Two months ago we met a young man that the Lord would use to enlighten our hearts to HIS work and HIS ways. He was short, unpredictable, adorable at times, and maddening at others. He was the father of the baby boy he had entrusted into our care. As the weeks passed, our hearts grew more and more concerned, as we traveled up and down the hills and valleys of his journey into fatherhood. He desperately wanted to care for his son, but as a "product of the system", had no idea how to get himself to the place where he could do so. He could be gruff, downright rude, and incredibly polite...all within a matter of minutes. We heard stories and learned of decisions that made our hearts shake and panic. One moment he was convinced he was ready to be the father he was so sure he could be, and two minutes later he was asking for more time to get his act together.
He finally landed a job at McDonald's, earned his first paycheck, and decided it was time. We bundled up his little Squirt, and placed him in his trembling but eager arms. What a sight to behold. This young father, staring into the face of his precious son, so very proud and amazed!
He thanked us for taking good care of his son, and promised to call within the next few days. We walked away and let go, so very unsure of how God would care for this precious baby, but happy for this father who missed his son so much.
Days passed and we heard nothing. Our hearts grew more concerned. Everyday we begged God to protect this sweet baby boy, to wrap His arms around him and keep him safe. We pleaded with Him...fretted at all hours of the night, sick with worry and grief. What had happened to our sweet little squirt? Was he safe?
Tonight we felt the nudging of the spirit, and made the call, and left a message. A few minutes later, our young new daddy called us back. He was weary from the long nights and lack of sleep. But his voice was full of pride and that contentment that only comes from being a parent. We chatted about Squirt's eating habits and how much he was taking at each feeding. He rambled on about all those little things that make a child unique...so proud, so attentive, so much like what a father SHOULD be. My fears slipped away as he shared how hard it was to be a parent, but that it was OK that it was HARD. That contentment, that sureness, just vibrated from his voice. It was then that I realized that God had answered our prayers. HE was looking after this precious baby boy, HE was keeping him safe and cared for, in the way that he was meant to be cared for....through the love, protection, and determination of HIS VERY OWN FATHER.
Their life may not be ideal. Their life may be difficult and uncertain and one we would not wish for ourselves or our own children. But this young man is fulfilling the role that God has given him! Isn't that amazing? This young man, who had spent most of his life in foster care himself, who had been in legal troubles and was homeless when we met him, could have headed down a path of destruction and ruin, and taken this sweet little boy down with him! But his very own flesh and blood is giving him a new chance at life. The pride and joy of being a father...is renewing his heart and spirit! What a blessing it is to know this young man. How amazing to see God at work in their lives. What a privilege to watch them work out the wonders of parenthood. As we wrapped up our chat, God reminded me of one other truth...Squirt had first found his way to us because his father had asked for help. His father knew he was not ready to care for him. His father did right by his son, by asking for help when he needed it. Little Squirt is safe, healthy, and loved, because His father has ALWAYS looked after him. This young man is fulfilling the most important role God has ever given any of us. He has embraced parenthood wholeheartedly! What a blessing to know him..and how humbling to once again be reminded of that God's plans are good and right and true!