REMEMBERING A GOD WHO WORKS BEST IN SHORTAGES
Mark 8:17-18 (NIV) Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? … And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
We have a lot to remember as families caring for kids from hard places.
Remember when you got answers at the Commission127 Tea… and made new friends in the process? Remember when you stopped feeling isolated? Remember when God changed your heart toward that teen? Remember when the adoption went through, the case manager picked up the phone, the judge ruled in the baby’s favor, the birth mom got a job, the doctor figured out the problem, and you were embarrassed to be called a “hero” because… well, because… fostering was actually enriching your life…?
We, foster parents, have a lot to remember.
Turns out a tiny virus can rob a whole community’s bank of memories. Just ask the fathers of the faith. A shortage of food made the 12 disciples forget about a God that was standing right in front them. Jesus had miraculously fed 4000 to 5000 people, twice, with one happy meal. But the fear of another meal shortage made them forget.
It was in the shortages of life that our second Lake Mary Church care team launched. Since there was no placement to wrap around, everyone agreed to make room for random acts of service. But then came COVID19.
Everyone on the team was scrambling to secure jobs, wash their hands, connect laptops, wash their hands, stock up on toilet paper, wash their hands, learn Zoom, wash their hands, Google the directions for making a homemade face mask, wash their hands, …
I had some serious doubts about a ministry that relied on the personal touch of 8 to 10 friends, against the escalating pressure to “social distance” and run to Publix.
Out of a busy team of hand washers, one woman kept trying to get ahold of me. She was new to the church, new to the idea of Commission 127, and new to me. Yet she called, left messages, emailed, and called again. “Let’s talk. I want to get involved.
What can I do?” I just couldn’t wrap my head around her questions in the midst of a ship that was threatening to go down.
She caught me in the hall at church. “What can I do?” Her husband was on crutches from a recent surgery. “This is a stretch,” I thought, “ but I’ll just go with it”. I said something like, “These foster families need encouragement. They need to know they are seen, even in the midst of COVID. Got any ideas?”
Krista Yurchak is a calm woman who serves naturally out of a lifetime of being generous, day in and day out. The email came. “How about if my husband and I donate 60 meals to foster kids? Would that help?”
“Ummm… yes,” I tried to reply… utterly stunned. She and her husband own a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant. In the midst of COVID19, they wanted to give C127 kids 60 meals… free. Then another surprise email from Betsey. They wanted to make a donation to bring it to 100 free meals.
Enter a hilarious evening of holding up, “YOU ARE AWESOME!” signs with Spiderman shooting webs at the foster families’ minivans…as they made their way around the drive through for a free chicken nugget meal.
The God of shortages is not short on memory. He remembers that whenever He starts something, He is on the hook to finish it, even in a desert, even in a famine, even in COVID19, and especially in light of His kids.
I had not thought of the concept of getting businesses involved to fill the growing gap. It was like He used a local restaurant to say, “You know, I am actually quite able to think outside the box.”
And then another thing happened. A distributor from Amway called. “I would like to sponsor some foster families with a gift each month. Do you know some interested families?” “Umm… sure… whatever,” I said, trying to discern what the “catch” was. But the next week, she took the word “scam” right out of my mouth. Three huge boxes showed up on my doorstep… AND another foster mom’s doorstep. Inside were cleaning supplies, vitamins, hair products and meal bars! It was like Christmas in COVID town. Then she called again, to make sure I liked it and to ask for more families. This time, God used Amway to say, “’Tis the Season to see how a big God can call upon a Big business to get stuff done.”
Then ANOTHER business, The Meatball Shoppe, called to say, “We got your name from a care team member that talked to a friend of friend about the foster ministry. Can we send you a meal? Do you like Italian food?” Do I like Italian food!!?! My father was Sicilian. It was a strange sensation. I was being celebrated in the midst of a national epidemic. Then I remembered. Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”
Businesses are leveraging their power to do what individuals cannot do in this climate of personal fear and social distancing. Orange and Seminole County schools are giving away free daily lunches to kids 18 and under. Spectrum has offered free WiFi for students who cannot afford connection to school on-line teaching. Companies like Zoom and Caribu are offering free services to help people stay in touch and have fun together. Stores like Publix and Walmart are reserving special hours for the elderly. Just to name a few examples that I am aware of.
Social distancing is taking a back seat to a God who is driving the will of the Father to do what He’s always been doing. Providing.
If you own a business, we thank you for your generosity. But for those businesses that don’t know how to help, please remember us. We have lots of creative ideas to partner with you! It could be as easy as emailing a Uber Eats gift cards to firstname.lastname@example.org.