We all struggle with feelings of inadequacy. We all struggle with pride. They’re in all of us and they are a hindrance to the work the Lord wants to do through us. On the one hand, focusing on our weaknesses and inadequacies can stop us from taking on a ministry – it can keep us from being bold for the Lord – it can make us think we can never do anything great for His kingdom. On the other hand, pride can make us self-reliant – thinking it’s our abilities that got us where we are – forgetting that any ability we have is a gift from Him. It can make us worried about our reputation and keep us from being bold for Him. Funny thing is I have been stuck in the middle of both of these.
Recently I was asked to speak at our county’s Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner. Every foster family in Kern County will be invited to attend and I will be sharing my heart with them. When I think about what I am supposed to say, all my failures begin to run around in my head. The reminders that I have no idea what I am doing – I am figuring out how to be the best mom I can to my little ones with trauma (and to my bios – because let’s face it – parenting is tough stuff!), I don’t know everything there is to know about attachment and bonding. I don’t know how to help my four year old overcome the deep fears he can’t articulate. I haven’t had hundreds of foster kids in my home. I’m just a mom praying for grace and strength and wisdom moment by moment. Oh, the feelings of inadequacy that creep in and take hold. How satan would love to use these to paralyze me – to keep me from being bold about the Lord and His grace to a room full of people who daily love the forgotten. He would love to silence the gospel, but by God’s grace, I will not allow my failures to overshadow God’s glory and the hope I have in Him!
And then in the very next thought, I turn to pride. How quickly my mind begins to think about my reputation and what people will think of me. I was asked to submit a bio and picture to be added to the invitation that will be sent out to every foster home. My picture? My bio? Why would knowing that I am the speaker make someone want to attend? I begin to panic at the thought that all these families will be coming to hear something great! I hate the thought that they’ll go home and think, “that was a waste of time.” Oh, foolish pride. I know I should not be concerned at all with my reputation – my heart and goal is to make much of Jesus – in every opportunity I have. It is not about me. It is not about how eloquent I am (or am not). It’s not about my great story and my great ideas. It HAS to be about Jesus. There is no other hope or encouragement I can give outside of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
I am humbled at the incredible opportunity I have to speak to a room of fellow foster parents. I know how very difficult their calling is. I know how lonely this road can be. I know the roller coaster of emotions, the court dates, the social worker visits, the desire to help a child heal from their hurts. I am not a professional with years of studying behind me – or acronyms after my name. I am a broken mama who prays for her babies and wants the Lord’s best for them. I am a failure, but His grace covers me.
My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power… 1 Corinthians 2:4
Lord may it be so.
(If you think about it, please pray for me as I prepare to speak in May – pray that the Lord would give me His message for these parents – that His heart would be revealed through the things I say. Pray that I make much of Jesus!)