by Tracy Hacker
“Of one thing I am perfectly certain, God’s story never ends in ashes.”
I read this quote by Elizabeth Elliott years ago and it has been forever etched into my mind and heart. Over the past 9 years I have witnessed God breathe life into an empty soul and redeem lives from the pit of despair. I have seen the God of this universe do exactly what HIS word proclaims and have been in absolute awe at the wonder of it. My story is one of change, hope, restoration and redemption and watching God change a heart… MINE!
We became a foster family a little over nine years ago with the thought and hope that we might be a blessing to a child in need. God used a verse in Matthew “Keep open house, be generous with your lives” (The Message) to confirm that this was indeed the path He had chosen for our family, and so we followed. We learned very quickly that “we” were the recipients of the blessings when we met our first placement. And not much has changed in nine years. God called us out of our comfort zone, our security, into a world of much brokenness and sadness. He called us into work in a system that, on it’s best day, is very broken. This system is full of social workers, judges and team members who work countless hours to search for the best solutions for the child’s benefit. We have learned firsthand that this is an incredible mission field. We have been given opportunities to speak life and encouragement into the days of workers who visit the kids in our home.
Now, here’s where the title comes from, “Changed for the Better.” I had a much different plan in mind as we started this journey! I envisioned helping a child and then possibly adopting and then we would be finished, but God had other plans! I did not factor in the birth moms and the family members that we meet and the needs they would have as a result of their little one being removed from his or her home. I did not factor in the stories of the moms and the dads and the heart ache that they had felt and were feeling as a result of the circumstances. I did not have a grasp of the pain nor the depth of the despair that the consequences of choices made would have on these people I would meet, but God did. I thought we would love a little one, adopt them and then we would move on to our next adventure, not so!!
The kids that have come through our home have been the easy part! The laughter and the giggles have made the hard times seem not quite so hard and the sad times not quite so sad. I have discovered how to love God’s way through this journey and that despite differences in lifestyles and choices, He loves us all and the cross declares that every life matters. God has impressed on my heart an urgency to love people and love them well and to move when He says move. I have been challenged to “love the sinner and hate the sin” and have come face to face with “the least of these” and have learned that love is deeper than skin color. My house stays a wreck most of the time, but happy healthy little people live here! My family has grown physically by three precious additions through adoption and it takes my breath away that He chose me to be their mom. Life around here is loud and chaotic, but oh how He has blessed us! Life changed… for the BETTER!!!
God’s story never ends in ashes. ~ Elizabeth Elliott