If you thrive in a “results oriented work environment,” then foster parenting may not be the job for you. Fostering is all about working today on a task where the “benefits” come tomorrow.
In Scripture, parenting is portrayed as a process of sowing and reaping (Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 23:13-14, Galatians 6:7-10, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, Proverbs 31:28, shall I go on?). Any farmer, backyard gardener, or wife-who-wants-the-benefits-of-fresh-tomatoes-but-doesn’t-want-to-get-her-hands-and-jeans-dirty-so-sends-her-husband-out-to-plant-said-garden (don’t look at me) will tell you: you don’t reap in the same season you sow.
You go out, you get down and dig and work and plant, get your hands (and jeans) dirty, then you come back inside and wait. You have to water and weed and maintain, but you can’t force the tomatoes to grow, and you certainly can’t head out the morning after you’ve planted and pick the (organic Jersey-fresh) tomatoes. There’s planting. Then there’s a long period of waiting. Then there’s the “fruit.”
When it comes to parenting, the promise that a mom “reaps what [s]he sows” (Galatians 6:7) is the more hopeful, Biblical sister of “this too shall pass.” Remembering that the good, hard parenting I’m sowing now will be reaped later has carried me through this momming journey. It’s held my head above water through many-a time out, pee through the sheets, “say please”, and the like.
But foster-parenting-sowing doesn’t promise the reaping of fruit, because it doesn’t promise tomorrow. As a foster mom, you may not get the fruit of prayers answered and hopes realized. You may not get proms, graduations, weddings, and grandchildren. Let’s be real. You may not even get the fruit of bedtime routines achieved, table manners acquired, multiplication tables learned, or secrets whispered.
But what you will get, what we foster parents are working for, is the joy of being faithful right now. Today, I have today. And I will faithfully train and parent and love this child today and for as many more “todays” as I get. Because while I may never see the “results” of my parenting, while I may never get to “reap the benefits,” I won’t come away empty handed. I know that when my work is done in love for others, in worship of my Heavenly Father, it is seen and it is celebrated and it will be rewarded.
As a foster parent, my hope isn’t necessarily that I’ll reap what I sow. As a foster parent, my hope is that I will one day hear my God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:23). I want to do this well. I want my service to be good and faithful. And I want to do it all for the joy of my Master.
This article originally appeared at Foster the Family..