Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20
In a society of closed doors, what if I opened mine? I find myself asking this question a lot.
I find myself longing for community. Wishing for connectedness and hoping for a circle wider than myself to surround me and envelope me with arms of love and caring. I long for family and friends. I dream of laughter that splits my side and arms to hold me when I’m afraid. I wish for a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on. I need to be needed and search for ways to serve others.
When I was a child, I learned that my grandfather had grown up in the foster care system. He lost his parents, his siblings and his home. Then he lost another home and then another. I was heartbroken to think of how he must have felt, facing the world alone. I imagined doors closing on him as he faced utter aloneness. I vowed then and there to grow up to be the kind of adult who welcomed others inside.
I became a foster parent in my early 20s and, at first, I believed that I had the strength to not only welcome others but also to provide strength and healing. I thought that if I worked hard enough I could change the world. I worked until I was exhausted. I worked until I was unhealthy, broken and very lonely. Then I read Revelation 3:20 again:
Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
That verse contains a few important clues into the person of Jesus, the one true Savior of the world.
He asks to be welcomed inside
He doesn’t do all the welcoming, in fact he seeks out relationships with others.
Now this is just solid advice. We need to eat and rest. We need to take time to care for ourselves.
He isn’t alone
He wants to be with us. Not just to serve us or to save us but to eat a meal with us.
We are not meant to be alone. We are not meant to work alone or live alone. We are supposed to be connected to others. There are over 400,000 children in foster care each year in the United States. That is a staggering number of children who need safety and security and community. That number also indicates the number of foster families who need connection as well. Families like ours can help.
Not everyone can or should be a foster family but everyone can do something. When we are in community together, we can keep our doors open to help and accept help from others. If you know a foster family, don’t wait for them to come to you, reach out!
Offer to bring a meal, drive carpool, buy gift cards, do laundry, bring a coffee. Be creative. Being in foster care can feel lonely. Being a foster family can feel overwhelming. We are not meant to be alone.
Lord please help me to reach out to those around me. Show me how to care for others and allow myself to be cared for. Amen