“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” Psalms 73:28
Our staff and volunteers often rub shoulders with some of the ugliest things that are happening in our city: kids being abused, mothers broken from violent acts committed against them, witnessing the damaging effects drugs and alcohol have on families. But in journeying with children, teens, and families we have had the amazing privilege of seeing how near the Lord is to the vulnerable. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and it is good to be near to God by going near to the brokenhearted as well. The families we are working with teach us much about the great refuge the Lord is and they remind us all the time of the wonderful deeds God is doing in our city.
A mom whose kids had been in the system for over six months recently sent us a text message overjoyed at how far her case had progressed. She expressed over and over to us that “God IS Real.” She had spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the guilt and shame that weighed on her for losing her children to the system. She had periods of hopelessness and wondered what the future held. But as her story has unfolded, she reminds us of how real God is. She has a journal that she writes down ways God acts on her behalf daily. How many of us go days, weeks, or even months without considering the many tangible ways God showers grace on us? This woman has truly made the “sovereign Lord her refuge.”
There can perhaps be no lower moment in life in which everything is lost, including your children. In these times, the world looks down on the mother and says, “curse God and die.” How can a good God let your life get so difficult? How could one possibly in such a low position really believe that God is real? And yet, it is these situations that the Lord draws near. It is in these times that the people you least expect to rejoice that “God is real” can testify to how real he is.
Foster Care Initiatives has been very busy working with moms like that. It is a privilege to journey alongside these families who have lost everything and are taking courageous steps toward healing…and we even finally have our firstfather to work with as well!
So far in 2015, we have taught over 36 parenting classes (in Spanish and English) and journeyed with over 26 families. We are now offering classes and services to birth families in three different locations and working on expanding to two more places by this summer.
We also have had opportunities to provide training to all the supervisors of the child protective services in Maricopa County, which was a great opportunity to testify how the churches in Arizona have empowered us as a non-profit to provide services to birth families. The state knows this is needed even if they are unable to fund it.
We are continuing to develop training and support for foster and adoptive parents who are experiencing extreme behaviors in their home. We have done12 trainings for foster/adoptive parents so far this year and are filling to capacity every class we offer. In addition, we completed a 30 hour class to certify prospective foster families in partnership with Redemption Church. I believe one of our greatest strengths as an organization is the unique, biblically-rooted, trauma informed trainings for foster and adoptive parents (current and prospective) that we are offering to individuals and churches to help families love and serve these precious children and youth well. I am so thankful for the many hours experts, volunteers, and our staff have poured into developing our curriculum.
Thank you for your generous support in prayer, finances, and time. We are thankful for your partnership in this work that we are doing.