Caitlyn’s story moved me while I was writing it, because I could picture her, sitting in her room, listening to the chaos around her, wondering if there was a God and if there was, did he even notice her? Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, God was moving in Sheryl’s heart, walking her family through a path to prepare them for Caitlyn’s story line. He not only saw her, he was coming to her rescue!
Psalm 68:6 says, “God places the lonely in families” (NLT ). This family is a living testimony to that truth! And to think, God used Sheryl’s past, the other foster children that had been in her home, a relationship from church, a couple of big brothers—all of it to accomplish his purpose. Once again, that is an awful lot of storyweaving!
There are children like Caitlyn and her brother Cameron all over the U.S. Almost half a million children live in foster families, or group homes, right in our communities. They are all around us and we don’t have to travel anywhere to begin to bring them into our story lines. How might you be able to pray for them, share with them, or include them in your church or small group? What kinds of things do they need physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, or educationally? And what do you have to offer them? These are all great questions for you to talk about with your parents or church leader.
And if you are a foster kid now, this message is for you too! There is a God who loves you and wants to be your Father. There are people who want to help you be all that he created you to be. Find those people and hang on to them. Tell them your worries. Tell them your ideas. And ask them to be your partner in helping other kids in your own country . . . and beyond!
One of our U.S.-based staff members, Chris Cox, shared with me the following story, about an American girl like Caitlyn:
In a small church in Peebles, Ohio, a woman was given a vision from God to start a soup kitchen. After a miraculous launch to this ministry, a local children’s home asked this woman for help from her soup kitchen. She connected them to her church and her church offered scholarships to children from the home for one week of church camp. Tina was one of three girls from the children’s home sent to camp.
When she arrived at the event, she wanted to go home immediately. She kept saying, “This isn’t for me . . . it’s just too much, too big.” Her leaders coached her into staying the first night. On Monday she still wanted to go home, so I (Chris) met with her. As I do with any student who wants to go home, I asked her to trust me for twenty-four hours, and if she hated it by dinner on Tuesday, I would recommend that the directors of the home come and pick her up. That night the message spoke to Tina. She heard God speaking into her heart, telling her that her past didn’t define her value. She went to bed that night with more peace than she had experienced in a long time.
On Tuesday morning her first experience was a Justice Station, set up with 200 pictures of Back2Back orphan kids that students could pray over. She was invited to write a letter to the B2B kids, telling them how God had revealed himself in her life. Tina wrote to Busheera, a child in India, of how she was an orphan too, how she had been abused by her dad and stepdad. She told her of her drug use, attempted suicide, and then her reconciliation to God.
In her own words, “I promise you that everything you’re going through now is only gonna make you a better and stronger person. . . . You’re never alone, so when you’re down or need someone to talk to, you can write me or just talk to the man who gave his life for us, so we wouldn’t have to.”