The Beauty of a Willing Family and Engaged Church

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
church and sunset

Imagine receiving a call while eating dinner with your three middle schoolers with a special request. To take in four children. Helen and Christopher had just said “yes” to becoming foster parents. They were about to say “yes” to a life-transforming experience. Life changing for their family and church. As well as a struggling family living the trauma, which brought their four children into foster care. 

The Pretty City

Just across the river from our nation’s capital is Alexandria, Virginia. The city is often showered with accolades. Titles such as, ‘Prettiest City,’ ‘Best City in the South,’ ‘The Healthiest City’. While awards are whimsical, they certainly gloss over the reality of brokenness we cause and experience each day.  

This ‘Pretty City’ has a population of just under 160,000, and 119 of those residents are children in foster care. To give families experiencing trauma a chance to get the help they need, the Department of Social Services trains foster parents. They learn how to care for the children placed in their homes. As well as how to build bridges of friendship and support the biological family. The goal is always for birth parents to succeed and for the restoration of families.

Willing Family and Engaged Church

mom combing hair

For Helen and Christopher, stepping into their first experience as foster parents brought them to the end of themselves. They had to lean heavily on their church community. One example was when the four children, ages 5-11, struggled with lice. While many parents face the unwanted problem of treating lice, these kids had endured multiple rounds of treatment. They developed a resistance to the treatment. Hours of combing, washing, and laundry overwhelmed Helen and Christopher. Helen sensed the Lord nudging (or perhaps urging?) her to invite her church community into this. The hard side of their foster care experience. Opening up about their needs required them to be vulnerable. As a result, the connectedness they experienced was an accurate picture of ‘doing life’ together. 

What began in crisis turned into an earnest community of believers who caught the vision of foster care: restoration! The church seized the opportunity to serve Helen and Christopher through loads of laundry, babysitting, cleaning. They showed meaningful love to each of the kids through movie nights, birthday parties, and homework help. And they befriended the biological family with moving and painting help, camping trips, and Zoom calls. 

This church demonstrated what James 1:27 calls us all to:

True religion (outward expression of what is inwardly true) is…one that visits (moves toward and gets involved with) the widows and orphans (the vulnerable) in their afflictions.’

Project Belong

Foster care is not designed to be successfully navigated by individual families. The trauma children and biological families have endured needs a community of educated, grace-filled believers to facilitate healing and restoration one day at a time. Fifty percent of new foster families stop fostering after the first year due to burn out. Yet studies show foster families with a strong network of support are 85 percent more likely to continue in this vital work. Project Belong VA trains churches to effectively come alongside families who are fostering and adopting. How to “wrap” them with care for the duration of their placement. 

Project Belong VA believes God created each child with profound dignity to grow, be nurtured, and mature in the context of a family. To that end, we inspire, recruit, and resource the local church in Northern Virginia to care for vulnerable children with the love of Jesus. All can do something to help. Project Belong is part of a national network of nonprofits. The 127 Network helps churches all over the country make a difference in the work of foster care and adoption. The Gospel has the power to restore and redeem the things which bring children into care. With long discipleship among a healthy community of believers, the Gospel transforms one person and one family at a time.

Equipping Them

car with moving trailer

Helen and Christopher provided these four young residents of the designated “Healthy City,” an enduring type of health that no jog along the Potomac River could ever accomplish. As this group of believers lived in the community together, the children absorbed Gospel responses to inevitable conflict. They watched adults work hard to nourish healthy marriages. Experienced people faithfully praying and trusting God. They saw the Church operating not as a building but as a people loving. Leaning on each other for help. Far beyond what the world offers, the last year exposed these children and their biological family to important tools. Equipping them with hope for the future. It wasn’t only the children who were blessed. Members of the church also had much to learn from the biological family in this cripplingly expensive area. 

Pray and Get Involved

As Christians, we care deeply about the dignity of every life. Still, perhaps you’re considering ways to translate these inward beliefs into an outward expression of care for the most vulnerable? The disruption of the pandemic is an opportunity to untether from our old ways. To realign with the faith Jesus calls true and beautiful. For you, maybe that means carrying loads of lice-ridden laundry to the laundromat? Or helping with homework? Or babysitting?

As individual families step into foster care and church communities come alongside to support, others will taste and see the Good News Incarnate. And God will make our hearts new in the process. The work is messy and complicated on this side of heaven. Still, those good and loving deeds become the holy, eternal building blocks for not just a pretty city or a healthy city, but the new city we will inhabit for eternity. That’s some accolade.

Remember to pray and get involved. 

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

foster family carving pumpkin texas
Adoption

Foster Care in Your State: Texas

Wondering how you can make a difference for Texas children in foster care? Learn about the child welfare system, the need for foster families, and how you can get started.

foster care social worker
Foster Care

The Role of a Foster Care Social Worker

A foster care social worker provides holistic preparation to foster families. Learn more about their responsibilities and what you can expect when working with them.

Employee at child placing agency
Adoption

The Role of a Child Placing Agency

Child placing agencies play a prominent role in the lives of children in foster care. Understanding the day-to-day operations of a child placing agency helps us realize the importance of their work.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

see life episode 4 normal version

Please check back soon for an updated version of this episode!

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!