The Heart of A Father

Part two in a series on why NSCBC has committed to praying for DCF-involved families and providing a resource for learning to pray for vulnerable children. This post focuses on how God’s heart is to be a caring Father.

The Heart of a Father

At the heart of the Christian life is the love of a Father.

Looking for language to describe God’s character or his posture toward creation; prophets, psalmists, apostles, even Jesus himself chose the language of parenthood.

God’s love for people is lavish, fierce, and self-giving. God is wholeheartedly committed to his creation. The Christian story is about a Father who bound himself to his children at all cost. In Jesus, God’s love and compassion is literally made visible. God becomes vulnerable — born in a humble stable during perilous times.

Parenting in the pattern of the Father

When people choose to bind themselves to vulnerable children, they are following a path God first tred.

When we pray for children, parents, and foster families, we can pray in complete confidence that God is willing, able, and desires to provide–more grace, more strength, more resources, more love for the task at hand. A foster parent here on the North Shore describes it this way:

At the very least, the approx 500 or so children in foster care on the North Shore have experienced the trauma of being removed from their homes and families. All face an uncertain future – and all deserve to be raised in homes where they are safe and supported. As I write this, there simply aren’t enough of those homes, aren’t enough adults ready and willing to provide that care. Foster care is a tricky business. There are reams of red tape, tons of emotions to navigate (and not just by the kids), logistical headaches everywhere you turn, and sleepless nights. These kids often bring very little by way of physical belongings but more baggage than you’ll ever get to unpack. There’s little that is easy, convenient, or comfortable about the call to care for them in this peculiar, temporary arrangement. But I have learned that the One who calls continues to confirm that there is real, lasting hope even in the hard places. The bonds that grow out of these relationships – bonds to parents, siblings, extended family, Sunday School teachers, babysitters, and church family – are rooted in the kind of love that defies earthly logic. It’s a love that sees the image of God under layers of grief. It’s a love that is willing to sacrifice comfort, knowing that infinitely more has already been sacrificed. It’s a love that puts together a group of grown-ups who will be forever joined together because they have loved this one kid.

The commitment continues

As NSCBC continues in the commitment we have made to pray for the foster system on Sunday mornings, here are some suggested ways that you can join us in prayer.

  • God longs to restore families. Pray that God would heal families and equip all parents and all communities to support the healthy development of all children.
  • A positive attachment to a parent or caregiver is an essential foundation for healthy child development. The lack of healthy, positive bonds with adults causes trauma. Pray for protection for children as they transition back and forth between caregivers
  • Many of the families supported by DCF experience poverty–social workers share stories of children lacking basic personal care items such as toothbrushes. Pray for God’s lavish provision.
  • DCF social workers themselves are working in challenging situations, often making difficult decisions about how to best support families with limited resources. Pray for wisdom in the decisions they are making to protect children and invest in parents.
  • We recognize a significant need for foster families; a lack of foster families can result in children moving more frequently. Pray that God would raise up a network of people willing and prepared to welcome children who have experienced loss. Pray that God’s goodness would be made known in the communities that form around each child.
  • Churches are valuable places to establish foster families. The natural extended support network of a church lends itself to sustainable fostering. Pray that God would make our church the kind of redemptive community that can support foster parenting.