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Navigating unmet expectations

October 26, 2021 in Caregiving Tips, Crisis Hosting, Empower, Learn, Listen, Other, Raw and Real with Maridel, Relationships, Wrap Around Care

By Maridel Sandberg, TFG President/CEO


Are you feeling like I often do these days?

Do you measure up like you think you should?
Did you drop those pounds?
Did you make it to the gym three times this week?
Did you follow the rules in that parenting book?
Did you miss your mom’s birthday?
What other “failures” have you faced today?
How many times have you just felt like, “I will never measure up?”

I know you know this feeling. It’s something we’re all familiar with in one way or another.

Do you feel it to the depths of your soul like I do?

Our human nature has a way of just beating ourselves up due to the unmet expectations we place on ourselves or that others place on us. Some days, the expectations feel so heavy that I feel HOPELESS.

When we minister to struggling moms and host their children, it is easy to fall into the trap of expectations.

I’ve said this myself and heard it from others, “I will host that mom’s child, as long as someone holds her accountable.” Or, “Who is going to check in on the mom while I watch her child?”

What if the mom you serve doesn’t meet your expectations?

When I’m training in new volunteer host families, I often ask them this question:
“How many of you have lost 40 pounds in two weeks?”

Unsurprisingly, no one raises their hands. It’s a good illustration of the heavy expectation we sometimes knowingly or unknowingly put on these sweet mamas who are reaching out for help.

I can’t imagine how it would feel if someone told me, “I will only volunteer to help if I can see a change in you. I want to be able to prove to others that my staying up all night with your crying child was ‘worthwhile.’”

It’s UNREALISTIC and UNLOVING. And it’s not where I want my heart to be.

The truth is none of us will measure up.

I won’t. You won’t. She won’t.

At Together for Good we believe that when a precious mom reaches out and bravely asks for help, it is a divine opportunity for her to taste and experience the love of God in and through us. This love that is defined in Scripture as, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

Not once we cleaned up. Not once we followed all the rules. Rather, while we were still sinners…

We love because he first loved us, before we ever deserved it. He fills us with His love and we pour it out on those around us. Unconditionally, because that’s what He did for us. Next time you are ministering to someone, ask yourself, “Am I being loving? Am I coming alongside this family with patience and kindness?”

So let’s change the measuring stick, and let’s keep it simple. Let’s love first, with the love that Christ showed us, and let Him do the hidden work in each heart as we simply say yes and follow Him on this wild life adventure.

May Jesus teach us how to love better every day we are on this earth…and I praise God for His unrelenting grace as we learn and grow together.

In Him,
Maridel

 

Host dads, thank you for saying yes

June 25, 2021 in Learn, Other, Relationships, Wrap Around Care

By Katie Brown, TFG Advocate

I remember when I told my husband, a father of four at the time, that I wanted to host children in my home. He wasn’t thrilled about the idea. We already had our plates full (of mac & cheese and fruit snacks) and adding one more child, no matter how temporary, seemed crazy.

But the great thing about my husband is that he saw my heart. He saw that the Lord was leading me, and he knew that he would be remiss to dismiss what I was feeling. So, instead of saying no, he took one step and said yes to going to an info meeting with me. And another step saying yes to going to training. Step after step, one yes at a time, we made it through the approval process and pretty soon we had our first hosting, a three-year-old girl with these big brown eyes. She would stay with us for two weeks.

Everything was going fine…for about 5 minutes. Then, this child saw our dog.

Side note about the dog: She is not an intimidating dog. She’s a hundred-year-old fat black lab who mostly just sits in the corner and sighs with dismay at the children playing around her. She’s endured having her toenails painted, wearing bonnets, being dressed up like a lion…you get the point. Wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Katie Brown’s dog

Still, this little one was terrified.

I was crushed. I so badly wanted this sweet girl to feel safe and special, but all she could see was my scary dog. I didn’t know her full story, so I didn’t know why she was so afraid, but nothing I could do was going to help so I was ready to call the staff to find a new host family for her. I waited outside with everyone until my husband came home. And he said something along the lines of “let me try.”

We all followed him inside and when our dog greeted him, my husband said in a dramatically authoritative voice, “Go lay down.” Of course, our good ol’ puppy was confused but still was happy to get off her feet, so she went to her corner. And then he and this sweet little one spent the next hour cautiously approaching, learning about, and eventually petting the dog. For the next two weeks, my husband and this little girl were best buds. When he would get home from work, she would stop whatever she was doing and run up to him and they’d stick together until it was bedtime.

Guess what? My husband stopped thinking I was crazy. After one hosting, he knew that as a father, he had a unique place in this work of keeping families together.

