Advocacy, Foster ParentingApr. 24, 2015

Forgotten Friday: Redefining Success

I can count on three questions to be asked in every panel and training:

How hard is it really to let go?

How are your own kids impacted?

and…

How many success stories have you seen in your journey?

That final one, it’s my trigger.

I reply, What do you consider success?

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Well…a thriving family, no longer dependent on the state or government, no longer supervised. You know; you don’t worry if you’re gonna get another call about them.

And always, the tears silently fall.

I don’t have one. You’ve got to redefine success.

Blame our culture, society, or the Americanized Church… I’m not sure.

But we’ve somehow qualified our efforts of ministry with a dependable outcome.

But obedient ministry does not equate success in the world’s terms.

Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, we want so badly to plug our faithfulness into an equation.

If we pray the listed prayers and have our children memorize the correct verses, our parenting will produce godly children.

And if we take them on missions trips, that’s the icing on top. They may just end up in Africa….missionaries.

If we make ourselves available to our husbands and daily pray for them from our knees, our marriage will be blessed.

The only problem is…some of the most godly mothers I know, are crying out for their wandering adult children from their knees…35 years later.

And some of the most faithful and devoted, prayer-fighting wives…are begging God for their husbands to repent…even after he’s left.

If I showed up to my ministry of being a wife, a mother, a friend, a foster mom tomorrow because I was guaranteed a profitable return here on this tangible earth, I would be left desperately aching.

Do I hope for it, pray for it, strive for it with all that I am?

Yes.

Do I stand for it, believe in it, and know that He can accomplish it with all that He is?

Even more so.

But do I recognize that He is sovereign in the petitions He answers with… Not Yet…and even…No?

Do I increasingly grasp that perhaps success is not the trophied finish line, but the faithful fight of today and the obedient response asked of me in the tomorrow?

Is there an abiding realization that His accomplishment is already complete in me as He sees me as His own Son, and my merits are simply an offering of praise…each step in this race of endurance?

So if you ask me how much true success I’ve seen in our ministry of foster care, I’ll smile and tell you through steady tears, abundant success, but not what you would expect.

I’ve seen parents show up when the world was stacked against them.

I’ve seen mamas stand in brokenness when they have been stripped of all dignity.

I’ve see social workers answer the call in the dark hours of the morning, day after day.

I’ve seen children, survivors, forgive when they don’t even understand what that means, and love with an unconditional love I can’t even comprehend.

I’ve seen foster parents with open arms and broken hearts, obey through tears.

I’ve seen the Church respond to the Call to Rise up.

And, more than anything, I’ve seen my real mess exposed, so that I can meet the real Jesus again and again.

My Friend, that is success.

Catie Lumpkin

Catie Lumpkin

Advocate - Birmingham, AL

Jamie and Catie Lumpkin have been licensed foster parents for three years and cared almost 30 children in that time period. They currently have three biological sons and four foster daughters. Their journey daily takes them to the foot of the cross, where they find strength to love and serve their children’s families, their caseworkers, and other parties involved.

Comments (3) Leave a Comment

  • Felicia Veal says:
    April 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Yes sweet Catie! I love how you so eloquently put in to words what is on my heart. Thank you for being the voice of so many. Thankful to know you.

  • Tami Shull says:
    April 24, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    This is perhaps one of the most beautiful expressions of faith I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your words spoke into my spirit in so many ways. God bless you and yours.

  • Yes! Watching the church respond has been one of the best parts of foster care for us so far. We have only been involved for a few months, but can already relate to many of your “I’ve seen” points. Thanks for sharing!

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