Making Room

In December my husband started working as an adoption worker for our Foster Care agency.  His job is to find adoptive homes, or as some like to say “forever families” for kids that are in the system, kids ranging from the ages of 6 to 17.  His first week on the job brought on a few emotional fights between us as he was heartbroken over these cases and I was at home with a newborn telling him to leave his bleeding heart at work.  Quite the supportive wife, I know. 

Finally after this incident when he had a homeless kid stay with us we reached a middle ground.  I now love to hear his heart when he comes home and I try to support him in other ways when I see that he is drained from what can be a sad or sometimes hopeless job.  On the flip side of that, Ryan has learned to respect me by not asking for us to adopt any kids.  Okay- okay, now clearly he wasn’t asking me to adopt all of the kids on his case plan, but I felt that he at least wanted me to be open to that some day.  It just made me feel uncompassionate since I had no desire at all to take in more children, I felt bad for not feeling anything at all.  My hands were full at home and I did not have the emotions to even care or think about these kids that his heart was breaking for. 

Fast forward a few months to a time where I’m sleeping more, my hormones have adjusted and my emotions are back to normal (or as normal as they get).  Ryan brings home a story of two teens that I can’t shake off.   As time passed and he continued to work on finding a family for them the feeling I had for these teens left my heart and went straight into my stomach.  Except that it wasn’t a light-fluffy feeling, it was an ache.   

The wall that I had built in my heart over Ryan’s job was starting to fall down, my stomach was aching, I was finally feeling something.  I started thinking about and praying over these teenagers and knowing the statistics for teens in the Foster Care system made me pray even harder.  I was praying that God would redeem their story and that a loving family would come forward.  The boundaries that I set for our family by keeping Ryan’s work at a distance were shifting, and it was definitely shaking me up. 

Now back time up a little before Ryan’s job started. . . In October of 2013 we joined a group that met each week called Form.  Initially we were attending it to help us prepare for our church plant but little did I know that it would wreck my family life.  Over the last nine months we’ve been learning tools and listening to trainings from a movement called 3DM.  3DM’s vision is to change the world by putting discipleship and mission back into the hands of ordinary people.   Ordinary people like the Senters.

Specifically, some of our time was spent studying the Word that focused on the early church.  You know, the first church after everything with Jesus was fulfilled and He was taken up into Heaven.  I say that it was a “church”, except that it wasn’t a building, but believers spending time in fellowship together.  Living close to one another, eating together and taking care of each other’s needs.

“Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he has need.”  Acts 2:45

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32

The first sentences in Acts 4:34 says, “There were no needy persons among them.”

Our culture tells us that we’ve worked hard for the things we own, but what would it look like to share EVERYTHING?  No one was needy among the early believers because people stepped in where there were gaps and took care of each other.  Our culture tells me that a four-bedroom house filled with 6 people is full, but what would it look like to share my space; share EVERYTHING? We could definitely make some room.  

So we are, we’re making room.  I’m just an ordinary person, a mom, whose kids and home belong to Jesus anyway so why not take in more of His kids?  Arizona has a huge need; there are 15,000 kids in the system.  I believe that when the early church was around that number would’ve been zero because people would not have thought twice about caring for a kid who does not have parents.  But now we think twice about it, I know that I do.  Here I was praying that a family would make room in their heart and space in their home for two teens, and in the end without knowing it, God was changing my heart and opening my eyes to what I have to share.

Maybe you aren’t called to take in orphans like my family is, but what else has God blessed you with?  What can you share?  Has he given you the gift of teaching so you can tutor?  Do you have a ton of clothes you don’t wear that you could give to a family at your local elementary school?  Do you often have some food left over at the end of the month?  Could you pass that food on to a family or cook the extra food and invite people over to eat with you?  At a very young age I started teaching Brooklyn and Gavin to “share”, but I often forget to share as an adult.  I can’t just teach sharing but I need to model to my kids that it’s a lifelong practice; something God calls us to do.  So I’m going to share my home and resources, we’re going to fill up the van.  Our family might look different from what culture says is the American dream, but my only dream is to fully live out the life that God has called me to.  To live with a purpose. 

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