Some of the families we serve have dads or other males who are playing an active role in raising their kids. And we also serve many families with single moms. These are strong, persevering, smart women who are protecting, providing, and caring for their families every single day. We want to take every opportunity, including this one, to honor them and call out their strengths.

Simultaneously, the reality is that the children haven’t really been able to see an involved dad in action. In those situations where there is not a dad available, being a host dad becomes a very interesting and delicate job. Dads have to be very observant and self-aware. Sometimes children are intimidated to see a male in the home. Sometimes children aren’t.  Sometimes children run right up the dads and jump in his arms. Sometimes they sit across the room and just observe how he interacts with the other children in the home, trying to figure out if he can be trusted. Eventually, most of the kids figure out that dad is the fun one who will take them on the FAST wagon rides, the generous one who gives a second popsicle, the providing one who microwaves the best chicken nuggets, and the protective one who tames that monster of a dog and keeps her lying docile in her corner. And once a child figures out what healthy fathering looks like, when they see it modeled in the home they’re staying in, they won’t forget it.

Host dads, you are amazing. We see you doing the work and impacting kids lives. We know that many of you stepped into this work with some question marks around how it would impact your home, but now you’ve started to understand that God has a very unique and important role for you. We know that there is a fatherless crisis in this country. And we thank you for humbling yourself and by God’s grace, bravely confronting that crisis head-on and fathering more. You are just ordinary men who are saying “yes” to an extraordinary God.

Thank you.

 

 

On June 17, TFG is turning 4!

June 11, 2021 in News & Updates, Other, Relationships

You’re invited to two very special birthday picnic events planned in the Twin Cities and Rochester areas (see details below).


Support a family in honor of our birthday >


Birthday picnic details

Twin Cities

Thursday, June 17, 2021
5:30-8:30pm (special celebration at 7pm)

Veteran’s Park
6335 Portland Ave.
Richfield, MN 55423

Food catered by Divine Swine

Enjoy family-friendly games, an all-day mini-golf and concessions discount, play area for the kids and a special time of celebration and fellowship with TFG staff.

Let us know you’re coming >


Rochester

Saturday, June 19, 2021
11am-2pm

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo: 3rd Bridge Picnic Shelter
5731 County Rd 105 NW
Byron, MN 55920

Hot dogs, chips and drinks provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share.

Enjoy complimentary zoo access, a large play area for the kids, and celebration and fellowship with TFG staff.

RSVP via email >

 


Give a birthday gift today

 

 

 

Walking alongside moms in need

May 9, 2021 in Learn, Other, Relationships, Wrap Around Care
By Megan Dennison, TFG Program Administrator

 

Come alongside a mom in need: make a monthly gift today

 


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

– Atticus, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’


 

One of the first things I did after I became a mom was tell my own mom how much I appreciate her. I was suddenly seeing her role in my life from a new perspective – because I was now wearing the ‘motherhood shoes,’ too.

Although I have only walked a short distance in these shoes so far, my appreciation and admiration for my mom, and all moms out there, especially the moms we serve, has grown exponentially.

One thing I have learned in my very short time as a mom so far is that motherhood is hard.

As beautiful and rewarding as it is, motherhood can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times. I have never been more grateful to have people walking alongside me than in this season of my life.

Even with all the resources and relationships I have, there are still days that can be so challenging. Days that push me to my limits. Days that I feel isolated and vulnerable. I love my son so much, but there are still days where I desire a break. When these days come, I am so fortunate to have people I trust in my corner.

I have immense respect for the women we serve at Together for Good. They are brave women.

Brave to be vulnerable enough to call and ask for help when they don’t have emotional or tangible support.

Brave to know they’ve reached their limits and need respite.

Brave to drop off their kids they love more than anything to a host family so that they can recharge to be the best mommas they can be.

Becoming a mom has made me wonder – if I didn’t have the relationships I do in my corner, would I call? Would I be that brave?

I’ve always had a passion for the mission of Together for Good, but the fire inside of me now shines brighter.

I know that I will never fully understand the depths of some of the situations that women in our communities are treading. I may not be able to fully climb into their skin and walk around in it. However, something that I can do is walk alongside them.

We have the opportunity as the body of Christ to walk alongside families in our communities. The opportunity to be the friends that they can trust and call when they need a break to rejuvenate. The community to bring them a meal when they need one. Someone to drop off diapers to bless them. To be a brother or sister in Christ and reach out with a text to check in and see how they are doing.

We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible and authentic way. To bring hope and healing to families in our community in Jesus’s name, and to ensure that no parent walks life’s journey alone, because that was never God’s intent.

Walk alongside a mom in need: make a monthly gift today

 

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