to arrive, a man from church showed up at my husband’s office at the end of the day.
We only knew Scott as the father of two of the boys in youth group, but he knew my husband as someone that cared about his sons, someone they could talk to. Scott had arrived home from a business trip to find the locks changed and a note on the door saying his wife and boys were staying elsewhere and she wanted a divorce. Money was tight so he had slept in his truck the night before and was emotionally drained when he showed up at the office, not knowing what to do.
When my husband called me and relayed the story I found myself calmly saying
“We have an extra bedroom and we’re already taking in one emotionally drained man, why not two?”
Both Ed and Scott arrived at the same time and got settled into their bedrooms. They strengthened each other by sharing their stories and their hurts and we gave them the stability they needed of home-cooked meals, a comfy bed, a listening ear, and prayer. Both stayed with us for about 9 months when they finally felt ready to live life on their own and start over with their boys.
Little did we know that this was the beginning of our adventure fulfilling our son’s dream for us and obviously God’s plan as well! Over the last 10 years we have taken in 14 broken individuals ranging in age from teens to adults.
It has at times been inconvenient when I have to drive kids to school or pick them up from activities.
It has been uncomfortable when a man needs to pour out his heart with tears over losing his wife.
It has been difficult when siblings are fighting.
It has been frustrating when someone lies to you or kicks a hole in the door when angry.
It has hurt when a vet with PTSD accuses you of not being honest with him.
It has been tiring when there are 4 extra mouths to feed night after night.
But God always knew when we needed a break. He would bring about a reason for
them to leave and a period of rest would be given before someone else arrived. We saw how God was changing us, and we experienced His love and care for us with each new person He brought. Amazingly, this adventure has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our life and has taught us that God always provides and always knows what we are capable of when we just trust in Him.